French Follow-Up: More Notes About the 50 Greatest French Films

When you take on a project as large as “The 50 Greatest French Films of All-Time“, there’s bound to be some nuance. No doubt, there will be questions about which films I may or may not have seen; which films wouldn’t have made even a top 100; and which films I have yet to see. To clear up some of these questions, here’s a follow-up that might answer some questions. First, here’s what came in at numbers 51 through 75. For all purposes, you may consider this the “Honorable Mention” category:

51. Viva Maria! (1965)
Director: Louis Malle

52. Place de la république (1974)
Director: Louis Malle

53. The Wild Child (1970)
Director: François Truffaut

54. Caché (2005)
Director: Michael Haneke

55. La Haine (1995)
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

56. La Moustache (2005)
Director: Emmanuel Carrère

57. Masculin Feminin (1966)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

58. Lacombe Lucien (1974)
Director: Louis Malle

59. Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)
Director: Jean Renoir

60. Bob le Flambeur (1956)
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville

61. The Rules of the Game (1939)
Director: Jean Renoir

62. Amélie (2001)
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

63. Pickpocket (1959)
Director: Robert Bresson

64. Eyes Without A Face (1960)
Director: Georges Franju

65. Diabolique (1955)
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

66. The Last Metro (1981)
Director: François Truffaut

67. The Milky Way (1969)
Director: Luis Buñuel

68. Les Carabiniers (1963)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

69. Irreversible (2002)
Director: Gaspar Noé

70. Les Amants (1958)
Director: Louis Malle

71. La Bete Humaine (1938)
Director: Jean Renoir

72. The Lower Depths (1936)
Director: Jean Renoir

73. Gervaise (1956)
Director: René Clément

74. A Man Escaped (1956)
Director: Robert Bresson

75. Vivre Sa Vie (1962)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

And  that leaves the next bit of house cleaning. What haven’t I seen that may make this list when I make it again in 12 months? Here’s my checklist for the coming year:

Murderous Maids  •  Indochine  •  Umbrellas of Cherbourg  •  L’Atalante  •  Zéro de Conduit  •  Les Dames du Bois Boulogne  •  Alphaville  •  Claire’s Knee  •  Hotel du Nord  •  The Red Balloon  •  Band of Outsiders  •  The Three Colors Trilogy  •  The Triplets of Belleville  •  Black Moon  •  La Vie en Rose  •  La Pointe Courte  •  Le Bonheur  •  Daguerréotypes  •  Les Biches  •  Le Boucher  •  Story of Women  •  Small Change  •  Antoine et Colette  •  French Cancan  •  The Golden Coach  •  The Bride Wore Black  •  La Guerre est Finie  •  The Soft Skin  •  La Rupture  •  Beethoven  •  This Man Must Die  •  Taris  •  A Propos de Nice  •  The Bakery Girl of Monceau  •  Love in the Afternoon  •  My Night at Maud’s  •  Love on the Run  •  Stolen Kisses  •  Bed and Board

I think that should keep me busy for the next 12 months.


Filed under Foreign Film, French Film, Louis Malle, Movies

15 responses to “French Follow-Up: More Notes About the 50 Greatest French Films

  1. Dan

    Wow. I’m not sure that I’ve seen 75 French films, and I have made an effort to catch as many as I can over the years. I resisted the urge originally to ask about Bob Le Flambeur and Pickpocket, so it’s good to see them in honorable mentions group. Great job with this list.

    • Both fantastic movies (Bob le Flambeur and Pickpocket). If someone wanted to tell me that the belong in the top 50 in place of some others, I wouldn’t argue at all.

  2. Phil

    What happened to Jean De Florette / Manon of the Spring? I recently re-watched them and that pair makes my Top 100 off All Time list. All of Kieslowski’s films are a must if you want to cover French cinema. Add Camera Buff to your list, it’s a great one. Filmspotting recently covered Kieslowski in-depth and made me appreciate him more.

    • I’m definitely doing a re-watch soon of Manon/Jean de Florette. It’s been so long that I’ve seen it that it was almost impossible to rank appropriately.

      Most of Kieslowski’s work is Polish, no? The Three Colours trilogy and The Double Life of Veronique are French, but isn’t the rest Polish?

  3. La Moustache gave me a headache.

  4. I can’t believe there’s a French film I’ve seen but you haven’t. It’s Band of Outsiders, and it should definitely make the top 75 next year. I like Godard a Hell of a lot, but that’s because he reminds menof David Lynch in some ways.

    I like this honorable mention list, though. Just 25 more films to add to my watchlist 😉

    • *sorry, ‘me of’ not ‘menof’

    • It’s been on my list forever (and it looks like I forgot to put it on the Honorable Mention). My friend has been recommending it to me for 7 years or so now, which cracks me up that I’ve seen like 15 Godard films but not the only one that he asked me to watch.

  5. I think, “Irreversible” is amazing….and oddly, Woody Allen-esque.

  6. Sophie

    Et Dieu Crea la femme, 1956 is well worth a watch! Just make sure its not the 80s remake, it was terrible!

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