Silence, Moteur, Action! How to Watch French Movies Online

Want to become acquainted with France’s vibrant movie scene…

…without leaving your house?

Maybe you’re an aspiring cinephile with a list of top French movies you just can’t miss out on.

Maybe you’re using French-language movies to gain advanced French fluency, or maybe you’ve just started learning French and are eager to engage with the sights and sounds of the language using the cinema of any and all French-speaking countries.

Heck, maybe you’re a French teacher and you want to capture your class’s attention with a classic!

Whatever your reason, you’d probably prefer your search to be as convenient and painless as possible, and for many, streaming online is ideal.

Unless you’re in a French-speaking country, it may be difficult to find French-language films playing in theaters, and who wants to bother with DVDs if you don’t have to?

Luckily, plenty of great French films are available to stream from the comfort of your own home (or classroom, or local coffee shop).

The only challenge is finding them.

In this post, we’ll look at the five best sources for watching French-language movies online (paid and free) so you can start streaming your next favorite flick now.

Why Incorporate French Movies into Your Learning?

If you’re already a movie buff, watching a movie in French seems like a logical step. But if you’re on the fence between watching a French movie or reading a textbook chapter, there are a number of reasons why French movies give you an advantage in learning.

For starters, French movies expose you to new vocabulary and new grammatical constructions. Textbooks are great for how French is supposed to be spoken, but watching French movies helps you experience French as it’s actually spoken by real French speakers.

Due to this, French movies are also a great way to learn informal language and jargon that textbooks may not teach but French speakers use all the time.

Further, French movies are a great learning tool because they expose you to specialized vocabulary. For example, the vocabulary used in movies is often themed: crime movies can teach you police and legal vocabulary, romances can teach you vocabulary related to love and relationships. Even comedy movies are French vocabulary gold because they’re often rife with French insults, swearing and informal expressions!

Silence, moteur, action! How to Watch French Movies Online

The Method Behind Watching French Movies Online

While watching movies is good fun, remember, learners, that you’re supposed to be studying. There’s nothing wrong with watching a French movie purely for enjoyment, but if you want to make the most of the experience, I suggest you incorporate the following tips.

  • Watch with subtitles, French if possible: While French movies on their own are helpful, French movies that come with subtitles are even more fantastic because they allow you to follow along and understand what’s happening in each scene and the movie as a whole. Watching with French subtitles rather than English is also preferable if they’re available because this allows you to be exposed to written French as well as spoken.
  • Pause to look up words you don’t know: Don’t understand a word that you’ve come across in the speech or in the subtitles? Pluck said word from the movie and look it up in a dictionary. I would go so far as to write down the word and its translation. That action of writing the word down will make its meaning stick better in your brain. If you’re not advanced enough to be checking off every word you don’t know (which is probably the case for most learners), focus on language that interests you or seems useful, and pay attention to how it’s used in context.
  • Watch, watch and watch again: The key to making the most of any French movie is to watch the film in its entirety and then watch it again. The first time around, you’ll become familiar with the story, the characters and all the French words you don’t yet know. The second time you watch, you can sit closely with your translated French word list from that movie and get a more detailed look at the movie plot itself and its vocabulary. This repetition will further solidify the vocabulary in your brain. Besides, who doesn’t like watching their favorite movie over and over again?
  • Watch clips on FluentU for active learning: FluentU is a language learning program that use authentic videos to teach French. These videos include, among others, clips and trailers from movies, TV shows and cartoons.

    The program makes it easy to keep up thanks to interactive subtitles that show contextual definitions on demand. Every video also comes with a quiz to test your understanding. You can also add words to your flashcard decks directly from the subtitles, and practice them with FluentU’s personalized quizzes.

5 Cin-tastic Sites for Watching French Movies Online

Now that you’re psyched to get watching, let’s look at five places where you can watch!


While our first streaming service seems like a given, what a lot of people don’t realize is that Netflix has a number of French films in their collection. Where I live, in Canada, there’s a huge amount of films from France and in French, and there are plenty of French-language offerings on U.S. Netflix as well.

For many of the films on Netflix, you can toggle subtitles on and off. While many films on American Netflix aren’t available with French subtitles, a good number have optional English ones. Again, subtitles in either language will be useful so you can better follow along and so you can find the words that you don’t know and add them to your vocabulary collection.

Further, in some cases, Netflix allows you to watch English-language films or TV with French overdubbing. This is perfect because if you’ve already watched a particular show or film in English, you can watch it again, already being familiar with the story of the English film even though you’re watching it in French.


Filmdoo has a huge collection of French films that are available for you to watch online. At present, it boasts over 2500 films in its collection, so there should be no shortage of French flicks to catch your eye.

There are many older French films as well as new French films. Again, there are a number of classics to watch, but there are also a surprising number of recent movies (less than 10 years old) that are available for streaming online. Many of these films have English and/or French subtitles, but not all of them.

For starters, I suggest you check out “Gaz de France” (Gas of France), a sci-fi film and a personal favorite, or “Aux yeux du monde” (In the Eyes of the World), a thriller. Best of all, Filmdoo has no membership fees: simply sign up and pay as you go for each film you watch. Some films are even free!


The last place to watch French online happens to be the largest video sharing service on the internet! With the added bonus of being completely free, YouTube has perhaps thousands of French films on it, and the playlist linked above is just a (substantial) taste of what’s out there.

Most films on this list have subtitles either embedded in the video itself or in the video player. To activate the subtitles in the YouTube video player, simply press the subtitles button on the bottom right-hand side. Be aware, however, that unofficial subtitles with the video player can sometimes have errors or transcription issues.

With this YouTube playlist, however, the films are primarily older. That means that there are a few classics hidden in there, but the vocabulary also lacks the current informal lingo and jargon used in French today.


Alright, French learner, time you grab some popcorn.

Silence, moteur, action (lights, camera, action)!

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