5 Most Iconic Brigitte Bardot Films

Bridget Bardot

Bardot: the name alone drips with sensuality and evokes image of perfectly tousled blond hair, full lips, the bedroom eyes heavily lined in kohl and, of course, bountiful curves. Although her career only spanned about 20 years, her impact as a sex symbol and style icon is just as important today as it was during her 60s hey-day. While her recent activities have revealed a much uglier side to the great beauty, it’s only appropriate to celebrate her 80th birthday with a look at some of her most iconic and celebrated films.

And God Created Woman

The first film she created with her then husband Roger Vadim in 1956 served as the vehicle that launched the largely unknown actress into international stardom. After growing unsatisfied with her lackluster film roles through the early 50s, he created the erotically charged film as a showcase for his wife. Ever one to recognize potential, Vadim’s efforts were well worth it, since the film was a success both in France and abroad (despite the heavy censorship in America).

In the film, Bardot plays Juliette, an 18 year old orphan who’s boy crazy and uninhibited ways drive her guardians (and residents of the town) into a huff. The film largely follows her juggling men who are rendered hopeless in the presence of her charms and natural sexuality. It’s not a revolutionary film in terms of a plot, but Bardot’s new brand of sensuality made this film a must see for her fans.

Contempt (Le Mépris)

This 1963 film was the product of famed Italian producer Carlo Ponti and the prolific French director Jean-Luc Godard. After the two squabbled over who the leading lady should be (Ponti wanted Sophia Loren, Godard wanted Kim Novak) they settled on Bardot after Ponti insisted they could increase profits at the box office by showing off her (now famous) body.

The plot of the film is the film industry itself, and Bardot plays the estranged wife of a screenwriter who’s been assigned to adapt The Odyssey into a film for Fritz Lang. Many regard the film as a parallel to the life of Godard at the time, and his disintegrating relationship with his wife, the French film star Anna Karina. The film remains one of the shining gems of France’s “new wave” movement of films, which Godard helped pioneer.

Spirits of the Dead

This celebrated horror anthology film features three stories adapted from the work of Edgar Allen Poe and directed by the powerhouse trio of Roger Vadim (who directed the Metzengerstein segment), Louis Malle (William Wilson), and Federico Fellini (Toby Dammit). The film was also narrated in the English version by Vincent Price. The film wasn’t widely distributed, and Bardot stars in what is widely regarded as the weakest link (Malle’s short film) but it’s still a fun film to watch during the Halloween season.

Viva Maria!

In another partnership with director Louis Malle, Bardot stars alongside Jeanne Moreau in this irreverent twist on the classic Western buddy movie which was popular in 50s Hollywood. While not an intentional goal of the film, the movie was perceived as a feminist tale, with two strong women taking over the roles of revolutionaries in the Wild West.

The film stars Bardot, who plays Maria II, a singer in the circus who accidentally invents the striptease and reaches fame due to it. Her partner in the show is Maria I, played by Moreau. The two become revolutionaries against the dictator of their country after their friend, Florès a socialist revolutionary, is killed. The two women go on to lead a political revolution that features both comedic and action segments which the actresses pull off with aplomb.

Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman

In her second to last film Bardot partnered again with ex-husband Roger Vadim for another highly sexual film. In it Bardot plays Jeanne, a female Don Juan, who’s list of sexual conquests would rival any casanova’s with an ambivalence to any moral codes she may be defying. The film is largely featured as flashbacks as Jeanne confesses her past sins to a priest after admitting she had murdered a man. It shows Jeanne who uses sex and her charm to get even, and sometimes destroy, every man who has ever wronged her, leaving a trail of broken hearts in her wake. It’s only fitting for this sexually charged film to serve as one of Bardot’s last contributions to cinema.

About the Author: Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment and pop culture blogger for http://www.directstartv.com/localchannels/. Despite a complete inability to speak or understand French he’s long been enamored with Bardot’s effortless aura. He can often be found scouring the shelves of his local video store (the only one left) for obscure foreign films.