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The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces

Updated August 17, 2020 4.2k votes 730 voters 50.1k views106 items

Artistic cinematography, romantic stories, and creative directing have made French films a favorite all over the world. The best French movies ever made feature characters seeking adventure and falling in love. This is a list of the top French masterpieces including everything from The City of Lost Children to The 400 Blows to Blue is the Warmest Color.

What other classics will you find on this list of the greatest French movies of all time? The offbeat romance Amélie won over audiences with its story of a quirky young lady who finds love in the most unexpected of places. It was nominated for a total of five Academy Awards in 2001. Jules and Jim is another beloved French film. In 2011, the French silent film The Artist made an international splash and took home the Oscar for best picture. Other good movies featured on this best French films list include The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Grand Illusion, and The Intouchables.

Do you have a favorite film from France? Give the best movies a thumbs up and add some of them to your queue with our list of the best French movies on Netflix.

 

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  • 1
    Le Samouraï is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    15

    Le Samouraï

    Alain Delon, François Périer

    Released1967

    Directed byJean-Pierre Melville

    Le Samouraï is a 1967 French-Italian crime film directed by French filmmaker Jean-Pierre... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 2
    The 400 Blows is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    The 400 Blows

    Jeanne Moreau, Jean Piere Leaud

    Released1959

    Directed byFrançois Truffaut

    The 400 Blows is a 1959 French drama film, the debut by director François Truffaut; it stars... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 3
    Les Diaboliques is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    84
    17

    Les Diaboliques

    Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot

    Released1955

    Directed byHenri-Georges Clouzot

    Les Diaboliques, released as Diabolique in the United States and variously translated as The... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 4
    Amélie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    Amélie

    Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz

    Released2001

    Directed byJean-Pierre Jeunet

    Amélie is a 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 5
    Breathless is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    47

    Breathless

    Jean Seberg, Jean-Luc Godard

    Released1960

    Directed byJean-Luc Godard

    Breathless is a 1960 French film written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard about a wandering... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    The Passion of Joan of Arc is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    76
    18

    The Passion of Joan of Arc

    Antonin Artaud, Michel Simon

    Released1928

    Directed byMarie Losier, Carl Dreyer

    The Passion of Joan of Arc is a 1928 silent French film based on the actual record of the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 7
    Belle de Jour is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    Belle de Jour

    Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel

    Directed byLuis Buñuel

    Belle de Jour is a 1967 French drama film directed by Luis Buñuel. A frigid young housewife... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 8
    The Intouchables is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    181
    109

    The Intouchables

    Omar Sy, François Cluzet

    Released2011

    Directed byOlivier Nakache, Eric Toledano

    The Intouchables is a 2011 French comedy-drama film directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 9
    The Grand Illusion is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    68
    19

    The Grand Illusion

    Erich von Stroheim, Jean Gabin

    Released1937

    Directed byJean Renoir

    La Grande Illusion is a 1937 French war film directed by Jean Renoir, who co-wrote the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 10
    Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    56
    10

    Beauty and the Beast

    Jean Cocteau, Jean Marais

    Released1946

    Directed byRené Clément, Jean Cocteau

    Beauty and the Beast is a 1946 French romantic fantasy film adaptation of the traditional... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 11
    Jean de Florette is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    50
    8

    Jean de Florette

    Gérard Depardieu, Yves Montand

    Released1986

    Directed byClaude Berri

    Jean de Florette is a 1986 French period drama film directed by Claude Berri, based on a novel... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    The Battle of Algiers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    The Battle of Algiers

    Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef

    Released1966

    Directed byGillo Pontecorvo

    The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 film based on occurrences against the French government in... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 13
    Three Colors: Red is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    78
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    Three Colors: Red

    Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy

    Released1994

    Directed byKrzysztof Kieślowski

    Three Colors: Red is a 1994 film co-written, produced, and directed by Polish filmmaker... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    A Trip to the Moon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    51
    10

    A Trip to the Moon

    Georges Méliès, Jehanne d'Alcy

    Released1902

    Directed byGeorges Méliès

    A Trip to the Moon is a 1902 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. Inspired by a wide... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 15
    The Red Circle is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    46
    7

    The Red Circle

    Yves Montand, Bourvil

    Released1970

    Directed byJean-Pierre Melville

    Le Cercle Rouge is a 1970 crime film set in Paris, France. It was directed by Jean-Pierre... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 16
    Three Colors: Blue is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    70
    30

    Three Colors: Blue

    Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy

    Released1993

    Directed byKrzysztof Kieślowski

    Three Colors: Blue is a 1993 French drama film written, produced, and directed by the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 17
    Manon of the Spring is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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  • 18
    Eyes Without a Face is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    53
    15

    Eyes Without a Face

    Alida Valli, Pierre Brasseur

    Released1960

    Directed byGeorges Franju

    Eyes Without a Face is a 1960 French-Italian horror film adaptation of Jean Redon's novel,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 19
    The Rules of the Game is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    The Rules of the Game

    Jean Renoir, Marcel Dalio

    Released1939

    Directed byJean Renoir

    The Rules of the Game is a 1939 French film directed by Jean Renoir and starring Nora Gregor,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 20
    The Wages of Fear is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    47
    10

    The Wages of Fear

    Yves Montand, Darío Moreno

    Released1953

    Directed byHenri-Georges Clouzot

    The Wages of Fear is a 1953 French-Italian thriller film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    Army of Shadows is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    10

    Army of Shadows

    Simone Signoret, Lino Ventura

    Released1969

    Directed byJean-Pierre Melville

    Army of Shadows is a 1969 French film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. It is a film... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 22
    Rocco and His Brothers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    41
    6

    Rocco and His Brothers

    Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon

    Released1960

    Directed byLuchino Visconti

    Rocco e i suoi fratelli is a 1960 Italian film directed by Luchino Visconti, inspired by an... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 23
    Rififi is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
    47
    12

    Rififi

    Jules Dassin, Robert Hossein

    Released1955

    Directed byJules Dassin

    Rififi is a 1955 French crime film adaptation of Auguste Le Breton's novel of the same name.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    The Artist is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    The Artist

    John Goodman, Malcolm McDowell

    Released2011

    Directed byMichel Hazanavicius

    The Artist is a 2011 French romantic comedy-drama in the style of a black-and-white silent... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 25
    Delicatessen is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
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    14

    Delicatessen

    Dominique Pinon, Karin Viard

    Released1991

    Directed byMarc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet

    Delicatessen is a 1991 French film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, starring... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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