While a student at University of Paris had small roles in about ten silent films; these include "Miss Helyett" (1926), "Casanova" (1927) and "La grande passion" (1929)
Served in the French military in the Cinematographic Section of the Armed Forces (Service Cinematographique de l'Armee)
Worked as a film editor for Paramount in St. Maurice; by his own estimation cut about 40 films
Short film directing debut, "Franches lippees"
Made his best-known short, "Une Vocation irresitible"
Feature film directing debut, "Paris-Deauville", a low-budget comedy
Completed filming "Macao, l'enfer du jeu/Gambling Hell", co-starring Erich von Stroheim; after German occupation of France, von Stroheim's scenes were reshot featuring Pierre Renoir; Renoir version released in 1942; von Stroheim version in 1945
Initial commercial success, "Le Diamant noir"
Began collaboration with cinematographer Christian Matras with the lavish epic "Pontcarral, colonel d'empire"
Helmed "L'Eternel retour/Love Eternal/The Eternal Return", starring Jean Marais and Madeleine Solonge and scripted by Jean Cocteau
Had post-war success with "La Symphonie pastorale"; named best film at the Cannes Film Festival
Earned international acclaim for "Dieu a besoin des hommes/God Needs Men/Isle of Sinners"
Directed the historical biopic "Marie Antoinette", starring Michele Morgan
Helmed the disappointing remake of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida
Directed Jean Gabin as Inspector Maigret in two films some critics call the definitive adaptations of Georges Simenon's novels
Reteamed with Jean Cocteau for "La Princesse de Cleves"
Fell out of favor with the New Wave critics who considered his work anachronistic and "academic"
Last feature film for 12 years, "Pas folle la guepe"
Named president of IDHEC
Made a series of TV-movies and miniseries, including the six-part "Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut" (1978) and the two-part "Crime de Pierre Lacaze" (1983)
Returned to feature films with "La messagere"
At age 80, directed the feature, "Bernadette" the story of St. Bernadette; announced plans for a sequel "La passion de Bernadette" (unproduced)
Helmed "Marie de Nazareth/Mary of Nazareth", an uneven biopic of the Virgin Mary