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Learn English with Films: 10+ Great Movies about Travel

Learn English with Films - 10+ Great Movies about Travel

If you need English for everyday communication, there is a high chance you will want to use it in your travels. The easiest way to prepare is to learn English with films.

It takes some time to get used to the fast speech of native English speakers – so be selective: you can watch the whole film for the story but learn useful phrases and words from so-called transactional dialogues (how people book a trip, buy tickets, board the plane, go sightseeing or shopping etc.).

How you will improve your English with films

  • increase confidence in listening understanding;
  • expand vocabulary and knowledge of collocations;
  • develop communication skills.

You can watch films in English (with or without English subtitles) on Amazon Prime, Netflix, or ororo.tv.

Some learning tips:

  • choose the scene that could be useful to you (i.e. it has some phrases you could use in real life);
  • watch this dialogue with English subtitles one or two times;
  • pick the phrases you want to remember;
  • check the unknown words or expressions in the dictionary;
  • watch the dialogue again concentrating on the pronunciation of the phrases you’re learning, try saying them out loud and remember their correct pronunciation;
  • listen to this dialogue one more time without English subtitles making sure you hear all the phrases clearly.

Here are some well-known films which will help you expand your travel vocabulary and improve your communication skills:

The Terminal (2004)

Accent: American
Genre: comedy, drama, romance
Type of Travel: by plane
Skills to learn: at the airport, customs, shopping, meeting people, at the taxi
Watch on Amazon

It’s a great film but also a useful resource for English learners – you can learn everyday phrases like the hero does throughout the film.

It is a story of a man who gets stuck in a New York airport because of the revolution in his own country. He can barely speak English and, because he can’t go back home, he needs to learn the language and find his way around this strange situation.

Ever feel like you’re living in an airport?

Eat, Pray, Love (2010)

Accent: American, European
Genre: drama, romance
Types of Travel: by car, by plane
Skills to learn: restaurant, small talk
Watch on Amazon

If you are interested in self-development, you have probably heard of Liz Gilbert. The book which this film is based on has inspired many people around the world.

You can easily use this film for improving your English: the dialogues are great as well as Julia Roberts’s professional acting and pronunciation.

Sometimes to lose balance for love is part of living a balanced life.

Back to the Future – Trilogy (1985, 1989, 1990)

Accent: American
Genre: sci-fi
Types of Travel: time travel, by car 
Skills to learn: packing, driving, cafes
Watch on Amazon

This may seem like not an obvious choice for a travel film, but if you like science fiction and time travel, why not use it for learning English?

The hero travels to different times in the past and people speak a bit clearer there than in the 1980s, so the dialogues will be easier to understand for an English learner. Give it a try!

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Before Sunrise (1995)/ Before Sunset (2004)/ Before Midnight (2013) – Trilogy

Accent: American, European
Genre: drama, romance
Types of Travel: by train
Skills to learn: sightseeing, on the train
Watch on Amazon

This is the story of two young people who meet on the train somewhere in Europe and decide to get off in Vienna to spend a little life together. This ends up in a life-long romance.

It is a beautiful story which will be not too hard to understand if you are still learning English. If you like love stories, of course…

I wish I’d meet you earlier. I really like talking to you.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Accent: British, American, European
Genre: adventure, comedy
Types of Travel: by car, by train
Skills to learn: at the hotel
Watch on Amazon

A quirky dark comedy for those who love non-mainstream films. Some dialogues may seem a bit difficult, but the pace, on the whole, is not too fast and easy to adapt too.

Did he just throw my cat out of the window?

Green Book (2018)

Accent: American
Genre: biography, comedy, drama, music
Types of Travel: by car
Skills to learn: at the hotel, at the restaurant, cultural events
Watch on Amazon

Road trips are great for dialogues and non-speedy story telling. This one – about an unlikely friendship of two men travelling together to the American south in the 1960s – is inspiring and heart-warming. If you like clever films and want to see one in English.

The world’s full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

Accent: British, Indian
Genre: comedy, drama, romance
Types of Travel: by plane, by car, by motorcycle
Skills to learn: booking, at the hotel, small talk
Watch on Amazon

I didn’t expect anything special when I saw the title of this film. But there are so many things to like in it: from a personality-rich cast including so many classy British actors and actresses (meaning PERFECT British accent!) to elegant humour and warmth of the story.

This film is not so hard to understand – the heroes do not speak fast and they communicate with foreigners a lot. It also has a lot of useful phrases for everyday life and travels. And it’s fun to watch!

Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.

Up in the Air (2009)

Accent: American
Genre: drama, romance
Types of Travel: by plane
Skills to learn: packing, at the airport, business travel
Watch on Amazon

Totally recommended for those who are learning English for work and business. You will learn a lot of set expressions and useful vocabulary. Need to improve your small talk skills? This is a great resource for you!

Last year I spent 322 days on the road, which means I had to spend 43 miserable days at home.

French Kiss (1995)

Accent: American, European
Genre: comedy, drama, romance
Types of Travel: by plane, by train, by car
Skills to learn: on the plane, on the train, sightseeing, at the restaurant
Buy DVD on Amazon

One of my most favourite movies of all times. A funny yet charming story about a girl who goes to France from Canada to get her fiance back and falls in love with somebody else, in the end. Brilliant humour, cultural diversity in action, adventures and romance – this film will make you smile!

Also, it is great for learning English – the dialogues are not too hard and there is a lot of communication with non-native speakers. Good for us, right?

Do you believe in love? The kind that lasts forever?

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Accent: British, European
Genre: crime, drama, mystery
Types of Travel: by train
Skills to learn: on the train, at the restaurant, small talk
Watch on Amazon

Do you like classic detective stories? If the answer is yes, this film is a real treasure for you. Based on a famous Agatha Christie’s novel, it tells a story of an unusual murder on the famous Orient Express train. But for us, there is even more.

Again, we see outstanding British actors and actresses speaking ‘perfect’ English, but not just that. The cast is an international crowd – which is extremely useful for practising your listening. Most of the dialogues are a linguistic masterpiece!

The murderer is with us now!

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Accent: American
Genre: comedy, drama
Types of Travel: road trip, car travel
Skills to learn: planning a trip, on the road, at the restaurant
Watch on Amazon

I can’t say for sure if it’s a ‘travel’ movie or not – for me, it’s a story about dreams, establishing self-identity, looking for your place in life and so much more. A family goes on a trip across the United States to a beauty pageant their little daughter wants to be a part of. Will she win? No. But they will learn a little bit more about themselves and each other on this trip. This is a clever, non-mainstream piece of work.

If you are interested in improving your understanding of American English – give it a try. It’s quite fast and not too easy, but my students usually love it.

Oh my God, I’m getting pulled over. Everyone, just… pretend to be normal.

Interstate 60

Accent: American, British
Genre: adventure, comedy, drama
Types of Travel: by car
Skills to learn: small talk
Watch on Amazon

This film is not as classy as so others on this list, but I couldn’t leave out this witty comedy in the popular ‘road trip’ genre. Only try it if you are Upper-Intermediate level or higher – it has a lot of American slang and black humour (which is not always easy to catch if you are still learning English).

A young guy gets lost and finds himself on a non-existent Interstate 60 in search of ‘an answer and his dreamgirl’. He gets some help from a mysterious stranger played by hilarious Gary Oldman. You will hear both British and American accents and hopefully, will learn a lot of new vocabulary.

I’m just a guy that likes to mess with people’s heads.

Other films to watch

Other good movies telling about different types of travels are Elizabethtown, The Bucket List, Catch me if you can, Around the world in 80 days, or Eurotrip. They could be a bit more difficult to understand (faster speech, more complex dialogues) but they all are totally worth some learning!

I hope you have found something interesting on this list. Learning English with films is an easy and practical way to improve your listening skills and vocabulary. Travel movies are particularly useful because they help you learn about the culture and teach you real-life communication skills.

Do you have your favourite travel film in English? Share it with us in the comments!

You may also find useful:

10+ Easy TV Series to Improve your English

Small Talk Secrets: How to Easily Ask Questions

Figure Out English Episode 23: Prepare your English for Travel

Figure Out English Episode 24: Phrasal Verbs about Travel

Check your Phrasal Verbs about Travel

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