The 9 Best Films To Learn French

Are you looking for the best movies to learn French with?
French movies represented by the reproduced image of a VHS tape on top of a light pink background.

Watching films in the language you’re learning is something that almost feels like a guilty pleasure. How could this possibly be studying? But in fact, it’s one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to learn. You gain a sense of character, culture and language all in one package. To get you started, our experts at Babbel have rounded up nine of the best French movies to learn with — from beginner to advanced level.

To make things slightly easier, we included where the movie is currently available to watch in the United States. That changes from country to country (and month to month), so just be aware that you may have to do some sleuthing. Happy viewing!

The Best French Movies To Learn With

Kirikou et la Sorcière (“Kirikou and the Sorceress”)

Where To Watch: Available to stream on Prime Video, Kanopy and Mubi.

Kirikou et la Sorcière is an adventure animation film directed by Michel Ocelot. Although the film is targeted at kids, it’s a beautiful and simple tale for all ages. Set in West Africa, it follows a newborn boy, Kirikou, on his journey to save his village from an evil witch.

Rich visuals are accompanied by simple and clearly spoken language, as well as useful vocabulary about feelings, emotions, family, nature and culture, making it widely suited to beginners and intermediate learners (B1 specifically). When watching, watch out for the grammar: passé composé, to familiarize yourself with the French perfect tense.

Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie (“Amélie”)

Where To Watch: Available to rent from various streaming platforms.

One of the biggest French film success stories is Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie, known in the English-speaking world simply as Amélie. The poetic film was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and tells the story of Amélie Poulain, a young woman who decides to quietly help people find joy in their lives while grappling with her own insecurities.

Set in Montmartre, Paris, the film is a positive look into contemporary French life and celebrates the nuances of human behavior. This is a beautiful story for beginner to intermediate learners who want to indulge in an idyllic French atmosphere.

Les Intouchables (“The Intouchables”)

Where To Watch: Available to stream on Prime Video and to rent from various other streaming platforms.

Another successful film with international acclaim is Les Intouchables, directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. The story follows the touching relationship of a young man becoming the caretaker for a quadriplegic aristocrat.

The blend of straight-talking slang and high-brow French makes the film an enriching viewing experience for beginner to intermediate language learners. A special mention goes to the job hiring scenes for those interested in work-related conversations.

La grande vadrouille

Where To Watch: Not currently available for streaming in the United States.

La grande vadrouille is a classic historical comedy well known in France. The film is directed by Gerard Oury and features two of the most popular French actors, Bourvil and Louis de Funds. The story follows a British bomber crew after they’re shot down over France during WWII and goes on to show how a group of French civilians helped three pilots escape Paris.

Not only is the film a great laugh, but it’s a light-hearted snapshot into the stereotyped characteristics of French people. It’s suited for beginner to intermediate speakers who would enjoy gathering insight into French war history and local humor in equal measure.

Persepolis

Where To Watch: Available to rent from various streaming platforms.

Persepolis is an adult animated film based on Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel about growing up during the Islamic revolution. The autobiographical film was actually directed by Satrapi in collaboration with Vincent Paronnaud, and is consequently an authentic and gripping account of her life.

Intermediate learners at a B1 level will find this one of the best movies to learn French because the characters speak slowly in a mix of dialogues and voiceovers. Made in a simple and elegant black and white animation, the movie allows you to easily focus on the dialogue and expressions.

La belle verte (“The Green Earth”)

Where To Watch: This movie is not currently available to stream in the United States.

This film by Coline Serreau is a sci-fi comedy for the whole family. It also features Serreau herself as the protagonist. She stars as a 150-year-old well-meaning alien who finds herself in Paris after an intergalactic coalition seeks to bring harmony and self-realization to those living on Earth.

The characters speak slowly about nature, the environment, and the importance of greenery and consciousness in our daily existence. French learners at an intermediate level will find this one of the best (and most entertaining) films to learn French.

Tanguy

Where To Watch: This film is not currently available for streaming in the United States.

Tanguy is a famous French black comedy directed by Étienne Chatiliez. The film is particularly relatable for young people living with their parents, as the story is about a man who never leaves home after his mother makes a fateful promise that he can live with them forever. Naturally, his parents come to regret this promise and do their best to get him to move out.

The film is best suited to French learners at B1 or B2 level, with the classic humor making it very engaging and fun to watch.

Le dîner de cons (“The Dinner Game”)

Where To Watch: Available to stream on Kanopy, and available to rent on various streaming platforms.

Based on a play, Le dîner de cons by Francis Veber is a French movie about a group of friends who compete to find the “stupidest person” they can bring to dinner. For one friend, this bet backfires spectacularly when his guest innocently starts messing up his host’s life.

The great comedy in the film isn’t overly complicated, which means it’s relatively easy to follow for intermediate and advanced learners. Those at B2 level would find the film the most beneficial to learn from, as it’s one of the more challenging films on this list. The movie also has an American remake called Dinner for Schmucks, starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, but that won’t help you much with your French

Astérix et Obélix, mission Cléopâtre (“Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra”)

Where To Watch: Not currently available for streaming in the United States.

Adapted from the much-loved (and much-translated) comics is the film Astérix et Obélix, mission Cléopâtre, which follows Astérix and Obélix on their travels to Egypt to help an architect build a palace for Cleopatra.

The comedy by Alain Chabat is full of puns (and laughs), which makes it a favorite to watch and rewatch when learning French. In order to follow the quick-witted storyline and pick up new dialogue each time, it’s best for those at an intermediate or advanced level.

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Guinevere Jones

Guinevere grew up in the tiny town of Moonambel in Australia among the gum trees and grapevines. She started in fashion design and moved to marketing, but has always enjoyed writing on the broad topic of things that connect people. Her indulgences include miniature objects like ceramic fruit, sunbathing with intermittent dips (preferably at a sandy beach), and cooking for friends. Now living in Berlin, she’s trying her hand at speaking German.

Guinevere grew up in the tiny town of Moonambel in Australia among the gum trees and grapevines. She started in fashion design and moved to marketing, but has always enjoyed writing on the broad topic of things that connect people. Her indulgences include miniature objects like ceramic fruit, sunbathing with intermittent dips (preferably at a sandy beach), and cooking for friends. Now living in Berlin, she’s trying her hand at speaking German.