Pierre Billard was born in Dieppe, France. During the first years of World War II, he took courses with Valentin Feldman, a teacher and hero of the French Resistance, who became a close friend. He then studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, eventually specializing in cinema. In 1952, he became president of the Fédération française des ciné-clubs, and in 1954 founded the magazine Cinéma, serving as its chief editor until 1967. Afterwards he worked as a journalist and film critic for other publications such as Les Nouvelles littéraires, Candide and L'Express. He was one of the co-founders of the weekly Le Point, where he directed the cultural pages until 1987. In the early 1980s, he was also editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine Le Film français. He taught the history of cinema at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris and published several books, including L’Âge classique du cinéma français (1999); L'Âge moderne du cinéma français (1995); and Louis Malle, le rebelle solitaire (2003).