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Some time ago I asked "Why are movies so hard to understand (and what can you do about it)?"

To my surprise even many native speakers answered that they had difficulties understanding some movies and series.

My question:

Which films/series do you think are extremely good to understand (I don't mean learning videos or the like but "normal" films/series)

I for myself often find many of the Star Trek episodes (e.g. Voyager) very good to understand. Counterexamples, which are even for native speakers incomprehensible, are also welcome.

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Well, adjusting my comment from that other thread accordingly: any movie without Brad Pitt in it will do. (^_^) On a more serious note, being a non-native speaker myself and having watched a whole lot of British, American, Australian, and Canadian movies, series, and YouTube videos I must admit that I don't have an immediate answer to this question. Patrick Stewart's pronunciation is excellent, that's for sure, but then again, he's actually a stage actor. – RegDwigнt Oct 29 '10 at 14:18
really? i don't find it too hard to understand brad pitt.. – Claudiu Oct 29 '10 at 16:10
@Claudiu: IIRC, the whole point of his role in Snatch was to make fun of his unintelligibility in other movies. – RegDwigнt Oct 29 '10 at 16:35
up vote 2 down vote accepted

As a TV series maniac and a person who learns English, I would like to recommend to watch almost any sitcoms, such as "Friends", "How I met your mother", "Two and a half men". Also, "Futurama" and "Lost" were surprisingly easy to understand.

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@RegDwight: argh, too many mistakes :-( – zerkms Nov 9 '10 at 0:52

I think biopics can be wel understood. I used "Gifted hands" successfully with my elementary students (very good students, though).

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Go for Seinfeld. Simple language, plain story-line and pretty enjoyable. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098904/

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There is another way to use films for learning language. It is a bit difficult to find scripts of films, I mean printed scripts of films, not scripts that you find as download on the Internet. These downloads can sometimes be dangerous and may cause a computer crash.

The film Casablanca, USA 1942, by director Michael Curtiz is a wonderful film with good language and there is a beautifully printed script in bookform which is offered by online booksellers: Casablanca: Script and Legend: The 50th Anniversary Edition. I used the video and the script for teaching English to adults. And people liked it.

Another title is the musical My Fair Lady. The script is also available in bookform and contains exactly the text of the video.

But I must say it is hard work to find good and well-known films for which you can get a script in bookform.

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Whenever it is available, you can try to use English subtitles (if possible, not those for the hearing-impaired). Although hardly any subtitles are always exactly accurate, the visual feedback to what you (think) you are hearing really helps a lot in getting accustomed to the spoken language.

I have used this a lot (being in the lucky position that I get BBC with the "page 888 - subtitles option), and although it may take some effort to get used to reading while you are watching the film, you will find it easier to follow eventually.

Especially when it comes to (uncommon) names, I found that seeing the name written caused a lot less distraction when trying to understand the rest of the dialogue.

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protected by RegDwigнt Feb 10 '14 at 12:37

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