Animal (1977 film)


Theatrical release poster
Directed by Claude Zidi
Produced by Bernard Artigues
Christian Fechner
René Malor
Written by Michel Audiard
Dominique Fabre
Claude Zidi
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Raquel Welch
Music by Vladimir Cosma
Cinematography Claude Renoir
Edited by Monique Isnardon
Robert Isnardon
Distributed by Cerito Films
Analysis Film Releasing Corporation
Release dates
5 October 1977
Running time
100 minutes
Country France
Language French
Box office $20.5 million[1][2]

L'Animal (1977) is an action-comedy film directed by Claude Zidi and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Raquel Welch. It was distributed in the U.S. by Analysis Film Releasing Corp.


Michel Gauché (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a professional film stuntman who works with his fiancée Jane Gardner (Raquel Welch). However minutes after their long planned marriage they are called to perform a car stunt for a movie but it goes wrong, as a brake problem causes their car to fall and they end up in a hospital with bruises and broken legs. Exasperated by the behavior of her fiancé, Jane decides to leave. After his recovery Michel is no longer able to find work in the movie business and is forced to simulate mental retardation and to invent a family to receive Social Security benefits. One day his stuntman friend Santos asks him to replace him from time to time at his job which involves dressing up as a gorilla for advertising pasta at a supermarket.

Michel's luck begins to improve as he gets offered a high salary to do the stunts of an effeminate movie star Bruno Ferrari (Jean-Paul Belmondo) whom he proves to be a dead ringer to. Ferrari while filming an action movie suffers from vertigo and finds himself unable to perform dangerous sequences. Michel does not hesitate to get rid of his new stunt partner in order to replace her with Jane, who is enamored with the Count of Saint-Prix (Raymond Gérôme). Having heard the news Michael goes to the Count while impersonating a server in order to propose the offer to Jane. When he hears that the Count has asked to marry Jane he manically sabotages the dinner and makes Jane promise to do the film.

Desperate to regain Jane, Michel impersonates Ferrari who turns out to be gay, to seduce her. However the young woman is not fooled. Michel must perform a dangerous stunt on the wing of an airplane to an audience of journalists who think they are seeing Ferrari, where his life is saved from the accident by Jane, who is to marry the Count very soon. Meanwhile the press discovers that Ferrari is not doing his own stunts.

While the wedding ceremony takes place at the castle of the Count, Michel arrives disguised as a gorilla, scaring guests with animals from the property, and takes Jane, who refuses to marry Count of Saint-Prix, preferring to live her life with Michel.


Most of the stunts in the film were done by Belmondo himself. This caused him multiple injuries; a dislocated ankle after the scene on the steps of Sacré-Cœur, dislocation and a penetrating wound after the scene in which he is tumbling down the stairs, a chewed up ear after the fight scene with a tiger. Because the insurance companies refused to insure aerial stunts they had to be filmed last. Everything went off without incident, and the actor was able to realize his childhood dream of personally standing on the wing of a flying airplane.



  1. "L'animal (1977)". JP Box Office. Retrieved 1977-05-10. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. Box office information for film at Box Office Story

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