How to Learn English with Movies: Tips and Movies for All Levels

Many people assume that achieving fluency in English is all about hitting the books. While you will definitely need to study to learn English grammar, speaking English as a second language requires a wide range of skills. So, what can you do to practice these skills? Learn English with movies, of course!

Watching movies in English is a great way to pick up new vocabulary and idioms, practice listening to native English speakers, and absorb the language in a fun, entertaining format.

That said, there are certain tactics that you can use to learn as much as possible while you watch movies. First, we will give you a few tips to get the most out of the movie-watching experience. Later on in this guide, we will provide specific movies for English learners at every level!

3 Tips to Learn English with Movies

Before you get your bowl of popcorn ready, there are a few things that you should keep in mind in order to learn English with movies:

Tip #1: You may not understand every single word

If you’re watching a movie with native English-speaking actors, the dialogue (conversation in a movie) will probably be pretty quick. You will probably miss a few words here and there. Naturally, if you think you missed something important or you really want to learn a new word, don’t be afraid to rewind and listen to it again.

However, you shouldn’t expect to understand everything on the first try. It’s important to remember that there’s no rewind button in real life, so training yourself to understand context is a great way to learn English (even if you don’t understand every single word!)

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to listen and repeat

Oftentimes, you may hear new vocabulary and completely forget it in a few days, hours, or even minutes later. This is why it is useful to repeat new phrases.

Saying new English phrases out loud is one of the best ways to keep them stored in your long-term memory. That said, if you’re sitting in a movie theater full of people, it may not be a good idea to start talking to the screen!

However, if you’re watching a movie alone or with close friends, don’t be afraid to repeat new words out loud. Though you might be inclined to write down new words, this may require you to pause or even rewind the movie. While jotting down notes is also a great way to remember new things, repeating them out loud might be much faster.

Tip #3: Try watching movies with and without subtitles

Some people are visual learners. This means that, in order to really remember a new English word, they need to see it written out. If you fit this description, then you might prefer to learn English by watching movies with English subtitles.

While this is great for learning new vocabulary, it takes away from your ability to listen, as you can simply read the words as they go by. So, even if you prefer to watch movies with the English subtitles on, we recommend trying to watch movies without subtitles as well. That way, you can practice listening to native speakers without relying on written words.

*Note: If you feel completely lost watching a movie, it’s okay to watch it with subtitles in your native language. In fact, this can help you learn the precise meaning of new words as you hear them!

Now that you know how to get the most out of watching movies in English, it’s time to look for the perfect addition to your next movie night! Below, you will find movies to help you learn English at any level. These include great English movies to improve communication skills, pronunciation, listening, and natural speech.

Additionally, we’ve included some of the best movies to learn British English and American English!

Movies for A1-A2 English Learners

English beginners may struggle to understand movies with complex vocabulary and diction. As a result, animated films and movies with simple, easy-to-understand dialogue are some of the best options. Here are a few of the best movies for beginners to learn English (level A1-A2):

  • The Princess Bride (1987)
  • Toy Story (1995)
  • Frozen (2013)

Movies for B1-B2 English Learners

Intermediate English learners probably have a decent vocabulary, but they usually need to practice listening to native speakers. Movies with relatively straightforward plots are ideal, as they give you a chance to follow the story and pick up new words as you hear them.

These are just a few great movies for B1 and B2 English learners:

*Note: some of these films contain strong language and adult themes.

  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  • Love Actually (2003)
  • The King’s Speech (2010)

Movies for C1-C2 English Learners

Advanced English learners can typically handle more challenging films. These films address complex topics, while also delivering dialogue at a rapid pace. In some cases, there may be varied accents and distinct regional dialects.

Here are a few films that C1 and C2 English learners will appreciate:

*Note: some of these films contain strong language and adult themes.

  • I Heart Huckabees (2004)
  • Carnage (2011)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

We hope you found this guide on how to learn English with movies helpful! If you’d like to get access to more English speaking practice tools, visit Magoosh Speaking today!

Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Film and Philosophy from the University of Georgia. It was during his time in school that he published his first written work. After serving as a casting director in the Atlanta film industry for two years, Matthew acquired TEFL certification and began teaching English abroad. In 2017, Matthew started writing for dozens of different brands across various industries. During this time, Matthew also built an online following through his film blog. If you’d like to learn more about Matthew, you can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or his personal website!
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