Though José Giovanni has competently directed many films, he remains most popular as a screenwriter and a writer of realistic, gritty male-oriented action novels. Giovanni was born in Corsica. As a teen, he fought the Nazis with the French Resistance during WW II. After the war, he had trouble coping with civilian life, got into considerable trouble and eventually ended up in prison. Following his release Giovanni penned a chronicle of his experiences in prison entitled Le Trou (1957). He and filmmaker Jacques Becker then adapted it for the eponymous 1960 film. Giovanni made his own directorial debut in 1967.