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Learning English through movies is a great way to get to know and improve this language. It will help to enhance listening skills, to differentiate accents and, of course, to expand vocabulary. However, it is not enough to simply see the films in their original version, but we must choose them according to our personal interest so that the plot helps us to be interested in the language. In addition, to better assimilate the vocabulary it is even better to watch movies of which we already know the context and even the dialogues.

  • In this article we are going to see what content to watch to learn English with movies:
  • The best films to learn Spanish for beginners, intermediate students, and advanced level.
  • Is it better to watch a movie or a TV series?
  • How to learn Spanish with Cartoons.
  • Why does passive language learning usually work?
  • Enhance your Spanish skills online with General Español by GlobalExam!

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The best films to learn Spanish according to you level

Some people want to learn Spanish while driving a car, others want to learn Spanish while sleeping. Still others want to find ways to study Spanish on their own or tips to make studying the language easy. So, whatever your purpose, you will find the most effective method to for you.

In this article we are going to talk about passive learning through movies and cartoons, one of the best ways to learn Spanish.

Any movie is good, subtitles or not activated, to learn Spanish well. But there are those that, due to the vocabulary used, the story that is told, the pronunciation of the actors or the speed of the script in question, are better for one level or another. Dictionary, pen and notepad by hand, these are some examples of movies to learn Spanish well according to your level.


The best films to learn Spanish for beginners

El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Set in war-torn Spain in 1944, tells the story of the young Ophelia, who explores a labyrinth from ancient times. The film is both a war story and a fairy tale, making it one of the most unique films to start working on your Spanish learning, as it covers a large amount of vocabulary on fantasy, rebellion, and war. Some sections of the movie may be a little difficult to follow, so remember to turn on those subtitles.

El orfanato (The orphanage)

If you like horror movies that have a good degree of drama and mystery as well, be sure to check out The Orphanage. Laura spent her childhood years in an orphanage and has many memories of that time. Together with her husband, she purchases it to transform it into a facility / home for sick children. Soon after, her adoptive son Simón, who is seriously ill, disappears. The appearance of Benigna, a social worker, begins to reveal the orphanage’s horrible past.

A tres metros sobre el cielo (Three meters over the sky)

After your experiences of war and horror, why not walk the path of romance by watching this film, which became one of the highest-grossing Spanish films of 2010. In many ways it is like a modern Romeo and Juliet film. It is the perfect movie to learn many commonly used romantic phrases.

The best films to learn Spanish for intermediate level

Volver (Return)

Volver is a Spanish cult classic, directed by the legendary Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Penelope Cruz, the film’s story spans three generations and is known for plenty of cultural references. You will be able to learn many colloquial words and phrases in Spanish, which you can then use to converse.

Perfectos desconocidos (Perfect Strangers)

This movie is a 2017 comedy film that was a massive critical and commercial success. Directed by Álex de la Iglesia, the film tells the story of seven friends who have reunited together for dinner. To make the party exciting, the seven of them play a game that involves each of them reading incoming messages aloud or putting incoming phone calls on the speaker for everyone to hear. Like Volver, it is a perfect movie to brush up on your conversational skills in Spanish.

Perdiendo el norte (Losing the North)

Another comedy film to complete the list of intermediate films for Spanish learners. Losing the North revolves around two young Spaniards, who move to Germany to make something of their lives. Some of the themes the film touches on include youth unemployment, economic emigration, language barriers, infertility, and Alzheimer’s. So, you can expect to hear many interesting phrases and words in Spanish on different topics.

The best films to learn Spanish for Advanced level

Mar Adentro (Seaside)

Mar Adentro is a drama that was awarded the Oscar for best foreign language film. The film revolves around the true story of Ramón Sampedro, a man who was paralysed after an accident. The movie features a large amount of Spanish vocabulary. It is recommended for advanced students of Spanish who want to challenge and go beyond intermediate use of Spanish.

Ocho apellidos vascos (Eight Basque Surnames)

Released in 2014, Eight Basque Surnames is a romantic comedy film that touches on various Spanish family and marital traditions. Some of the themes in the film include xenophobia, prejudice, and stereotypes. It is one of the best movies you can watch to learn how Spanish is spoken in the Basque region of Spain.

Padre no hay más que uno (Father there is only one)

A comedy film Padre no hay más que uno, directed by Santiago Segura, revolves around a man named Javier. Javier is a husband and father of five children who hardly pay attention to his family. However, when his wife goes on a trip, he has no choice but to spend time with his children. Numerous chaotic situations arise, but in the end, they manage to overcome them. It is an essential film in Spanish to learn many phrases that are often used in familiar environments.

Ahora o nunca (Now or never)

Now or Never, by Maria Ripoli, is another romantic comedy about the lives of Alex and Eva. The two, who have been happily dating for years, decide to tie the knot in a rural town in England. However, chaos unfolds when air traffic controllers in the region go on strike, preventing Alex and his wedding guests from reaching the destination. It is one of the best Spanish movies that you can watch to learn marriage formalities and romantic relationships words and phrases.


Learn Spanish with cartoons during childhood

Watching cartoons to learn a language is good for kids but also for adults. Take note of a few of them:

Peppa Pig

Peppa Pig is one of the cartoons best known and loved by the little ones, and it is that in the end, it falls in love with the whole family. Together with her father, mother and brother, we will see the adventures of Peppa. The chapters are short, fun and entertaining, to watch over breakfast or dinner, ideal for watching the whole family and enjoying learning Spanish!

Bob Esponja

SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most popular and iconic cartoon characters since its premiere in 1999. It is liked by both children and adults and, in fact, it is estimated that 40% of the fans of the series are adults. There are series of cartoons that although it is not recommended for the smallest of the house, it is one of the ones with the widest range of ages for learning the Spanish language.


Pocoyó is nothing but a small boy very interested in discovering the universe that surrounds him. It is a Spanish series which together with its vocabulary and simple (but useful) structures, as well as the short duration of its chapters, makes it one of the best children’s series to learn Spanish.

Dora la Exploradora

Dora, a young girl who travels the world with her monkey, embarks on a different journey in each episode. This Spanish series has very simple dialogues, as well as slow and very clear pronunciations.

Is it better to watch a movie or a TV series?

Passively watching a movie or series just for entertainment won’t help you learn a new language. To learn something you need to focus on what they are saying and even use subtitles to have a better understanding.

What is better to learn a language, movies or TV Series? The fact is there is not really a big difference. It depends really on your level and how much you want to learn. If you want to start a routine and continuously learn Spanish while you are entertained watching a nice show, series are probably better. There is more continuity in the story, they can bring you more emotions and you don’t have to waste time looking for something new to watch every night. But again, it depends on your taste and mood. Films are also always a good option to learn Spanish!

Why does passive language learning usually work?

Passive language learning is where you are receiving content, someone else is doing the production, and your brain is simply absorbing, allowing information to flow over you. Some examples of passive learning would be:

  • Watching movies, TV seriestelenovelas or YouTube videos in Spanish
  • Listening to podcasts or songs while doing something else
  • Flipping through applications and games
  • Joining a ‘Spanish conversation group‘ on Messenger or WhatsApp
  • Simply ‘being’ in a Spanish-speaking country without actually engaging with the people

Passive listening will most likely benefit you in the long run, without putting much effort into it. The passive material goes somewhere in the back of your brain, in your unconscious mind. This may eventually help with active learning (books, language-learning websites, online programs). When you are having a conversation, the information could be easier to access if you have done a lot of passive listening. It should, at the very least, increase your passion for the language by making it part of your life.

It is very hard to completely ignore what is going on in the background and you will occasionally shift your attention. Passive listening will occasionally change to active listening for a short period of time.

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