The Professional: Belmondo’s Blue Leather Jacket

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)


Jean-Paul Belmondo as Josselin “Joss” Beaumont, vengeful French secret agent specializing in “espionage and brawls”

Paris, Spring 1981

Film: The Professional
(French title: Le Professionnel)
Release Date: October 21, 1981
Director: Georges Lautner
Costume Designer: Paulette Breil

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Today would have been the 90th birthday of Jean-Paul Belmondo, the prolific and popular French star who rose to fame during the New Wave cinematic movement in movies like Breathless and Pierrot le Fou before he was established as a dynamic hero of action and adventure movies. Belmondo actually appeared in a 1984 movie titled Happy Easter, but—despite the egg-cellent holiday today—let’s refocus to three years earlier and Bébel’s iconic action role in The Professional, released in France as Le Professionnel.

Boasting a memorable Ennio Morricone score, this fun and quotable movie was adapted from Patrick Alexander’s 1976 novel Death of a Thin-Skinned Animal and was one of the most popular movies in France the year it was released, ranking just behind La ChèvreThe Fox and the Hound, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Regarding the latter, Steven Spielberg had cited Belmondo’s 1964 movie That Man from Rio as one of his many influences in creating Indiana Jones.)

Our eponymous professional is Joss Beaumont, a French secret agent who had been sent to kill Colonel Njala, dictator of the fictional central African nation of Malagawi. After a shift in the political climate, Beaumont’s agency betrays him to the Malagawian authorities, who convict him in a kangaroo court. Sentenced to a hard labor camp, Beaumont escapes with a fellow inmate and returns to France, where he makes no secret of his determination to carry out his mission when Njala arrives for an official visit… prompting the agency to make their own former agent their #1 target.

What’d He Wear?

After wearing a charcoal suit and black tie for his mission and subsequent show-trial, Joss Beaumont was imprisoned in olive drab fatigues that he wore while making his escape, then arrived in Paris wearing a fraying cream linen suit that he supplemented with garb traded from a homeless denizen.

Beaumont finally wears in his own clothes after arriving home, where his wife—consistent with my assumptions of Gallic convention—asks Beaumont if he was considerate enough to let his mistress know he has returned.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

Beaumont’s action attire is anchored by a heroic leather jacket, made from a dark slate-blue leather (appropriately similar to the shade known as “French blue”) rather than the more traditional black or brown tones. The French military issued flying jackets in a similar shade of “petrol blue” leather through the ’70s and ’80s, though—despite his affiliations—Beaumont’s jacket is certainly not one of these.

The waist-length jacket is styled like a cross between a flight jacket and a motorcycle jacket, with a blouson-like ribbed-knit hem and “action-back” side pleats below each shoulder to allow a greater range of movement. The body of the jacket is constructed with identical vertical panels, including six across the back between the side seams.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

The jacket’s zip-up front is covered by a fly that snaps closed at the top and bottom. A throat-latch extends from the left side of the collar to connect through a button on the right side. The jacket has vertical-entry open side pockets at hand level.

The set-in sleeves are finished with single-snap cuffs that Belmondo wears undone and folded back over each wrist. The front of the upper left sleeve is detailed with a short gold-toned vertical zipper just ahead of the shoulder seam, presumably to access a small and uniquely positioned utility pocket.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

Beaumont wears a cornflower blue shirt made from a silky nylon reminiscent of Qiana, the DuPont-patented polyamide fiber used throughout the ’70s on men’s sport shirts. The shirt has a point collar, breast pocket, single-button mitred cuffs, and a front placket he wears with the top few smoke-colored buttons undone.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

Beaumont’s light-gray polyester darted-front trousers are consistent with the fashions of the era, fitting closely through the hips and thighs but flaring out at the plain-hemmed bottoms. In addition to the curved side pockets, the trousers have a patch pocket on the back-right, covered with a flap that closes through a single button. The waistband has a pointed button-through tab that extends about an inch past the fly.

Though swapped out with a smooth black leather belt of similar dimensions in some shots, he primarily wears a narrow dark-brown leather belt that closes through a Western-shaped dulled silver single-prong buckle. The belt is considerably long, with the end extending far past the buckle and hanging down from his waist.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

Beaumont’s black leather loafers are detailed with a gold-tipped bar across each vamp and raised heels that add some height to Belmondo’s lean 5’9″ frame. The full break of his flared trouser bottoms cover much of shoes and socks, though we get some glimpses at his black socks.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

While in bed with his wife the night before setting out for revenge, Beaumont donned the pieces of his previous life: his French military “dog tag” and his dive watch, which appears to be a Rolex Submariner.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

Jean-Paul Belmondo was a Rolex enthusiast in real life, as Jake’s Rolex World illustrates the actor wearing stainless and yellow-gold Daytonas, a two-tone Datejust, a yellow gold Day-Date, and date and non-date stainless Submariners.

Beaumont’s stainless steel Submariner reflects the classic configuration of a black-finished rotating bezel and round black matte dial, complete with luminous hour indices and a white date window at the 3 o’clock position that was added with the ref. 1680 iteration in the late 1960s. In 1977, the similarly styled ref. 16800 was introduced with a sapphire crystal (as opposed to the raised acrylic crystal on the ref. 1680) and a quick-set date feature, though both references were still in production in 1981 when The Professional was made, and my horological eye isn’t as fine-tuned as it could be to discern which model is strapped to Belmondo’s left wrist on the familiar “Oyster” three-piece link bracelet.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

Rolex strapped to his wrist, Beaumont checks Rosen’s corpse.

After killing Rosen (Robert Hossein), Beaumont creates confusion by swapping Rosen’s identity card for his own dog tag, which he’d been wearing on a hardy silver chain-link necklace up to this point. The style of French Army identity disc dates back to the 1950s and ’60s with its center perforation that could allow one side to be torn away for record-keeping.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

The Gun

Beaumont arms himself with a blued Colt Python taken from his old friend, Captain Valeras (Michel Beaune). Considered one of the premier double-action revolvers, the Python was introduced in 1955 on Colt’s large I-frame platform and chambered for .357 Magnum. The Colt Python quickly gained a reputation for reliability with its tight action, smooth trigger, and precision adjustable sights that aided shooters’ accuracy.

The ventilated rib running the length of the top of the barrel gives the Python its distinctive appearance, mated to the full underlug that shrouds the ejector rod. Barrel lengths ranged from 2.5″ to 8″, with the most popular arguably being the 6″-barreled model as carried by Beaumont. The Python was already considerably heavy for a handgun, with the six-inch barrel increasing the overall weight (even unloaded) to just under three pounds.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

Beaumont holds his Colt Python on Ferges (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu), the denim-clad agent he frequently foils over the course of the movie.

Colt ended production of the Python in the early 2000s, citing the cost of production, though the iconic design was revived with a new series of Python revolvers introduced in January 2020.

The Car

Beaumont commandeers a red 1981 Fiat 181 Supermirafiori 2000 TC that he uses when chasing Rosen and Ferges through the streets of Paris, including a memorable sprint through the Trocadéro. (Not only did Belmondo perform his own stunts, including driving, he reportedly also received help from his father—sculptor Paul Belmondo—to secure authorization for the Trocadéro stunt.)

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

Fiat debuted the 131 family sedan at the 1974 Turin Motor Show. The popular Italian car evolved through three generations, resulting in the “Series 3” introduced in March 1981. This continued the Supermirafiori badging that appeared at the start of the second series, indicating models powered by a “Twin Cam” (TC) DOHC engine as opposed to the base model engines in the Mirafiori models, named for the Turin suburb where the cars were built. However, the Series 3 Supermirafiori inherited the larger 2000 TC straight-four engine from the now-discontinued Brava and Racing models, increasing power to 113 hp.

For a few months, the Series 3 Supermirafiori was the most powerful Fiat 131 until the June 1981 introduction of the sporty Volumetrico Abarth sport model that supercharged the same 2000 TC to 138 hp. However, only a couple hundred Volumetrico Abarth models were produced, making the Supermirafiori the best-performing mass-produced Fiat 131 until production ended for the 1984 model year.

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

How to Get the Look

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Joss Beaumont in The Professional/Le Professionnel (1981)

A polyester shirt and trousers with heeled loafers may be a bit too rooted in the late ’70s/early ’80s era, but Joss Beaumont elevates his outfit to heroic status with his French blue leather jacket… and Jean-Paul Belmondo’s natural charisma.

  • Dark slate-blue leather blouson-style jacket with snap-down collar (with left-side throat-latch), side pockets, zip-up left-shoulder utility pocket, single-snap cuffs, “action-back” side pleats, and ribbed-knit hem
  • Cornflower-blue silky nylon shirt with point collar, front placket, breast pocket, and button cuffs
  • Light-gray polyester darted-front trousers with belt loops, curved side pockets, back-right patch pocket (with button-down flap), and flared plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Dark-brown leather narrow belt with dulled silver Western-style single-prong buckle
  • Black leather heeled loafers with gold-ended vamp detail
  • Black socks
  • Silver chain-link necklace with center-perforated French Army “dog tag” identity disc
  • Rolex Submariner Date stainless steel dive watch with black rotating bezel, round black matte dial (with 3:00 date window), and stainless steel Oyster-style three-piece link bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie.

The Quote

That’s what misled you, this idea of values. Right, wrong, good, evil… in short, vague notions.

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