Lino Ventura

1919-1987

Biography

Lino Ventura photo
Lino Ventura is instantly recognisable as the archetypal strong man of the French crime thriller genre. He was born Angelo Borrini, on 14th July 1919, in Parma, Italy. He moved to France in 1927, where, after a string of part time jobs, he began a career as a professional wrestler. In 1950, he won the European championship, but an injury a short while later compelled him to give up the sport, although he continued  organising matches.

His career and his fortunes changed spectacularly in 1953 when the film director Jacques Becker offered him a part in his film Touchez pas au grisbi, one of the first film noir thrillers which would become the mainstay of French cinema in the 1950s. In this film, Ventura plays a hardened gangster, the role he would become most associated with in the following three decades.

Ventura secured stardom with his part in the 1957 film Le gorille vous salue bien, which was followed by a string of lead roles in high profile films. These included: Classe tous risques (1960), Les Tontons flingueurs (1963), Le deuxième souffle (1966) and  Le Clan des Siciliens (1969).

Whether he played the unscrupulous gangster or the uncompromising detective, Ventura's strong, solid performances gave his films a shocking, often brutal, sense of realism. His regular film appearances continued well into the 1980s, although by this time the thriller genre with which he was most associated was beginning to go out of fashion.

Ventura's tough on-screen presence conceals a kind-hearted and humble man. In the early 1980s, he co-founded (with his wife Odette) the organisation “Perce-Neige” which exists to support handicapped young people. He died from a heart attack, on 22nd October 1987 at Saint-Cloud in France.

Lino Ventura photo

Lino Ventura photo

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Filmography

Key: a = actor

Touchez pas au grisbi (1954) [a]

Razzia sur la Chnouf (1955) [a]

Crime et châtiment (1956) [a]

La Loi des rues (1956) [a]

Action immédiate (1957) [a]

Ces dames préfèrent le mambo (1957) [a]

L'Étrange Monsieur Steve (1957) [a]

Le Feu aux poudres (1957) [a]

Le Rouge est mis (1957) [a]

Trois jours à vivre (1957) [a]

Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (1958) [a]

Le Gorille vous salue bien (1958) [a]

Maigret tend un piège (1958) [a]

Montparnasse 19 (1958) [a]

125 rue Montmartre (1959) [a]

Douze heures d'horloge (1959) [a]

Le Chemin des écoliers (1959) [a]

Le Fauve est lâché (1959) [a]

Marie-Octobre (1959) [a]

Sursis pour un vivant (1959) [a]

Un témoin dans la ville (1959) [a]

Classe tous risques (1960) [a]

Die Herrin der Welt (1960) [a]

Un taxi pour Tobrouk (1960) [a]

Il Giudizio universale (1961) [a]

Il Re di Poggioreale (1961) [a]

La Ragazza in vetrina (1961) [a]

Les Lions sont lâchés (1961) [a]

Die Dreigroschenoper (1962) [a]

Le Bateau d'Émile (1962) [a]

Le Diable et les dix commandements (1962) [a]

Les Petits matins (1962) [a]

Carmen di Trastevere (1963) [a]

Les Tontons flingueurs (1963) [a]

Cent mille dollars au soleil (1964) [a]

Le Monocle rit jaune (1964) [a]

Les Barbouzes (1964) [a]

Llanto por un bandido (1964) [a]

L'Arme à gauche (1965) [a]

La Métamorphose des cloportes (1965) [a]

Avec la peau des autres (1966) [a]

Le Deuxième souffle (1966) [a]

Les Grandes gueules (1966) [a]

Ne nous fâchons pas (1966) [a]

Les Aventuriers (1967) [a]

Le Rapace (1968) [a]

L'Armée des ombres (1969) [a]

Le Clan des Siciliens (1969) [a]

Dernier domicile connu (1970) [a]

Boulevard du rhum (1971) [a]

Fantasia chez les ploucs (1971) [a]

L'Aventure, c'est l'aventure (1972) [a]

The Valachi Papers (1972) [a]

Far West (1973) [a]

L'Emmerdeur (1973) [a]

La Bonne année (1973) [a]

La Raison du plus fou (1973) [a]

Le Silencieux (1973) [a]

La Gifle (1974) [a]

Tough Guys (1974) [a]

Adieu, poulet (1975) [a]

La Cage (1975) [a]

Cadaveri eccellenti (1976) [a]

The Medusa Touch (1978) [a]

Un papillon sur l'épaule (1978) [a]

L'Homme en colère (1979) [a]

Sunday Lovers (1980) [a]

Garde à vue (1981) [a]

Espion, lève-toi (1982) [a]

Les Misérables (1982) [a]

Le Ruffian (1983) [a]

Cento giorni a Palermo (1984) [a]

La 7ème cible (1984) [a]




Awards

Lino Ventura was nominated for 1 César for: Les Misérables (1983, Best Actor).



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