French Cinema

When it comes to movies, the French are very creative. French movies are full of whimsy, romance, and often beautiful colors! Many movies in English take place in France as well, especially Paris, because, quite frankly, who can resist the city of lights? Here's a look at just a small handful of some of the most enjoyable movies that are either in French or take place in France, to help you start your collection.

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Be sure to click on the pictures to purchase the DVDs at! (Some pictures do not contain links because some French movies are not available in the US. Find them at as Region 2 DVDs if you know your DVD player supports them, however most don't.)

Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain
Probably one of the most famous French films in America, known here as just Amélie, this film starring the captivating Audrey Tautou follows the title character around Montmartre as she searches for love and meaning in life, inspiring others along the way. The cheerful music and bright colors will draw you in at first, but the intriguing, and somewhat eccentric storyline will keep you hooked for the rest of the movie.

French Kiss
This is a great American movie about a woman named Kate (played by Meg Ryan) who goes to Paris to try to win back her ex-fiancé. On the way, she befriends suspicious Luc (credibly played by Kevin Kline), a Frenchman who wants to show her around his native land while possibly making a fortune of his own. A wonderful soundtrack of French songs, peppered by a few in English, a beautiful setting, and an interesting and comical sotryline all make this a must-see movie for anyone.

A la folie...pas du tout !
Another film starring Audrey Tautou, almost as charming as Amélie. Angélique loves Loïc, but he is married with a child on the way. The film chronicles all the obstacles Angélique goes through to try to win his love, done in typical French fashion with flashbacks and twists that make you think. This film is available in America under the title He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.

Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite
Yet another Tautou film, this one is known stateside as God is Great, and I'm Not - an interesting title for an interesting movie. Audrey stars as Michèle, who is very interested in religions and starts off as a convert to buddhism. She meets a man named François, who becomes her boyfriend. François is Jewish but Michèle becomes more interested in the religion than he is and eventually converts. Michèle's search for faith and love is funny and charming, as with all her movies.

Un long dimanche de fiançailles
The last Tautou film on this list of movies, this film is also directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet of Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain. Known in English as A Very Long Engagement, this is the story of Mathilde, a woman whose fiancé has gone off to fight in France's battlefields during WWI. Although it is likely that Mathilde's husband has died at the battle of the Somme, she must find out forherself what has truly happened to him. This is certainly not as comedic as some of Audrey Tautou's other films, however she still carries off her character just as well.

Ma vie en rose
This film has been released in America as well. It is the touching story of a young boy who wants to be a girl. He gets teased in school for it, and has troubles at home. The boy's struggle with his identity teaches the audience a lesson or two about life. I was first introduced to this film through my 10th grade English teacher, who recommended it to me, as he knew I spoke French. Make sure you have a tissue box handy if you choose to see this movie for yourself.

Passport to Paris
In this adorable straight-to-video release, the Olsen twins show us how to have a good time in Paris! Though the movie itself is not in French, it's a great opportunity to learn about French culture through Mary-Kate & Ashley's 13-year-old eyes (in fact, educational scenes in this movie have been shown in French classes). The girls play Melanie and Ally, two girls whose parents send them to Paris for a week over spring break to live with their grandfather, the United States Ambassador to France. The girls fall in love and, as in all the morals-driven Olsen films, learn a few lessons.

L'argent de poche
This is the story of some young children in Paris and their struggles with money and acceptance. Some of the characters are extremely poor, and some steal things for their family. Each character has his or her own distinct personality. You will fall in love with them and be rooting for them by the end of the movie. This one is another tear-jerker. You can buy this movie in the US under the title Pocket Change.

An American in Paris
This classic film starring Gene Kelly is about the life of a painter living in post-WWII Paris for inspiration. He meets an older American woman who is interested in him, but he'd much rather have a young French woman engaged to another man. The movie has great music and dancing, and although the base language is English, the dialogue is peppered with French words and phrases.

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