47 Foreign Movies for Language Learners: Deer’s Choice

A native speaker of Russian, translator and passionate learner of English and Chinese. Always ready to extend a helping hand to those in need of language learning advice.
Galina K.

Watching foreign movies has always been one of the most enjoyable ways to learn a language. So we asked our language learners to share the name of their favorite movies in their target learning language. Long story short, let’s see which movies are recommended by our fellow language learners!

List

Japanese Movies

Howl’s Moving Castle

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Ponyo

Spirited Away

My Neighbor Totoro

Princess Mononoke

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro

Your Name

A Silent Voice

Wolf Girl and Black Prince

Wolf Children

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer

Case Closed: the phatom of Baker Street

Detective Conan

Tampopo

Shin Godzilla

Korean Movies

Train to Busan

Parasite

Memories of Murder

Chinese Movies

Farewell My Concubine

To Live

Chungking Express

The Longest Night in Shanghai

Starry Starry Night

Devils on the Doorstep

Have a Nice Day

Legend of Luo Xiao Hei

Da Hu Fa

Italian Movies

La vita è bella

Malèna

Spanish Movies

The Invisible Guest

Wild Tales

The Distinguished Citizen

French Movies

Amélie

Blue is the Warmest Colour

The Chorus

Little Nicholas

Love Me If You Dare

Welcome to the Sticks

German Movies

the Best of All Worlds

Goodbye Lenin

The Lives of Others

Never Look Away

Run Lola Run

System Crasher

The Wave

Japanese Section

For many years now, Japanese has been one of the most popular languages to study, so it makes sense our learners would come up with a looong list of Japanese language favorites 😉

The first place, unsurprisingly, goes to Hayao Miyazaki’s works, known and loved all over the world by children as well as adults, no matter how far they are from the so-called anime culture. Our users specifically mentioned Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro; this little deer believes that Princess Mononoke and Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro also deserve a mention.

The list of anime goes on: other fan-favorites include Your Name and A Silent Voice, which blew away the audiences in many a country back in 2016. Two beautiful stories of young love will touch even the coldest of hearts, and help viewers learn some useful daily vocab.

Your Name Film

Another great choice for people who like highschool drama would be Wolf Girl and Black Prince, and if you want to see actual wolves (or rather, actual werewolves), don’t miss out on Wolf Children! If you’re into high fantasy drama, be sure to check out Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms. One of our participants wrote: [it is] the deep analysis of the topic of the futility of human life that is not reversed but seen through the importance of the feelings, special and unique. It is something so different, so precious.

For more action/adventure-oriented users we have Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer, an incredibly popular shounen manga- and anime-series centered around familial love and demon-butt-kicking, as well as Case Closed: the phatom of Baker Street, one of the many feature-length installments of Detective Conan saga.

Next up is an oldie but goldie Tampopo (1985), a brilliant comedy and the first ramen western in the history of mankind. Another unconventional choice would be Shin Godzilla, which provides a unique look into the classical genre of Giant Monster Attacks Town through the eyes of an unassuming government employee.

 

Korean Section

LingoDeer Korean is one of our oldest courses; it is our most darling baby and it makes us proud. So, sentimental as we tend to be, we were ecstatic to see the range of our deer learners’ tastes in Korean movies and dramas.

You can probably guess the first three picks: Train to Busan, Parasite, and Memories of Murder, critically acclaimed both in South Korea and worldwide. Here’s what our participants had to say about them:

While [Train to Busan]’s a zombie movie on the surface, it is a movie that looks at what it means to be a father (and a decent human being in general, this deer would like to add).

 

[Parasire is] such a great criticism of society and you really don’t know who to take as the bad guy; so Oscar worthy!

 

You laugh, you wonder, you do not blink. The killer part of [Memories of Murder] was the end. Actors were great, director was great, movie was great. 

 

For less bloody, but no less serious picks, consider Kim Ji-young, Born 1982, a pro-feminist drama about generational vices and unseen labor of motherhood, and My Little Brother, a dramedy with a heavy focus on what it means to be a real family.

Heist-movie fans will appreciate Going by the Book – a Korean remake of a sadly forgotten Japanese classic Asobi no jikan wa owaranai, where an extremely straight-laced policeman gets tasked with playing a robber during a drill and gets scarily good at his new “job”. And if you’re in a romcom mood, check out A Werewolf Boy (my, is there a market for this type of stuff?) and My Sassy Girl!

No Korean visual media overview can be free of K-dramas, though. Here they are, left to right: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, True Beauty, Boys over flowers, It´s okay not to be okay, One Spring Night, Tomorrow, with you, No second chance, Pinocchio… Take your pick! And help us expand on this list, if you’re up to it 🙂

Chinese Section

Chinese is deemed one of the most “our their” languages in the world: difficult to grasp, difficult to learn, difficult to retain… Many a foreigner complained that while they can jump right back to speaking and writing in English even after a long break, Chinese is a completely different story: you need to practice it constantly to remain somewhat decent. How to do that? Study, study, study – preferably with LingoDeer’s help 😉 – and if you’re tired of that, sit back and watch something nice!

The first movies in the Chinese section will come as no surprise to anyone who can point to China on the map: the two classics worthy of instant rewatch are Farewell My Concubine and To Live. One user called the latter a stunning movie, visually perfect, giving both cultural and historical insight into China, but this support deer thinks it applies to both.

Another movie you probably heard of would be Chungking Express, a comedy-drama about a simple policeman in throes of pining. But what about less famous goodies? We got ’em too!

There’s The Longest Night in Shanghai, a ‘funny and kooky and sweet’ movie co-produced by China and Japan, where, according to our user, each of the two main characters is using their own languages (no, they can’t understand each other mosts of time, which kicks off a quite impressive series of events over one night). There’s Starry Starry Night, a fantasy drama based on an illustrated novel by Jimmy Liao.

There’s the war movie Devils on the Doorstep, the most side-splitting comedy with the most harrowing ending you’ll ever see, and Have a Nice Day, an animated crime drama set in the sweltering heat of Sichuan night.

Speaking of Chinese animation, while it often gets overlooked in favor of its more prominent competitor from the East, you’d be remiss if you didn’t give it a try. Start with Legend of Luo Xiao Hei, a vivid and entertaining story of found family, if you are looking to spend quality time with your kids or younger siblings, and with Da Hu Fa if you can stomach a more violent take on the action-adventure genre.

Honorary Mentions

In terms of learning goals, SEA languages seem to be all the rage nowadays, but here at LingoDeer, we have no intention to forget the good ol’ Europe either. What do our overseas users have to say about Italian, Spanish, French, and German cinema? Let’s find out!

For learners of Italian, we’ve got La vita è bella (because of course we did! You probably heard its English title, Life is Beautiful) and Malèna. Spanish movies go in strong with The Invisible Guest, Wild Tales, and The Distinguished Citizen. France, cradle of the movie industry, has Amélie, Blue is the Warmest Colour, The Chorus, Little Nicholas, Love Me If You Dare, and Welcome to the Sticks. Finally, German movies are represented by such fan-favorites as The Best of All Worlds, Goodbye Lenin, The Lives of Others, Never Look Away, Run Lola Run, System Crasher, and The Wave (it’s a shame this movie never seems to age! Watch it and you’ll know why).

 

This article was brought to you by one of our Deer language experts. Here at LingoDeer we encourage our learners to have fun with their target languages: watch those movies! Learn those songs! And, last but not least, complete those exercises 😀 

Have you watched any of the films mentioned? What do you think? If you have any other recommendations for the list, let us know in the comment section below!

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