Using Movie Trailers to Improve your English

The Best Trailers for Learning English as a Foreign Language

When using movie trailers to learn English as a Foreign Language (EFL), you should use trailers that will effectively teach you English skills. In general, you want to find trailers with simple but plentiful dialogue, and in many cases, you should find trailers that have some cultural or historical significance to help you better understand the culture of English-speaking countries.

This list of trailers is by no means exhaustive, but it can help you get started. For tutors looking for classroom resources, this list is categorized by age-appropriateness.


For All Ages



Moana

This Disney children’s film contains plenty of simple, fun dialogue to enjoy and analyze. As a children’s film that achieved great ratings even among adults, it is highly appropriate and enjoyable for all audiences. Additionally, it contains elements of Hawaiian and Pacific Islander culture, making for an interesting introduction for a cultural unit on Hawaii.



Because of Winn-Dixie

This adorable film trailer features clear dialogue and humor to make for an enjoyable learning experience. It also is based on an easy-to-read children’s book, so more intermediate-advanced learners, you could use it to introduce a unit focusing on the book.



Cars

Though this trailer is for a kids movie, it’s best for intermediate learners because of the slang and colloquialisms used in the trailer. Therefore, it’s perfect for introducing slang and typical speech patterns to learners ready to tackle more advanced content. Additionally, it contains numerous cultural references, such as hippies and NASCAR racing, that are unique to American culture.



Adults Only



Forrest Gump

With the main character’s simplistic speaking style, this trailer makes an excellent choice for EFL learners to use while expanding their English skills. It also addresses major events and aspects of American culture. However, the film and trailer address mature themes such as the Vietnam War and the AIDS crisis, so it should only be used for adult learning.



500 Days of Summer

This trailer features a film that takes a unique spin on the classic American romantic comedy, and its dialogue is clear and relatively simple, featuring a handful of easily learnable colloquialisms. The trailer does feature a few adult jokes and sexual implications, so it should generally be viewed only by older teens and adults (the movie is rated PG-13 in the US, for reference).