The Worldwide Film Noir Tradition - Classical French Film Noir

by skobic | created - 10 Jun 2014 | updated - 11 Jun 2014 | Public

The films Selby chose as 30 French Noir Masterworks are labelled with 'MASTERWORK'

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2. The Accident (1963)

91 min | Crime, Drama

A young beautiful teacher is transfered to a remote island's school, where her colleague (also the principal of the school) falls in love with her. This banned love provokes the jealousy of the principal's wife and makes her seek revenge.

Director: Edmond T. Gréville | Stars: Georges Rivière, Magali Noël, Danik Patisson, Roland Lesaffre

Votes: 30

3. On Trial (1954)

110 min | Crime, Drama

In this legal drama, told in flashbacks, the son of a judge, who had sentenced a man who may be innocent to 17 years in prison, tries to investigate the mysterious case.

Director: Julien Duvivier | Stars: Daniel Gélin, Madeleine Robinson, Eleonora Rossi Drago, Anton Walbrook

Votes: 158

4. The Nina B. Affair (1961)

104 min | Drama

Businessman who lives from blackmailing begins to be blackmailed by his own wife who hates him.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Nadja Tiller, Pierre Brasseur, Walter Giller, Charles Regnier

Votes: 85

6. Les amants du Tage (1954)

123 min | Drama, Romance

He is a French taxi driver in Lisbon carrying the scars of a wife's infidelity that ended in tragedy when he found her with his lover upon returning from the war. She is a French woman in ... See full summary »

Director: Henri Verneuil | Stars: Daniel Gélin, Françoise Arnoul, Trevor Howard, Marcel Dalio

Votes: 92

7. Les amants maudits (1952)

97 min | Crime, Drama

A waiter fond of detective stories becomes a gangster.

Director: Willy Rozier | Stars: Danièle Roy, Robert Berri, Jacques Dynam, René Alié

Votes: 13

8. Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Not Rated | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

94 Metascore

A self-assured businessman murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin

Votes: 17,364 | Gross: $0.11M


11. The Walls of Malapaga (1949)

89 min | Drama, Romance

A French fugitive arrives in Genoa, where he becomes entangled with an Italian woman and her daughter.

Director: René Clément | Stars: Jean Gabin, Isa Miranda, Vera Talchi, Andrea Checchi

Votes: 541

13. The Sinners (1949)

108 min | Drama, Romance

Story takes place in a dreadful girls' reformatory. A couple of lovers will try to escape from this living hell.

Director: Julien Duvivier | Stars: Serge Reggiani, Jean Davy, Monique Mélinand, Suzy Prim

Votes: 38

14. Before the Deluge (1954)

138 min | Crime, Drama

Self-centered parents of the 50's targeted by drama in which teenagers panicking after burglary supposed to finance the run from the Third World War.

Director: André Cayatte | Stars: Antoine Balpêtré, Paul Bisciglia, Bernard Blier, Jacques Castelot

Votes: 87


16. La bête à l'affût (1959)

95 min | Drama, Thriller

A cop's widow is through with love and she spends her time collecting money for the orphans of the Police,abetted by a bunch of snobs and false friends.Unfortunately the person who was in ... See full summary »

Director: Pierre Chenal | Stars: Françoise Arnoul, Henri Vidal, Gaby Sylvia, Agnès Laury

Votes: 32

17. Bob le Flambeur (1956)

PG | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

80 Metascore

After losing big, an aging gambler decides to assemble a team to rob a casino.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Roger Duchesne, Isabelle Corey, Daniel Cauchy, Guy Decomble

Votes: 8,942 | Gross: $0.02M


18. One Step to Eternity (1954)

95 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

Francois Roques, a power-and-money-mad editor of a Paris newspaper (who justifies his actions by calling attention to his poverty-stricken childhood), invites four women to a housewarming ... See full summary »

Director: Henri Decoin | Stars: Danielle Darrieux, Michel Auclair, Corinne Calvet, Gérard Buhr

Votes: 78

21. Le cap de l'espérance (1951)

90 min | Crime, Drama

Lyria, a faded beauty who runs a seedy waterfront bar, is madly in love with Bob, a crooked attorney. Bob can't bring himself to confess his love for Minnie, the pretty daughter of Simon, a... See full summary »

Director: Raymond Bernard | Stars: Edwige Feuillère, Frank Villard, Jean Debucourt, Paolo Stoppa

Votes: 9

22. Casque d'Or (1952)

Not Rated | 94 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Three gangsters and an ex-con carpenter all fall for the same beautiful, golden-haired woman in Belle Époque France.

Director: Jacques Becker | Stars: Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Claude Dauphin, Raymond Bussières

Votes: 4,140


23. This Man Is Dangerous (1953)

92 min | Adventure

An escaped convict on the run becomes the newest member of the international criminal network. In order to gain the respect of the gang, he gets involved in a plot to kidnap a rich American heiress.

Director: Jean Sacha | Stars: Eddie Constantine, Colette Deréal, Grégoire Aslan, Claude Borelli

Votes: 93

24. Cette nuit là... (1958)

100 min | Crime

Jean, who is the artistic director of a fashion magazine, is married to a very pretty cover girl, Sylvie. They both work for André Reverdy, a very cynical man, who openly covets Sylvie. ... See full summary »

Director: Maurice Cazeneuve | Stars: Mylène Demongeot, Maurice Ronet, Jean Servais, Françoise Prévost

Votes: 45

25. Chair de poule (1963)

107 min | Crime, Drama

A man plans a hold-up with a group of trusted fellows, he gets his hands on the money, and the girl - what could go wrong? Almost everything.

Director: Julien Duvivier | Stars: Robert Hossein, Jean Sorel, Catherine Rouvel, Georges Wilson

Votes: 297


26. The Burning Court (1962)

110 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A group of people visit a weird old man who is a student of the black arts. The man lives in an ancient, cursed castle. Soon people in the group start being killed off.

Director: Julien Duvivier | Stars: Nadja Tiller, Jean-Claude Brialy, Perrette Pradier, Edith Scob

Votes: 282

27. The Lowest Crime (1955)

98 min | Crime

semi-documentary police officer about a criminal organization specializing in blackmail.

Director: Guy Lefranc | Stars: Raymond Pellegrin, Magali Noël, Leo Genn, Georges Chamarat

Votes: 10

29. La chatte (1958)

108 min | Romance, War, Drama

Paris suffers under the Nazis. Cora, wife of a resistance fighter who dies during a raid, carries on the Résistance-fire of her husband.

Director: Henri Decoin | Stars: Françoise Arnoul, Bernhard Wicki, André Versini, Roger Hanin

Votes: 113

31. Classe Tous Risques (1960)

Not Rated | 103 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Sautet | Stars: Lino Ventura, Sandra Milo, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marcel Dalio

Votes: 2,619 | Gross: $0.09M


32. Coïncidences (1947)

95 min | Comedy, Drama

A rich girl is in love with her father-in-law 's librarian .The wealthy man wants her to marry a military man but she's not prepared to accept it.She rebels and marries the poor guy.

Director: Serge Debecque | Stars: Serge Reggiani, Andrée Clément, Pierre Renoir, Suzanne Bara

Votes: 8

33. Le combat dans l'île (1962)

PG-13 | 104 min | Drama

The son of a French industrialist, Clément is a right wing extremist who belongs to a secret militant right wing organization that uses whatever means necessary, including violence, to ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Cavalier | Stars: Romy Schneider, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Henri Serre, Diane Lepvrier

Votes: 461 | Gross: $0.05M

34. A Man Escaped (1956)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

A captured French Resistance fighter during WWII engineers a daunting escape from a Nazi prison in France.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: François Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod

Votes: 15,162


35. Web of Fear (1964)

92 min | Crime, Mystery

A lonely widow longing for love.

Director: François Villiers | Stars: Michèle Morgan, Dany Saval, Simón Andreu, Maria Pacôme

Votes: 31

36. Copie conforme (1947)

84 min | Comedy, Crime

A smooth criminal, who turns to be Manuel Ismora, and his gang successfully and peacefully pull off con after heist. Elsewhere a timid office worker, Gabriel Dupon, is pressured by his boss... See full summary »

Director: Jean Dréville | Stars: Louis Jouvet, Suzy Delair, Annette Poivre, Jane Marken

Votes: 189

37. Le Corbeau (1943)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

French village doctor becomes target of poison-pen letters sent to village leaders, accusing him of affairs and practicing abortion.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Micheline Francey, Héléna Manson

Votes: 7,502 | Gross: $0.03M


38. Lovers on a Tightrope (1960)

Not Rated | 79 min | Drama

Cora, the wife of a wealthy Parisian businessman, Daniel, is involved in an affair with Henri, an unscrupulous garage mechanic who has set his sights on Cora's fortune. Daniel becomes ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Charles Dudrumet | Stars: Annie Girardot, François Périer, Geneviève Brunet, Gérard Buhr

Votes: 30

39. Le crâneur (1955)

92 min | Crime, Drama

A singer tries to rescue a man drawn into the drug trade.

Director: Dimitri Kirsanoff | Stars: Marina Vlady, Raymond Pellegrin, Dora Doll, Hélène Vallier

Votes: 40

40. Crime and Punishment (1956)

107 min | Crime, Drama

Modern update of Dostoievski's novel Crime and Punishment.

Director: Georges Lampin | Stars: Jean Gabin, Marina Vlady, Ulla Jacobsson, Bernard Blier

Votes: 178

41. Crime Does Not Pay (1962)

159 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Husband try to kill his wife with a help of the plan he saw in a film. But reality is not a film.

Director: Gérard Oury | Stars: Danielle Darrieux, Edwige Feuillère, Annie Girardot, Rina Morelli

Votes: 96

43. Dédée d'Anvers (1948)

95 min | Drama

Dedee is a prostitute, working in Monsieur Rene's night club on Antwerp's harbour. The porter is Marco, her pimp. Dedee is not happy, until she meets Francesco, an italian sailorman. They ... See full summary »

Director: Yves Allégret | Stars: Bernard Blier, Simone Signoret, Marcello Pagliero, Marcel Dalio

Votes: 303

45. Le dernier des six (1941)

90 min | Mystery, Thriller

Six friends promise to share their fortune in 5 years. The moment is very close, but one of the six is mysteriously murdered, then another... Superintendent Wenceslas Woroboyioetschik (aka ... See full summary »

Director: Georges Lacombe | Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Michèle Alfa, Suzy Delair, Jean Tissier

Votes: 194

46. The Night Affair (1958)

93 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

A vice inspector for the Paris police takes special interest in the plight of drug-addicted Lucky whom he considers to be more victim than criminal.

Director: Gilles Grangier | Stars: Jean Gabin, Danielle Darrieux, Nadja Tiller, Paul Frankeur

Votes: 413

47. Le dessous des cartes (1948)

Crime, Drama

A banker responsible for a financial crisis dies, and his death is covered up.

Director: André Cayatte | Stars: Madeleine Sologne, Serge Reggiani, Paul Meurisse, Enrico Glori

Votes: 17

48. Deux heures à tuer (1966)

83 min | Crime

Trouble in a little town where a serial killer is at large.

Director: Ivan Govar | Stars: Pierre Brasseur, Michel Simon, Raymond Rouleau, Jean-Roger Caussimon

Votes: 28

49. Deux hommes dans Manhattan (1959)

Not Rated | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Pierre Grasset, Christiane Eudes, Ginger Hall, Colette Fleury

Votes: 1,222