Tahar Rahim

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Tahar Rahim
Tahar Rahim Samba avp 2014 2.jpg
Rahim in 2014
Born (1981-07-04) 4 July 1981 (age 39)
Belfort, France
Years active2005–present
(m. 2010)

Tahar Rahim (born 4 July 1981) is a French actor of Algerian descent. He is known for his starring role as Malik El Djebena in the 2009 award-winning French movie A Prophet by Jacques Audiard, FBI Agent Ali Soufan in The Looming Tower, and for playing Judas in the film Mary Magdalene, written by Helen Edmundson.[1]

Rahim has demonstrated multilingual skills and an ear for accents, having acted in Corsican and Arabic in addition to French in A Prophet, and in Scottish Gaelic for his role as the Seal Prince in Kevin Macdonald's The Eagle. In 2021, he reunited with Macdonald for The Mauritanian. His performance as Mohamedou Ould Salahi earned widespread critical acclaim[2] and nominations for Actor of the Year at the London Film Critics' Circle Awards and Best Actor - Drama at the 78th Golden Globe Awards.[3] In 2021 he also had a main role in the crime miniseries The Serpent.

Early life[edit]

Rahim was born in Belfort, France, into a family that had immigrated from the region of Oran, Algeria.[4]

After earning a Baccalauréat at the Lycée Condorcet of Belfort, he enrolled first in Sports and then Computer Science programmes. After two subsequent years of boredom studying the subjects in Strasbourg and Marseille, Rahim decided to pursue his passion and began to study film at the Paul Valéry University of Montpellier. His life as a film student was chronicled in a documentary by fellow Belfortain Cyril Mennegun titled "Tahar, student", aired on French TV channel France 5 in 2006.

Following this, Rahim moved to Paris in 2005 and studied drama at the Laboratoire de l'Acteur under Hélène Zidi-Chéruy while working in a factory during the week, and in a nightclub at weekends, to make ends meet.


In mid-2006, after signing with an agent, Rahim won a part in the hit Canal+ television series La Commune written by Abdel Raouf Dafri. Dafri penned the first draft of the script to A Prophet. Rahim then met Audiard when the two coincidentally shared a cab while leaving a set. Tahar introduced himself saying that "I knew it was Audiard and I said I was a fan but I think I was a bit silly" and was afterward very surprised that Audiard remembered him enough to contact him about A Prophet. After a two-line appearance in 2008 horror movie Inside starring Béatrice Dalle, he went through a gruelling three months of auditioning. After eight callbacks, he landed his breakthrough role.[5][6]

Rahim also starred in controversial Chinese director Lou Ye's film Love and Bruises. The director, twice banned from making movies by the Chinese government, likely met Tahar at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival where they were each presenting Spring Fever and A Prophet respectively. Love and Bruises is the adaptation of the banned biography of Jie Liu Falin.

Another project he starred in was Des hommes libres (Free Men), the biopic about Si Kaddour Benghabrit, founder of the Great Mosque of Paris, directed by Ismaël Ferroukhi of Le Grand Voyage fame.[7]

He was selected to be on the jury for the Un Certain Regard section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[8]

He is currently starring in the European crime drama television series The Last Panthers.

In 2018, he appeared as Judas in the film Mary Magdalene, written by Helen Edmundson.[1] In the U.S., he had a starring role as FBI agent Ali Soufan in The Looming Tower.

In 2021, he is nominated for a Golden Globe Awards for his role portraying Mohamedou Ould Salahi in The Mauritanian.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Rahim is married to fellow French-Algerian actress Leïla Bekhti, whom he met while filming A Prophet in 2007. Together they are parents to a son, Souleymane, born in July 2017 and a daughter, born in February 2020.[10][11][12][13]


Year Title Role Director Notes
2006 Tahar l'étudiant Tahar Cyril Mennegun
2007 Inside a policeman Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury
2007 La Commune Yazid Fikry Philippe Triboit TV Series: 8 Episodes
2009 A Prophet Malik Jacques Audiard Lumières Award for Best Actor
Globes de Cristal Award for Best Actor
César Award for Most Promising Actor
César Award for Best Actor
European Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Rising Star Award
2011 The Eagle Prince of the Seal People Kevin Macdonald
2011 Les Hommes libres Younes Ismaël Ferroukhi
2011 Love and Bruises Mathieu Lou Ye
2011 Black Gold Prince Auda Jean-Jacques Annaud
2012 Our Children Mounir Joachim Lafosse
2013 The Past Samir Asghar Farhadi
2013 Grand Central Gary Rebecca Zlotowski
2013 The Informant Redjani Belimane Julien Leclercq
2014 The Cut Nazaret Manoogian Fatih Akın
2014 Samba Wilson Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
2014 Le Père Noël Le Père Noël Alexandre Coffre
2015 The Last Panthers Khalil Johan Renck TV Series: 6 Episodes
2015 The Anarchists Jean Albertini Elie Wajeman
2016 Daguerrotype Jean Kiyoshi Kurosawa Also known as The Woman in the Silver Plate
2016 Heal the Living Thomas Rémige Katell Quillévéré
2017 The Price of Success Brahim Mecheri Teddy Lussi-Modeste
2018 The Looming Tower Ali Soufan Craig Zisk TV Series: 10 Episodes
2018 Mary Magdalene Judas Garth Davis Written by Helen Edmundson
2018 Treat Me Like Fire Abel Marie Monge
2019 The Kindness of Strangers Marc Lone Scherfig
2020 The Eddy Farid Damien Chazelle TV Series: 3 Episodes
2021 The Serpent Charles Sobhraj Miniseries; main role
2021 The Mauritanian Mohamedou Ould Slahi Kevin Macdonald Completed
Nominated—London Film Critics' Circle Award for Actor of the Year
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama


  • 2007 – 2008: Libres sont les papillons in the role of the blind character Benjamin. The play was written by Leonard Gershe, directed by Hélène Zidi-Chéruy and staged at the Côté Court Theater, 11th arrondissement of Paris.


  1. ^ a b Hawson, Fred. "Movie review: 'Mary Magdalene' seeks to redefine distaff disciple". ABS-CBN News.
  2. ^ "Waterboarding, Starvation, and Great Acting: Tahar Rahim Could Be In the Oscar Race". IndieWire. 2021-01-07. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  3. ^ "Female Filmmakers Lead Nominees For London Critics' Circle Film Awards". Deadline. 2021-01-12. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  4. ^ "L'Expression - Le Quotidien - 110 km d'autoroute achevés". Lexpressiondz.com. 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  5. ^ "Tahar Rahim: "Je m'étais donné dix ans pour y arriver" - L'EXPRESS". Lexpress.fr. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  6. ^ [1] Archived 2011-06-15 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Dang, Simon (2010-02-25). "The Playlist: Tahar Rahim To Team With Lou Ye For 'Bitch,' Also Shooting A Biopic On French-Muslim Icon Si Kaddour Benghabrit". Theplaylist.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  8. ^ "Un Certain Regard Jury 2015". Cannes Film Festival. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Winners & Nominees 2021". www.goldenglobes.com. Retrieved 2021-02-04.
  10. ^ "Leïla Bekhti : Savoureusement métamorphosée en femme fatale..." (in French). Pure People. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  11. ^ Marouf, Fouzia (May 17, 2011). "Leïla Bekhti, aux sources de la joie". Le Soir (in French). Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Tahar Rahim, amoureux de Leïla Bekhti : Je crois au mariage à vie". Pure People. Paris. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Tahar Rahim papa d'une petite fille : cet événement miraculeux qui lui a permis d'assister à l'accouchement de sa compagne, Leïla Bekhti". Closer Mag. Paris. 19 February 2021.

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