How to learn English by watching movies with subtitles: a detailed guide

watching movies
watching movies

Since not everyone has the opportunity to plunge into the language environment deeply, to smithereens and for good, the easiest way to create such an environment around yourself is to put on headphones and watch a movie in English. But if it were that easy, everyone would have been speaking English for a long time.

Films in the original language are recommended to watch in every language school. All English teachers and tutors, without saying a word, insist “This is important, effective, useful.” And Soviet and Russian Movies will also be effective, since most likely you have already seen these films in the original language and perfectly understand all of the meaning. Why it is worth listening to the advice of these worthy people – we will try to explain to you.

Watching an English film with Russian subtitles is destroying the language environment in which you so want to be. Your brain will continue to think in Russian, you will not be able to switch to a language that you still do not know well.

Watching movies with English subtitles turned off is probably the most effective way out of all existing. Without subtitles, you will be able to immerse yourself in the environment at Upper-Intermediate levels and above. If you have not yet reached this level, English subtitles will help you understand the speech of the characters in the film.

Main difficulty at Elementary level

Even the film that you have seen in Russian before seems difficult for you to understand in English. So you can’t stand it and turn off the movie. In order for your viewing to be fun and effective, it is worth taking the time to set goals that you want to achieve through watching a movie.

Set yourself three main goals for watching a movie at this level:

  1. Replenish vocabulary
  2. Understand phrase structure
  3. Work on mistakes in vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation

At this level, it is enough to achieve these goals, and you can move on to watching more complex films.

How to watch it if you don’t understand everything?

The procedure for effectively watching films in English includes several steps:

  • watching a movie in Russian
  • watching a movie in English with writing out incomprehensible words
  • looking up words in a dictionary
  • re-watching a movie or its episodes

If you have to write down almost every word that the characters say, you should choose a simpler movie. If you understand about 50-70%, and the rest of the words need to be looked up in a dictionary, just be patient. By the end of the film, you will get used to the way the characters pronounce the words, and you will be able to listen to more of what was said.

What skills and knowledge do we acquire?

  • Pronunciation.
  • English listening comprehension skills.
  • We increase our vocabulary.
  • We sharpen grammar.
  • Memorize the spelling of words.


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