Most of us enjoy watching great movies and it is an excellent way for students to improve their American accent. Students can choose films, which interest them and often films are easier to follow and understand initially then reading books. The films will give the students a better knowledge of perhaps history if the film is historical or improve their cultural knowledge. Films help students immerse themselves in what is happening and so this will help them listen to accents. Here are my suggestions of 12 Hollywood movies that will help improve an American accent.
This is the story about Mark Zuckerberg, who is a student at Harvard, who invented Facebook. This film is easy to watch and follow. As so many of us use Facebook, students know something about the story line before they start watching the film. There is plenty of American vocabulary in the film, both to understand and learn.
The Social Network is a great story to learn English spoken in American colleges.
This is the first in the series of Die Hard films about the New York policeman John McClane. This is a very exciting action film (as are the sequels), which are easy to follow, as is the story line. The following titles in the series of these films are called Die Hard 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance. Live Free or Die Hard and the final one is A Good Day to Die Hard. One of the quotes that John McClane says in the films is that he is “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
GONE WITH THE WIND
This is a film set during the Civil War in America. It starts where Scarlett O’Hara grew up on a plantation (called Tara) in America’s southern state of Georgia and follows her life during this war and her involvement with Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler. Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable are the actors in this film, which is both historical and amazing to watch.
THE GODFATHER (1, 2 and 3)
This is a series of films, which starred Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. These films are meant to be one of the greatest sets of films ever made. The story line relates to an Italian-American film about the family of Don Vito Corleone and the family’s involvement in the Mafia. These films are based on the crime novels written by Mario Puzo.
The godfather is a iconic Hollywood production – If you want to familiarize yourself with Italian American accents, you must not miss this movie
The original film made in 1959 is a historical drama about Judah Ben-Hur and the story relates to religion and the freedom of the Jewish people together with friendship issues. This film is a true epic and starred Charlton Heston. This film was remade in 2016 staring Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman. Both are worth watching.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
The book (of the same title) is an American literature classic and the book and the film tell the story of a lawyer called Atticus, (played by Gregory Peck), who lives in the South, during the depression who defends a man named Tom Robinson, (played by Brock Peters), accused wrongly of rape. The lawyer also defends the children of the accused of prejudice.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
A film based in the South West of America based during the Civil War and tells the story of a friendship between a stranger and an outlaw from Mexico. This is a Western film starring Clint Eastwood as “Blondie” (the good), Lee Van Cleef played Angel Eyes (the bad) and Eli Wallach plays Tuco Benedicto Pacifico (the ugly).
These are a series of films, which tell the story of several characters in space (galaxy) in the past, which have been very successful. The spin off of these films has been the number of books and comics published and television series produced together with computer games. These films are worth watching if students enjoy aliens, space travel and galaxies. Star wars is a movie that will definitely help anyone learn an American accent!
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
This film was made in 1952 and is an American romantic musical including singing and dancing. This is truly an American film staring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. This film is very lighthearted set in the 1920s in Hollywood at a time when films were changing from silent films to “talkies” films. It is often regarded as one of the best musical movies of all time.
Jaws was directed by Steven Spielberg and is an American thriller and based on the 1974 book by Peter Benchley and tells the story of a great white shark killing a woman off the coast of New England. The film stars Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss and was filmed at Martha’s Vineyard in America. A very exciting film to watch and there were three more films in this series
THE DARK KNIGHT
This film was made in 2008 and forms part of the trilogy of books written by Christopher Nolan. The film is described as a ‘superhero’ film and relates to Batman’s influence in trying to sort out the criminal chaos and was filmed mainly in Chicago. There are many exciting effects in this film including the Batpod and the Batmobile. This film was the highest grossing film of 2008 with Christian Bale playing the part of Batman.
THE DEER HUNTER
This film is based in Pennsylvania, America and stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage who play three friends. These friends come from the working class of Pennsylvania and are steelworkers. This film is about the Vietnam War where they are sent to fight and how the war changes their lives completely.
By watching Hollywood movies, students can listen, learn and improve their American accent. Students should make notes of new words, listen to the sounds of the voices and practice these words. The students should watch the films perhaps a second time to help their understanding. By immersing oneself in the world of films, students can learn to “think in English” as well as learning about the story behind the films. These films certainly help improve an American accent. Enjoy watching the suggestions and then try reading the books.