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Learning English with Films

In unserem Podcast (Instagram) „The Peacock Chit-Chat“ https://www.instagram.com/peacock_school/ am 01. Oktober 2020 haben wir Filme vorgestellt, die euch helfen eure Englischkenntnisse zu verbessern. Anbei eine Zusammenfassung unserer Show mit Auflistung von Redewendungen, Zitaten und empfohlenen Filmen:

Watching films is a fun way to improve your English! You can improve your pronunciation, pick up on different accents, get an insight into the cultrue behind the language.

a) Only choose interesting films
b) Aim to understand 70 % and more
c) Repeat your favourite lines
d) Use subtitles (On YouTube, press the ‘CC’ button in the bottom right corner and then select ‘English subtitles’. Avoid subtitles in your own language.)

  1. Film word glossary:
  • Action: the word called out (by a megaphone) at the start of the current take during filming to alert actors to begin performing.
  • Actor/Actress:  male & female performer
  • Directorthe director is a person who determines the creative vision of a feature film, television show, play, short film, or other production. They have complete artistic control of a project. (Well-known directors: Quenton Tarrantino, Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Federico Fellini, Jim Jarmusch, Peter Greenaway)
  • Producer (producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the scripts, writing, directing, and editing; and arranging financing)
  • Major role / minor role / cameo role (Gastauftritt)
  • Extras (Statist / Komparse)
  • Plot (Handlung)
  • Film set (Filmkulisse)
  • Grip (someone who helps during filming / Helfer bei Dreharbeiten)
  • Cult film (a film that has a passionate fan base despite lacking critical acclaim, box office success, or mainstream interest.„The Rocky Horror Picture Show,“ „The Big Lebowski are often cited as examples of cult films)

  2. Genres (Gattungen):

  • Action movie (Arnold Schwarzeneger, Clint Eastwood, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipe)
  • Crime Thriller / Mystery
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Horror
  • Fantasy
  • Romance

Movies can be an escape from reality or an inspiration to learn a foreign language. We often relate to the characters or words they speak. And many famous quotes have originated from movies.

Here are a few famous lines:

“ May the force be with you.“  (Star Wars) (usually attributed to Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi Master at the heart of the original Star Wars movie in 1977) . . . It is used nowadays to wish someone luck with a difficult endeavour!!  

 I’m the king of the world“ (Titanic) (with Leonardo Di Caprio & Kate Winslet)

You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‚Do I feel lucky? ‚ Well, do ya, punk?”(Dirty Harry) (with Clint Eastwood)

„Go ahead, make my day“
 (is a catchphrase spoken by the character Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood, in the 1983 film Sudden Impact)

„Elementary, my dear Watson““ (People sometimes use this expression humorously to say how easy something is to solve. The phrase supposedly comes from the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes says this to his friend Watson when explaining how easy it is to understand something about a crime.)

„A Martini shaken, not stirred!“ (James Bond)  (catchphrase describes  his preference for the preparation of his martini cocktail. The phrase first appears in the novel „Diamonds Are Forever“(1956)

„Nobody is perfect“ 
(last line in the film „Some like it hot“ 1959 with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon. Directed by Billy Wilder)

„My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.“ (Forrest Gump) (with Tom Hanks)

„Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.“ (Dead Poets Society, 1989) (with Robin Williams / Set in 1959 at the fictional elite conservative Vermont boarding school Welton Academy, it tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students through his teaching of poetry.)

„I’ll be back
!“ (The Terminator) (with Arnold Schwarzenegger)

3.Idioms & expressions:


This is an idiomatic expression that means the movie was very interesting and exciting; you were so involved with the movie that you sat on the edge (the front part) of your seat to get closer to the action.


matinée is a showing of a movie in the daytime – usually in the afternoon. Matinées are often cheaper than shows at night.


This famous saying first appeared in the American movie Wayne’s World and became a fashionable way to say ‘great’ or ‘wonderful’.  If something is going perfectly, you can say ‘sweet!’

There’s no place like home”

This quote is from The Wizard of Oz. It’s often used when a person returns from a trip and is happy to be at home. 

I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore”

This phrase is from the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, released in 1939. Usually, this phrase is used when the location that you are in is unfamiliar to you, and you feel lost.

Houston, Houston, we have a problem”

This famous quote from the movie Apollo 13, released in 1995, has well and truly entered everyday language in America. If someone is experiencing any type of a problem, this phrase can be used to point it out.

5. Some good movies for studying English:

a) The King’s Speech (2010)  

What better way to learn English than with the King of England?
It stars English actor Colin Firth as King George VI. The film follows King George as he tries to overcome a stutter before his first wartime radio broadcast. This is a great movie to improve your British pronunciation because the whole film focuses on how to speak English correctly.

b) The Shawshank Redemption (1994

If you want to watch a classic film in English, try this movie. Many people see it as one of the best films ever made and it is famous for its “twist ending” (unexpected ending). It is one of our favourite movies!! 
The Shawshank Redemption is based on a book by Stephen King, and it tells the story of a white, educated man (Tim Robbins), who has been sentenced to life in prison for murder. Over twenty years, he makes friends with a black prisoner called Red, who is played by Morgan Freeman.

c) Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump’s entire life is shown in this film. Played by Tom Hanks, Forrest is a kind but slow man. ‘Slow’ in this context means that he is not very intelligent. It is a charming and funny film. One of the reasons it is a good movie for learning English is because Forrest Gump talks very slowly, thus he’s easy to understand.

d) The Queen (2006)

You can learn some very refined British English accents in this movie based on the Royal Family’s reaction to the death of Princess Diana. Actress Helen Mirren plays Queen Elisabeth II, naturally with a very posh accent! It is one of her best roles ever. e) Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

A classic film about Holly, a beautiful country girl who wishes to marry a rich husband to change her life. However, things change when Holly meets and falls in love with the poor young writer Paul Varjak. Audrey Hepburn’s clear pronunciation are more than suitable for beginners to learn English.

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