Your Movie Recommendations for Other Listeners

Many of our listeners like to watch English-language movies for enjoimages.jpegyment, but also to improve their English. We sometimes get emails asking for our recommendations. We don’t have specific films to recommend, but what is important is that any movie (or TV show) you watch is comprehensible, easy to understand. As another listener recently reminded us, using the caption function on your television so that the words appear on the TV screen can help to improve comprehension, and we highly recommend doing that. Keep in mind (remember), however, that reading the caption should not interfere (prevent; get in the way) too much with your enjoyment of the movie. If you find that you’re spending all of your time reading and can’t follow the story, then this movie is too hard for you right now. Try to find something simpler.

In general, dramas are easier to understand than action movies or comedies, but of course, many things can make movies more or less comprehensible. Stay away from movies with too much slang, of course, and period movies (a movie set in the past) that have old-fashioned (not modern) speech. How much you know about the topic of the movie–your background knowledge–also helps to make a movie more or less comprehensible.

You are the best people to ask for movie recommendations: our terrific listeners! If you have seen a movie in English that is enjoyable and easy to understand, please post a comment and let us and our other listeners know about it.

~ Lucy

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78 Responses to Your Movie Recommendations for Other Listeners

  1. Hello Lucy… I enjoy watch movies and when I´m watching alone I turn on the subtitles and sound in English.

    I like to watch Child´s movie like Shreck, Toy Story etc… It´s more easy understand the vocabulary and my kid enjoy.. LOL

    Now I´m watching the episodes from LOST. It have been easy to understand and I´m enjoying the movie…

    This week I found a free (legal) web site where you can watch online TV Shows like LOST, Heroes etc.

    If someone want ask me.

    Take care

    Eduardo G.

  2. Julen says:

    I watched Damages a month ago, and it was quite easy to understand. I also follow Prison Break but I think it is one of the hardest TV show to understand, as well as House, it has too many medical words that I even don’t understand in spanish. But for example Lost is quite understandable.

  3. Freggy says:

    I’m watching 24, Lost, House M.D. ets 🙂 This tv shows are very interesting and easy to understand (except House M.D. because of medical terminology). Also I like Mythbusters – really interesting show on Discovery channel

  4. Tiago Conejo says:

    Closed Caption is a powerful function. I’ve able to watch and understand almost anything with it.
    My understanding is improving.
    I noticed that one time when I turn it off, I understood many things.
    It’s awesome. You should try!

  5. Oleg says:

    I may say, as an example, that a huge number of students in Russia like to watch “Friends” in English. It’s very comprehensible and enjoyable, and this movie contains lots of daily life words and phrases.
    So, if someone likes “Friends”, go and watch it!

    The another movie I saw long time ago is called “Office Space”. It’s a very good comedy that is perfect to see in a relaxed environment 🙂


  6. pedro says:

    I think that the movies easier to understand are the movies made for television,known as tv movies.These movies are usually dramas based in real life.I enjoy watching them and I believe it’s not a good idea reading the subtitles at the same time you watch the movie,because if you do so,you are mainly reading and not listening to the story(it would be like reading a book ,so to speak).

  7. Juan Carlos says:

    I also used the closed captions at first. But now I don’t think they’re useful because I don’t have any trouble with my reading skills. I think when you’re able to understand half of what they say it’s better to have them off and do your best to catch what they say. You can tell what’s happening by the context. You don’t need to understand every single word that appears on the screen.

    I use to watch cartoons in English like Dora, Spongebob and the puppets. Now I still watch Seinfeld, I know it;s old but the english level they use is kind of simple, besides they repeat most of the words. And it’s all about simple events. I love Friends the series, I like to watch them over and over again. And believe it or not you can say their lines because they come out of your mouth. It’s sort of mechanical, when you almost saw that 10 times.

    I recommend watch series because when you get to know the chaeacters you can tell sometimes what they’re going to say, or how they’ll react. Once you get your ear used to it. You improve faster. Once I stopped using closed captions, I noticed that.

    Greetings from Mexico

  8. coooleve says:

    “Pride and Prejudice ”

    I’m very poor at English.. So I cann’t watch it just in English.. But, Goooooood movie ~

  9. Jamshid says:

    English is my 3. language .
    I remember as I was new in Germany I saw every day children program because it was all easy phrases and important words .
    It was at that time very helpful and I recommend only children program with or without caption.
    And as second recommend ;only with headphone ,and good quality sound it’s very important to understanding the new words.

    be successful
    Jamshid From Berlin

  10. Miguel Angel says:

    Eduardo G: I am interested on the website that you has mentioned in this blog. I will appreciate this information. Thanks!
    Miguel Angel.

  11. Ellly says:

    I am a big fan of “Friends”,”Sex and the city” and “Grey’s anatomy”.
    I think that “Friends” is easy to understand because their conversation is quite casual, not so specific and the vocabulary they use is not difficult.
    S.A.T.C is also good because they speak quite clearly, so i think it is good for listening Enghlish. But you know, it is all about fashion and love relationship.
    And Grey’s anatomy is my favorite show for now. It is easier than House because they don’t talk about medical problem so much but more about relationship between people. They speak really fast though, but i think this show is definately enjoyable.

    I recommand the movie, “My Little sunshine”.
    This is really touching, lovely and well-done film as well easy to understand.

  12. Ellly says:

    I am sorry that i made a mistake.
    The movie title is “Little Miss Sunshine” not “My little sunshine”.lOl

  13. Jesus says:

    Thank you for your recommendations!

    I bear that in mind 🙂

  14. Pablo810 says:

    Do you know where can i find Friends to download? I’ve watched a bit on Youtube and I think that it’s a good show to watch, to improve my english. It’s not as difficult as I thought.

  15. Sam says:

    Dear friends,

    I ckecked through all comments mentioned above and I sounds like that most, if not all, are quite fine. I also have one more tv program to introduce/remaind you, that is “the Simpsons. Don’t you think that the entire series of this cartoon is attractive and yet understandable? One more thing!! News!! yes news that is shown on tv, particularly, CNN, is very helpful. It also has three advantages: 1- you get informed about what ishappening all over the world 2- the hosts express the world very clearly and, yet, very literaly 3- their accent is american which I’m fond of.


  16. Smallpig says:

    Dear All,

    I agreed that watching English-language movies and TV dramas can improve proficiency of English. I like watching “Heroes”, and “Medium”. I find it useful to purchase the whole series of episodes back home, watch with subtitles turned on first, then later watch the episode again with no subtitle. In one year time my listening has improved quite a lot.

  17. Sangesh says:

    Hello Lucy,
    I do like to watch english movies. I do also watch serials such as F.R.I.E.N.D.S too. Also I do watch a lot of english news channels like CNN, BBC, FoxNews as well. I must admit that they have increased my vocabulary as well as my english fluency as well.

  18. Vladimir (Ukraine) says:

    Hello everybody,
    Serial “Moonlight” also fine suit for learning and enjoy purpose I think.
    Easy for comprehension, interesting, nice views of beautiful L.A.

  19. Silvia says:

    Thanks for talking about this topic!
    One film that I have been recommend to watch (easy to understand) is “Love Actually” (with Hugh Grant) =)
    I hope this would be useful for you.

    Thanks Lucy, Jeff and all ESLPodcast Google Group for everything. I love ESLPodcasts.

  20. TransLink ® says:

    Hi. I’ve just watched “The Bucket List” I highly recommend it. Besides it is a great movie, the dialogs are easy to listen to and has plenty of idiomatic English for practicing.

  21. JENNIFER7984 says:


  22. Rama says:

    Hi lucy and Jef
    Thank you for all help you give to the all learners.
    one problem that exist with the caption is that they came up after sound and I can`t follow up the caption and sound the same time.
    thank you

  23. emiliano says:

    Thank you Lucy for your opinion about us but we need always your help about this matter also your recommendations. My opinion, like some other listeners, is that Child’s movies without any captions may be a good option, but I think also that is very important to know something about the actors voices and their good english accent or pronuncitation. I like to know how is the voice of the american or g.britain actors and sometimes I see an english film having in mind this matter.
    I like old english terror films from the HAMER like all series of Drakula movies because they have the two actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Also I like Allan Poe films of the Hamer too with Vicent Price as first actor, all these movies have good voices, good english pronunciation and they are easy to understand them.
    I like also old actors as Ingrid Bergman, Deborah Kerr, Steward Granger, Jean Simons, James Mason, Gregory Peck, Audry Herpburn, and so on……..old films are full of good voices because it was required to the actors to do so.
    Now there are also quite a lot of good voices like Jack Nicholson (splendid), Merryl Street, M.Pheifer………and all staff of Lord of the Rings… specially GANDALF (I don’t remember the name just now but Lucy mentioned him in the blog), of course SARUMAN, Chistopher Lee, but all of them are quite good.
    I have to see “Friends”, everybody speaks very good about this serie, thank you I’ll try because I don’t see any of them, also I’ll try to see “Lost” for same reason.
    Two years ago, before I started to listen to E.S.L. it was very difficult to me watching an english movie without captions….nearly impossible, but now is more and more easy and I have to give you all my gratitude, thanks again Lucy and Jeff you are doing an immense favour to all your listeners who love english lenguage.

  24. kitty says:

    Hi Eduardo, I would like to know the free wbsite where I you can watch online TV Shows like LOST, Heroes etc. Would you tell me, please. Thanks a lot

  25. Martin says:

    I love to watch “Stargate SG-1” in English. The stories are interesting and easy to understand. And the most important thing is the humor. And I must agree with Sam: The Simpsons and news channels like CNN are also very good.

  26. Warren says:

    The iTunes Store is another possibility. They usually have several free TV shows. Click on “TV Shows” on the main menu (list of departments or sections of the store) at the top of the first page, then go down to the bottom of the “TV Shows” page. Of course, you can also purchase or rent TV shows or movies there.

  27. Azur says:

    Personally, I find tv better suited for learning English, way too many movies will either have short dialogues or use an unlikely vocabulary. As some listener pointed out, movies and series are based on real life and that makes it easier to understand. In my case, I used to watch, friends, g
    Gilmore girls, and everybody loves Raymond. These days I am more into documentaries like those from the History Channel, Discovery Channel, or PBS Frontline which can also be watched from the official website.

  28. Vladimir says:

    And hello everybody again 🙂
    Since I wrote in this theme I pay attention on Lost and The Simpsons.
    Thanks everybody a lot, your mails was very usefull.
    Now allow me put the statisti? collected from our mails(of course it may contain mistakes, but it statistic you know):

    Friends – 7
    LOST – 6
    Heroes – 4
    The Simpsons – 2
    House – 2
    Grey’s anatomy – 2
    Seinfeld – 1
    Sex and the city – 1
    Office Space – 1
    Pride and Prejudice – 1
    S.A.T.C. – 1
    Little Miss Sunshine – 1
    Medium – 1
    Hello Lucy – 1
    Moonlight – 1
    Drakula – 1
    Stargate SG-1
    Gilmore girls – 1
    Everybody loves Raymond – 1
    Mythbusters – 1
    24 – 1
    Dora, Sponge bob and the puppets – 1
    Shreck – 1
    Toy Story – 1

  29. Jesus says:

    VOA Especial English

    It’s a News program. From its web you can listen or watch a daily report about some topics.

    “The Roots of Special English

    On October 19, 1959, the Voice of America broadcast the first Special English program. It was an experiment. The goal was to communicate by radio in clear and simple English with people whose native language was not English. Special English programs quickly became some of the most popular on VOA. They still are. Special English continues to communicate with people who are not fluent in English. Over the years, its role has expanded. It helps people learn American English while they learn about American life and stay informed about world news and developments in science. It provides listeners with information they cannot find elsewhere.”


  30. KCNY says:

    Does anyone here like “Everybody Hates Chris” (staring in Chris Rock, a stand-up comedian)?
    The sitcom is enjoyable, though it’s loaded with American slangs. (Yo! You’re SO THERE!)

  31. Ana says:

    Hi, I absolutely love “Lost” and I managed to convince many of my students to watch it as well, then they even wanted to use it in our lessons! And that’s how I came across this site, I’m looking for ESL activities based on “Lost” because I’ve run out of my homemade activities and I need inspiration to get going. You have different varieties of English because of the blend of people stranded on the island; an American from the South, another from LA, a British, 2 people from Japan, an Iraqui, an Scottish, and many others I can’t recall right now but it’s just great how you can spot the differences among them! And of course, it’s just an awesome show to watch without thinking in the educational purposes.

  32. Marek says:

    Hello everybody,
    I think films are useful mostly for advanced speakers.
    When I listen to audio – /for example bbc -the best of today/ I can understand almost everything because J use my favorite feature in mp3 player – tempo rate- and I adjust it / -2/ ,when I listen to English Cafe /+4/etc-with films it is rather impossible.

    J am intermediate and I watch comfortably only fragments of the films.
    I really enjoy to watch this parts sometimes many times.
    I like reading simplified books based on the films /penguin readers,oxford readers/.
    Useful might be reading subtitles after watching the film-there are websites where you can find subtitles for almost all films.J believe that often extras add to the films- interview with actress etc . are much more appropriate for intermediate speakers.

    I believe the best films for as would make Dr Jeff and Dr Lucy .
    I wish also Dr Jeff McQuillan told as all films in Esl Podcast.

  33. Marek says:

    There are many short films on website, often with mp3 version,transcripts .The films cover weide range of topics.Films are pretty naive ,but very easy to understand .I recommend to try this website.

  34. sylvain says:

    Today, i am going to speak about the film, went out in room in August, THE DARK KNIGHT.

    Advantage to have seen original version allows to the spectator to better appreciate the characters of the film. For instance, we can take the joker’s character, played by the deceased Heath Ledger. In the french version, his voice doesn’t frighten, what makes it less credible and notable. In original version, his voice sound in a different way and thanks to that, the character has more depth. The joker, in original version, has a more terrible effect than in the french version. I broadly preferred the VO to the VF.
    On the other hand, i am made to read pence titles to understand all words, otherwise i don’t succeed in following everything.

  35. MASSON Kévin says:


    I think that the most mattering, to take some pleasure during an Engilsh version movie, it’s actor presence in the meaning mimes. If the characters pass on feelings without
    havings opened even the mouth, and pronouncing a single word, it’s sure we’ll be able to understand the replica.
    It’s a blatant phenomenon in a film as “ils”, where the tension bases essentially on actor’s “whitout word” play.
    It is my point of view knowing the oral understanding isn’t my key point 😉 A good way of perfecting

  36. Petit Marion says:


    I think that movies and series are always more pleasant to watch original version. Understanding of the intentions of the director,since when movies are dubbed ,the text of the players has changed.
    I recommend the series ” SIX FEET UNDER” directed by Alan Ball .This series is moved deeply and it’s o good exercise to learn English.
    To learn more quickly, I think we should watch films subtitled in English and be patient!

  37. Engela says:

    The last movie I watched in english was the war of the roses by Danny Devito starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. It is the story of a couple who first are in love but after 18 years of marriage Barbara (played by K.Turner) wants to divorce. From that moment war is declared. They both want to keep their house and they both are willing to do anything to win. What I found interesting about this movie was the fact that comedy and drama are combined. The interest of the film comes from the strong personalities of the characters. It is fascinationg to watch them evolve from love to hatred. I liked the fact that the story was told by a witness of the tragedy (the husband’s lawyer played by the film director himself). He talks directly to the spectator which makes the film much more attractive.

    To understand foreign movies more easily, I suggest putting subtitles in the foreign language as it is easier to understand words written than said. Watching several times the same movie is a way to understand more and more each time as you can catch details more easily.

  38. Wudy says:

    I just see the chrismas episode of Gossip Girl (tv show).
    It’s not very easy to undrstand every words in the american way of speaking.
    The actors speaks so fast and they stop to speak clearly at the and of them sentences.
    But It was funny to see that a lot of french words are used in the american informal language (like “vite!” or ” et voilà!”).

  39. Kim says:

    Hey everyone !

    My advice is: if you’re a beginner in english, I would suggest that you watch animated movies like those of Walt Disney’s subtitled in your language first.
    Then watch them with English subtitles, then without subtitles.
    They’re good because they usually use easy dialogues, clear prononciation and you will catch on to some phrases that they repeat over and over, so you’ll memorize them.
    It seems silly but it’s a good start, really !! 🙂

  40. Arnaud says:

    Hi everybody,

    If you don’t never go to Bruges in Belgium, you can visit her by Matin McDonagh’s movie, “In Bruges”. In french “Bon baiser de Bruges”.
    It’s a dectective dramacomedy with Colin FARRELL, Brendan GLEESON and one french woman, Clémence POESY, who has a cute french accent.
    There are a lot of funny dialogues and good characters. I recommend this movie to amateur of genres because the number of surprizing situations is very impressive.
    Great films! That’s all!

  41. Maël says:

    I’d like to speak about the end of « into the wild », realised by Sean pen.
    I feel this scene very strong because of the performance of the director and the actor. With the great playing of “Emile Hirsch” and the intuitive realisation of Sean pen, the death of Chris Mccandless in the darkness of the bus, lost in Alaska, seems very melancholic and spiritual. There is something strong in this extract. Something sadly-strong in fact, which make us think about everything around us: life, people, society, liberty, money, mind, spirit and way of life.
    All this notions are illustrated in the two or three pictures of Chris’s death.
    For me, it is the most spectacular ( not about special effects or explosions or other great actions, but about the impact on your mind ) death I saw in a movie. Still one year after I saw the movie, this scene make me always think a lot. In conclusion, there is a good reflexion to have after this tragic scene.

  42. ELODIE S says:

    I speak about the new movie “Vicky Christina Barcelona” by WOODY ALLEN. I loved it especially because I saw it in original version.
    In fact, real voices makes the movie much more credible.
    I find that the version french it’s good but is lining too much exagerate, also that I don’t like it’s there is one lining for two actors.
    for exemple in french Rebecca Hall in the movie as have voices as actriss Rachel Mc Adams. I find it very stessfull.
    In the french version they use same voice for two actors like Dicaprio and Toby Maguire have the exact same voice.

  43. Dorothée says:


    In order to understand a foreign movie, I’d suggest to start by movies with a basic story, such as Walt Disney’s motion pictures, first in English and subtitled in your mother’s tongue and then in English with English subtitles. By this way, you’ll improve your level of comprehension very quickly. Before watching movies in a foreign language, I started by some episodes of “Friends”. This serie is particularly easy to understand and you can learn several words of slang and idioms used in the daily life. Furthermore, I realised that watching a film in its original language seems to be more realistic and deeper than when it’s dubbed. The actors are from far more believable. Finally, I think that the best way to understand the dialogues is to watch the movie again and again until you succeed in catching the most insignificant words.

  44. Angélina says:


    My favourite movie is Babel by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. This film speaks of difficult communications between persons. The first time that i watched it, i put the subtitles. It’s true that you used to focuse on those dialogues and you can’t appreciate beautiful pictures of this movie. But in Babel, we can read little dialogues and they are easy to understand. Moreover actors are very wonderful, their acting are credible.
    For the others movies in original version, i prefer watching twice or three times these films. For me it’s too easy to understand. And the English movie is often a wrong translation in French.
    So watch the movie in english version allow us to understand better and to have a best register in english.
    Good luck!

  45. S.Valette says:

    Fahrenheit 9/11
    I saw this film and i loved it. It’s an Cannes award-winning documentary film directed by M.Moore. It was produced in 2004 and it deals with a critical look at life in the USA after the 2001/09/11. M.Moore shows in this film how the presidency of G.W. Bush has played with people’s terrorism fear. He shows equally how the president argued to invade Irak. Indeed after the 9/11 Bush announced a plan which had for aim to destroy terrorism threat. He ordered to invade Afghanistan and Irak. He wanted to killed Sadan Hussein and controled Irak. Moreover he created “the Patriot Act”. M.Moore try to explain why the USA, the most weaponful country, are the most soldier-killed casualties. In fact in the USA most of people thought that the Irak war was good at the beginning.
    Actually we are obliged to watch this film with caution because the reality can be masked. Nevertheless it is very interesting. The key word of this film : we have to stay aware.

  46. Clément says:

    Hey everyone, let’s talk a second about Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
    The Dark Knight is the sequel of Batman Begins, released in 2005, which was an international big hit. The first film showed us Batman’s origins (who is he? why did he become the Batman and how?), this second movie is about the war he has declared to the crime in Gotham City (a fictionnal city). But this time, his opponent is a dangerous mad man whith no rules who calls himself the “Joker”. Batman was created by Bruce Wayne to be feared by the criminals (he is affraid of bats since he trauma he faced during his childhood), and only “hunt” during the night (police controls the day) and is living the rest of the time as Bruce Wayne (his real identity with nos mask), a young superficial and very rich bachelor. Batman is teaming-up with the young and ambitious new district-attorney, Harvey Dent, and with Ltd Jim Gordon (those two don’t know who is hidden behind the mask). The Joker will during the film make Harvey Dent become a criminal called Two-Face, by crushing all his personnality (death of his fiance, half of his face will be burn…). For him, “madness is like gravity, all it takes is a little push!”.
    Powerful, intense and very dark, The Dark Knight is certainly the best film I saw this year, and even in all my life.

  47. Clem says:

    Hi everyone

    I often watch American series with subtitles. For now I’m watching “My name is Earl”, which is totally different between French and English. Sometime it’s a little quick but I must admit that I don’t read quickly. If it can be hard first, watching a lot of videos create a better comprehension. The voices are better in English (for “My name is Earl”) and one of the best sentence of Earl is “Hey Crabman” which is traduced in French “Hey my friend”, that’s not so good.
    Yesterday I saw “Vicky Christina Barcelona”, and I agree with Elodie about the voices making the film more credible. What is interesting in this film is the use of English and Spanish, changing every time.

  48. Benoît says:

    I’d like to speak about “Heroes”, a fantastic series created by Tim Kring and broadcasted since September 2006 on NBC network.
    It speaks of a dozen of persons around the world, who discover little by little they have surnaturals powers…
    I find Heroes very hard to understand in his original version because the vocabulary they use is extensive.
    The plot demands to understand everything. Therefore I recommand watching these episodes with english subtitles.

  49. Maxime G. says:


    “How I met your mother” is the last series who I saw in english, with subtitle.
    In my vew, series is more intersting in original version and more fascinating to understand jokes and humor. In generaly when is doubled in french is so badly made.
    To start it’s so difficult to see a series or movie without subtitle. I suggest to begin with subtitles, because we can’t understand an important sentence for the story. The best solution to begin is to see series because it’s short.

  50. Carlito says:

    Pulp fiction is a great film producted in 1994 and directed by Quentin Tarantino. This film re-joins very prestigious actors who play wonderfully, they have the luck to be dubbed in French well the vo gives more credibility to the dialogues.
    It’s difficult to understand this film in english because there are lot of debates and a particular language. But i have seen it in french many times so it was easy to understand for me.

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