Why you should watch Lambert Wilson’s movies if you like French cinema

Lambert Wilson © Igor Shabalin
Lambert Wilson © Igor Shabalin
Lambert Wilson © Igor Shabalin

If you're a fan of French cinema, it's essential to watch the movies of Lambert Wilson. His career is spanning over six decades, many different genres and many different roles. [Click "Lire la suite" to read more]

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Lambert Wilson © Igor Chabalin

If you're a fan of French cinema, it's essential to watch the movies of Lambert Wilson. His career is spanning over six decades and many different genres. He started as a charismatic heartthrob, à la Johnny Depp, before being a favorite of France's most famous auteur-directors like Alain Resnais. Finally, he became a Hollywood actor - his dream - thanks to the Matrix franchise and his role as The Merovingian, before becoming an unexpected master of comedy.

Where to stream Lambert Wilson’s movies?

With over 100 film credits, Lambert Wilson is one of the most prolific French actors of his time. So where can you watch so many French movies? TV5MONDE of course, the #1 streamer and broadcaster of French language films, series and premium programs in the US! With a TV5MONDE subscription, you will get access to the only French language entertainment network in America, as well as the French streaming platform with the largest selection of French-language movies and TV shows in the USA TV5MONDEplus,  and much, much more...

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Lambert Wilson: Early Life and Career Breakthrough

Born on August 3, 1958, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a western suburb of Paris, France, Wilson comes from a family of actors and artists. His father, Georges Wilson, was an actor, director, and theater manager, while his mother, Elizabeth, was a painter and sculptor. Wilson developed an interest in acting at a young age accompanying his father to film sets and stage performances. 

In 1977, Lambert Wilson made his breakthrough on the big screen in the film "Julia" and became a movie star and teenage heartthrob with "La Boum 2" (1982), a box office hit in France. Lambert Wilson had always dreamed of being a Hollywood star since he was young, and these early successes helped him to gain the inspiration and courage to pursue this dream.

10 movies with Lambert Wilson you watch

An emblematic actor of the 80s-90s

During the 1980s and 1990s, Lambert Wilson established himself as a versatile and accomplished actor with exceptional range in the world of French cinema. His involvement in dramas and award-winning films such as "Chouans," "Hiver 54," and "Same Old Song" demonstrated his capacity for nuanced and emotionally impactful performances. These dramatic roles earned him critical acclaim and helped him to cement his status as one of the most sought-after actors of his generation.

It was arguably Wilson's role in "Same Old Song" that cemented his critical reputation as an exceptional actor in French cinema. In this film, he played an emotionally detached executive who becomes involved in a fractured family drama. His work in the role drew considerable praise from critics, who lauded his ability to subtly communicate the deep pain and longing beneath his character's tough exterior.

Wilson also worked with prominent directors such as James Ivory  in, who directed him in the film "Jefferson in Paris", Carlos Laura with "El Dorado" and Benoît Jacquot in "Corps et biens". Despite being accomplished in other genres, it was in dramas where Wilson has excelled most. 

The Merovingian in The Matrix: a Hollywood breakthrough

Despite his success in France, Wilson had always had Hollywood ambitions, and his big break came in 2003 when he accepted a role in "The Matrix Reloaded," the second installment in the blockbuster sci-fi series directed by Lilly and Lana Wachowski. In the movie, Wilson played an annoying French man, the Merovingian, a powerful and complex character who becomes involved in the conflict between the humans and machines and whose task is to help Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). His performance in "The Matrix Reloaded", "The Matrix Revolutions" (2003), and The Matrix Resurrections (2021) in which he reprised his role as the Merovingian, earned him widespread acclaim and helped to boost his international profile.

Wilson's Hollywood career continued to flourish after his involvement in "The Matrix" franchise. He starred in more American blockbuster films like "Sahara" (2005), "Catwoman" (2004), and Babylon A.D. (2008).

A newfound love for comedies

His role in The Matrix franchise did not only help his career in America. His role as the Merovingian - a sarcastic characters with a love for French insults - showcased his talent for comedies, something he wasn't known for in France. He suddenly became a favourite among comedy director who loved that he could bring such seriousness in ridiculous character, a sort of anti-Jim Carrey if you will!

Among the French comedies with Lambert Wilson you should watch are "L’anniversaire" (2005), "Palais royal!" (2005), and and "Barbecue" (2014), which showcased his versatility and naturalistic comedic style.

Watch and stream now French comedies with English subtitles on TV5MONDE USA

Being in more blockbusters and comedies didn't mean he totally put aside his career as an actor of films d'auteur. Lambert Wilson also starred in acclaimed dramas and biopics such as "Of Gods and Men" (2010), the Jacques Cousteau biopic "The Odyssey" (2016), and "De Gaulle" (2020), where he portrays the French resistant.

Watch and stream here classic French movies and new French film with English subtitles on TV5MONDE USA