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Alain Delon in Le Samouraï

Alain Delon as Jef Costello in Le Samouraï (The Samurai) (1967)

Alain Delon as Jef Costello in Le Samouraï (The Samurai) (1967)


Alain Delon as Jef Costello, slick, taciturn, and meticulous contract killer

Paris, April 1967

Film: The Samurai
(French title: Le Samouraï)
Release Date: October 25, 1967
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


On Alain Delon’s 84th birthday, let’s explore Le Samouraï, arguably one of the best, most influential, and most stylish roles of Delon’s career and the frequent subject of requests from BAMF Style readers like Marcus and Mohammed.

Despite being Jean-Pierre Melville’s tribute to 1940s noir, Le Samouraï was also the maverick director’s first color production as he had evidently elected not to film in black-and-white. The color photography allows Melville to make the most of his shadowy settings from Jef Costello’s gray, barren apartment to the throwback glamour of the Parisian nightclub.

Delon stars as Jef Costello, a cold contract killer whose solitary lifestyle nods to Japanese lone warrior mythology—hence the title—and whose personal style co-opts the classic American noir anti-hero. Continue reading