How to learn English from movies

By | April 6, 2021


Choose a movie that interests you. If it’s the story or the actors that draw you to the movie and watch a movie you like, you’ll make it more likely that you’re working hard to understand it.


Match the complexity of the film to your level of understanding. Choose a movie where you can understand about 80 percent of the dialogue, and you will probably be able to figure out the rest because of the context. If you are new to speaking English, try a child’s movie.


Choose a movie that gives you a useful vocabulary. If you’re learning English for business, watch a movie like Wall Street, Boiler Room or Office Space. If you are learning English to communicate with a significant other, try a romantic comedy. If you are learning English to go to school abroad, watch a movie related to your courses (Shakespeare in Love for English, Braveheart for history or The Abyss for science).


Watch each movie at least twice, back and forth if possible. the second time by turning off the subtitle.

Whenever possible, check the film with a copy of the script in English. You can often find movie scripts online or in bookstores.

Rewind the movie when you encounter a dialog box or an unknown phrase that helps you fully understand and master the pronunciation.


Use a program like MovieLearn. (see Resources) This program works with popular TV series such as Apprentice and Baywatch. When watching the show on your computer screen, you can access a translation panel that explains colloquial expressions used in the show and translates each line of dialog word for word. However, the number of programs compatible with this program is very limited, and it is only suitable for native speakers of Chinese, Thai, German, Korean and Vietnamese.

One way to perfect your English is to watch lots of movies. By repeatedly watching movies with native speakers, you will pick up slang terms that you will not learn in a classroom setting. In addition, listening to native speakers can help you improve your accent, and also help train your ear. This technique can definitely work if you are willing to put in the time and effort. Famous actress Charlize Theron’s first language, for example, is African, and she learned to speak English by watching American television and movies.