There are many different ways to improve your English skills. One way that is often overlooked is learning English through movies. While watching movies with English subtitles may seem like a simple task, it actually has many benefits.
Not only will you be exposed to different accents and dialects, but you'll also get to hear native English speakers using proper pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. In addition, watching movies can also be a fun and entertaining way to learn English.
So, if you're looking for a way to improve your English language skills, consider adding some of the classic and contemporary films we share below to your watch list. Check these titles out!
(1972) dir. Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather is one of the most iconic and critically acclaimed films of all time. The film is set in New York City and revolves around the Italian-American Mafia. In addition, the film features excellent acting by Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, as well as superb writing by Mario Puzo.
The Godfather is an excellent film for anyone looking to improve their English skills. Not only is the language rich and complex, but the film also features a variety of different accents. As a bonus, you'll get to hear plenty of Italian words and phrases throughout the film. This classic film is perfect for anyone looking to improve their understanding of English.
(1994) dir. Robert Zemeckis
Forrest Gump is a heartwarming tale about a simple man who goes on to have an extraordinary life, featuring lots of historical references – from the US involvement in the Vietnam War to the hippy movement raising its popularity in the ‘60s. This means you’ll also get insights into American cultural and social life during that period.
The film features Tom Hanks in one of his most iconic roles, and he delivers an excellent performance. In addition, the film has won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Since the film is set in the United States, you'll also get to hear a variety of different accents, including Southern and Midwestern. As a result, Forrest Gump is an excellent film for anyone looking to improve their English skills.
The Shawshank Redemption
(1994) dir. Frank Darabont
The Shawshank Redemption is the classic film adaptation of a book by Stephen King that tells the story of Andy Dufresne, who is wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The film focuses on his journey as he attempts to adapt to life behind bars and eventually finds hope in the form of his fellow inmate, Red.
It is considered to be one of the most beloved American movies ever made.
The Shawshank Redemption is a perfect movie for those looking to boost their listening and speaking skills and learn new English words. The movie features a great cast of characters, all of whom speak clear and concise English. Additionally, the film's plot is easy to follow, making it perfect for those who are still learning the language.
The King’s Speech
(2010) dir. Tom Hooper
The King’s Speech is a historical drama that tells the true story of King George VI, who was thrust onto the throne after his brother abdicated. The film follows his journey as he overcomes a debilitating speech impediment with the help of his dedicated speech therapist, Lionel Logue.
The King’s Speech is a great resource for those who want to learn how to speak in a standard British accent because it features real British accents from some of the most famous actors in the world. Moreover, this can also be an inspirational film for those who want to overcome not only the language barrier but also their personal challenges.
The Social Network
(2010) dir. David Fincher
The Social Network is a drama film about Facebook’s founding and the ensuing lawsuits. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, and Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, one of the co-founders.
It is a great film for those who want to improve their English skills because it is fast-paced and features quick dialogues between main characters. In addition, it’s an interesting movie that also offers a glimpse into the world of Silicon Valley startups and the competitive environment they operate in.
The Toy Story franchise
The Toy Story franchise is a series of five animated films about the adventures of a group of toys who come to life when their owner, Andy, is not around. The films star Tom Hanks as the voice of Woody, a cowboy doll, and Tim Allen as the voice of Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger action figure who recently got his own spin-off – Lightyear.
The Toy Story films are perfect even for the youngest English learners, as they are fun and entertaining while also teaching valuable lessons. The films are packed with idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms that are perfect for those who want to learn how to talk like a native speaker in real life.
The Lion King
(1994) dir. Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff
Who doesn't love a classic? The Lion King is one of the most beloved movies of all time and for a good reason. Not only is it a great story, but it's also perfect for those looking to improve their English skills and diversify their language learning process.
This is a good movie full of memorable quotes and scenes that will help you better understand the language and expand your English vocabulary. Plus, the songs are catchy and will stick in your head long after the movie is over – a perfect way to memorize some new words!
Harry Potter film series
Who doesn’t know Harry Potter? The young wizard has become a symbol of childhood for many of us.
The story follows the adventures of young Harry Potter as he attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, makes close friends and powerful enemies, and struggles against the evil forces that seek to defeat him and conquer the wizarding world.
The Harry Potter series will introduce you to a variety of British accents as well as plenty of new vocabulary. For instance, you'll get to hear plenty of magical words and spells based on Latin roots but also feature elements of a play on words – which can be very thought-provoking for English language learners.
The Hunger Games film series
The Hunger Games is a trilogy of dystopian novels written by Suzanne Collins that follows the story of a young girl named Katniss Everdeen who is forced to compete in a brutal government-sponsored competition.
The books have been adapted into a highly successful, suspenseful, and action-packed film series starring Jennifer Lawrence, making them perfect for anyone who wants to improve their English skills while also being entertained.
Not only is the story captivating, but the films are set in a dystopian future, which means you'll get to hear not only lots of conversational phrases teenagers use on a daily basis but will also discover new concepts and, therefore, vocabulary.
In addition, there is a prequel movie coming out next year – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, so rewatching the film series can be an excellent opportunity to get ready for the premiere.
How to Learn English with Movies: Tips and Techniques
Now that you know some of the best movies for English learners to watch, it's time to learn how to get the most out of your experience. Here are a few tips and techniques to help you with your movie-watching journey:
- Start with subtitles in your native language. This will help you understand the plot and follow the dialogues between native speakers. Once you are more comfortable with the film, you can try watching it with English subtitles.
- Focus on listening for key phrases and vocabulary words. Don't worry about understanding every word that is said. Just try to catch the gist of the scene and pick out key words and phrases that you can use in your own conversations.
- Repeat scenes that you found difficult to understand. If there is a particular scene or dialogue exchange that you didn't catch, try watching it again. This time, pay close attention to the captions as well as the actors’ pronunciation – this way, you’ll get to learn how to both spell and say new words correctly.
- Pause the film frequently to look up words and phrases. If there is a word or phrase that you don't understand, pause the film and look it up in a dictionary or online. This will help you expand your vocabulary and improve your understanding of the language.
- Practice speaking the language. After you've watched a film, try to practice using some of the new words and phrases that you've learned. You can do this by starting conversations with English-speaking friends or by writing out dialogues from the film in a journal.
You can watch English movies both for fun and educational purposes – but you have to approach this method very intentionally and immerse yourself in a new language in order to learn English through movies effectively.
The Bottom Line
Watching English movies is a great way to improve your language skills. Not only are they entertaining and fun, but they also offer a wealth of language-learning opportunities from boosting your listening skills and expanding your day-to-day vocabulary to giving you a glimpse of different cultures and the social life of native English speakers.
In this blog post, we've shared some tips and techniques for how you can get the most out of watching movies in English. But if you’re looking for more ways to diversify your learning materials, don’t overlook our Langster app to learn English with stories. Now, it’s time to grab some popcorn, turn on English subtitles, and settle in for a fun and educational experience!