Paris on the Big Screen
Amélie, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001 — Elation: that’s what you’ll feel after watching Amelie, the visually inventive French romance from Delicatessen director Jeunet starring.
An American in Paris, Vicente Minnelli, 1951 — Yankee painter Gene Kelly struggles – and dances – his way through Paris and his romantic complications with Leslie Caron.
Before Sunset, Richard Linklater, 2004 — A continuation of Before Sunrise, this Oscar-nominated romance film, tells the encounter of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) nine years after they met in Vienna on a train. Now the plot takes place in Paris.
Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard, 1960 — Godard’s first feature film casts Jean-Paul Belmondo as a thug who idolizes Humphrey Bogart, a parallel to the French New Wave revering and morphing American film noir. American waif in Paris Jean Seberg protects then betrays Belmondo, who has one of the most famous, and often copied, death scenes in film history.
Camille Claudel, Bruno Nuytten, 1988 — Isabelle Adjani and Gérard Dépardieu star as the artist Auguste Rodin and his muse and mistress. Their fantastic performances earned them nominations for Oscars and won them five Césars.
Charade, Stanley Donen, 1963 — The delicious, twisty, stylish Paris-set mystery partners widowed Audrey Hepburn with American Cary Grant in a race to retrieve a clue to where her late husband stashed his cash, before the villains do.
The Da Vinci Code, Ron Howard, 2006 — Amelie’s gamine Audrey Tatou joins a tuft-haired Tom Hanks in the blockbuster, thoughy overwrought, adaptation of the bestselling religious mystery that opens with a murder in the Louvre Museum.
Gigi, Vincente Minnelli, 1958 — This classic won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, when it was released in 1958. Not only do you get Maurice Chevalier singing “I Remember It Well,” but Leslie Caron and the scenes of Paris are utterly charming.
For the Younger Set
A Little Romance, George Roy Hill, 1979 — This delightful film, starring a young Diane Lane and the late Laurence Olivier, proves that Paris isn’t just for adult love. Two thirteen-year-olds fall for each other and their dapper, older advisor aids them in their little romance.
The Aristo Cats, Disney, 1970 — One of Disney’s most charming animated films ever. Zsa Zsa Gabor is the voice of Duchess. There are scenes of Paris, tunes from Carmen and swinging Jazz as well as humor that makes it fun for the tiny set and their parents.
Le Ballon Rouge, Albert Lamorisse, 1956 — A poetic fantasy without dialog pairs a red balloon and a young boy who wander together through the Paris streets in a classic picaresque.
Madeline, 1998 — The video series of the Madeline books features lots of adventures about the girls in one straight line. Many of the titles are set in Paris, but mostly available only on VHS.
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