Top 25 of the best French films to see absolutely once

A good number of French films are among the great classics. Among the best, here are the 25 French films that you absolutely must see.

Here are the 14 best French films of all time

Enjoy the quality and depth of French cinema through these 14 films among the best in France according to the public and critics. Many of them are rewarded in the Oscars. Apparently, drama and comedy are among the favorite themes.

See also

  1. Untouchables

Official poster of the French film “Intouchables”. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

The French film “Intouchables” released in 2011 is considered by critics as one of the greatest successes of French cinema of the last decade. Present on Netflix and having gathered nearly 20 million cinema admissions in France, it tells the story of the surprising and captivating friendship between Philippe, a rich aristocrat who has become a quadriplegic, and Driss, his home assistant. This last role is skilfully played by Omar Sy, who won the prize for best actor.

  1. polishes

Scene from the film “Polisse” directed by Maïwenn. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This detective film released in 2011 has millions of admissions in France. It was awarded two Césars as best French film and then the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. This rather moving film, but at the same time funny, retraces the difficult daily life of the police officers of the Brigade for the Protection of Minors.

  1. Mustang

Iconic scene from the French film “Mustang”. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

Very well received by the public and also by critics, the French film Mustang was nominated for an Oscar in 2016 in the category of best foreign language films. Released in 2015, this production enters the register of dramatic films and presents a particularly acclaimed cast.

  1. The pianist

Scene from the film “The Pianist” with Adrien Brody. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This historical drama released in 2002 is one of the best French films on the Second World War. Its director Roman Polanski, himself a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, was awarded a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002.

  1. Up to the hilt

Scene from the film “To the hilt”. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This French film, whose release date was in 2017, reveals the setbacks of a narcissistic pervert. This movie is the sequel to the hit French thriller “Before you lose everything”.It depicts domination, pressure, and various forms of manipulation. This best French drama film won four Césars and the Lumières Award for best first film for the director.

  1. men and gods

Scene from the French drama film “Of Gods and Men”. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This French drama film directed by Xavier Beauvois 2010 is inspired by a real event: the disappearance of eight Cistercian monks from Tibhirine in Algeria in 1996. Very well received by critics upon its release, this feature film will receive the grand jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

  1. Mammut

Mammuth a film by Gustave Kerven. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This French movie both poignant and sensitive follows the long journey of Serge Pilardosse (Gérard Depardieu), a 60-year-old retiree who discovers that his former employers have not declared him to Social Security. Riding his 1960s German motorcycle nicknamed “Mammuth”, he goes in search of all these payslips. It is the only French film selected at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival.

  1. 120 beats per minute

“120 Beats per Minute” a French film by Adèle Haenel. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This French film to critical and public success has won numerous awards, including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, the Queer Palm, the FIPRESCI Prize, the Audience Award at the Cabourg Festival, César for Best Actor in a Supporting Role , Best Male Newcomer, Best Editing and Best Soundtrack.

  1. Army of Shadows

The escape scene from the movie “Army of Shadows”. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This masterpiece of cinema is one of the French films whose success has not tarnished, even after years. Directed in 1969 by Jean Pierre Melville, it is inspired by the novel by Joseph Kessel which speaks of a secret resistance group during occupied France.

  1. Contempt

Contempt, a French film by Jean-Luc Godard

This work by Georges Godard released in 1963 was very well received by the public. Sublimated by Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli, this French film depicts the misunderstandings and heartbreaks that can destroy a couple. This film adaptation of Alberto Moravia’s novel written in 1954 has been nominated for the Oscars several times.

  1. The Artist

The Artist with iconic actor Jean Dujardin. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

It is thanks to this silent film that Jean du Jardin won the prize for best French actor in 2011. “The Artist” pays tribute to the great Hollywood classics of the 1920s and won 105 awards for 183 nominations.

  1. The Life of Adele

Scene from the French film “La vie d’Adèle” with the two main actresses, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and released in 2014, “La vie d’Adèle” tells the passionate romance between two young girls, masterfully interpreted by Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. This French film is considered by the BBC as one of the 100 greatest films of the 21st century.

  1. a prophet

A prophet film by Jacques Audiard. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This winner of the Grand Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival is a shocking film that brings to light the horror of prisons in France. Directed by Jean Jacques Audiard, it recounts the experience of Tahar Rahim, a young prisoner who tries to mark his “territory” in a ruthless prison world. This police drama is rewarded by 9 Césars, including that of the best film.

  1. Hatred

Poster of the French film “La Haine” with the three main actors. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

Inspired by a real event that marked the forces of French order in the 90s, this film tells the revolt of a gang of suburban youths after the aggression of a man in their clan by a policeman. It paints a poignant portrait of a neglected and bitter suburb. This success of French cinema won the Prize for directing at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995 and the César for best film.

Top 11 of the best French comedies

Discover below the best comedies that have marked French cinema:

  1. The big mop

Iconic scene from the movie “La Grande Vadrouille”. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

The story takes place during the Second G-World. It stars Louis de Funès and Jean Bourvil, a brilliant duo which conquered more than 17 million spectators in France when it was released in 1966. This French film is among the best on the themes of history and also a comedy emblematic in French cinema.

  1. Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra

Poster of the French comedy “Asterix Mission Cleopatra”. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This is a hilarious adaptation of the Asterix and Obelix comic book. This action and comedy film produced by Alain Chabat and released in 2002 was a great success in France. Featuring great actors like Jamel Debbouze and Gérard Depardieu, this film tells the love story between César and Cléopâtre.

  1. Welcome to the Ch’tis

Scene from the French film “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” with Kad Merad, Dany Boon and Zoé Félix. Credit: Allociné film distributor.

This great success of French cinema was directed by Dany Boon in 2008. Among the main actors, we find of course Dany Boon alongside Kad Merad and Zoé Félix. This comedy surpassed all predictions by becoming number two just after Titanic in the French cinema box office, to be seen on Netflix.

  1. the fabulous destiny of Amelie Poulain

Scene from the hit French film ‘The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain’ starring Audrey Tautou. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This romantic comedy written by Jean Claude Jeunet was produced in France and Germany. It follows the incredible adventure of the sparkling Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou). As one of the best French films, it is one of the biggest commercial cinema successes worldwide. This French film will also receive thirteen nominations for the Césars and five for the Oscars.

  1. What have we done to God?

Official poster of the French film “What have we done to God?” Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This French romantic comedy film directed by Jean Philippe de Chauveron treats with humor and delicacy the clichés of racism and marriage between people of different religious faiths and cultures. Chantal Lauby and Christian Clavier are among the main actors. This film brought together more than 12 million spectators in cinemas in France.

  1. goodbye up there

Scene from the French film ‘Goodbye up there’. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This is a French comedy-drama film adapted from the eponymous book by Pierre Lemaitre and directed by Albert Dupontel in 2017. Caricaturing the darkness of war in an absurd comedy, this film has been a great success for years.

  1. OSS 117

OSS 117 with Jean Dujardin. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This spy film released on January 15, 2009 is a French comedy. It follows the crazy adventure of OSS 117, an agent of the French intelligence service sent to Rio to find a formidable microfilm that could annihilate France. This detective comedy directed by Jean Michel Hazanavicius scraped positive reviews.

  1. Santa Clause is garbage

Emblematic scene from the film “Santa Claus is trash” with Gérard Jugnot and Christian Clavier

This film is one of the successes of French cinema that propelled actors like Anemone, Marie-Anne Chazel and Pierre Christian Clavier to the top. This burlesque comedy by Jean Marie Poiré was released in 1982. This film is one of the best Christmas films to watch with the family.

  1. The Four Hundred Blows

The Four Hundred Blows, a French film by François Truffaut. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This French dramatic comedy released in 1959 was the film that led the young director François Truffaut to success. In 99 minutes, it tells the story of Antoine Doinel, a young delinquent incarcerated in a penitentiary for minors in Paris. A poignant French film that must be seen at least once in life.

  1. Visitors

The Visitors, an iconic French film. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

Another success for the director Jean Marie Poiré in 1993. “The Visitors” is a comedy about time travel. It is among the 5 French films having garnered the most admissions.

  1. The City of Fear

Scene from the film “The City of Fear” with the two main actors. Credit: Allociné Film Distributor

This French movie product by Chantal Lauby with actors Alain Chabat, Dominique Farrugia and Alain Berbéri is a detective comedy revived in 2019 after its successful first release in 1994. It is the story of a young cinema press officer who takes advantage of tragic events orchestrated by a serial killer in on the run to promote his film at the Cannes Film Festival. This film is ranked number 5 among the best French comedies.

We would love to give thanks to the author of this article for this incredible material

Top 25 of the best French films to see absolutely once