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The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces  

Ranker Film
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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.

 

list ordered by
1
Belle de Jour is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
MaltheTuxen added Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli
Belle de Jour is a 1967 French drama film directed by Luis Buñuel. A frigid young housewife (Catherine Deneuve) decides to spend her midweek afternoons as a prostitute.
2
Breathless is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Jean Seberg, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Paul Belmondo
Breathless is a 1960 French film written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard about a wandering wrong doer and his American girlfriend. It was Godard's first feature-length work and represented ...more
3
The 400 Blows is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Jeanne Moreau, Jean Piere Leaud, Jean-Claude Brialy
The 400 Blows is a 1959 French drama film, the debut by director François Truffaut; it stars Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, and Claire Maurier. One of the defining films of ...more
4
Three Colors: Blue is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
MaltheTuxen added Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Emmanuelle Riva
Three Colors: Blue is a 1993 French drama film written, produced, and directed by the acclaimed Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski. Blue is the first of three films that comprise The Three ...more
5
The Passion of Joan of Arc is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Antonin Artaud, Michel Simon, Renée Jeanne Falconetti
The Passion of Joan of Arc is a 1928 silent French film based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc. The film was directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and stars Renée Jeanne ...more
6
Eyes Without a Face is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
MaltheTuxen added Alida Valli, Pierre Brasseur, Édith Scob
Eyes Without a Face is a 1960 French-Italian horror film adaptation of Jean Redon's novel, directed by Georges Franju, and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli. During the film's production, ...more
7
Le Samouraï is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Lucy Hall added Alain Delon, François Périer, Cathy Rosier
Le Samouraï is a 1967 French-Italian crime film directed by French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville, starring Alain Delon as Jef Costello.
8
Amélie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
Amélie is a 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with Guillaume Laurant, the film is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in ...more
9
Three Colors: Red is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
MaltheTuxen added Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Irène Jacob
Three Colors: Red is a 1994 film co-written, produced, and directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. It is the final film of The Three Colors Trilogy, which examines the French ...more
10
Diabolique is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse
11
The Intouchables is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Omar Sy, François Cluzet, Anne Le Ny
The Intouchables is a 2011 French comedy-drama film directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. It stars François Cluzet and Omar Sy. Nine weeks after its release in France on 2 ...more
12
The Wages of Fear is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
MaltheTuxen added Yves Montand, Darío Moreno, Peter van Eyck
The Wages of Fear is a 1953 French-Italian thriller film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, starring Yves Montand, and based on a 1950 novel by Georges Arnaud. When a South American oil well ...more
13
The Rules of the Game is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
nickflames added Jean Renoir, Marcel Dalio, Julien Carette
The Rules of the Game is a 1939 French film directed by Jean Renoir and starring Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély, Marcel Dalio, Julien Carette, Roland Toutain, Gaston Modot, ...more
14
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
madfrenchwoman added Jean Cocteau, Jean Marais, Josette Day
Beauty and the Beast is a 1946 French romantic fantasy film adaptation of the traditional fairy tale of the same name, written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and published in 1757 as part ...more
15
A Trip to the Moon is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
martinhitchens21 added Georges Méliès, Jehanne d'Alcy, Bleuette Bernon
A Trip to the Moon is a 1902 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. Inspired by a wide variety of sources, including Jules Verne's novels From the Earth to the Moon and ...more
16
The Battle of Algiers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
MaltheTuxen added Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson
The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 film based on occurrences against the French government in North Africa, the most prominent being the titular Battle of Algiers. An Italo-Algerian production, it ...more
17
The Grand Illusion is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Erich von Stroheim, Jean Gabin, Marcel Dalio
La Grande Illusion is a 1937 French war film directed by Jean Renoir, who co-wrote the screenplay with Charles Spaak. The story concerns class relationships among a small group of French ...more
18
Rocco and His Brothers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Lucy Hall added Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon, Annie Girardot
Rocco e i suoi fratelli is a 1960 Italian film directed by Luchino Visconti, inspired by an episode from the novel Il ponte della Ghisolfa by Giovanni Testori. Set in Milan, it tells the story ...more
19
Manon of the Spring is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
madfrenchwoman added
20
The Red Circle is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Lucy Hall added Yves Montand, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volonté
Le Cercle Rouge is a 1970 crime film set in Paris, France. It was directed by Jean-Pierre Melville and stars Alain Delon, Andre Bourvil, Gian Maria Volonté and Yves Montand. It is known ...more
21
Blue Is the Warmest Colour is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Alma Jodorowsky
Blue Is the Warmest Colour, also known as Adèle: Chapters 1 & 2, is a 2013 French romantic coming-of-age drama film written, produced, and directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and starring ...more
22
Les Diaboliques is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Conker added Simone Signoret, Michel Serrault, Paul Meurisse
Les Diaboliques, released as Diabolique in the United States and variously translated as The Devils or The Fiends, is a 1955 French black-and-white psychological thriller feature film directed ...more
23
Jean de Florette is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
madfrenchwoman added Gérard Depardieu, Yves Montand, Daniel Auteuil
Jean de Florette is a 1986 French period drama film directed by Claude Berri, based on a novel by Marcel Pagnol. It is followed by Manon des Sources. The film takes place in rural Provence, ...more
24
Army of Shadows is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
Simone Signoret, Lino Ventura, Jean-Pierre Cassel
Army of Shadows is a 1969 French film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. It is a film adaptation of Joseph Kessel's 1943 book of the same name, which blends Kessel's own experiences as a member ...more
25
Les Visiteurs du Soir is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces
madfrenchwoman added Simone Signoret, Alain Cuny, Arletty
Les Visiteurs du Soir is a 1942 film by French film director Marcel Carné, best remembered for Les Enfants du Paradis. The film was released on 5 December 1942 in Paris during the Nazi ...more