François Truffaut (October 22, 1930 – April 30, 1984) was a French film director, writer and editor. He is considered one of the founders of the French New Wave along with Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol.

Truffaut was born in Paris. He was educated from an early age by his father, who worked as a journalist in Vienna before becoming a teacher at the Lycée Henri IV, where Truffaut was later educated.

His mother, who worked as a secretary at a bank, died when he was nine years old.

Truffaut studied law at Panthéon-Assas University in Paris but gave up on his studies to become an actor and he appeared in several films between 1946 and 1953.

He became involved with the Cahiers du Cinema film magazine in 1953 while working as assistant editor for Sacha Guitry’s La bien-aimée (1950).

His first feature film as director was Les 400 coups (1954), which won him praise from Jean-Luc Godard and other early members of the French New Wave movement.

Best Francois Truffaut Films

Let’s jump into our list of the top Francois Truffaut movies.

1. Day for Night (1973) 

Day for Night is a film that’s not only a meditation on the nature of filmmaking and its relationship to the world around it, but also one of the most beautiful films ever made.

It’s also a film about love and loss, as well as about an aging actress who has no idea what to do with her life once she loses her husband.

The story takes place in Paris during the early 1960s. Jeanne Moreau plays an aging actress who has been married three times and is now in her late 50s.

She falls in love with Jacques Doniol-Valcroze (Jean-Pierre Léaud), who plays an actor in her latest film. But she can’t decide whether she wants to be with him or stay by herself. And it doesn’t help that he has a girlfriend named Simone (Claude Brasseur).

The film was shot on location in Paris and Léaud’s performance is remarkable in its subtlety and lack of affectation; he never overplays his character’s emotions or makes him anything more than he is.

The two actors have great chemistry together and their relationship feels real despite all its melodrama

Day for Night
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Valentina Cortese (Actors)
  • Francois Truffaut (Director) - Francois Truffaut (Writer) - Marcel Berbert (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

2. Jules and Jim (1962)  

 Jules and Jim (1962) is a classic by film director Francois Truffaut. The film is based on the novel Gymnasien by Henri-Pierre Roche.

It tells the story of Jules (played by Jean-Pierre Léaud) and Jim (Jean-Paul Belmondo), two French schoolboys living in the rural town of Champdoce in central France.

The film was released to critical acclaim when it was released in 1962, but has since become somewhat of a cult classic due to its artistic qualities and memorable characters. The film features some of the most famous sequences from any movie made up to that point, including:

* The opening shot of Jules and Jim walking through town together on their way to school

* The iconic scene where Jules throws his book at a class bully

* The scene where Jules and Jim meet “Nana” for the first time

Jules and Jim (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre (Actors)
  • Francois Truffaut (Director) - Francois Truffaut (Writer) - Marcel Berbert (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

3. The 400 Blows (1959)               

The 400 Blows is the story of Antoine Doinel, a young man growing up in Paris in the 1950’s. He is a troublemaker and a dreamer, but he has his heart in the right place. He has a beautiful girlfriend,

Anne-Marie, who loves him despite his many faults. But when she gets pregnant, Antoine decides that he can’t support her any more and breaks off their engagement.

Antoine then goes to work for his father’s shoe factory as a messenger boy and quickly learns how to manipulate people around him so as to get what he wants.

Over time he becomes known as “the 400 Blows” because of his ability to intimidate anyone who crosses him with violence.

Antoine’s relationship with Anne-Marie deteriorates further when she finds out about his extramarital affair with another woman named Marie-Claude. When she learns that her father has died and left her money for an abortion if she chooses to have one,

Anne-Marie decides against it and instead gives birth to their child together.

Years later Antoine is living with four other people in an apartment building called Les Quatre Saisons which means “The Four Seasons”. The building

The 400 Blows (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jean-Pierre Leaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Remy (Actors)
  • Francois Truffaut (Director) - Marcel Moussy (Writer) - Francois Truffaut (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

4. Mississippi Mermaid (1969)  

 In the early 1960s, Truffaut was at the height of his powers. His films were Oscar nominees and had made him one of the most respected directors in the world. He had recently completed “The 400 Blows,” which would be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and win Best Actor for Jean-Pierre Léaud,

and he was working on his next film, “Jules et Jim,” which would win Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscars.

The year before, Truffaut had directed the American remake of “The 400 Blows” (1969), starring Steve McQueen as a rebellious youth who rebels against his father. It is based on François Truffaut’s 1967 book “Jules et Jim.”

At this point in his career, Truffaut was considered one of cinema’s greatest directors but he wasn’t happy with how Hollywood treated him or his work. In fact, he hated it so much that he wanted to leave the United States entirely and live abroad forever.

5. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)              

 Fahrenheit 451 (1966) is a film by French director François Truffaut. It is based on the 1953 novel of the same name written by Ray Bradbury.

Set in a future society where books are outlawed and firemen burn all those they find, Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag (Oscar-nominated Roddy McDowall),

who lives in a world where everyone reads and learns from books, but he himself has little interest in them. When he meets Clarisse (Olivia de Havilland), his world begins to change.

The film is noted for its innovative use of sound and color filters to create a “dreamlike” effect that adds to the surrealist atmosphere; it also has some of the most memorable scenes in cinema history, including an establishing shot of a book burning that uses black-and-white film synched with white text scrolling across it.[1]

The film’s dialogue was written by Truffaut himself, based on extensive research into Bradbury’s book.[2]

Fahrenheit 451 (1966) ( Fahrenheit Four Fifty One ) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - Spain ]
  • Fahrenheit 451 (1966) ( Fahrenheit Four Fifty One )
  • Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
  • Fahrenheit Four Fifty One
  • Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Anton Diffring (Actors)
  • François Truffaut (Director) - Fahrenheit 451 (1966) ( Fahrenheit Four Fifty One ) (Producer)

6. The Bride Wore Black (1968) 

Directed by Francois Truffaut. With Jeanne Moreau, Claude Brasseur and Jean-Pierre Léaud. A young woman who has been disowned by her family kills them in an attempt to escape her fate as a spinster.

What to say about this film? It’s a bit of a mess, but it’s also one of the most beautiful films ever made. The film is set in 18th century France, and tells the story of a young woman named Anne whose family has been in turmoil since her father died.

Her mother was forced into prostitution, and her brother has just been disinherited for running away with a gypsy girl. Anne’s mother and brother have left Paris for the provinces, leaving Anne alone at home with her maid Julie.

The two women become very close friends, despite their social difference: Julie is poor and illiterate while Anne is well educated but poor, so they spend much time talking about books together.

   

One day Anne discovers that her mother has attempted suicide by drinking poison; she also learns that her brother has run away with another woman, leaving behind his wife and child (who was also poisoned). Anne goes to see him at his new

Bride Wore Black, The
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Truffaut,Francois (Director) - François Truffaut (Writer) - Marcel Berbert (Producer)

7. Two English Girls (1971)          

 Two English Girls is a 1971 French film directed by Francois Truffaut. The film stars Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin as two English girls who meet in Paris and fall in love. It is based on a novel by the same name by Elizabeth Taylor, who also wrote the screenplay for the film.

The film was shot in Paris and Nice, France. The story was adapted from the novel by Elizabeth Taylor, who also wrote the screenplay for the film. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film begins with Mary (Romy Schneider) arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport to meet her friend Susan (Jane Birkin), who has just arrived from England.

They agree to meet up at the Hotel Raphael later that day; however, on their way there they are accosted by French police officers who mistake them for prostitutes because they are wearing black stockings and scarves over their heads.

They are released after being told that they have committed no crime but must now pay a fine or serve time in prison; however, they cannot leave France until they have paid this fine or served their time

Two English Girls 1971 British One Sheet Poster
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8. The Story of Adele H (1975)

The story of “Adele H” is based on the real life experiences of French playwright Jean Genet. The film is set in a prison, where a beautiful young woman named Adele (Jeanne Moreau) is forced to prostitute herself in exchange for food. She falls in love with one of her clients,

but he ends up being killed by another man who takes his place. After she is freed from prison, she begins an affair with an older man who teaches her about love and how to be happy again.

The film was written by Truffaut and directed by him as well. It stars Jeanne Moreau, who won an Oscar for Best Actress in 1970 for this role, as well as Truffaut himself as the older man who teaches Adele about love and life outside of prison. Other actors include Jacques Perrin, Jean-Pierre Léaud and Michel Bouquet.

Truffaut’s filmography includes several other films that deal with themes similar to this one: “A Christmas Tale” (1968), “The Wrong Man” (1956) and “The Face

The Story of Adele H
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Isabelle Adjani, Bruce Robinson, Sylvia Marriott (Actors)
  • François Truffaut (Director) - Marcel Berbert (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

9. The Woman Next Door (1981)

The Woman Next Door is the second film by French director Francois Truffaut, and it was released in France on March 27, 1981. The film stars Romain Duris as Antoine Doinel,

a middle-aged man who has recently lost his job and is living with his parents in their home. He is also being visited by a woman named Jeanne (Catherine Deneuve), who has been coming to visit him for over five years. Antoine has become infatuated with Jeanne, but he knows that she is attracted to him as well.

One morning, Antoine wakes up early and decides to take a walk around the neighborhood where he lives. He meets a homeless man named Raymond (Jean Yanne),

who takes an interest in Antoine and asks him if he would go out with him. Antoine agrees to this proposition and later meets up with Raymond outside of a restaurant together. However, after they eat dinner together, they get into an argument about whether or not they should go back to his place or hers.

This causes both men to break off their relationship with each other because neither wants anything more than what they already have at this point in time

The Woman Next Door [DVD]
  • Grard Depardieu, Fanny Ardant, Henri Garcin (Actors)
  • Franois Truffaut (Director) - Franois Truffaut (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

10. Shoot the Piano Player (1960)

Shoot the Piano Player is a 1960 film directed by Francois Truffaut and starring Jean-Luc Godard as himself. The film is an exposé of the limitations of film, which Godard examines through the medium of a fictionalized reenactment of his own life.

In particular, it is an examination of how cinema can be used to convey meaning and emotion, but also how a director’s vision can be distorted by their personal perspective. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1961 Academy Awards.

The film opens with Truffaut’s character (Godard) sitting in an empty theater watching a screening of his own work, something he has been doing for years. He then goes on to describe how he sees his life as one long movie:

Movies are like monuments. They last forever.” He then goes on to explain that he was born into a family that had already made movies (one of his brothers was even named Jean-Pierre).

This led him to believe that there must be something about making movies that makes people want them so much; otherwise why would they keep doing it?

He then goes on to discuss how all movies are made from

11. Stolen Kisses (1968)

Francois Truffaut’s Stolen Kisses is a film that, in many ways, has become a touchstone for the 1960s. It was Truffaut’s first film as a director and it was also the first time that he worked with Audrey Hepburn, who played a beautiful model named Nathalie.

This is one of those films that you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who hasn’t seen it and where everyone has their own opinion on it. I have to admit that even though I like the film I didn’t enjoy the experience of watching it when I first saw it so many years ago.

However, after rewatching it recently I’ve come to appreciate its beauty and found myself captivated by some of the scenes.

Stolen Kisses tells the story of Nathalie and her relationship with photographer Claude (Jean-Pierre Léaud). The two meet when she visits his photography studio and they strike up an immediate friendship which develops into something more serious over time.

They spend time together outside of their relationship too as Nathalie becomes close friends with Claude’s wife Anne-Marie (Audrey Hepburn). Unfortunately for Nathalie things start to go wrong when Claude begins cheating on Anne-

Stolen Kisses
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jean-Pierre Léaud, Delphine Seyrig, Michael Lonsdale (Actors)
  • François Truffaut (Director) - Francois Truffaut (Writer) - François Truffaut (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

12. The Wild Child (1970)            

 The Wild Child (1970) Francois Truffaut is a film about a young boy who lives in an isolated area of France. The boy, played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, has a difficult childhood but he has one major advantage:

he can communicate with animals. His ability to communicate with the animals gives him a sense of freedom from the adults around him. He is able to live without being controlled by adults and he enjoys that freedom.

The film begins with a shot of a small house on top of a hill. We then see Jean-Pierre’s parents arguing over whether or not they should give up their son to another family so that they can move away from their current home.

The boy’s father wants to keep him but his mother believes that it is best if they move because they are living in an isolated area and she does not want him growing up there alone.

The film then cuts back to when Jean-Pierre was younger and we see him playing with an animal bone while his mother sits on the ground watching him play with it.

We then see her cleaning up the mess that Jean-Pierre made while playing with the bone and then she goes into her bedroom where she finds some books about animals on her shelf

Wild Child (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Francois Truffaut, Jean-Pierre Cargol, Francoise Seigner (Actors)
  • Truffaut,Francois (Director) - François Truffaut (Writer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

13. The Last Metro (1980)           

 The Last Metro (1980) is a classic film by French director Francois Truffaut. The film is based on the novel of the same name by André Pieyre de Mandiargues.

The story revolves around a young man named Jean-Pierre Léaud who becomes obsessed with his mother’s memory after her death. As he grows older,

he begins to discover that her life before her death was not what it seemed and that she was involved in some very mysterious activities. As he tries to uncover the truth about his mother’s life, he comes across several people who either know more than they are saying or refuse to talk about it at all.

Truffaut’s film is one of those films that has stood the test of time, as I have seen this film many times over the years and it still holds up well today.

The acting is great (especially from Jean-Pierre Léaud), Truffaut’s direction is fantastic and there are many interesting moments throughout the film that make it worth watching again and again.

The Last Metro (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu, Jean Poiret (Actors)
  • Francois Truffaut (Director) - Francois Truffaut (Writer) - François Truffaut (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

14. The Man Who Loved Women (1977)               

The first part of The Man Who Loved Women is a bit slow, and even the second part isn’t very interesting. But it’s worth watching. In the movie, we see a young man, played by Romain Duris, who has just come back from war.

He is an artist who hasn’t had an exhibition for years, but he finds himself faced with an exhibition in his own house by an artist (Jacques Dutronc). This puts him in a difficult position, because he knows that his wife (Sabine Azema) doesn’t like Jacques Dutronc or his work very much.

The young man goes to meet with some friends of his childhood and they begin to reminisce about their pasts. The second part of the film focuses on these memories, which are more interesting than the first part because they have to do with real events rather than memories of what might have happened in other people’s lives.

The third part of the film focuses on another character: a woman named Anne (Juliette Binoche), who has been married to this artist for many years but who has never really known him well or understood him well enough

Man Who Loved Women
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Charles Denner, Leslie Caron, Nelly Borgeaud (Actors)
  • Truffaut,Francois (Director) - François Truffaut (Writer) - François Truffaut (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

15. The Green Room (1978)

Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut have a lot in common. Both directors lived through some of the most turbulent times in history, experienced personal tragedies, and left behind films that are often regarded as masterpieces.

Truffaut’s films are among the most influential of all time; he was one of the first to use handheld cameras and long takes, which would become a staple in modern cinema. He also made films that pushed boundaries—noisy and violent movies with little dialogue or exposition.

The Green Room is an early example of this style: it’s a film that takes place almost entirely inside a single room a punk club called The Green Room and follows two men who rob it during its busiest night.

The robbery goes wrong, resulting in an explosive confrontation between them and the club’s owner (played by real-life punk icon Iggy Pop). The film ends with both men dead inside The Green Room while a female saxophonist plays “All Tomorrow’s Parties” on stage over their bodies.

The Green Room is an important work because it shows how certain elements can be used to create tension within a film without using violence or any other overt action

The Green Room
  • English (Subtitle)

16. Small Change (1976)

Francois Truffaut is one of the best directors of all time. That being said, Small Change is not a great film by his standards. It is interesting for its historical context, but it does not have the same emotional impact as his other films.

The film was made in 1976 at the height of the French New Wave movement, which focused on new ideas and a more refined aesthetic than what had been seen before. The New Wave movement was started by filmmakers who wanted to make their films more artistic and intellectual than what they saw in American movies at the time.

Truffaut was an important part of this movement because he helped create some of its most influential films: Shoot the Piano Player (1960), Jules et Jim (1962), The 400 Blows (1959), and Jules et Jim: Parallel Lives (1994).

Small Change [DVD]
  • René Barnerias, Jean-Marie Carayon, Katy Carayon (Actors)
  • Francois Truffaut (Director)
  • English, Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

17. The Soft Skin (1964)

The Soft Skin is a film that takes place in the world of fashion, where a man and woman are forced to live together. They are both models and they have been hired by a photographer to pose for him,

but the money isn’t there for them to live on. They decide to go for a walk in Paris, which leads them to a hotel with an adjoining room, where they see something that changes their lives forever.

The Soft Skin is one of those films that you can watch again and again without getting tired of it. It’s filled with great performances from all three actors who play the main characters: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jeanne Moreau and Claude Jade.

The story itself is interesting as well, because it tells us about how people might be able to find happiness when they are not satisfied with their lives.

This is an excellent film that will make you think about your own life and what kind of person you want to be in this world.

The Soft Skin
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jean Desaiily, Françoise Dorléac, Daniel Ceccaldi (Actors)
  • François Truffaut (Director) - François Truffaut (Writer) - François Truffaut (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

18. Bed & Board (1970)

François Truffaut’s Bed & Board is a light, sweet comedy about an unemployed actor who marries his landlady. The film is an affectionate homage to French cinema and its director, Truffaut.

It shows how auteur filmmaking came into being during the 1960s and ‘70s in France, when Truffaut was at the height of his powers as a filmmaker.

In the beginning of the film, we see Jean-Pierre Léaud (who plays Antoine) running around Paris with his girlfriend, looking for work as an actor. He eventually gets a part in a play but finds himself unable to perform because he has no lines.

He meets with his friend Maurice Jouvet (who plays Jean-Claude), who works as an actor and director in real life; Jouvet tells him that he should try doing something else – anything else – before he gives up completely on acting altogether.

Léaud wanders back over to his apartment where he lives with his landlady Madame Fabien (Jacqueline Bisset). She insists that he pay rent even though they both know that they can never afford it; Léaud offers her money but she refuses

Bed & Board [Blu-ray]
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

19. Confidentially Yours (1983) 

Francois Truffaut’s long-awaited feature film is a delightful, bittersweet comedy about a love triangle set in the world of Parisian haute couture. A precocious 12-year-old girl named Lise (Catherine Deneuve) lives with her mother,

Clarisse (Michèle Laroque), in an elegant apartment building near the Place de la Concorde. Lise’s mother is a famous couture designer who has recently been forced to downsize from her elegant home because of financial difficulties.

The two women have become estranged over the years, and their relationship is not helped by Clarisse’s unfortunate habit of falling asleep on the job.

One day, Lise meets the handsome young American photographer Tony (Richard Bohringer), who has been hired by Clarisse to shoot pictures of some of her designs for a new ad campaign.

Tony falls instantly in love with Lise, but he can’t bring himself to tell Clarisse that they’re having an affair because he fears that she’ll leave him if she discovers his feelings for someone else. Nor does he want to hurt her feelings by admitting that she doesn’t inspire romantic feelings in him – which would mean that he

20. Love on the Run (1979)         

 Love on the Run (1979), the first film of French director Francois Truffaut, is a visual collage about two young people — a dancer and a writer — who fall in love during their travels across France.

The film’s title is taken from the famous poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot. The poem’s protagonist, Prufrock, says he feels “like a man who has been awakened out of a dream.” He continues: “So I do not question nor do I doubt.”

The sequence in which this line appears was shot at nighttime with a crew of seven people running through Paris streets while holding onto handkerchiefs that they had been given by passers-by to wave when they saw the camera crew filming them. It was filmed on location in Paris and on sound stages in Los Angeles and London.

Truffaut said he wanted viewers to see that life is full of surprises — especially for those who are open to them but don’t know how to respond when they occur.

He wanted them to understand what it means for someone else to be open to such experiences but also how difficult it can be for us as humans to accept them and integrate them into our lives.

Love on the Run
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jean-Pierre Léaud, Marie-France Pisier, Claude Jade (Actors)
  • François Truffaut (Director) - Francois Truffaut (Writer) - François Truffaut (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

Characteristics of Francois Truffaut Films

 The films of Francois Truffaut are characterized by a great deal of self-reflection, a passion for the cinema, and an intellectual curiosity. He was a film critic, writer and director who produced some of the most influential films in cinematic history.

Truffaut was born in Paris in 1930 to parents who were both artists: his father was a painter, his mother a sculptor. As a child he was fascinated by film and dreamed of becoming an actor himself,

but instead he became interested in literature and philosophy. He studied literature at the University of Clermont-Ferrand before moving on to the Sorbonne University in Paris to study philosophy and psychology. He received his doctorate in philosophy from there as well.

After completing his studies, Truffaut worked as an assistant to philosopher Henri Bergson before joining Jean Renoir’s production company as an editor.

In 1959 he began working as assistant director on Renoir’s The River with Gary Cooper, who would go on to become one of his closest friends and collaborators throughout his career (see below).

In 1962 Truffaut joined forces with Jacques Rivette (who directed The Spy) and Claude Chabrol to make their first film together: Les Mist

Best Francois Truffaut Films – Wrapping Up

What is the best François Truffaut film? The answer to that question is not as easy as it seems.

There are a lot of great films by the French director, but I think it’s safe to say that his most famous is his first feature, The 400 Blows.

It’s a film about an adolescent boy who has trouble fitting in with society, and how he overcomes this by making friends with his older brother’s friends.

Truffaut was known as a very careful director, using long takes and close-up shots to tell stories that are difficult to understand without seeing the movie many times.

He also wanted to make movies that were more realistic than those made before him, which sometimes led to him being criticized for making films that don’t have much plot or structure.

In many ways, Truffaut was ahead of his time when it came to filmmaking techniques; after all, he was one of the first directors ever to use handheld cameras in his films!

 

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