Sanders returns in the title role of Lewin’s adaptation of a Guy de Maupassant story about a soldier who returns from the battlefield to find himself without means in 19th century Paris. He uses his looks to make his way, climbing the social ladder via affairs with five women. Although he is a misogynistic and self-serving scoundrel, the women find Bel Ami's cold erotic simmer irresistible. In fact, director Lewin develops Bel Ami as an homme fatal, an object of desire. This film, along with The Moon and Sixpence and The Picture of Dorian Gray, forms a Lewin trilogy on art and perversity.