The Last Duel: a look back at 20 American films shot in France

On October 13, Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel was released, much of the filming of which took place in France, like other Hollywood productions before him. Zoom on 20 films which take place in our beautiful country.

It’s not just the French who shoot in France! Several foreign directors have indeed placed their cameras in a region of France for the needs of a feature film. Many American productions have been filmed here. The latest to date? Stillwater and The Last Duel, both worn by Matt Damon.

Directed by Ridley Scott, The Last Duel is notably set in the castles of Dordogne, as had already been the case with his very first feature film: Les Duellistes with Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel. The circle is complete.

Ridley Scott’s Last Duel (2021)


20th Century Studios

New movie by Ridley scott, The Last Duel marks the return of the filmmaker to … Dordogne! This historical film carried by Matt damon and Adam Driver was, for the most part, filmed in this French department, notably at the castles of Beynac and Fénelon, at Sainte-Mondane and at the bastide of Monpazier. Photographs were also taken towards Narbonne, at the Abbey of Fontfroide and at the castle of Berzé in Saône-et-Loire. The director is decidedly very fond of France since, 40 years earlier, he had also set up his cameras in Dordogne for his film. The Duelists. And in 2006, it was in Provence, mainly in the Vaucluse, that he filmed A Great Year with Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard.

Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen (2011)


March Distribution

New York filmmaker par excellence, Woody Allen filmed in several European cities in the 2000s and early 2010, including Paris. The French capital is, as its title suggests, at the heart of the film Midnight in Paris, led by Owen Wilson.

Marie-Antoinette by Sofia Coppola (2006)


Sony Pictures Entertainment

For her biopic on Marie-Antoinette, played by Kirsten Dunst, Sofia Coppola has obviously installed her cameras in Versailles. However, she had to obtain special permission from the French government to have the right to shoot there, mainly at night so as not to disrupt visits. The director was even able to film a scene in the Hall of Mirrors, which was closed for renovation at the time. Other châteaux in the region have welcomed the team, such as those of Vaux-le-Vicomte or Dampierre.

Tom McCarthy’s Stillwater (2021)


Focus Features, LLC.

Just before The Last Duel, Matt damon had shot another film in France: Stillwater by Tom McCarthy. It is in Marseille that most of the plot of this thriller takes place and emblematic places of the Phocaean city obviously appear on the screen, such as the Vélodrome stadium or the Baumettes prison.

The Longest Day by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, Gerd Oswald and Darryl F. Zanuck (1962)


Twentieth century fox

A film which traces the Allied landings in Normandy, The Longest Day was indeed shot in France in certain places which were really the theater of operations at the time (such as the Pegasus Bridge, Sainte-Mère-Église or la Pointe du Hoc) but not only. It is for example on a beach in Corsica that the landing sequence at Omaha Beach was filmed. Other shots took place on the Ile de Ré and in Caen while interior scenes were shot in the studio in Boulogne-Billancourt.

Lasse Hallström’s Chocolate (2001)


Bac Films

The exteriors of the film Le Chocolat, directed by Lasse Hallström and worn by Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, were mostly shot in Burgundy, especially in the village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain. Since then, there has been signage so that tourists can find the store at the heart of the feature film! Scenes were also boxed in Beynac-et-Cazenac in the Dordogne.

Bastille Day by James Watkins (2016)


Jessica forde

Bastille Day, which is named so since it begins on the eve of July 14, takes place in France and was truly filmed on location, mainly in Paris (especially in the 10th and 16th arrondissements) and Romainville. Directed by James Watkins, the film is helmed by Idris Elba, Richard Madden and Charlotte Le Bon.

The Man in the Iron Mask by Randall Wallace (1998)


United International Pictures (UIP)

If the shots of The Man in the Iron Mask by Randall Wallace took place in France, they did not take place at the Palace of Versailles. It is the castles of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainebleau in Seine-et-Marne, as well as the castle of Pierrefonds in the Oise, which served as the backdrops for this film in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays Louis XIV. Also in the cast, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich and Gérard Depardieu in the skin of the 3 Musketeers.

Taken by Pierre Morel (2008)


EuropaCorp Distribution

A Franco-American co-production, Pierre Morel’s Taken is nevertheless carried by an international star, Liam Neeson, who was delighted to shoot in France (mainly in Paris) with a French team. “I appreciated the French schedules, very civilized! The days of work, divided between the rehearsals of the fights and the filming, remained exhausting, but we had the comfort of an entire night to recover. Without forgetting the pleasure I took in tasting the quality of Parisian life … “, he confided during the promotion. In addition, other co-productions between EuropaCorp and US firms, such as Malavita or 3 Days to kill, were also filmed in our country.

French Kiss by Lawrence Kasdan (1995)


20th Century Fox

A romantic comedy by Lawrence Kasdan carried by Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, French Kiss was shot entirely in France. The production thus put down its luggage in Paris then in the Alpes-Maritimes and in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, in particular in Valbonne and Cannes.

Dangerous Liaisons, Stephen Frears (1989)


Warner Bros. France

Awarded 3 Oscars and worn by John malkovich, Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer, the first English adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, by Stephen Frears, was filmed entirely in Île-de-France. The Maisons-Laffitte castle, the Hôtel de Sully, the Champs-sur-Marne castle, the Neuville castle and the Montansier theater in Versailles are among the many buildings that were used for the filming.

Memory in Doug Liman’s Skin (2002)


United International Pictures (UIP)

Before The Last Duel and Stillwater, Matt damon had already toured in our country for one of his most famous roles: Jason Bourne. Most of the plot of La Mémoire dans la peau takes place in Paris where the film was actually boxed after Doug Liman won his case with Universal who initially wanted the scenes to be in the capital. be filmed in Montreal.

Two Crazy Heads by Richard Quine (1964)


Paramount Pictures

In the summer of 1962, Audrey Hepburn traveled to France to shoot the romantic comedy Two Crazy Heads with William Holden. The shots then took place at the Billancourt studios and in the streets of Paris. In the fall, the legendary actress followed up with another Parisian shoot: Charade by Stanley Donnen alongside Cary Grant. Places in the capital can be seen in both films as a puppet show in front of the Marigny Theater.

The Truth About Charlie by Jonathan Demme (2003)


United International Pictures (UIP)

Charade’s remake, La Vérité sur Charlie, directed by Mark Wahlberg, Thandiwe Newton and Tim Robbins, was naturally also shot in Paris. Many scenes were filmed at the Hôtel des Croisés, 63 rue Saint-Lazare in the 9th arrondissement.

Le Mans by Lee H. Katzin (1971)


Cinema Center Films

A big fan of motor racing, Steve McQueen invested heavily in the film Le Mans which was actually shot in the French city between June and November 1970, notably during the 38th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The production then rented the circuit all summer for a larger-than-life feature film. Released in 2019, Le Mans 66 also takes place during the legendary race but was mainly filmed in California! Only a few sequences were filmed in France.

Dunkirk by Christopher Nolan (2017)


Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved / Melinda Sue Gordon

With such a title, it was difficult for Christopher Nolan to escape a trip to France. Much of Dunkirk was filmed in the city of Hauts-de-France, on the very scene of Operation Dynamo, recounted in the film.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Philip Kaufman (1988)


The Saul Zaentz Company

If The Unbearable Lightness of Being takes place at the time of the Prague Spring, in 1968, in Czechoslovakia, it is in reality in France that Philip Kaufman made Daniel Day-Lewis turn, Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin. The shots took place in Paris and Lyon, but also in the Oise and in the Côte-d’Or.

Gigi de Vincente Minnelli (1958)


Swashbuckler Films

The cult musical Gigi was shot almost entirely in real settings in Paris. We can thus see the actors in the Tuileries garden, in the Monceau park, in the Bois de Boulogne or in the Luxembourg garden. This film also marks the reunion between Vincente Minnelli and Leslie Caron, which he had revealed in An American in Paris. Feature film which has meanwhile, and contrary to what its title suggests, not been shot in the City of Light but in a studio in California!

The Transporter by Louis Leterrier (2002)


EuropaCorp Distribution

Small exception to the rule: despite its international cast, and in particular its British star Jason Statham, Le Transporteur is actually a French film. His shooting in the English language, however, earned him fame around the world. It is mainly in the South and more precisely on the Côte d’Azur that Louis Leterrier has set up his cameras. After a second episode shot in Miami, the third part once again made a stopover in France, notably in Paris and in the Pyrenees. In the other French productions with an international cast shot here, we can also mention From Paris With Love.

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