Can You Watch Movies to Learn Spanish? Teaching Tips for Spanish Class
Can You Learn Spanish By Watching Movies?
When I taught high school Spanish, occasionally I would play a movie, a movie that the students were familiar with, but the dialogue would all be in Spanish. I found, however, that the language was too advanced and rapidly spoken to catch onto for this level of students, and even for their teacher, who struggled to catch bits and pieces! Although I had thought showing movies using the Spanish language was a good idea for my students, it didn't turn out to be such a learning experience for them.
Determined, I instead looked for movies spoken in English that had Spanish subtitles. That way, they could read what went across the bottom of the screen and perhaps understand the language better that way instead of hearing it spoken at such a fast pace in a movie.
This idea worked well. We watched some movies for fun, or to take a break from the daily grind of the classroom. Sometimes I would leave a movie with a substitute teacher. Two movies that went over really well were actually short recordings of Dr. Seuss books. These were great, as the writing was simple, read slowly, and students could understand most of what was being said. We watched, "Are You My Mother?" and "Go, Dog, Go!" or "Eres tu mi madre?" and "Vaya, Perro, Vaya!"
Dr. Seuss in Spanish: Green Eggs and Ham has written words to help you, too!
Movies with Spanish Subtitles
At one point, we watched Forrest Gump with Spanish subtitles. Now, that was a hoot. On this one, I held the students accountable by making them learn some of the sentences--many famous ones--from the movie. They were tested on it. Most of the students had fun with that exercise, and they learned how to put sentences together, some of which could potentially transfer into the learning of other Spanish sentences.
I've been looking for Forrest Gump with Spanish subtitles to purchase since then, but I haven't yet found a copy. When I taught the movie, I was able to find a rental at a local video store.
Forrest Gump Movie Quotes in Spanish
1. La vida es como una caja de chocolates. Nunca sabes lo que te va a tocar.
Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.
2. Estùpido es como estùpido hace.
Stupid is as stupid does.
3. No soy un hombre listo, pero yo sè que es el amor.
I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is.
4. Y eso es todo lo que tengo que decir sobre eso.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
5. Fue el momento màs feliz de mi vida.
It was the happiest moment of my life.
6. Yo tengo que hacer pipi. (My students learned this one and loved to use it to get out of class for a bit!)
I have to go pee.
7. Eramos como pan y mantequilla (or literally guisantes y zanahorias).
We were like peas and carrots.
8. Querìa ser tu novio.
I wanted to be your boyfriend.
9. La muerte es una parte de la vida.
Death is a part of life.
10. Todos tenemos un destino. Me robaste mi destino.
We all have a destiny. You robbed me of mine.
11. Creo que hizo su paz con Dios.
I believe that he made his peace with God.
12. Soy un hombre de mi palabra.
I am a man of my word.
13. Y eso fue lo que hice.
And that was what I did.
14. Tenemos vidas muy diferentes.
We have very different lives.
15. Siempre serè tu chica.
I’ll always be your girl.
16. A veces pasa.
17. Yo tenìa ganas de correr.
I felt like running.
18. Ese es mi barco.
That’s my boat.
19. Reza conmigo. Querido Dios, convièrteme en un pàjaro, para irme lejos, lejos de aquì.
Pray with me. Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly, far, far away from here.
20. Mi mama siempre decìa que los zapatos dicen mucho sobre las personas. Adonde van. Donde han estado.
My mamà always said that you could tell a lot about people’s shoes. Where they go. Where they’ve been.
And my favorite!
21. Corre, Forrest, corre!
Run, Forrest, run!
Spanish Class Project with Translation
Try Movies with Subtitles to Learn Spanish
Are you ready to give learning Spanish with subtitles a try? Reading a foreign language is generally easier for students than is understanding the language through listening. So why not give movies with Spanish subtitles a try? You can search online, in local video stores, or even on youtube.com for various titles. And when you feel more confident, maybe then you'll move on to movies solely in Spanish.