Best Spanish Movies with Subtitles to Help You Learn Spanish

Watching Spanish movies with English subtitles to improve your Spanish

Who said learning a language had to be tedious and boring? Watching movies in their original version is a fun and effective way to improve your Spanish, especially your oral comprehension. Below I’ve compiled a list of the best Spanish movies to help improve your languages skills.

When learning Spanish as a beginner, I recommend watching Spanish movies with English subtitles. For more advanced learners, it’s better to watch them with Spanish subtitles. Eventually, you’ll be able watch Spanish movies without any subtitles at all, which is even more effective to learn Spanish!

Last Update: 28/04/16

Best Spanish Movies

Best Spanish Movies

The Method of Watching the Best Spanish Movies with Subtitles

Ideally, you should watch the movie more than once: first with subtitles, then without. You’ll quickly realize that the characters speak very fast, especially in Spanish movies. It may be easier to start with Latin American films because characters speak the Spanish language a bit slower.

American researchers have confirmed that watching subtitled films in their original language is an effective way to improve comprehension (except for absolute beginners) when learning a language. Although most watch films to simply enjoy them, they can be resources to help you learn.

Obviously, if you don’t know any Spanish at all, it’s best to learn basic vocabulary before watching Spanish movies. The spaced repetition system in MosaLingua applications is highly effective for learning vocabulary quickly with pronunciation (yes, I admit I’m doing some self-promotion, but it could be helpful! ;-))

Here is a short list of what I consider to be the best Spanish movies with English subtitles to help you learn Spanish. There’s something for everyone!

List of the Best Spanish Movies with Subtitles

I’ve taken the time to look up the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) links for you (a page where you can find the summaries and trailers), as well as the links for the subtitles whenever possible.

Best Spanish Movies from Spain

Volver

best spanish movies with english subtitles

[Volver – Spain- 2003 – Mystery/Drama – Trailer]

Of course, we have to start with films by Pedro Almódovar, the most popular Spanish director. The main characters in his films are often women (the lead female role is usually played by Penélope Cruz, his favourite actress).  The director Pedro Almodóvar is very well known in the Spanish speaking world, often for his films being slightly crazy at times!

This Spanish movie is about three generations of women in Madrid who get through life as best they can. Truly a moving masterpiece!

Penelope Cruz plays the main character that struggles to deal with her husband’s death and struggles to maintain her life and pick up the pieces.

Broken Embraces

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

[Los Abrazos rotos – Spain – 2009 – Thriller/Melodrama –  Pedro Almodóvar –  Trailer]

A writer who was a director prior to becoming blind attempts to deal with the trauma he has endured.

In the process he tries to understand the changes he is going through 14 years after becoming blind and changing career paths from a director to a writer.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios – Spain – 1988 – Drama film/Comedy-drama –  Pedro Almodóvar –  Trailer]

A woman tries by all means to understand why her lover has left her and goes as far as contacting his wife and child whom are even more surprised.

All About My Mother

allaboutmymother

[ Todo sobre mi madre – 1988 – Drama film/Comedy-drama –  Pedro Almodóvar –  Trailer]

Esteban, who is an aspiring writing tries to find out who and where his father is, which is kept secret by his mother. This powerful film received many awards.

Bad Education

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

 [ La mala educación – 2004 – Crime/Drama/Mystery –  Christine Gernon–  Trailer]
This film dissects the effects of religious schools and sexual abuse.

Talk to Her

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

[Habla con ella – 2003 – Romance/Drama/Mystery –  Pedro Almodóvar –  Trailer]

This critically acclaimed film is about the lives of two men who grow an unusual friendship while taking care of two women who are in a coma. This is one of my favorite films. The cinematography and score is amazing!

Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

[Átame! – 1989 – Crime/Drama/Comedy –  Pedro Almodóvar –  Trailer]

A former mental patient who has been released takes a women prison in hopes to convince her to marry him. It’s one of Antonio Banderas‘ best performances as a young actor.

Pedro Almodóvar’s films aren’t the only best Spanish movies out there but they are some of the best Spanish movies. Spain produces and exports a number of horror films as well and they’re generally quite good!

Rec 1, 2 and 3

rec3-genesis-02

[Átame! – 1989 – Horror/Action/Sci-Fi –  Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza –  Trailer]

This was filmed from the point of view of a handheld camera, contributing to the movies’ very realistic and dramatic scenes. It’s a great choice for horror film aficionados

The Orphan

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

[El Orfanto – 2007 – Drama/Mystery/Thriller –  Jaume Collet-Serra –  Trailer]

 A mother brings her family to her childhood home and its haunted surrounds. This movie has a lot of suspense and will keep you jumping.

There is also an American version of this film, called the Orphanage. You may have heard of it.

Tesis
tesis-1996-03-g

[Tesis – 1989 – Mystery/Thriller – Alejandro Amenábar –  Trailer]

While doing research for her thesis, Angela stumbles upon a snuff film and struggles with the events that follow. I found this movie to have a lot of twists and turns. Definitely kept my attention.

It’s not for those who are a bit squirmish. The story line can be difficult to handle.

The Perfect Crime

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

[Crimen Ferpecto – 2004 – Thriller/Drama – Álex de la Iglesia –  Trailer]

This isn’t quite a horror film. Rather, it’s a very good, atypical black comedy. It’s even a bit subversive. I love this film. It’s the story of an attractive salesman in a big department store who kills a rival colleague by accident. A saleswoman in the perfume section witnesses the scene and uses this knowledge to sexually blackmail the salesman. If you like this film, there are other great films by this director, such as Common Wealth (La Comunidad)

Best Spanish movies from Latin American

There are also a number of excellent Latin American films, a lot of which are Mexican. These are especially good for beginners.

Maria Full of Grace

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

[Maria Full of Grace– 2004 – Crime film/Drama film – Joshua Marston –  Trailer]

This movie is great for beginners because it switches back and forth from English and Spanish. It is about a pregnant Colombian teenager who becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family and the pursuit of the American dream.

Paradiso Travel

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

[Paradiso Travel- 2008 –  Indie film/Drama – Simón Brand-  Trailer]

 This is a great Colombian film. Although it maintains Colombian stereotypes (drugs, violence and sex) it’s a fast-paced film. Trust me! You won’t get bored!

The Motorcycle Diaries

best-spanish-movies-with-subtitles-to-help-you-learn-spanish-mosalingua

[Diarios de Motocicleta – 2008 – Adventure/Biography/Drama – Simón Brand-  Trailer]

Based on a true story, this film depicts Che Guevara in his youth during his road trip through Latin America. It shows you a side of the revolutionary before he was revolutionary. At times funny and at times mind provoking. The Spanish is spoken with accents from a number of South American countries, which a good test! It’s very eye opening.

The Secret in Their Eyes

 

 

Best Spanish Movies

The Secret in Their Eyes with subtitles

(Argentina – 2009 – Drama/Mystery/Thriller)

(El Secreto de tus ojos)

This is an excellent Argentinian film which depicts the events 25 years after a crime investigation. This film is very well put together, clever and captivating. It brings together romance, revenge, and justice. I really enjoyed it!



Spanish movies

Nine Queens with subtitles

(Argentina – 2000 – Crime/Thriller/Drama)

(Nueve Reinas)

This is another excellent Argentinian film. It’s a bit hard to follow because the characters use a lot of Argentinian slang and have rather thick accents. It’s the story of two con artists from Buenos Aires who team up to pull off a big scam.







Spanish movies

Y tu mamá también with subtitles

(Mexico – 2001 – Adventure/Comedy/Drama)

This is a very good Mexican film. The dialogue is sometimes a bit crude but it will broaden your vocabulary! It’s dramatic and funny. It’s about two hormone-driven teenage boys who fight over the same woman.

That’s my list of the best Spanish movies I’ve seen. I know I’ve seen other good Latin American films, but I can’t remember the names of them. I’ll have to get my wife to refresh my memory 😉


 

Where do you find Spanish movies?

It’s not always easy to find the original version DVDs. You’re never really sure what you’re getting or if it will come with subtitles, even on Amazon!

So, sometimes you have to make do as best you can. There are certain websites that offer peer-to-peer films and television series. For example, http://www.hispashare.com has many recent films and series in Spanish, but to watch them you have to download them illegally, which we don’t recommend.

Where do you download subtitles?

To find movie subtitles, you can use this excellent website http://www.opensubtitles.org/en. It has a huge collection subtitles in many languages and it’s not illegal! Unfortunately, this site is becoming overrun by the public, but there are software programs that let you easily download all the subtitles for films and series that you want for free. The best one is called SubDownloader (http://subdownloader.net/).

How do you make the subtitles run with the film?

You need to give the film file and the subtitle file the same name (but keep their respective extensions).

For example:

a_great_film.avi

a_great_film.srt

I recommend that you use VLC media player to watch the films.

Now it’s up to you!

If you know of any other great Spanish films, please don’t hesitate to post them in a comment.

I’m always looking for good Spanish TV shows to watch. However, I’m not a huge fan of “telenovelas”, so a friend suggested a Colombian crime drama called Sin tetas, no hay paraíso. There is also a Spanish version from Spain but I prefer the original Colombian version. You can find a list of more Spanish speaking TV shows here, which we’re constantly updating. If you know of any other Spanish films or Spanish TV shows with English subtitles that you don’t see listed on our website, share them with us below and and we’ll review them! And feel free to share you’re list of the best Spanish movies that you’ve seen.

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Comments

  1. Nice list. Will definitely add this to my to-watch!

    I think that watching movies of the language we’re trying to study is a really effective way to learn it. We learn accents and everyday words we don’t get to read of in the usual books for study.

    I personally have been enjoying short films, since they’re not as time-consuming as a full movie – so it’s a great, quick resource, plus there are a number of great ones found online 🙂

    • Indeed, it’s a very good spanish movie! Thanks

  2. Planned to watch all movies in the list.
    You are at the best by giving the address to find movies as well as subtitles.
    Thanks a lot.

    – Sabareesh SS

    • Hi Sabareesh,

      are u from Tamil Nadu, are u learning spanish?

  3. Hola, sabarees, yo pienso que este sitio se llama mosalingua es mejor a aprender spanish por subtitulo de pelicula. De nuevo me quiero a digo que mosalingua es muy mejor. su amigo de india s.sadasivam -chennai

  4. Hi what about Sos mi vida does anyone know where can I watch this tv show with English subtitles?..
    Nazy

  5. I think it’s important to watch Latin American movies if your learning Latin American Spanish. Spanish and movies from Spain if you are learning Castillian Spanish. Thoughts?

  6. I think all those movies are OK… but they are old, I’d go for actual movies like ‘La Isla Mínima’ ‘El niño’ or ‘Magical Girl’.

    • Thanks Sara for sharing this movies with us!

      Regards,
      Patricia

  7. Thank you very much. This is a useful resource, and you have given me a good reason to watch Penelope Cruz.

    • Hi Toby,

      Anytime! She’s been in a lot of great movies that could also go on this list. Happy viewing and learning!

  8. Thanks. I really love to learn spanish. I hope I can make it. 😀

    • You’re welcome – and thank you for your comment! Please Let us know how we can help you achieve your goals! Happy learning!

  9. Thanks for this list, watch “Elefante blanco” and “Relatos salvajes” (this one is very good) from Argentina.

    • Thanks for these!

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