Top 5 French Movies


1. Le Samouraï (1967) (Crime/Drama)

Jean-Pierre Melville and Alain Delon worked together on many films, but arguably the duo’s best work is Le Samouraï. It’s a beautiful blend of lone-warrior samurai films, 40’s American gangster movies, and 60’s French new wave cinema. Stunning cinematography, an incredible electronic score from Francois de Roubaix, and stellar performances from everyone involved all make Le Samouraï one of, if not, the best French film of all time.

2. Vagabond (1985) (Drama/Romance)

Agnes Varda has made many great films in her career (especially Daguerréotypes and Cléo from 5 to 7), but Vagabond remains her most compelling and breathtaking. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, even though the ending is revealed at the beginning (a trend that has inspired many films since). Sandrine Bonnaire’s performance is flawless, and when mixed with Agnes Varda’s distinct writing and directing style, the character of Mona is truly brought to life. Patrick Blossier’s cinematography is also something to note, along with the impeccable score from Joanna Bruzdowicz.

3. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) (Drama)

With it’s 200 minute runtime and slow pacing, Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles may seem tedious and boring to the average viewer. However, the film is meticulously and expertly crafted, making it an undisputed masterpiece. In fact, 2022’s Sight and Sound Film Critics poll called Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles the “single greatest film of all time.”

4. The 400 Blows (1959) (Drama/à clef)

The 400 Blows is an incredible depiction of how children tend to rebel against oppressive and even absent adult figures in their life. François Truffaut’s first feature is also arguably his most personal, pulling events and elements from his own childhood and using them in the film. With Truffaut’s vibrant style of writing characters, and Jean-Pierre Léaud’s incredible acting, The 400 Blows is an essential of French New Wave cinema. 

5. Eyes Without a Face (1960) (Horror/Drama)

Notoriously famous for its startling and downright scary visuals, Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face remains one of the most influential horror films of all time. Georges Klein’s makeup, Henri Assola’s special effects, and Gilbert Natot’s editing all make the film effective and truly frightening, even to this day. The black and white cinematography of the French countryside and Maurice Jarre’s score also add to the film’s creepy tone. Fans of horror movies should definitely give it a watch.