There are a lot of things to love about France. From the effortless elegance of the fashion and bistro culture to the many cinematic masterpieces, architectural triumphs, and beautiful destinations, there's a reason we always wish we were in the City of Lights. So if you, too, have ever looked in the mirror to practice your best Anna Karina impression, pay homage to Jean-Luc Godard, or you'd simply rather be on a vacation in France right now, you've come to the right place.
We rounded up the best French films to transport you there without leaving your sofa. Even if you don't consider yourself a Francophile, the 18 movies below are some of the best films from cinema history, foreign or not, including old classics, modern-day flicks, suspenseful thrillers, stylish indies, quirky dramedies, and more. Get a sense of each, and then curate your own watch list.
Below are our picks for the best French films to stream tonight.
Slack Bay (2017)
A large, wealthy, and eccentric family spends a summer in a picturesque cliffside locale. Though a mysterious disappearance is the crux of the plot and we learn what happened early on, this dark comedy proves that the best question isn't always whodunit. Enchanting, whimsical, delightfully strange, funny, and insightful—there are plenty of reasons to watch Slack Bay.
What happens when a young vegetarian, who wants nothing more than to fit in at veterinary school, turns into a cannibal? This French-Belgian horror film is what. Directed by Julia Ducournau and starring Garance Marillier, this movie is perfect for anyone who likes slow-burning, coming-of-age thrillers.
The Intouchables (2012)
When an aristocratic Parisian man becomes a quadriplegic after a paragliding accident, he hires a young live-in caretaker who could not be more different than he. The film demonstrates the power of love and compassion, as the audience becomes witness to a beautiful friendship between the unlikeliest of people. This dramedy is heartwarming, funny, and thoroughly entertaining. Though you'll probably fall in love with both protagonists on their own, the bond they share together is most compelling.
If you've loved all things Sofia Coppola since the day you saw The Virgin Suicides, brace yourself. Instead of being transported to 1960s Midwest American suburbia, you'll hone in on a remote Turkish village where five orphaned sisters are put on lockdown indefinitely for playing in the water with boys. Though quite different plot-wise, this film revolves around similar themes of the bond of sisterhood and the policing of female sexuality.
Jules et Jim (1962)
If you haven't seen this classic, now's the time to press play. Made in 1962, this new-wave romance drama explores the relationships between two best friends in love with the same woman. Jeanne Moreau stars as Catherine, a fun young woman at the center of a love triangle during the carefree days before the first World War. Do either of them win the beautiful woman's affection? You'll have to watch to find out!
Clouds of Sils Maria (2015)
When two successful actresses, one in the prime of her youth and another middle-aged, are cast to be lovers in a romantic lesbian drama, sexual tension ensues, especially when the older actress's assistant enters the picture. Aside from the compelling narrative, the cast is also incredible. It stars Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Gracë Moretz.
He Even Has Your Eyes (2016)
A French-African couple have been wanting to adopt a baby for a long time. And when the opportunity finally arises, they find out the baby is white. This is one of those rare films that's able to productively and thoughtfully use satire and humor while unpacking racism.
Available on: Netflix
The Artist (2012)
It's got romance, it's got drama, it's got humor. Set in Hollywood during the prime of the silent-film era, The Artist is the perfect thing to watch when you're looking for a light, feel-good movie with a nostalgic flair. Fading star George Valentin falls for a younger actress on the rise, but he's reluctant to cheat on his wife despite his intense feelings. Will he do it? Only time will tell. Note that this film is silent.
Brought to us by the director of Tomboy and Water Lilies, you can expect Girlhood to be another triumphant tale. When a young girl leaves home to escape her abusive father, only to become financially dependent on an older man, she learns how to find inner strength to forge a new path for herself. Though heartbreaking at times, it's ultimately uplifting and inspiring.
It doesn't get better than this quintessentially French film starring Bridgette Bardot and directed by Jean-Luc Godard. A playwright recounting Homer's Odyssey sounds like a pretty boring premise, but you can count on Godard, Bardot, and other stars to make this your new favorite film, if it isn't already.
The 1963 classic follows Jeremy Prokosch who hires Fritz Lang (who plays himself) to direct an adaptation of The Odyssey, but Prokosch is convinced that it will bomb at the box office. So he brings in a new screenwriter who gets in constant riffs with Prokosch's wife, played by Bardot. It's as juicy as it sounds.
If you want to watch something unique, Amélie is a must-see. You'll get drawn into the world of a quirky and charming young woman living in Paris when she falls in love.
Follow shy waitress Amélie through nearly 80 Parisian locations as she tries to discreetly improve the lives of everyone around her in order to avoid her own isolation. Having to read the subtitles if you don't speak French is so worth it.
This movie will become your new favorite, though prepare for tears. It follows three Tamil refugees who pose as a family to escape Sri Lanka for France. Will they become a real family as they navigate life together in a Parisian housing project? It's directed by Jacques Audiard, who is known for his work on A Prophet.
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Blue Is the Warmest Color lives up to its enticing title, following two young women as they fall in love and explore their sexuality. Though Emma is older and a bit more experienced when it comes to romance, Adèle falls hard and fast for her after meeting at a lesbian bar in Paris. Perhaps one of the most powerful love stories of all time, this intense French film is a gorgeous coming-of-age story like no other. It's an artful, engaging, and thought-provoking movie.
Truly one of the most moving love stories ever portrayed in cinema, Amour is going to bring on all the feels. We're invited to witness what happens in these retired music teachers's relationship when one of them suffers a debilitating stroke. Awe-inspiring doesn't even begin to describe the bond between the elderly couple at the center of this film.
Les Misérables (2019)
Set during the aftermath of France's victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the film is based on a real-life brutal police violence in 2008 in famous shopping lane, Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The film follows Stéphane, a new recruit on the Anti-Crime Brigade of Montfermeil, a city outside Paris. Through Stéphane's eyes, we become witnesses to the hostile tensions between the different groups of the district.
Available on: Amazon Prime Video
Another Audrey Tautou flick, Priceless is a romantic comedy about Irène, a Parisian woman who doesn't love the men who buy her beautiful things as much as she loves the things themselves. We'd hate to call her a gold digger, but if the shoe fits! In this charming rom-com, Irène mistakenly takes Jean, a lowly bartender, for a wealthy man and spends the night with him. The next day, she realizes her mistake and flees the scene, but Jean is already smitten.
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967)
Twin sisters Delphine and Solange are desperate to leave the tiny town of Rochefort and a whirlwind romance, but when they befriend a couple of visiting carnival workers, they are offered an exciting opportunity to sing in the carnival. Their five minutes of fame change the entire trajectory of their lives.
We love the cool pastels, seaside romance, and stunning fashion in this French flick, starring Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac.
For seemingly no reason at all, a French couple starts receiving disturbing messages and videos that imply the well-to-do couple is being stalked. Shortly after receiving a set of tapes, they begin receiving violent yet childish drawings, which the husband, George, shrugs off as a joke, but the wife, Anne, thinks something is up and grows suspicious of their teenage son. This is one psychological thriller you don't want to miss.