Watching throwback movies is a great way of connecting with our own past. It’s an exercise in nostalgia, which is why we love it. However, if we look further afield, we can actually learn from old movies. This is especially true if we are willing to look to different cultures for content.
If you love travel and culture, you probably wish you could speak more languages. The good news is that you can learn to speak languages by watching old movies. The best way to learn languages is to actually interact with them, which makes movies the perfect vehicle. This is not just because it is a way to learn that does not get boring, but also because you see and hear how the language is spoken.
Looking to learn a language by watching ‘90s movies? We have a selection for you. If you get a subscription to Lingopie, you can find all of the following movies with interactive subtitles to help you learn.
Italian Miracle [Italian]
Italian Miracle is not quite a religious film, but it plays on tropes that fascinate film watchers from all backgrounds. The film is set in a rural Italian village, where an English-speaking woman wishes to make a confession to a priest. The priest needs her confession translated, and enlists Antonio for the purpose. However, the process does not flow as well as expected, and twisting revelations are made along the way.
The lives of the priest, the woman, and Antonio are all impacted by this confession, and you will feel moved as well. Since the theme of translation is central to the film, it provides a great basis on which to learn the language of Italian. As an English speaker, you will learn about the nuances in both English and Italian.
You will learn a lot of varied words as well, including religious words, words for household chores, and greetings and introductions. This is by far the best way to learn Italian.
Insilios is a story of two characters, Germán and Juan, brought together on a trip in Southern Patagonia. They share their fears and contemplations, focusing on themes of isolation, purpose, and an uncertain future. When they go through customs, the contents of their luggage exposes the ups and downs of their lives.
Insilios is a short film that packs a significant punch. If you are learning Spanish, you will find a lot of inspiration from the language used, which is at times direct and at times poetic. It will also make you think about your own life and where you are going, while bringing you on the characters’ journeys.
Video Clube [Portuguese]
Video Clube is one of those films that was made for people like us – film buffs. Set in 1999, it follows a video store clerk and a film aficionado who decide to deliver VHS tapes of various films to the people who rented them out over and over again. In the process, tyey discuss classic movies and the impact that they have had.
The Portuguese spoken in this film is lyrical and poetic, but also useful. Another great aspect of this movie is its incorporation of poetry, punk music, and other sounds of Portuguese culture. If you plan on going to a country where Portuguese is spoken, Video Clube is perfect preparation. If you simply want to enjoy a movie that portrays Portuguese culture while embracing the love of film, that’s great too.
Revenge, Angel [German]
Many of the best throwback movies are revenge stories. Think about Carrie, Kill Bill, and Gladiator. Well, add Revenge, Angel to your list. Connie realizes that she needs to make up for what Patrick put her through. She decides to get creative with her revenge tactics. In this film, you’ll learn a lot of German swear words, along with the names of objects used to exact creative forms of revenge.
German feels like the perfect language for a revenge film, and you will get more than you bargained for. In the context of ‘90s movies, Revenge, Angel is one of those films that, while not based on a particularly original premise, will quickly become part of your classics collection.
The premise of the French film Detour is extremely cute. A family who is packing for vacation loses control of the young daughter’s tricycle. As any parent knows, losing a precious toy is devastating for young children. The good news is that this tricycle is going to take a trip of its own. Weaving through French streets, it finds its way back to its delighted owner.
The catchy songs in this film will definitely help you get to grips with a range of French words. Instead of simply taking in the sites, you can learn greetings and basic phrases. It is an easy watch that will get you practicing French words that slip nicely off your tongue. It is also a good way to get your children interested in the language.