The 14 Best French Movies with Subtitles to Improve Your Language Skills
You may already know that there are tons of movies and TV shows online with English audio and les sous-titres français (French subtitles).
But guess what? There are also numerous French movies with English subtitles.
In this post, we’ll show you 14 great French movies with subtitles that are available on various streaming platforms.
- 1. “Intouchables” (“The Intouchables”)
- 2. “Un prophète” (“A Prophet”)
- 3. “Être et Avoir” (“To Be and To Have”)
- 4. “La vie d’Adèle” (“Blue is the Warmest Color”)
- 5. “À bout de souffle” (“Breathless”)
- 6. “La môme” (“La Vie en Rose”)
- 7. “Divines”
- 8. “Paris je t’aime” (“Paris, I Love You”)
- 9. “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” (“Welcome to the Sticks”)
- 10. “Bande de filles” (“Girlhood”)
- 11. “Monsieur Batignole” (“Mr. Batignole”)
- 12. “Les emotifs anonymes” (“Romantics Anonymous”)
- 13. “Les Lyonnais” (“A Gang Story”)
- 14. “Tokyo Fiancée”
- How Do French Movies with Subtitles Help You Learn?
- Tips for Watching French Movies with Subtitles
- And one more thing...
1. “Intouchables” (“The Intouchables”)
Genre: Biographic Drama/Comedy
Watch it on: Amazon Prime | Apple TV | Google Play | YouTube
This incredible film was based on a true story and has won 35 awards and 40 nominations from around the world.
Philippe is a wealthy quadriplegic who needs a new assistant to help him with daily tasks. He hires Driss, a young African-French man from the north of Paris.
The two seem to have nothing in common and their relationship has a rocky start, but they develop an unexpected friendship that will warm your heart and make you think, while teaching you slang and informal French.
To get a better look at this film, check out the following video, which breaks down the trailer with the help of the FluentU program:
2. “Un prophète” (“A Prophet”)
Genre: Crime Drama
Watch it on: Amazon Prime | Apple TV | Google Play
“Un prophète” tells the story of 19-year-old Malik El Djebena, who’s sentenced to six years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He can’t read or write, and due to his difficult and solitary life, he’s mistrustful yet wise.
In prison, he’s noticed by both the Corsican and Muslim gangs. Amid the environment of violence and corruption, Malik just wants to finish his sentence, get out of prison and live his own life.
He tries to stay away from the arguments between both groups but eventually must connect with some dangerous people in order to survive.
3. “Être et Avoir” (“To Be and To Have”)
Watch it on: Amazon Prime | Kino Now
This film has received 8 awards and 8 nominations since 2002. The documentary centers on a school in rural France. Due to their isolation, children often must travel many miles for their education.
Mr. Lopez teaches 12 students from ages 4 to 11. They learn how to count, read, cook and even get along. Mr. Lopez gives emotional support to the students, acting as a psychologist and a friend.
While the vocabulary of this movie isn’t particularly difficult to understand, you can learn about life in the rural areas of France.
4. “La vie d’Adèle” (“Blue is the Warmest Color”)
Genre: Romantic Drama
Watch it on: Amazon Prime | Apple TV
This 2013 film won la Palme D’Or, the highest award at le festival de Cannes (the Cannes Film Festival). It’s a unique film that has received much praise and recognition.
The film follows 15-year-old Adèle who falls for a blue-haired young woman named Emma. The story takes place over several years as she experiences love, heartbreak and the transformation that comes with first love.
Being a coming-of-age drama, this will show you how teens talk in informal settings while supplying a heady amount of drama to keep you engaged.
5. “À bout de souffle” (“Breathless”)
Genre: Crime Drama
Watch it on: Prime Video | Apple TV
This movie showcases the French obsession with American gangster films in the 1960s. It will show you, via unexpected jump cuts and other filmmaking oddities, what Jean Luc Godard means to French culture.
As a plus, the female lead, American actress Jean Seberg, speaks French slowly enough that you’ll catch every word and improve your listening comprehension without getting lost.
This makes the film great for beginner French learners. See how many scenes you can watch without looking at the English subtitles!
6. “La môme” (“La Vie en Rose”)
Genre: Biographic Drama/Music
Watch it on: Prime Video | Apple TV | Google Play
“La Vie en Rose” (which literally translates to “Life in Pink”) tells the story of Piaf, also known as La Môme Piaf or “the Little Sparrow,” and her difficult life.
Piaf was born in Paris in 1915. Her mother was an alcoholic singer who abandoned her in the street. Her father was a circus worker who used her in his shows.
She would be discovered later on singing in the streets at the age of 19, which helped her to gain notoriety and fame, but chaos would always be a part of her life.
Genre: Crime Drama
Watch it on: Netflix
“Divines” is a Netflix original movie that’s now considered a classic French coming-of-age film. A poor girl named Dounia tries to earn extra money, and her primary way of doing so is by working for a drug dealer.
Watching this movie with subtitles is helpful because there are several points that can be difficult to understand.
Not only do Dounia and her friends speak quickly, but they also often whisper and use Parisian slang, which can be difficult to interpret correctly if you aren’t used to it.
8. “Paris je t’aime” (“Paris, I Love You”)
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Drama
Watch it on: Tubi | Apple TV
Here’s a mish-mash of short films that take in France, brought to us by a slew of international filmmakers.
“Paris, je t’aime” will give you a variety of characters with different emotions to mimic, and thus, a ton of new colloquialisms from every area of French society.
You can also work with this film by breaking your sessions into pieces—try watching one a day for a week. This one is also great for beginners because there’s some English sprinkled throughout as well.
9. “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” (“Welcome to the Sticks”)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Watch it on: Tubi | Amazon Prime | Apple TV
This film hilariously shows the differences between regions in France. Philippe tries to get transferred to the French Riveria so he can move there with his family and help his wife recover from depression.
This is a lot harder than expected and things start to go wrong. Ultimately, his superiors send him to Bergues, a small town in the north of France.
This region is known for its hard winters and the residents are stereotyped as hard-drinking and ignorant. However, Philippe soon recognizes his prejudices and sees that his new life isn’t so bad.
10. “Bande de filles” (“Girlhood”)
Watch it on: Amazon Prime | Apple TV
A beautifully artful, modern French film, “Bande de filles,” is a coming-of-age story of a teenager outside of Paris who joins an all-girl gang, hoping to find a sense of freedom.
This movie is filled to the brim with French slang, showing a slice of French society you don’t always get to study in a classroom setting: African-French female gangs.
If you’re a film lover, the cinematography will impress you. If not, you’ll still get a chance to learn a little more about how real people talk in urban France.
11. “Monsieur Batignole” (“Mr. Batignole”)
Genre: War Drama/Comedy
Watch it on: YouTube
This heartfelt film centers on the deportation of thousands of Jews to the camps during World War II, but with a unique perspective.
Set during the German occupation of Paris, the story revolves around Edmond Batignole, a bumbling butcher who unexpectedly becomes entangled with a Jewish family seeking refuge.
Batignole’s initial reluctance transforms into a courageous effort to protect the family. The film provides a poignant and occasionally humorous exploration of one man’s transformation during a dark period in history.
12. “Les emotifs anonymes” (“Romantics Anonymous”)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Watch it on: Tubi | Amazon Prime
This is a romantic comedy about two adorable individuals who are made for each other but too shy to talk about it.
This is a great one because it’s simple enough that you can probably get through a few scenes without looking at the subtitles, and it’s so engaging that you’ll want to keep watching.
Sometimes the simpler films are best to get your practice in because they’re easier to follow and you can truly focus on your pronunciation.
13. “Les Lyonnais” (“A Gang Story”)
Watch it on: Tubi
Based on the autobiography of the main character, this film follows the two men who formed a real, well-known gang in the 1970s, known as the Les Lyonnais.
The former head of the gang, Edmond “Momon” Vidal has left a life of crime behind and is settling into retirement with his family when he’s approached with the request to help his old friend and partner, Serge Suttel, break out of prison.
It’s a raw and intense film and will introduce you to vocabulary related to crime and gangs.
14. “Tokyo Fiancée”
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Drama
Watch it on: Apple TV | Google Play | YouTube
In this film, a Belgian girl named Amélie (played by Belgian actress Pauline Etienne) travels to Tokyo and falls in love with a Japanese man, Rinri, who speaks French.
Amélie gives French lessons to Rinri. His French is pretty shaky at first, so she frequently teaches him small, useful phrases and terms. You may find these words helpful, too!
“Tokyo Fiancée” teaches viewers about both Belgian and Japanese cultures and can be useful for getting acclimated to the Belgian accent.
How Do French Movies with Subtitles Help You Learn?
- You’ll improve your listening skills. You’ll hear native speakers talking at their natural speed—that is to say, quickly. You’ll also listen to native French speakers converse with authentic accents, so you’ll learn to understand people from across France and other French-speaking countries/regions.
- It’s an entertaining way to learn. If you don’t find stimulating ways to learn French, you probably aren’t going to stay motivated. Watching films is a much more fun way to learn than completing your French class homework or flipping through your flashcards—again.
- You’ll learn slang. Learning from a textbook teaches you valuable phrases, but there are some expressions you can only learn by tuning into how Francophones really speak. And, of course, you’ll pick up those ever-hilarious French curse words!
- You’ll learn about French culture. When you watch French films, you’re exposed to the culture and perspective of the people who speak the language. This can help you connect with French speakers and get to know the stories they’re familiar with.
Tips for Watching French Movies with Subtitles
- Choose the genre you’re interested in. To stay motivated, it’s important to have fun watching a movie! Choose a genre that interests you and you’ll be more likely to sit through the entire film and engage.
- Don’t be afraid to rewind. If you hear a word you don’t recognize or if you have trouble following the story, just rewind and watch it again. Your real goal is language acquisition, so take your time to really understand.
- Take notes. Taking notes plays a huge role in students’ learning. Jot down any words you want to look up later or any helpful vocabulary you want to remember. This will allow you to practice these new words later.
- Watch without subtitles for a few minutes. Try pushing your limits! You’ll learn to leverage the words you do know and contextualize. You’ll also realize how much you’ll understand, thanks to expressions, gestures and context.
- Use the English subtitles. Learn new phrases by repeating them out loud while seeing their meaning in the subtitles. Keep in mind that subtitles aren’t always a perfect translation but will give you the gist of things.
- Start with shorter clips from French movies with a program like FluentU.
Once you’ve chosen a movie to watch, you’ve taken the first step toward mastering the French language from your couch.
If you make it through these, you can check out some of the best films for French learners next.
And one more thing...
If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.