Classic French Cinema

French films of the 1930's to 1950's that I have seen and loved.
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1.
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
 
2.
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
 
3.
Stormy Waters (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Andre Laurent, the captain of a tugboat, married Yvonne ten years ago. She has a heart disease but does not want to tell him... (91 mins.)
Director: Jean Grémillon
 
4.
Lumière d'été (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A shimmering glass hotel at the top of a remote Provençal mountain provides the setting for a tragicomic tapestry about an obsessive love pentangle... (112 mins.)
Director: Jean Grémillon
“ One of the great French classics. Paul Bernard is hiding a sordid secret, which only Madeleine Renaud, his long-time mistress, knows. Pierre Brasseur and Madeleine Robinson erupt into their cozy little world, with predictably disastrous results... See this and you will feel young again. ” - bob998
 
5.
Hotel du Nord (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young couple, Renee and Pierre, take one night a room at the Hotel du Nord, in Paris, near the canal Saint-Martin... (95 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
 
6.
Dance Program (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Christine, newly widowed and consumed by the memory of a ball she attended age 16, decides to track down the men she danced with that night and discover their fates. (144 mins.)
Director: Julien Duvivier
 
7.
The Red Head (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
(91 mins.)
Director: Julien Duvivier
“ A child is neglected by his parents, his mother is rough with him, his father distant, until the day of reckoning. Duvivier handles the direction very well, and Harry Baur and Robert Lynen as father and son play memorably. ” - bob998
 
8.
Lady Killer (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Lucien Bourrache, a good looking non-commissioned officer at the Spahis, is used to charm many women... (94 mins.)
Director: Jean Grémillon
 
9.
L'étrange Monsieur Victor (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
(103 mins.)
Director: Jean Grémillon
“ Victor is a respected businessman who is also corrupt; he is forced to kill an associate who threatened to blackmail him. The story gets more complicated from this point on. Gremillon was such a capable director, easily the equal of Carne and his other contemporaries. He gets great performances from Raimu, Pierre Blanchar and Viviane Romance. ” - bob998
 
10.
Panic (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In the suburbs of Paris, an old maid has just been murdered. Every body talks about that, except the misanthrope Mr Hire... (91 mins.)
Director: Julien Duvivier
 
11.
L'idiot (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Muichkine, a young Russian prince, returns home to St. Petersburg from a mental institution, determined... (101 mins.)
Director: Georges Lampin
 
12.
Quai des Orfèvres (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Jenny Lamour wants to succeed in music hall. Her husband and accompanist is Maurice Martineau, a nice but jealous guy... (106 mins.)
Director: H. G. Clouzot
 
13.
Dédée d'Anvers (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Dedee is a prostitute, working in Monsieur Rene's night club on Antwerp's harbour. The porter is Marco... (86 mins.)
Director: Yves Allégret
 
14.
Gates of the Night (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
It's Paris in the winter after its liberation. A tramp, pretending to be Destiny, predicts that Jean Diego will fall in love with a beautiful girl... (120 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
 
15.
La Bête Humaine (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In this classic adaptation of Emile Zola's novel, a tortured train engineer falls in love with a troubled married woman who has helped her husband commit a murder. (100 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
“ A Renoir from the late 30's, the period of Grande Illusion and la Regle du jeu, but not as well known. The only Zola adaptation Renoir made, it's lighter than many films made from this writer's works. Gabin and Simone Simon are the lovers. ” - bob998
 
16.
La Chienne (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Cashier Maurice Legrand is married to Adele, a terror. By chance, he meets Lucienne, "Lulu", and makes her his mistress... (91 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
17.
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
 
18.
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
 
19.
Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Boudu, a tramp, jumps into the Seine. He is rescued by Mr Lestingois, a gentle and good bookseller, who gives shelter to him... (85 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
20.
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
 
21.
Zero for Conduct (1933 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In a repressive boarding school with rigid rules of behavior, four boys decide to rebel against the direction on a celebration day. (44 mins.)
Director: Jean Vigo
 
22.
It Happened at the Inn (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In a french lost village an old woman is killed and her savings stolen. Several members of her family, all called:"Goupi-...", are suspected. (104 mins.)
Director: Jacques Becker
 
23.
Casque d'Or (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In an open-air dance hall, the members of Leca's gang are relaxing with their ladies. One of them, Marie... (96 mins.)
Director: Jacques Becker
 
24.
Rendezvous in July (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Hopes and love and ambitions and friendship in a group of young jazz-loving Parisians. (112 mins.)
Director: Jacques Becker
 
25.
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
 
26.
Le Trou (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
In prison four long-sentence inmates planning an elaborate escape cautiously induct a new inmate to join in their scheme which leads to distrust and uncertainty. (132 mins.)
Director: Jacques Becker
 
27.
Inspector Maigret (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A serial killer is targeting women in the seedy district of Montmartre. (119 mins.)
Director: Jean Delannoy
“ A classic Maigret story. A district of Paris is terrorized by a killer of women. Maigret sets up an elaborate trap, which eventually yields a suspect, and then... There is a shock ending. The acting is amazing: Gabin, Desailly, Sety, Bogaert, Girardot and more. ” - bob998
 
28.
Maigret and the St. Fiacre Case (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Inspector Maigret is traveling to the French countryside to visit his friend, the duchess of Saint-Fiacre... (101 mins.)
Director: Jean Delannoy
 
29.
Pastoral Symphony (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A minister falls in love with a blind young woman he sheltered, but so does his son. (110 mins.)
Director: Jean Delannoy
 
30.
L'éternel retour (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
This is a retelling of Tristan and Isolde, set in 1940s France. The script was written by Jean Cocteau. (107 mins.)
Director: Jean Delannoy
“ During the war, directors like Carne, Becker and Delannoy remained in France and tried to make films that would appeal to the public while escaping the German censors. Delannoy has retold the Tristan story, using Bedier's translation of the 11th century saga. Jean Marais and Madeleine Sologne have the beauty of statues; no doubt Cocteau, the script writer intended this. Can be seen as companion piece to Les visiteurs du soir. ” - bob998
 
31.
Pépé le Moko (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A wanted gangster is both king and prisoner of the Casbah. He is protected from arrest by his friends, but is torn by his desire for freedom outside. A visiting Parisian beauty may just tempt his fate. (94 mins.)
Director: Julien Duvivier
 
32.
Devil in the Flesh (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
During World War I, the star-crossed affair of an underage French student with a woman engaged to a soldier. (110 mins.)
 
33.
La Chartreuse de Parme (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Fabrice del Dongo, a young archbishop, gives his all to romance rather than to the Church, creating complications for everyone around... (170 mins.)
Director: Christian-Jaque
 
34.
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her. (96 mins.)
Director: Jean Cocteau
 
35.
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
 
36.
Les Enfants Terribles (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In a snowball fight between schoolboys the handsome Dargelos hits the chest of Paul, who drops unconscious to the ground... (105 mins.)
 
37.
Les parents terribles (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
When Michel, who's 22, tells his parents he is in love, his mother Yvonne is distraught, believing she... (105 mins.)
Director: Jean Cocteau
 
38.
The Eagle with Two Heads (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Political intrigue and psychological drama run parallel. The queen is in seclusion, veiling her face... (93 mins.)
Director: Jean Cocteau
 
39.
Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A society lady engineers a marriage between her lover and a cabaret dancer who is essentially a prostitute. (86 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
40.
A Man Escaped (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Captured French Resistance fighter Andre Devigny awaits a certain death sentence for espionage in a stark Nazi prison... (99 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
41.
Le Jour se Leve (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After committing a murder, a man locks himself in his apartment and recollects the events the led him to the killing. (93 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
 
42.
Port of Shadows (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A military deserter finds love and trouble (and a small dog) in a smoky French port city. (91 mins.)
Director: Marcel Carné
 
43.
The Lower Depths (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family. (95 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
“ This is the Renoir film, not the Kurosawa that's shown on the box. Gabin, le Vigan, Jouvet, Junie Astor--all wonderful. Look for the great scene between Gabin and Jouvet; so sardonic and well played. ” - bob998
 
44.
Razzia (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Henri, the Man from Nantes, comes back to his country after a successful stay in the United States, where he was working for Liski... (105 mins.)
Director: Henri Decoin
 
45.
French Cancan (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
This comedy drama from Jean Renoir chronicles the revival of Paris' most notorious dance as it tells the story of a theater producer who turns a humble washerwoman into a star at the Moulin Rouge. (102 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
46.
“ Gerard Philipe as an orphan who grew up on public assistance and is trying to cope with the world. Madeleine Robinson plays the girl. ” - bob998
 
47.
Devil in the Flesh (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
During World War I, the star-crossed affair of an underage French student with a woman engaged to a soldier. (110 mins.)
 
48.
La Ronde (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An all-knowing interlocutor guides us through a series of affairs in Vienna, 1900. A soldier meets an eager young lady of the evening... (97 mins.)
Director: Max Ophüls
 
49.
Fan-Fan the Tulip (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Swashbuckling adventures of young army recruit Fanfan la Tulipe during the reign of King Louis XV in 18th century France. (102 mins.)
Director: Christian-Jaque
 
50.
Beauties of the Night (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young composer has vivid dreams of the past that reflect, yet conflict with his waking life. (87 mins.)
Director: René Clair
 
51.
The Proud and the Beautiful (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The first to die in an epidemic of meningitis in Vera Cruz is a French tourist. His wife Nellie, detached and indifferent... (103 mins.)
 
52.
Lovers, Happy Lovers! (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
From the Louis Hemon novel "M. Ripois and His Nemesis" about Andre Ripois, a philanderer in pursuit of love and riches from Paris to London... (100 mins.)
Director: René Clément
 
53.
The Grand Maneuver (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A French lieutenant makes a bet that he can seduce any woman in town in the two weeks before his regiment leaves for maneuvers, but his chosen target (a Parisian divorcée) isn't like other girls he's known. (106 mins.)
Director: René Clair
“ Gerard Philipe is a dashing heel of an army officer, Michele Morgan is a boutique owner who has been hurt by men... Rene Clair made a great picture. ” - bob998
 
54.
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
 
55.
The Lovers (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Saddled with a dull husband and a foolish lover, a woman has an affair with a stranger. (90 mins.)
Director: Louis Malle
 
56.
Les Cousins (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Charles is a young provincial coming up to Paris to study law. He shares his cousin Paul's flat. Paul is a kind of decadent boy... (112 mins.)
Director: Claude Chabrol
“ Young people behaving very badly in the Paris of the 50's. Superb performances by Brialy, Blain and Mayniel. ” - bob998