8 of the Most Popular and Beloved French Films Ever

The French are known for their art, cuisine and fashion. But what about cinema?

Every year there are new great French films that come out. French movies, though at times overlooked, are so enjoyable that non-French viewers become so keen about mastering the French Language so they can even enjoy them more. 

Whether you’re a current French film-lover or wannabe lover, this list of the 8 most loved French films ever is bound to evoke some emotion in you.

Our list of the top 8 most popular and beloved French films is a mixed bag that ranges from silent black-and-white classics to modern blockbusters.

La Femme Nikita (1990)

Anne Parillaud stars as the title character, a young criminal sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering police officers during an armed pharmacy heist, in The Nikita. Her government handlers fake her death and recruit her as a professional assassin. She begins a killing profession where she tries to balance her job with her personal life after intense training.

Amelie (2001)

“Amelie” is a very popular French movie that was released in 2001. It tells the story of a young woman who has been sheltered from life by her father but decides to change all that when she meets a stranger on the street. This lovely French film will make you laugh and make you realize there’s more to this world than you might have thought.

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

“Cyrano de Bergerac” is a must-watch French movie based on the 1897 French Alexandrine verse drama Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. It was created in 1950 and tells the story of a man who becomes enamored with his cousin but cannot tell her so due to his large nose. Instead, he pens love letters to her on behalf of a handsome man. This is an amazing French film that will make you laugh and fall in love with Cyrano de Bergerac’s charms.

The Intouchables (2011)

“The Intouchables” is another movie that was released quite recently but has quickly become one of the must-watch French films out there. It tells the tale of an aristocrat who becomes a quadriplegic after an accident and hires a young man from the projects to care for him. The storyline of the film is based on the true tale of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his French-Moroccan carer Abdel Sellou, which the directors discovered in the documentary film la vie, à la death. This is a truly moving French film that will touch your heart, but also make you laugh out loud.

Le Diner de Cons (1998)

“Le Diner de Cons” was released in 1998 and tells the story of three male friends who like to play the game of “the dinner of idiots” every week, where they invite an idiot over for dinner and laugh at him. It is this game that leads one of them to invite a wealthy businessman who may be too quick on his feet for their game. This French comedy will make you laugh out loud, but also smile as it tells an adorable story.

La Haine (1995)

“La Haine” is one of the must-watch French films that was released in 1995. It tells the story of three young men living in a Parisian suburb, who are casually hanging out when one of them accidentally kills a policeman’s son during a scuffle. This leads to an investigation but also shows what life is like for those living in the slums. “La Haine” is a French film that will open your eyes to how others live and make you fall in love with their story, no matter where it takes place.


Potiche (2010)

“Potiche,” or “The Trophy Wife” is a film about cocotte and their husbands who are often too busy to pay much attention to them. One woman’s husband becomes head of the company after his father dies, but he constantly demeans her for being illiterate. This great comedy shows how far one person will go for love and what happens when you find it.

The Passion of Joan Arc (1927)

The Passion of Joan Arc is an historical film depicting the trial of Joan as a prisoner in England. Initially, many French nationalists had complained that Carl Dreyer (the director) was not French and should probably not be directing a film about a French hero.


But, none of those worries materialised in the end. The direction and the performance of Jeanne Falconetti (the woman who played Joan) turned out to be exceptional on all fronts. Both of them are still regarded as legends for their roles in the Passion of Joan Arc film.

To sum it up

Many watching this French cinema quickly fell in love with the beautiful French culture and became interested in mastering the French language. Learning French is never an easy task but with these types of masterpieces, it can become a whole lot easier and even fun.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the most popular and beloved French films. Let us know if you think there are others that should be on this list.

Au revoir!