For English speakers most French actresses that they know are the ones whose films have appeared in English, or those who have acted in English speaking movies. There are many, many others that just appear in French movies.
France has produced many great actresses, and many have made it big in the English speaking acting world.
The greatest name in French actresses is undoubtedly Parisienne Brigitte Bardot who exploded on to the world scene as a teenager in Roger Vadim's movie And God Created Woman. Roger wasted no time in marrying her when she turned 18.
name was synonymous with the word 'sex symbol'
for the generations of the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. She was known as the 'sex kitten'
The other icon among France's actresses is Catherine Deneuve
who was famed as an ice maiden actress. She too fell for the directing and amorous charms of Roger Vadim and bore a son Christian from their union.
More recent famous actresses from France are Audrey Tatou
who starred Pierre Jeunet's Amélie
Sophie Marceau is another of the famous French actresses, and her CV includes being a Bond girl. She made her entrance on the movie scene in La Boum, and also appeared in Braveheart, Anna Karenina, Fort Saganne and The World is Not Enough.
Isabelle Adjani is another of the famous actresses from France, having won the César Award four times, and also Academy Award nomination. She was nominated for Best Actress Oscar for her role in The Story of Adele H.
Her other films include One Deadly Summer, Camel Claudel, Queen Margot, The Tenant, The Driver, and The Bronte Sisters.
Other French actresses of note are Anne Parillaud, Elodie Bouchez, Emmanuelle Beart, Irene Jacob, Julie Delpy, Bérénice Béjo, Juliette Binoche, Ludivine Sagnier, Natacha Regnier, Nathalie Baye, Vanessa Paradis, Virginie Ledoyen (8 Women, Bon Voyage, The Beach, La Doublure, En Plein Coeur).
Laetitia Casta who is probably best known as a French supermodel, acted in La Bicyclette Bleue (The Blue Bicycle) is another actress from France who has gained worldwide fame. At the time of writing Casta is France's Marianne.
The most famous of the French theatre actresses who acted on the stage was Sarah Bernhardt who died in 1923.
A number of these actresses have achieved the acclaimed status of the allegory of Marianne. Marianne is like the allegorical representation of France. She forms the bust, or statue, that represents the nation of France, the French Republic and is a bust or statue which stands outside every town hall (la mairie or l'hôtel du ville) in France.
Each mayor of each town can chose which Marianne bust he or she wishes to have to represent the town.
Past and present Mariannes can be used. French actresses that have also been Marianne are Laetitia Casta, Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve. Marianne features on coins, stamps, official seals and is considered the embodiment of the Republic.
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