The music of Jean-Luc Godard

The music of Jean-Luc Godard


norman lebrecht

September 13, 2022

The revolutionary French filmmaker, who died today, repeatedly insisted that his work could not exist without music.

Here‘s an analysis of his musical approach, and some examples, starting with Michel Legrand:



  • Nathalie says:


  • Concertgebouw79 says:

    One thing very rare and strange with him. For his film “Le Mépris” I read that there were one soundtrack for France very famous by Georges Delerue and another one for Italy by my favorite movie composer Piero Piccioni. it’s a thing I have never seen in another movie I don’t think that it was a thing Godard wanted.

    • Peter X says:

      “Godard parle ainsi de la musique de « Le Mépris » (1963), écrite par Georges Delerue. Le thème de Camille a été plébiscité comme la plus belle musique de film ! Godard n’avait aucune idée au sujet de la musique à la sortie de sa projection avec Delerue. Ce dernier lui propose une musique très ample, romantique dans un esprit brahmsien et Godard lui a répondu « C’est tout à fait cela que je veux »…

      Le producteur italien, le célèbre Carlo Ponti, n’aimant pas la musique de Delerue, a fait réécrire la BO pour la version italienne « Il Disprezzo » par Piero Piccioni !


      Apparently, that change was made by Carlo Ponti.

      • Concertgebouw79 says:

        Maybe after that Piccioni was a kind of victim. Except Fellini he worked with all the greatest director of the golden age at least once from de Sica, Rossellini to Visconti and he never did a career outside of Italy where he’s very frenquently celebrated.

  • Hugo Preuß says:

    I am a bit surprised that this site celebrates someone who has made his antisemitic feelings perfectly clear for anyone willing to listen.

    • Concertgebouw79 says:

      In fact in France since the early 90’s after his film with Alain Delon, nobody watched Godard’s film in cinema or in tv. When people talk about his movies it’s always about the 60’s.

    • Jeff Werthan says:

      He was a filmmaker, not a musician. He acknowledged the need for music to accompany his filmmaking. Duh! Is there any major filmmaker of the last 75 years who did not utilize music of one form or another? Why acknowledge him here in this sacred space?

      Yes, he was a talented filmmaker, as well as warped and pathetic man.

  • Disinterested Observer says:

    And the stunner: Georges Delarue and “Contempt”…