This page is one of the annex pages of www.understandfrance.org, the foremost site on Franco-American intercultural differences. It contains documents, facts and figures illustrating the content of some of its pages.

Facts & figures

This page contains Facts and Figures about France and the French. Some are significant, other less so....

(credit)

French history in Hollywood movies

Historical period


Name of the movie (parenthesis when only the French name is available)

 Director and year

 Starring
1189 Richard The Lion Hearted against Philippe Auguste The Crusades Cecil B. De Mille 1935  Loretta Young
1431 Joan of Arc  Joan of Arc  Victor Fleming 1948  Ingrid Bergman
   Joan the Woman  Cecil B. De Mille, 1916  Geraldine Farrar
   Saint Joan  Otto Preminger 1957  Jean Seberg
1483 Louis XI ­ Notre Dame de Paris  The Hunchback of Notre Dame  William Dieterle 1939  Charles Laughton
   If I Were King  Frank Lloyd 1938  Ronald Colman
1515 Francois 1er The Sword and the Rose  Ken Annakin 1953 Gérard Oury
1582 Saint Barthélémy Intolerance  D.W. Griffith 1916  
 1610 Louis XIII and Richelieu  (les Trois Mousquetaires) Fred Niblo 1921 Douglas Fairbanks
   The Three Must Get There  Max Linder 1922  
   The Three Musketeers  George Sidney 1948  
1643 Louis XIV and the Iron Mask The Iron Mask Allan Dwan 1929 Douglas Fairbanks
  The Man in the Iron Mask  James Whale 1939  Louis Hayward
1768 Louis XV and the Countess Du Barry (Madame du Barry) William Dieterle 1934 Dolores Del Rio
1770 Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette Marie-Antoinette Sofia Coppola 2006 Kirsten Dunst
  (Marie Antoinette) W.S. Van Dycke 1938 Norma Shearer
  (Cagliostro) Richard Oswald 1929 Suzanne Bianchetti 
    Black Magic  Gregory Ratoff 1949  Orson Welles
1780 La Fayette and the Revolutionary War Jefferson in Paris James Ivory 1995 Lambert Wilson
   America D.W.Griffith 1924  
  Washington at Valley Forge Ernest Shield 1914  
  The Buccaneer Cecil B. De Mille 1938  Fredric March
  The Spirit of La Fayette James Vincent 1919  
1789 The French Revolution Reign of Terror Anthony Mann 1949 Robert Cummings
  Scaramouche George Sydney 1952 Nina Foch
  Marie Antoinette  Sofia Coppola 2006  Kirsten Dunst
1799 Napoleon Bonaparte Desirée Henry Koster 1954 Marlon Brando
  Napoleon and Josephine W.Humphrey 1909  
  Sea Devils Raoul Walsh 1953  
  War and Peace King Vidor 1956  
1851 The Second Empire and Napoleon III Vera Cruz Robert Aldrich 1955 Burt Lancaster
  The Song of Bernadette Henry King 1943  Jennifer Jones
  (Juarez) William Dieterle 1939  
   The Story of Louis Pasteur  William Dieterle 1936  Paul Muni
1898 The Dreyfuss Affair The Life of Emile Zola William Dieterle 1937 Paul Muni
  l'Affaire Dreyfuss "I Accuse" Jose Ferrer 1958  Jose Ferrer
1914-1918 First World War Mata Hari George Fitzmaurice 1932 Greta Garbo
  (Mata Hari) Bob Kellett 1972 Zsa Zsa Gabor
  Paths of Glory Stanley Kubrick 1957 Kirk Douglas
  Dawn Patrol Howard Hawks 1931  
  Shoulder Arms Charlie Chaplin 1918  
  The Big Parade King Vidor 1925 Laurence Stallings
  A Farewell to Arms Frank Borzage 1931  Gary Cooper
  All Quiet on the Western Front Lewis Milestone 1930  Lew Ayres
  The Man I Killed Ernst Lubisch 1932  Lionel Barrymore
  Arch of Triumph Lewis Milestone 1948  Ingrid Bergman
1939-1945 Second World War Saving Private Ryan Steven Spielberg 1998 Tom Hanks
  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Vincente Minelli 1961  Glen Ford
  Sargeant York Howard Hawks 1941  Gary Cooper
  Uncertain Glory Raoul Walsh 1944  Errol Flyn
  The Longest Day Ken Annakin 1962  John Wayne
  The Big Red One Samuel Fuller 1979  Lee Marvin
  Patton Franklin Schaffner 1970  George C.Scott
1954-1962 De Gaulle and the Algerian War (Les centurions) Mark Robson 1966  Anthony Quinn
  The Day of the Jackal Fred Zinneman 1973  Edward Fox
 from Le Monde, May 24, 2006 + later additions

Back to French movies

See also a list of French novels describing various episodes of French history.

Some differences between American and French films

According to Pr.Harm Schröter (University of Bergen) the major differences between the American and the French visions of cinema are :

USA France
best technique not necessarily
simple story great themes of mankind
romantic no romance needed
film stars also actors from theater
happy ending not necessarily
for the heart for the brains
aim = make money aim = educate

and one could add :

the success is measured by the revenue in dollars the success is measured by the number of viewers

 

The films the French like the most....

 

 

Rank#

A survey of French film critics and experts gives the list of the 100 films of all times the French like the best. Of course, French movies and old movies are, by nature, over-represented but the list is interesting for anybody interested in "classical" French movies and who wants to know what the French prefer among US films.   Source : "100 films pour une cinémathèque idéale" ("100 movies for an ideal film archive"), Claude-Jean Philippe, Les Cahiers du Cinéma, 2008

 First 15 movies.......

   

 1
 Citizen Kane  1941  Orson Welles

 2
 La nuit du chasseur (The Night of the Hunter)  1955  Charles Laughton

 3
 La règle du jeu  1939  Jean Renoir

 4
 L'aurore (Sunrise)  1927  Friedrich Murnau

 5
 L'Atalante  1934  Jean Vigo

 6
 M le Maudit (M)  1931  Fritz Lang

 7
 Chantons sous la pluie (Singin' in the Rain)  1952  Gene Kelly

 8
 Vertigo  1958  Alfred Hitchcock

 9
 Les enfants du paradis  1945  Marcel Carné

 10
 La prisonnière du désert (The Searchers)  1956  John Ford

 11
 Les rapaces (Greed)  1924  Erich von Stroheim

 12
 Rio Bravo  1959  Howard Hawks

 13
 To Be or Not to Be  1942  Ernst Lubitsch

 14
 Voyages à Tokyo (Tokyo monogatari)  1953  Yasujiro Ozu

 15
 Le mépris  1963  Jean-Luc Godard
 

 Other French movies....

   

 23
 La maman et la putain  1973  Jean Eustache

 26
 Hirishima mon amour  1959  Alain Resnais

 29
 Pickpocket  1959  Robert Bresson

 30
 Casque d'Or  1952  Jacques Becker

 33
 Madame de ....  1953  Max Ophüls

 34
 Le plaisir  1952  Max Ophüls

 48
 Pierrot le Fou  1965  Jean-Luc Godard

 49
 Le roman d'un tricheur  1936  Sacha Guitry

 51
 La Belle et la Bête  1945  Jean Cocteau

 58
 Les 400 coups  1959  François Truffaut

 65
 A bout de souffle  1959  Jean-Luc Godard

 68
 La grande illusion  1937  Jean Renoir

 70
 Partie de campagne  1936  Jean Renoir

 71
 Playtime  1967  Jacques Tati

 75
 Van Gogh  1991  Maurice Pialat

 85
 Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot  1953  Jacques Tati

 90
 Le jour se lève  1939  Marcel Carné

 91
 Lettre à une inconnue  1948  Max Ophüls

 92
 Lola  1960  Jacques Demy

 95
 Ma nuit chez Maud  1969  Eric Rohmer

 96
 Nuit et Brouillard  1955  Alain Resnais

 100
 Napoleon  1927  Abel Gance
See the books the French like the most

Back to French movies

A selection of French films taking place in Paris
Midnight in Paris Woody Allen (2011) the poetic adventures of an American writer in Paris
 Paris vu par....  Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, etc... (1965)  6 sketches by 6 great directors
 Paris je t'aime...  Olivier Assayas, etc...(2006)  20 sketches by 18 directors in 20 different neighborhood in Paris
 Le dernier métro  François Truffault (1980)  during WW2, a must...
 Les Quatre Cent Coups  François Truffault (1959)  the first episode of the saga of Antoine Doisnel
 Baisers volés  François Truffault (1968)  the second episode...
 Les ripoux  Claude Zidi (1984)  in Montmartre and Barbes, funny
 La traversée de Paris  Claude Autant-Lara (1956)  WW2 : a funny film in occupied Paris !
 Chacun cherche son chat  Cedric Klapish (1996)  a comedy about life in a Parisian neighborhood
 Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob  Gérard Oury (1973)  Jewish Paris
 Paris brule-t-il ?  René Clément (1966)  the liberation of Paris
Back to Unknown Paris
 To related pages : French History, more facts & figures, French movies, etc...

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books:

  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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