Jean-Luc Godard is one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema.

He is both a filmmaker and an artist, and his films are often considered to be challenging, provocative, and thought-provoking.

Godard was born in Switzerland on May 20th, 1930.

Best Jean-Luc Godard Films

 Jean-Luc Godard is one of the most influential directors in film history, and his work has influenced both contemporary filmmakers as well as future generations.

Here are some of his best films.

1. Pierrot le Fou (1965) 

Pierrot le Fou is a masterful work of art that captures the essence of the French New Wave movement.

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this film is a surreal and deeply philosophical journey that explores the themes of love, freedom, and rebellion.

The film follows the story of Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a bored and disillusioned man who abandons his mundane life to escape with his former lover Marianne (Anna Karina) on a wild and dangerous adventure.

As they travel through the French countryside, their relationship becomes increasingly complex and they find themselves caught up in a web of intrigue and violence.

Godard’s direction is impeccable, with stunning visuals and a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack that perfectly captures the film’s dreamlike atmosphere.

Belmondo and Karina deliver powerful performances that are both mesmerizing and deeply emotional, making the audience feel every moment of their journey.

Pierrot le Fou
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Jean-Luc Godard (Writer) - Georges de Beauregard (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

2. Contempt (1963)

Contempt is a film that will leave you feeling both enamored and disturbed.

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this French-Italian drama follows the story of a struggling screenwriter who is tasked with adapting Homer’s Odyssey for a film, while simultaneously dealing with the disintegration of his marriage.

The film’s stunning visuals and cinematography are a testament to Godard’s artistic prowess.

The use of color in particular is striking, with the vibrant blue of the Mediterranean sea and the rich reds of the apartment interiors providing a stunning backdrop for the unfolding drama.

Contempt is also a deeply introspective film, delving into themes of love, art, and the complexities of human relationships.

The character’s inner monologues provide a glimpse into their personal struggles, leaving the audience with a sense of empathy and understanding.

However, the film’s ending is jarring and unexpected, leaving you with a deep sense of discomfort.


It’s a bold move by Godard, but it’s one that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

Contempt (Aka Le Mepris) (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Jean-Luc Godard (Writer) - Georges de Beauregard (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

3. Breathless (1960)  

Breathless is a masterclass in French New Wave cinema.

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, the film tells the story of Michel, a petty criminal on the run after killing a police officer, and his American girlfriend Patricia, played by Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, respectively.

The film’s groundbreaking style, featuring jump cuts, handheld cameras, and a non-linear narrative, revolutionized filmmaking and inspired countless filmmakers for decades to come. Belmondo’s performance as Michel is captivating, and Seberg’s portrayal of Patricia is both alluring and enigmatic.

Godard’s love for American cinema is evident in the film’s many nods to classic Hollywood films, such as Michel’s obsession with Humphrey Bogart and Patricia’s striking resemblance to Marilyn Monroe.

Breathless is a must-see for any cinephile and a timeless classic that remains just as fresh and innovative today as it did over 60 years ago.

Breathless [DVD]
  • Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Franois Truffaut (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

4. Weekend (1967)

The weekend is a film that boldly defies convention and challenges its audience in ways that few films dare to do.

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this masterpiece of French New Wave cinema tells the story of a bourgeois couple on a weekend trip to the countryside, only to find themselves caught up in a series of bizarre and violent encounters that expose the dark underbelly of society.

The film is a brilliant commentary on the state of contemporary society, with Godard using his signature style of fragmented narrative and unconventional editing to create a sense of disorientation and confusion.

The story is at times absurd, at times shocking, and always thought-provoking, with the film’s themes of consumerism, capitalism, and political unrest resonating just as strongly today as they did in the 1960s.

The performances are outstanding, with Jean-Pierre Léaud and Mireille Darc delivering nuanced and complex portrayals of the film’s central characters.


The cinematography is equally impressive, with Godard and his team using a variety of techniques to create a visual language that is both beautiful and challenging.


Weekend (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

5. Vivre Sa Vie (1962)

Vivre Sa Vie is a stunning example of French New Wave cinema, directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard and starring the enigmatic Anna Karina.

The film follows the life of Nana, a young woman who dreams of becoming an actress but finds herself trapped in a world of prostitution.

The film is a masterclass in minimalist storytelling, with Godard using long takes and static shots to capture the mundane details of Nana’s life, interspersed with poetic monologues that give insight into her inner thoughts and emotions.

Karina’s performance is a revelation, conveying both vulnerability and strength in equal measure.

What sets Vivre Sa Vie apart from other films of its era is its unflinching portrayal of the harsh realities of life for women in 1960s France.

Godard doesn’t shy away from the violence and degradation that Nana experiences, but he also imbues the film with a sense of hopefulness and humanity.


Vivre sa vie (Blu-ray) [1962]
  • The disk has English subtitles.
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

6. Passion (1982)

Passion is a visually stunning and emotionally charged masterpiece that explores the complex relationships between love, desire, and obsession.

Directed by the legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, this film is a true work of art that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who watches it.

The film follows the story of Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert), a young woman who is torn between two lovers – her wealthy and powerful boyfriend, and a struggling filmmaker who she is deeply in love with.

As Isabelle’s relationships with both men intensify, she finds herself becoming increasingly consumed by her own desires and passions, leading to a dramatic and unforgettable conclusion.

The cinematography in Passion is simply breathtaking, with Godard’s masterful use of color and light creating a mesmerizing visual experience that is both beautiful and haunting.

The performances by the talented cast, particularly Huppert, are also outstanding, bringing a depth and complexity to the characters that is truly remarkable.

7. First Name: Carmen (1983)    

First Name: Carmen is a mesmerizing film that plays with time, reality, and identity.

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, the film follows the story of Carmen, a young woman who is involved in a botched bank robbery and ends up hiding out with her lover, Joseph, in a remote house.

As they wait for the right moment to escape, they start to question their own existence and the meaning of their relationship.

Godard direction is masterful, as he uses jump cuts, black and white photography, and experimental sound design to create a dreamlike atmosphere that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.

The film also features stunning performances from its cast, particularly from Maruschka Detmers, who brings a raw sensuality and vulnerability to her portrayal of Carmen.

However, some viewers may find the film’s nonlinear structure and philosophical musings to be challenging and hard to follow.

First Name: Carmen is not a traditional narrative film, but rather a meditation on the nature of cinema and the human experience.


First Name: Carmen
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Maruschka Detmers, Jacques Bonnaffé, Myriem Roussel (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Anne-Marie Miéville (Writer) - Alain Sarde (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

8. Every Man for Himself (1980)

Every Man for Himself is a film that delves deep into the complexities of human relationships, exploring the many ways in which we interact with one another.

Directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard, the film is a masterclass in cinematic storytelling, with stunning visuals and a thought-provoking script.

The film follows three characters – a television executive, a prostitute, and a filmmaker – as they navigate their way through the ups and downs of their respective lives.

Each character is flawed in their own way, and their interactions with one another are both fascinating and deeply moving.

What sets Every Man for Himself apart from other films of its time is the way in which it explores the themes of love, desire, and human connection.


Godard’s direction is impeccable, and the performances of the three lead actors are nothing short of outstanding.

Every Man for Himself (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc, Nathalie Baye (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Anne-Marie Miéville (Writer) - Alain Sarde (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)

9. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her directed by Jean-Luc Godard is a thought-provoking and visually stunning film that explores the intricacies of modern life in Paris.

The film follows a day in the life of a young woman who works as a prostitute to support her family. Godard uses a unique narrative structure to provide a social commentary on the consumerist culture of the time.

The film’s cinematography is breathtaking, with Godard employing a range of techniques to create a sense of disorientation and chaos.

The camera work is often handheld, adding to the sense of realism and immediacy.

The film’s use of sound is also impressive, with the ambient noise of the city playing a crucial role in creating the film’s atmosphere.

The performances in the film are superb, particularly that of Marina Vlady who plays the lead character.

Vlady brings a sense of vulnerability and strength to her role, capturing the complexities of her character with ease.

10. Masculin Féminin (1966)

Masculin Féminin is a timeless classic that explores the complexities of gender and relationships in a way that is both daring and thought-provoking.

Directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard, the film follows the lives of two young people, Paul and Madeleine, as they navigate the societal norms of the 1960s.

At its core, Masculin Féminin is a film about the clash between youth and authority, as well as the struggle to find one’s identity in a world that is constantly changing.


Godard expertly captures the spirit of the times, weaving in elements of pop culture and politics to create a vivid and engaging portrait of a generation in flux.

The film’s performances are outstanding, particularly Jean-Pierre Léaud as Paul, who delivers a nuanced and heartfelt portrayal of a young man struggling to reconcile his own desires with the expectations of those around him.

His chemistry with Chantal Goya’s Madeleine is palpable, and the two actors bring a raw vulnerability to their roles that is both captivating and moving.

Masculin Feminin (1966) (Criterion Collection) UK Only [Blu-ray] [2021]
  • The disk has English audio and subtitles.
  • English (Subtitle)

11. Nouvelle vague (1990)

“Nouvelle vague” is an ode to the French New Wave movement, a film that pays homage to the classics of the genre while also being a fresh and exciting take on it.

Director Jean-Luc Godard’s playful and experimental approach to storytelling is on full display here, with a fragmented narrative that jumps back and forth through time and space.

The film follows a group of young filmmakers as they try to make their mark on the world of cinema, navigating their relationships and artistic ambitions along the way.

The performances are natural and understated, with a notable turn from the always-excellent Alain Delon.

What really sets “Nouvelle vague” apart, though, is its use of color and composition.

Godard plays with light and shadow in a way that is both striking and poetic, creating images that linger in the mind long after the credits have rolled.

Jean-Luc Godard - Nouvelle Vague (1990 film) [SOUNDTRACK]
  • Audio CD – Audiobook
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/31/2000 (Publication Date) - Ecm Import (Publisher)

12. Band of Outsiders (1964)     

Band of Outsiders is a masterfully crafted film that effortlessly blends humor, romance, and suspense into a captivating narrative.

Directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard, the film follows the misadventures of three young Parisians as they plot a heist and navigate the complexities of their relationships with each other.

The film’s strength lies in its unique blend of genres, seamlessly shifting between moments of lighthearted comedy and tense suspense.

Godard’s signature style is on full display, with the film’s use of jump cuts, playful camera angles, and self-referential nods to the medium of film itself.

The performances by the three leads – Anna Karina, Sami Frey, and Claude Brasseur – are outstanding, each bringing their own distinct energy and personality to their roles.

Karina, in particular, shines as the film’s enigmatic love interest, effortlessly switching between flirtatious charm and icy detachment.

Band of Outsiders is a film that rewards multiple viewings, with its complex themes of youth, love, and crime revealing new layers with each viewing.


A must-watch for fans of French New Wave cinema, as well as anyone looking for a captivating and stylishly crafted film.

Band of Outsiders (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Danile Girard (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Dolores Hitchens (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

13. Origins of the 21st Century (2000)   

Origins of the 21st Century” thought-provoking documentary that offers a comprehensive analysis of the historical events that shaped the beginning of millennium.

The film uses a mix of archival footage, expert interviews, and insightful commentary to paint a vivid picture of the political, economic, and social forces that have defined the 21st century.

Director and writer, Angelo Sacerdote, takes the audience on a journey through the rise of globalization, the impact of technology, and the constant struggle for power between nations.

The film also delves into the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and how they affected the world’s political and social climate.

What sets “Origins of the 21st Century” apart is its ability to provide context and perspective on current events.

It offers a nuanced approach to complex issues and encourages the viewer to think critically about the world around them.

Great Lives from History: The 21st Century, 2000-2017 [Print Purchase includes Free Online Access]
  • Hardcover Book
  • Salem Press (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1000 Pages - 12/04/2017 (Publication Date) - Salem Press (Publisher)

14. Alphaville (1965)     

Alphaville is a stunning and thought-provoking film by the legendary French director Jean-Luc Godard.

Set in a dystopian future, the film follows the story of a secret agent, Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), who is sent to Alphaville, a city ruled by an all-powerful computer, to destroy it and free its citizens from their robotic existence.

The film’s black and white cinematography is breathtaking, with Godard using light and shadow to create a haunting and otherworldly atmosphere that perfectly captures the film’s futuristic setting.

The performances are equally impressive, with Constantine delivering a stoic and determined portrayal of Lemmy, and Anna Karina as Natacha von Braun, the daughter of Alphaville’s creator, providing a captivating and enigmatic performance.

But what sets Alphaville apart from other sci-fi films is its philosophical depth. Godard uses the film as a platform to explore themes such as love, free will, and the human condition.

The film’s dialogue is dense and poetic, with Godard using language to challenge our perceptions of reality and the nature of existence itself.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Jean-Luc Godard (Writer) - Andre Michelin (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

15. Le Petit Soldat (1963)            

Le Petit Soldat is a film that is both daring and thought-provoking.

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this political thriller tells the story of a French soldier who is sent to Algeria during the war of independence.

Though the film was initially banned in France, it has since become a classic of the French New Wave.

The film’s exploration of the ethics of political violence is both timely and timeless. The characters are complex and nuanced, and the dialogue is razor-sharp.

The cinematography is stunning, with Godard’s use of black and white lending the film a sense of gritty realism.

Le petit soldat (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

16. All the Boys Are Called Patrick (1959)

This charming French short film from director Jean-Luc Godard is a playful exploration of youthful romance and the complexities of relationships.

Shot in black and white, the film follows three young women – all named Charlotte – who fall for three different men – all named Patrick – at a party.

As they compete for the men’s attention, the film cleverly plays with ideas of identity and desire.

At just over 20 minutes, “All the Boys Are Called Patrick” is a brisk and breezy watch that showcases Godard’s early talent for crafting stylish and witty cinema.

The performances from the young cast are lively and engaging, and the film’s playful tone and jazzy score make it a delight to watch.

While the film may not have the depth or complexity of Godard’s later works, it’s a delightful snapshot of youthful energy and romantic longing that’s sure to charm fans of classic French cinema.

All in all, a fun and frothy gem that’s well worth seeking out.

17. Puissance de la parole (1988)             

Puissance de la parole is a French film that explores the power of speech and its impact on individuals and society.

Director Jean-Louis Comolli takes a philosophical approach to the subject matter, delving deep into the nuances of language and its transformative potential.

The film is divided into four parts, each examining a different aspect of speech: its ability to persuade, to create community, to express emotions, and to reveal truth.

Through interviews with linguists, philosophers, and ordinary people, Comolli presents a thought-provoking meditation on the role of language in our lives.

What makes Puissance de la parole truly remarkable is its ability to engage the viewer on multiple levels.

On one hand, it is an intellectual exercise, challenging us to consider the nature of language and its relationship to power.

On the other hand, it is an emotional journey, exploring the ways in which speech can connect us to others and ourselves.

Puissance de la parole (French Edition)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Poe, Edgar Allan (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 06/09/2015 (Publication Date) - Bibebook (Publisher)

18. A Woman Is a Woman (1961)

A playful and stylish tribute to classic Hollywood musicals A Woman Is a Woman is a delightful romp through the ups and downs of love and relationships.

Godard’s direction is full of whimsy and wit with vibrant colors and clever camera work that keeps the energy high throughout.

Anna Karina shines as the titular woman, bringing a sense of charm and complexity to her character that makes her captivating to watch.

The film’s use of music and dance is infectious, with catchy tunes and lively choreography that will have you tapping your toes long after the credits roll.

While the plot may be simple, the film’s execution is anything but, making for a joyful and entertaining viewing experience.

A must-see for fans of classic cinema and those looking for a bit of fun and romance in their movie-watching.

A Woman Is a Woman
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jean-Paul Belmondo (Actors)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (Director) - Jean-Luc Godard (Writer) - Georges de Beauregard (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)

19. A Flirtatious Woman (1955)

A Flirtatious Woman is a charming and witty French film that explores the ups and downs of love and relationships.

Directed by Jean Boyer, this romantic comedy follows the story of a young woman named Sophie (played by Dany Robin) who is torn between her two love interests: the handsome and wealthy Pierre (played by Georges Marchal) and the charming but poor Albert (played by Robert Lamoureux).

The film is set in the picturesque French countryside, and the stunning visuals beautifully capture the idyllic landscapes and the quaint village life.

The performances by the lead actors are outstanding, with Dany Robin stealing the show with her impeccable comic timing and effortless charm.

What makes A Flirtatious Woman stand out is its clever writing and sharp dialogue. The film explores the complexities of relationships and the emotional turmoil that comes with making tough choices.

The characters are well-developed, and their motivations are clear, making it easy for the audience to empathize with them.

20. A Story of Water (1961)

A Story of Water is a captivating and visually stunning film that tells the story of a young girl’s journey to find water for her drought-stricken village.

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, this French New Wave classic is a true masterpiece.

The film’s black and white cinematography is breathtaking, with each shot carefully composed to create a truly immersive experience.

The use of natural light and shadows adds a sense of realism to the film, making it feel like you’re right there with the characters.

The story itself is simple yet powerful, with themes of perseverance, resourcefulness, and community woven throughout.

The young girl’s determination to find water for her village is both inspiring and heartwarming, and the film’s ending is both satisfying and poignant.

21. Charlotte and Her Boyfriend (1958) 

Charlotte and Her Boyfriend is a charming and whimsical romantic comedy that will have you swooning from beginning to end.

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this film tells the story of Charlotte, a young woman who falls in love with a handsome man named Paul.

The chemistry between the two leads is palpable, and their playful banter will have you smiling ear to ear.

The film’s vibrant and colorful cinematography captures the beauty of Paris and adds to the overall dreamy ambiance of the story.

But what sets Charlotte and Her Boyfriend apart from other rom-coms is its clever use of meta storytelling.

The characters often break the fourth wall and comment on the film’s narrative and themes.

This self-awareness adds an extra layer of depth to the story and keeps the audience engaged.

Characteristics of Jean-Luc Godard Films

Jean-Luc Godard is one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema.

He has been called “the most radical director of all time,” and his films have been referred to as some of the greatest ever made.

His work has been featured in several retrospectives on his life and career by major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, and he has also been recognized with a number of awards over the years.

One common characteristic that Godard has shared with many other filmmakers is an interest in exploring political issues and beliefs through his films.

While his approach to these subjects differs from that of others, it’s clear that he cares deeply about what he sees as important issues as well as how they can be portrayed on screen.

Another aspect of Godard’s filmmaking style that has led him to be considered one of cinema’s great directors is his ability to create compelling characters who are complex and interesting while also being grounded in reality.

His characters are often people who struggle with personal issues or situations that make them feel alienated from society at large, which makes them relatable regardless

Best Jean-Luc Godard Films – Wrapping Up

In the end, Jean-Luc Godard’s films are about love, whether it is romantic or platonic.

His films are all about finding the one true love of your life.

Whether that be a person or an idea, he wants you to find the one thing that makes you happy and keep it forever.

Of course his films are also about sex, but they are more sexual than erotica.

He explores what sex means in our society and how it can be used as a tool to explore power dynamics between men and women, people of different races and religions, etc..

His films are also about death and mortality in general. Death is something that everyone fears, but we all tend to forget about as we get older because we no longer see it as a threat.


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