Learning a new language, like Spanish, can be done in many ways. Some of them include talking to native speakers, reading news, changing your phone’s language preference, signing up for classes, or visiting a foreign country. If traveling to Spain or Latin America is not in your plans, don’t worry. You can still practice Spanish from the comfort of your pajamas. We’re talking about Spanish movies.
How can TV series help improve your Spanish?
Watching shows is an enjoyable way of learning vocabulary, grammar, local mannerisms, and even a bit of history. Additionally, it helps you sharpen your hearing, which translates into understanding the spoken language better.
In order to guarantee a better comprehension of the dialogues, we recommend you make a progressive transition of the audio and subtitles according to your level of Spanish.
- Beginner: The first goal is to relate concepts between Spanish and your mother tongue. For this, we recommend watching a show in Spanish with subtitles in your language. The advantage of this is you will know what they are saying at all times and identify new vocabulary.
- Intermediate: Our second goal is to become more familiar with the pronunciation of words and accents. To achieve this, we recommend watching a movie in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. Even if you can’t understand everything they say, you will be able to understand what you read.
- Expert: The last big step is to understand a conversation without the need for a transcript. For this, we’ll turn off any subtitles and focus on speech only.
Advantages of learning through movies
- There is visual context, so you can pick up on clues like facial expressions and body language.
- Characters speak naturally, quickly and use a variety of expressions that are not limited to small talk.
- Actors are dramatic and expressive, helping you associate certain words and phrases to specific moods, situations, and contexts.
- You can pause, stop, rewind, and rewatch it without feeling anxious about asking people to repeat themselves.
- El Ministerio del Tiempo (The Ministry of Time)
El Ministerio del Tiempo is a Spanish series produced in 2015. Its plot is imaginative, to say the least. The movie is based on the existence of a Government Ministry (such as the Ministry of Justice or Health) that is responsible for traveling to the past to prevent it from changing. During the time travels, the characters will meet well-known historical figures such as Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote), Pablo Picasso, or Alfred Hitchcock. The protagonists belong to different periods of Spanish history. It is useful to learn a little about the history of the country: important figures, and iconic events.
- La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)
The plot of the show is based on a heist. However, it has one more plot twist that makes it different from thousands of other movies. Instead of breaking into a bank, the thieves break into the Fábrica Nacional de la Moneda y Timbre de España, the building in charge of making banknotes and coins in Spain. It is a rich source of simple vocabulary that includes colloquialisms and terms related to justice and crime.
- Vis a Vis (Locked Up)
If you consider yourself a fan of Orange Is The New Black, then this is definitely a must-watch. Vis a Vis can be considered a Spanish version of OITNB, although its humor is a bit darker and heavier. This Netflix series was a hit when it premiered, and to this day it still has many fans. Vis a Vis has a lot of colloquial vocabulary and Spanish slang. While we don’t promote learning Spanish swear words, we consider its cultural approach to be an enriching and entertaining experience.
- Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)
Mar Adentro is a Spanish film based on the true story of Ramon Sampedro, who fights for the right to euthanasia after being crippled in a devastating diving accident. This movie is excellent for practicing the correct use of the imperative, the subjunctive, and the past tense.
- El Secreto de sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes)
Thanks to this movie, you will learn to master the past tenses as you follow the story of a retired detective, Benjamin Esposito, who writes a novel based on a criminal case related to a newly married woman.
- Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales)
Relatos Salvajes is a dark comedy that deals with extreme human behaviors over 6 continuous episodes. It requires a higher skill, as it is considered quite a challenge even for Spanish speakers.
- Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)
Diarios de Motocicleta is a challenging movie, but it is perfect for all levels of Spanish, as it contains slang and dialects from South America. The film tells the story of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who worked in a sick colony while traveling on his motorcycle through South America. It pictures how he slowly begins to lead the revolution that would radically change the continent forever.
- Como Agua para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate)
This film tells the story of family, life, love, and death. The protagonist cannot marry the man she is in love with for family reasons and her sister ends up marrying him. The film tells the story of the family over two decades and follows the lives of the characters. It is also perfect for learning Spanish as it contains many natural expressions.
- Los Peores Años de Nuestra Vida (The Worst Years of Our Life)
Los Peores Años de Nuestra Vida will teach you how to express feelings, moods, beliefs, and desires while following the story of two brothers who fall in love with the same girl. Also, the use of “to be” is repeated often throughout the movie.
- AzulOscuroCasiNegro (Dark Blue Almost Black)
This movie by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo is ideal for learning vocabulary used by teenagers. It will also deepen your knowledge of Spanish society and its youth culture through different types of interactions.
To speed up your learning process and make it less difficult, it is important to take complementary Spanish lessons. At El Dorado School, we support your learning process by strengthening even more language skills, such as speaking, grammar, writing, and countless interactions.
Sign up for Spanish classes here!
- Is watching movies better than having an in-person conversation?
One does not replace the other. Watching movies in Spanish will teach you about fluency. They will enrich your interactions so you don’t get stuck on small talk.
- Can I use other types of visual media to learn Spanish?
Of course. Listening to podcasts or watching YouTube videos is also a great way to train your listening and conversational skills.
- Is it better to watch dubbed movies or Spanish originals?
Both can be beneficial. However, Spanish originals will always be better because they include local terms and mannerisms.