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  • Writer's pictureJameson Farn

Movies Made in the French Riviera

The Côte d'Azur has been a popular filming location for many international movies due to its stunning landscapes, glamorous real estate, and picturesque cities. Here are some notable international movies that were filmed in the French Riviera, some that are well known, and a few that are obscure but could be considered cult classics.

To Catch a Thief (1955): Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this classic film starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly was filmed in various locations along the French Riviera, including Nice, Eze, Cannes, and Monaco.

And God Created Woman (1956): Directed by Roger Vadim and starring Brigitte Bardot, this French drama was shot in and around Saint-Tropez, showcasing the beauty of the town and its surroundings.

Bay of Angels (La baie des anges) (1963): A French romantic drama film written and directed by Jacques Demy. It stars Jeanne Moreau and Claude Mann, who play characters driven by their passions for love and money in the gambling world. Filmed mainly in Nice with segments in Monte-Carlo Monaco. A true classic of the Cote d’Azur.

La Piscine (The Swimming Pool) (1969): Directed by Jacques Deray with Alain Delon, and Romy Schneider. A must-see, cult film shot in and around a fabulous villa in Saint Tropez.

The Day of the Jackal (1973): This political thriller directed by Fred Zinnemann features scenes shot in various locations in the French Riviera, including Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer.

The Last of Sheila (1973): Written by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins. This who dunnit mystery film was filmed at many ports throughout the region but mainly in Villefranche-sur-Mer, Antibes, Nice, and the Lerins Islands. The movie featured notables such as Dyan Cannon, Raquel Welch, James Mason, Ian McShane, and James Coburn, and is considered a cult classic.

Never Say Never Again (1983): Sean Connery starred in the famous adaptation of Ian Fleming’s ‘Thunderball’, in the film, 007 fights his way through the streets of Villefranche-sur-Mer and Nice and the main antagonist, Maximillan Largo, shows off his yacht in the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Under The Cherry Moon (1986): An American musical drama film starring and directed by Prince and Filmed primarily in Studios de la Victorine in Nice, and on location throughout the French Riviera.

Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue) (1988): Directed by Luc Bessonluc and starring Jean-Marc Barr, Rosanna Arquette, and Jean Reno, with music by Eric Serra. Scenes were shot at the Marineland in Antibes among many other locations. This movie is still shown in outdoor cinemas locally during the summer season.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988): Starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, this comedy was filmed in the towns of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat and Cap d’Antibes on the French Riviera.

Goldeneye (1995): Goldeneye was the first time Pierce Brosnan played the iconic 007. The scene with Bond racing with the dazzling and dangerous Xenia is set in the Alpes-Maritimes, as well as the casino scene set in the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Monaco.

French Kiss (1995): Starring Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline, and Timothy Hutton. The film was shot in and around Cannes along with Valbonne.

Ronin (1998): Directed by John Frankenheimer, this action thriller starring Robert De Niro and Jean Reno includes scenes filmed in Nice, France.

Simon Sez (1999): Not a big box office hit but entertaining. The film was shot throughout the region in Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Mandelieu-La Napoule, Mont Boron, Eze, Nice, and Menton. It featured Dennis Rodman, Dane Cook, and French singer and actor Filip Nikolic.

The Good Thief (2002): A crime thriller film written and directed by Neil Jordan. It is a remake of the French film - Bob le flambeur (1955) by Jean-Pierre Melville. The film was shot mainly in Nice but also in Monaco, along with Le Bar-sur-Loup and Cagnes sur Mer.

The Transporter (2002): This action film starring Jason Statham was partially filmed in the French Riviera, showcasing the region's scenic landscapes.

And Now... Ladies and Gentlemen (2002): Directed by Claude Lelouch, this romantic drama stars Jeremy Irons and Patricia Kaas and features scenes shot in Nice, Cannes, and Menton.

Femme Fatale (2002): Starring Rebecca Romijn, Antonio Banderas. The film had some key scenes shot in Cannes.

The Bucket List (2007): Directed by Rob Reiner and featuring Jack Nicholson, Sean Hayes, and Morgan Freeman. Set in both Eze and Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Killers (2010): Featuring Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck, Katherine Heigl, and Catherine O'Hara. This rom-com was filmed in and around Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Villefranche-sur-Mer, and Nice.

Iron Man ll (2010): Starring Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Film scenes were shot inside the Hotel de Paris in Monte-Carlo, and the race circuit during the Monaco Grand Prix.

W.E. (2011): Director and co-written by Madonna. The movie featured James D’Arcy, Andrea Wiseborough, and Oscar Isaac. And was filmed in locations such as Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cannes.

To Rome with Love (2012): Directed by Woody Allen, this romantic comedy features scenes shot in Antibes on the French Riviera. Features Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Judy Davis, and Penelope Cruz.

The Great Gatsby (2013): While not entirely filmed in the French Riviera, some scenes of Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel were shot in the region, including at the Château de la Napoule in Mandelieu-la-Napoule.

Grace of Monaco (2014): Starring Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth. The film was shot in various parts of Europe but naturally included local areas such as Menton, plus in and around Monaco.

Magic in the Moonlight (2014): Another Woody Allen film, this romantic comedy-drama starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone includes scenes filmed in the French Riviera, particularly in Nice and Antibes.

The Love Punch (2014): Featuring Pearce Brosnan and Emma Thompson. Most of the filming locations center around Cannes and Cap d’Antibes.

By the Sea (2015): Directed by and starring Angelina Jolie alongside Brad Pitt, this romantic drama was shot in various locations along the French Riviera, including Gozo (Malta), which stood in for the South of France.

Absolutely Fabulous (2016): This comedy starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Edina and Patsy. The beautiful backgrounds are set in various locations such as Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, Antibes, Cannes, and Cap d’Antibes.

The Mercy (2017): Starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz, this biographical drama includes scenes filmed in the French Riviera, among other locations.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018): While the majority of the film is set in Greece, some scenes of this musical romantic comedy were shot in the French Riviera. The movie starred: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Cher, among many others.

Tenet (2020): Christopher Nolan's mind-bending thriller includes scenes filmed in various locations, including Nice, showcasing the city's iconic Promenade des Anglais.

These are just a small number of movies that have taken advantage of the French Riviera's charm and beauty as a backdrop for their stories.

1 Comment

Unknown member
May 27

excellent list! There's a few i never heard of and will definaitley try to find.

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