Spanish learning does not have to be boring. The good thing is there are methods to make it easier and more enjoyable. Watching Spanish movies is a great way to jump-start your training and enhance your skills.
The advantages of learning Spanish through films are obvious.
Watching films in your target language is perfect for taking it to the next level. They are effortless and are easy to remember.
This engages the audience because they’re more entertaining than reading a book. Listening to average people speaking Spanish in daily situations is a simple way to become familiar with the language.
Choosing the right movies from the Spanish-speaking world to study the language takes time and effort. Luckily, I have done all the research, so you don’t have to do it.
I’ve compiled a list of the 26 best movies for learning Spanish to assist you on your Spanish learning journey.
Table of Contents
How does watching films help in learning Spanish?
There are countless incentives to use movies to learn a language.
Films are more pleasing than textbooks. You’ll enjoy it more if the story, theme, soundtrack, location, or star cast appeal to you. If an activity doesn’t feel dull and slow, you’re more likely to sit still and pay attention.
Movies come with subtitles. If you read a word in your native language or English and listen to it in Spanish, you’re more likely to grasp the meaning.
The audio is the cherry on top. Speaking in the characters’ voices helps them to recall and memorize what they say. This is the shadowing technique.
Listening to authentic language also helps you tune your ear for Spanish. The talks are full of many unfamiliar terms, phrases, and sentences.
Because of context, ease of recall, and accessibility, they are more handy. Have you heard of “Plata o Plomo” from Narcos?
Culture and language have a clear correlation. Spanish films give valuable insight into Hispanic places’ customs, festivals, and culture.
You can get the best immersion by watching Spanish flicks. Plus, it helps in the advancement of your Spanish-related career.
This is something many Spanish language lovers should pay more attention to. Until you consume Spanish media, you won’t know what you’re missing.
If a Spanish institute says, it will teach the language to you in 18 months. The combination with films can reduce the time frame to 12 months.
Where to enjoy movies for Spanish learners?
You can find films, dramas, short stories, series, music, and videos on various websites and online streaming services.
You can access these movies on paid platforms like Netflix, HBO, Disney, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. There are also many free online video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Viu, etc.
You also have the option to watch Spanish movies for learners online from your own home. The internet and OTT platforms have made it easy to locate something for everyone at their fingertips.
26 must-watch films to learn Spanish
Watching movies in Spanish can be a fun and effective way to enrich language talents. These 26 Spanish movies are great for learners looking to improve their language skills.
It’s a perfect blend of education and fun. This makes a well-deserved, enjoyable break.
1. Wild Tales – Relatos Salvajes / 2014 (R)
“Wild Tales” (actual title: “Relatos Salvajes”) is a top-rated movie to help you learn Spanish.
This Argentine-Spanish film, directed by Damián Szifron, is known for its engaging storytelling and dark humor. Here’s why it’s an ideal option for Spanish language learners.
This collection film comprises four stories, each with distinct characters and settings. The plot is gripping and filled with tension, unexpected twists, and humor. This is a delightful way to make your listening skills better.
It also provides insights into Argentine culture. For instance, relationships, social issues, and societal norms. This can help you understand the language in its cultural context.
The film features authentic Argentine and has diverse accents and colloquial sayings. This can give valuable exposure to the languages of Argentina.
The film has always been one of my favorite in the Spanish language. It has won over 50 awards at various awards events.
2. Pan’s Labyrinth – El Labelrinto del Fauno / 2006 (R)
It is the remarkable story of a young princess. During the early Francoist era, Ofelia lived as a young girl in war-torn 1944 Spain. This was five years after the Spanish Civil War.
The saga intertwines the real world with a mythical realm centered on an overgrown, abandoned labyrinth. In this realm, Ofelia meets a strange faun creature.
Although the plot of “Pan’s Labyrinth” revolves around war and rebellion, the film has many heartwarming moments. It captivates your attention and makes it a joy to see.
This is a top pick for those desiring to improve past and present tenses and the use of “Ser” and “Estar.” It introduces many new words related to war, revolution, and uprising. If the dialogue is too complex or fast-paced, you can try subtitles.
3. The Secret in Their Eyes – El Secreto en sus Ojos / 2009 (R)
It is an Argentine mystery thriller film. Juan José Campanella directed, and Campanella and Eduardo Sacheri wrote this flick. This took the inspiration from Sacheri’s 2005 novel La pregunta de sus ojos.
The film tells the story of Benjamin Espósito (Darín), a retired legal counselor who writes a novel about a cold, unsolved case he worked on 25 years ago. The book is his attempt to come to terms with the subject and his own personal losses.
The movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010 and many other prizes. Critics praised its suspenseful plot, brilliant performances, and beautiful cinematography.
The Secret in Their Eyes is a complex and moving film. It studies love, loss, and redemption themes. It is a must-see for fans of mystery nail-biters and Argentine cinema.
This film will help you learn about Argentina’s history, society, and the Rioplatense dialect and nuances. It uses “Ojos” in various expressions. It suits Spanish learners at the intermediate level of proficiency.
4. Amores Perros – Dogs Loves / 2000 (R)
Amores Perros is a fabulous Mexican film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. It’s an exciting and intense drama, weaving many interconnected stories. It probes themes of love, fate, and the human condition.
The flick has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. This is one of the most noteworthy Spanish-language thrillers ever made.
This anthology includes three stories about a tragic car accident in Mexico City. There is a common thread involving dogs.
Amores Perros is an incredible cinematic experience. This is a good film for learners interested in Mexican Spanish. This flick suits those preparing for B1 of the DELE or SIELE examination.
Try other language activities with the movie to progress in Spanish like any other film.
5. Mar Adentro – The Sea Inside / 2004 (PG-13)
“Mar Adentro,” also known as “The Sea Inside” in English, is a Spanish film directed by Alejandro Amenábar.
It’s a poignant and emotionally charged drama based on the real-life story of Ramón Sampedro. He was a Spanish quadriplegic who fought for his right to end his life.
This won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for the best foreign-language film. It is also nominated for many honors on the global stage.
Remember that “Mar Adentro” deals with sensitive and mature themes. So, it may not be appropriate for all viewers.
It can be a powerful and thought-provoking resource for advanced Spanish learners. Also, those who like Spanish cinema. It can sweeten your language abilities while diving deep into meaningful topics.
This Spanish movie will help you enhance your tenses. For instance, the imperative, subjunctive, imperfect, and past indefinite. You will gain many advanced-level terms.
6. Open Your Eyes – Abre Los Ojos / 1997 (R)
I recently watched the movie “Open Your Eyes,” which was an intense and thought-provoking experience.
The story follows a young man named César (Eduardo Noriega), who is involved in a tragic accident. It leaves him disfigured and emotionally traumatized.
As he struggles to come to terms with his new reality, he questions what is real and what is just a figment of his imagination.
The film explores pieces of identity, perception, and the nature of reality in an alluring and unsettling way. I highly suggest it to anyone considering a mind-bending and deep cinematic adventure.
The movie was awarded the Best Picture honor at the Tokyo Film Festival. This is prevalent for its passionate and compelling story.
Out of all the Spanish movies available here, this one will challenge your Spanish comprehension. It supports your Spanish conversational skills.
7. The Motorcycle Diaries – Diarios de Motocicleta / 2004 (R)
It is a 2004 biographical drama film directed by Walter Salles and written by José Rivera. The 1995 memoir of the same name by Ernesto Guevara inspires this fick.
The film stars Gael García Bernal as Guevara. His friend and traveling partner is Rodrigo de la Serna, Alberto Granado.
The flick tells the story of Guevara’s motorcycle journey across South America in 1952. At that time, he was a 23-year-old medical student.
Along the way, he and Granado witness poverty, inequality, and disease. Then, Guevara developed his political consciousness.
Everyone praised it for its lovely cinematography and sensitive portrayal of Guevara. It gives wisdom into South America’s political and social conditions in the 1950s.
The film received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. It was also welcomed in the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in English.
This is an extraordinary way to analyze Latin America’s diverse cultures. You will also learn many kinds of Spanish. It can sometimes be challenging but fit for all skill levels. It is satisfying for history and travel fans.
8. Volver – To return / 2006 (R)
Volver is a Spanish film that was released in 2006. It recounts the story of Raimunda. He returns to her hometown to care for her mother’s gravesite.
Pedro Almodóvar is the director of Volver, and this features a well-known actress, Penelope Cruz.
After losing her husband, Raimunda faces challenges while guiding life without him. Besides raising her teenage daughter, she also manages the family-owned grocery store.
She tries to navigate her way through the town and the people who live there. Along the way, she must confront her past and accept her options.
The film is an intense exploration of family, love, and the human situation. It is a must-see for anyone interested in the art of storytelling and the power of cinema.
This charming Spanish film is set in the Castilla–La Mancha region. So, it will teach you about standard Spanish accents. You will also know many day-to-day informal phrases.
9. Todo Sobre Mi Madre – All About My Mother Mother / 1999 (R)
The Spanish film “Todo Sobre Mi Madre” recounts a mother trying to cope with losing her son.
The film studies themes of loss, love, and identity. Pedro Almodovar is the director and stars Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, and Penelope Cruz.
The movie was honored with multiple awards. The prestigious Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of them.
This Spanish film is a must-watch to improve your Spanish skills. It can encourage you to pass the B2 DELE test. It covers Advanced Spanish and various subordinate clauses.
10. Paraiso Travel / 2008 (R)
Are you interested in watching Spanish Cinema from Latin America? Then, consider checking out films from Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico.
For novices learning Spanish, Paradise Travel is a magnificent film to start. Watch once; you won’t regret it!
The movie switches between English and Spanish and offers a fast-paced Colombian portrayal of drugs and violence. This is a fascinating watch from start to finish.
11. Rec 1, 2, 3 & 4 – 2007 / 2009 / 2012 / 2014 (R)
REC was released in 2007. Three sequels followed it. REC 2 in 2009, then REC 3: Genesis in 2012, and finally REC 4: Apocalypse in 2014.
This REC film series is a mix of crime, drama, thriller, and horror, directed by Pedro Almodóvar. The plot circles a person with a mental illness who kidnaps women and prisoners after being released to get married.
With Antonio Banderas as the lead actor, this Spanish crime drama film showcases Spain’s early success in the horror genre.
The first two movies are standout entries in the found-footage genre. But the later installments take different narrative and stylistic paths.
If you enjoy horror films, these movies can be a thrilling way to enhance your Spanish language skills.
12. Maria Full of Grace / 2004 (R)
Maria Full of Grace is a 2004 popular drama movie directed by Joshua Marston. It narrates the story of a young Colombian woman named Maria. She becomes a drug mule to earn money for her family.
Catalina Sandino Moreno plays Maria, who received an Academy Award nomination for her performance.
The flick is a powerful portrayal of the struggles and dangers faced by many immigrants who come to the USA in search of a better life.
It is also a reminder of the human cost of the drug trade and the courage of those who try to escape.
Maria Full of Grace is geared toward beginners and elementary-level Spanish learners.
13. Perfectos Desconocidos – Perfect Strangers / 2018 (R)
This is an Italian film adaptation that lots of people liked. It’s a funny and scary movie. Alex de la Iglesia is the director.
The movie is about seven people who have been friends for a long time. They all get together to have dinner. One person suggests a game where they share their worst secrets with each other.
To play the game, they read messages loudly or put phone calls on the speaker. This makes the party more exciting. Some people don’t want to share their secrets, but it’s still a fun night.
The language is easy to understand; you will quickly discover who hides what and why. It’s an awesome flick to rehearse speaking Spanish.
14. Talk to Her – Hable con Ella / 2002 (R)
“Talk to Her,” i.e., “Hable con Ella,” is a Spanish-language film directed by Pedro Almodóvar. It was released in 2002 and is known for its unique and emotionally complex storytelling.
The film is about two men who develop an unlikely friendship while caring for two women in comas.
The challenge lies in conveying the difference between loneliness and intimacy. Despite the loss, love remains resilient. You won’t be able to look away from this splendid social drama until the very end.
The film got critical acclaim and won many awards. E.g., the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Talk to Her is ideal for those at an upper-intermediate or advanced level. You can use subtitles to help with some tricky dialogue and sentences.
15. Ahora o Nunca – Now or Never / 2015
Now or Never (Ahora o Nunca) was released in 2015 and directed by María Ripoll.
The film stars Dani Rovira and María Valverde as Eva and Alex, a couple planning to get married in a small village in England.
Their plans are foiled by an air traffic controller strike, preventing them from reaching their destination. As the wedding guests try to get to their venue, chaos happens. Mishaps disrupt the wedding plans in the story.
You can watch this film to learn new Spanish words about marriage customs and romantic relationships. You will study a vast number of extra terms without even noticing it.
16. Padre no hay más que uno – Father there is only one / 2019
The “Padre no hay más que uno” is a comedy movie directed by Santiago Segura featuring Javier. He is a husband and father of five children who receive little attention from him.
He learns the difficulty of caring for his five children alone when his wife leaves him during a week of holidays.
He was left with no choice but to spend time with his children. They face many difficult situations but manage to come out on top.
If you want to learn everyday phrases, you must watch this Spanish film. You don’t have to understand everything, so don’t worry. By turning on the subtitles, you will surely gain knowledge.
17. Perdiendo el norte – Off Course / 2015
“Perdiendo el norte,” also known as “Off Course” in English, is a Spanish comedy film released in 2015. The film is about two Spanish friends who leave Spain for better job prospects during the economic crisis.
Once in Berlin, Hugo and Braulio face the difficulty of living in a foreign country.
They dealt with cultural differences when trying to get jobs. They face many comical situations and meet humorous characters, like fellow immigrants and locals.
This is a great entertaining option for those interested in both Spanish language and culture.
This movie suits Spanish learners at all levels, mainly beginners and lower intermediate. The talks are easy to comprehend with little focus.
18. El Orfanato – The Orphanage / 2007 (R)
The Orphanage is a Spanish horror film with suspenseful storytelling. The theme is quite haunting with an atmospheric tension.
“El Orfanato” is a well-regarded Spanish horror film. It has received international recognition for its irresistible storytelling and atmosphere.
It’s a superior choice for horror buffs and those interested in Spanish cinema. Please note that, as a horror film, it contains suspenseful and scary moments, so it may not suit all audiences.
As a Spanish-language film, it enables Spanish learners to immerse themselves in the language. It features natural and authentic dialogue, which can enhance listening grasp.
19. El otro lado de la cama – The Other Side of the Bed / 2002 (R)
“El Otro Lado de la Cama” is a Spanish romantic comedy directed by Emilio Martínez Lázaro. It follows the lives of two young couples.
The film was released in 2002. This is a musical romcom with elements of farce and mistaken identity. It’s known for its catchy musical numbers and comedic situations.
The Other Side of the Bed has many songs and dances to express feelings and advance the plot. The film’s music numbers include both original songs and popular Spanish hits.
The use of vocabulary and sentence structures here is simple. This fits all Spanish learners.
20. Belle Epoque – Season of Love / 1992 (R)
Directed by Fernando Trueba, the “Belle Epoque” is a Spanish film of 1992. It is known for its charming and romantic storyline. It was set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War.
The movie by Fernando Trueba displays a love story before the Spanish Civil War.
It offers insight into the social structures and vocabulary of historical Spain. This is for Spanish learners interested in focusing on conversational skills.
21. Como agua para chocolate – Like Water for Chocolate / 1992 (R)
The movie “Como agua para Chocolate” was released in 1992 and is an adaptation of the famous novel with the same title. This is entertaining and explores the fascinating stories of family, tradition, love, and death.
In their town, Tina’s mother is known for making incredible chocolate dishes that are highly sought after. As a result, it is customary in the family that no member can marry.
Tita finds it hard to stop thinking about Pedro because of his love for Rosaura. She finds it uncomfortable. She’s forced to spend her life longing for him after her sister marries him instead.
The story spans over 20 years and will leave you emotionally moved by the characters.
The movie has authentic conversations that ensue in Spanish-speaking places. Also, you’ll learn many intriguing aspects of Mexican culture and how the language sounds when Mexicans speak.
22. The Lighthouse of the Orcas – El Faro de las Orcas / 2016
This true story is about a mother and her autistic child traveling to Patagonia, Argentina. She planned to introduce Beto, the whale conservationist he saw on TV, to his child when she went in.
Beto developed a connection with the family. At last, he was able to establish an emotional relationship.
You’ll first notice the Argentinian accents and the famous yerba mate tea. Most characters’ voices change when speaking to their mother, Lola.
23. El hijo de la novia – The Son of the Bride / 2001 (R)
“The Son of the Bride” follows Rafael Belvedere, a single father.
He struggles to make ends meet while raising his young daughter. He tried to keep his inherited family restaurant open while doing this.
This funny yet moving tale intertwines growing old, family, and dreams.
“El Hijo de la Novia” creates a fun and touching viewing experience. It also serves as an outstanding intro to the Argentinian dialect. It spices up your Spanish skills with a South American touch.
24. El Crimen del Padre Amaro – The Crime of Padre Amaro / 2002 (R)
This is an adaptation of the 19th-century Portuguese writer José María de Eça de Queiroz’s novel, O Crime do Padre Amaro (1875). An Oscar nomination for the best foreign-language film was given to this top movie.
Father Amaro, a newly ordained priest, is sent to Los Reyes, Mexico. He was there to assist aging Father Benito in his daily duties. He discovers that corruption and religion are closely related.
Roman Catholic groups attempted to stop the release of Padre Amaro in Mexico because of the controversy. Despite that, it became the most successful film in the country.
The movie explores a priest’s hardships in Mexico and how he keeps his faith. Among the Spanish films on Amazon Prime Video, it is among the most controversial.
25. Roma / 2018 (R)
Alfonso Cuarón directed this Mexican film. It offers a slice of life in the 1970s Mexico City. The movie shows a middle-class family’s life in the trendy Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City.
You can hear Cleo and her indigenous friends speaking Mixtec besides Mexican Spanish. This language family has over 50 local varieties spoken by almost half a million in Mexico today.
Watching Spanish films is an entertaining way to learn Spanish. You can learn history and new phrases by listening to this fantastic movie, Roma.
26. No / 2012 (R)
No of 2012 is an Oscar-nominated historical drama. It covers Chilean politics during the 1988 Pinochet plebiscite campaigns.
This is like Machuca by director Andrés Wood, which encircles the 1973 military coup that brought Pinochet to power.
The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal as the advertising professional. He was behind the catchy jingle that kept Pinochet out of power for a possible 8 years. He made “Chile, la alegría ya viene,” or Chile, happiness is coming!
It’s a good option for those interested in learning the Chileno variant. The unique Spanish in Chile has many local terms, phrases, and even accents that exist only there.
Wrapping Up on Learn Spanish with Movies
Many people struggle when learning a new language. It’s necessary to surround oneself with as many language tools as possible. This can get you success in studying.
There are many ways to learn Spanish. Non-native speakers can also improve their Spanish by watching movies, series, and shows.
You can develop a love for the language with movies to learn Spanish. It presents valuable learning opportunities even if you’re not a movie buff.
You can find Spanish varieties, focus on speaking and listening, and learn new words. Language learning aside, you will enjoy movies and expand your cultural awareness.
You can start by watching with English subtitles to help you understand the story. As you become more comfortable, you can switch to Spanish subtitles. Later, you can even see with no subtitles to challenge yourself.
As you’d expect, fluency requires more than watching movies. You’ll need a time-tested learning method to make you speak Spanish effectively.
That’s what LanguageNext offers — a range of Spanish language lessons. We have both offline and online Spanish lessons. There is something for everyone.
Do you have any favorite movies that you can recommend for Spanish learners and readers? Share your opinions in the comments below!