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In this post, we’re going to take a look at how you can use French movies to learn French, whatever your level. We’ll be covering:

  • Learning French through movies at all levels;
  • Why French TV series on Netflix are a great way to learn;
  • How watching French movies can improve your life in France;

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The best French movies to learn French – beginner level

Some people prefer to study French using traditional methods, such as books, and others prefer online programs, such as applications or e-learning websites. There are some that want to learn French while sleeping, others thet want to learn it in the car, and still others that want to do it while playing games.

Everyone chooses the method they like best, but if you want our advice, try watching movies in French, they are definitely one of the best ways to learn this language! Let’s start by taking a look at six top French movies to learn French as a beginner.

Kirikou et la Sorcière

Originally made for children, this French film is now beloved by children and adults alike. This French movie tells the story of a very little boy, Kirikou, living in an imaginary African village. One of the reasons this film is a great way to learn French is its cinematic quality. The story is primarily told through its visual richness and the simple dialogue serves as a complement. What’s more, the speakers in this film speak French with an African accent, offering beginners a new way into the language.

Les Choristes

How does the story of a teacher struggling to keep a group of French schoolboys on the straight and narrow sound for an introduction to French film? With everyday dialogue, this uplifting French film classic makes a great start for beginners, and it’s an excellent lesson in everyday exchanges between young French speakers. The film’s central character, teacher Mathieu, starts a choir to guide his young students towards better things, in a story that will leave you happier than when you arrived to it.

Monsieur Ibrahim Et Les Fleurs Du Coran

This story is about what happens when a Jewish boy, Momo, and a Turkish shopkeeper become friends in 1960s Paris. The film centers on exchanges between these two characters with mostly slow, everyday dialogue that won’t be too challenging for beginners in French. This French film is also based on a novel, so if you want to double down on new ways to learn French, we recommend reading the same story in French as well.

Le roi et l’oiseau

The best children’s films are enjoyed by children and grown ups alike, and this French film is a prime example. Made in the 1980s, this French fairytale has stood the test of time and offers a great lesson in French to beginners. Though it might seem a little old on first impressions, this classic animation makes great use of physical comedy to tell its story, making it a great way into French film for beginners in the language. If you opt for this French movie, expect a villainous king, fantastical creatures, and funny dialogue.

La Marche de l’Empereur

You may already be familiar with this documentary about emperor penguins being told in your own language, but the original is in French. What’s more, it can actually be very beneficial to watch a story you already know unfold in another language. You won’t find Paris in this French film, but there’s plenty of drama, with slow and steady dialogue from one voice to guide you through the ups and downs of life in Antarctica.

La Famille Bélier

This French comedy/drama film tells the story of a deaf family with a daughter who has a gift for singing. It’s a touching picture of rural French life outside of Paris, and the inclusion of three deaf main characters means that a large part of the dialogue is visual. Anyone who doesn’t know French sign language has to rely on subtitles for this one, so why not watch it with a group of friends?


The best French movies to learn French – intermediate level

Next up, let’s see what French cinema has to offer for intermediate-level speakers looking for slightly more complex dialogue and stories.

Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie

Simply known as Amélie to non-French speakers, this great French film is enjoyed by people all over the world. It follows the story of a quirky young woman living in Paris with a vivid imagination. She has a simple mission: to bring happiness into the lives of those around her. As well as being a great story, this French movie brings together themes of comedy and love, set against the beautiful backdrop of Paris. The typical Parisian dialogue is an excellent way to acclimatise to everyday exchanges.


This French film puts two unlikely characters together: a young man from the rougher suburbs of Paris and a quadriplegic man of the upper classes. A touching drama ensues that combines an unexpected story and excellent dialogue between two characters from different worlds. One word of warning: you’ll definitely need subtitles for some of the slang. This classic French film has been remade in other languages, but don’t fall into that trap. This great French story deserves to be told in French, and it’s the perfect French comedy/drama to push your language learning to the next level.


This is a French film with a twist. Based on the widely celebrated graphic novel of the same name, Persepolis is a story that transports us into the life of a young girl growing up amidst the Islamic Revolution. Both the animated visuals and the dialogue are slow and thoughtful, with a “less is more” approach that will put intermediate French speakers at ease.

The best French movies to learn French – advanced level

Now we’ll look at three top French movies to learn French for advanced speakers.

Astérix et Obélix (mission Cléopâtre)

If you know anything about French comedy, you’ll know that two of the country’s best loved comedy heroes are Gaulish warriors living in the time of Julius Caesar. Although this comedy was written with children in mind, it includes plenty of humour for adults too, and you’ll need an advanced level in French to follow the witty dialogue, full of clever puns and wordplay. The good news is that if you end up falling in love with them, there are plenty more Asterix and Obelix adventures to continue watching.

Le dîner de cons

As an advanced speaker, you should already have a good idea of what this French film is about from the title. A group of friends all set out to find the most stubid person they can to bring to a dinner, and great comedy ensues. This film has the advantage of having a relatively simple plot, while the dialogue is challenging enough to stimulate more confident French speakers.

Le Père Noël est une Ordure

This French film is a Christmas classic, telling the story of two volunteers working a suicide hotline during the festive period. It’s the type of film that’s packed with famous one liners, making it a great lesson in French references and expressions for advanced learners to incorporate into their vocabulary.

TV series vs. films for learning French

By now, you should be convinced that watching French movies to learn French is a great way to improve your language level. But what about TV series? Watching TV series or indeed French films on Netflix is also a good way to improve, and using a streaming service comes with its own benefits, such as good quality subtitles, a variety of themes (comedy, family, work, love, drama), and reliability.

So which one is more effective when it comes to language learning? It really depends on the way you prefer to see a story unfold. Do you prefer to watch the same story and characters develop slowly over a long period of time, or are you more interested in seeing different snapshots every evening, an easy comedy on Monday, an old drama on Tuesday, and a family story for the end of the week? If you’re looking for a quicker way to learn French, sticking to French TV on Netflix might be the way to go. You’ll waste no time looking for something new to watch every evening, and learning to understand dialogue with consistent characters is a great way to build confidence.

One more thing… if you like the idea of learning the language through a combination of audio and visual media and you don’t feel like watching a whole movie or series, you can check out the many French learning videos on YouTube.


Does passive language learning work?

Watching French movies and TV series is fun, so how can it help you to learn French? Watching or listening to French through films, TV, music, podcasts, or the radio, for example, builds your passive language skills. By surrounding yourself with French, your brain will become more and more accustomed to hearing a variety of French accents, French speech patterns, and French turns of phrase.

The great thing about passive language learning is that even if you don’t understand every word (or even every other word), your brain becomes familiar with the language. This is an essential step in moving towards comprehension, and eventually, expression.

The short answer is yes, watching French movies to learn French does help build passive comprehension and French language skills, especially when used alongside other language learning methods. It is definitely one of the best ways to learn French on your own but also one of the easiest ways to learn this language.

Learning French with GlobalExam’s Global General

If you’ve been looking for new ways to learn French, we hope we’ve convinced you to add French movies and TV to your evening repertoire. Like all good things, however, this method will work best alongside other language learning methods, so that you can put all that new vocabulary and new expressions into context and eventually use them yourself.

Luckily for you, GlobalExam has exactly the right solution to accompany you in your French language learning journey. Our Global General platform has been designed to help language learners like you learn French across a variety of methods, from vocabulary flashcards and grammar exercises, to true-to-life listening exercises and “did you know” activities to help build your knowledge of the language and culture.

The best thing about Global General is that everything is online. With our platform, you can take yourself from beginner to intermediate level with steady practice, learning from your corrected mistakes, and following your progress.

With a little practice on Global General every day, coupled with French movies and TV in the evening, learning French will feel like a breeze.