WCW: Sophie Marceau


Sophie Marceau is another French actress who I particularly associate with historical costume films, even if she hasn’t done any since 2008. Braveheart! Anna Karenina! Let’s take a look at her work (bonus round: and track when she has her trademark bangs, whether or not it’s period accurate).


Fort Saganne (1984)

“A soldier of humble beginnings who volunteers for service in the Sahara in 1911” per Wikipedia. Marceau plays the administrator’s daughter with whom he falls in love.

1984 Fort Saganne

Nice hat, nice pompadour!


Chouans! (1988)

I really need to see this movie, both because of the exclamation point in the title and the questionable hair. It’s an adaptation of a Honoré de Balzac novel set during the French Revolution. Marceau is a woman torn between two possible lovers.

1988 Chouans!

So this doesn’t seem excessively egregious, although note (curly) bangs…

1988 Chouans!

But this! What! Is! Going! On! Here! I! Have! So! Many! Questions!


La Note Bleue (1991)

The last few days of composer Chopin’s professional life. Marceau plays “Solange Sand.”

1991 La Note Bleue

She looks so young! I think it’s the braid.


La Fille de d’Artagnan (1994)

AKA Revenge of the Musketeers, this is, obviously, a continuation of the Three Musketeers story. Marceau is Eloise, daughter of d’Artagnan. Who is committed to bangs.

1994 La Fille de d'Artagnan


1994 La Fille de d'Artagnan

She has access to curlers at least?


Braveheart (1995)

It’s a terrible movie, but Marceau and her hair/veils is actually the one good thing. She plays the didn’t-exist-yet (or was 3 years old or something) Queen Isabella of France, wife of Edward II.


Just keep your eyes at the neckline and above.

Because THAT HAIR! Someone making wimples look sex-ay!! The netted cauls!!

It’s the (part-directioned) stretch velvet that makes us all shudder.

1995 Braveheart

ESPECIALLY when it’s CRUSHED velvet!

Anna Karenina (1997)

Probably my favorite of her performances, Marceau is sad, gorgeous, and her bangs are appropriate as the tragic heroine.

Anna Karenina (1997)


1997 Anna Karenina

With that dark hair, she looks so great in black.

1997 Anna Karenina



Firelight (1997)

An 1840s-set tragedy, in which Marceau is a governess who is forced to give up her child.

1997 Firelight

Do I spot bang?


Marquise (1997)

It sounds SO good: Marceau is a late 17th-century actress/dancer who rises to fame working with Molière and in the court of Louis XIV. It’s tragically, tragically bad.

1997 Marquise

Such a disappointment.

1997 Marquise 1997 Marquise


A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999)

The Edwardian-set Shakespeare adaptation starring Christian Bale and Michelle Pfeiffer; Marceau plays Hippolyta.

1999 A Midsummer Night's Dream


Alex & Emma (2003)

A modern-day writer works on a novel set in the 1920s; Marceau plays one of the novel’s characters. TERRIBLE.

So her hair is perfect here!

2003 Alex & Emma


Female Agents (2008)

About real-life female commandos working for the UK’s Special Operations Executive, under cover in Nazi-occupied World War II France.

2008 Female Agents

Not so perfect hair here.


What’s your favorite Sophie Marceau historical costume role?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

13 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    Anna Karenina. She’s so perfect as Anna and the clothes are fab. But I too love – well inappropriate crushed velvet aside – her upper costumes in Braveheart.
    I’m going to have to track down Female Agents.

  2. egizzius

    I have seen half of these movies, “Chouans!” included. I loved her role, playing a free and determined woman facing the turmoil of a civil war. I agree about your “Braveheart” rate, so for the costumes too, fascinating and evocative as the velvet too 😊

  3. Nzie

    I need to see that Anna Karenina. Also I’d totally forgotten about that Midsummer Night’s Dream, it’s been ages.

    Also, looking at her face… does anyone think Dakota Johnson bears a decent resemblance to her?

    • Damnitz

      I think that A) that was the Fashion during the 1980s and 1990s, when she was such a great star in French Cinema. B) she was famous for a Special look and played almost the Young active girl/women for more than a decade after she had such a great success with “La Boum”. I hope, that she will find her way in her age now as Isabelle Huppert and Juliette Binoche did. I would like to see her more often in historical films again in French Cinema. Perhaps as a old “Maitresse” of a Count – Empire or 18th century.

  4. M.E. Lawrence

    Maybe she’s one of those females who was told early on that her face was too long or something. Nevertheless, S.M. was my favorite thing about “Braveheart,” even when she was wearing stretch velvet and going north to negotiate with Wallace–yeah, right (golf clap)–and ended up putting a wee Wallace on the English throne. The actual Isabelle was a tough broad; are there any decent movies about her?

    • SamIAm

      I don’t think so. She shows up now and then but very much a stereotype and in some bad history.

      She’s in World Without End and Knightfall.

      I’m sure there are others but those are the two I know.

  5. SarahV

    I really, really love her in the parti-colored tabard, all properly wimpled and be-tiara’ed in the first shot from Braveheart. It’s so regal and commanding yet properly feminine yet POWERFUL. That just screams “authority” – I love it.

  6. Damnitz

    “La Fille de d’Artagnan” is just a Comedy. I never saw Claude Rich in such a silly and funny role. Great cast.

    “Chouans” has questionable costumes (the uniforms didn’t worked for me too – but that’s a French Revolutionary war classic – but great acting. Philippe Noiret along with Sophie Marceau is just, what you want to see in a 1980s/90s French movie.

    I hope that you will continue to notice French actors. Philippe Noiret, Jean Rochefort (however his moustache is very terrible), Jean-Francois Balmer and Sylvie Testud are such great actors.

  7. Shashwat

    Were it not for her bangs,she looks like an ideal gothic heroine.Those eyes are so mysterious,like pools of water with lilies,enigmatic and enticing.