French in Action: Cult Classic French Lessons from Yale (52 Episodes)

During the 1980s, Pierre Capretz, a Yale professor, developed French in Action, a French immersion program that featured textbooks, workbooks, and a 52-episode television series. Aired on PBS, the television series gained a devoted following and, years later, a 25th anniversary celebration at Yale asked the question: Is it fair to say that French in Action now has a cult following?

You can watch French in Action for free online at the Annenberg Learner website. (Scroll down the page to find the videos.) The program follows the adventures of Robert Taylor, an American student, and Mireille Belleau, a young French woman. And each 30 minute episode provides a context for learning new words and expressions. (A couple of episodes generated a little controversy, we should note.) The show is conducted entirely in French.

French in Action appears in our collection of Free Language Lessons, which now offers primers in over 40 languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, Italian and beyond.


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Comments (32)
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  1. Ruben says . . . | November 17, 2011 / 1:16 pm

    The free videos are only watchable if you are in United States or Canada :(

  2. jennie w. says . . . | November 19, 2011 / 4:55 am

    Loved these videos. I still have my textbook that went along with the series. It was so scandalous to my high school self that Mireille would go braless!

  3. Vicky says . . . | December 9, 2011 / 8:21 am

    @Ruben I believe that they are also available via youtube. Maybe you can try seeing them there.

  4. Sean says . . . | December 13, 2011 / 11:05 am

    Only available in US and Canada? So what the hell are you doing on the WORLD WIDE web?

  5. Tormentilla says . . . | April 11, 2012 / 1:37 pm

    Only available for US and Canada users…

  6. Gene says . . . | May 22, 2012 / 7:50 pm

    This approach is not for everyone. They talk way too fast.

  7. john doe says . . . | May 28, 2012 / 7:04 pm

    put your FUCKERS programs en in shit bathroom of your houses motherfuckers

  8. Derp says . . . | August 18, 2012 / 3:47 pm

    Vicky, I could kiss you.

  9. Parviz says . . . | January 8, 2013 / 10:17 am

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
    I love to learn French language a.s.a.p. and this is all I want to do.

    Regards
    Parviz

  10. germiles says . . . | February 3, 2013 / 11:10 pm

    i just amor french in action especially mirrielle, and her little sis, marie.oui,oui,loves and kisses

  11. Bill Notgrass says . . . | August 3, 2013 / 9:57 am

    Transcripts of the lessons would help us to learn the lessons! At least it would give us an idea of the action.

  12. Annabella Gualdoni says . . . | September 9, 2013 / 3:27 pm

    Bill-They aren’t transcripts, but the textbook and workbook do help to supplement the videos. You can buy inexpensive used copies on Amazon.

  13. Guest says . . . | September 9, 2013 / 3:29 pm

    While not transcripts, you can buy the textbook and workbook, which are helpful supplements.

  14. uneydr says . . . | October 3, 2013 / 9:21 am

    Can anyone tell me where to find the documents needed to do some exercises? I have a photocopied Texbook & workbook, but aside from the sole main document at the end of the lessons, I can’t find the documents 1A, 2 anywhere :(

  15. uneydr says . . . | October 3, 2013 / 9:22 am

    Can you tell me where to find the documents needed to do some nexercises? I have a photocopied Texbook & workbook, but aside from nthe sole main document at the end of the lessons, I can’t find the ndocuments 1A, 2 anywhere :(

  16. Annabella Gualdoni says . . . | October 3, 2013 / 9:28 am

    As far as I know there aren’t any additional documents. The Textbook and workbook do skip a fair amount of the material in the program.

  17. Annabella Gualdoni says . . . | October 3, 2013 / 9:28 am

    As far as I know there aren’t any additional documents. The Textbook and workbook do skip a fair amount of the material in the program.

  18. uneydr says . . . | October 4, 2013 / 1:02 am

    Thank you very much!nI thought they were in the Study Guide or some materials that I couldn’t obtain. Seems like I have to give up on those exercises :/

  19. jm says . . . | February 8, 2014 / 12:03 pm

    Thanks for this. Great approach. And yes, I’m in love with Mireille

  20. dave says . . . | February 24, 2014 / 6:47 pm

    whoever needs the transcripts, send me an email and I will gladly share this magnificent french course transcript, so you will understand even more.

  21. Mike says . . . | April 8, 2014 / 6:36 am

    Dave. I would like the transcripts. How do I email you.
    Mike

  22. Classis says . . . | April 9, 2014 / 7:55 am

    Dave, I, too, would love the transcript as well. I found some of the translations of some words/phrases (not verbatim) on what turned out to be an ad for Memorize.com, but I can’t find the remainder 50 lessons. I think that was a tease just to get me to sign up. I am most grateful to you for sending whatever you have. Many thanks…..

  23. Patrick says . . . | July 27, 2014 / 7:49 pm

    Hi Dave I would love the transcripts if you wouldn’t mind sending them to me. I’m not sure how to find your email address??

  24. Lori Wilkes says . . . | August 20, 2014 / 6:51 am

    Hi Dave, nWould you mind sending the transcripts? (Need your email.)

  25. Sue says . . . | August 29, 2014 / 8:21 am

    Just came across this discussion. I remember watching French in Action in the 80s and would love the transcripts, if they’re still available. Could someone provide the email address for Dave, please?

  26. Jt Parker says . . . | September 9, 2014 / 8:07 am

    Hi Dave, I would appreciate the transcripts. Contact info? mine is jparker.usatennis@gmail.com

  27. Jt Parker says . . . | September 9, 2014 / 8:07 am

    Hi Dave, I would appreciate the transcripts. Contact info? mine is jparker.usatennis@gmail.com

  28. Kelton Adams says . . . | September 11, 2014 / 3:20 pm

    Hi Dave, I too would love to have the transcripts sent to me my email is marquell122@gmail.com

  29. Mel says . . . | October 2, 2014 / 4:51 pm

    Me too Sue! did you manage to get hold of the transcripts? thanks, Mel

  30. L'étudiant de français says . . . | October 5, 2014 / 12:10 pm

    Hi Dave, please send me the transcripts if still possible. I would greatly appreciate it. How do i get your email? Thanks in advance.

  31. Rob says . . . | November 6, 2014 / 8:00 am

    The video has always been the heart of the course, but it isn’t the course at all!!! Each video is actually the introduction to that lesson. The real learning comes when you follow the audio course. You MUST obtain the audio which, together with the textbook and 2 workbooks, Part I and Part II, breaks down the language very efficiently and teaches you all the constructions and grammar etc. AND, most importantly, improves your ear to where you can make the transition to real French programming, as I have. Used workbooks and textbooks can be purchased very inexpensively. The audio is worth every penny, far better than a couple years at university. The best thing about French in Action is that it is authentic French, and also that it gives you all the necessary tools to actually go to France, as I did, and talk intelligently. For instance, you will learn all about transportation in France, something that you will need!!!

  32. Rob says . . . | November 6, 2014 / 8:08 am

    And just having the transcripts are not enough. There is no English in French in Action, so you need the textbook, which gives you explainations and cartoon visuals which enable you to understand key constructions as you read. One of the foundations of French in Action is that translating can be a waste of time. Translate “Where the heck is she?”. You can’t, but you will learn the approprate construction if you have the materials and follow the course. And as I stated above, it is the audio course that will get your ear the where you want it to be.

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