France is known for its diverse and quality cinema. I wrote this list of famous French movies that you should see at least once to discover the French cinematographic richness. If you don’t speak French, don’t worry! You can find these top French movies with subtitles. Ready to discover French culture via your TV?
Le diner de cons (The dinner game) – 1998
Director: Francis Veber
Pierre organizes a “diner de cons” each week, where everyone must come with a silly person chosen at random. At the end of the meal, the most stupid person is chosen. This movie may seem dumb at first, but the film is actually really hilarious and the writing and screenplay are awesome. If you have never seen a French film, start with this one because it is easy to follow even if you don’t speak French. Adapted from a play, it has more than 9 million cinema entries in France.
Discover it here.
Kirikou et la sorcière (Kirikou and the Sorceress) – 1998
Director: Michel Ocelot
A typical French cartoon, which all French children have seen. It is set in an African village, starting from the birth of a baby like no other. The graphics are original and colourful and the story is catchy. The little boy is a model of courage and hope. It’s a perfect movie to watch with your family, to share an enriching and inspiring moment.
Watch it here.
Le fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain (Amélie) – 2001
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Story of Amelie and her life in Paris in the Montmartre district. After an unexpected discovery, she decides to make others happy. During her adventures, she is going to meet love. This famous French movie received numerous awards and nominations: 13 at the Cesars and 5 at the Oscars. Let yourself embark on the Parisian adventures of Amelie and enjoy the little things in life again …
99 Francs – 2007
Director: Jan Kounen
An atypical and satirical film. We follow Octave, an ad designer in a Parisian agency. Life of debauchery, irresponsible and cynical, this film is a satire and insight into the world of advertisement. You have to see this movie which criticizes consumerism based on an original and catchy story. The film will certainly make you think and see things differently.
Find it here.
La vie d’Adèle (Blue Is the Warmest Colour) – 2013
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
A wonderful love story between Adele and Emma, who, as soon as they meet will grow, find and lose each other while evolving through the trials of life. The movie won the “Palme d’Or” at the 2013 Cannes festival. A love story like no other that you will not forget.
Discover it here.
La Grande Vadrouille (The Great Stroll) – 1966
Director: Gérard Oury
A legendary and classic film of French cinema. I watched it with my parents who introduced me to French films of their generation and it became one of my favourite films. Louis de Funes and Bourvil are hilarious and extremely talented actors, they’re huge stars in France. We follow them as they try to reach the conflict-free zone during the Second World War. To date, this movie is the third most seen French film in France, after “Welcome to the Sticks” “and” Untouchable”.
Watch it here.
Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks) – 2008
Director: Dany Boon
A comedy that marked French cinema. It is the French film with the best result at the national box office. This is the story of Philippe, director of a post agency in the south of France who is transferred to the north of France. He will then discover the differences between these two regions and try to adapt to his new life. This movie will also take you on a journey through the south and north of France, two different but attractive regions. Humour, funny and engaging story, atypical sets, this film will make you have a great time!
Buy it here.
Asterix et Obelix Mission Cleopatre (Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra) – 2002
Director: Alain Chabat
This is the French movie that I have seen the most times. It is a classic of French cinema and all French people know the hilarious lines. Seriously, the humour in this film is awesome, I think I laugh every 5 minutes. I remember watching it over and over with my little sister. Basically we follow the adventures of Asterix and Obelix (famous characters from a French comic book) in Egypt, where they have to help Numerobis to build a palace for Cleopatra in a short time. The situations are hilarious and the actors are perfect.
Find it here!
Intouchables (Untouchable) – 2011
Director: Olivier Nakache
Ok, this movie, one of the best I have ever seen !! It is undoubtedly one of the most famous French films of the 2000s. The Americans even wanted to shoot their own version of this film. It is the touching, funny and captivating story of a poor young man who will become the caregiver of a rich man. A unique friendship will form between the two characters. The music, the locations, the humour and the story: everything is perfect in this film.
Don’t miss it.
L’Arnacoeur (Heartbreaker) – 2010
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
This French film had great success at the box office. It’s an original romantic comedy: the two main characters run a business where they have to break up romantic relationships. But with one of their clients, it will not go as planned …
Here’s the link.
Le premier jour du reste de ta vie (The First Day of the Rest of Your Life) – 2008
Director: Rémi Bezançon
You know these films that mark and resonate with you? This film is one of them for me. I still remember the first time I saw it. I find it super realistic and touching, we get attached to the characters and what they are going through. We are totally immersed in the history of this French family, in particular thanks to the superb execution of the actors.
Find it here.
Le renard et l’enfant (The Fox & the Child) – 2007
Director: Luc Jacquet
It is the story of a friendship between a little girl and a fox. The landscapes are magnificent and the scenes very moving. Perfect to watch with the family. I cried the first time I watched it so prepare the tissues!
Buy it here.
Here is my list of famous French movies. As a French woman, I can tell you that all French people have seen these movies at least once! They are all of high quality and will make you laugh, think or cry! Or all three.
If you’re interested in discovering even more famous French movies, check out this great list of Best French Movies of All Time.