My 25 Favourite French Feature Films

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1.
The 400 Blows (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime. (99 mins.)
 
2.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions. (110 mins.)
Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
 
3.
Breathless (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy. (90 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
 
4.
Orpheus (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A poet in love with Death follows his unhappy wife into the underworld. (95 mins.)
Director: Jean Cocteau
 
5.
Le Samouraï (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After Professional hitman Jef Costello is seen by witnesses his efforts to provide himself an alibi drive him further into a corner. (105 mins.)
 
6.
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A French actress filming an anti-war film in Hiroshima has an affair with a married Japanese architect as they share their differing perspectives on war. (90 mins.)
Director: Alain Resnais
 
7.
Forbidden Games (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young French girl orphaned in a Nazi air attack is befriended by the son of a poor farmer, and together they try to come to terms with the realities of death. (86 mins.)
Director: René Clément
 
8.
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette. (95 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
9.
The Rules of the Game (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau. (110 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
10.
Mouchette (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Mouchette is a young girl living in the country. Her mother is dying and her father does not take care of her... (81 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
11.
L'Atalante (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy. (89 mins.)
Director: Jean Vigo
 
12.
The Piano Teacher (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher. (131 mins.)
Director: Michael Haneke
 
13.
Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Monsieur Hulot comes to a beachside hotel for a vacation, where he accidentally (but good-naturedly) causes havoc. (114 mins.)
Director: Jacques Tati
 
14.
Children of Paradise (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her. (189 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
 
15.
My Life to Live (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Twelve episodic tales in the life of a Parisian woman and her slow descent into prostitution. (80 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
 
16.
La Grande Illusion (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from. (113 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
17.
Caché (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch. (117 mins.)
Director: Michael Haneke
 
18.
Belle de Jour (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A frigid young housewife decides to spend her midweek afternoons as a prostitute. (100 mins.)
Director: Luis Bunuel
 
19.
Napoleon (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A film about the French general's youth and early military career. (240 mins.)
Director: Abel Gance
 
20.
Contempt (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Screenwriter Paul Javal's marriage to his wife Camille disintegrates during movie production as she spends time with the producer. Layered conflicts between art and business ensue. (103 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
 
21.
Girl on the Bridge (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
One night, a fading entertainer intervenes when a woman contemplates suicide, beginning a strange, unpredictable relationship. (90 mins.)
Director: Patrice Leconte
 
22.
Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A self-assured businessman murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events. (91 mins.)
Director: Louis Malle
 
23.
Bob le Flambeur (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After losing big, an aging gambler decides to assemble a team to rob a casino. (98 mins.)
Director: Melville
 
24.
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An aging, world-weary gangster is double-crossed and forced out of retirement when his best friend is kidnapped and their stash of eight stolen gold bars demanded as ransom. (94 mins.)
Director: Jacques Becker
 
25.
Delicatessen (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Post-apocalyptic surrealist black comedy about the landlord of an apartment building who occasionally prepares a delicacy for his odd tenants. (99 mins.)