Americans In Paris: 20 Essential Films

July 14 is Bastille Day, which is as good an excuse as any to knock back some Champagne, stuff an entire wedge of brie down your throat, and trot out the three phrases you still remember from high school French class.

Alternatively, you could settle in for the night and treat yourself to a movie marathon focused on something many of us would like to be: an American in Paris. Hollywood simply hasn't tired of plots that involve sending a Yank into French territory, and, frankly, neither have we. We ooh and ahh as the leads chat in flawless French with local market vendors. Our heart skips a beat when a dashing French love interest comes into play. We imagine that, the next time we're cruising down the Seine, we too will be decked out in haute couture and effortlessly chic striped tops.

Granted, Americans in Paris (cinematically, anyway) don't always have it easy. Wives get kidnapped. Daughters are sold into the sex market. Soufflés fall, waiters are snooty, lovers quarrel.

It's fine. It's still Paris. Now, pass the brie, would ya?
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OPENER IMAGE: Designed by Anna Sudit.
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Photo: Courtesy Samuel Goldwyn Films.
2 Days in Paris (2007)

Julie Delpy takes her neurotic New Yorker boyfriend, Adam Goldberg, to her hometown. He then proceeds to get jealous, moan constantly, and give American tourists bad directions.
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Photo: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.
Funny Face (1957)

Richard Avedon inspired this lovely musical about a fashion photographer (Fred Astaire) who falls in love (in Paris, naturally) with shop-girl-turned-model Jo (Audrey Hepburn). Total classic.
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Photo: Courtesy Warner Bros.
Frantic (1988)

Bad things happen when your luggage gets mixed up at the airport. Luckily, distraught husband Harrison Ford is on the case, with the help of the utterly gorgeous Emmanuelle Seigner and some sexy Grace Jones tunes.
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Photo: Courtesy 20th Century Fox.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Emily's (Emily Blunt) dream trip to Paris is handed over to Andi (Anne Hathaway), who takes the opportunity to wear dreamy clothes, bed a hot but ultimately sleazy journalist, quit her job, and toss her phone into a fountain.
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Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.
Frances Ha (2013)

A weekend in Paris isn't always that magical. Frances' spur-of-the-moment getaway is marred by lost connections, loneliness, and extreme jet lag. Also: Girl, stop looking at your phone.
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Photo: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
An American in Paris (1951)

This Gershwin musical stars Gene Kelly as an expat painter who can't get enough of a beautiful young French woman played by Leslie Caron. Dance numbers abound.
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Photo: Courtesy Warner Independent Pictures.
Before Sunset (2004)

The heart of the Before/After trilogy, this installment finds Jesse and Céline meeting at his book signing at the famous Shakespeare & Company. As they are prone to do, the would-be couple take in some sights while talking, talking, talking about life, love, and Nina Simone.
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Photo: Courtesy The Weinstein Company.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)

So, yeah, American soldiers aren't so good at impersonating Italians while hanging out in French cinemas. They're a dab hand at the art of vengeance, though.
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Photo: Courtesy Warner Bros.
Casablanca (1942)

"We'll always have Paris"... even though you totally dumped me for that Czech dude. Incidentally, the iconic film was shot almost entirely at a Burbank studio.
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Photo: Courtesy Universal Pictures.
Charade (1963)

Widow Audrey Hepburn just can't resist the charms of suave American Cary Grant, even though she also suspects him of plotting her husband's death. Either way, you'll be desperate to stroll along the Seine in Givenchy.
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Photo: Courtesy New Line Cinema.
Rush Hour 3 (2007)

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are sent to Paris to investigate the Chinese mob. Hijinks (mainly seducing a French woman and having a showdown at the Eiffel Tower) ensue.
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Photo: Courtesy Fox Searchlight.
Le Divorce (2003)

This film can be hit or miss, but the cast (including Naomi Watts, Kate Hudson, Stockard Channing, and Glenn Close) is stellar. Word to the wise: Having an affair with an older French politician isn't the best way to get an Hermès bag.
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Photo: Courtesy Warner Bros.
Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Very bad things happen when vampires Louis and Claudia (Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst) meet their French counterparts. The TripAdvisor review was ruthless.
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Photo: Courtesy HBO.
The Josephine Baker Story (1991)

Lynn Whitfield won an Emmy for her portrayal of the ultimate American in Paris, Josephine Baker, in this TV movie. The costumes and dance numbers are BEYOND.
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Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures.
Julie & Julia (2009)

Our advice: Fast-forward through the Julie bits and focus on Meryl Streep gleefully channeling Julia Child's exuberant attitude about food, life, and her amazing husband. Then book a foodie tour of Paris.
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Photo: Courtesy 20th Century Fox.
French Kiss (1995)

The bad news? Your guy left you for a French bombshell. The good news? This is the perfect opportunity to find your own French lover, even if he seems a bit sketchy.
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Photo: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.
Sabrina (1954)

Audrey Hepburn arrives in Paris a somewhat meek chauffeur's daughter, but leaves a poised, polished glamazon who can have her pick of men. #lifegoals.
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Photo: Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.
Midnight in Paris (2011)

How could this film not make you want to escape to Paris, in any decade? Hanging out with expats like Ernest Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds is only slightly better than dodging your future American in-laws.
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Photo: Courtesy 20th Century Fox.
Taken (2008)

Liam Neeson loses his shit after his daughter is kidnapped by sex slavers when she and her pal board a taxi with a bad dude from the airport. Let this be a lesson, travelers.
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Photo: Courtesy Universal Pictures.
The Bourne Identity (2002)

Jason Bourne heads to Paris to find traces of his memory. He's nearly killed, but he does pick up a German girlfriend, so he's got that going for him.
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