French Films from the Perspective of a Brit who likes French Cinema


The French (Auguste and Louis Lumière) invented the cinema as we know it today, back in 1896. Our word cinema (movie theatre in the U.S and Canada) comes from the French word ciné. The world's first motion picture shot with the first cine camera was the Lumière brothers 1895 short film L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat. It only took a year for the Lumière brothers to open multiple motion picture theaters across Europe and the U.S. From 1895 to the end of the 1940s, the 35mm celluloid cine camera (using cellulose nitrate and cellulose acetate film base) was the only way to record motion pictures until recording motion picture on magnetic tapes i.e. videotape magnetic tape recording or VTR arrived, when Ampex produced the 1956 Ampex VRX-1000 system, but prototype testing began in the early 1950s. This Ampex VRX-1000 was so massive and bulky that it could not be used by TV stations outside the studio. Instead TV stations shot any footage outside the studio using 35mm celluloid cine cameras. Next a machime called a Telecine was used to allow the footage from the 35mm celluloid cine cameras to be broadcast on TV for consumers to watch. Telecined footage thus allowed TV stations to then use the Ampex systems to record and re-broadcast TV programmes and distribute recordings to other TV stations which all owned Amptex systems.

The 1956 Ampex VRX-1000 system was the forerunner of Japan's 1971 Sony U-matic system (mostly for TV stations, professionals, businesses and universities) and 1975 Sony Beta Max (mostly for home consumers) which both used magnetic tapes built inside cassettes, i.e. videocassettes for recording videos. The two other major companies that introduced videocassettes and home videocassette recorders or VCR was the Dutch firm Philips and the Japanese firm JVC which introduced the famous VHS videocassette recording in 1976. From the 1976 to the 1980s, three very different types of videocassettes emerged: JVC VHS videocassette, Sony Beta Max videocassette and Phillips VCR videocassette. But consumers liked VHS more and thus JVC VHS videocassette won the battle and became the de facto videocassette format. Sony and Phillips then decided to abandon their own formats and stick to making VHS videocassettes.

Magnetic tape recording recording with a camcorder for consumers is not new though. Back in August 1966 Sony introduced the then very expensive CV-2000 VTR camcorder and in 1967 Sony introduced the more portable DV-2400 Portapak camcorder. But these camcorders were expensive (used only by professionals) and like the Ampex systems used magnetic tapes (i.e. VTR so were called VTR recorders), instead of videocassettes, which I earlier pointed out earlier on only arrived in 1971 with the Sony U-matic and 1975 Sony Beta Max. VTR was much bulky than videocassettes. There was a Sony Portapak camcorder that was made in 1972 that used Sony U-matic videocassettes but it was too expensive for the consumer back then and only used by professionals and TV stations.

Because videocassette recording with a camcorder was still a very expensive consumer item for most of the 1970s, videocassette recording for the consumer was confined to recording only at home for TV recording. If you wanted to record a home movie of a birthday party, wedding party or a holiday abroad, most consumers still used the 1960s top favourite item: the Super 8mm celluloid cine camera introduced in 1965 by Kodak. But Super 8mm footage could not be viewed on a TV (the Telecine was not a consumer item, and too expensive and bulky), that had to wait until the 1980s arrived.

Videocassette recording for the consumer with a truly portable camcorder was finally possible with the 1982 Sony Betacam camcorder, 1983 Sony Betamovie BMC-110 camcorder and 1984 JVC GR-C1 camcorder. In 1985 Sony introduced the famous and much smaller Sony Handycam which used 8mm Video8 videocassettes. Sony Hi8 videocassette camcorders and JVC S VHS-C camcorders arrived in 1988.

While the 1980s and early 1990s soon saw VHS videocassette recording with camcorders soon overtake Super 8mm cine cameras for consumers, the late 1990s and start of the 2000s saw introduction of first MiniDv camcorders, Digital8 videocassette camcorders, DVD camcorders and digital video recording camcorders on media such as hard drives and then later solid state or flash drive recording on memory cards. Today we still record motion picture on 35mm film for Hollywood cinema releases, using cellulose triacetate or the more popular Polyester better known as ESTAR as the film base. Home videos today are normally shot using digital camcorders on memory cards, smartphones, tablets, flash drives, hard drives, DVDs, Blu-Ray etc.

1895 is the year it all started, however while Auguste and Louis Lumière are often credited as inventing the first motion picture or cine camera back in 1895, several inventors had made similar inventions before 1895. The cine camera was an accumulation of ideas, tests and prototypes which began in the 1880s as shown below.

What Auguste and Louis Lumière however invented was a portable motion-picture camera, film processing unit and projector (called the Cinematographe), three functions covered in one invention. The final prototype Cinematographe unit, shot, processed (i.e. printed on 35mm film roll) and then projected film at 16 frames per second, making it a technological marvel at the time. So if you purchased this invention, you could start shooting, processing and viewing movies rightaway, with no need for any more equipment.

Three inventors who produced either motion-picture camera or film processing unit or projector, but not all three on one unit, as the Lumière brothers had done, were:

Thomas Edison and Laurie Dickson invented only the cine camera part, called Kinetographic Camera, 4 years earlier before the Lumière brothers in 1891, but it lacked a film processing unit and projector. But later in 1896, inspired by the Lumière brothers 1895 invention, Edison finally came up with the Vitascope projector to view footage made by the Kinetographic Camera. Ironic but the demonstration of Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope Camera, first shown to the public in 1893 was what inspired the Lumière brothers in the first place!!! One nice Merry-go-round.

Kazimierz Proszynski invented motion-picture camera and a projector in one device called The Pleograph in 1894, but with no film processing unit it did not fare well commercially as the Lumière brothers invention.

In 1889 George Eastman (Kodak) invented a film processing unit only by way of inventing the first commercial celluloid (nitate-based) 35mm movie film. Thomas Edison and Laurie Dickson used this film invention for thier 1891 Kinetographic Camera. Because the nitrate in early celluloid films easily caught fire, Kodak invented the acetate-based celluloid, such as cellulose acetate film in the 1930s. In 1960 Kodak introduced the popular Polyester film better known as ESTAR. It is still the number one film base for all 35 mm modern movies today, using 35 mm cine cameras such as the Panavision Panaflex. Since 2003, some Hollywood directors and studios such as Paramount, prefer to shoot cinema movies with powerful digital 35mm cine cameras such as Arri Alexa, Red One or Panavision Genesis digital cine cameras. Paramount actually announced that from 2015 it will only release films on digital media and no longer on 35mm Polyester film. Anchorman 2 was Paramount's final release on 35mm film. All new films produced and distributed only in digital format need special expensive $70,000 plus digital projection systems to show the film at movie theatres (cinemas). Wolf of Wall Street was first film made digitally and distributed only in digital format. Previously digital made films were converted to 35mm film before distribution.

This is the Sony F55 35mm cine camera using Panavision technology (i.e. patents), it can shoot cutting-edge 4K videos for cinema releases.

This is the famous Panavision Genesis, the world's first digital 35mm cine camera. It does not use Polyester film but shoots the 4K video on high capacity digital storage known as Panavision SSR-1 Solid State Recorder.

Footage from digital 35mm cine camera makes it easy to edit videos with tools such as Avid Media Composer; Autodesk's Smoke (formerly Discreet Smoke), MotionBuilder, 3DS Max and Maya; Disney's Pixar; Apple's Final Cut Pro X; or Adobe's Premiere Pro CC; today's top professional movie editing software and very expensive too! Apparently Autodesk's numerous video editing and post-production software products always seem to win Hollwood's Oscar Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects year after year!

As noted earlier on, 1895 was the year it all started. While Auguste and Louis Lumière are often credited as inventing the first motion picture or cine camera back in 1895, several inventors had made similar inventions before 1895. The cine camera was an accumulation of ideas, tests and prototypes which began in the 1880s.

Then there is the small issue of sound. Because of the separate media used to record sound from the 1890s (first on Edison's wax cylinder phonograph and later on Berliner's famous 1901 gramophone disks) was different from the media used to record motion (i.e. 35mm celluloid), the early films were silent movies, but in the 1930s, a way was discovered to record sound on celluloid film. The popular way of recording analogue video on magnetic tape, invented in the 1950s by Ampex recorded sound as well and in much better quality stereo than the mono sound recorded for celluloid film. All that changed, when the Dolby Sound system (stereo sound) finally arrived (invented by a famous Ampex employee named Ray Dolby) for cinema releases in 1977. Star Wars was the first film recorded with Dolby Stereo for cinema or Dolby 2.1, it caused a sensation among the viewers because the film featured lots of realistic and awesome space gun sounds and blasts, never heard before at cinemas. Surround Sound for films arrived with Dolby Digital 5.1 in 1991 for the film Batman Returns . Meanwhile DTS Surround Sound arrived in 1993 for the film Jurassic Park . The current Dolby HD Surround Sound 7.1 made its debut in 2010 with Toy Story 3.

In the early 1900s, Paris-based Pathé became the world's largest film equipment and production company, today it is also a big cinema company. Meanwhile Gaumont, also a cinema company today, is the first and oldest continuously operating film company in the world.

The world’s first film poster was for the 1896 L'Arroseur arrosé, the first to use film to portray a fictional story. Earlier in 1826, the French (via Nicéphore Niépce) had also invented photography, with the first camera. There is no denying French pioneering contribution in visual arts.


French, British and German films (the memorable Lives of Others) offer a cool refreshing alternative to US and Hollywood movies. Meanwhile French films (films made in France or by French directors in Hollywood like Luc Besson the most Hollywood of French filmmakers) offer a different cultural feel and exhilaration from British or German films.  The French even have their own Brad Pitt / Angelina Jolie acting couple in the form of Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci.


Watching French Films in the U.K.


There are 5 main ways to enjoy French films in the U.K.


1) Most U.K. cinemas like the Odeon, CineWorld and Vue show major French films every now and then. Past popular French films shown in British cinemas include the two Mesrine films (2008, with Vincent Cassel, about a French bank robber); À bout portent or Point Blank (2010) and L`immortel or 22 Bullets (2010, with Jean Reno, about a French crime family). In most cases films are either dubbed in English or are in French with English subtitles.  If you are visiting France, remember that many cinemas over there such as Garmont, Pathé, and UGC etc offer films either dubbed in English or are in French with English subtitles.


2)  British subscribers of Sky satellite TV or Virgin Media cable TV, have their own very French movie channel called Cinemoi (Sky channel 338 or Virgin Media channel 445). It offers a mixture of classic (1960s, 1970s, 1980s) and recent French movies. 
The U.S. website of the movie channel (available on Verizon FiOS broadband TV network, channel 236) is at USA Version of CineMoi. Viewers in the U.K. can subscribe to Cinemoi Verizon FiOS over the Internet, because Sky and Virgin Media access to Cinemoi ended in 2013 after contract disputes. In most cases the French films on Cinemoi are either dubbed in English or are in French with English subtitles.

British subscribers of Sky satellite TV or Virgin Media cable TV also get one standard French TV channel TV5 Monde, which shows French movies, (as well as documentaries and hourly 30 minutes TF1 news broadcasts) every now and then, mostly only in French, but many are now with English subtitles. British satellite TV viewers with a bigger satellite dish (100 cm and aimed at Astra 1H and 2C at 19.2 degrees East) can view hundreds of standard French channels like TF1, France 2 etc which show French movies every now and the premium movie channels like those on CanalSat’s Pack Cinéma package but only in French!


3) British TV channels such as Film 4, and BBC Three sometimes show French films every now and then, but not on a regular basis. In most cases films are either dubbed in English or are in French with English subtitles.


4) Aside from British cinemas, the only other place to watch new French films every week in London is at the cinema auditorium (Ciné lumière) at the French Institute or Institut français.     

The French Institute is also the place to learn French at regular language classes, watch French TV such as TF1 programmes, read or borrow French books, magazines in the library or eat French croissants and other food or drinks in a restaurant in the building. Institut français is based in west London at 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT. The films are either dubbed in English or are in French with English subtitles.


5) Finally you can pop over to your local Blockbusters or subscribe to Netflix, LoveFilm, iTunes, Hulu, Blinkbox etc to watch your own hand-picked French film. One of the best guides for choosing a French film is the website Films de France, offering over 5000 French film reviews, synopses and previews in many categories. It has an English section.


If you understand basic French as I do, why not visit the French equivalent of Netflix and Blockbuster combined called Allocine at


French films IMHO are better divided into the classics of 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and the contemporary French films from the 1990s.


The French film classics of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, began with the legendary French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague). It was start of the French post-war 1960s cinema avant-garde led by directors such as Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Jean-Pierre Melville, François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard and were initially dominated by a small circle of leading prominent French actors and actresses, most notably Jean-Paul Belmondo (Breathless or À bout de souffle;); Jean Gabin (Les Clan Sicilian); Simone Signoret (Le Chat); Yves Montand (Le Cercle Rouge); Alain Delon (Is Paris Burning? or Paris brûle-t-il?); Catherine Denueve (Belle de jour); Michel Piccoli (Viva La Vie); Jean-Louis Tringtignant (Boulevard des Assassins), Stéphane Audran (Les Biches) Nathalie Baye (La Balance); Claude Brasseur (Dancing Machine); Brigitte Bardot (Viva Maria!); Anne Girardot, Mireille Darc (Les Seines de Glace) and of course the versatile Gérard Depardieu (Trop Belle Pour toi).


British actresses Jacqueline Bisset, Charlotte Rampling, Jane Birkin and Kristin Scott Thomas have done so many French films alongside English films. They are all fluent in French. Jacqueline Bisset actually received a Legion d'honneur ( the highest decoration in France, much like the Queen's Birthday Honours in Britain such as OBE, CBE). The contemporary French films from the 1990s began with the arrival of new major faces on French cinema, some came after several supporting earlier roles in the 1980s, and others did their film debuts. These French actors and actresses did some English-speaking films from the U.S. and U.K. and also starred in many films occasionally imitating Hollywood thriller, comedy and drama genres, such as: Roschdy Zem (seen in the French films 36, le Petit Lieutenant and Point Blank), starred in the English film Days of Glory; Jean Reno (Nikita. He appeared in Godzilla and Ronin movies); Yvan Attal (Le Serpent. He appeared as a taxi driver in Rush Hour 3 movie); Tchéky Karyo (Kiss of the Dragon); Daniel Auteuil (Caché or Hidden); Vincent Cassel  (Le apartment); Gérard Lanvin (À bout portent), David Belle (District 13); Vahina Giocante (Secret Defense); Ludivine Sagnier (Meserine); Juliette Binoche (Chocolat); Isabelle Adjani (Subway); Charlotte Gainsbourg (Lemming) and Audrey Tautou (Amelie).


I have built an impressive collection of almost over 428 French films. One amusing thing about French films, is the way a title of a film made in French is given English title and vice versa. For instance for some reason, the 2010 French movie L`immortel is called 22 Bullets for the English version! Likewise the 1986 French film and DVD in a FNAC store in Paris or elsewhere in France known as 37º2 le matin, is called Betty Blue in American and Britsh versions of the DVD on Amazon. How come? Who decides on the hilarious title translations? Why not just give a direct French translation of the title in English? ......Anyways selections from my French film library all-time favourites with some annotations are:


2 Days in New York 2012. Julie Delpy’s sequel to 2 Days in Paris. Waiting for the Blu Ray to be released.

Le Lyonnais 2011.   Gérard Lanvin and Tchéky Karyo lead a good cast of actors and actresses in an awesome cop film about a police officer in Lyon, who chases, tracks down and finally brings to justice France's most notorious armed robber of 1970s France. Based on real life story of infamous armed robber Edmond Vidal, aka Momon and his hench men..

À bout portent (Point Blank) 2010. A surprise hit at the U.K. cinema with Gérard Lanvin and Roschdy Zem.

L`immortel (22 Bullets) 2010. Jean Reno as a decorated police officer seeking revenge.

Le premier circle (Inside Ring) 2009. Jean Reno plays the head of a French Mafia family.

RAPT 2009. Yvan Attal plays a kidnapped posh company boss held for a 50 million Euro ransom.

From Paris with Love 2010. John Travolta stars in this Luc Besson hit Paris thriller.

Secret Defense 2008. One of the best recent French spy films of the 2000s with Gérard Lanvin.

District 13 (Banlieue 13) Ultimatum 2009. A likeable French hit sequel with lots of Parkour scenes. I have no idea why both District 13 filmms keep getting compared with the Thai box office smash films: Ong-Bak 1, 2, 3. with Tony Jaa. I guess both the French and Thai films used little CGI, yet both had so many real-life high risk fight, jump, crash, somersault, dive and chase scenes etc, that could have led to very serious injuries. Hollywood normally and rightly uses CGI technology for high risk action footage. In 2013 David Belle who starred in the two exciting District 13 films also starred in a remake tiled Brick Mansions with Paul Walker. The plot about aiming a nuke at a poor city district in the U.S. is similar.

Meserine 2009. Vincent Cassel’s best biopic.

Asterix at the Olympics 2008. Alain Delon played Asterix in previous sequels of this film series.

L'empreinte de l'ange (Angel of mine) 2008. A drama about a child raised by mistake by a couple.

Pour Elle (Anything for Her) 2008. Very entertaining film about the desperate efforts of a couple to escape from cops after being wrongly accused of murder, starring Vincent Lindon, Diane Kruger and Lancelot Roch. Hollywood is famous for doing remakes of French films. This film was remade in Hollywood as the Russell Crowe’s film, The Next Three Days. The film Brick Mansions with Paul Walker was a remake of the hit French film District 13. In this film which features famous sport invented by the French (Parkour), the same actor in District 13 David Belle also stars in Brick Mansions. Another notable remake was the film French thriller Anthony Zimmer, remade as The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. The most famous remake was for the 1955 classic crime of passion film Les Diaboliques which starred Simone Signoret. It was remade in 1996 with the same title name with Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani. The 1960 hit film Breathless was remade in the 1983 under the same title name with Richard Gere and young French actress Valérie Kaprisky.

Un Secret 2008. A 15-year-old boy reveals a terrible family secret.

A Few Days in September 2007.

2 Days in Paris 2007. Julie Delpy’s drama about life in Paris with an American boyfriend and her parents.

Paris Je taime (I Love Paris) 2007. 18 short films about life in Paris with French and American stars..

Un homme perdu (A Lost Man) 2007.

Chrysalis 2007. A French science fiction thriller.

Romon de Gare 2007. Strange thriller with Dominique Pinon. Appeared in the classic French film Diva.

La Vien en Rose 2007.

Persepolis 2007. Animation drama with voice-overs by French actors and actresses.

36 2007. Gérard Depardieu in a rather violent but OK cop thriller. The number 36 refers to the French equivalent of Scotland Yard in London. The full address in Paris of the French National Police Headquarters is 36 Quai des Orfèvres (located on the Île de la Cité, one of two natural islands on the Seine river in central Paris. It is adjacent to the Palais de Justice building, the French Supreme Court). Local French media and local French citizens simply call the address 36! (pronounced trente six). The building has inspired many authors and filmmakers, most notably Belgian novelist Georges Simenon, whose fictitious inspector Jules Maigret appeared in over 100 detective novels and short stories cherished in France and abroad

Anna M 2007.

De particulier à particulie (Hotel Harabati) 2006. A couple find a package and their life turns upside down.

Le Serpent 2006. Lots of twists and turns in this Yvan Attal film.

Ne le dis a personne (Tell no one) 2006. A surprise U.K. hit at cinema with veteran actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Nathalie Baye, about a cold case crime.

Anthony Zimmer  2005. Sophie Marceau and Yvan Attal star in this thriller remade as The Tourist.

Lemming 2005.  André Dussollier, Charlotte Rampling, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Laurent Lucas in a exciting psychological thriller film.

Cache (Hidden) 2005. An intriguing film with a weird ending with  Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche.

le Petit Lieutenant  2005. Voted best French cop film for 2005. Stars veteran actress Nathalie Baye with Jalil Lespert and Roschdy Zem. It is a marvelous story about rookie Paris cop (fresh from police college) asked to team up with a veteran female cop played by Baye, with dramatic results. .

Secret Agents 2004. Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci star in this hit spy film.

5 x 2 (Cinq fois deux) 2004. A rather funny story with Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Stéphane Freiss about the fragility of human relationships.

The Crimson Rivers 2 (Les rivières pourpres) 2004. Jean Reno’s hit horror film sequel.

A ton image 2004

Après vous (After You) 2003. Daniel Auteuil is perfect as a restaurant owner who turns Good Samaritan to a depressed man but with later consequences.

Swimming Pool 2003. Charlotte Rampling stars as a struggling writer who travels outside Paris, to the south to find the right atmosphere to continue writing but becomes deeply involved in a strange incident.

Nathalie 2003. Emmanuelle Béart (from Mission Impossible) in a film with Gérard Depardieu about infidelity.

Petite Cropiers 2003. Daniel Auteuil and Kristin Scott Thomas in a drama about mid-life crisis.

Choses secrètes (Secret things) 2002. Hot romantic film.

L'adversaire (The Adversary) 2002. This strange film starting Daniel Auteuil is very similar to the Japanese film Tokyo Sonata, about a family man who loses his job but does not tell his wife about it and keeps pretending he still has his job. Every morning, he leaves the family house and the evening, he comes back but actually he does nothing the whole day, then one day he kills his entire family out of the blue. Film was based on a real life family tragedy, the story of Jean-Claude Romand. Another film with a similar plot was the 2001 hit film L'Emploi du Temps directed by Laurent Cantet and starring Aurélien Recoing and Karin Viard, but with no tragic end.

Asterix: Mission Cleopatra 2002. With Alain Delon about the legendary French Gaul against the Roman legions.

Wasabi 2001. Jean Reno arrives in Japan to sort out some family issues.

Kiss of the Dragon 2001. Jet Li stars in this brilliant cop film set in Paris with Tchéky Karyo.

Sur mes Levres (Read my Lips) 2001. One of Vincent Cassel’s best thrillers before Mesrine.

An Affair of Love 2001

Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre 2001. Sophie Marceau best horror film.

Merci Pour Le Chocolat 2001. Family drama.

Amelie 2001. Audrey Tautou’s hit comedy. Still a classic.

The Crimson Rivers (Les Rivières Pourpres) 2000. Horror film with Jean Reno.

L’appartment 2000. Vincent Cassel is very much  confused between choosing his current wife and ex-girlfriend.

Chocolat 2000. Juliette Binoche’s enjoyable drama.


La vie rêvée des anges (The Daydreams of Angels) 1998

The 9th Gate (La Neuvième porte) 1999. Johnny Depp as a rare book dealer travels to European rare book collectors seeking a specific book about the devil. Emmanuelle Seigner is finnaly revealed at the end of the horror film as the devil's messenger.

Place Vendome 1998. Emmanuelle Seigner and Catherine Devueve star in this mystery crime thriller.

Rien Ne Va Plus (The Swindle) 1997. Claude Chabrol directs Isabelle Huppert and Michel Serrault about an odd couple who go from place to place setting up scams.

L'appât. 1996. Disturbing teenage crime film.

Regardez les Hommes 1994

Bitter Moon 1992. Roman Polanski film with Kristin Scott Thomas and Emmanuelle Seigner along with Peter Coyote and Hugh Grant, about a failed French writer (played by Peter Cotote) living in Paris, who one day meets a mystery beautiful lady (played by Emmanuelle Seigner) on a bus and in the end, romance begins to blossom at first, but later the writer bitterly regrets the chance meeting afterwards as things spiral out of control, leading to murder and tragedy. This film also illustrates that long before the Web and Internet use arrived to the general global public in 1993 (via Mosiac and Netscape web browsers), the French all along in the 1980s were using a type of France-only Internet network known as Minitel, which allowed a computer to be used to communicate with a range of public service "websites".

Indo Chine 1992. Catherine Denueve stars in a romantic film set in colonial Vietnam.

Nikita 1990. Luc Besson thriller set in Paris with Anne Parillaud as a trained assassin.

Dancing Machine 1990. Alain Delon film about a young dancing school student in love with a middle aged man with a hidden agenda.

Nouvelle Vague 1990. Alain Delon's confusing drama set in Paris and Geneva.


Trop belle pour toi (Too Beautiful for You) 1989. Gérard Depardieu and Carole Bouquet star in a funny and entertaining film about infidelity.

Frantic 1988. Roman Polanski’s thriller set in Paris, starring Harrison Ford and Emmanuelle Seigner. The good parts of the film start half way through the film after a slow start. Good script and great acting from all the stars.

Ne reveillez pas un flic qui dort (Let Sleeping Cops Lie) 1988. Alain Delon’s last top cop film of the 1980s about corrupt Paris cops.

Le Solitaire 1987 (The Loner). Yet another Jean Paul Belmondo cop film.

Jean de Florette 1986. Post World War I drama with Gérard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil.

Le Passage 1986. Alain Delon stars in a confusing supernatural film about ghosts.

Betty Blue (37º2 le matin) 1986. A romantic film with a tragic end with Béatrice Dalle and Jean-Hugues Anglade. It was a box office smash hit in France way back in 1986.

Le Rayon Vert (the Green Ray) 1986. Eric Romer’s  romantic film about a five single ladies seeking love while on holiday, stars Vincent Gauthier, Marie Rivière, Rosette (Françoise Quéré), Béatrice Romand, and Carita.

Subway 1985. Luc Besson French comedy drama film with Isabelle Adjani and Christopher Lambert, with much scenes filmed in several Paris Metro stations.

Parole de flic (Paris) 1984. Another of Alain Delon’s cop films set in Paris. He played a cop in many 1970s and 1980s films.

Les Nuits de Plene (Full Moon in Paris).

Detective 1985. Nathalie Baye films about cops doing surveillance work from a Paris hotel.

Les Ripoux 1984. Philippe Noiret’s hit funny film about corrupt cops in Paris, who always take bribes just to get things done. Sequel was made in 1989 as Ripoux Contra Ripoux.

Viva La Vie 1984 (Long Live Life). Michel Piccolli and Nathalie Baye star in this strange and confusing fantasy film.

Le Battant 1983 Alain Delon’s best crime film. Great car chase scene!

Le Marginal 1983. Jean Paul Belmondo cop film set in Marseille.

Police 1983. Gérard Depardieu cop film.

Prenom Carmen 1983. Jean-Luc Godard classic with Maruschka Detmers.

Pour Le Peu de un Flic (For Hide of a Cop). 1982. Alain Delon’s first major cop film of the early 1980s, with Anne Parillaud (who later did Nikita)

La Balance 1982. Nathalie Baye, Philippe Léotard and Richard Berry classic cop film set in Paris. The chemistry between the characters played by Nathalie Baye and Philippe Léotard is so real that you think they are a real couple.

Escalier C (Staircase C) 1986. Robin Renucci in a classic film about people living in an apartment block in Paris.

Clementine Tango 1983. Disturbing romantic film set in Paris with Claire Pascal, and François Helvey.

Rive Droite Rive Gauche. Gérard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye and Carole Bouquet in a funny film about relationships.

La Guerre des Polices (Police Wars) 1984. Claude Brasseur and Marlène Jobert in a film about the rivalry between two police forces in Paris, which causes problems when they are both assigned to the same case but do not communicate with each other.

Boulevard Des Assassins 1982.  Jean-Louis Tringtignant stars in a film about a writer caught up in dirty politics in a French Rivera town.

Le Professional 1981. Without doubt, Jean Paul Belmondo’s best spy film.

Garde a vue 1981.

Diva 1981. Classic film set in Paris with Richard Bohringer about an opera singer innocent entanglement with some good and bad guys and corrupt cops.


Flic ou Voyou (Cop or Hood). 1978. Another Jean Paul Belmondo cop film.

Cet obscur objet désir (That Obscure Object of Desire) 1977. Spanish actor Fernando Rey better known in the French Connection films with Gene Hackman, starred alongside French actress Carole Bouquet in this really funny and enjoyable comedy-drama, about a middle-aged man relentlessly chasing a young lady in Paris and Madrid, does he finally win her over? See the film first to find out. Be warned though, so many twists and turns in this film, ended up laughing so much, I fell out of my chair.

L’Animal 1977. Jean Paul Belmondo and Raquel Welch star in a funny film about a circus stunt man.

Flic Story 1975. Another classic Alain Delon cop film.

Le Serpent (Night Flight to Moscow) 1975. A Hollywood made French spy film set in France and the U.S.

L’incorrigible 1975. Another Jean Paul Belmondo cop film.

Les Seines de Glace (Someone Is Bleeding ) 1974. Alain Delon, Mireille Darc and Claude Brasseur star in a tragic romantic film.

Scorpio 1973. Alain Delon classic spy film with Burt Lancaster, directed by Britain’s Michael Winner. Delon’s best spy film to date.

Le Noces Rouges (Wedding in Blood) 1973. Stéphane Audran and Michel Piccoli in a film about betrayal and trust.

Le Magnifique 1973. Jean Paul Belmondo classic spy film before he did the film Le Professional in 1981. The film is about a writer who uses his characters to portray himself as an imaginary James Bond 007. Also stars Jacqueline Bisset.

Last Tango in Paris 1973. Marlon Brando’s classic role in a French movie.

Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), 1972. Fernando Rey's second best film (before the 1977 memorable Cet obscur objet du désir) about posh people struggling to eat a simple meal at the dinner table.

Je t’amine moi non plus (I Love you not) 1971. Stars Jane Birkin.

Un Flic (Dirty Money) 1971. Alain Delon second cop film of the 1970s after the classic Cercle Rouge .

Les mariés de l'an deux 1971. Jean-Paul Belmondo with Marlène Jobert set in the 1780s France.

La Casse (The Burglar) 1971. Comedy with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Omar Sharif about a botched robbery in Greece.

Tristina 1970. Catherine Deneuve’s first major film of the 1970s.

Cercle Rouge (Red Circle) 1970. Classic Alain Delon crime film with Yves Montand. Delon’s best role in a crime movie.

La Passenger de Pluie (Rider in the Rain) 1970. Charles Bronson stars with Marlène Jobert in a film about Bronson doing undercover work to solve a crime in France.

Borsalino 1970. The French version of The Godfather about French mobsters. Rumour has it that Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo never made another film together for many years after this film, because Delon was not happy that Belmondo’s name came first before his name in the opening title credits of the hit gangster film, when it was first shown in French cinemas.

Adieu Mon Ami (Farewell Friend) 1969. Charles Bronson and Alain Delon in a crime thriller as robbers.

Les Clan Sicilian (The Sicilian Clan) 1969. Jean Gabin and Alain Delon as part of a Mafia crime family in Paris, about to hijack an American airliner to steal diamonds on board. With Lino Ventura  as the detective who sets out to catch the culprits. A classic! You will enjoy the fantastic Ennio Morricone music score at the start and end of the movie as well

L'armée des ombres (Army of Shadows) 1968. A World War 2 classic with Lino Ventura, an Italian who did so many French movies.

Les Adventures (The Adventurers) 1968. Alain Delon’s adventure film with Lino Ventura sees them go searching for treasure in 1960s Africa with Joanna Shimkus (future wife of Sydney Poitier).

Les Biches 1968. Stéphane Audran in a funny romantic film.

La Piscine (Swimming Pool) 1969. Alain Delon and Romy Schneider star alongside a young Jane Birkin in a film about infidelity. British actresses Jacqueline Bisset, Charlotte Rampling, Jane Birkin and Kristin Scott Thomas have done so many French films alongside English films. They are all fluent in French. Jacqueline Bisset actually received a Legion d'honneur ( the highest decoration in France, much like the Queen's Birthday Honours in Britain such as OBE, CBE).

Le Samouraï 1967. Alain Delon’s classic crime film by Jean-Pierre Melville.

Belle de Jour (Girl of the Day) 1967. Catherine Deneuve’s first major film of the 1960s.

Viva Maria! 1965. Comedy with Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau set in a fictitious Latin American country.

L’Homme de Rio (That Man from Rio) 1964. Jean Paul Belmondo does Indiana Jones in the Brazilian jungles looking for his kidnapped lady. The film is very long but enjoyable to watch, with Belmondo doing all his marvellous stunts like tacking a crocodile.

A bout de Souffle (Breathless) 1960. Jean Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg in a romantic comedy-action film set in fresh 1960 Paris, in black and white. Forever a splendid Jean-Luc Godard timeless classic! It was remade in the 1983 under the same name with Richard Gere and French actress Valérie Kaprisky, both films are remarkably similar in plot, but Gere's version is too hot.

Finnaly, below is a link for Netflix subscribers who want to pick 10 of the best French movies to watch in their free time. 11 Best French Movie son Netflix to watch in 2016.


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