Speak a new language so that the world will be a new world. - Rumi

Did you know that curiosity doesn't always kill a cat? Curiosity to learn new things like a new language can be a great thing indeed. The French language, as we all know, is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Needless to say that there are innumerable courses available on the same and you are sure to find a French class at every second language website you visit online.

No matter what the level of understanding, be it for students or others looking to improve their French language skills, you can easily enroll in a French language course. But did you ever think of learning the language using some other channels? How about learning French by watching French classics? Sounds too good to be true? Well, it's not. Read on to find out about the best French films that are both a source of entertainment and learning.

French Tuitions Through Films From France

Retro cinema
French classics are some of the most top-rated cinema of all times | Source: Pixabay.

Online platforms and world cinema are a great source of learning. You can pick up a language by watching a film that helps you understand the contextual application of specific words which alleviates the learning process for beginners.  In fact, the best way to start is with things that you know. Thanks to Netflix or any other OTT platform, you can simply choose the French language as the streaming option and start learning the words.

This is a simple yet brilliant hack to associate French words with everyday objects and situations. If you want to practice what you learn through the listening and learning process, try reading the newspaper in French or maintain a French-language journal.

While learning by watching and listening, try swapping between English and French subtitles. It might be confusing at first, but once you get a hang of it, it will only help expedite the learning process. You need to listen to the rise and fall of the language if you want to better your French pronunciation, and you can’t do that if you are concentrating on the written word.

And whatever genre you prefer, world cinema from France is made to enthrall audiences across cultures, age, and language groups. You can watch them for free or share a Netflix subscription with your friends. You can even form your own study group with other students who wish to up their game in French language courses. Here are the top recommendations of French films to improve your French language skills.

Top Films from France in the Comedy and Action Genre

While a movie can entertain you for a couple of hours, a book can provide hours and hours of pleasure.
French people are movie buffs.

French comedies are world-famous. You might notice that the jokes and timing are different than in British comedy - the French love visual and situational comedy, but they play around a little less with words.

Comedy Films in the French Language

My Night at Maud's

This one dates back to the 1960s but still remains one of the most popular movies in the French language. Directed by Eric Rohmer, the film describes the adventures of a devout Catholic man during his stay at Maud with a very outgoing divorced woman. This is definitely a great start to your online French lessons. It is fun and will make the learning process the most enjoyable.

The Collector

This French comedy starring Patrick Bauchau and Haydee Politoff is a tale of misadventures between an art dealer and painter who find their Riviera vacation disrupted by a third character. For those with intermediate French language skills, this one is great to pick up new words and apply them in different contexts.

Les Visiteurs

If you are simply on the lookout for a fun family farce, Les Visiteurs can deliver. The story revolves around the life of a French nobleman and his servant, another native in France. It turns out to be a comedy of errors as they try to male sense of things. But for you, the French course student, you can find great examples of French grammar applications and native vocabulary. And all this while munching on free popcorn!

Action Films in the French Language

Le Salaire de la peur - the Wages of Fear

This is a leading psychological thriller by Henri-Georges Clouzot and has been recognized widely in world cinema. Clouzot was considered an opponent of the New Wave movement. His cinematic genius tells the tale of drivers who would transport nitroglycerine in jerry cans to extinguish the fire in remote oil fields in the U.S. It won the Palme d’Or at the International Film Festival at Cannes and the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

The film not only has great content but also has tons of information that is covered in French language courses as part of understanding the history and culture of France. Even after so many years, this one of the most-watched French films online for its cinematic value and as a resource for any French language class.

Léon the Professional

Sci-fi director Luc Besson created this genius masterpiece starring a young Natalie Portman. It is a touching tale of friendship and the intricacies of human relationships between a professional killer, a plant, and his young daughter. This one is available for free on YouTube and can be of great help to increase your level of French grammar and comprehension.

French Films Inspired By Literary Classics

French manners remain formal.
Many French literary classics have been converted into movies.

Although not recommended for beginners, French classics are a great help for intermediate French language students. If you are a language teacher, you can easily use these in school or private classes to enhance the understanding of your students. The language is much more formal and florid and, in the case of Cyrano, in verse, so you won't be learning many contemporary French words and phrases. But there are truly wonderful films for the advanced French student seeking to experience classic French culture as feature films.

Les Miserables

This one needs no introduction. The movie has won several awards for its cinematic brilliance. And is also a great source of information on the history of the French Revolution. The film follows Valjean, the protagonist, who is a formal criminal and now finds himself in the midst of the chaos of the biggest revolution in France.

Apart from watching this movie for your French language vocabulary building, this one comes highly recommended by cinema experts.

The Great Gatsby

This is another highly recommended and must-watch classics. The film centers around the life of a mid-Westerner who is fascinated by his rich neighbor and his obsession with his long lost love. The Great Gatsby teaches you the hard realities of life and how every good thing comes with a price.

Find out more about French classics adopted to great cinema. 

Explore Other Genres to Make French Learning Fun

Learn to understand French.
Social skills are also a crucial factor in learning the French language.

While you can pick up new vocabulary, understand grammar application, and improve your French pronunciation by watching movies in the French language, remember to practice it regularly. This includes talking in French in your social interactions, word associations in your daily life, etc.

Or if you are looking to spice up things a bit more with your French class, here are some more recommendations in other genres of French films.

Animated Films in French

Strictly speaking, animated movies are not the best source of learning as they are of entertainment. However, you can still catch new words that you may otherwise not find in your French language course. So here are some recommendations in this genre.

The Triplets of Belleville

Directed by Sylvain Chomet, the film was released in the year 2003 and ran for several weeks across multiplexes. It was nominated for two Oscars. The film tells the heartwarming story of an old woman and her grandson, Champion, who dreams of participating in the Tour de France but ends up getting kidnapped. What follows is the undaunting quest of a loving granny for her lost grandson, with her dog as her sidekick.

The Asterix Film Series

If you have grown up reading about Asterix and Obelix, you will surely find the cinematic adoption adorable. There is a whole series that spans the journey of Asterix and his many adventures.

Other Must-Watch French Films

Le Samourai

The film was released in 1967 but it hasn't lost its charm over time. It is a crime thriller based on French-Italian crim stories directed by Jean-Pierre Melville.


Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Amelie is one of the most critically acclaimed romantic comedy in world cinema. The film is a comical take on the whimsical Parisian life. It will leave you in splits while teaching you a great deal about French culture and the language.

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Another highly recommended French movie that needs no introduction. This is a must-watch if you are looking for inspiration more than doing justice to your French class.

Did you know that you can also learn French through games?

Cinema's characteristic forte is its ability to capture and communicate the intimacies of the human mind.

There is a lot more cinematic brilliance in the work of French moviemakers than this space can accommodate. If this is inspiring you, then you must sign up on Superprof today for your French tuitions and dive right into the romantic world of French entertainment and the beautiful language.

Need a French teacher?

Did you like this article?

5.00/5 - 1 vote(s)


Doctor, dog lover, traveler..