After five years of studies at the Paris Conservatory of Dramatic Arts under Antoine Vitez and a couple of stage appearances, Jean-Hugues Anglade made his screen debut in 1983 in Patrice Chereau's L'Homme Blessé (1983) as a troubled young man discovering his own homosexuality. He then appeared in two cult films: Luc Besson's stylish Subway (1985) and Jean-Jacques Beineix's 37.2 le matin/Betty Blue (1986). The latter picture was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and received the Grand Prix des Amériques at the Montréal World Film Festival in 1987. The film's acclaim established Anglade as a symbol of the new generation of French actors who weren't hesitant to expose themselves, as well as the naked souls of the troubled characters which they portrayed. Anglade sealed his success with Maladie d'Amour (1987) and Nocturne Indien (1989) before reuniting with director Besson in Nikita; the film, which cast him as the boyfriend of the titular punk turned assassin (Anne Parillaud), helped him attract notice in the United States. After the disastrous Killing Zoe (1994), Anglade regained his reputation with an impressive portrayal of the doomed King Charles IX in La Reine Margot (1994). He also made an uncredited appearance in Besson's Leon (1994) but could be seen only in the longer version of the film that was released in France in 1996. He directed his first film, Tonka, the following year.