Jean-Luc Godard

One of the most influential directors of the 1960s and '70s, Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris Dec. 3, 1930. While studying at the Sorbonne, Godard became a rabid movie fan and wrote critiques for a prominent French film journal.

Working as an actor for legendary French directors Eric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette, Godard broke into cinema in the 1950s; his first directorial efforts included several short films. His feature debut, Breathless (1960), rocked the industry with its landmark camera work and editing techniques -- and established Godard as a leader in the French new wave movement. His prolific output during the decade also included Band of Outsiders (1964), Alphaville (1965) and the apocalyptic Weekend (1967).

Godard's political candor in his later works sharply divided his fans. First Name: Carmen (1983), Hail Mary (1985) and Our Music (2004) are among his other notable movies.