In a world where English-language movies are everywhere, one intrepid Spanish learner discovers that these movies hold the key to a new Spanish language learning tool.
Hopefully, that learner is you, and you’ll star in your own learning journey.
However, Spanish-language films can also be a bit intimidating. How will you follow what’s going on? Wouldn’t it be easier to watch an English-language movie?
Indeed, it is possible to watch English-language movies to improve your Spanish, but you’ll need to know a trick.
That trick is a piece of Hollywood magic known as “dubbing.”
Many English-language movies you’re already familiar with are also dubbed for Spanish-speaking audiences. With a few easy steps, you can easily improve your Spanish with dubbed movies.
And with these three great sources for Spanish-dubbed movies, you’ll be able to use your favorite English-language films to learn Spanish like the star learner you are.
Why Watch Spanish-dubbed Movies?
Since you might already be familiar with the English-language version of the film, it will be easy to understand what’s happening when you watch Spanish-dubbed movies, even if you can’t fully understand the language.
Additionally, watching dubbed movies is a fun way to practice Spanish. Particularly if you’re familiar with the movie in English, it can be interesting (and sometimes amusing) to see how the dubbed version differs from the original.
How to Get the Most Out of Spanish-dubbed Movies
Remember that Spanish dubbing is not particularly natural. Since one set of dubbing is typically provided for audiences from all Spanish-speaking regions, the accent is meant to be generic. Therefore, dubbing might be a great way to practice your listening and to learn vocabulary and grammar rules, but it’s not a great accent to try to replicate.
Choose a movie you’re already familiar with. If you’re familiar with the movie, you’ll have a better idea of what is happening. This will take some of the pressure off and allow you to focus more fully on the language.
Pause and rewatch notable scenes. This will help you understand key vocabulary.
Memorize famous lines to remember key words and grammar rules. Not only will you have fun quotations to share with your Spanish-speaking friends, you’ll also have a handy model to use whenever you need a little help with vocabulary or grammar.
Choose the right movie for you based on what you want to learn. For instance, if you want to learn common phrases, try a romantic comedy. If you want to learn legal terms, a legal drama will help you out. If you’re looking to learn police terms, try a police procedural. There’s a movie for every vocabulary need!
Choose the right level of dialogue for your goals. Obviously, more dialogue means more exposure to the language. However, if you’re a beginning Spanish learner just hoping to hear the language a little more, something action-packed might be less overwhelming.
The 3 Best Places to Find Spanish-dubbed Movies
In addition to the places below, you can also find clips, trailers, music videos and many more authentic videos with FluentU. It’s an entertaining method to immerse yourself in Spanish the way native speakers really use it, while actively building your vocabulary and language skills.
Amazon offers a terrific selection of dubbed movies if you know where to look for them. Luckily, it’s not hard.
All you have to do is look at the page for any DVD you might be interested in. Scroll down to “Product Details.” In this section, look for the heading “Dubbed.” If Spanish is listed, then the DVD comes with Spanish dubbing, which you can access by adjusting the language settings once the DVD is in your player. While not all DVDs have this feature, many do.
This comedy classic about a series of debacles leading up to a wedding is available with dubbing in Spanish. It’s fairly dialogue heavy, so you’ll get a strong dose of vocabulary related to weddings, baking and food poisoning.
“Finding Dory” is the animated film about a forgetful fish that won the hearts of audiences. This movie is a good option for Spanish learners because it’s meant for children, so the vocabulary is not too advanced. Additionally, since it’s animated, there won’t be as much variation between the lip movements and audio as is present in other dubbed films.
Most “Harry Potter” fans seem to be able to re-watch the “Harry Potter” films continuously. So why not turn that addiction into an epic learning opportunity?
Curiously enough, most boxed sets of multiple “Harry Potter” films do not offer Spanish dubbing. However, most individually packaged films do. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the first film in the series, will help you kick off your learning binge the right way. You’ll pick up a lot of magical terms that the series is known for along with school-related terms.
YouTube is usually best for clips of movies and movie trailers. Full-length movies often appear but are generally removed quickly due to copyright issues. Still, if you look every now and then, you’ll generally stumble upon some full-length movies. To find them, it helps to search for the name of the movie and “Spanish.” Otherwise, if you can find the Spanish title of the film, try typing it into the search bar.
This playlist offers a nice selection of Spanish-language versions of Disney songs. These are terrific learning tools because they’re tremendously catchy. Whether you mean to or not, you’ll probably find yourself humming the tunes. And if you’ve watched the videos in Spanish often enough, you’ll have no trouble memorizing them, which will help you learn vocabulary and grammar rules by heart.
This clip is the first part of the movie “El Señor de los Anillos: la Comunidad del Anillo” (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”), the first film in “The Lord of the Rings” series. Additional clips cover the remainder of the film, which is an epic fantasy that follows a diverse group as they try to destroy a powerful and dangerous ring.
While there is some specialized vocabulary in the movie, you’ll also learn a good number of basic terms about rural life and war.
Netflix is great for binging on entertainment, learning or both. You can easily turn your Netflix binge into a Spanish-learning binge by using subtitles, but did you know you can also use dubbing?
Finder.com provides a helpful list of Netflix options available with Spanish audio and/or subtitles to help guide you on your way. While many items on the list are not available for streaming and it’s unclear whether the website refers to DVD rentals or streaming, it’s a good jumping off point for finding options.
Children’s movies have Spanish audio far more often than other movies, so these are a good option to target if you want to stream Spanish-dubbed movies via Netflix.
Once you’ve found the film you want to watch, you can change the language settings by going to the “Options” panel and selecting “Audio & Subtitles.” Select your language choice, press back to return to the options panel and then press play.
Most of Disney’s offerings on Netflix have Spanish-language dubbing available. “Lilo & Stitch” is a particularly good option since it has a fair amount of dialogue and a number of great songs.
The story of “Lilo & Stitch” follows a young Hawaiian girl who befriends an alien. While there are numerous Hawaiian words interspersed in the movie’s dialogue, you’ll also learn a lot of general Spanish vocabulary.
If you haven’t heard of the TV show “Recess,” “Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade” may seem like a strange option. However, it’s totally worth watching.
The “Recess” series is an underrated gem. While it targets children, its humor is often more advanced. This direct-to-video animated movie that continues the series follows a hilarious group of fifth graders and their struggles.
This particular movie is a good way to learn school-related vocabulary and Halloween vocabulary.
Now that you have access to so many great movies dubbed in Spanish, all you need to get started is some popcorn. It’s essential for your education, after all.
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