The 100 best French films: 30-21



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Claire’s Knee (1970)

Director: Eric Rohmer

The fifth and most accessible of Rohmer's six 'moral tales', Claire's Knee is the story of the temptation of an affianced diplomat (Brialy) while on holiday, and its successful suppression. The film was rapturously received as a


Beau travail (1999)

Director: Claire Denis

Denis' extraordinary movie centres on Galoup (Lavant) who, while holed up in Marseille, recalls his time as a sergeant-major in the Foreign Legion. In the desert, he drilled raw recruits while quietly nurturing feelings of


Belle de jour (1966)

Director: Luis Bunuel

Marlene Dietrich had Sternberg. Anna Karina had Godard. Catherine Deneuve had Buuel, as the revival of 1967’s Belle de Jour reaffirms; the film is a perverse valentine to this coolest of Gallic beauties. Deneuve stars as


Le Corbeau (1943)

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

David Thomson calls Clouzot's a 'cinema of total disenchantment'. This exposé of a malicious small town in France must be one of the most depressed films to emerge from the period of the German Occupation: everyone


A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Director: Georges Méliès


Le Samouraï (1967)

Dir Jean-Pierre Melville (Alain Delon, François Périer, Nathalie Delon)

Melville's hombres don't talk a lot, they just move in and out of the shadows, their trenchcoats lined with guilt and their hats hiding their eyes. This is a great movie, an


Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)

Director: Agnès Varda

‘Cléo from 5 to 7’ was French new waver Agnès Varda’s second feature and is filled with the beauty of Paris’s natural light. ‘Hold on, pretty butterfly!’ says Cléo (Corinne Marchand, pictured), a fretful and


Last Year in Marienbad (1961)

Dir Alain Resnais (Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi)

Something of a key film in the development of concepts of cinematic modernism, simply because - with a script by nouveau roman iconoclast Alain Robbe-Grillet - it sets up a puzzle that is never


Buffet froid (1979)

Dir Bertrand Blier (Gérard Depardieu, Bernard Blier, Jean Carmet)

Rigorously absurd contemporary film noir which presents every character, incident and situation known to the genre, but none of the customary explanations, motivations or consequences.


Santa Claus is a bastard (1982)

This film ranked #21 in Time Out's list of the 100 greatest French films. Click here to see the full list.


Users say

hugo french
hugo french

Si peu de comédies..qui a voté? Jeunet amelie pour le farfelu, jean de florette de Berri, pour la beaute B13 pour l'action, Haute tension pour la terreur, trois hommes et un couffin pour la tendresse, incroyable tout dernierement Aucun dans les 100 meilleurs films.... plutot une liste de film francais qu'un valide classement