5 Cheeky Comedies with the King of French Humor — Louis de Funès

Image credit: Legion-Media

Why so serious? Let Louis de Funès bring the funny!

Fantomas (1964)

Director: André Hunebelle

The first film in a trilogy about the incredible adventures of Commissaire Juve, who pursues the elusive criminal Fantomas. Paris is shaken by the sensational and audacious crimes committed by a mysterious criminal named Fantomas. All police forces are trying to find him, but Fantomas is practically impossible to catch — he keeps changing his appearance, escaping justice. And only the good-natured and slightly ridiculous Commissaire Juve manages to find the trail of the criminal.

After Fantomas, be sure to see the other two films in the trilogy — Fantomas Unleashed (1965) and Fantomas vs. Scotland Yard (1967).

The Troops of St. Tropez (1964)

Director: Jean Girault

Another long-running project of Louis de Funès, the multi-episode film about the adventures of the simple but diligent gendarme Ludovic Cruchot. For 18 years Louis de Funès had been portraying this character! During this time he starred in six comedies, and the public loved each and every film.

The plot is quite unpretentious. After receiving a promotion, the brave gendarme Cruchot comes to a cozy resort town of St. Tropez with his beautiful daughter Nicole. Kind, but rather daft, local gendarmes gladly accept Cruchot into their team. But their joy doesn't last long, as not so kindly, and even more daft, Cruchot is always ready to protect the law even when it doesn't need protecting.

Oscar (1967)

Director: Édouard Molinaro

Louis de Funès portrays industrialist Bertrand Barnier who had a mad day.

His manager visits him in the morning and demands a raise, saying he wants to get married. And not just anyone, but Barnier's own daughter, the lovely Colette. Colette, in turn, is in love with Oscar the chauffeur, but she is ready to marry the first man she meets, since she is not Barnier's daughter at all. Barnier's maid declares that she resigns and becomes a baroness. And when a briefcase full of jewels is added on top of everything, it seems that no one will be able to solve all this mess.

The Exchange Student (1967)

Director: Jean Girault

It's Louis de Funès playing the role of a father again. And once again, his children are the ones who give him trouble.

His eldest son Philippe fails the English exam, and so his father, Monsieur Bosquier, headmaster of the prestigious private school, sends him to Britain, to a respectable English family. And while the boy is away, an English schoolgirl, Shirley, comes to the Bosquier family in hope to improve her French. But Philippe has different plans for the summer — he sends his friend to Great Britain instead of himself, and, taking the English girl, goes with his friends on a summer trip on a yacht. When the truth is uncovered, Monsieur Bosquier sets out to find the runaways, for Shirley's father may come for his daughter any day now.

The Miser (1980)

Director: Louis de Funès, Jean Girault

In this film adaptation of Molière’s classical play The Miser, Louis de Funès plays the role of the insufferable miser Harpagon, which the actor managed to make a rather nice character.

The plot of the film is simple: Harpagon has a son, a daughter and a chest of gold. And he decided the fate of all three a long ago. The son should marry a rich, elderly widow and the daughter should marry an equally elderly but no less rich old man who is ready to return the dowry for the sake of his beloved. The chest should forever be buried in the ground and keep Harpagon’s soul warm. But the miser's children have other plans — they already love other people. And the chest will help them be together with their loved ones, for if Harpagon will not allow the children to be happy, his treasure, hidden away by his sneaky servant, will never return to him.