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Luc Besson was initially unsure of who to cast in the main role of Jacques Mayol. He initially offered the role to Christopher Lambert and Mickey Rourke and even considered himself for the role until someone suggested Jean-Marc Barr.

Jacques Mayol’s lifelong passion for diving was based on his love for the ocean, his personal philosophy and his desire to explore his own limits. During his lifetime, he helped introduce the, until then, elitist sport of free-diving into the main stream.

While the film is inspired in the lives of Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca (who were alive at the time of the film's release, unlike the characters presented in it) and many aspects of the story are fictional, one of the real divers' fate was strangely predicted in the movie.
In the European version of the movie, Jacques dives all the way to the bottom of the ocean and never returns - to some viewers, it's implied that he committed a suicide. In 2001, the real Jacques Mayol committed suicide by hanging himself, in Italy, at age 74.
The original ending was intentionally ambiguous, though considering the depth Jacques has swum to, it would seem he is unlikely to regain the surface alive, and he dies.
In the US version the ending is extended with an additional scene. After swimming away with the dolphin, Jacques is brought back to the surface.
Le Grand bleu


Majorca learned to swim at age 4 and soon began to dive, although expressing a great fear of the sea. In 1956 a friend showed him an article about a new depth record of 41 meters set by
spearfishing champions Ennio Falco and Alberto Novelli.
Majorca was led by the article to begin competing in order to achieve the title of "man who reaches the deepest.
He achieved this in 1960, when he reached 45 meters to beat Brazilian Americo Santarelli. However that same year, Santarelli reclaimed the title by reaching 46 meters, which
Majorca soon surpassed at 49 meters.

With its extensive underwater scenes and languid score (as with nearly all of Luc Besson's films the soundtrack was composed by Eric Serra), the film has been both praised as beautiful and serene, and in equal measure criticized as being too drawn out, overly reflective and introspective.

Le Grand bleu father of mayol diving
The Big Blue
Le Grand Bleu
Directed byLuc Besson
Produced byPatrice Ledoux
Screenplay by Jacques Mayol
Story byLuc Besson
  • Rosanna Arquette
  • Jean-Marc Barr
  • Jean Reno
  • Paul Shenar
  • Sergio Castellitto
  • Marc Duret
  • Griffin Dunne
Music byÉric Serra
CinematographyCarlo Varini
Edited byOlivier Mauffroy
Weintraub Entertainment Group
Distributed byGaumont
Release date
August 22, 1988 (1988-08-22)
Running time
168 minutes
BudgetFRF 80,000,000
Box office$3,580,882
The Big Blue by Luc Besson

Le Grand bleu

Director Luc Besson is famous for his imaginative visual technique and breathtaking action sequences. One of the most stunningly beautiful films ever made, "The Big Blue" features gorgeous underwater photography and spectacular location shooting in the French Antibes, the Greek islands, Peru.

Rating: by milo

Révélé au cours des années 1980 par ses films Le Dernier Combat (1983) et Subway (1985), il s'impose avec Le Grand Bleu (1988).

Luc Besson

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