Who said learning a language had to be tedious and boring? Watching Spanish-language movies is a fun and effective way to improve your Spanish, especially your listening comprehension. We’ve compiled a list of the best Spanish movies to help improve your language skills.
Last Updated: 02/28/23
List of the Best Spanish Movies with Subtitles
American researchers have found that watching undubbed subtitled films 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 also be resources to help you learn.
If you’re not ready to ditch the subtitles yet, the MosaDiscovery plugin is a great tool that can help you get the most out of videos (and written texts) in Spanish. You can translate new words with a click, and then save them and their context as new flashcards to study later in the MosaLingua app. It’s an easy way to streamline your comprehension, practice, and memorization. The MosaLingua flashcard review feature uses the Spaced Repetition System to ensure that new expressions are anchored into your long-term memory.
[Los renglones torcidos de dios – 2022 – Mystery, Dark – Oriol Paulo – Trailer]
We’re starting off a bit serious, but this recent release has been pretty popular. This Spanish film follows a private detective who claims paranoia in order to check into a psychiatric hospital where she must investigate another patient’s mysterious death.
[Toc toc – 2017 – Campy/Absurd – Vicente Villanueva – Trailer]
A group of patients with OCD wait for their flight-delayed doctor to arrive for their appointments, forcing them to endure each other’s oddball quirks.
[También la lluvia – 2010 – Inspiring/Emotional – Icíar Bollaín – Trailer]
While making a film about the incursion of Christopher Columbus in the New World, a director finds the Bolivian locals protesting modern exploitation.
[2018 – Inspiring/Emotional – Duncan McMath – Trailer]
Through firsthand accounts and analysis, this football documentary details the dominance of FC Barcelona from 2008-2012 under manager Pep Guardiola. (Note: This documentary has sections in Spanish and sections in English.)
[Jaula – 2022 – Dark/Suspense/Mystery – Ignacio Taty – Trailer]
After a couple finds a traumatized child of unknown origins, wife Paula must decipher the girl’s strange behaviors to unlock her identity and dark past.
[Todos lo saben – 2018 – Emotional/Suspenseful – Asghar Farhadi – Trailer]
Journeying back to her small Spanish hometown for her sister’s wedding, Laura must grapple with long-buried secrets when her daughter is abducted.
[A través de mi ventana – 2022 – Romantic – Marçal Forès – Trailer]
Raquel’s longtime crush on her next-door neighbor turns into something more when he starts developing feelings for her, despite his family’s objections.
[El silencio de otros – 2019 – Investigative/Emotional – Almudena Carracedo/Robert Bahar – Trailer]
Filmed over six years, this documentary captures the struggles of victims who suffered abuse under Gen. Francisco Franco’s regime as they seek justice.
[El fotógrafo de Mauthausen – 2018 – True Events/Suspense – Mar Targarona – Trailer]
A Catalan prisoner at a Nazi concentration camp uses his office job to steal photo negatives of the atrocities committed there. Based on true events.
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MosaSeries is an original and captivating Spanish story divided into short episodes, designed to help you improve your listening skills, broaden your vocabulary, and learn the most important aspects of Spanish grammar.
[Durante la tormenta – 2018 – Sci-Fi/Suspense – Oriol Paulo – Trailer]
A space-time continuum glitch allows Vera to save a boy’s life 25 years earlier, but results in the loss of her daughter, whom she fights to get back.
There are also some excellent Latin American films, a lot of which are Mexican. These are especially good for beginners, for the reasons I explain in the next section of this article.
[Noche de fuego – 2021 – Drama/Suspense – Tatiana Huezo – Trailer]
In a mountainous region of Mexico where poppies abound, three girls take refuge in their friendship to cope with the trials brought on by a drug cartel.
[La dictadura perfecta – 2008 – Comedy – Luis Estrada – Trailer]
After accepting a colossal bribe, a powerful TV conglomerate gins up fake news stories to enhance the image of a notoriously corrupt politician.
[Roma – 2018 – Intimate/Emotional – Alfonso Cuarón – Trailer]
This movie provides a vivid, emotional portrait of a domestic worker’s journey set against domestic and political turmoil in 1970s Mexico.
[Ya No Estoy Aquí – 2019 – Understated/Gritty – Fernando Frías – Trailer]
A terrible misunderstanding with a local gang sends 17-year-old Ulises, leader of a group hooked on cumbia music, across the border to save his life.
[Güeros – 2014 – Understated/Hidden Gem – Alonso Ruizpalacios – Trailer]
After teenage Tomás shows up at the Mexico City apartment his brother Sombra shares with Santos, the three set off in search of a former rock star.
[La ley de Herodes – 1999 – Satire/Comedy – Luis Estrada – Trailer]
A supposedly naive man appointed as acting mayor of a small town in Mexico turns into a corrupt politician capable of anything to stay in power.
[Mi obra maestra – 2018 – Deadpan/Sentimental – Gastón Duprat – Trailer]
A sly Argentinian art dealer tries to revive the career of his longtime pal, a surly painter, with a risky plan that tests their morals and friendship.
When learning Spanish as a beginner, I recommend watching Spanish movies with English subtitles. For more advanced learners, it’s better to watch Spanish movies with Spanish subtitles. Eventually, you’ll be able to watch Spanish movies without any subtitles at all, which is even more effective!
Ideally, you should watch the movie more than once. First with subtitles, then without. You probably won’t be surprised to find that many 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.
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 the MosaLingua apps is a highly effective tool for learning vocabulary quickly. There is also pronunciation for every flashcard!
It’s not always easy to find DVDs of Spanish movies. You’re never really sure what you’re getting or if it will come with subtitles, even on Amazon! Plus, some DVDs have regional restrictions that prevent you from playing them in certain areas. Be sure to check the region code before you buy (look for a 1 for the US and Canada).
Luckily, you can find more and more Spanish-language movies on all of the major streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. All of the movies listed above are currently available on Netflix.
If you have a library card in the US, you might also have access to Kanopy. It’s a free video-on-demand service that offers mainly independent films and documentaries, some of which are in foreign languages, including Spanish.
If you download movies online, they might not always come with subtitles, which are very useful for learners!
To find movie subtitles, you can use an excellent website called Opensubtitles.org. It has a huge collection of subtitles in many languages and it’s not illegal!
There are also software programs that let you easily download all the subtitles that you want for free. We like SubDownloader.
You need to give the film file and the subtitle file the same name (but keep their respective extensions).
I recommend using VLC Media Player to watch the films with subtitles. This article gives step-by-step instructions on how to sync up your subtitle file with your movie, in case you’re having trouble.
Now, It’s Up to You!
If you know of any other great Spanish films, let us know about them in the comments!
Are there other Spanish films or Spanish TV shows with English subtitles that you don’t see on the list? Share them with us below and we’ll consider watching and adding them!