During the '80s, Reno became increasingly prominent in French films, most often playing the heavy. Also during this period, he began a professional collaboration with director Luc Besson that would catapult him to stardom in films such as La Femme Nikita (1990) and The Professional (1994).
Now a known quantity on both sides of the Atlantic, in the late '90s, Reno began to land roles in big-budget Hollywood films such as Mission: Impossible, Ronin (opposite Robert De Niro) and Rollerball. More recently, Reno appeared in the 2006 Pink Panther revival (as Steve Martin's partner) and as Capt. Bezu in The Da Vinci Code.