How to Learn English with Movies - Top 10 Best Films

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Watching films is a fun way to improve your English! In this article we will show you 10 of the best movies for studying English and give you tips and resources to help you learn English through films. Ready? Lights, camera, action!

Why learn English with films?

Watching films is a lot more fun than studying with a textbook! It can also be just as useful. Here is why sitting down with a movie in English will improve your fluency:

REAL ENGLISH – Textbooks are great for learning vocabulary or grammar, but nothing is better than listening to real native English. By watching British and American films, you can listen to native English actors speaking the language in a natural way. This will help you learn modern English and sound more like a native speaker in terms of vocabulary and style.

BETTER PRONUNCIATION – Sometimes it can be hard to know how an English word is pronounced. Hearing native speakers in movies will teach you the correct way to say things. Dialogues in films also provide good examples of how sounds in words change in connected speech.

LIVE CONTEXT – When you learn a word, it can be difficult to remember what it means or how to use it. In films, words are used as part of a story and this context helps you to learn and remember them more effectively.

NATIVE ACCENTS – Across Britain and America there are many different accents used to speak English. When watching films, you will hear many regional accents being used and this will help you to understand them better. Textbooks seldom provide information about English accents.

EXPLORE CULTURE – You can learn about the culture behind the language when you watch movies in English. Language and culture are closely connected. Why not study both at the same time by watching original films?



Only choose interesting films!

This sounds obvious, but the most important thing when using films to study English is to watch movies you will enjoy. If you choose a boring film, then you may lose interest and pay less attention to the language it uses! To find interesting films by genre, title, actor/actress or date of release, you can visit IMDB.

Avoid movies that are too difficult

When you are watching a film in English, it is important that you understand enough to follow the storyline. Try to choose a movie that suits your current level of English. If you are a beginner, you may want to start with simple cartoons or children’s films, like "Toy Story". On the other hand, if you understand 99% of the dialogue between characters in a movie, it may be too easy for you.

Aim to understand 70% or more

When learning English with films, you should aim to understand the general meaning and not every single word. Do not worry if you miss some words or phrases or do not understand the accent of a character in a movie. You can pause or rewind the film sometimes and write down new vocabulary, but avoid doing this too often. Remember that watching movies should be fun!

Repeat your favourite lines!

If you hear a line that you really like, write it down and repeat it! If you say it aloud, you are more likely to remember it. Sometimes, you will hear phrases that sound cool and are used in everyday English in the UK or America. Textbooks do not usually teach these informal expressions, but movie do!

Use subtitles in the right way

When you are watching a film in English, it is a good idea to turn the subtitles on. With most video players you can do this via the settings tab. On YouTube, press the ‘CC’ button in the bottom right corner and then select ‘English subtitles’. If you really like a movie, perhaps try watching it once with subtitles and then again without. Avoid subtitles in your own language.

Top 10 best films for learning English

With so much choice out there, it can be hard to know which movies to use when learning English! Check out this top-10 list of classics that includes films in different genres. 

1. Toy Story (1995)

2. The King’s Speech (2010)

3. Harry Potter (2001-2011)

4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

5. The Graduate (1967)

6. Love Actually (2003)

7. Forrest Gump (1994)

8. Pulp Fiction (1994)

9. The Theory of Everything (2014)

10. Submarine (2010)

Whenever you watch a movie in English, remember to watch it actively and attentively to get the most out of it. Good Luck!


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