The 100 best French films: 100-81



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Enter the Void (2009)

Director: Gaspar Noé

The French-Argentinian filmmaker Gaspar Noé doesn’t do subtlety. He’s experimental in some ways; in others, he has the refinement of Michael Bay. His 2002 backwards-told tale ‘Irréversible’, is remembered for its scenes


That Man from Rio (1964)

Director: Philippe de Broca

A delightfully preposterous thriller (the McGuffin is some stolen Amazonian treasure), wittier than any of the Bond spoofs that subsequently flooded the market and a good deal racier than 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'.


Remorques (1939)

Director: Jean Grémillon

A number of cross-references apply: Reed's The Key, likewise a melancholy tale of doomed love set against a background of rough seas and salvage vessels; Le Quai des Brumes, the two stars' initial pairing, Gabin here reprising


Le Trou (1960)

Director: Jean Becker

A secular response to Bresson's A Man Escaped. No question of grace here, simply of grind and grime as four prisoners - joined and eventually betrayed by a fifth - laboriously tunnel their way to a derisory glimpse of freedom.


Un air de famille (1996)

Director: Cédric Klapisch

In a French provincial town, Henri Menard (Bacri) runs the old family restaurant where the clan convenes every Friday night. This Friday, everyone's ego is in for a bruising. A subtle, breezy comedy of manners, Klapisch's


Vincent, François, Paul et les autres (1974)

This film ranked #95 in Time Out's list of the 100 greatest French films. Click here to see the full list.  Director: Claude Sautet  


Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953)

Director: Jacques Tati

Tati's most consistently enjoyable comedy, a gentle portrait of the clumsy, well-meaning Hulot on vacation in a provincial seaside resort. The quiet, delicately observed slapstick here works with far more hits than misses,


Caché (2005)

Director: Michael Haneke

A smart marriage of the thriller genre with a compendium of strong ideas about guilt, racism, recent French history and cinema itself, Michael Haneke’s eighth feature is an unsettling, self-reflective masterpiece. It opens


Le Feu follet (1963)

Director: Louis Malle

Arguably the finest of Malle's early films, this is a calmly objective but profoundly compassionate account of the last 24 hours in the life of a suicide. Ronet gives a remarkable, quietly assured performance as the alcoholic who,


The Tenant (1976)

Director: Roman Polanski

With Polanski becoming a naturalised Frenchman, it was logical that he should start tackling specifically French subjects, and this small-scale return to the territory of Repulsion seemed a promising beginning. But it's


Mr. Klein (1976)

Director: Joseph Losey

The action of Losey's film takes place against the Nazi deportation of French Jews - a set of circumstances which the film doesn't so much explore as get lost in. Klein (Delon), a Parisian art dealer, is delivered a copy of a


Sans soleil (1983)

Director: Chris Marker

Imagine getting letters from a friend in Japan, letters full of images, sounds and ideas. Your friend is an inveterate globe-trotter, and his letters are full of memories of other trips. He has a wry and very engaging sense of


The Night Is Young (1946)

Director: Leos Carax

In his second feature (following Boy Meets Girl), Carax combines his personal concerns - young love, solitude - with the stylised conventions of the vaguely futuristic romantic thriller. Loner street-punk Alex (Lavant) joins a


Panique (1946)

This film ranked #87 in Time Out's list of the 100 greatest French films. Click here to see the full list.  Director: Julien Duvivier  


Le Plaisir (1952)

Director: Max Ophüls

Ophüls' second French film following his return from the USA was adapted from three stories by Maupassant. Le Masque describes how an old man wears a mask of youth at a dance hall to extend his youthful memories. La Maison


La Vie de Jésus (1997)

Director: Bruno Dumont

Making use of locals instead of professional actors lends authenticity to this impressive look at a group of otherwise innocuous teenage lads in a boring northern French town (Bailleul in Flanders), driven to violence by a


Les Baisers de secours (1989)

This film ranked #84 in Time Out's list of the 100 greatest French films. Click here to see the full list.  Director: Philippe Garrel  


Les Vampires (1915)

Director: Louis Feuillade

1915: Slaughter at Gallipoli; first use of gas on the Western Front; Lusitania sunk. And as diversion, this serial saga (in 10 episodes) of a band of robbers whose principals include Satanas, who keeps a howitzer behind the


Games of Love and Chance (2004)

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

At first, Kechiche’s follow-up to the admirable ‘La Faute à Voltaire’ looks set to be a fairly routine account of life in the Maghrebi hood, with 15-year-old Krimo mooning over Lydia while his ex insists to any kid


The Unfaithful Wife (1968)

Director: Claude Chabrol

One of Chabrol's mid-period masterpieces, a brilliantly ambivalent scrutiny of bourgeois marriage and murder that juggles compassion and cynicism in a way that makes Hitchcock look obvious. The obligatory cross-references are


Users say

Richard W
Richard W

Amelie deserves to be on here as does Band of Outsiders

Tex S
Tex S

Great list, with a few omissions. There are many I have not seen, and I would put some of them higher up in the list that I have seen. I like that "Wages of Fear" was put so high. That is a great, standout film. PTxS


It's an interesting list, but where is A MAN AND A WOMAN?

Alice Young
Alice Young

This list looks like it was just thrown up randomly. Amelie and Betty Blue aren't here, but a lot of garbage is. It's a useless list that should not be quoted.


Jules et Jim?

Tex S
Tex S

@Quinn Most people would call that an omission. I call that wisdom. It's the most overrated film in French cinema. PTxS

Kealan O'ver
Kealan O'ver

No Amélie? Seriously? Even if you don't place it that highly its still better than City of Lost Children.

Tex S
Tex S

@Kealan O'ver City of Lost Children was cinematic and challenging. Amelie? It was simple and sickly sweet. But it could be on the list. No problem. PTxS


Am I right in thinking Amélie is not on the list?! It should be number 1!

Tex S
Tex S

@Luke Ha ha. Number one. You have a sense of humor. Why should a simple piece of pablum be #1? PTxS  It was cute and entertaining, little else. Fine, put it on the list. #1 one, I laugh in your general direction. To each their own... PTxS