Lights, Camera, English! Unlocking Language Skills with Popular Movies

Grover Laughtonreviewed byKateryna Protsenko / more about Editorial Process9 min
Created: Jun 20, 2023Last updated: Feb 1, 2024
movies to learn english

Watching movies to learn English is a common practice and one of our favorites. However, it is not as easy as it looks at first glance. You need to choose the film according to not only your preferences but also your fluency and general comprehension level. And today, we are here to help you! Check out this article for dozens of exciting and engaging movies for learners from A1 to C2 levels.

Unobvious Benefits of Watching Films to Learn English

Most people think watching movies in English can only help you strengthen your listening skills and enhance audio perception. Yet, it is not wholly true. This engaging and fun study path has way more advantages. Here are just several examples:

  • Contextual learning. Good movies to learn English present the language in a rich context, allowing you to discover new vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and colloquial phrases within a meaningful framework.
  • Non-verbal communication. In movies, much storytelling happens through non-verbal cues, including facial expressions, gestures, and body language. Observing them sharpens your ability to convey meanings beyond just words.
  • Emotional engagement. Movie involvement boosts your motivation to learn the language, as you genuinely enjoy the process. When you connect with the characters and storylines, you become more invested in understanding and expressing yourself in English.

Another important aspect of movies for learning English is the ability to recognize different accents and comprehend intonations. It is an essential skill that can help you feel more confident when communicating with native speakers. And don’t forget that watching movies (especially those you like) is a fun way to study. So keep reading, and we will help you find the best films to get started.

Best Movies for English Learners: From A1 to C2

Although it might look clear, we still need to note that choosing movies suitable for your fluency level is vital. However, it might not be as easy as you might assume. For example, which movie do you think has easier vocabulary – Toy Story or Titanic? Of course, most people believe it’s the first one, since it is an animated picture for kids. 

However, recent research shows Titanic has more extensive A-level vocabulary coverage. In layman’s terms, this film is more suitable for B1 students than Toy Story or Stuart Little, as it contains more understandable expressions and phrases. Therefore, don’t let kids’ movies fool you! Occasionally, they can be much more complicated than other iconic pictures. And to avoid making common mistakes, look at our compilation of the best movies to learn English and find the perfect one.

Level A1-A2

Do you still think the Elementary level is insufficient to enjoy English movies? Let us prove you wrong! Numerous motion pictures can be interesting for adults, even if they are just starting their path to fluency. Look at these examples to get started.

  • The Song of the Sea (2014)

This mysterious animated picture is our number-one pick in the nomination for the best movie to learn English. It immerses viewers in the enchanting world of Irish and Scottish mythology. The movie follows the story of a lighthouse keeper, Conor, his wife, Bronagh, and their kids – an older son Ben and his younger sister, Saoirse. The siblings discover that the girl is a selkie, a magical creature that can transform into a seal. Although the plot is quite intricate, the movie is great even for A1 viewers since the dialogues and vocabulary are simple, and the pronunciation is clear.

  • Jungle Book (2016)

This adaptation of an iconic story by Rudyard Kipling definitely deserves your attention. It will take you on an unforgettable adventure through India’s jungles. The main character is a little orphan boy named Mowgli, raised by wolves. This movie, starring legends like Bill Murray and Idris Elba, is a great opportunity for Elementary level students to engage in an exciting plot and learn simple English vocabulary (because, you know, wolves and bears don’t usually have PhDs).

  • The Parent Trap (1998)

If you want to watch something more from the real world, this picture is the way to go. Firstly, here you can see the incredible young Lindsay Lohan. Twice! She plays the role of twin sisters Hallie and Annie, who were separated at birth. Their parents raised one daughter each in different countries and  entirely antithetical circumstances. The girls accidentally met almost twelve years later and immediately decided to do their best to get their mother and father together. The movie contains simple vocabulary and an engaging plot, so it is a great way to have fun and do some language practice.

  • New York Minutes (2004)

The last film to learn English on our Elementary list is also about twins! Talented Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen invite you to join them on a wonderful trip to busy New York. Although the girls are sisters, they have wholly different personalities, goals, and interests. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t have fun together. This movie is easy and pleasant to watch. However, it contains enough basic words and phrases to expand your lexicon and enhance your conversational skills.


Level B1-B2

Intermediate and Upper-Intermediate levels mean more extensive vocabulary and higher fluency. Hence, you can start watching more genres and complicated movies. But there are so many of them – so how to pick one? Well, grab your popcorn and relax. We’ve prepared our list of the top-5 movies suitable for these proficiency levels.

  • Face/Off (1997)

This iconic movie is an action thriller that delves into the world of crime, identity, and the ultimate game of cat and mouse. The main characters are FBI Special Agent Sean Archer, played by John Travolta, and terrorist Castor Troy, played by Nicolas Cage. Both actors are known for their clear diction and understandable pronunciation, which allow Intermediate students to easily comprehend all the lines, and their breathtaking acting keeps you engaged from the very first seconds.

  • Prisoners (2013)

This gripping thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal was released ten years ago, but it remains one of the best representatives of the genre. The story tells us about Keller Dover, whose daughter and her friend go missing on Thanksgiving Day. With outstanding performances from the cast, the movie keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats, questioning the boundaries of justice and the consequences of vengeance. And interesting storytelling, relatively simple dialogues, and an understandable American accent make the movie great for language learners. 

  • About a Boy (2007)

Another movie on our B-list is a heartwarming comedy-drama based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. The story presents an unusual friendship between Will Freeman (Hugh Grant), a carefree and commitment-phobic bachelor, and Marcus Brewer, a socially awkward 12-year-old boy (Nicholas Hoult). The film’s charm lies in its well-crafted characters and witty dialogue. It strikes a balance between comedy and drama, leaving viewers with a sense of warmth and reflection.

  • Dear John (2010)

The last on our list is this romantic drama, also based on a novel. John (Channing Tatum), a dedicated soldier with a complicated past, and Savannah (Amanda Seyfried), a college student passionate about helping others, form a deep connection and start a romantic relationship. However, their love is tested when John is deployed overseas, and they must navigate the challenges of long-distance relationships and the impact of war on their lives. The movie is a great way to learn love vocabulary and conversational English. And bawl your eyes out, of course.

Level C1-C2

Advanced and Proficient levels are the goal of most English learners. High fluency allows you to enjoy all movies without subtitles. It means you can choose what to watch according to your tastes and preferences. Yet, there is always room for improvement and a good movie recommendation. Take a look at our list of wonderful films with more complicated vocabulary.

  • Fight Club (1999)

This incredible movie contains everything you need to create a perfect picture. The story, written by the legendary Chuck Palahniuk and directed by the amazing David Fincher, follows an unnamed narrator dissatisfied with his monotonous life. The storyteller, played by Edward Norton, forms an underground fighting club with the enigmatic Tyler Durden, portrayed by Brad Pitt. As the club gains popularity, it evolves into a powerful social movement with unpredictable consequences.

  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

This romantic comedy-drama was written and directed by Woody Allen. The story is set in fantastic Barcelona, Spain. It depicts the intertwined relationships of Vicky, Cristina, and Juan Antonio. The film explores themes of love, passion, and the complexities of human connections. Characters navigate their desires and discover the unpredictability and intensity of love.

  • Pulp Fiction (1994)

This one is among our all-time favorites. This iconic neo-noir crime movie is known for its nonlinear storytelling and unique blend of dark humor and violence. The film presents the lives of various characters, including hitmen Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson). Pulp Fiction was directed by Quentin Tarantino, and it perfectly showcases his signature dialogue style and pop culture references, creating a memorable cinematic experience.

  • 12 Angry Men (1957)

The last one for today is the classic courtroom drama directed by Sidney Lumet. The movie takes place almost entirely in a jury room and follows deliberations between twelve jurors. All of them are tasked with deciding the fate of a young man accused of murder. While the main characters engage in intense discussions, personal biases, prejudices, and hidden agendas come to the surface.

The Best English Movies to Learn English with Promova 

Another way to enhance your language skills with English movies is by discussing them with fellow learners. The best place to do so is the free Promova Conversation Club. This opportunity is great for those who want to find new friends, participate in exciting discussions, and practice communication skills. And the best thing is that it is not the only amazing solution you can find on the Promova official website.

Our language-learning platform has plenty of exciting features on offer. Our team of professional tutors is always happy to assist you with your goals. We offer both personal and group lessons, so you can easily find the most comfortable environment. And to get started, you can join the free trial lesson and get acquainted with the studying process and learning materials. 

The convenient Promova application is the best choice for those who prefer to study on the go; it is available for iOS and Android devices. And don’t forget about our‹ blog! There are tons of articles on various topics, and we do our best to update the materials regularly. So what are you waiting for? Choose Promova today and see the results in the near future.


All in all, using popular movies and TV shows for language learning is an incredible practice. Yet, finding the option suitable to your preferences and general fluency level is essential. We hope today’s article will help you learn English with films easily. By the way, what is your favorite movie of all time? Share in the comments, and we will tell you ours!


Should I watch movies with or without subtitles?

This decision depends on your current proficiency level and study goals. If you are a beginner or have a lower fluency level, you can watch movies with subtitles in your native language. It will help you better understand the plot and the dialogue. As your language skills improve, you can switch to watching movies with English subtitles or even without them at all.

How can I make the most of watching movies for language learning?

For starters, you need to choose the movies you are actually interested in. It will allow you to avoid tedious feelings and make your studying process more engaging. Also, don’t forget to participate actively – take notes, make pauses to look up unfamiliar words, and even repeat the lines after the actors to improve pronunciation. These simple steps will maximize the benefits of watching movies and learning.

Are there any recommended movies for specific language goals?

Definitely! And we are not talking about specific titles but about the types of films. For example, choose movies that contain dialog-heavy scenes and casual interactions if your goal is to improve conversational skills. To expand your vocabulary, look for movies that focus on specific themes or industries related to your interests.

Are there any online resources or platforms for watching movies with language support?

Of course! Numerous streaming platforms allow watching videos with subtitles in multiple languages. The most common examples are Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime. And don’t forget about YouTube! Here, you can access tons of videos in English, and a huge part of them contains subtitles.


PromovaAug 15th, 2023
Excellent question! While using movies to learn English, learners might encounter challenges such as fast-paced dialogue, regional accents, and slang. Sometimes, the visual aspect of movies can distract from focusing on language learning. It's important to choose movies that match one's proficiency level and to approach this method as a complement to other language learning activities.
Tommy Aug 15th, 2023
Are there any challenges that learners might face while using movies to learn English?