All-Audience List

A growing and changing list of films that are in my opinion appropriate for secondary students. None of these films include nudity or excessive violence, though some include limited vulgar language. In addition, many are not necessarily designed to target young audiences--that is, they may have slower-moving or more subtle plot lines. - CarrieEGold CarrieEGold


  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)
A great portrayal of a great love story.
  • Les Diaboliques (1955)
A psychological murder mystery thriller. I love this movie.
  • À la folie...pas du tout (US Title: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not) (2002)
Psychological drama about a woman's obsession and the way she sees the world.
  • Jean de Florette (1986)
A sad, slow story set in an agriculture community of post-WWI Provence. Adapted from the book by the late great Marcel Pagnol of the Acdémie Française.
  • Les saveurs du Palais (US Title: Haute Cuisine) (2012)
A biographical film about the private chef to French prime minister François Mitterrand--in short, a movie about good food and people's passion for it.
  • Les parapluies de Cherbourg (US Title: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) (1964)
A sad story about a girl and a boy falling in love and being separated--all told through song. I love this movie (bought the soundtrack, went to Cherbourg because of it, and bristle when someone says it's cheesy).
  • Peau d'âne (US Title: Donkey Skin) (1970)
A princess, a king, a fairy godmother, a donkey disguise, a prince, magic spells, love, intrigue, singing, and retro special effects, all in bright '70s colors.
  • Le petit Nicolas (US Title: Little Nicolas) (2009)
Adaptation of several stories from the well-loved books.
  • Les triplettes de Belleville (US Title: The Triplets of Belleville​) (2003)
This charming animated film is set in France and the US. The film features the Tour de France and jazz music while relying on visuals with little dialogue.


  • La misma luna (2007)
  • Pedro Páramo (1967)

Selective Audience List

Other high-quality target culture films. These have significant artistic merit and/or didactic value. In my opinion they are not, however, appropriate for student viewing without editing. Parents should use discretion. - CarrieEGold CarrieEGold


  • Entre les mûrs (US Title: The Class) (2008)
A drama about a high school teacher in an inner-city Paris school and his students.
  • Le grand voyage (French, Arabic) (2004)
A college-aged son drives his aging, traditional father across Europe and the Middle East to Mecca for the Haj. A movie about generations, religion, and cultures.
  • Les choristes (US Title: The Chorus) (2004)
Heart-warmer about a teacher who goes in and gives a bunch of wayward, forgotten boys confidence through his boarding school chorus.
  • Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (US Title: Amélie) (2001)
A young woman looks for the best out of life. It seems to me this is the most beloved French film of American audiences.
  • L'arnacoeur (US Title: Heartbreaker) (2010)
Hollywood-style romantic comedy that's just fun to watch.
  • La fille sur le pont (US Title: Girl on the Bridge) (1999)
A young woman is about to throw herself off a Paris bridge one night when a knife thrower finds her and offers her a job. I found this black-and-white film sometimes very inappropriate, but the beauty of the story and how it was portrayed made me love the film.
  • The High Cost of Living (Canadian, in English and French) (2010)
This is the story about the unlikely crossing of paths of a young mother-to-be and a rough-around-the-edges New Yorker. While the film, set in Montréal, isn't the most well made you will ever watch, it's interesting to see some of the dynamics of French-speaking Canada.
  • Joyeux Noël (in French, English, and German) (2005)
The incredible story of the "Christmas Truce" during the first winter of WWI, when soldiers from both sides came out of the trenches to sing, play soccer, and worship. This movie touches me every time I see it.
  • Manon des sources (US Title: Manon of the Spring) (1986)
The sequel to Jean de Florette (see above)--the daughter of the city-slicker is now grown up.
  • Marie Antoinette (American, in English) (2006)
The biographical film is based on fact with little elaboration. I liked the illustrations of Versaille's ridiculous ceremonies, from dressing and eating to childbirth. Take a look at the "Cribs with Louis XVI" special feature, too.
  • La moustache (2005)
A psychological drama about a man who shaves off his mustache. It makes you wonder which way is up. I loved this movie.
  • Ridicule (1996)
Court life at Versaille from a poor noble's perspective--with an emphasis on esprit (wit). I loved the duel scene.
  • Le scaphandre et le papillon (US Title: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) (2007)
Based on the memoir of a hot-shot major magazine editor who suffers a major stroke that leaves him only able to move one eyelid--about his experience, his memories, and the people who help him. This is a beautiful, deep, amazing, and complex film with cinematography to match.


  • La Historia oficial (1985)
A film set in the time and place of Argentina's Dirty War
  • In the Time of the Butterflies (in English) (2001)
About brave individuals working against the dictator Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. An excellent illustration of both harsh Latin-American regimes and resistance. In English.

Potential--to see
El norte
El espíritu de la colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive)
Mar adentro (The Sea Inside)
Death of a Cyclist (1955)

Cria Cuervos (1976)
Volver a empezar (PG) (1982)
The Mission
Selena (1997) (PG)
Marcelino pan y vino (1955)
El abuelo (1998)
Bodas de sangre
Amanece que no es poco