Best American Classics
FluentU is perfect for learning from difficult videos like movie trailers. FluentU has great videos for learning English in one convenient place. It also provides a video player designed for learning English. When you review vocab, you do it with video clips. And FluentU remembers your progress and uses it to recommend videos to you. Below are a couple of must-watch movies to help you become more fluent in English…and not to mention a movie buff (movie expert) too!
1. “The Social Network” (2010)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield.
Story: Want to know the history behind the invention of Facebook? This story tells the story of the young Mark Zuckerberg, a geeky Harvard student, who wants to revolutionize the way we communicate with other people. The story shows how Zuckerberg accidentally finds fame and becomes a multi-millionaire – but there is a price.
Many of his old friends and people he’s connected with over the years want him to fail. Mark Zuckerberg shows us he’s got everything in terms of material things but very little in terms of friends. Mark Zuckerberg finds himself in court a number of times and the movie questions whether it was really Mark Zuckerberg or not who first created the world’s largest social network, Facebook.
Why it’s a great movie for learning English: This is an award winning movie written by Aaron Sorkin. He’s famous for his natural dialogue and funny lines, which makes this movie really enjoyable to watch and of course it’s easy to follow too. Also, almost everyone understands and knows Facebook and you will automatically be able to relate to the movie and not to mention, you’ll also be able to pick up a lot of great English vocabulary related to computers, technology and social networks.
Favorite quote: “I invented Facebook!”
2. “The Hangover” (2009)
Starring: Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifiankis.
Story: Four male friends go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party a couple of days before their friend’s wedding. It follows their wild adventures and how they find themselves in a lot of trouble. They find themselves in so much trouble, it’s unsure whether they are going to make it back in time for the wedding or not.
Why it’s a great movie for learning English: First of all it’s hilarious (really funny) and it keeps us interested throughout the movie. Because it’s a comedy and we rely a lot on the visuals to understand, it makes it a lot easier to understand the dialogue between the characters.
All of the characters in “The Hangover” use everyday English, which makes this movie an awesome way of learning modern American slang which will help you fit into everyday life if you’re planning on moving to the United States. You’ll hear common phrases such as “stag party” (bachelor party) and “all-nighter” (staying up all night without sleep).
Favorite quote: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
3. “The Hunger Games” (2012)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth.
Story: This story is set in the future and set in a futuristic nation called Panem. Every year there are two people who are chosen to represent their district in the Hunger Games fight. Those who are chosen are done so by a lottery system. This follows the story of Katniss, a 16-year-old girl, from District 12. It shows her intense training and then how she is suddenly thrown into the fight to represent her area in the 74th annual hunger games.
Why it’s a great movie for learning English: This is a very visual movie and what you miss in the dialogue, you’ll be able to be filled in by the visual action. While the actions are fast, the language is relatively easy to understand unlike other sci-fi and futuristic movies which use complex terms.
The accent is a clean North American one so you’ll have no problem understand what the characters say. The characters don’t speak too fast and it’s fairly easy to understand what’s going on. It’s also an action-filled movie and has an interesting plot, which makes it even better. This movie has something for everyone as it cleverly includes action, romance, comedy and the future all in one movie.
Favorite quote: “Here’s some advice, stay alive!”
4. “Toy Story” (1995)
Starring: Tim Allen and Tom Hanks.
Story: This is an animated (cartoon) movie that follows a young boy called Andy. Andy loves playing in his room with his toys. He especially loves to play with his action figure called Woody. When Andy disappears, the toys come to life. Andy’s mom gives him a new toy for his birthday which is called Buzz Lightyear, which becomes Andy’s new favorite toy to play with.
Woody feels hurt and is jealous of the attention Andy gives his new toy and as a result he tries to get rid of him. However, as the two toys begin to fight they get lost. This story follows their adventure and is full of action and a lot of laughs.
Why it’s a good movie to learn English: Animation movies such as “Toy Story” are usually written for and aimed at a younger audience which means the story and vocabulary used is not complicated. Even though the movie is mainly for kids, it doesn’t feel like it. The director made it attractive for adults too, by including a little bit of adult humor in it.
Favorite quote: “Woody to Buzz Lightyear: This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.”
5. “Cast Away” (2000)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt and Chris North.
Story: This is an American adventure drama that follows Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), a systems analyst, who has to travel around the world fixing problems at Fedex centers. Chuck is called up at Christmas time to go to Malaysia on business and is forced to leave his girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt) behind.
His plane hits a terrible storm and it crashes somewhere into the Pacific Ocean. Chuck manages to escape the crashed plane and holds on to a life raft in the cold sea. Eventually he washes up onto a deserted island the next day. The story follows Chuck and his survival on the island and focuses on a ball he calls Wilson.
Every day Chuck talks with the ball (Wilson) to fight his loneliness. Four years later Chuck is still on the island and is fishing off a man-made raft he made with Wilson. Wilson falls into the sea and cannot be rescued leaving Chuck feeling lonely and lost again until he’s rescued by a passing cargo ship. Chuck is taken back home, however, four years later everything has changed and it’s no longer the life he once knew.
Why this is a great movie for learning English: Most of the dialogue in this movie is a monologue (one person speaking). There are no complicated relationships or turnovers between different characters which makes this movie very easy to follow. Tom Hanks is also known for his clear and slow voice, which is perfect for any English learner to understand.