Movies can be a great tool to help you improve your English, so EFLsuccess.com is building a collection of Movie Study Guides (look at the drop-down “Movie Guides” menu) that give you plot summaries, vocabulary, discussion questions and more, to help you enjoy these great films and improve your English. ALSO look at the links on the bottom of this page!
Do you love movies? Turn them into effective language tools!
These EFL study guides can help turn great films into materials that promote English-for-success! The key difference between “movies for fun” and “movies to help your English” is repetition. I tell my students to (1) study the introductory information and vocabulary on the EFL Study Guide, (2) watch and enjoy the film with subtitles in their own language, (3) study the dialogs on the EFL Study Guide, (4) watch the film again with English subtitles, (5) discuss the movie using questions on the EFL Study Guide, and (6) review the dialogs again and then watch the film again with no subtitles. (7) For a real challenge, watch again with no audio, and try to read the subtitles out loud in “real time”–this might be possible if you have followed the steps above!
EFL/ESL Teachers: I show one or two movies to students in class each semester, usually taking two or three days to complete a film. I talk about the “process” below. In class, I assign roles to students, who perform key dialogs as “readers’ theater” (i.e., they can read the script, but should also “act” and use their voice like an actor). A “narrator” can read descriptions and comments in brackets [ ]. After watching the movie, ask groups of students to create an additional dialog, to explain something not shown, or that might take place “in the future” for the characters. And don’t forget to leave time for small group discussions (each Study Guide provides discussion questions to choose from). A “movie night” outside of class (in a classroom, or in your home) can also be a lot of fun.
Some of the films we have materials for:
(some at currently at www.krigline.com/movies.htm, but I’m slowly moving them to EFLsuccess.com):
- Paulie: family comedy/drama that shows various aspects of US life; 91 minutes
- Family Man: drama that shows American life, and the need to make wise choices; 2 hours
- Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo: cartoon, family comedy, adventure; 100 minutes
- Finding Forrester: drama with educational themes; under 2.5 hours
- Patch Adams: comedy, drama, US history; dare to be different!; under 2 hours
- Snoopy’s Christmas (actual title: A Charlie Brown Christmas): cartoon comedy & holiday classic; under 30 minutes
- Last Holiday: comedy, drama–are you living out your “possibilities”?; under 2 hours
- House MD: Pilot/Maternity/Christmas; episodes in a US TV series about medical diagnosticians; under 40 minutes
- Return of the King (Lord of the Rings III); 11 Oscars! Drama, adventure, romance; 3:15 hr
- Finding Neverland: friendship, drama and a bit of history; 100 min
- Rudy: drama, sports; helping others succeed is a worthy goal; 2 hrs
- Ben-Hur: 11 Oscars! Romance, action, drama, history; 3.5 hours
- Ever After: romance, humor, and a bit of history; 2 hrs
- Narnia 1: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; fantasy/adventure; 2 hrs
- Narnia 2: Prince Caspian; fantasy/adventure
- Lost Worlds, Life in the Balance: documentary about biological diversity & the environment; 40 min
- Titanic: (there are several films on this subject) romance, drama, history; varying lengths
- Second Hand Lions: comedy, drama; how do you know who/what to believe?; 2 hrs
- Cool Runnings: the Olympics/sports, history, comedy; 2 hrs
- Chariots of Fire: the Olympics/sports, history, values; 2 hours
- Disney’s Jungle Book: cartoon, comedy, musical, adventure; 78 min
- Air Bud (3)–World Pup: family comedy, sports, teen romance; 83 min
- An American Tail: cartoon about immigration to the US in the 1800s; 80 min
- Baby’s Day Out: comedy (without a lot of words!); 100 minutes
- The Russians are Coming: comedy/drama that makes you laugh AND think!; 2:05 hours
- Unstoppable: action, thriller (starring a train!) 98 min
The following links will get you even more information, pictures, etc., to help you enjoy your favorite English movies. (Sometimes they have even helped us create our Study Guides!)
- The Internet Movie Data Base is probably the most comprehensive movie site on the web: www.imdb.com
- www.kidsinmind.com gives short reviews that help you know if a film is “family friendly” (which is the best kind of film to use as a language-learning tool)
- www.pluggedin.com/movies is connected to Focus on the Family
- Yahoo movies is another vast movie site
- I enjoy reviews and info about movies at Patheos Entertainment.
- The UK Film Industry created a charity with lots of great resources for educators: http://www.filmeducation.org/resources/
- Here’s a site with lots of movie box office stats: www.boxofficemojo.com
- Most of the “movie posters” at EFLsuccess are scans from my movies, but you can find lots of posters here: www.movieposterdb.com or www.movieposter.com or www.impawards.com or www.freemovieposters.net (Unfortunatly, several of those sites are blocked in China)
- Back when I used a Windows PC, DVD Shrink made great freeware to make and edit backups of your DVDs: Check them out at: http://www.dvdshrink.org
- On Mac (and PCs), I recommend DVDFab Copy. You can try their software for free to see if it works for you; I’ve used it for many years.
Resources posted at EFLsuccess.com do not imply any consent from or relationship with any web-hosts, universities, on-line services, publishers, producers, etc.
EFLsuccess.com; ©Michael Krigline, all rights reserved. Our resources were created for our students under my understanding of “fair use” for educational resources. As far as I am concerned, website visitors are allowed to print/copy these materials for personal or classroom use. For details, see our Website Standards and Use Policy.
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