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One of my favorite cult movies from long ago college days was the 1946 classic Children of Paradise, directed by poet Jacques Prévert. This new DVD edition includes two discs, a photo gallery, several interviews, and more. A melodramatic but touching treatment of life in the theater in France. I can't wait to see this one again.

To Catch a Thief has been missing from our film list, and is really such a classic that we'll have to give it special mention, not just for Cary and Grace, but for Cannes, the Cote d'Azur and the beautiful Mediterranean sea. This DVD edition is supposed to be superb.

Charade is a stylistic and comedic marvel of a film:  subtle, fashionable, très Paris à l'americain. With Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, how could it be otherwise? There's a remake now out in theaters...hmmm, could it even compare? 

Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie, a surprise hit in France, was criticized for being a bit too "eye-candy fluff" by the French press. Nonetheless, it's a joy to watch, and is filled with great scenes of Montmartre. Hey, it made the final cut for Best Foreign Film at last year's Academy Awards...

French Cancan, some say one of the greatest backstage movies ever made, was directed by Jean Renoir and stars that oh-so-French leading man, Jean Gabin.

French Kiss (1995)  Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan romp through Paris and Provence in this silly but sweet film, with a great soundtrack including KK singing La Mer in the style of Charles Trenet. Seen it over and over and still am charmed!

Ronin (1998)  Dark thriller with chase scenes that rival those in The French Connection, spotlight on Paris, Nice, Arles and other cool spots. DeNiro is DeNiro, and Jean Reno, an accomplished French character actor, matches him. 

Babette's Feast (1987) isn't a French film but it's a wonderful story about a Frenchwoman who's been taken in by a Danish family. She concocts a feast that any good eater won't want to miss. Beautifully photographed and acted.

Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) is Gérard Dépardieu's version of the legendary character, and some say it's the best filmed version ever made. Besides many of the scenes were shot in Uzès, France, one of our favorite places!

Funny Face (1957)  Great scenes with wonderful Gershwin score as photographer Fred Astaire finds model-in-waiting Audrey Hepburn in a bookstore in Paris.

Frantic
(1988)  Harrison Ford in a dark Roman Polanski thriller set in Paris for those who love those glimpses of the City of Light.

Jefferson in Paris, not among my favorite of the Merchant-Ivory movies, does provide a provocative portrayal of French society just before both revolutions, worth a view for that, in spite of the film's slow, flat pace.

Jules and Jim
(1962)  Francois Truffaut's third film à la Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) with the incredible Jeanne Moreau. Also The 400 Blows (1959), his directorial debut about a Parisian gamin who turns to a life of petty crime.

French Twist (1995) is one of those films that either hits you right or doesn't. It hit us right when we saw it, lots of laugh, VERY French, and great scenery. 

Diva
(1981)  A hip thriller with an incredible motorcycle chase in the Paris subway.

Jean De Florette
and Manon of the Spring (1987)  Two great films, Part I and II, featuring Yves Montand, Gerard Dépardieu, Daniel Auteuil, and smalltown life in Provence...beautiful scenery, lush visuals, great actors, etc.

My Father's Glory
and My Mother's Castle (1991)  Two sweet films about the old Provence from the point of view of a small child, the memoirs of author/filmmaker Marcel Pagnol.

A Year In Provence - Complete Set
(1992) BBC's make of Mayle's bestseller starring John Thaw of the Inspector Morse series. It's Provence!

Grand Illusion
(1937)  An absolute classic of international cinema, directed by Jean Renoir, winner of the 1937 Venice Film Festival, set in World War I France.

Diabolique (1955) is a classic French thriller made à la Hitchcock with Simone Signoret. (According to some, Hitchcock was outbid by this director, Henri-Georges Clouzot, for rights to the story.)  A recent remake with Sharon Stone pales in comparison.

Browse a listing of Classic French Movies

 

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