June 19, 2005

The best movies set in Paris.

What are the best movies set in Paris? I'm trying to make a list. Help me out.

77 comments:

Be said...

#1 for me is "Chacun Cherche Son Chat,"
a sweet little film by the guy who did "L'Auberge Espagnol."

It's a wonderful homage to a Paris that is disappearing due to gentrification like the neighborhoods in a lot of the coastal cities in the US have been already.

Every time I see it, I get teary - eyed.

Becky said...

"A Little Romance" with Lawrence Olivier and a couple of teens (Diane Lane and someone I don't recall). Sweet and under-rated.

Dave said...

Last Tango in Paris.

But I assume everyone will mention that one.

Noe's Irreversible is a brutal movie, and set in Paris, but it's well done.

The other Paris movie that comes to mind is Romance which is not so much good as it is strange and disturbing.

Dave said...

BTW, a good explanation about my description of Irreversible as "brutal" can be found here.

Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

Meade said...

"Team America"

heck yeah!

Ann Althouse said...

The first one I think of is "Zazie Dans Le Metro." Then I have trouble coming up with anything other than "Casablanca" -- which only has a short Paris sequence and the memorable "We'll always have Paris" line.

Oh, and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Be said...

OMG - I only read "Zazie dans le Metro" - never saw the movie....novel-wise, yes - totally!

"Le bossu" - maybe, but really only l'Ile de la Cité. (in my opinion.)

Elizabeth said...

My favorite New Wave movie, "Diva."

William Boot said...

Two movies that aren't very 'serious' but are kind of fun are Charade and The Day of the Jackal. Although I don't remember them actually mentioning Paris, Bleu was a great movie.

Tim said...

There's An American in Paris.

Neil said...

Moulin Rouge (old Paris)
Le Femme Nikita (new Paris)

Dave said...

I suppose Paris, Texas isn't really what you're looking for.

Ron said...

Amelie

I love an 8min 30 sec film called "Rendezvous" which is a guy driving a Ferrari at very, very high speed through the streets of Paris at like 5AM! No editing, with a camera at ground level in the front of the Ferrari! Electrifying!

Bourne Identity (Parts of it!)

Breathless


more as I think about it...

Judith said...

Delicatessen and Amalie. (same directors)

Stephen said...

The only good movie set in Paris that comes to my mind is Love in the Afternoon

Mark Daniels said...

'Amelie' is the first one that comes to mind. This is an absolutely charming story and so visually interesting.

I agree with 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' as a choice. And I actually have the Disney animated version in mind. (The song, 'God Help the Outcasts,' is one of my all-time favorites!)

When I was in junior high school, I liked 'Gigot,' in which Jackie Gleason plays a mute. Whether I would still like it today, I don't know.

This has already been an interesting discussion and I look forward to seeing your list.

Ivo C said...

"Rendezvous" is awesome. It's a 30/35 second shot of adrenaline.
Portugal!

Ann Althouse said...

"Amelie" is a great choice. Also "Breathless." Haven't seen "Chacun Cherche Son Chat," but remember seeing reviews.

I remembered another one: "Cleo From 5 to 7".

CrankyProfessor said...

Diva (agreeing with Elizabeth) and Subway.

Eric said...

Here's another vote for Charade.

Indeterminacy said...

You don't have "Before Sunset", a fairly recent film, the sequel to "Before Sunrise", both brilliant films.

Jon Hastings said...

1. Rene Clair's Le Million
2. Children of Paradise
3. Boudu Saved from Drowning
4. Quai des Orfevres
5. Under the Rooftops of Paris

Charles said...

Charade, Hunchback (original b&w and the Disney for differen reasons), La Femme Nikita (not the TV show), Day of the Jackal (original, not the Bruce Willis knock off), all very good.

I nominate "Is Paris Burning." Great movie, but also one of the few films we get to see the French fight for something they think is valuable.

Joe said...

Just in case reader comments don't produce as comprehensive a list as you would like, search the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB.com)for plots including the word Paris. The first page returned such films as, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Sun Also Rises, 'Round Midnight, Anistasia and An American In Paris.

How about also considering films partially set in Paris. Casablanca comes to mind as the best of this type.

Steve Dispensa said...

Didn't Triplets of Bellview take place, at least in part, in Paris?

Steve Dispensa said...

make that Les Triplettes de Belleville

John Evans said...

If just one scene in a movie qualifies it, how about "Armageddon" for plowing an asteroid chunk into the city?

John Evans said...

If one scene in a movie qualifies it, how about "Armageddon" for plowing an asteroid chunk into the city?

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pancho said...

Well, of course, the most wonderful of all is GIGI!

price said...

As awesome as Amelie is, it's actually set in Montmartre, not Paris. The French title is "Amelie de Montmartre."

But if you're allowing French movies in general, Ponette and Truffaut's Small Change are sensational... the best movies about young kids ever made.

A great American movie set in Paris is "Everyone Says I Love You"... What can beat that floating dance between Allen and Goldie Hawn? Or, for that matter, Julia Roberts' haunting singing voice?

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

DESIGN FOR LIVING.

Incidentally, I much preferred BEFORE SUNRISE to its better-publicized sequel, BEFORE SUNSET.

Charlie Eklund said...

"Night of the Generals" is pretty darned good and mostly set in Paris. Ditto "Ronin" and "Day of the Jackal".

I can't go along with "Is Paris Burning" only because the only version available right now is a dubbed version, and a badly dubbed version at that.

Hmmm. No romantic comedies for me, it seems...

Charles said...

I forgot about Ronin, add that to the list. What was the other one the French guy from Ronin was in where he teaches a 14 year old to be an assassin? That one too.

Elizabeth said...

I'll second Steven's mention of Les Tripletts des Belleville (but I probably spelled it all wrong!)

Ross said...

2

Ross said...

"2 or 3 choses que je sais d'elle," by Godard, is another one of those Valentines to Paris.

Ahem, sorry about the initial glitch.

Jeff Rhoads said...

How about Truffaut's "The Four Hundred Blows (Les Quatre Cents Coups)"? It doesn't have the idealized Paris of American romantic comedies. Instead, it's the Paris of Truffaut's childhood, with grubby apartments, autocratic teachers, and indifferent policemen. But the realism only makes the travails of Truffaut's adolescent protagonist that much more moving.

Ann Althouse said...

Here are some a reader emails:

1. La Traversee de Paris
2. Sous les Toits de Paris
3. 400 Blows
4. Shoot the Piano Player
5. The Dreamers
6. Boudu sauve des eaux
7. Le samouri

mr. kringle said...

Breathless, The 400 Blows, Cleo from 5 to 7, Vivre sa vie, Children of Paradise, Caroline Cherie, Les Dame du Bois de Boulogne, Jules and Jim, Moliere, Touchez pas au grisbi, Three Colors: Blue, Quai des Orfevres, Irma Vep, Late August, Early September.

Ann Althouse said...

I've got another. One of my favorites: "L'Atalante"!

Joseph Angier said...

So you're including "Paris - the Studio version"? Then I second "Ninotchka' ... and will add its musical version "Silk Stockings," with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse.

And don't forget the one-of-a-kind Paris featured in "Playtime" ... also known as the movie that broke Jacques Tati (due to the high cost of his faux-Paris set).

Joseph Angier said...

PS --- Was there any Paris in "L'Atalante"?

Ann Althouse said...

Joseph: Re "L'Atalante": Don't they dock in Paris?

mr. weg said...

Not mentioned so far (assuming I can read): When the Cat's Away, Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud, Full Moon in Paris (plus n more Rohmer films, probably), Lovers on the Bridge ("Pont-Neuf" in the French title, I believe), Belle de Jour.

Vicky said...

Charles - I believe you're thinking of Leon / The Professional, starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and Natalie Portman. That film actually takes place in New York.

Joseph Angier said...

Re: "L'Atalante" ... you're absolutely right, and my only excuse for forgetting the Paris sojourn is that it seems to take place entirely in the city's industrial outskirts. But then, there's the ship captain's song: "Paris, Paris ... you infamous, wonderful city!"

David said...

Subway. La Balance. Les Enfants du Paradis. (And I second whoever said Diva.)

Keith said...

NI POUR NI CONTRE. A noir gem from 2003.

My review from Crime Spree Magazine.

Patrick Crozier said...

L'appartement

David Manus said...

has anyone mentioned Amelie?

My Alter Ego said...

As awesome as Amelie is, it's actually set in Montmartre, not Paris. The French title is "Amelie de Montmartre."

Montmartre is part of Paris. Has been for a very long time. 18th Arrondisment. And the French title is "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulin"

Bubba said...

"Frantic" with Harrison Ford

dave said...

lots of New Wave on the list, but Band of Outsiders seems to have slipped everyone's mind. they break the record for fastest trip through the Louvre

Anonymous said...

Hello, Amelie indeed takes place in Paris (Montmarte is in Paris like Soho is in Manhattan, NY).
Maybe somebody can light me here : there is a movie that take place in Paris: if I recall, it's in black and white (however I am not so sure). the story is the following:
The beginning of the movie takes place in Paris, the day of the end of WWII. Everybody is cheering. The camera follow an american soldier based there that is kissed at one point by a young French women. Then he meets her again later and marry her. She likes very much a painter and jealousy sets in the mind of the veteran now settled in Paris with hs wife. His wife loves him but loves to go out dancing. At the end of the movie, she dies and we can see her portrait painted on the wall of a cafe where she used to go and have fun. It's all I recall. I really liked this movie and I hope somebody will be able to find the title.

Les Kobayashi said...

Maybe somebody can light me here : there is a movie that take place in Paris: if I recall, it's in black and white (however I am not so sure). the story is the following:
The beginning of the movie takes place in Paris, the day of the end of WWII. Everybody is cheering. The camera follow an american soldier based there that is kissed at one point by a young French women. Then he meets her again later and marry her. She likes very much a painter and jealousy sets in the mind of the veteran now settled in Paris with hs wife. His wife loves him but loves to go out dancing. At the end of the movie, she dies and we can see her portrait painted on the wall of a cafe where she used to go and have fun. It's all I recall. I really liked this movie and I hope somebody will be able to find the title.


That's "The Last Time I Saw Paris" with Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson.

Sunita said...

There was this delightful old movie in which some young girls were taught the cancan, and had to learn to do the 'split', could someone pls tell me the name of that film ?

Sunita said...

Answering my own question, Eureka, the movie was Renoir's French Cancan, lovely, just lovely...

Wang Chung said...

I recently saw "The Valet" which is out right now at the indie movie houses. It is hilarious and very clever. I really loved it, and it is French and filmed all in Paris.

One that I don't think anyone's mentioned which is great, was "Sabrina" with Audrey Hepburn. Another one that is French-ish, with one final scene in Paris, is "Something's Gotta Give" with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

"Les Enfants du Paradis" or "Children of Paradise" is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's about an older Paris, maybe late 1800s, but it is wonderful.

Danya said...

I vote for Amelie (even if it is in Montmarte, Paris Je T'aime, L'auberge Espagnole (though most of it takes place in Barcelona) and Les Poupees Russes :-)

jean said...

Again, Amelie is set in Paris as Montmartre is in the 18th arrondissement of Paris.

I second the first response: Chacun cherche son chat...it's a wonderful film. I also second the Irma Vep nomination. Love the scooter scene where Maggie Chung is riding around on the back seat at night.

Night on Earth has a segment set in Paris, with a beautiful shot of Canal St. Martin at night.

Also showing Canal St. Martin--Science of Sleep (that's a great set-in-Paris film.)

And 'De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté' with Romain Duris (The Beat That My Heart Skipped). Awesome film.

Other films: Place Vendome, My Wife is an Actress

taongbundok said...

Just saw this recently..
Paris, Je T'aime
http://www.firstlookstudios.com/pjt/

Nickice311 said...

2 days in paris is excellent

also paris je t'aime, le divorce, something's gotta give, les poupees russes, irreversible, marie antoinette (for a period glimpse at paris/versailles)

Olivia said...

Lots of Audrey Hepburn films are set in Paris

for example 'Funny Face' and 'Sabrina'.

Also Phantom of the Opera is set in the Paris Opera House 'Palais Garnier'

stephane said...

French movies that take place there. "When the Cat's Away", "Diva", Lovers on the bridge "Les Amants du Pont Neuf".

Hollywood movies. Polanskis "Frantic", Jarmusch's Paris segment in "A night on Earth", and "The Bourne Identity" for its car chase.

kim L said...

Sabrina ;)

Neha said...

Another Audrey Hepburn movie set in Paris: Charade

Lapin Agile said...

OK, here goes Bitter Moon. Now don't shoot the cook!

rainfall51 said...

Ineteresting theme... and interesting that noone (maybe I'm wrong?) named Luc Besson's Subway - my all time favourite film about Paris, and one of all-time favourites, too, actually (although most of it's part takes place under Paris, in its weird and magical parisien metro)...

T said...

Nice Blog! But I do not see Irma La Duce (Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon), The Red Balloon, nor The Da Vinci Code. I remember a movie on HBO in about 1980 called Cousin Cuisine. And the recent Paris in Love with John Travolta.

T said...

!! Forgot one more that I did not see. Les Miserables.

jon said...

Has anyone mentioned La Haine (1995) set in the suburbs of Paris. Filmed in B/W This film focuses on a single day in the lives of three friends in their early twenties, from immigrant families living in an impoverished multi-ethnic French housing project (a ZUP - zone à urbaniser en priorité) in the suburbs of Paris, in the aftermath of a riot. Vinz (Vincent Cassel), who is Jewish, is filled with rage. He sees himself as a gangster ready to win respect by killing a cop, and practices the role of Travis Bickle from the film Taxi Driver in the mirror.

Dani said...

These only have parts in Paris, but I don't believe they were mentioned: G.I. Joe and National Treasure 2. I've been looking for movies with Paris in them now that I've actually been there. It's fun to point and say that you've been there!

Indrė said...

This one is nice Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)

Paul Ringgold said...

Favorites of mine that capture the feel of Paris neighborhoods are "The Red Balloon" (featuring the streets of old Menilmontant and Belleville), "Place de la République" (a Louis Malle short subject documentary), and "Daguerréotypes" (a charming documentary by Agnes Varda that captures life on rue Daguerre in the 14th arr.). Another favorite that takes place very much inside Paris is "Le Trou", a thriller about an escape from La Santé prison, also in the 14th. An all-time favorite is Tati's "Playtime", which is actually more about not seeing Paris than seeing it.

Gavin said...

I love Paris movies!
some favorites of mine are; Amelie, Midnight in Paris, Before Sunset and Ratatouille!

Jay Retread said...

Ann's blog use to attract more intellectual sorts as is seen in this old post of hers. Now she is happy to just give dog whistles to her Hillbillies.

Also, it is funny to read Meade's stupid remark right at the beginning. For what ever reason Ann decided to become less smart.