A revolution is typically defined as an event that fundamentally changes a society and/or a government. The French Revolution, then, was a revolution because it did away with the monarchy and nobility and brought an entirely new kind of people into power in a completely new kind of government.
By contrast, a colonial rebellion does not necessarily do this. If it succeeds, it might replace the old government with a new one that is made up of different people but is otherwise quite similar to what had gone before. In the case of the American Revolution, some argue that the government and society were not significantly different after the war than before. They say that both governments were essentially conservative governments ruled by elites.