In a previous post, we covered some great ways to learn a new language as well as some ways to learn Spanish for free. Watching Spanish movies with English subtitles and English movies with Spanish subtitles is a great way to learn Spanish (more so practice and build upon)!
It makes the learning process fun and engaging – as you are doing something you find entertaining. More importantly, it familiarizes learners with Spanish outside of the textbook – colloquial phrases, slang words, culture, history, music, and more!
We provide a list of some famous Spanish movies that could help you in learning Spanish.
Remember that it is ideal if you start watching Spanish movies with subtitles only after you know some basic concepts and words in Spanish.
You should at least know about topics like ser/estar, basic verb conjugations, and basic vocabulary in Spanish.
Otherwise, you’d take too long to understand each sentence. You could start by watching movie trailers and then move on to watching full movies.
It is ideal to find movies with both Spanish and English subtitles in the same video. Then you can watch, hear, and read Spanish; and see the English translations all at once. The trick is to watch small sections at a time – with a lot of pausing and rewinding till you understand exactly what is being said and why.
Once you attain a good understanding of Spanish, you could watch movies with just Spanish subtitles. Watching the scenes will give you all the context – and your now developed knowledge of Spanish will help you read what is written. We don’t recommend switching off the subtitles completely just yet – the characters would usually be talking really fast.
So, here’s a list of some Spanish movies you could watch:
Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)
Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries) is a 2004 biopic about the journey and written memoir of the 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would several years later become internationally known as the iconic Marxist guerrilla commander and revolutionary Che Guevara.
The film recounts the 1952 expedition, initially by motorcycle, across South America by Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado.
El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)
El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) is a 2006 Spanish-language dark fantasy film. Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in Spain in May–June 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War, during the early Francoist period. The narrative of the film interweaves this real world with a mythical world centered around an overgrown abandoned labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature, with which the main character, Ofelia, interacts. The film won numerous international awards, including three Academy Awards, three BAFTA Awards including Best Film Not in the English Language
Y Tu Mamá También
Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too) is a 2001 Mexican drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The film is a coming-of-age story about two teenage boys taking a road trip with a woman. In the United States, the film went on to gain nominations for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, as well as a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globe Awards that year.
Volver (meaning “to go back“) is a 2006 Spanish drama film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar (one of the most popular Spanish directors). Lead by actress Penélope Cruz, the film features an ensemble cast also. Revolving around an eccentric family of women from a wind-swept region south of Madrid, Cruz plays Raimunda, a working-class woman forced to go to great lengths to protect her 14-year-old daughter Paula. To top off the family crisis, her mother Irene comes back from the dead to tie up loose ends.
Hable con ella
Hable con ella (Talk to Her) is a 2002 Spanish drama written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. The film won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the 2003 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.
Sin Nombre (meaning: Nameless) is a 2009 U.S.-Mexican adventure thriller film written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, about a Honduran girl trying to emigrate to the U.S.A, and a boy caught up in the violence of gang life who also needs to escape.
Filmed in Spanish, the film’s title means “Nameless”. It won several awards, including the prizes for directing and cinematography at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.