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The Best French Action Movies

Updated October 9, 2019 798 votes 269 voters 21.6k views30 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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  • 1
    Leon: The Professional
    56
    16

    Leon: The Professional

  • 2
    Brotherhood of the Wolf
    33
    17

    Brotherhood of the Wolf

    Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel

    Released2001

    Directed byChristophe Gans

    Brotherhood of the Wolf is a 2001 French historical horror-action film directed by Christophe... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Taxi
    29
    20

    Taxi

    Marion Cotillard, Emma Wiklund

    Released1998

    Directed byGérard Pirès

    Taxi is a 1998 French action-comedy film starring Samy Naceri, written by Luc Besson, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    The Professional
    19
    12

    The Professional

    Jean-Paul Belmondo, Robert Hossein

    Released1981

    Directed byGeorges Lautner

    Le Professionnel is a 1981 French action thriller film directed by French director Georges... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Dobermann
    18
    11

    Dobermann

    Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel

    Released1997

    Directed byJan Kounen

    Dobermann is a French film directed by Jan Kounen starring Tchéky Karyo, Vincent Cassel and... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    La Haine
    15
    8

    La Haine

    Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui

    Released1995

    Directed byMathieu Kassovitz

    La Haine is a 1995 French black-and-white drama/suspense film written, co-edited, and directed... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    The Transporter
    16
    9

    The Transporter

    Jason Statham, Shu Qi

    Released2002

    Directed byCorey Yuen, Louis Leterrier

    The Transporter is a 2002 French action thriller film directed by Louis Leterrier and Corey... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    La Femme Nikita
    31
    29

    La Femme Nikita

    Jean Reno, Jeanne Moreau

    Released1990

    Directed byLuc Besson

    Nikita, also called La Femme Nikita, is a 1990 Franco-Italian action thriller film written and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Wasabi
    17
    11

    Wasabi

    Jean Reno, Carole Bouquet

    Released2001

    Directed byGérard Krawczyk

    Wasabi is a 2001 French action-comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk and written and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Kiss of the Dragon
    14
    8

    Kiss of the Dragon

    Bridget Fonda, Jet Li

    Released2001

    Directed byChris Nahon

    Kiss of the Dragon is a 2001 English-language French action thriller film directed by Chris... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    District B13
    15
    12

    District B13

  • 12
    22 Bullets
    12
    8

    22 Bullets

    Jean Reno, Kad Merad

    Released2010

    Directed byRichard Berry

    "A retired gangster (Reno) is the target of a brutal assassination attempt. He survives to... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    District 13: Ultimatum
    10
    7

    District 13: Ultimatum

    Elodie Yung, Dany Verissimo

    Released2009

    Directed byPatrick Alessandrin

    District 13: Ultimatum, also known as D13-U, is a 2009 sequel to the 2004 French... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Lucy
    12
    12

    Lucy

    Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman

    Released2014

    Directed byLuc Besson

    Lucy is a 2014 English-language French science fiction action film written and directed by Luc... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Empire of the Wolves
    8
    7

    Empire of the Wolves

    Jean Reno, Laura Morante

    Released2005

    Directed byChris Nahon

    Empire of the Wolves is a 2005 movie directed by Chris Nahon, written by Christian Clavier,... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    3
    1

    Total Western

    Samuel Le Bihan, Jean-François Stévenin

    Released2000

    Directed byÉric Rochant

  • 17
    The Nest
    11
    13

    The Nest

  • 18
    Taxi 3
    7
    8

    Taxi 3

    Sylvester Stallone, Marion Cotillard

    Released2003

    Directed byGérard Krawczyk

    Taxi 3 is a 2003 French comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk. It is the sequel to Taxi 2... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Colombiana
    9
    10

    Colombiana

    Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan

    Released2011

    Directed byOlivier Megaton

    Colombiana is a 2011 American action film, co-written and produced by Luc Besson and directed... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Unleashed
    8
    9

    Unleashed

  • 21
    Taken
    23
    31

    Taken

    Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen

    Released2008

    Directed byPierre Morel

    Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. A former CIA operative... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    Taxi 2
    8
    10

    Taxi 2

    Marion Cotillard, Emma Wiklund

    Released2000

    Directed byGérard Krawczyk

    Taxi 2 is a French film directed by Gérard Krawczyk and released in 2000. It is a sequel to... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Taxi 4
    8
    11

    Taxi 4

    Emma Wiklund, Bernard Farcy

    Released2007

    Directed byGérard Krawczyk

    Taxi 4 is a 2007 French comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk and the fourth installment of... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Taken 2
    11
    15

    Taken 2

    Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen

    Released2012

    Directed byOlivier Megaton

    Taken 2 is a 2012 action drama thriller film written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    Ruby & Quentin
    4
    6

    Ruby & Quentin