The Greatest French Films Ever – Part 1

It does not matter what genre of film you prefer, French Cinema has it all covered. Whether your favorite film is a creepy horror movie or something more along the lines of Nouvelle Vague, you are certain to find something to fit the bill in this blog about the greatest French films ever. The French are passionate about cinema, and particularly in Paris where going to the cinema is a favorite pastime. Hanging out in a swish cinema bar talking about the movie is all part of the fun, and to add to all the excitement is the fact that Paris is one of the world’s most used locations to shoot movies. Here is our choice of some of the very best French films.

Les Enfants du Paradis

This 1940s film is based around the bestselling romance by Marcel Carne, this is the French version of Gone with the Wind. There is an epic battle for the affection of the heroine by four suitors. The heroine turns out to be an ice maiden and in the movie her eyes are almost permanently hidden by a beam of light. The film is witty due to the excellent script by Jacques Prevert, and the set design can only be described as sumptuous.


An incredible movie that had success all over the world. It is the ultimate feel-good romance and has provided a platform for Audrey Tautou to become famous. It was also a kind of one-off movie that makes this film so precious to the audience. The audience find themselves swept off in a tsunami of oddball observations and quite humorous situations, perhaps the only negative comments that can be leveled at this movie is that it is a little too long and there is too much sugar added to the whole thing.


A fairly recent film that was released in 2012 that was directed by the talented duo Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache. The film is a true-life drama and was an instant French hit at the box-office. The story is a heart-tugging explosion of emotions as a wealthy man is left paralyzed from the neck down after an accident. The search for a full-time career for Philippe brings him into contact with a rather shady character named Driss, who is a crafty man of dubious personality. The development of their relationship is the core theme to the film which is engaging and humorous.


In this surreal film from 1967, Paris is hardly recognizable. It is a highly enjoyable slice of surrealism that the audience has to follow closely to understand, and the reappearance throughout the film of a brood of American matrons highlights this.

The cinematography is of high quality with sensational city shots taken at absurd angles, so that reflections on glass and chrome add an extra dimension to the set. Although the movie is shot in full color, because of the filming techniques it almost looks like monochrome. The lack of dialogue also adds an eclectic element to this movie which is thoroughly enjoyable. We continue to take our theater seats in part two of this blog to look at even more great French films.