5 iconic movies to improve your English

If you want to take a break from the grammar book you’re surely reading on the beach, why not get the popcorn popping, sit back, relax and enjoy some television? It’s the latest craze that’s sweeping the nation!

With the arrival of streaming media platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, Disney and Apple +, people have yet another reason to not make eye contact on public transport. Watching comedies, dramas, thrillers, adventure movies or sometimes just binging baking shows is a fine way to silence your inner demons. Therapy is also an option.

By watching movies in English (with or without subtitles), not only will you greatly improve your listening skills, but you will also begin to recognize the huge array of accents, dialects and registers the English language has to offer. Not to mention, your vocabulary gains will be off the charts, bro.

If you have a few hours to kill, here are five movies you will probably enjoy. If you have 10 hours to kill, you can watch them consecutively. Remember to hydrate accordingly and plan bathroom breaks well ahead of time – that’s key to the whole English language learning process deal.

1) The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

This 140-minute film is an American drama written and directed by Frank Darabont (Nightmare on Elm Street) and based on the Stephen King (It, The Dark Tower) novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (1982).

Starring Tim Robbins (Mystic River) and Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy), the film tells the story of a successful banker (Robbins) wrongfully accused of his wife’s murder. In prison, he befriends long-term inmate, Red (Freeman). The two plan a daring escape. It has become one of the most beloved and watchable films of all time.

Did you know? Morgan Freeman often plays God in movies and commercials due to his inimitable, godlike voice.

2) Catch Me If You Can (2002)

A breezy, fun watch, Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 American film directed by Steven Spielberg (E.T.), starring Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) and Tom Hanks (Cast Away).

The film is based on the life and career of Frank Abagnale Jr., a con artist and counterfeiter who amassed millions posing as a doctor, lawyer, and Pan Am pilot. He became the most successful bank robber in U.S. history by passing fake checks. He later became an FBI informant explaining fraud techniques to the government.

Did you know? According to Frank Abagnale, Jr., about 80% of the movie is true.

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3) Mary Poppins (1964)

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It’s more than a rare skin condition, it’s a lifestyle. Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical film directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music) and Dick Van Dyke (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Its screenplay is based on P.L. Travers’ beloved book series of the same name.

Mary Poppins was Andrews’ feature film debut. Her performance would win her the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her portrayal of the main character — firm and authoritative but kind and gentle as well – lies in stark contrast with the Poppins of the original books, in which the character was strict and pompous. Come for the flying umbrella scenes, stay for Dick Van Dyke’s ludicrous cockney accent.

Did you know? A “run on the bank” describes a crisis in which customers demand their money from the bank at once.

4) High Fidelity (2000)

“I’m very good at the past. It’s the present I can’t understand.” Based on the British novel of the same name by Nick Hornby, High Fidelity is a romantic comedy-drama film directed by English director Stephen Frears (Philomena). It tells the story of Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a record store owner and music snob who tries to work out romantic problems with girlfriend Laura (Danish actress Iben Hjejle). Although the novel takes place in London, the film is set in Chicago.

A film about music snobs, the film naturally has a well-curated original soundtrack, and notably includes actor and musician Jack Black singing a playful cover of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On.

Did you know? Hornsby’s first novel, Fever Pitch, about his life as a fan of the football club Arsenal, was adapted twice, once in Britain and once as an American film about baseball.

5) Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a 2004 American comedy directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Succession) and starring Will Ferrell (Step Brothers) as Ron Burgundy, a self-obsessed San Diego anchorman. Produced by comedy kingpin Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Girls), the film is a satirical take on the culture of the 1970’s – and particularly the new “action news“ format.

Did you know? Many of the scenes of Anchorman were improvised by the cast, much of whom have sketch or improvisational backgrounds. If you like this style of comedy, you might also like every Hollywood mainstream comedy produced in the past 10 years.

Is this 10-hour marathon not enough to quench for your insatiable desire for English? Time to brush up on your English with Gymglish – fun, short and personalized English lessons to learn English in no time.

Today’s clips are also featured in our desserts: an authentic sample of English-speaking culture presented at the bottom of each Gymglish online English course. These include excerpts from cinema, series, songs, and so on.

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