The "Trilogie des Malfaisants" ("Trilogy of the Wicked") is a trilogy of French comedy films that were produced in The '60s by Gaumont. The films do not share the same setting nor the same characters, but share enough similarities to form a Thematic Series. Writer Philippe Chanoinat coined the trilogy's (unofficial) name with his eponymous comic book◊ that homages these films, which are often re-released together in home video bundles. It consists of, in order of production:
These films are tied together by the following things:
- They were all directed by Georges Lautner.
- The dialogues were all written by Michel Audiard, and feature his trademark French slang and expressions.
- Crime fiction author Albert Simonin wrote the screenplay of the first two movies.
- Soundtracks by Michel Magne (the first two films) and Bernard Gérard (Magne's assistant, who composed the soundtrack for the third film on his own).
- All three films are parodies of the gangster and/or spy genres.
- Lino Ventura stars in all three of them as the lead and main Anti-Hero protagonist, who's The Comically Serious and a Bruiser with a Soft Center. In two out of three films, he's both a Reformed Criminal and a Retired Badass, and finds himself forced to protect a person who annoys him to no end.
- Several actors star in at least two of them, namely Bernard Blier, Francis Blanche, Jean Lefebvre, Mireille Darc and Robert Dalban. Dalban appeared in all three, with a significant role in one film (Jean the butler in Les Tontons Flingeurs) and two cameos in the others.
- All three films feature an Escalating War, with some of the other characters trying to kill Lino Ventura's character with traps and ambushes, and him fighting back, and so on and so forth.
- Shootouts with suppressed guns that make funny noises.
- Running Gags, usually involving cartoonish violence, such as Raoul Volfoni getting punched in the face by Fernand in Les Tontons Flingueurs, the American agent (Jess Hahn) popping back with a bigger offer for the weaponry patents in Les Barbouzes and Antoine's Tempting Fate moments in Ne nous fâchons pas.
Several other comedies in the same vein followed such as Elle boit pas, elle fume pas, elle drague pas, mais... elle cause! (1970, directed by Michel Audiard and starring Bernard Blier) or Laisse aller... c'est une valse (1971, directed by Georges Lautner and starring Mireille Darc) but don't share enough similarities nor enough Production Posse.