My list is probably all the obvious choices, more or less in order of preference:
1. Maurice Jarre 2. Georges Delerue 3. Alexandre Desplat 4. Phillipe Sarde 5. Michel Legrand 6. Maurice Jaubert 7. Paul Misraki 8. Francois de Roubaix 9. Georges Auric 10. Bruno Coulais
I would add Henri Sauguet to the list too, though known for his symphonic works, did score some feature films. By the way, though Paul Misraki spent most of his life in France, he was actually born in Constantnople, Turkey.
Sorry but it looks weird mixing film and classical composers, especially since my favorite film composers are more rock/pop oriented.
Claude Debussy (1862–1918) Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) Edgard Varèse (1883–1965) Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) Erik Satie (1866–1925) Albert Roussel (1869–1937) Paul Dukas (1865–1935) André Caplet (1878–1925) Hector Berlioz (1803–1869)
Here are the results so far, Legrand is definitely the top french composer. Interesting to see Rombi ranking before Desplat and votes are a bit disappointing for Talgorn and Yared. Nice result for Magne.
Michel Legrand 11 Georges Delerue 8 Philippe Sarde 8 Michel Magne 7 Maurice Jarre 6 Philippe Rombi 5 François de Roubaix 5 Francis Lai 5 Claude Debussy 5 Alexandre Desplat 4 Éric Demarsan 4 Georges Auric 4 Vladimir Cosma 4 Maurice Ravel 4 Erik Satie 3 Maurice Jaubert 3 Edgard Varese 3 Michel Colombier 3 Gabriel Yared 3 Serge Gainsbourg 2 Georges Garvarentz 2 Pierre Jansen 2 Claude Bolling 2 Bruno Coulais 2 Frederic Talgorn 2 Jean Claude Petit 2 Gérard Calvi 2 Serge Franklin 2 Jean Wiener 2 Olivier Messiaen 2 Hector Berlioz 2 Jean-Philippe Rameau 2 Lili Boulanger Jean Baptiste Lully Leo Delibes Camille Saint-Saëns Albert Roussel Paul Dukas André Caplet Jean Marion Michel Portal Charles Koechlin Andre Jolivet Andre Caplet Jean Prodromides Pierre Jansen Francis Poulenc Antoine Duhamel Andre Hodeir Marius Constant Darius Milhaud Henri Sauguet Jacques Loussier Marc-Antoine Charpentier Francois Couperin Florent Schmitt Henri Dutilleux Olivier Lliboutry Georges van Parys Jean-Michel Bernard Martial Solal Arthur Honegger Joseph Kosma
Here are the results so far, Legrand is definitely the top french composer. Interesting to see Rombi before Desplat and votes are a bit disappointing for Talgorn and Yared. Nice result for Magne.
You're right about Talgorn. I should have expanded my Top 5 to include his name (so, there we are - Les Six!). The thing with Talgorn is that I came to know him through scores like "The Temp" and "Delta Force 2" and I always had some difficulty to associate his name with french cinema. Funny how some things stick to your mind!...