Top 5 movies to watch when learning Spanish

The process of learning Spanish should not only include textbooks and grammar CD’s. Watching Spanish movies is a great way to improve your language skills and learn more about the Spanish and Latin culture (and way more fun than homework!). You are training your ear to the intonation of spoken Spanish without even noticing that 90 minutes passed by!

What method is the best?

How can you actively learn Spanish while watching a movie? There are two methods that have been approved by many of our Spanish students:

Method 1:

Watch a Spanish-language film with English subtitles and keep rewinding when you need to, until you really understand how each sentence corresponds with the English subtitles. Note: sometimes subtitles are cut short or cut down into smaller phrases.

Method 2:

Watch an English-language film with Spanish subtitles and do the same as in method 1. Just make sure you know how the subtitles match with what the characters are saying in the film.

The best thing about these methods is that you can pause the screen and have a dictionary at hand if you don’t understand a word that was said or that appeared in the Spanish subtitles.


Which Spanish movies are the best ones?

Here you have our top 5 Spanish movies to help you boost your Spanish language skills:


Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries) – 2004

In 1952, twenty-three year old medical student Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara decides to postpone his last semester at university and do a motorcycle trip through South America with his friend Alberto. During four months the two friends meet a lot of new people, make unforgettable experiences and discover the poverty and inequality of the South American continent. This powerful story and the great performance of actor Gael García Bernal makes this movie perfect to learn more about the history and culture of Latin America and gives you an idea about the Spanish spoken in Argentina (as the two main characters are from Buenos Aires).


Hable con ella (Talk to her) – 2002

Pedro Almodóvar, Spain’s most famous director, celebrated a huge international success with this drama set in Spain. Two men, Marco and Benigno, become friends in a hospital whilst caring for two women that are both in deep comas. Benigno works as a nurse and falls in love with the young ballet dancer Alicia that got injured in a car accident and was brought to his department while Marco, a journalist, takes care of Lydia, a female bull fighter that he fell in love with during an interview. The lives of the four characters change completely due to the accidents and Marco and Benigno start sharing their fear and devotion for the women which turns into a deep friendship. Almodóvar’s masterpiece is undoubtedly one of the best movies to watch when you want to improve your Spanish as the film is set in Spain and features some of the most popular actors in the country. Bullfighting, dance and theatre scenes are an added bonus to the movie in terms of enhancing your cultural understanding of Spain.


Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too) – 2001

Another great movie with the young Gael García Bernal is this story about two teenage boys on a road trip through their home country Mexico searching for love and adventure. Accompanied by a beautiful woman who’s escaping her marriage the two friends get very soon into trouble… The film bquickly became one of the most popular Spanish movies in America as it gives an insight into the economical and political situation of rural Mexico. The main characters all come from different social backgrounds which makes it even more interesting to watch how the story develops (and learning Mexican slang is quite fun!)


Abre los Ojos (Open your eyes) – 1997

Another masterpiece of a Spanish film director is ‘Abre los Ojos’ by Alejandro Amenábar which is often compared to the Hollywood movie ‘Vanilla Sky’ with Tom Cruise. This film follows a handsome and wealthy man, César, who falls in love with the beautiful Sofia (played by Penélope Cruz) that he meets at a party. After having spent a night together César gets heavily injured in a car accident caused by Nuria, one of his ex affairs that decided to commit suicide with him in her car. César survives but needs to have his face rebuilt by surgery. Depressed by his bad fate, the only thing César wants, is to see Sofia again… The mix of thriller and love story creates great suspense and hooks you in until the very end!


El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) – 2006

But what is the most successful Spanish-language film of all time in the United States? El Laberinto del Fauno! This fantasy movie tells the story of a young girl who’s escaping the Spanish civil war in 1944 (and her cruel stepfather, an army officer) by creating her own fantasy world full of fairy tales. The mix between historical and family drama combined with special effects, impressive costumes and set design makes this film definitely worth the 2 hours. You will not even notice how you’ve enriched your Spanish vocabulary while you are glued to the television!


I hope you will enjoy our fine selection of Spanish movies and I would love to hear your suggestions too :)

Want more? Check our Part 2: Top 5 movies filmed in Spain!



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  1. una
    963 days ago

    Pan’s Labyrinth takes place 5 year after the end of the Spanish Civil War.

  2. Jasmine McTigue
    963 days ago

    Fabulous list for enriching spanish language movies!

    ¡Muchismas Gracias!

  3. Andrea Tomás
    963 days ago

    A mis estudiantes, les encanta la película El Fauno. Quieren verla todos los dias. Yo permité una discución de las niveles de los años tres y cuatro sobre los elementos de literario como el tema, los eventos, los personajes o algorithm más. Es muy intereste según la clase.

  4. Manfred
    963 days ago

    i see there are listet just original spanish spoken movies, but also look for the spanish version of Matrix as they are speaking very slowly

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