Watch foreign films to boost your language skills

The red carpet has already been rolled out this year for film festivals including the Golden Globes, the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. But have you ever thought about watching the foreign-language entries?

watch movies, foreign films, learn languages, language learning

Movies, TV shows and web series like busuu’s ‘London Central’ are useful for helping you improve your language skills. Here’s why they are a fun and (almost) effortless learning tool!

It’s an easy way to hear a different language

Films are excellent for listening to native speakers and how a language sounds. Imitate what you hear to help remember words – just think of all the phrases you know by heart from films in your own language!

Watching a movie that you’re already familiar with, dubbed in the language you’re learning, can also be useful. Because you know the story, you can more easily connect the plot with what’s being said.

You can use subtitles to help you

How many times have you wished for subtitles in real life when talking with a native speaker? The great thing about films is that you can easily turn them on to help you understand!

Whether you use them or not, and in which language, depends on your ability. You could start watching the film with subtitles and, once you’ve grasped the plot, simply turn them off and rely on your listening skills.

You’ll gain insight into a different culture

If you decide to watch a foreign film (rather than one from your own country that’s dubbed), you could discover fascinating, exciting and unusual movies that give you an insight into another way of life.

As well as improving your language skills, you’ll increase your cultural understanding and appreciation. They could also be a great talking point for when you practise with a native speaker.

Films are readily available in different languages

Nowadays, DVDs offer various languages for both soundtracks and subtitles. This means you can pick up a movie you already have at home and easily switch the options to the language you’re learning.

Many smaller, independent cinemas also show foreign films (although they probably have subtitles in your local language), and it’s easier than ever to rent movies online at a low cost from streaming services.

Learn English with ‘London Central’

At busuu, our education experts know watching films and TV shows in a foreign language can help you learn. That’s why we created ‘London Central’, an online series for learning English for beginners.

It’s the world’s first video course to include direct interaction with native English speakers. Find out more about ‘London Central or upgrade to Premium for immediate access to all 10 episodes.

What do you think about learning with movies?

Do you enjoy watching films to help you learn a foreign language? Can you recommend a movie in your own language? What tips do you have for other learners? Let us know in the comments!

44 thoughts on “Watch foreign films to boost your language skills

  1. Laurene Van Engelen

    Yes! Si! A fun way to learn a language! Not having anyone to practice with makes speaking practice difficult…and embarrassing! Watching a movie is relaxing, enjoyable….and educational at the same time. It’s for me!

  2. jules

    I think it is a great idea and the only real way of learning but from the info it is not clear to me how would it work nor whether there are other lenguages but english involved at the moment.

  3. Doris

    I think watching movies in a foreign language is wonderful! I used to watch a crime show on t.v called Maigret. It was spoken entirely in French, which is the language I’m learning. The series was subtitled which helped me to understand it better. Not only did I pick up some phrases, but I was entertained as well.

  4. venetia house

    i am in a Spanish learning class and my teacher recommended watching a program on sky arts which i think you can also watch on virgin and it is called The Grand it a kinda of 1900 or there abouts series about the goings on on a hotel much like a soap opera! it is in spanish but with subtitles and if you enjoy watching the kind of programs like that you will either be hooked or hate it, i love it

  5. GoJu

    OF course this is a great idea. I watch Derrick in Deutsch and it certainly helps.
    Busuu could find some video for free to help members learn
    OR publish a list of links to websites that have foreign films

  6. Nellsgirl

    Great idea. I hope other languages will be included. I long to understand Spanish telivision. I watch the news because I can read headlines and follow it better as I read better and spoken Spanish is fast and hard to hear and understand. When I watch Italian or Swedish detectives with sub titles I love it.

  7. Alla

    I think it’s a good idea.I have taught the video course at the university for 2 years and all my students say that my classes were the best place to improve not only listening but also speaking.We did a lot of different vocabulary exercises and had a lot of discussions.

  8. Guillermo Baez

    I’m taking german at College. Iwish to vew possible buy german movies with closed caption, this wal, I see, hear. &read in german, iam in advance level of german language, if you can answer my request, plese, drop me a line. My E-mail: baez23@att.net. Thank YOU!
    from, Guillermo Baez

  9. Guillermo Baez

    I alerdy typed my comment previously, again: Iam a studrnt of german at Miami-Dade Colege,
    Iam trying to buyDVD’s in german with subtitle in german, please, My E-mail: baez23@att.net,
    Thank you! from: Guillermo Baez {student of german]

  10. Fabia Alves

    Hello rooble,

    We hope you continue to improve your language skills with busuu and by watching films.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  11. Fabia Alves

    Hello William,

    Thank you for your message.
    If you are already learning Spanish with busuu you can check with native speakers what Spanish movies they would suggest.
    In the meantime you can check the films from Pedro Almodóvar. He is a Spanish director.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  12. Fabia Alves

    Hello Alla,

    Great stuff! Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  13. Fabia Alves

    Hello Guillermo,

    Thank you for your message.
    If you are learning with busuu you can ask a German native speaker for a film suggestion.
    In the meantime we would suggest you the ‘Kommissar Rex’ this was a famous austrian TV show. We hope it helps.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  14. Fabia Alves

    Hello David,

    Thank you for your message.
    With London Central we have subtitles in all the 12 languages we offer on busuu but the course is only available in English. We appreciate your suggestion to have this type of course also in German.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  15. Fabia Alves

    Hello Laurene,

    We are glad you enjoyed our post.
    With busuu you can practise the language you are learning with native speakers :)

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  16. Fabia Alves

    Hello janet,

    If you learn with busuu you can meet native speakers who will be able to suggest you Russian films.
    You can register with us for free.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  17. Fabia Alves

    Hi Velina,

    There’s quite a broad option for French movies. You have the famous “Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain” but there are many more.
    We hope you enjoy learnig with busuu!

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  18. Fabia Alves

    Hello Mohammed,

    You should also consider watching some animation films. These are also a good way to learn the language. For instance you have the famous French comics and animated TV show “Les aventures de Tintin”.
    Enjoy learning with busuu!

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  19. Fabia Alves

    Hello Jules,

    At the moment the “London Central” video course it’s only available for people who are learning English. We don’t have a similar course for other languages.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  20. Fabia Alves

    Hi Doris,

    That’s brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing your own personal learning experience with us.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  21. Fabia Alves

    Hi Venetia,

    Well done to you and your teacher and thank you vey much for the suggestion.
    Happy language learning!

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  22. Fabia Alves

    Hello ronald,

    We are sorry but busuu does not offer the Tagalog language.
    Have a look on our website http://www.busuu.com to find out what are the 12 languages you can learn with us :)

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  23. Fabia Alves

    Hi Goju,

    We are glad that watching a TV show in German has helped you improve your language skills.
    Thanks a lot for your suggestion.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  24. Fabia Alves

    Hello Nellgirl,

    Thank you for the positive comment. We are glad you enjoyed this post.
    Happy language learning!

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  25. Fabia Alves

    Hello Jane,

    Busuu is an online language learning community and our interactive video course “London Central” is only available for users who are learning English.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  26. Fabia Alves

    Hi Rana,

    On the busuu website you can learn up to 12 languages. If you become a Premium Member you can access our London Central video course for people who are learning English.
    However we do not have films on our website.

    We hope this information helps.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

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