Calling all Netflix buffs and French language learners.
We all love an exceptional French movie that tells a beautiful or comic or thrilling story, right?
And we all love gaining the many other linguistic benefits of watching a French movie, right?
Learning French through films is possible and it’s really fun. It can add to what you learn in a French course.
The only question is finding the right movie, or finding a French film that suits your level.
This list is a good starting point.
If you want to find a top selection of French movies to watch and learn the French language at the same time, read on.
First, let’s take a look at how and why French movies are ideal for helping you learn French, then let’s dive into our list of French films.
How do French movies help language learners develop their skills?
Listening, pronunciation, vocabulary recognition, vocabulary building: These are four key areas that you can develop by watching French movies.
Now, while I’m not saying an absolute beginner will understand and recognise every single word and the entire range of vocabulary in every French movie, it can still give you a level of immersion that you wouldn’t get simply from completing grammatical exercises.
If you’re an upper-beginner/lower-intermediate level student struggling with your listening skills, no doubt watching movies can help with this. For threshold students hovering between A2 and B1 levels, the best thing to do to help you with listening is to put the subtitles on!
And without a doubt, advanced level students can build their vocabulary by watching French films.
If you’ve got a lingering non-native accent despite being an advanced student, French movies can even help with pronunciation too!
French movies on Netflix to develop your knowledge
So, do we agree? French movies can assist you on your language learning journey.
Not to mention that it’s a fun way to learn!
If you’re sold, take a look at this selection of films to help you develop your knowledge, vocabulary and pronunciation.
Which ones seem interesting to you?
Kirikou et la Sorcière
The delightful animated, cartoon-style movie Kirikou et la Sorcière is perfect for French beginners. It tells the story of young, baby Kirikou who has been cursed along with his village by Karaba, a powerful witch.
Kirikou’s mission, from the moment he is born, is to liberate the village from Karaba’s curse and find out the source of the dreadful curse.
Kirikou et la Sorcière is a French movie that has captivated kids with its amazing animation. Since it was created for children, this movie is easy to follow. The dialogues are spoken slowly and clearly, making this film perfect for learning the French language as a beginner.
Suitable for: Beginner-level French language learners.
The comic yet tragic story that unfolds in Gemma Bovery is unconventional, unique and entertaining. It’s also ideal for French beginners!
When an English couple moves to a village in Normandy and appears to mirror the lives of Gustave Flaubert’s protagonist in the classic novel Madame Bovary, their former Parisian neighbour Martin soon becomes fascinated by their lives.
The mixture of French and English accents within the movie and the slow pace of the dialogue makes this film ideal for picking up new French words and phrases.
Suitable for: Beginner- and intermediate-level French language learners.
Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie
After home-schooled Amélie, the protagonist of Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie, discovers a mysterious box of souvenirs in her flat, hidden behind a platform, she decides to unearth the mystery behind it and find out who it belongs to.
Along the way, Amélie seeks to help others to fix their lives and make a significant difference in their journeys.
The exceptional, artistic cinematography itself is enough to help upper-intermediate level French learners and speakers understand how this film unfolds. But watch it with subtitles to help you grasp the language, pick up on new words and enjoy the beauty, and beautiful French words of this masterpiece.
Suitable for: Lower- and upper-intermediate level French language learners.
The unique bond between both protagonists in Intouchables has touched the hearts of film lovers and critics ubiquitously. It’s a heartwarming story of Phillipe and Driss, an affluent upper-class gentleman who requires support as he is quadriplegic, and a former con artist who seeks Phillipe’s signature to confirm he’s still pursuing employment options.
Watch Intouchables for the story and to get a better grasp of the French language as an upper-intermediate level French student. The story is unforgettable as is the French vocabulary it contains.
Suitable for: Lower- and upper-Intermediate level French language learners.
When a scam artist is chosen to mentor several students who have difficult lives, he begins to find that his life starts to change and the lives of those who he helps also change for the better.
Being a sort of emotional or psychological “rags to riches” story, this film is entertaining and presents you with a mixture of serious topics such as poverty and the emotional difficulties of young people, and uplifting outcomes.
Mauvaises Herbes is a French movie that will teach you many French colloquial phrases since much of the dialogues are between young French characters.
Suitable for: Upper-intermediate French language learners.
Je Ne Suis Pas Un Homme Facile
When a barefaced, brazen womanizer wakes up one day and suddenly finds that his whole world has been inverted and that he’s surrounded by powerful women who dominate him and belittle his ego, his life begins to change.
He finds himself captivated by one woman, in particular, an author with whom he begins to verbally spar. But with the roles reversed, can he impress her?
Je Ne Suis Pas Un Homme Facile is not only a true comedy, but it is great for lower- and upper-intermediate level French language learners who need to expand their vocabulary as the conversation is easy to follow.
Suitable for: Upper-intermediate level French language learners.
When he is accused of a serious crime, murdering his father while protecting his brother from his father’s violent abuse, Teddy finds himself in a new world surrounded by young criminals. Although conforming to the ways of the young offender’s group he finds himself in might prove to be difficult for Teddy, that is what he must face up to doing in Mon Frère.
This slang-infused, aggressive, and brutal French social drama is engaging and gripping. It’s also one of the best films for learning colloquial terms and fully immersing yourself in the French language.
Suitable for: Intermediate and advanced level French language learners.
The intense sci-fi/thriller movie Oxygen is one to watch. This dramatic movie centres on the protagonist Liz, who awakens to discover that she is trapped in a cryogenic coffin-like pod. She has lost her memories and cannot recall why she is in the pod. To add insult to injury, she has a limited amount of oxygen (hence the title).
This movie is for those who love thrillers — (and those who are learning the French language, of course). You’ll pick up on plenty of French medical terminology and vocabulary related to scientific themes in this dramatic and captivating film.
Suitable for: Intermediate and advanced level French language learners.
Learn French the fun way with Netflix
Watching French movies can be fun and help you learn French at the same time.
It can even help you learn about cultural references that you might not have known about before, since films metaphorically transport us to other worlds.
As mentioned, use subtitles if you’re at upper-beginner or lower-intermediate level (that’s level A2 or B1).
Having written French on the screen alongside excellent cinematography or animated drawings can help you decipher the meaning of the dialogues and follow what’s happening in the movie.
What’s more, you can pick up plenty of new vocabulary and try using new words and phrases that you’ve learned in French movies in dialogues with French native speakers.
Are there any other French movies that you think should be featured on this list?
Share it in the comments section just below!