5 best movies that take place in France
Sandwiched between Spain and Germany, France is a country rich in history and deep in significance for countless reasons. Historical figures like Louis XIV, Napoleon, and their current leader Emmanuel Macron have shaped the nation’s global political presence, while notable figures like Jean-Luc Godard, Agnes Varda, and Francois Truffaut shaped the nation’s feature film industry to be the influential behemoth it was during the French New Wave. Today, the impact of the French New Wave and the work of these inimitable directors is seen across film and television. From American films to French films to British films, France remains an incredibly important location for countless movies. Some of them happen to be much better than others.
A French romantic comedy that harkens back to the films of the French New Wave, Amélie is the best possible version of what a movie set in France can be. Painting the country as a beautiful place filled with love and adornment, quirky scenarios and lovely scenery, Amélie might as well be co-sponsored by the country’s board of tourism. It’s funny and fresh and endlessly watchable, due largely to its French setting.
Jules and Jim
Francois Truffaut’s greatest French film, Jules and Jim belongs high on this list for its beautiful locales and its electric feel. Sure, movies like The 400 Blows or Breathless have been praised for being the best movies to come from the French New Wave, but Jules and Jim shows off the beauty of the country better than any of these. It’s not one to be missed if looking for the best films that take place in France.
Based on some of the craziest events to come out of 17th Century France, The Devils is Ken Russell’s examination of a phenomenon that would eventually resurge in the Salem Witch Trials. When a religious figure is accused of being possessed along with others within the community, the town goes haywire. It’s French history, to be sure, but it makes for a tense and thrilling movie.
Based on the lavish lifestyle of the French queen and wife of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette is Sofia Coppola’s most beautifully-designed and luxuriously-set film to date. In the years leading up to the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette and her husband truly lived up to the expression “living like kings and queens.” It’s very French and it’s very dazzling.
One of Disney/Pixar’s most unique animated films of all time, Ratatouille follows a rat named Remy and his passion for French cuisine. He finds himself wrapped up in the food culture of the nation as he helps a hapless cook on his quest for notoriety, but make no mistake: just because this movie was released by an American studio doesn’t make it any less French. Like Marie Antoinette, which was written and directed by an American, the movie is a love letter to the beauty and culture of the nation from an outsider’s perspective.
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