In movies, anything is possible.
The action gets your heart pounding.
The romance gives you butterflies in your stomach.
The humor cracks you up.
The dialogue helps you learn Spanish.
Yes! Movies can give you all kinds of feelings, but if you watch Spanish-language movies, you can even learn Spanish with movies.
However, there are different types of movies that can help improve your Spanish, and each type comes with different benefits. We’ll go over five top types of movies for learning Spanish so that you can dive into learning while diving into a bucket of popcorn!
Why Learn Spanish by Watching Movies?
Watching movies is fun, so it follows that it’s also fun to learn Spanish by watching movies. Best of all, because it’s fun, you’ll watch more often, which will help you continue to improve your Spanish.
Plus, learning Spanish by watching movies often exposes you to different varieties of authentic Spanish. If you watch Spanish-language originals, the language used is similar to the language spoken in the region where the film was produced.
Finally, learning Spanish by watching movies will teach you conversational skills. Since characters hold conversations, watching movies can help prepare you for the give and take involved in an authentic Spanish-language conversations.
Tips for Learning Spanish by Watching Movies
- Break the movie into smaller chunks if you need to. Beginning students can often get overwhelmed by long movies. After all, watching a movie in a foreign language can involve a lot of thinking. Don’t hesitate to break a movie into smaller chunks to make it less daunting.
- Consider reading a film summary before you watch the movie. This way, you won’t be too lost if you miss some words.
- Be prepared to pause the movie to look up unfamiliar words. While you don’t have to understand every word, if a particular word that you don’t understand is used often, it will be easier to just look it up.
- Re-watch your favorite parts. Not only is this fun, it will also help you remember lines. Once you’ve seen a movie or scene a lot, you might even try speaking the lines along with the characters to practice your speaking.
- Memorize good lines and/or lines that you can use as models for grammar rules. It’s fun to quote movies, but it’s even more fun if you can use those quotes to help you remember valuable vocabulary or grammar rules!
Break Out the Popcorn and Learn Spanish by Watching Movies!
Let’s have a look at five awesome kinds of movies that you can watch to help you learn Spanish.
1. Spanish-language Originals
Spanish-language movies can help you learn real Spanish. Films are produced all over the world, so there is a diverse array of movies out there that use Spanish.
Why watch Spanish-language originals?
Watching Spanish-language originals will help you learn more about culture. Movies are often reflective of local cultures, so watching them is a good way to familiarize yourself with the cultures and lifestyles of different Spanish-speaking countries.
Additionally, Spanish-language originals will help you learn authentic Spanish. Since these movies are meant to appeal to native speakers, the language is truly authentic.
Watching Spanish-language originals will also help you learn regional variations of Spanish. Each film is influenced by the country it originates from. Therefore, you can select movies from your target country to improve your understanding of how Spanish is spoken in that part of the world.
Netflix is a great source for Spanish-language movies. To find these movies, just peruse the “Spanish-Language Movies” category, which you can access by searching for “Spanish.” For instance, you might try “7 Años” (“7 Years”), a Netflix original that uses Castilian Spanish, or “Cambio de ruta“ (“Change of Route”), a Mexican comedy.
YouTube also offers some great movie options. You can find these options through targeted search terms. For instance, you might try “Spanish movies” or choose a particular country to steer your search by searching for terms like “Chilean movies.” For instance, the channel Spanish Movies offers films from Spain, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Paraguay and more. Popcornflix also offers a Spanish playlist.
2. Dubbed Movies
With the right tips, you can learn Spanish with dubbed movies. “Dubbed movies” are simply movies that are dubbed over in another language. For most Spanish students, this will mean English-language movies that have been dubbed over in Spanish.
Why watch dubbed movies?
Dubbed movies will help you learn generic Spanish. They are made to be regionally neutral, so the Spanish is less authentic than Spanish-language originals, but watching dubbed movies will give you a general Spanish education.
Watching dubbed movies allows you to watch movies you are already familiar with. This familiarity makes it easier to follow the movie even if you miss some words.
Amazon is an ideal source for movies dubbed into Spanish. To find them, all you have to do is look at the “Product details” section of the Amazon page for any DVD. Here, it will list “Dubbed,” which indicates what languages the film is dubbed in. Then, once you have the DVD in your DVD player, all you’ll need to do is change the language in the “settings” menu to access the dubbing. You’re most likely to find dubbing on the most popular film options. For instance, “Hidden Figures” offers Spanish dubbing.
3. Subtitled Movies
Subtitled movies are another great choice for Spanish students. Subtitled films may be subtitled in either Spanish or English. In some cases, you might even have a choice of Spanish or English.
Why watch subtitled movies?
Watching subtitled movies is a good way to enjoy movies with the benefit of extra language support. If you use English subtitles, you have quick, easy translations of what’s being said. If you use Spanish subtitles, you can refer to them if you have difficulty understanding accents or find it difficult to keep up with the rate of speech.
Additionally, watching subtitled movies allows you to connect the spoken and written words. When you use Spanish subtitles, you can easily see what the spoken words look like when written.
You can find a number of subtitled DVD options on Amazon. Again, to find if this feature is offered, just look in the “Product details” section. For instance, the popular drama/comedy “No se aceptan devoluciones” (which means “returns not accepted,” although the English translation is “Instructions Not Included“) offers both Spanish and English subtitles.
If your regional settings are set to the US, English subtitles should automatically appear whenever you watch a film that was originally in Spanish. If, however, subtitles do not automatically appear and/or you prefer Spanish subtitles, start to play whatever film you’re interested in. Then, click on the button that looks like a speech bubble. From there, you can change your subtitle settings. Not all subtitling options will be available for all films, but it’s certainly worth a try.
4. Kids’ Movies
Animated movies and other children’s films may be meant for children, but they’re also terrific for Spanish students. They’re mostly shorter than most other films and have simple plots. Plus, they’re usually super cute, which may or may not improve learning (the science is still out on this point).
Why watch kids’ movies?
Watching kids’ movies is a popular choice for Spanish students because they use simpler language than other movies. Since these movies are intended for children, the vocabulary won’t be too intimidating, even for beginning Spanish learners.
Kids’ movies are also easier to follow than most other movies. They lean on simpler plots, so even if you don’t understand all the words, it shouldn’t be too hard to follow what’s going on.
Amazon is a good source for children’s movies in Spanish. While streaming options rarely offer Spanish audio, many DVDs do. Just check under “Product details” to see if the film is dubbed in Spanish. Most Disney movies offer Spanish audio; for instance, you might try “Moana.” Additionally, some other kids’ movies like “The Lego Movie” also offer Spanish audio.
5. Movie Trailers
Why watch movie trailers?
Spanish movie trailers are brief, so they’re easy to fit into any schedule. Additionally, this brevity makes movie trailers much less intimidating than full-length movies.
Movie trailers are also easy to follow. Since they’re intended to give viewers a clear idea of what a movie is about, they won’t bog you down with complex or unnecessary details.
FluentU offers movie trailers, music videos, news and more, but it also provides additional learning support to help you get the most out of these resources. Each video is annotated, providing you with word definitions, example sentences and associated images. You can also click a word to see other videos that use that word. You can use FluentU online or download the app from iTunes to enjoy movie trailers and more!
Trailers in Spanish is a YouTube channel that offers an abundance of movie trailers. The channel is updated regularly, giving you a wide selection of upcoming movies. For instance, you might try the trailer for the film “Wonder,” based on the book of the same name. What’s more, they also have a huge archive, so you can look back through the videos to find trailers for some of your favorites!
If you’re up for laughs, action, adventure and—most importantly—learning, then check out these five exciting types of movies to improve your Spanish!
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