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

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 (60)
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  • Ruben says:

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

  • jennie w. says:

    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!

  • Vicky says:

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

  • Sean says:

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

  • Tormentilla says:

    Only available for US and Canada users…

  • Gene says:

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

  • john doe says:

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

  • Derp says:

    Vicky, I could kiss you.

  • Parviz says:

    I love to learn French language a.s.a.p. and this is all I want to do.


  • germiles says:

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

  • Bill Notgrass says:

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

  • Guest says:

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

  • uneydr says:

    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 :(

  • uneydr says:

    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 :(

    • uneydr says:

      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 :/

  • jm says:

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

  • dave says:

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

  • Mike says:

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

  • Classis says:

    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, 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…..

  • Patrick says:

    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??

  • Sue says:

    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?

  • Rob says:

    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!!!

  • Rob says:

    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.

  • Brian says:

    Rob is correct. I purchased the audio course for $200. This is after taking a couple of night terms using the book and workbook and watching the videos. It helps tremendously in training the ear. One is able to go back and replay as many times as necessary so that the student can start speaking in phrases rather than words.

  • Daniel says:

    Hi Dave, I would appreciate the transcripts.

  • nacerguechtouli says:


  • Ann Fishman says:

    Can you download French in Action onto an iPac or Mac computer?


  • Constance says:


  • ed digiambattista says:

    Annenburg learning offers the entire series and many more free.

  • ed digiambattista says:

    Annenburg learning offers the entire series and many more free.

    Duplicate comment? that’s ridiculous.I’ve never posted here bevfore on any topic.

    Screw it then.

  • Dan Colman says:


    We don’t own the rights to these materials. We are simply pointing out that they are available for free on the Annenberg Learner website.

    You might want to contact the Annenberg people to see if they can help you.

    Best regards,

  • Anthony says:

    What is a waste of time is looking up words and idiomatic phrases because there is no translation. Therefore, the meanings are either ambiguous or wrongly understood (words in French that look like words in English but have totally different meanings). Cartoons just don’t cut it. Tons of time wasted on that.

  • Suzie says:

    how do I get the audio lessons. I have the book and work book,

  • Michael Crehan says:

    Hello and Merci Beaucoup!

  • Robert P. Grathwol says:

    I Just want to download individual chapters, as I was able to do on my earlier Microsoft computer (now defunct). ow do I do this? At the moment, I need Lesson 47 and 48. With the new computer, I can’t find the right way to do this–or has the system changed?

  • Rishi says:

    Please tell where to find those audio course on the internet!

  • Josh Hazlewood says:

    If you are using firefox browser then just download a VPN add on.
    Hoxx vpn is a good one but other options are there. The you can view the videos even if you are outside U.S. and Canada.

    Any VPN app should work as well.

  • Kavanvill says:

    If you want to download VoD videos from,
    You can simply get the Learner Downloader- Allavsoft to batch download Learner videos to MP4, AVI etc on Mac or Windows computer.

  • Taher Saari says:

    Yes, absolutely you’re right…

  • 8avalon82 says:

    J’aime apprend le francais!

  • John says:

    I can’t find the videos that corresponding to the third edition, which starts with Genese I and II.

    Do they exist?

  • Abdul Albusaidy says:

    Hi Dave, do you still have the transcript of French in action videos? Please send to my email and thank you in advance.


  • Dripto says:

    no tried it on my macbook pro

  • Chris De Tone says:

    I truly enjoy this show! I guess I am one of those cult followers because whenever I came across it on PBS, I could not look away! I studied French for 4 years in High School and 4 years University. Since I do not live in France, these shows kept me in practice. Great show!

  • Vishwas Umap says:

    Plzz share the course you have.. which you mentioned on above massage.

  • George DeTitta says:

    Feeling a bit rusty, I went to the Annenberg Learner site to watch a few episodes of French in Action. Although I could hear the audio, I could not get the video. Does anyone know if Yale and/or Annenberg have pulled the plug on FIA? I certainly hope not.

  • V. M. Walker says:

    You can find some of the videos on YouTube.

  • June says:

    How can I learn languages?

  • Amir says:

    Provide free French learning videos

  • Geoff Amsel says:

    Hi Abdul,

    Do you have Dave’s email or did he send you the transcripts? I would love a copy of them if he did.



  • Marsha Roberts says:

    Would like access to French lessons

  • Julia says:

    Hello Parviz, And so do I. Even after all these years. Did you ever learn French? Thanks for yourreply.

  • Julia says:

    Hi Marsha … or anyone,
    Is this thread still active? I would love to connect with another FIA learner.

  • Michael says:

    I’m looking for the Audio CD’s or mp3 files for French in Action part 2. Anyone know where they might be found? Yale doesn’t offer them anymore. ;-(

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