Learning British English by Watching Movies

Learning a new language is a difficult job and it is the small nuances like grammar and pronunciation which can prevent advanced success. Watching movies and film can be easy and valuable as well as helping you learn slang and regional accents.

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  1. My List of Top 5 English Movies

  2. Please be aware that I am a mid thirties Brit. So women especially may not agree with my list. Below my list I will link to some other people's favourite British movies to help you choose which ones to watch. You can find more information about all these movies, or films as we like to call them in the UK at the IMDb website.
  3. 1. Life of Brian (1979)

  4. Monty Python were ground breaking comedians who had a rather inconsistent but sometimes brilliant TV series. When they decide to go into film, they found the perfect medium to really excel.
  5. Life of Brian is blasphemous so if you are a Christian you may want to avoid it. For everyone else it is one of the most enjoyable comedy movies ever made. In fact this would still be my first choice of comedies if this was a worldwide list.
  6. The movie features a wide range of characters including a cockney guy from East London who is on the left in the gif below. Try sining along with the ending song to improve your cockney accent impression. There are plenty of religious stereotypes too. Besides helping you learn English this movie will give you a glimpse into the world famous "British comedy".
  7. 2. Withnail and I (1987)

  8. This is an extremely funny comedy movie which has a cult status. it shows two aspiring actors trying to make ends meet. Although they are poor, they are upper class with accents to match. This gives you a chance to see how the most posh and eccentric people in England speak.
  9. There is an Irish man in one scene. Trying to guess what he says is even a challenge for myself, a Brit. There are also characters from the north west countryside which will give you a glimpse into how people from farm lands speak.
  10. 3. Naked (1993)

  11. Naked was directed by one of the UK's most important and revered directors Mike Leigh. David Thewlis is the star with a thick Manchester accent. This will show you how they speak "up north". I know that at least one Manchester English school would not teach such a strong accent. I assume it is the same for the others, with most choosing to teach a more traditional curriculum, perhaps with some local slang thrown in.
  12. Naked also features two characters with extremely difficult to understand Scottish accents, so these are a great test to try and figure out every word they say. The movie has a rather bleak outlook of the cities of Manchester and London, but it offers very real, life-like characters thanks to the direction of Leigh.
  13. 4. The Last King of Scotland (2006)

  14. This is actually not one of my all time favourite movies but I feel it is a worthwhile inclusion because it showcases the Scottish accent so well. You will also get a taste of how some Africans speak English. Once you understand the Scottish accent try watching the wonderful Trainspotting for something more challenging.
  15. 5. Snatch (2000)

  16. Snatch is from one of the top current British directors, Madonna's former husband Shane Ritchie. It is a sprawling film, about as close as you can get in the UK to a Quentin Tarantino film. It has crime capers with lots of sub plots which all interconnect in teh Tarrantino style.
  17. We follow hard men Londoners with thick east end accents, plus a Russian speaking English and Jewish people speaking English. There is also the Brad Pitt Irish connection which you should find nigh on impossible to understand (see video at bottom of page to try). He speaks a kind of Irish slang called Pikey, thankfully his Irish friends help to translate.
  18. Below you will find some social links I have found to other people's top British movie lists:
  19. Popcorn Kitchen's Top 10 British Films Of The Last Decade Popcorn Kitchen celebrates the most inspiring...
  20. And Last but not least, a bit of fun. Can you translate what Brad Pitt is saying in this clip from the brilliant Snatch?
  21. Snatch - Mickey Almighty Speaks Pikey
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