French Movies

French Movies

Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au bon Dieu ? DVD
Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au bon dieu ?
This French comedy plays on ethnic stereotypes : it is totally overtly over-the-top and full of stereotypes. It was a big hit in France where apparently we don’t mind looking at our stereotypes right in the face (so long as it’s done at the movie’s). The producers of Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au bon Dieu ? thought it would do well in America since the American people usually enjoy French comedies and it’s not like Americans don’t have those same stereotypes. Wrong! Americans think this movie is distasteful and racist (French news article about it). I thought it worked as a movie, certainly ends with the older generations coming to terms with their children’s choices, which is a good thing in my book. I’m not sure you’ll love it, but if you see it I’d like to hear if you saw it as racist or not in the comments.

Le dîner de cons Streaming

Le dîner de consGreat acting, great plot device, great music, and classic French humor. This streaming version of Le dîner de cons in French with English subtitles will make you laugh, I guarantee it!

La Femme Nikita Streaming

La Femme NikitaFor the longest time La Femme Nikita was my favorite movie ever. Then time passed and more wonderful movies were made, but it’s still definitely on my top 10 list of French movies. This movie (the original) was so much better than Point of No Return and the American TV series also named Nikita that it’s a crime they bought the rights to the story. But I digress. You like action? You’ll get action and mind games too. French track with English subtitles.

Intouchables Streaming

Intouchables MovieIntouchables was a huge hit in France and for good reason: this show will make you think, and laugh, and possibly cry a little bit too. We cannot recommend it more, it’ll make you a better person, it’s that good. Streaming in French with English subtitles.

Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis Streaming

Welcome to the Sticks StreamingBienvenue chez les Ch’tis was a huge hit in France, the comedy that had everybody laughing and talking for many months. It’s funny and touching, carries a lot of French historical and cultural references. Soundtrack in French with English subtitles, which is good because when they start talking Ch’ti even French people need subtitles!

La cage aux folles Streaming

La cage aux folles

A hilarious situational comedy that was very much ahead of its time in 1978 and is still fun and on point today. The only thing wrong with this version is that it’s dubbed into English. I would have preferred to find a French track with English subtitles for you, but that doesn’t seem to be one of the choices. The American remake with Robin Williams was pretty good too, but I’d still go for the older original movie.

La Chèvre Streaming

La Chèvre DVDLa Chèvre is another classic French comedy that Hollywood tried to remake but didn’t quite pull off (Pure Luck, don’t buy that one whatever you do!) The French version is so old that Depardieu wasn’t a buffoon yet. Very funny, very French in character. Thanks David for the recommendation! French track with English subtitles.

Les Garçons et Guillaume à Table ! Blue Ray

Me, Myself, and my Mum Blue-Ray MovieGuillaume et les Garçons à Table is Annie’s favorite recent French movie. The sort of film that sends you thinking about your own life for a few hours after the show is over. It’s in French with English subtitles, Blue-Ray. Masterpiece performance by Guillaume Gallienne who is usually seen around the Comédie Française (the French equivalent to the Royal Shakespeare Company).

La Ligne Droite Blue Ray

La Ligne Droite Blue-Ray movieLa Ligne Droite is a movie about overcoming adversity. The story of a blind man who runs with the help of a human guide. It’s not sappy at all but can get emotional. Annie and her husband David loved it.

Le Petit Nicolas DVD

Le Petit Nicolas DVDAnother one of Annie’s favorites, Le Petit Nicolas movie was inspired by the book by René Goscinny and did a marvelous job at capturing the world and humor this boy lives in. You’re starting to catch on, Annie loves comedies!

La Grande Vadrouille DVD

La Grande VadrouilleIf you want to make French people laugh, show them La Grande Vadrouille. Why on earth did they rename it Don’t Look Now for the American market? Anyway, it’s an old movie that shows that self-deprecation and French people can indeed go hand-in-hand. This edition is done the way I like them: French sound track with English subtitles, it’s region 1 and NTSC. So dust off the old DVD player and have a great laugh! Thanks Noriane for the suggestion!

Best Movies about France

Midnight in Paris Streaming

Midnight in Paris streaming movie
Midnight in Paris is one of Elyse’s favorite movies – it is nostalgic, total fantasy, but fun and several scenes were filmed in parts of the Latin Quarter, (one on rue de Montagne St Genevieve near the Pantheon and the other in a famous (but not great today) restaurant that dates from the early 20th century near the Odeon theatre.

9 thoughts on “French Movies”

  1. I am a perennial self-taught student of French, a regular visitor to France (sometimes twice a year), and a lapsed Art Historian – so I love your podcasts. I have terrible difficulty understanding informal spoken French so I watch movies quite a bit. Is it getting better? Not as quickly as I would like. Les Intouchables was wonderful, but for some reason I found Francois Cluzet’s character even harder to understand than Omar Sy’s banlieu conversation. So that means the best movies for my comprehension are typically those of a few decades back, like Purple Noon with Alain Delon or movies that treat a bourgeois subject between the 40’s and 70’s like The Women on the 6th Floor. The actress Valerie Lemercier is a wonderfully clear comic actress as is Catherine Frot and so I watch anything they are in over and over. Of course I loved the series Engrenages and learned a lot of new vocabulary like proxénétisme, but typically the only character I could understand was the Judge. Yes I think I am getting better at understanding but at 55, I’m not sure how much time I have. I know much much less Italian but since it is such a phonetic language my family thinks I am much better in it than I am. THank you again for your podcasts. We are heading to Aix-en-Provence next month after a few days in Paris so it was wonderful to get your take on that city just in the nick of time before we Join You in France.
    Amicalement,
    Michele
    Watch Hill, RI

    1. Hello Wendy,

      Movies are hard to understand, sometimes it’s hard to hear what they said. But as a self-taught learner (of any age!) watching movies is one of the best things you can do to improve oral comprehension. Thanks for the recommendations Wendy!

    1. Hello Rose and welcome to Join Us in France! You’re totally right, those are both great movies! La Cage aux Folles, the original French (1978) is so funny it makes me cry and is really ahead of its time when it comes to social issues. And Le Dîner de cons is such a classic French humor comedy! I just watched the trailer on Amazon (French track with English subtitles) and I laughed so hard I probably woke up the family 😉 and the song by Brassens is a great touch. Yes, both of those are wonderful, thank you!

  2. While in junior high, my French Class teacher took our class on a field trip to see Le Retour de Martin Guerre. We saw it in a theater with subtitles, but when I rented it years later it was dubbed, which almost ruined it for me. I really enjoyed this movie.

  3. Annie,

    Great post. There are so many great French films I would not know where to start.

    One thing my wife does to help with comprehension is to bit the bullet, turn off the subtitles and just watch the movie and try to follow along. She says after a while you relax and begin to “get it “.
    Keep up the good work.
    Randy

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