Don’t you just love to sit back, grab some popcorn and read a good movie?
Aren’t we supposed to watch movies…?
Well, normally, yes. But with movie scripts—which provide all the dialogue from a movie—you can actually read them, too.
Movie scripts are a fun and different way to practice your English. You can read them alone, or read and watch a movie at the same time to build multiple skills.
If you’re a bit tired of English books, or just want something new to practice English with, movie scripts are a great option. Here we have five English-language script websites that’ll help kick your language skills up a level.
Watch out Hollywood, here we come!
How Can Movie Scripts Improve English Skills?
- They boost learning motivation. Using movie scripts is an exciting way to help you remember what you learn. How? Because it allows you to follow your interests.
You’re able to select a movie that’ll hold your attention, which is definitely better than falling asleep on top of your English homework!
- They combine your reading and listening skills. You’ll be learning new words in print (by reading text) and by ear (by listening), which will help them stick in your memory. It also means you’ll learn to pronounce and spell new words so you can use them in any context.
- The emotion in movies can support your learning. Have you ever been so captivated by a movie that you felt the characters practically became your best friends? Movies have the power to create great emotional connections within us. And research has shown that these types of emotional connections can actually boost your motivation to learn.
When something feels meaningful and important to you, even in a made-up story, you’ll remember it more effectively.
- You’re exposed to new words and phrases in authentic contexts. You’ll hear how native speakers construct sentences, pronounce tricky words and adapt to different speaking styles.
This is a great way to not only learn what to say in English but also how to say it in social situations you’re likely to experience. With practice, you’ll no longer experience the embarrassment of using inappropriate slang words in formal situations (don’t worry, we’ve all been there!)
How to Use a Movie Script for Language Learning
Follow these basic steps to transform any movie script into an English language lesson.
- Choose a script from a familiar movie. Having prior knowledge about a film helps you prepare for the type of language you’ll be learning. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, watch trailers (preview videos) to gain an idea of what it’s about.
- Match your skill level. Don’t try to understand a script that’s too complex for you. Use trailers, summaries and reviews to check whether the movie’s story and language will match your English level.
- Prepare the script. Print it out or download a digital version you can easily access. Scan it (read it quickly but not thoroughly) looking for words you don’t recognize. Highlight those words.
- Read the script and have fun making predictions about the movie. If learning with friends, see who can correctly guess how characters will act, what the setting will look like, etc. A little friendly competition is always a great way to boost your learning!
- Watch the movie while reading the script. Don’t be afraid to pause and repeat where necessary. Based on the context from the movie, try to define the words you highlighted earlier.
Important note: some scripts on these websites are drafts (early versions), so they might be slightly different from the movie. Generally speaking, this means you might have to skip scenes in the script that don’t happen in the movie.
- Create a cheat sheet. With the help of a dictionary, create a cheat sheet of the all the new language you’ve learned. Having your cheat sheet on hand is an extremely helpful way to incorporate new words and phrases into your English conversations.
- Act out the movie yourself! You’ve got the script right in front of you, so what’s stopping you? See if you can imitate the pronunciation and speaking styles you heard in the movie.
- Practice with FluentU.
Unlike traditional language learning sites, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.
FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It even reminds you when it’s time to review! Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
Become a Star! 5 Websites to Learn English from Movie Scripts
The Screenplay Database
Level: beginner to advanced
This website provides over 400 scripts, with new scripts added daily.
Movie scripts are grouped alphabetically and by genre—this website also groups movies by the date they were added. So if you want to use the latest and greatest movie scripts to practice English, this resource is for you.
The Screenplay Database is a great website for learners as it provides very clear information. When you select a movie, you’re taken to a separate page, which provides a short summary using English that’s appropriate for beginners and intermediate learners.
For some movies, it even offers an Amazon link to purchase and download the movie itself.
Movie Script Suggestion: “Kung Fu Panda”
This funny animated film is perfect for learners who want to advance beyond the beginner level. The movie’s imagery supports the language used in the script and the characters’ enhanced expressions help you to follow the storyline easily.
Movie Scripts and Screenplays
Level: intermediate to advanced
This website offers you a wide range of movie scripts to cater to your preferred movie genre.
The easy-to-navigate lists are broken into three alphabetical sections. Finding a specific movie is easy by typing its title into the website’s “Find It!” search bar.
Movie Scripts and Screenplays doesn’t offer summaries with their movie scripts, although they do provide a handy link to IMDb (the Internet Movie Database) next to every movie title. IMDb is a great resource for background information, detailed summaries and video trailers that explain each movie.
Movie Script Suggestion: “Gladiator”
With the highs and lows of love and war, this action-packed and emotional film is best for intermediate English learners. The plot is predictable and the character’s conversations are easy to follow as they usually include only two or three people.
The Daily Script
Level: intermediate to advanced
Don’t let the basic look of this website fool you. It offers a great range of fantastic movie and TV scripts.
The very simple design lets you search for scripts in two alphabetical lists. There’s no option to search by genre, so if you were looking for something specific you would need to scroll through the long lists of movie titles.
Because there are no movie summaries available on the site, the Daily Script is best used if you’re already familiar with the movie you’re looking for.
Movie Script Suggestion: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Adventurous and exciting, this film exposes learners to essential everyday vocabulary words. The script has additional details about the movie’s setting. Learners can use this information to practice their adjectives and adverbs, and link them with visual examples.
Screenplays for You
Level: intermediate to advanced
This site is updated regularly and provides PDF scripts, which makes it easier to download and print the scripts you want to read.
The lists of movie titles are clear with large headings to make navigating the site a simple process. You can find a great variety of scripts here, including lesser known movies and TV shows.
Not all movies include a summary, and for those that do, it’s very short. However, links are provided for more detailed information about each film.
Movie Script Suggestion: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
Great for intermediate English learners, this movie uses typical American conversational language. Learners will be exposed to words and expressions used in funny situations, as well as the difference between formal and informal language.
Level: beginner to advanced
The large buttons at the top of this website’s main page make it really easy to search a wide range of movie genres. The language on the site itself is easy for English learners to follow and searching the range of movies is fairly straightforward.
Out of all five movie script websites, SimplyScripts offers the most helpful movie summaries. The language is detailed without being too challenging. Each movie title displays a picture of the movie, making it extremely easy to gather more information about the plot and characters.
Movie Script Suggestion: “The Martian”
This script will help intermediate learners improve their English skills. The movie contains many friendly conversations, as well as more technical language spoken by professionals. The longer scenes that have only one character are beneficial for learners as they provide longer sections of English to focus on.
The best thing about learning English with movie scripts is the endless variety to keep you interested!
From action and thriller to romance and comedy, you have the chance to really challenge yourself with different movie genres. Watching a film about magic, war or history will introduce you to new and fascinating vocabulary.
So say goodbye to the days of memorizing English off a page word for word. Jump online, choose a movie script and prepare for the most memorable English lesson you’ve ever had!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.