In our last post, we told you about all of the traditional ways we’re trying to learn Spanish, like using books and online learning tools. Now we’re going to get to the fun part: movies. You can only study with books so much so whenever we can we fit in a Spanish-speaking movie. Sometimes the Spanish is so fast that we pick up only a word or two but hearing the words and seeing the translation in subtitles seems to be helping. Although I’m sure we’re learning Spanish with all of the films we’ve seen—both good and bad—some of them are really, really bad. Terrible acting, plots that don’t seem to go anywhere, silly love triangles, we’ve seen it all. Hence this post. Here are some of our favorite movies for learning Spanish.


Best Movie to Learn Spanish

    • Tambien La Lluvia– A film within a film, Even the Rain depicts the making of a film about Christopher Columbus. Set in the backdrop of Bolivia’s Cochabamba Water Wars. Watch trailer.
    • Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mama, Too)- A carefree and sexy yet real life tale of two teenage guys and one older woman on a wild road trip through the Mexican countryside. Make sure to put the kids to bed before watching this one. Watch trailer.
    • María Llena Eres de Gracia (Maria Full of Grace)- A heartwrenching yet hopeful film about a young Colombian woman who becomes a drug mule. Catalina Sandino Moreno received an Oscar nomination for best performance in her leading role as Maria. Watch trailer.
    • Sin Nombre (Nameless)- An eye-opening drama that reveals, through the story of one Honduran family, the risks emigrants take for the chance of a better life. Watch trailer.
    • Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)- A well-known film about Ernesto “Che” Guerva in the years before he became a revolutionary. Set on the road in South America. Watch trailer.
    • Pan’s Labyrinth– A sci-fi drama about a little girl who escapes the turmoil surrounding war-torn Spain through fairytales that become very real, at least to her. Winner of three Oscars. Watch trailer.
    • Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes)- An emotionally charged drama about the choices one man makes after becoming disfigured in an accident. This film, which was later remade for American cinema as Vanilla Sky, will puzzle and intrigue you with its blurring of lines between reality and dreams. Watch trailer.
    • **Cidade de Deus (City of God)- [Disclaimer: Okay, this one’s not in Spanish—it takes place in Brazil—but is a great film that will teach you about Latin American culture.] A fast paced film that follows the lives of two boys from a rough neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, one of whom becomes a drug lord and the other a successful photographer. Nominated for four Oscars. Watch trailer.

Two others we have yet to see are Volver (Return) with Penelope Cruz and El Regreso (The Return), which takes place here in Costa Rica.

That’s the round-up of our top Spanish movies. What are your favorites?

Post by: Jennifer Turnbull-Houde & Matthew Houde