Learning a language is much easier when you’re enjoying yourself – and what better way to pass the time than watching movies (with a tub of popcorn in hand, of course)! But do blockbusters use bad English? Are indie movies too complicated and use too many strange words? To help you out, here’s a list of movies I think are the most effective (and entertaining) for helping you learn English.
1. Jurassic Park (1993)
OK, so everyone’s already seen this – and if not, shame on you. It’s the perfect movie for learning some slightly complicated scientific words in a thoroughly entertaining context. It also happens to be my favourite film ever. Call me biased.
2. Notting Hill (1999)
If you’re not sure whether to learn British or American English, this movie offers both in one perfect romantic comedy package. Set in London, it follows a nerdy bookshop owner who falls in love with an American movie star. The ending will make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
3. Clueless (1995)
With a 90s revival in full swing, the best way to brush up on your retro teen slang is with Clueless, set in a Los Angeles high school and featuring some of the most iconic fashions of the 1993-1996 era. Fun fact: it’s based on the novel Emma by Jane Austen.
4. The Hunger Games (2012)
Easy-to-understand American accent? Check. Jennifer Lawrence? Check. Handsome male lead? Check. Tension-filled fight scenes? Mega check. If you’re a fan of sci-fi adventures with some romance and post-apocalyptic politics thrown in for good measure, get watching.
5. The King’s Speech (2010)
Quite conveniently, this film focuses on England’s King George, who had to overcome a speech impediment to deliver a speech to the British people – so it’s not only entertaining but there’s actually a whole pronunciation lesson in there too. Win!
6. The Queen (2006)
Keeping the royal theme, you can learn some seriously refined British English accents in this movie based on the UK Royal Family’s reaction to the death of Princess Diana. Full of drama, expensive sets and actress Helen Mirren doing her best impression of the Queen (and her very posh accent!).
7. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
One of the world’s most famous and iconic films, The Wizard of Oz is one of those movies you can’t say you’ve never seen. The story follows a girl called Dorothy, transported to a magical world which she’s destined to save. There are also songs, which is always nice.
8. Men in Black (1997)
Not only is the English in Men in Black really easy to understand, it’s also relatable (as far as secret agents hunting aliens goes, at least). Will Smith stars as the lead, using language that’s clear but also totally hip and cool because, you know, he’s Will Smith.
9. The Babadook (2014)
This is a scary one, so if you’re not a horror movie fan, probably best to give this one a miss. A woman and her young son find a creepy book about a monster called The Babadook – then weird things start happening in their house. On the plus side, it’s all in Australian accents.
10. Black Sheep (2006)
New Zealand is known for its horror comedies, and this is one of the best – a movie about werewolves, except instead of wolves the monsters are sheep. Weird, I know. But not only will you refine your New Zealand accent, you’ll also learn about the country’s farming culture.