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 8.3/10 X  
A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists 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 8.0/10 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 in 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 7.9/10 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... (78 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 7.4/10 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 8.4/10 X  
The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her. (190 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. (114 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 7.4/10 X  
A film about the French Field Marshal'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  
It's night on a Paris bridge. A girl leans over Seine River with tears in her eyes and a violent yearning to drown her sorrows... (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 business man 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  
Bob, an old gangster and gambler is almost broke, so he decides in spite of the warnings of a friend... (98 mins.)
Director: Melville
 
24.
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 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.)