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The Best French Action Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated October 9, 2019 671 votes 255 voters 20.5k views 30 items

Who knew the French had created so many iconic action films? Here’s a list of the best French action movies, ranging from the avant-garde to the simply kick-ass, or sometimes both at once. The French have put their own special twist on the action genre formula, and you’ll be sure to find the film on this list that will have you booking the next flight to Paris.

Parkour, or the sport of traversing urban obstacles on foot, gained a wider audience thanks to District B13, a French film directed by Pierre Morel. The film stars David Belle, considered to be the founder of parkour.

Leon: The Professional, starring Jean Reno, was the motion picture debut of Natalie Portman. It is considered the spiritual successor to director Luc Besson’s previous film, La Femme Nikita. This list of French action movies is perfect for beginners who aren't unexperienced with French cinema, so use it to find some amazing films that aren't as mainstream as the Taken series.

Which of these French action movies is your favorite? Give them an upvote if you would recommend them to others movie lovers. Then check out our list of French films on Netflix.

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list ordered by
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Leon: The Professional
2
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Jean Reno, Jeanne Moreau, Anne Parillaud

Released: 1990

Directed by: Luc Besson

Nikita, also called La Femme Nikita, is a 1990 Franco-Italian action thriller film written and directed by Luc Besson. Nikita is a teen who robs a pharmacy and takes out a policeman. She is ...more

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3
Brotherhood of the Wolf ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best French Action Movies
Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Gaspard Ulliel

Released: 2001

Directed by: Christophe Gans

Brotherhood of the Wolf is a 2001 French historical horror-action film directed by Christophe Gans, written by Gans and Stéphane Cabel, starring Samuel Le Bihan, Mark Dacascos, Emilie ...more

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#2 of 14 Werewolf Movies That Aren’t Really About Werewolves #170 of 333 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies #69 of 75 The Very Best Sword And Sorcery Movies

4
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Marion Cotillard, Emma Wiklund, Bernard Farcy

Released: 1998

Directed by: Gérard Pirès

Taxi is a 1998 French action-comedy film starring Samy Naceri, written by Luc Besson, and directed by Gérard Pirès. It has three sequels, Taxi 2, Taxi 3, Taxi 4 and one remake, ...more
5
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Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace

Released: 2008

Directed by: Pierre Morel

Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. A former CIA operative (Liam Neeson) sets about tracking down his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and her best friend ...more

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#307 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #375 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #30 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

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The Professional is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best French Action Movies
Mollevangsvagen added Jean-Paul Belmondo, Robert Hossein, Cyrielle Clair

Released: 1981

Directed by: Georges Lautner

Le Professionnel is a 1981 French action thriller film directed by French director Georges Lautner, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Desailly and Robert Hossein, based on the award-winning 1976 ...more
7
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Jean Reno, Carole Bouquet, Ryoko Hirosue

Released: 2001

Directed by: Gérard Krawczyk

Wasabi is a 2001 French action-comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk and written and produced by Luc Besson. The film stars Jean Reno, Michel Muller and Ryōko Hirosue. In France, it was ...more

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#28 of 48 The Best R-Rated Action Comedies #7 of 55 The Best Jean Reno Movies #42 of 121 The Best R-Rated Japanese Movies

8
Dobermann is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best French Action Movies
Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Tchéky Karyo

Released: 1997

Directed by: Jan Kounen

Dobermann is a French film directed by Jan Kounen starring Tchéky Karyo, Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci.
9
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Jason Statham, Shu Qi, François Berléand

Released: 2002

Directed by: Corey Yuen, Louis Leterrier

The Transporter is a 2002 French action thriller film directed by Louis Leterrier and Corey Yuen and written by Luc Besson, who was inspired by BMW Films' The Hire series. The film stars Jason ...more

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Bridget Fonda, Jet Li, Tchéky Karyo

Released: 2001

Directed by: Chris Nahon

Kiss of the Dragon is a 2001 English-language French action thriller film directed by Chris Nahon, written and produced by French filmmaker Luc Besson, and starring an international cast of Jet ...more

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La Haine is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best French Action Movies
yeti added Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui, Benoît Magimel

Released: 1995

Directed by: Mathieu Kassovitz

La Haine is a 1995 French black-and-white drama/suspense film written, co-edited, and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. It is commonly released under its French title in the English-speaking world, ...more
12
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Jean Reno, Kad Merad, Marina Fois

Released: 2010

Directed by: Richard Berry

"A retired gangster (Reno) is the target of a brutal assassination attempt. He survives to exact violent revenge on those who left him for dead ... but who were they? Produced by Luc ...more
13
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Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace

Released: 2012

Directed by: Olivier Megaton

Taken 2 is a 2012 action drama thriller film written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen and directed by Olivier Megaton.

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14
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District B13
15
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Elodie Yung, Dany Verissimo, Cyril Raffaelli

Released: 2009

Directed by: Patrick Alessandrin

District 13: Ultimatum, also known as D13-U, is a 2009 sequel to the 2004 French parkour-filled action film District 13. The film, directed by Patrick Alessandrin and written and produced by Luc ...more
16
Total Western is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best French Action Movies
yeti added Samuel Le Bihan, Jean-François Stévenin, Jean-Pierre Kalfon

Released: 2000

Directed by: Éric Rochant

17
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Jason Statham, AnnaLynne McCord, Amber Valletta

Released: 2005

Directed by: Louis Leterrier

Transporter 2 is a 2005 French action film directed by Louis Leterrier and produced by Luc Besson. It is the sequel to The Transporter. It is followed by Transporter 3. The film stars Jason ...more

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#115 of 158 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made #151 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #39 of 74 The Best Action Movie Sequels

18
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The Nest
19
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Unleashed
20
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Marion Cotillard, Emma Wiklund, Bernard Farcy

Released: 2000

Directed by: Gérard Krawczyk

Taxi 2 is a French film directed by Gérard Krawczyk and released in 2000. It is a sequel to Taxi written by Luc Besson and directed by Gérard Pirès in 1998. It was followed
21
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Sylvester Stallone, Marion Cotillard, Bai Ling

Released: 2003

Directed by: Gérard Krawczyk

Taxi 3 is a 2003 French comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk. It is the sequel to Taxi 2 and was followed by Taxi 4.
22
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John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Released: 2010

Directed by: Pierre Morel

From Paris with Love is a 2010 French-American action film starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers and directed by Pierre Morel. The screenplay was co-written by Luc Besson. The film was ...more

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Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Graham McTavish

Released: 2011

Directed by: Olivier Megaton

Colombiana is a 2011 American action film, co-written and produced by Luc Besson and directed by Olivier Megaton. The film stars Zoe Saldana in the lead role with supporting roles performed by ...more

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Emma Wiklund, Bernard Farcy, Jean-Christophe Bouvet

Released: 2007

Directed by: Gérard Krawczyk

Taxi 4 is a 2007 French comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk and the fourth installment of the Taxi series. As with all the other films in the Gallic Taxi franchise, Samy Naceri plays ...more
25
Largo Winch is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best French Action Movies
Psydrow Nanashi added Kristin Scott Thomas, Gilbert Melki, Mélanie Thierry

Released: 2008

Directed by: Jérôme Salle

Largo Winch is a 2008 French film based on the Belgian comic book Largo Winch. It was released in France and Belgium on 17 December 2008, and in the United States in November 2011, where it was ...more