Watching movies, both new and old, is one of the best ways that you can practice your Spanish without leaving the comfort of your home. You might not always have someone to talk to, or you might want a way you can maintain your Spanish by yourself. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced speaker, these movies for Spanish learners will help take your ability to the next level.
1. La sirenita – The Little Mermaid (1989)
You might be thinking, “A children’s movie to learn Spanish?” Absolutely! A great way to increase your vocabulary in a light, fun way is to watch a familiar childhood favorite. La sirenita is filled with songs that you might already know by heart in English, and are catchy enough that they’ll stick in your head all day. In addition, your brain will constantly be making connections to the words you know in English and their translation in Spanish. To practice, watch the movie in Spanish with English subtitles. Then, when you’re feeling more confident, watch it in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. It’s a great way to practice both listening and reading skills at the same time.
If La sirenita isn’t your favorite, you could try any musical Disney movie that you loved as a kid. For example, you could watch Aladín (Aladdin), La bella y la bestia (Beauty and the Beast), Cenicienta (Cinderella), or even more recent Disney movies like Valiente (Brave), Coco (Coco), or Encanto (Encanto). Whichever movie you pick, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you pick up new words and phrases.
2. El laberinto del fauno – Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Believe it or not, this dark story is one of the most popular movies for Spanish learners around the world. Directed by the famous Guillermo Del Toro, it combines fantasy and reality to show Spain in 1944, just after the Spanish Civil War. It serves as a fantastic introduction to magical realism, and can be appreciated by both beginners and advanced learners alike. Faun speaks slowly and clearly, making it a great source to practice your listening comprehension!
This Spanish-Mexican film is a great way to learn common and not-so-common vocabulary at the same time. There is lots of dialogue to practice interpersonal communication, and you can try watching it with subtitles in English or Spanish, depending on your ability level. Keep in mind that it’s rated R, so there’s some violence and strong language.
3. También la lluvia – Even the Rain (2010)
If you’re an advanced or intermediate student and are looking for a little more of a challenge, I cannot recommend También la lluvia highly enough. The story is captivating, and it’s full of important historical moments that all Spanish speakers should know about. In the story, Sebastián, played by Gabriel García Bernal, is a director trying to film a movie about the Spanish conquests in Bolivia, but it happens during the Cochabamba Water War in 2000. It’s an engaging way to learn about indigenous peoples in the Americas before conquistadors arrived, what actually happened during the Spanish conquests, Bartolomé de las Casas, and the Bolivian water war.
The characters speak quicker, and it has lots of regional vocabulary, making it a great challenge for students. Since it has a movie within a movie, it’s a great way to test your understanding with a more complex plot.
Have you seen any of these movies? Are there other great movies for Spanish learners that you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments!