Pierre Petit (cinematographer)

Pierre Camille Petit (3 January 1920 – 22 September 1997) was a French cinematographer.


Petit was born in Fontenay-Trésigny. He began his career at the age of 16½ years as a camera assistant. During the Second World War, he was also active as a cameraman. Among his teachers were Léonce-Henri Burel, Eugen Schüfftan, Jean Bachelet, Joseph-Louis Mundwiller and André Dantan.

Shortly after the war ended, Petit debuted as a director of photography; over the course of in the next two and a half decades he became one of the most representative cinematographers working in French cinema (he also worked on a few foreign films). The films Petit photographed were almost continuously purely commercial productions to entertain the masses. He photographed many historical dramas, gangster films, and adventure films, and occasionally comedies. He worked with the directors Denys de La Patellière, Ralph Habib, Maurice Labro, Guy Lefranc, Pierre Billon and Georges Combret.

In the 60s, he worked on several agent and spy thrillers. Pierre Petit worked now more frequently with the A film director Christian-Jaque, for whom he shot the sprawling historical costume drama production Emma Hamilton, and the movie star Jean Marais. During the early 1970s, Petit largely moved back from the cinema and devoted himself to the television.

He retired in the early 1990s. He died in Rueil-Malmaison in 1997.


  • L’assassin est dans l’annuaire (1961)
  • All the Gold in the World (1961)
  • The Dance (1962)
  • Arsène Lupin contre Arsène Lupin (1962)
  • Le Masque de fer (1962)
  • Les femmes d’abord (1962)
  • Coplan prend des risques (1963)
  • Mort, où est ta victoire? (1963)
  • Man from Cocody (1964)
  • Le repas des fauves (1964)
  • The Dirty Game (1965)
  • Mission to Caracas (1965)
  • Circus Angel (1965)
  • La séconde vérité (1965)
  • Le Saint prend l'affût (1966)
  • Dead Run (1967)
  • The Flashing Blade (TV serial, 1967)
  • Le rapace (1967)
  • Emma Hamilton (1968)
  • Une drôle de Bourrique (1969)
  • Le cri du cormoran le soir au-dessus des jonques (1970)
  • Le drapeau noir flotte sur la marmite (1971)
  • Elle cause plus, elle flingue(1972)
  • Molière pour rire et pour pleurer (TV miniseries, 1973)
  • Les brigades du Tigre (TV series, 1974)
  • Au delà de la peur (1974)
  • Introductions (1976)
  • Ce diable d'homme (TV series, 1978)
  • Mein Freund Winnetou, (TV series, 1980)
  • Le braconnier de dieu (1982)
  • Le blaireau s'fait mousser (1984)
  • Carné, l’homme à la caméra (documentary, 1985)


  • Kay Weniger: Das große Personenlexikon des Films, vol. 6, Berlin 2001, p. 208
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