Put the popcorn on.
Turn the phone off.
Place the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the door.
Movie night just got a whole lot bigger and better.
It got Netflixed—Spanish style!
As language learners, learning to listen is a vital part of our informational intake and advancement. So what better way to hear a language at its best than to sit down and watch a movie?
Movies are a great way to learn and develop your Spanish learning skills. They allow us to escape from the classroom and textbooks. We can delve into the lives and tales of people from all over the world.
We can traverse borders and lands to witness how other people live, and also how they interact. We can go anywhere, see anything, hear conversations and listen to the words of languages we want to conquer.
And the best thing is, we can watch from the comfort of our own home.
Movies are a fantastic way to engage in Spanish because you want to be engrossed in the storyline of the movie and invested in the characters while you improve your Spanish.
By watching a movie—hearing the dialogue and seeing facial expressions—you can begin to understand the feelings and views of the person. Your interest is drawn to what’s being said, how it’s being said, and what tones/accents are selected.
Using Spanish movies on Netflix to study the sound of Spanish conversation is simple: Just press play.
How Can Watching Spanish Movies on Netflix Improve Your Language Skills?
Learning? With Netflix!? Yes, if you can stop bingeing the latest season of a resurrected TV show on the streaming giant, you can definitely learn Spanish with Netflix movies. In fact, there are plenty of benefits to doing so!
- Improve your pronunciation: We learn proper pronunciation by hearing words and mimicking the tone and accent of the people we’re listening to. Movie dialogue will allow you to hear the natural application of conversational Spanish, its flow and its sounds in various scenarios and environments.
- Hear and understand the structure of Spanish sentences: The more you expose yourself to fluent dialogue, the more you increase your familiarity with how sentence arrangement should look.
- Learn new expressions and local slang: Spanish is the official language of 21 countries; each of these countries has their own casual dialect and vocabulary. By accessing movies from these countries, you can hear accents and, more importantly, word use and local slang.
- Create an immersive experience: How do you deepen your Spanish learning to a level that makes you comfortable socializing and speaking with other people? When you don’t live in a Spanish-speaking country, it can be difficult to hear, speak or familiarize yourself with the language. By watching movies, you can begin to bridge the gap of access.
Powerful Strategies for Learning Spanish with Netflix Movies
Add them to the movie you’re watching so you can read along and improve your Spanish reading skills. Spanish subtitles can give a learning boost to any movie!
In fact, if you want to get the most out of subtitled movie watching, check out FluentU. FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.
Close your eyes and listen
Take a moment to turn away from the television screen so you can focus on the dialogue taking place. By losing the aid of visuals, are you able to understand what’s being said, how it’s being said and who’s saying it?
At the end of the scene, jot down what you think the characters were talking about, then rewind and compare your answer to the visual, subtitled movie scene.
Watch a movie you know and love that’s dubbed in Spanish
If you’ve watched it many times you already know the story line, you know where it’ll lead and you’ll probably know most of the lines in English. So listen to the Spanish dubbed version for a new experience!
Read the book first
Many Spanish books have been adapted to movies. By reading the book first, you allow yourself time to focus on your reading and comprehension skills. Then, when you watch the movie it comes to life on the big screen and allows you to further develop your listening skills.
Download the Spanish script
Many movie scripts are available to download or read online. Read through it before you watch the movie or print out a specific scene. Follow along with that scene for the added benefit of hearing your pronunciation alongside the actual spoken words.
Take a moment after the characters have been introduced to pause the movie and write about them. Jot down a short description that focuses on their appearance, their clothes, their environment and who they are in relation to the movie. By doing this, you can make use of words you already know while strengthening your connection to each of the roles in the movie.
You can apply these description notes to any scene in the movie and alter the topic to something you want to focus on: movie plot, dialogue, appearance, culture, character history, environment, etc.
Now that you’re ready to start watching, here are 13 of the best Spanish movies currently available on Netflix, plus seven extra picks!
13 Incredible Spanish Movies on Netflix in 2020 That You’ve Gotta See (+7 Old Favs)
Spanish-language Netflix Favorites for 2020:
Let’s set the scene: Two thieves, a baker who’s just won the lottery, a couple of quirky wives and a mature dating scene… all converge on a cruise heading from Spain to Mexico. There’s no way this could go wrong, right?
The thieves bumble along, trying to outwit each other in their quest to get their hands on the baker’s lottery winnings, leading to hilarious situations. Will they continue in their misguided and greedy ways, or will they learn that some things are more important than money? You’ll have to watch this movie to find out.
This comedy film with heart is intended for mature audiences. It’s off-beat and funny, with gorgeous scenery and great dialogue. Use this movie to grab idioms and even off-color phrases.
“La tribu” (The Tribe) (Spain)
“The Tribe” is a ridiculously funny film involving a corporate bigwig, a dancing cleaning woman, her super-cool dancing tribe and a case of amnesia.
The bigwig, Fidel, attempts to commit suicide by tossing himself into a bus. The attempt falls short so he ends up in the hospital where his biological mother decides to take him home—to a life he’s never known, people he’s never met and a dance group that treats him as one of their own.
We get to watch Fidel evolve as he grapples with his dark past and tries to find a place to belong in the world. For a while, at least, this unlikely hero lives an ordinary life!
The dialogue is excellent—quick witted and authentic. Learners should watch this for many reasons, not the least of which is to increase their conversational vocabulary.
“Jefe” (Boss) (Spain and Portugal)
Business as usual? Hardly. When corporate head César’s life goes awry he has only a very short time to get to the bottom of everything—and fix it. His marriage ends, his business fails and life seems like it’s over in this dramedy.
César is pretty self-centered and obnoxious until he meets the cleaning woman who opens his eyes to life, love and laughter. The woman, Ariana, isn’t impressed with César’s stuffy business sense or uptight demeanor. She’s more casual, fun and laid-back—in other words, she’s the perfect person to teach him how to live his life to its fullest.
This off-beat romance is an entertaining choice for a girls’ night or even a date movie!
“Gente que viene y bah” (People Who Come and Go) (Spain)
This drama, titled “In Family I Trust” in English, is based on a novel about a woman who’s been cheated on and the proof that it is, indeed, possible to go home again. When Bea’s boyfriend’s infidelity becomes public, she loses her job and her relationship all at once—so she leaves Barcelona and returns to her family in their coastal town.
Family life isn’t always peaceful, though. Affairs, secret liaisons that produce children, revealed illnesses and a friendship that has no expiration date all combine to make this coming-home story an intriguing tale.
Anyone who likes to see family dynamics, overcoming adversity and heartfelt drama will enjoy this film. It’s also a great way to armchair travel to a very beautiful spot by the water!
As a bonus, the Spanish title of the movie is a pun on “bah” (an expression used when something doesn’t really matter) and va (go). So while the implied meaning of the title is “People Who Come and Go,” the real reading of it is more like “People Who Come and… Eh, Whatever.”
“¡Ay, mi madre!” (Oh, My Mother!) (Spain)
María’s mother’s passing should a be sad, sentimental or even peaceful event. Instead, it send María into a legal whirlwind. Her mother has left a will with certain stipulations and if María wants to inherit, she must adhere to the will’s stipulations.
This is an incredible film for those who love dark comedies. Since the plot is predicated on the aftermath of a death, one would expect it to be somber, but it’s just the opposite. Quirky characters, fast-paced action and dialogue that quickly moves the plot along make this movie a definite must-see!
“Thi Mai” (Spain)
“Thi Mai” is a heartwarming story of a mother’s love—and the women who support her. The death of Carmen’s daughter begins a journey that takes a sweet trio of best friends from Spain to Vietnam.
The decision to locate and adopt the girl that Carmen’s daughter was in the process of adopting is an emotional one, but this isn’t an overly dramatic film. Instead, it’s a lively mix of heartfelt and comical. The women must make their way through this new country, face cultural differences and make themselves understood in a place that speaks another language.
They manage to do it all, and give viewers a story that’ll stay with them for a while.
“Lusers, los amigos no se eligen” (Losers, Friends Are Not Chosen) (Chile)
This is a ridiculously funny comedic adventure involving three guys from Peru, Argentina and Chile who are on their way to the final of the FIFA World Cup. Their travels don’t go smoothly, but the trip is definitely one for the record books!
These men are so diverse, from their characters to their accents. It’s interesting to see how they work through issues together, given their different backgrounds.
This film is a great choice for language learners who might want to hear native pronunciation from any of the three countries the characters are from!
“Como caído del cielo” (As Though Dropped from Heaven) (Mexico)
This story about the real-life star of Mexican cinema, Pedro Infante, offers up the premise that the great man is given a chance to redeem himself for his behavior on earth. It’s a romantic comedy with some drama—one of those something-for-everyone films!
I watched this film more than once. It was that good! The actor’s stage persona was caught brilliantly (you’ll especially appreciate it if you’ve seen the old Mexican films and are familiar with the man’s mannerisms and style) so it feels as if we’re really seeing him on the stage again. This is a tale of redemption and I highly recommend it!
“La última fiesta” (The Last Party) (Argentina)
This is one of those comical farces where some guys go on a wild chase for something and find lots of mishaps along the way. It’s funny, fast-moving, sometimes silly but certainly entertaining.
Language learners will enjoy the Argentine accents! This is the ideal chance to pick up idioms and slang, and even some colorful vocabulary. Also, anyone who wants to model pronunciation from these characters should pause the film—and repeat what’s being said for some interesting language practice.
The trio searches for a stolen painting, meet up with a real criminal and get into so many scrapes that viewers can easily see why they decree that they’ve had their last party!
“7 años” (7 Years) (Spain)
“7 Años” is an interesting drama that centers around a decision that’ll affect the lives of a small group of business partners. For one, the decision will have drastic consequences: The four partners need to decide who’ll go to jail for a crime they’ve committed.
They might start out as friends but this decision could make them enemies. No one wants to go to prison, so they discuss (sometimes heatedly) which one should be sacrificed.
Everyone feels they shouldn’t go. So the question is, how to choose?
Watch this movie compelling storytelling with intense situations and pick up on a mix of corporate vocab and informal chatter between adults.
“Nuestros amantes” (Our Lovers) (Spain)
This film is a romantic slice-of-life story that tugs at viewers’ heartstrings. When a writer meets a book lover, there’s bound to be some mutual interests. The lead characters have that dynamic—but what they don’t reveal about their situations and themselves could ruin this budding romance.
The dialogue is a treasure trove of cultural references. Books, authors, artwork—all these aspects of Spanish culture and art history are referenced time and again, allowing the viewers glimpses into Spanish life that wouldn’t be available without the snappy conversations.
“100 metros” (100 Meters) (Portugal and Spain)
“100 Meters” shows that it takes more than a strong body to make an athlete; it takes the heart of a lion, as well.
When a businessman is diagnosed with a degenerative muscular disease his whole life changes. It affects his wife, too, who does all she can to care for him.
The patient learns about an Iron Man competition he decides to enter—and win—the race. Training begins but it soon becomes apparent that what any athlete needs is a strong desire to excel and a will to keep going, even in the face of obstacles. This is a heartwarming film that shows just how much one is willing to do to achieve a goal. Highly recommend!
“Como agua para chocolate” (Like Water for Chocolate) (Mexico)
Based on the bestselling novel by Laura Esquivel, this tale weaves a love story that spans decades and through traditions. Set among an old conventional Mexican family, Tita—the youngest daughter—falls in love with Pedro, but they’re prohibited from marrying because Tita’s duty is as caretaker for her aging mother. Tita’s heartbreak painfully increases when her mother allows Tita’s older sister to marry Pedro instead.
This movie has all of the melodrama of a telenovela, but the graceful emotions of a beautiful romance. It’ll take you on a special journey into the expected roles of women during a different time in Mexico when traditions were enforced rather than expected. Look for the book on Amazon before watching the movie as an added Spanish learning bonus!
Past Favorites: No Longer on Netflix (but Still Excellent!)
“Amores perros” (Dogs’ Loves) (Mexico)
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, this gritty movie weaves an interconnected story about the different lives of three Mexico City natives. Octavio lives with his brother, however difficulties arise when he falls in love with his sister-in-law. Wanting to run away together, but not having the money to do so, Octavio seizes an opportunity to win cash for their escape by placing his dog in a vicious dog fight.
Elsewhere, Daniel, a successful businessman, leaves his family for Valeria, a beautiful model. When Valeria loses a leg in a car accident, Daniel must become her caregiver, but complications arise when her little dog gets trapped under the floorboards of their apartment.
Meanwhile, El Chivo is an elderly homeless man who’s trying to contact his daughter, whom he hasn’t seen in years. This dramatic movie will teach you about machismo, love and social class in Mexico, but it’ll also give you access to the different types of slang present on the streets of Mexico City.
Here’s another title with a pun—and this time it’s a double entendre. The literal translation is along the lines of “the love of dogs,” the connotation here is that “love sucks”—or, more specifically, “love’s a b*tch.”
“La Lengua de las mariposas” (The Language of Butterflies) (Spain)
This historical coming-of-age drama set in 1936 tells the story of a young Galician boy who befriends his republican teacher just before the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. This movie, titled simply “Butterfly” in English, is tragically beautiful as it takes us on a journey about the simplicity of life, the boundaries of freedom, and the fragility of innocence. It’s a great movie to watch if you wish to gain further insight into Spain’s political history.
Uxbal is a father who loves his children, a man who tries to treat everyone with dignity and respect, but he’s also a drug dealer, and he dabbles in unlawful businesses that can have devastating consequences on other people.
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, and starring Javier Bardem, “Biutiful” takes a striking look at one man’s struggles through a specific time in his life as he attempts to reconcile with his children, his guilt, his sorrows and himself.
“Hecho en México” (Made in Mexico) (Mexico)
This visually and musically inspiring documentary takes a look at the influences, love and spirit of Mexican music on its culture. Through interviews with poets, actors, musicians and cultural leaders, this journey spans across the decades and lands of the country.
The music played and scenic beauty shown portray the diversity and richness of Mexico’s people.
“Una Noche” (One Night) (Cuba)
This compelling drama set in Havana, Cuba tells the story of a teenager named Raul, who along with his best friend and twin sister, begin to plan, prepare and eventually embark on a perilous 90-mile journey to reach Miami on a homemade raft.
This film is rich in heart and Cuban culture, not to mention filled with authentic Cuban language expressions and locations.
Thought-provoking and moving, this movie takes place in the year 2041 when humans and machines coincide. Alex, a brilliant and renowned software engineer, is attempting to design a child android. In his strive to base his creation’s mindset as realistically as possible, he returns to his hometown after a 10-year absence.
There, his niece Eva not only fascinates Alex, but also inspires the intelligence of his new conception. With great special effects and touching reflections on what it means to be human, this movie is a great way to spend your evening studying Spanish!
“Calle 54” (54 Street) (Spain)
This is a great documentary to listen to, as it delves into the world of latin jazz in an up-close and intimate way, thereby allowing you to learn and listen to not only Spanish language, but the culture of latin jazz music too. Packed with studio footage, live performances and artist interviews, you’re privy to the action of the Latin jazz music scene.
We listen to understand, we listen to engage and we listen to take part. By using Spanish movies on Netflix, you can further develop your language skills in an entertaining way.
Remember to enjoy the movies for what they are: a way to get away from the textbooks, relax and learn some authentic Spanish!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.