As a language learner you probably already know that you have to dedicate a lot of hours to master a new language: practice, practice, practice. The time that you spend learning in a formal language classroom is not enough. Not because classes don’t work, but because learning a language takes real practice: listening and speaking for hundreds of hours.
English is no exception to that rule. As you might already know, English is an important language and quite useful. Many people choose it as their second language, and many bilingual schools teach it, not to mention it is generally recognized as the most spoken second language globally.
If you’re traveling abroad, chances are you can communicate with many international people through English, or if you have a multilingual workplace. Also, many companies need speakers of this language; it can give you new job opportunities. That’s why trying to improve your everyday English is a great idea.
But don’t get too stressed out! Mastering the English language can be done in a fun way. You don’t have to spend after-school hours immersed in a textbook or take community college classes on the weekends. In fact, one of the best ways to improve your English is by watching television. Movies are a great way to learn new vocabulary, practice your listening, and learn casual everyday expressions.
You can watch all kinds of movies that will add something to your English skills. But if you’re more of an action-packed movie person, that will work great too. Especially for your listening, due to the fast-paced rhythm of this kind of movie. So, here are the best action movies to learn English while having a cool movie afternoon.
How to Learn English with Movies
Choose A Movie You’re Interested In
First, pick a movie that interests you, or from a genre that you love. This way, it’ll be easier to learn, because you’ll be interested in the storyline, and you’ll also remember it more. If you like the film or genre, you might even memorize some vocabulary and dialogues.
That’s why if you are a fan of action movies, this blog with the best action movies to learn English will help you a lot!
If you pick a genre that you don’t love, the movie might be boring, and you won’t pay enough attention. So you won’t grab new words or hear the pronunciation.
Put on subtitles if you’re a beginner or feel like you don’t understand very much about what’s being said. No shame in this. Subtitles are a great tool to understand everything. A big plus is that apart from your listening, you’ll also improve your reading and writing.
Even if you’re not a beginner, there are some movies that might be harder to understand. So it’s okay to use subtitles with those.
Gradually, as you feel more confident, start turning off the subtitles. If you keep them on forever, then your ears won’t get trained, so be sure to turn them off sometimes to push your ears to the next level. Remember, if you’re reading, then you’re mostly not listening.
Rewatch Movies You Know
Watch a movie that you’ve already seen in your native language. If you’re at a beginner level, it’s always easier to repeat your favorite movie but now in your target language. You already know what it’s about and what the characters say. So you can concentrate on listening, knowing that if you don’t understand every word, you still won’t get lost.
Resist Looking Up Words
When we don’t understand a lot in a new language, we have an urge to look up every word. Don’t do it. Let the visuals guide you through what is happening. Little by little you’ll pick up words by the context of the movie. Only write down the words that you feel are very new, or when you do not understand the storyline. And look them up after you finish the film.
Watch Movies at Home
Watching a movie in the comfort of your house means that you can go back if you missed something. This is a double-edged sword. You can do it if you feel like you didn’t understand something essential to the plot. But try not to do it too often or you won’t enjoy the film. The point of learning a new language with movies is to have a good time, and not get stressed.
Remember, you don’t have to memorize every word in the movie, nor do you need to understand every word. When you were learning your first language, you certainly didn’t understand every word; you just didn’t know that you didn’t understand them. Try to connect to that child you were, and let the unknown words flow over you, rather than give you anxiety.
Look Up Clips or Rewatch Short Scenes
After watching it, you can look up clips from the movie on YouTube. Watch and listen to them, and then try to say the phrases or words that the characters say. It’s a good exercise to improve your speaking. Now that you’ve enjoyed the movie, you can actually pause the video as many times as necessary to hear the right pronunciation.
5 Action Movies to Improve Your English
1. Top Gun
What better way to improve your Spanish than with a classic movie that just launched a highly successful sequel? This movie tells the story of a group of young U.S. naval aviators. It focuses on Pete Mitchell, known as Maverick, a student of the U.S. Naval Academy who is rebellious and reckless but a great pilot.
There’s action, for sure, but there’s also a love story, friendship scenes, and some tragic moments. This means that in this action movie to learn English, you’ll learn vocabulary for different life situations.
The movie also has some great songs, like “Take my breath away”, “Danger Zone”, and “You’ve lost that loving feeling”. Music is always another great language learning tool. So, with Top Gun, you’ve got another great tool to help you learn English – music.
After many years, a second movie came out and it was also very successful. So if you liked the first movie, you can keep learning English with the second one.
2. The Terminator
Even if you haven’t watched the movie, you’ve probably heard the iconic phrase “I’ll be back”. It comes from The Terminator. And just like many people learned that expression, you can learn many others with this movie. Terminator is a cyborg sent to the 80s from the future to exterminate a woman.
The way the cyborg speaks is with short sentences and some pauses between them, like a robot. That will allow you to understand, listen to the proper pronunciation, and memorize the words easily.
Even the humans speak clearly, so it’s also easy to understand them. A lot of the expressions in this movie, as with many other action films, are orders. So you’ll learn some imperatives in English thanks to The Terminator.
3. Die Hard
This is a classic action movie. It is the story of John Mclane, a policeman that faces a group of criminals that attacked a party. He’ll have to do his best to save the hostages.
If you really want to feel like you’re just watching a movie and not learning, “Die Hard” is the way to go. This is a completely action-packed movie; many say it is one of the best action movies ever made.
Some things will be easy to understand because there will be conversations, but the background will be in complete silence to add suspense. Some other things will be harder to understand because there will be action sounds in the background, like bullet sounds. This will add a level of difficulty to your listening skills, but it’s great because it’ll force your ear to improve.
“Die Hard” has many sequels but the first one is the most famous one.
4. John Wick
This is another successful franchise. It is about John Wick, a former hitman, who was hurt by the son of a famous gangster. Now John Wick wants revenge. All three action movies are great to learn English with and have some of the best fighting scenes.
In between fights, there are scenes where Wick talks with different people. These scenes are full of suspense and, therefore, the speaking is not fast. A lot of the dialogues are slow to add that sense of tension. This is great to understand what the characters are saying and hear the pronunciation.
Though, be aware that the criminals are Russian, so you might hear some accents, which, honestly, can make it easier to understand because they use simpler words and speak more slowly. Besides, John Wick is a man of few words, so the dialogues tend to be short. Perfect to improve your listening.
5. Mission Impossible
You’ve probably heard of the “Mission Impossible” movie series. Well, all of them are great for learning English. They’re all entertaining and will give you many tools in vocabulary and listening.
These are spy movies, so some parts can be difficult to understand. You’ll need to pay a lot of attention not to miss details, especially because there are difficult words. You’ll learn about commands because the main spy has to follow orders from his bosses, and sometimes he gives orders too.
Because of the nature of a spy movie, almost all scenes are fast-paced. After all, spies have to think fast not to get caught. So you should pay a lot of attention and be patient with yourself. Listening is no easy task, let alone when the movie moves fast and the characters speak about difficult mission instructions with a wide vocabulary. Even though there are some slow-paced scenes, you still need to be focused on what they say.
This action movie to learn English will probably be better for intermediate and advanced English learners.
Keep Learning with TruFluency Private English Coaching
Watching movies to learn English will give you a good idea of how native people actually speak. Sometimes our formal classes have us sounding like a robot, or speaking in an awkward way. Getting truly fluent is all about learning from real-world examples, like films, books, songs, and traveling. That’s why TruFluency private English coaching will work wonders for you.
We teach based on the Bellieu Method, created to achieve fluency using insanely relevant topics and a customized curriculum for your specific goals. Plus, our teachers are native speakers and they work one-on-one with you and make you speak! That means that you’ll learn useful vocabulary, idioms, and regional accents. We also have customized lessons, so you’ll reach and surpass your language goals.
Whether you want to learn for work, for travel, for making international friends, or just for fun, we can help you. Subscribe today (you can pause or cancel anytime) and get 20% off of your first month of classes with the code TF20.