Photo of Jean Renoir Jean Renoir

The son of French impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir was born Sept. 15, 1894, in Paris and grew up in the south of France. After serving in World War I, Renoir began directing films in 1924 to advance the career of his actress wife, Catherine Hessling.

With the advent of talkies, Renoir made a trio of movies that would be considered among the finest to come out of pre-World War II France: La Chienne (remade by Fritz Lang as Scarlet Street), The Lower Depths (1936) and Grand Illusion (1937).

Escaping to the United States after the fall of France, Renoir went to work for 20th Century Fox, making his American debut with the rustic drama Swamp Water (1941). He returned to rural America for The Southerner, a drama about Texas sharecroppers that earned him a Best Director Oscar nod. His other notable films include Diary of a Chambermaid, Woman on the Beach and The River. Renoir died Feb. 12, 1979.

Jean Renoir in La Bete Humaine

La Bete Humaine

1938 NR

This classic film directed by the legendary Jean Renoir and based on the novel by Emile Zola stars Roubaud as Fernand Ledoux, a train station worker who, enraged that his wife, Severine (Simone Simon), has cuckolded him, forces her to help kill him. Roubaud's co-worker, Jacques Lantier (Jean Gabin), knows the truth, having witnessed the gruesome events unfold, but all he wants to do is protect Severine because he wants her for himself.

  • Jean Renoir in The Rules of the Game The Rules of the Game
  • Jean Renoir in Jean Renoir: The Golden Coach Jean Renoir: The Golden Coach
  • Jean Renoir in Jean Renoir: French Cancan Jean Renoir: French Cancan
  • Jean Renoir in The Southerner The Southerner
  • Jean Renoir in The River The River
  • Jean Renoir in A Day in the Country A Day in the Country
  • Jean Renoir in Carola Carola
  • Jean Renoir in Boudu Saved from Drowning Boudu Saved from Drowning
  • Jean Renoir in The Lower Depths The Lower Depths
  • Jean Renoir in Elena and Her Men Elena and Her Men