French cinema has a rich history and is renowned for producing some of the most influential and critically acclaimed movies in the world. From the early silent films of the Lumière brothers to the avant-garde works of the French New Wave, French cinema has had a significant impact on the art form as a whole. Some of the most iconic French movies are celebrated for their storytelling, cinematography, acting, and directing.

French cinema has also produced a wide variety of genres, including dramas, comedies, thrillers, and romances, which appeal to a broad audience. The French language itself is known for its melodious and romantic qualities, which adds an extra layer of beauty and charm to these movies.

Some of the best French movies of all time include classics like Jean Renoir’s “La Grande Illusion,” François Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows,” and Marcel Carné’s “Children of Paradise.” More recent French movies like “Amélie,” “The Intouchables,” and “Blue is the Warmest Color” have also gained critical acclaim and commercial success, both in France and internationally.

Best French Movies

Whether you’re a fan of classic cinema or looking for something more contemporary, there is no shortage of amazing French movies to discover and enjoy.

1. A Prophet (2009)

“A Prophet” is a 2009 French crime drama film directed by Jacques Audiard. The film follows the story of Malik El Djebena, a young Arab man who is sent to prison in France and becomes involved with the Corsican mafia.

Malik is illiterate and naive, and at first he is at the mercy of the other inmates. However, he soon befriends a Corsican mob boss named César Luciani, who recognizes Malik’s potential and takes him under his wing. With César’s guidance, Malik begins to rise through the ranks of the prison’s criminal underworld.

As Malik becomes more powerful, he must navigate the complex and dangerous web of alliances and rivalries within the prison. He also struggles with his own identity and his loyalty to his Arab heritage, as he becomes increasingly enmeshed in the world of the Corsican mafia.

“A Prophet” received widespread critical acclaim and was a commercial success, winning numerous awards including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and Best Foreign Language Film at the BAFTA Awards. The film is widely regarded as a modern masterpiece of French cinema.

A Prophet
  • Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup (Actors)
  • Jacques Audiard (Director)
  • English, Portuguese, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

2. The 400 Blows (1959)

“The 400 Blows” is a French film directed by Francois Truffaut, released in 1959. It is a semi-autobiographical film that tells the story of Antoine Doinel, a young boy growing up in Paris. The film follows Antoine as he struggles to find his place in the world, navigating his difficult relationship with his parents and his experiences in school and on the streets.

The title of the film is a literal translation of the French phrase “les quatre cents coups,” which is an idiom meaning “the four hundred tricks,” or “the four hundred cheats.”

In the film, this phrase takes on a broader meaning, representing the various ways in which Antoine tries to escape from the difficult circumstances of his life.

“The 400 Blows” is widely regarded as one of the most important films of the French New Wave, a movement of the 1950s and 1960s that emphasized innovation, experimentation, and personal expression in filmmaking.

The film is notable for its realistic, naturalistic style, its innovative use of camera techniques, and its empathetic portrayal of its protagonist.

   

Overall, “The 400 Blows” is a powerful and moving film that captures the struggles and complexities of growing up. It is a landmark of French cinema and a must-see for fans of the New Wave or anyone interested in exploring the experiences of youth and coming-of-age.

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3. The Grand Illusion (1937)

The Grand Illusion is a 1937 French film directed by Jean Renoir. The film follows a group of French soldiers during World War I who are taken prisoner by the Germans and placed in a prison camp.

The film explores the relationships between the prisoners, including the aristocratic Captain de Boeldieu and the working-class Lieutenant Maréchal, as well as their interactions with their German captors.

The film is considered a masterpiece of French cinema, and is notable for its themes of class, nationality, and humanism. It was one of the first foreign-language films to receive a wide release in the United States, and was also one of the first films to receive the Best Foreign Language Film award at the Oscars.

The Grand Illusion is widely regarded as a classic of world cinema, and is noted for its nuanced portrayal of the human experience during wartime. It has been praised for its powerful performances, deft direction, and thought-provoking themes.

The Grand Illusion
  • Jean Gabin, Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay (Actors)
  • Jean Renoir (Director)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

4. Rififi (1955)

“Rififi” is a classic French crime thriller film released in 1955 and directed by Jules Dassin. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Auguste Le Breton and tells the story of a group of ex-convicts who plan a meticulously detailed heist on a jewelry store in Paris.

The film is notable for its realistic and gritty portrayal of the criminal underworld, as well as its groundbreaking 30-minute silent heist scene that is often cited as one of the best in cinema history.

The scene is a masterclass in tension-building, as the criminals work to break into the store’s safe while trying to avoid detection by the police.

“Rififi” was a critical and commercial success in France and abroad, and its influence can still be seen in many modern crime thrillers. The film won the Best Director award at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, and it remains a beloved classic of French cinema.

Rififi (The Criterion Collection)
  • Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel (Actors)
  • Jules Dassin (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

5. The Intouchables (2011)

“The Intouchables” is a 2011 French comedy-drama film directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. The film is based on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his Algerian caregiver Abdel Sellou.

The film follows the unlikely friendship that develops between Philippe, a wealthy quadriplegic, and Driss, a young man from the projects who is hired as Philippe’s caregiver.

Driss has no experience caring for people with disabilities, and his unorthodox methods initially shock Philippe. However, the two men soon bond over their shared sense of humor and love of music.

   

As their friendship deepens, Driss helps Philippe break out of his isolated existence and rediscover the joy in life. Meanwhile, Philippe helps Driss find direction and purpose in his own life.

“The Intouchables” was a commercial and critical success, becoming the second-highest-grossing French film of all time and winning numerous awards. The film’s themes of friendship, acceptance, and the power of human connection have resonated with audiences around the world.

Intocable (Intouchables) (2011) (Non Us Format) (Region 2) (Import)
  • Castilian, Catalan (Subtitles)
  • Spanish (Publication Language)

6. Amélie (2001)

“Amélie” is a French romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, released in 2001. The film tells the story of Amélie Poulain, a shy and imaginative young woman who lives in Paris and works as a waitress in a small café.

After finding a hidden treasure in her apartment, Amélie sets out on a mission to help the people around her and bring joy to their lives, while also searching for love and happiness herself.

The film is known for its whimsical and quirky style, featuring surreal imagery, offbeat humor, and a bright color palette. It also features a memorable and charming performance by Audrey Tautou as Amélie, as well as a captivating score by Yann Tiersen.

“Amélie” was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the most popular French films of all time and winning numerous awards, including four César Awards (the French equivalent of the Academy Awards).

The film is often regarded as a classic of modern French cinema, praised for its originality, humor, and heartfelt message about the power of human connection.

Overall, “Amélie” is a delightful and uplifting film that is sure to bring a smile to your face. It is a testament to the creativity and artistic vision of its director and the talent of its cast, and it continues to inspire and delight audiences around the world.

   
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Amelie
  • 2 Disc Set
  • In original sleeve/outer box
  • Box is in almost perfect condition
  • Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus (Actors)
  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Director) - Guillaume Laurant (Writer)

7. Goodbye, Children (1987)

Goodbye, Children is a 1987 French film directed by Louis Malle. The film is set in a Catholic boarding school in Nazi-occupied France during World War II and tells the story of a friendship between two boys, one Jewish and the other Catholic, and the tragic consequences that ensue when the school’s principal discovers the Jewish boy’s identity.

The film is based on Malle’s own experiences at a boarding school during the war and is notable for its themes of innocence, friendship, and the impact of war on children. It has been praised for its sensitive portrayal of the complexities of the wartime period, and for its powerful performances by its young cast.

Goodbye, Children was critically acclaimed upon its release and has since been regarded as one of Malle’s greatest achievements.

It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival and won the Golden Lion at the 1987 Venice Film Festival. The film is considered a masterpiece of French cinema and a powerful exploration of the impact of war on young people.

Goodbye, Children (1987) ( Au revoir les enfants ) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - France ]
  • Goodbye, Children (1987) ( Au revoir les enfants )
  • Goodbye, Children (1987)
  • Au revoir les enfants
  • Philippe Morier-Genoud, François Berléand, François Négret (Actors)
  • Louis Malle (Director) - Goodbye, Children (1987) ( Au revoir les enfants ) (Producer)

8. Nikita (1990)

“Nikita” is a French action-thriller film released in 1990, directed by Luc Besson and starring Anne Parillaud in the titular role. The movie tells the story of a young drug addict and criminal, Nikita, who is given a chance to start a new life when she is recruited by a secret government agency to become an assassin.

The film features Besson’s signature stylish visuals and frenetic action sequences, as well as Parillaud’s powerful performance as a woman struggling to come to terms with her new identity as a ruthless killer.

“Nikita” was a critical and commercial success both in France and abroad, and it has since become a cult classic.

The success of “Nikita” led to a Hollywood remake, “Point of No Return,” as well as a television series adaptation, “La Femme Nikita.”

The film also cemented Besson’s reputation as one of France’s most innovative and exciting directors, and it helped to pave the way for the international success of French action cinema.

La Femme Nikita (Special Edition) [DVD]
  • Anne Parillaud, Marc Duret, Patrick Fontana (Actors)
  • Luc Besson (Director) - Luc Besson (Writer)
  • English, Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

9. La Vie En Rose (2007)

“La Vie En Rose” is a 2007 French biographical musical film about the life of legendary French singer Edith Piaf. The film was directed by Olivier Dahan and stars Marion Cotillard in the lead role as Piaf.

The film follows Piaf’s tumultuous life, from her early years as a street performer in Paris to her rise to international stardom. The story covers her personal struggles, including her poverty-stricken upbringing, a tragic accident that left her blind for a time as a child, and her turbulent romantic relationships.

The film features many of Piaf’s most famous songs, including “La Vie En Rose,” “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” and “Milord,” and showcases Cotillard’s remarkable performance as Piaf. She won numerous awards for her portrayal, including the Academy Award for Best Actress.

“La Vie En Rose” was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $86 million worldwide and earning widespread acclaim for its performances, direction, and music. It remains one of the most acclaimed and beloved French films of the 21st century.

La Vie en Rose
  • Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory (Actors)
  • Olivier Dahan (Director)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

10. Le Dîner de Cons (1998)

“Le Dîner de Cons” is a French comedy film directed by Francis Veber, released in 1998. The film is based on a play of the same name, also written by Veber, and tells the story of a group of Parisian businessmen who gather together for a weekly dinner party, where they invite a guest who they believe is a fool, and then make fun of them.

The film centers around the character of François Pignon, a hapless and socially awkward man who is chosen by one of the businessmen as the “fool” to be invited to the dinner party.

Despite his good intentions and kind heart, François ends up causing chaos and confusion for everyone involved, leading to a series of hilarious and unpredictable situations.

“Le Dîner de Cons” is known for its sharp wit, clever dialogue, and strong performances by its cast, including Thierry Lhermitte as the smug and self-centered businessman Pierre Brochant and Jacques Villeret as the bumbling and endearing François Pignon.

The film was a critical and commercial success in France, winning numerous awards, including the César Award for Best Writing and the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival.

It has since become a beloved classic of French cinema, praised for its clever satire of bourgeois society and its celebration of the underdog.

Overall, “Le Dîner de Cons” is a witty and entertaining film that is sure to make you laugh. It is a testament to the comedic talent of its director and cast, and a must-see for fans of French comedy and satire.

The Dinner Game ( Le dîner de cons ) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - France ]
  • The Dinner Game ( Le dîner de cons )
  • The Dinner Game
  • Le dîner de cons
  • Thierry Lhermitte, Jacques Villeret, Francis Huster (Actors)
  • Francis Veber (Director) - The Dinner Game ( Le dîner de cons ) (Producer)

11. The Rules of the Game (1939)

The Rules of the Game (La Règle du Jeu) is a 1939 French film directed by Jean Renoir. The film is a satirical look at the French aristocracy and their social mores on the eve of World War II, and follows the intersecting relationships between several characters during a weekend hunting party at a chateau.

The film is notable for its ensemble cast of French actors, its complex narrative structure, and its commentary on the state of French society during the interwar period.

The film’s themes of class, love, and human relationships are explored through a series of intricate character interactions, and the film’s climactic scene has become one of the most iconic moments in cinema history.

Despite its critical acclaim, the film was initially poorly received in France and was banned by the government for its controversial portrayal of the French aristocracy. However, it has since been recognized as a masterpiece of world cinema and a significant influence on the French New Wave movement of the 1950s and 60s.

The Rules of the Game is now considered one of the greatest films ever made, and is regarded as a timeless commentary on the human condition.

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The Rules of the Game (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parely (Actors)
  • Jean Renoir (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • French (Publication Language)

12. Diabolique (1955)

“Diabolique” is a classic French suspense-thriller film released in 1955, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot and starring Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, and Paul Meurisse.

The movie is based on the novel “Celle qui n’était plus” by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, and tells the story of two women who plot to murder the abusive man they both love.

The film is known for its intricate plot twists, dark atmosphere, and tense, psychological suspense. It was a critical and commercial success in France and was praised for its innovative and groundbreaking approach to the thriller genre.

The movie’s ending is widely considered to be one of the most shocking and memorable in cinema history.

“Diabolique” has been remade several times, including a Hollywood adaptation in 1996 starring Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani. However, the original French version remains a classic of the genre and a must-see for fans of suspenseful and thrilling cinema.

Diabolique (1955/ Old Version)
  • dvd
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

13. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” is a 2007 French biographical drama film directed by Julian Schnabel. The film is based on the memoir of the same name by Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was the editor-in-chief of French fashion magazine Elle until he suffered a massive stroke that left him with a condition called locked-in syndrome.

The film portrays Bauby’s experience of living with this condition, which left him completely paralyzed except for his left eye. He learned to communicate by blinking his left eye, and using this method he dictated his memoirs, which became the basis for the film.

The film follows Bauby’s struggle to come to terms with his condition and his efforts to communicate with the outside world, as well as his memories and fantasies.

It portrays his physical and emotional journey with sensitivity and insight, and features a powerful and nuanced performance by actor Mathieu Amalric as Bauby.

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” was a critical success, winning numerous awards including the Golden Globe for Best Director and the Cannes Film Festival’s award for Best Director. The film was praised for its innovative and immersive approach to storytelling, as well as its sensitive portrayal of a difficult subject matter.

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Jose Croze (Actors)
  • Julian Schnabel (Director) - Jean-Dominique Bauby (Writer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

14. Jean de Florette (1986)

“Jean de Florette” is a French historical drama film directed by Claude Berri, released in 1986. The film is based on a novel of the same name by Marcel Pagnol and tells the story of a man named Jean Cadoret, who inherits a farm in a rural village in Provence, France.

Jean is determined to make a success of the farm and earn the respect of the villagers, but his plans are thwarted by his greedy and conniving neighbors, who conspire to cut off his water supply and ruin his crops.

As Jean struggles to survive in the harsh and unforgiving environment, he begins to suspect foul play and sets out to uncover the truth behind his misfortunes.

The film is known for its stunning cinematography, depicting the rugged beauty of the Provençal landscape, as well as its powerful performances by its cast, including Gérard Depardieu as Jean Cadoret, Yves Montand as his scheming neighbor César Soubeyran, and Daniel Auteuil as César’s nephew Ugolin.

“Jean de Florette” was a critical and commercial success in France, winning numerous awards, including four César Awards and a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was followed by a sequel, “Manon des Sources,” which was also directed by Claude Berri and released in 1986.

Overall, “Jean de Florette” is a powerful and moving film that explores themes of greed, corruption, and the struggle for survival in a harsh and unforgiving environment. It is a testament to the talent of its director and cast and a classic of French cinema.

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Jean De Florette / Manon Des Sources Double Pack [DVD] [1986]
  • Yves Montand, Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Béart (Actors)
  • Claude Berri (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)

15. La haine (1995)

La Haine is a 1995 French film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. The film tells the story of three young men from immigrant families who live in a deprived housing project on the outskirts of Paris. The film follows their lives over the course of 24 hours after a riot erupts in their neighborhood following the shooting of a young Arab man by the police.

La Haine is notable for its powerful and gritty portrayal of the social and economic struggles faced by young people in the suburbs of Paris, and its commentary on issues of race, police brutality, and social inequality in France.

The film’s black and white cinematography and urban setting create a tense and atmospheric atmosphere, while its use of non-professional actors and naturalistic dialogue give the film a raw and authentic feel.

Upon its release, La Haine was critically acclaimed and won several awards, including the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival. The film has since become a cult classic, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest French films of all time.

La Haine’s themes of social injustice and inequality continue to resonate with audiences today, and the film remains a powerful indictment of systemic discrimination and police violence.

La Haine (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui, Hubert Koundé (Actors)
  • Mathieu Kassovitz (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

16. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

“The Battle of Algiers” is a historical war film released in 1966, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and based on the events of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962). The movie depicts the urban guerrilla warfare that took place in Algiers between the National Liberation Front (FLN) and French colonial forces.

The film is renowned for its realistic portrayal of the conflict, its use of non-professional actors, and its powerful political message about the consequences of colonialism and imperialism.

It was a critical success upon its release and has since become a landmark of world cinema, often studied for its innovative and groundbreaking approach to the war film genre.

“The Battle of Algiers” has been widely influential, inspiring numerous filmmakers and political activists around the world. The film has also been the subject of controversy and censorship, particularly in France, where it was initially banned due to its depiction of the use of torture by French troops during the war.

Despite this, the movie remains a powerful and important work of cinema that continues to resonate with audiences today.

The Battle of Algiers (The Criterion Collection)
  • Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi (Actors)
  • Gillo Pontecorvo (Director) - Franco Solinas (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

17. Love Me If You Dare (2003)

“Love Me If You Dare” is a 2003 French romantic comedy-drama film directed by Yann Samuell. The film stars Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard as two childhood friends who engage in a lifelong game of dare that tests the boundaries of their relationship.

The film follows the two friends, Julien and Sophie, from childhood to adulthood as they continue their game of dare, which involves escalating dares that become increasingly dangerous and destructive.

As they grow older, their relationship becomes more complicated and their feelings for each other more intense, leading to a tumultuous and emotionally charged climax.

“Love Me If You Dare” was well-received by critics and audiences alike, praised for its imaginative storytelling, vibrant visuals, and strong performances.

The film was particularly noted for the chemistry between Canet and Cotillard, who would later become one of France’s most acclaimed acting couples. It has since become a cult classic and a beloved entry in the romantic comedy genre.

Love Me If You Dare [DVD]
  • Love Me If You Dare (2003) ( Jeux d'enfants )
  • Love Me If You Dare (2003)
  • Jeux d'enfants
  • Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard, Thibault Verhaeghe (Actors)
  • Yann Samuell (Director) - Love Me If You Dare (2003) ( Jeux d'enfants ) (Producer)

18. Three Colors: Red (1994)

“Three Colors: Red” is a French-Swiss drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and released in 1994. It is the final film in the “Three Colors” trilogy, which also includes “Blue” and “White”. The film explores the theme of fraternity, one of the three principles of the French national motto “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”.

The film tells the story of a young model named Valentine Dussaut, who accidentally hits a dog with her car and takes it to the owner’s house to apologize. The owner is a retired judge named Joseph Kern, who is obsessed with eavesdropping on his neighbors’ conversations through his telephone.

As Valentine becomes more involved in Joseph’s life, she learns about the connections between the people she encounters and how their lives intersect in unexpected ways.

“Three Colors: Red” is known for its complex characters, intricate plot, and philosophical themes. The film explores ideas about fate, chance, and the interconnectedness of human lives. It also features striking visuals, including the use of the color red to represent passion, love, and danger.

The film was a critical and commercial success, winning numerous awards, including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and three César Awards. It is considered one of Kieślowski’s masterpieces and a classic of European cinema.

Overall, “Three Colors: Red” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores deep and complex themes through its intricate and nuanced storytelling. It is a fitting conclusion to the “Three Colors” trilogy and a must-see for fans of European cinema.

Three Colors: Red
  • PAL
  • Irène Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Frédérique Feder (Actors)
  • Krzysztof Kieslowski (Director) - Krzysztof Kieslowski (Writer) - Marin Karmitz (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

19. Le Samouraï (1967)

Le Samouraï is a 1967 French film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. The film stars Alain Delon as Jef Costello, a solitary hitman who operates in the criminal underworld of Paris.

The film follows Jef as he meticulously plans and executes a hit, only to find himself pursued by the police and betrayed by his employers.

Le Samouraï is known for its minimalist style and cool, detached tone, which are characteristic of Melville’s work. The film’s themes of alienation, individualism, and moral ambiguity are explored through Jef’s stoic and enigmatic character, and the film’s stylish cinematography and jazz-influenced score create a moody and atmospheric backdrop.

The film’s influence can be seen in the works of many modern filmmakers, including Quentin Tarantino, who has cited Le Samouraï as one of his favorite films. Le Samouraï is now regarded as a classic of French cinema, and is widely considered one of the greatest crime films ever made.

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Le samouraï (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Alain Delon (Actor)
  • Jean-Pierre Melville (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

20. Three Colors: Blue (1993)

“Three Colors: Blue” is a 1993 French drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and starring Juliette Binoche. The movie is the first installment of Kieślowski’s “Three Colors” trilogy, which also includes “White” and “Red.”

The film tells the story of Julie, a young woman who has lost her composer husband and young daughter in a tragic car accident. As she tries to come to terms with her grief, Julie begins to distance herself from her past life and relationships, seeking a sense of emotional detachment and solitude.

“Three Colors: Blue” is celebrated for its powerful emotional impact, its stunning cinematography, and Binoche’s captivating performance as Julie. The movie explores themes of grief, loss, and personal liberation, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest French films of all time.

The “Three Colors” trilogy as a whole is also regarded as a masterpiece of European cinema, and has been praised for its unique structure, its exploration of themes related to the French flag, and its use of music as a central narrative and thematic element.

Three Colors: Blue
  • French (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

21. Amour (2012)

“Amour” is a 2012 French-language drama film directed by Michael Haneke. The film stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, and Isabelle Huppert and tells the story of an elderly couple, Georges and Anne, who are retired music teachers living in Paris.

When Anne suffers a stroke that leaves her partially paralyzed, Georges must take care of her and watch as her condition deteriorates.

The film is a deeply emotional and intimate portrayal of aging, love, and mortality. It explores the complex emotions and decisions that come with end-of-life care, as well as the profound impact that illness and disability can have on a person and their loved ones.

“Amour” was a critical and commercial success, receiving widespread critical acclaim and winning numerous awards, including the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film was praised for its sensitive and honest portrayal of its subject matter, as well as its masterful direction and powerful performances. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of the 21st century.

Amour
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert (Actors)
  • Michael Haneke (Director) - Veit Heiduschka (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • French (Publication Language)

22. The Wages of Fear (1953)

“The Wages of Fear” is a French-Italian thriller film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot and released in 1953. The film tells the story of four men hired to transport a shipment of highly explosive nitroglycerin across treacherous terrain in two trucks. The men are desperate for money and take the job despite the obvious risks.

The first half of the film is spent setting up the characters and their motivations. We learn about their pasts and why they need the money so badly.

The second half of the film is a nail-biting journey as the two trucks make their way across the dangerous roads, with the nitroglycerin threatening to explode at any moment.

“The Wages of Fear” is known for its tense and suspenseful atmosphere, as well as its exploration of themes such as greed, desperation, and the consequences of human action. The film also features impressive cinematography, particularly in its use of light and shadow to create a moody and ominous atmosphere.

The film was a critical and commercial success, winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and becoming one of the most acclaimed films of its time.

It has since been recognized as a classic of world cinema and has been influential on subsequent films and filmmakers.

Overall, “The Wages of Fear” is a gripping and intense film that is sure to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Its exploration of human nature and the consequences of our actions make it a thought-provoking and impactful work of cinema.

The Wages of Fear (The Criterion Collection) (1953) [DVD]
  • Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck (Actors)
  • Henri-Georges Clouzot (Director) - Georges Arnaud (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

23. Three Colors: White (1994)

Three Colors: White is a 1994 French-Polish film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski. It is the second film in Kieślowski’s Three Colors trilogy, which also includes Blue and Red.

The film tells the story of Karol Karol, a Polish immigrant living in France who is abandoned by his wife, Dominique. After losing everything he owns, Karol hatches a plan to take revenge on Dominique and win back his dignity.

Three Colors: White explores themes of identity, power, and revenge, and is known for its striking cinematography, complex characters, and dark humor. The film’s exploration of the complex relationship between Poland and France, as well as its commentary on the nature of human relationships, have also been widely praised.

Three Colors: White was well-received by critics upon its release, and has since become a cult classic. It won the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, and is considered one of Kieślowski’s masterpieces, as well as one of the greatest films of the 1990s.

Three Colors: White
  • Polish Release, cover may contain Polish text/markings. The disk has English subtitles.
  • Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy, Janusz Gajos (Actors)
  • Krzysztof Kieslowski (Director) - Agnieszka Holland (Writer) - Marin Karmitz (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

24. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

“The Passion of Joan of Arc” is a silent French film released in 1928, directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and starring Renée Jeanne Falconetti. The movie is based on the real-life trial and execution of Joan of Arc, a French heroine who played a key role in the Hundred Years’ War.

The film is celebrated for its groundbreaking use of close-up shots and its powerful emotional impact, which is largely due to Falconetti’s haunting and iconic performance as Joan.

The movie depicts the political and religious conflicts of the era, as well as the brutal persecution and execution of a young woman who refused to renounce her beliefs.

Despite its initial critical and commercial failure, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” has since become a landmark of world cinema, inspiring countless filmmakers and artists with its innovative approach to visual storytelling and its exploration of themes related to faith, gender, and social justice.

The movie’s influence can be seen in numerous films, such as Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”

La Pasión De Juana De Arco
  • None, None (Subtitles)

25. Children of Paradise (1945)

“Children of Paradise” is a 1945 French film directed by Marcel Carné, with a screenplay by Jacques Prévert. The film is set in the Parisian theater world of the 1820s and 1830s and follows the lives of four men who are in love with the same woman, the beautiful and mysterious Garance.

The film is a lavish and epic production, with a large ensemble cast, richly detailed sets and costumes, and a sweeping story that encompasses love, jealousy, betrayal, and tragedy.

At its heart, however, the film is a celebration of the theatrical arts and the magic of performance, as the characters move from the crowded streets of Paris to the glittering stages of the city’s theaters.

“Children of Paradise” is widely regarded as one of the greatest films in the history of French cinema and has been praised for its lush visual style, its complex and nuanced characters, and its exploration of the power of art and the human spirit. It has influenced countless filmmakers and remains a beloved classic of world cinema.

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3 Characteristics of French Movies

Here are three characteristics commonly associated with French movies:

Artistic Expression: French cinema is known for its artistic and intellectual nature. French filmmakers often use their work to explore complex themes and ideas, and they are not afraid to experiment with unconventional narrative structures or visual techniques.

Emphasis on Realism: Many French films are known for their emphasis on realism, portraying everyday life in a way that feels authentic and unvarnished. This often includes a focus on character development, dialogue, and the subtleties of human behavior.

Social Commentary: French cinema has a long tradition of exploring social and political issues through film. Many French filmmakers use their work to comment on contemporary society, offering critiques of social norms and institutions and encouraging audiences to engage with the world around them.

3 Reasons To Watch French Movies

There are many reasons why people might choose to watch French movies, but here are three potential reasons:

Exposure to French culture: French cinema is often seen as a reflection of French culture, and watching French movies can provide an opportunity to learn more about the language, history, and society of France. Whether it’s through the dialogue, the visuals, or the themes explored in the films, viewers can gain a deeper understanding of what makes France unique.

Access to a different style of storytelling: French cinema is often praised for its innovative storytelling techniques and artistic style. French filmmakers have a reputation for experimenting with different forms and structures, and for being willing to tackle challenging subjects. Watching French movies can offer viewers a chance to see the world from a different perspective, and to experience a more nuanced and complex style of storytelling.

Broadening cultural horizons: Watching movies from different countries and cultures can broaden one’s horizons and expose them to new ideas and perspectives. Whether it’s through the exploration of different themes or the use of different film techniques, French movies can challenge viewers and inspire them to think more critically about their own beliefs and assumptions. This can be a valuable experience for anyone looking to expand their cultural awareness and understanding.

Best French Movies – Wrap Up

In conclusion, French cinema has a long and storied history of producing some of the most innovative and influential films in the world. From the early days of the Lumière brothers to the present day, French filmmakers have consistently pushed the boundaries of cinematic storytelling and helped shape the course of world cinema.

In this discussion, we highlighted some of the best French movies of all time, including “Rififi”, “Nikita”, “Diabolique”, “The Battle of Algiers”, “Three Colors: Blue”, and “The Passion of Joan of Arc”. Each of these movies has contributed to the rich legacy of French cinema and represents a unique vision and artistic achievement.

Whether you are a cinephile or simply looking for great movies to watch, French cinema offers a wealth of cinematic treasures that are well worth exploring. So, grab some popcorn and settle in for a journey through the fascinating and diverse world of French cinema.