https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

A list of French movies

Bonjour à tous !

People often ask how to practice their French outside of Duolingo and are answered they should watch movies and TV shows. And then, you see many similar posts asking for movies to watch.

I thought a list of movies could be of help to you, classified depending on what you might be looking for.

I didn’t really write summaries, it would have been far too long and unreadable! But you can find everything you need on Wikipedia ;)

Without any further ado, let’s begin!

[Last edit 27.03.17]

La Nouvelle Vague (aka the-movies-you-need-to-watch-if-you-want-to-sound-cultured)

By Jean-Luc Godard (in chronological order) : A bout de souffle, Une femme est une femme, Vivre sa vie, Le Mépris, Pierrot le fou, Masculin féminin

By Jacques Rivette (idem) : Paris nous appartient, Suzanne Simonin: la religieuse de Diderot (that's only one movie), Céline et Julie vont en bateau, La Belle Noiseuse

By François Truffaut (idem): Tirez sur le pianiste, Fahrenheit 451 (in English, but one of his major movies), La mariée était en noir, L’enfant sauvage, Le Dernier métro

Please note I only listed the « major » movies, they directed many others that you may want to discover, and they are not the only artists of the Nouvelle Vague.

Before the Nouvelle Vague: the great classics (30’s-40’s-50’s) (aka the-movies-we-hear-about-in-school-books)

Marcel Carné: Le Quai des brumes, Hôtel du Nord, Le Jour se lève, Les Enfants du paradis, Les Portes de la nuit

René Clément: Jeux interdits

Jean Cocteau: La Belle et la Bête

Jean Renoir: La Grande Illusion (about WW1), La Bête humaine (adapted from the novel by Emile Zola, about railways and the people working there), La Règle du jeu (the “movie of movies” according to Truffaut)

Cult comedies (aka the-movies-you-need-to-at-least-pretend-you-like-if-you-do-not-want-to-face-social-death)

With Louis de Funès: L’Aile ou la Cuisse, Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob, La Folie des grandeurs, La Grande Vadrouille

With Pierre Richard : Le Grand Blond avec une chaussure noire / La Chèvre

With « la troupe du Splendid » : Les Bronzés / Les Bronzés font du ski / (Les Bronzés 3 – Amis pour la vie) / Le Père Noël est une ordure

Le Dîner de cons

Les Visiteurs

A little less known among the young generation :

Les Tontons flingueurs

Ne nous fâchons pas

La Septième Compagnie

(Very) Good, “serious” movies (aka if-you-want-some-drama)

Cyrano de Bergerac (you can find the entire movie on Youtube with English subtitles)

Ridicule (the French wit at its finest before the Revolution)

Adapted from Marcel Pagnol’s novels : Jean de Florette / Manon des sources (director : Claude Berri) ; La Gloire de mon père / Le Château de ma mère (Yves Robert)

L’Armée des ombres (about the Résistance during WW2)

La Haine

La Reine Margot

Tous les matins du monde (about classical music)

Comedies (aka the-ones-that-are-more-recent-than-the-cult-ones)

La Vie est un long fleuve tranquille

OSS 117 Le Caire nid d’espions / OSS 117 Rio ne répond plus

La Cité de la peur

Astérix et Obélix contre César / Astérix et Obélix Mission Cléopâtre / Astérix aux Jeux Olympiques / Astérix et Obélix : Au service de Sa Majesté

(The only one you absolutely need to watch is the second one. Huge classic.)

Camping 1 et 2

Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au bon Dieu? (A very traditional and racist couple has four daughters who all marry a man from a different origin)

Dany Boon’s movies: Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (most successful French movie, even more than "La Grande Vadrouille"), Rien à déclarer, Supercondriaque

Le Prénom (very successful, lots of twists)

Tanguy (Tanguy is now the name we use to designate a young adult who still lives with their parents during their loooong studies. Example of use: “C’est vraiment un Tanguy” = He’s a real Tanguy)

Baby-sitting 1&2

More recent movies

Intouchables

La Vie d’Adèle (not for everyone, some scenes are very explicit)

LOL

Les Choristes

Le premier jour du reste de ta vie

La Môme (English title: La Vie en Rose)

Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (great great great one)

Un Long Dimanche de fiançailles

Les Aventures extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec

Jeux d’enfants

Guillaume Canet’s movies : Ne le dis à personne, Les petits mouchoirs ; he played in Jappeloup, if you’re into horses.

Belle et Sébastien (the remake of a TV series of the 60’s; for kids)

Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table!

Prête-moi ta main (rom com)

L’Auberge espagnole / Les Poupées russes / Casse-tête chinois (the first one is a classic, about students going abroad to study ; the sequels are a bit less known)

L’Arnacœur (rom com)

De battre mon cœur s’est arrêté

Biopics

Coco avant Chanel

Gainsbourg

Yves Saint-Laurent

L'Odyssée (on Jacques Cousteau)

Animation

Ernest et Célestine

By Michel Ocelot : Kirikou et la sorcière / Kirikou et les bêtes sauvages / Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes ; Azur et Asmar

Persépolis (about Iran)

Minuscule (the series is available legally on their official YouTube channel; no dialogues but it's worth a watch)

Jack et la mécanique du cœur (adapted from a novel)

La Prophétie des grenouilles

Les Triplettes de Belleville (almost no dialogue)

Le Chat du rabbin

There ! :D This list is obviously not exhaustive but I hope it will be a good introduction. There may be some mistakes here and there, just, please, don’t hate me if there are some!

Don’t hesitate to add your personal favourites in the comments (or point out any mistakes). Feel free to save the list if you want to :)

October 8, 2014

54 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/jolynnedougherty

Love this list. Thanks for posting it. I looked twice and didn't see The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. That is one to watch if only for the songs which are still heard on easy listening radio stations in the US.

October 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

You're welcome! You're right, I didn't think of that one. Thanks for adding it :)

October 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/bellechere

One that always makes me laugh is "Astérix et Obélix Mission Cleopatre". Love Gérard Depardieu.

October 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

This is one of the best movies ever ^^

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MarshaClarke

On peux trouver quelque films ici , avec les sous-titres français

http://www.filmfra.com/tinyslider2/index.html

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PedroGBM

Very useful resource, thanks!

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Thsar999999

La Belle et la Bête is a fantastic movie! Good to see it on the list. I have to say that the ending was a bit disappointing though.

October 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hdcanis

You missed several of my favourite ones (not picking necessarily their most important ones but the ones I have seen and liked)

Nouvelle vague:

Jacques Demy: Les parapluies de Cherbourg, Les demoiselles de Rochefort, Peau d'ane (great-looking musicals and fairytales with self-conscious and dark undercurrents)

Alain Resnais: L' année dernière à Marienbad, Hiroshima mon amour (artsy art)

Louis Malle: Ascenseur pour l'échafaud, Zazie dans le métro (one noirish thriller, one absurd comedy, and Malle seems to have a long career with many appreciated titles...)

Also Les quatre cents coups is a must for Truffaut.

Before the Nouvelle vague:

Henri-Georges Clouzot: Le salaire de la peur, Quai des Orfèvres, Le corbeau, Les diaboliques (thrillers on par with good Hitchcock)

Max Ophuls: Madame de..., La ronde, Le plaisir, Letter From an Unknown Woman (last in English and done in his Hollywood period) (gorgeous epoch pieces, think Maupassant and Balzac)

New:

François Ozon: 5x2, Swimming Pool, 8 femmes, Le temps qui reste (artsy dramas or in case of 8 femmes, bizarre musical comedy).

And just as individual titles approved by yours truly: À la folie... pas du tout, L' Atalante, Le bal, Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie, Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut, Copie conforme, Delicatessen, Du rififi chez les hommes, Irma Vep, Léon, Les yeux sans visage.

Yeah, French have made a lot of great movies over the years, still plenty of titles I need to see...

October 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

Merci ! :)

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/FrilZftw

My personal favourites:

Irréversible and Le pacte des loups

October 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

I didn't know them, thanks for sharing!

October 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Owlish_Owl

Be careful with both of them, especially the first one — I was distressed for the whole week after it, and I was (and still am) extremely sorry that I saw it. Read about it beforehand.

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ginlegris

Me too. It's too horrible and disturbed.

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KentSeaton

Absolutely amazing list if you ask me. You have missed a couple really good recent ones though.

Delicatessen Micmacs à tire-larigot

Both of them are fantastic works done by Jean-Pierre Juenet.

Looks like there are a few new movies I must see. I just noticed, you have left out La Femme Nikita. That movie is what got me started in French to begin with.

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

Thanks! :D

And thanks for sharing! I heard about "Micmacs à Tire-larigot" when it came out, but not "Delicatessen". I'll check it out!

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Eichisan

I recently watched a beautiful short film called Le Ballon rouge (1956). It's about a boy who finds a red balloon that becomes his friend and follows him around. There is very little dialogue and it reminded me a little of Jacques Tati's films. Interestingly it is the only short film to win the Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay). You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhGLI7yyzYM

October 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Emilkka11

I love La Belle Noiseuse. As well as La Belle and La Bete. So much exciting goodness in those movies.

As for comedies, how about Jacques Tati movies? I've seen two with Monsieur Hulot, Trafic and Mon Oncle. Wonderfully funny and visually beautiful movies.

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

Didn't think about them, thanks for adding them to the list! :)

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/StephenL1

Don't forget all the great cinema of Quebec. C.R.A.Z.Y., Le Decline de L'Empire Americain, Monsieu Lazhare, Incendie, Jesus de Montreal and many more. I would argue that Quebec has a richer cinematic culture than all the rest of Canada, and I'm a film-loving anglophone living in Montreal.

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

I don't know the first thing about the cinema of Québec, that's why I decided not to talk about it at all. But I'm glad some people here know about it, it's always a plus! :)

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mayonegg

Great list! I just finished watching an amazing French television series "Les Revenants" on Netflix - at 8 hour-long episodes, it's a bit more of an investment than a movie, but completely worth it. The cinematography, the acting... it's all brilliant and I definitely recommend checking it out.

October 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JoyceA

Thank you so much for this wonderful post, lazouave! I’m definitely going to bookmark the page. Here are a few more to add to the mix:

Cousin Cousine (1975), which critic Roger Ebert called “the story of an impossible love affair, and the two people who make it gloriously possible.”

The films of Éric Rohmer including:

Pauline à la plage (1983)

L’Amour l’après-midi(1972)

Le Genou de Claire (1970)

Ma nuit chez Maud (1969)

To Truffaut’s films, I would also add: Jules et Jim (1961) as well as the Antoine Doinel cycle (Les aventures d’Antoine Doinel) including but not limited to:

Les quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows) (1958) — Already mentioned but word repeating.

Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses) (1968)

Domicile conjugal (Bed and Board) (1970)

L’Amour en fuite (Love on the Run) (1979)

And to the list of Louis Malle’s work:

1974 Lacombe, Lucien

Here are a couple of documentaries that are both fascinating (well, if you find their subjects interesting) and easier to follow than more ‘conversational’ films:

2010 Deux de la Vague (Two in the Wave ), Emmanuel Laurent’s film about Truffaut, Godard and the history of New Wave cinema.

2010 L’Amour fou, Pierre Thoretton’s look at the life of Yves Saint-Laurent and his relationship with Pierre Bergé.

As for tv, several seasons of this gritty police procedural are available on Netflix, at least in the US:

Spiral (Engrenages)

October 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

Thanks for the praise and for this nice addition to the list!

October 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JoyceA

De rien. Have another Lingot! (I added one to your original post too but forgot to tell you!)

October 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

That's nice :)

October 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hdcanis

I was thinking I should see Lacombe, Lucien anyway, but now there's even added incentive because the scriptwriter Patrick Modiano just won the Nobel literature prize :)

October 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JoyceA

Thanks, hdcanis. I didn't even make the connection between Patrick Modiano's Nobel prize and this incredible film. Yes, absolutely, you HAVE TO see Lacombe, Lucien.

October 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/daKanga

puppy7989 has just suggested to me to "Try http://www.filmfra.com - free French films with French subtitles. They aren't necessarily well-known films - you have to subscribe for access to the recent ones. Don't need a release pass either, just good internet and lots of data…"
He has also recommended "it's far better for your French to watch films with French subtitles. "
And if you are in Melbourne, Victoria Australia - check out Palace Cinema (Como), http://www.palacecinemas.com.au/ !
Thank you puppy7989 !

March 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

Thanks to both of you for adding this to the list!

March 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/daKanga

I have my 'learning loom' linked to this post of yours - and thus I am also adding anything relevant to this thread - related to movies / TV threads :) Thanks for the lingot lazouave. And ESPECIALLY - thanks for creating this fantastic thread - resource ! You can check out other links to all sorts of other things in my 'learning loom' here .

March 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

It was my pleasure to do so! I've bookmarked your "learning room" - it might be a useful link to give to some learners.

March 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/daKanga

How do you 'bookmark' things ?

March 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

I favorited the page in my browser (if you use Mozilla, you do that by clicking on the star right next to the address bar; on Chrome it mustn't be too different)

March 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/daKanga

thank you lazouava - Yes - finding things that you thought were interesting is sort of hard in duolingo, which is why I have created my learning loom - so I can re-locate things. Thanks for showing me another way I can keep track of my loom :)

March 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JeffHK

Thank you for the excellent list.

La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc by the Danish director Carl Dreyer is probably one of the greatest movies every made (for me it's in the same league as Tokyo Story by Ozu Yasujiro and Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love). Renee Falconetti's performance as Jeanne is shattering. It has been beautifully restored by Criterion with French intertitles and a fine score by Richard Einhorn. The French is fairly simple!

October 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/daKanga

Here is a thread discussion about TV series here

February 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/nimes.peaudange

wowww... i was looking exacty for a list like this! Merci :)

March 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

De rien ! Don't forget to read the comments, they're amazing!

March 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/nimes.peaudange

I'll have a look at everything for sure :)

March 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Medard

Merci beaucoup pour votre list!

Vous pouvez voire "Une vie de chat" http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/a_cat_in_paris/

Mes petits sœurs ont aime tres bien cette film.

Merci!

+linglot :)

October 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

Thanks for putting up this list! Have a lingot. Many of the films you mention sound great.

For Truffaut let me suggest Les quatre cent coups and L'argent de poche, although they at times may be a bit preachy. (I love L'argent de poche for some of the scenes.)

Manon des sources was originally a film of Pagnol's before he wrote the two novels from it, which were later refilmed, as you say. He was elected, when a filmmaker, to L'Académie française, so his films are probably excellent (I haven't seen them), and may be worth a mention here.

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

You're welcome :)

I didn't know Manon des sources was a movie first! The more you know...

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PedroGBM

Great job, thanks! Do you know where I can get French subtitles for these French movies? (:

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

After some digging, I have found this site that has French movies with French subtitles. The choice is not awesome but you have a few hours of French waiting for you!

I heard about opensubtitles.org although I have no idea how the quality is.

There's also subtitleseeker.com which seems quite good.

Another solution: Amazon or Netflix. The quality will be good (on the Internet, it's very common to find awful spelling mistakes in subtitles. I'm thinking about the subtitles for American shows made by fans) but it can quickly become expensive.

I hope this will help!

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PedroGBM

Merci beaucoup! Here is a lingot (:

October 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave

De rien! Merci pour le lingot :)

October 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/shoeymcmooey

Thanks!

October 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mrazec

Merci beaucoup!! Nous ne pouvons pas oublier: "Le Comte de Monte-Cristo." =D

October 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/agent001

I just saw today "Les Adoptes" beautiful movie. I highly recommend it ;)

October 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Rhondabook1

i just looked at et soudain tout le monde me manque- although i don't get what the title means it seems understandable...suppose I still have some work to do..but BELEIVE me ...i'm gettin there :P

October 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Rhondabook1

hey I get the title now (just finished watching this)- but I hate to be the one to tell a family member or ANYBODY for that matter that something like this is going to happen to them- but that's just me...and missing out on a important moment in the next generation (mine)even like the ending of this...I hate that too...If i could shed a tear or two I would...except I wouldn't want my father asking questions about my sex life when it comes time to meet the family... but it's something different from the lessons,right...I could kick myself for not doing this sooner!

October 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Rhondabook1

a bout pourtant...what does that mean? but for the most part the actin was pretty good and was able to follow along some...but that is literally word by word not actually getting the main pint of this...

October 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PinkyGreen

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the excellent comedy La Cage aux Folles.

Plotter summary from IMDB Two gay men living in St. Tropez have their lives turned upside down when the son of one of the men announces he is getting married. They try to conceal their lifestyle and their ownership of the drag club downstairs when the fiancée and her parents come for dinner.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077288/

October 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/PrincePeccary

This list is absolutely fantastic. Je vous adore; merci beaucoup !

December 3, 2018

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