What are the most popular American films on French TV?

Forget about Star Wars or Titanic, it seems like the French have a crush on Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Eddie Murphy and Vin Diesel!

A recent study published by the French Cinematoraphy Center (CNC) lists the 150 films that have aired the most on French TV since 1957 (including all basic networks and Canal+ but not counting cable TV) and it holds quite a few surprises; the first being that you won’t find any American films in the top 20. The most aired American film is ranked 21st and it features Tom Cruise as a daring pilot. Top Gun tops the list of the most televised American film on French TV with a total of 24 broadcasts. It is followed by Point Break (at the 54th rank), Grease (78th), and Back to the future (88th). Only 4 Americans films are in the top 100.

Between ranks 101 and 150, seven other American films can be found: cult classics Dirty Dancing, Ghost, followed by Bond’s Never Say Never Again, Ghotsbusters 1 and 2, and finally Beverly Hills Cop 1 and 2!

And if you are wondering which films hold the top 3 spots on the list of most aired programs in France, here they are: the peplum parody Deux heures moins le quart avant Jésus-Christ (1982) by Jean Yanne, the crime thriller Le pacha (1968) from Georges Lautner with Jean Gabin and the slapstick comedy Le grand restaurant (1966) by Jacques Besnard with Louis de Funès.

Top 10 of the past 10 years

If you take a look at the past decade only, you’ll find much more American movies and the predominance of one genre: action. It can be explained by the multiplication of French networks : in 2005, over 10 new networks were launched and lot of them were targeting a teenage audience, which can explain the rise of action-packed films on air. Below you will find the 10 US films that aired the most on French basic TV for the past 10 years.

1. Chaos

2. Fast and Furious: Toky Drift

3. Top Gun

4. XxX

5. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

6. Ghost Rider

7. Mercury Rising

8. Fast and Furious

9. Ghost

10. Gladiator

It’s worth noting that there are more American films than there used to be on French TV. While there is only 4 US films in the top 100 since 1957, over 20 films make up the list that focus solely on the past decade. Among them, Jurassic Park, I-Robot, The Green line, Ghostbusters 1 and 2, XxX 2, Fantastic Four, Bad Boys 2, Hard Target, Maid in Manhattan, Dirty Dancing, The Specialist, Hulk, Unbreakable, Men in Black 1 and 2, Point Break, Back to the future 1,2 and 3, Troy, and X-Men 2.

Charlie Chaplin and 90’s cult films take over Christmas time in France

A similar study was published in 2015 regarding films broadcast during the holiday season and the observations were similar. In the top 50 list from 1957, only 6 Americans films were among the most aired in December and January. These were, in order, Mary Poppins, Look Who’s talking Now, Modern Times, Gone with the Wind, The Spy Who Loved Me, and The Gold Rush. But if you just look at the past 10 years, 15 Americans films make up the list, and among them animated films like Ice Age, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield, and 90’s cult classics like E.T., Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone and 101 Dalmatians.

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