French cinema in the post-war years started to develop again. The ‘new wave’ of French cinema brought the world the works of Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette and François Truffaut, among others. Movies that made an impact from this era include ‘A Bout de Souffle’, made by Godard in 1960 and ‘Les Quatre Cent Coups’, made in 1959 by Truffaut. In 1958, Maurice Chevalier and Leslie Caron made the film ‘Gigi’, based on the novel by Colette.
There were plenty of French commercial movies from this time that made their mark. ‘La Grande Vadrouille’ was a 1966 movie made by Gérard Oury and starring Bourvil and British actor Terry-Thomas and it proved to be the most successful French movie for 30 years. It was in the 1960s that a number of French actors became international stars. Yves Montand, Alain Delon, Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau all starred in movies both in France and in Hollywood.
The modern caper film is considered to be largely a French innovation. In 1955, the movie ‘Rififi’ by Jules Dassin started a trend for caper movies, but there were also heist dramas that had a ‘noir’ feel to them. The 1960s saw a number of caper comedies make an impact too.
During the 1970s another wave of international stars broke through including Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu, Jean-Pierre Cassel and Isabelle Adjani. In 1979, the movie ‘La Cage aux Folles’ was released to great success. At one arthouse cinema in New York this movie ran for more than a year and won in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Golden Globes. For many years it was the most successful foreign film to be released in the US. It starred Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault and was based on a play written by Jean Poiret.