How to Learn English with Movies

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English movies are an endless resource that English language learners must take advantage of to improve their English skills.  Most people enjoy leisurely watching a movie to unwind after a long day or a long week.  So why not expand your understanding of the English language at the same time?

Learning English with movies is a fantastic way to learn English in context.  Most movies are a reflection of real life, so you’ll be guaranteed to learn useful vocabulary that you will use when speaking English.

 Why to Learn English with Movies 

Learning English with movies allows you to hear real English used in real situations which will improve both your listening and speaking skills.  

Movies are an extension of real life.  The actors in English movies speak naturally and fast which means that you can use English movies to test your understanding of English.  You can train your ear and practice your listening skills when watching English movies.  If you struggle the first time, don’t panic!  The more you practice, the easier it will become.

If you want to speak English like a native speaker, then you need to listen to native speakers speak English.  Watching English movies will have a positive effect on your listening skills, your vocabulary and your English pronunciation.  You can sharpen a lot of your English language skills by watching movies in English.

You Can Hear Real English 

While speaking English is the best way to develop your communication skills in English, it’s also important to hear native English speakers speaking English.  Listening to native English speakers will improve your English pronunciation and speaking skills.  

English speakers speak English with a specific rhythm.  In a nutshell, English speakers only stress the most important words in a sentence (also known as content words) and they allow the rest of the words to go unstressed.

You should practice listening to real English spoken by native English speakers to fully understand how English is spoken.  After watching a movie, try to repeat some of the phrases in the same way that the native speakers said them.  

Good pronunciation comes from listening carefully and learning which areas you need to improve to sound like a native English speaker. 


Have a Better Pronunciation 

It’s difficult to learn new English words on your own and then pronounce them correctly.  It’s important to hear new words spoken by native English speakers to improve your pronunciation.   

English movies are also a great option to expose yourself to a new language, hear it used in context, and learn how to pronounce the words and phrases.

Improving Your Accent 

While a native English speaking partner only has one accent, movies allow you to expose yourself to many different English accents.  English movies are created all over the world, so you can take yourself on a trip around the world every day.

If you want to learn one specific accent, then it’s a great idea to watch movies that include that accent.  This will improve your pronunciation of the English accent you prefer.

How to Learn English With Movies Using This New Techniques

There are certain things you must do to learn English with movies effectively.  Below are techniques and tips that you can follow to ensure that you get the most out of the time spent watching movies.  

While watching movies is a fantastic leisure activity, you will need to focus on understanding the movie while practising the new words and pronunciation that you’re exposed to throughout the movie.

Try to Watch Movies Without Native Language Subtitles 

This is the most challenging technique to start with.  Most English learners want the safety net that their native language subtitles provide while watching a movie in English.  But, as we all know, it is very difficult to not read subtitles when they are on the screen.

If you are a beginner, then watching a movie in English with subtitles is beneficial because you will expose yourself to the sounds of the English language.  However, once you start to move further along your English language learning journey, you need to challenge yourself to understand movies in English without subtitles.  

We rely too heavily on subtitles when they are on the screen and we do not exercise our brains and push ourselves to learn and understand a new language.  Translation is also not a reliable way to learn a language.  It is better to learn phrases in English than to translate the phrases to your native language.

The next time you watch a movie in English, try to do it without subtitles.  You might be surprised by how much you understand.  You can also re-watch a movie in English without subtitles that you have already watched in your mother tongue.  This tip will ensure that you won’t miss any crucial information because you already know the plot.

Try to Watch Movies With English Subtitles 

It’s a great idea to watch English movies with English subtitles.  It can be difficult to catch every word - especially if a character in a movie has a strong accent.  Watching a movie with English subtitles will ensure that you understand more than you would if you only listened to the movie.  English subtitles will allow you to learn and recognise new words too.  

It can also be difficult to learn a language by only listening to it because you won’t be able to write the word when the time comes to write it.  English is not a phonetic language, so learning a new word by reading it will help grow your vocabulary and improve your English writing skills at the same time.

Watch a Movie That You Love 

A golden rule of thumb is to only watch movies that you want to watch.  If you’re not interested in the movie you’re watching, then you won’t want to put in the effort that it takes to understand the movie in English.  

There are countless English movies in every movie genre - don’t waste your time and energy on something that you don’t enjoy.  Learning is particularly easy when we are having fun, so make sure that you are having fun while watching English movies.

Repeat Phrases From Movie 

When you hear a new phrase or a new word in English, be sure to pause the movie and repeat the new words and phrases.  If you want, watch the movie once all the way through and then watch it again and pause whenever you hear something new or a word or phrase that interests you.

The best technique is to learn a language in chunks.  If you hear an adjective, listen to hear if it’s used with a specific preposition or in a specific circumstance.  If you hear a phrasal verb, note it down and make sure you understand how it was used in the movie.  Then repeat these words in sentences of your own.

Remember: all meaning is derived from context, so use the context clues in the movie to ensure that you fully understand how to use the new language while practising saying it. 

Write Unknown Words in Notebook 

It is very difficult to simply remember new words and phrases after watching a movie.  It can take up to 17 exposures to learn a new word or phrase in another language.    

Keep a notebook next to you when you watch a movie in English and write down any new interesting words or phrases that you learn.  This will give you a written record of all the new words that you come across.  

Avoid Movies With Difficult Dialogue 

While you should always be up for a challenge, challenging yourself with difficult dialogue is not the best way to build your confidence and your understanding of English.  The aim of watching a movie in English should always be to improve.  If a movie is making you feel worse about your English language ability, then the movie should be avoided.

Remember, native English speakers sometimes break grammar rules.  If the dialogue consists of regional lingo and strong accents, then learning it to use in a general English context will not benefit you.  

It is a good idea to avoid movies with difficult dialogue because you need to build your confidence.  Always set the movie you choose to your language ability and set achievable goals.

Select Movie That is Relevant to Your English Level 

If you don’t know your English level, you can find out here: https://oxfordlanguageclub.com/placement_test.html

Watch With Someone 

Why not sit down and watch a good movie with your friends?  This is a great idea to give you a speaking topic once you finish the movie.  You can create a movie club and watch movies that you can talk about with your friends afterwards.  You can also share the words and phrases that you thought were important and pick up some from your friends that you might have missed.

Speaking after listening is a great way to see what you understand and where the gaps are in your understanding.  If you have time, it would be a great idea to re-watch the movie and see how much you understand the second time around.

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