A lot of people seem to forget about how good Ratatouille is when ranking their favorite Disney/Pixar films. One look at a single frame of Ratatouille should make you reconsider your placement of the film, especially whenever Remy and Linguine are out and about in Paris.
Francois Truffaut started out as a film critic but eventually became a real filmmaker once he realized that if he wasn’t going to change film then, no one was. It’s a good thing he did: his debut feature, The 400 Blows, effectively boosted the French New Wave to worldwide recognition.
One of the seminal indie comedies of the 21st century, Amélie is quirky and cute in a way that rivals only Wes Anderson. It’s made all the better by its gorgeous Paris scenery and French dialogue.
Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy ranks among the best trilogies ever made, and its middle installment—Before Sunset—totally feeds off of its Paris setting to elevate the film to all new heights. It’s beautiful because of the romance depicted and beautiful because of the city it’s set in.
The French New Wave saw all kinds of French filmmakers pushing the limits of filmmaking in ways Americans and other nations of filmmakers never even dared to. The end result, especially films like Jean-Luc Godard’s Paris-set Breathless, changed movies as we know them forever.
Another key figure of the French New Wave was Agnès Varda, who passed away quiet recently (RIP). Her film Cléo from 5 to 7, which sees the titular character on a romp all across Paris, is proof enough of her huge influence.
Audrey Hepburn is one of the most iconic actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and Stanley Donen’s Funny Face is one of many reasons why she managed to make such a huge impression on moviegoers. She’s electric here, dancing and modeling all over Paris.
Paris isn’t all fun and games like most of these movies suggest—1995’s La Haine shows the seedy and violent underbelly of this stereotypically stunning city. Income inequality, racism, and marginalization—all issues Americans face—are all present in this French city.
Combining the best parts of 1940s American filmmaking and 1960s French New Wave stylings, Le Samouraï follows a Parisian contract killer with the skill of a Japanese samurai. It’s one of the most special films to come from the city and the French New Wave movement as a whole (even if it does come dangerously close to the cutoff of the end of the movement).
Released the same year as Le Samouraï, PlayTime is practically wordless but exquisitely and expertly designed. Jacques Tati is a clear influence on Wes Anderson, but that doesn’t mean that this film wasn’t a huge strain on both director and studio. Still, it’s simply a delight, making the most of its Paris setting at all times.