Lambert Wilson was born in Paris and studied acting at the Drama Centre in London.
A fluent English speaker, he made his feature film debut at the age of twenty-two in Fred Zinnemann's Five Days One Summer (1981) starring opposite Sean Connery. He went on to work with many of France's most prestigious auteur directors, playing leads in Andrzej Zulawski's La Femme Publique, (1983), Véra Belmont's Rouge Baiser (1984), André Téchiné's Rendez-vous, (Official Selection at Cannes and winner of the Best Director Award, 1984), Luigi Comencini's La Storia (1985), Claude Chabrol's Le Sang des Autres (1987), Philippe de Broca's Chouans (1987) and Peter Greenaway's The Belly of an Architect (1987). He starred in his actor/director father Georges Wilson's feature film debut, La Vouivre (1988), and won the Jean Gabin Award for his performance in Denis Amar's Winter '54, (1989). Further film work includes James Ivory's Jefferson in Paris (1994) opposite Nick Nolte and Gwyneth Paltrow and John Duigan's The Leading Man, with Thandie Newton and John Bon Jovi (1996). He has made four films with Alain Resnais: Same Old Song (1997), Not on the Lips, 2003, Private Fears in Public Places, (2006) and You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet (2012) and has worked with Jacques Doillon in Trop (peu) d'amour, (1997), Deborah Warner in The Last September, with Maggie Smith, Fiona Shaw, Jane Birkin and Michael Gambon (1998) and starred in Raùl Ruiz's Combat d'amour en songe (2000).
His more recent, English language work includes the Wachowski brothers' Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions (2001), Pitof's Catwoman (2004) with Halle Berry and Sharon Stone, Breck Eisner's Sahara, (2005), Michael Radford's Flawless (2006) with Demi Moore and Michael Caine, and Mathieu Kassovitz's Babylon A.D. (2007) with Vin Diesel and Charlotte Rampling. He has just starred in three international productions, Lulu Wang's Posthumous with Jack Huston and Britt Marling, Victor Levin's 5 to 7 with Anton Yelchin, Glenn Close and Frank Langella, and Suite Française, opposite Michelle Williams, Kristin Scott Thomas and Matthias Shoenaerts, all due for release in 2014.
Highlights from his latter French filmography include: Valérie Lemercier's Palais Royal! (2004), Xavier Beauvois' Of Gods and Men, Cannes Official Selection and Winner, Grand Prize of the Jury (2009), Bertrand Tavernier The Princess of Montpensier (2009), Alain Chabat's Le Marsupilami (2011), Philippe Le Guay's Cycling with Moliere (2012).
In the summer of 2013, he played the lead in Eric Lavaine's Barbecue, opposite Florence Foresti, Franck Dubosc, Guillaume de Tonquédec, Lionel Abelanski, Jérôme Commandeur, Valérie Crouzet, Sophie Duez et Lysiane Meis (2014).
Lambert Wilson is a Chevalier and Officier des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier and Officier de l'Ordre National du Merite.