Felix Krull, a handsome young man of simple origins, has perfected his ability to transform and adapt since childhood. With the sudden opportunity to work as a lift-boy in a luxury hotel in Paris he doesn’t hesitate to leave his old life. Felix makes skilled use of every circumstance and rises fast to become head waiter, where he quickly turns the heads of especially the female guests.
When he meets the lovesick Marquis de Venosta they agree to swap identities to enable the marquis to be with the prostitute Zaza. It means Felix giving up his own great love to another but his insatiable urge for change and advancement is greater. His ability to enchant and deceive leads him in the end to the royal court in Lisbon, where he pulls off his greatest coup.