9 Modern American Classics for Learning English with Movies-Part 2


4. “Toy Story” (1995)

Learning English with Movies

Starring: Tim Allen and Tom Hanks.

Story: This is an animated (cartoon) movie that follows a young boy called Andy. Andy loves playing in his room with his toys. He especially loves to play with his action figure called Woody. When Andy disappears, the toys come to life. Andy’s mom gives him a new toy for his birthday which is called Buzz Lightyear, which becomes Andy’s new favorite toy to play with.

Woody feels hurt and is jealous of the attention Andy gives his new toy and as a result he tries to get rid of him. However, as the two toys begin to fight they get lost. This story follows their adventure and is full of action and a lot of laughs.

Why it’s a good movie to learn English: Animation movies such as “Toy Story” are usually written for and aimed at a younger audience which means the story and vocabulary used is not complicated. Even though the movie is mainly for kids, it doesn’t feel like it. The director made it attractive for adults too, by including a little bit of adult humor in it.

Favorite quote: “Woody to Buzz Lightyear: This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.”

5. “Cast Away” (2000)

Learning English with Movies

Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt and Chris North.

Story: This is an American adventure drama that follows Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), a systems analyst, who has to travel around the world fixing problems at Fedex centers. Chuck is called up at Christmas time to go to Malaysia on business and is forced to leave his girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt) behind.

His plane hits a terrible storm and it crashes somewhere into the Pacific Ocean. Chuck manages to escape the crashed plane and holds on to a life raft in the cold sea. Eventually he washes up onto a deserted island the next day. The story follows Chuck and his survival on the island and focuses on a ball he calls Wilson.

Every day Chuck talks with the ball (Wilson) to fight his loneliness. Four years later Chuck is still on the island and is fishing off a man-made raft he made with Wilson. Wilson falls into the sea and cannot be rescued leaving Chuck feeling lonely and lost again until he’s rescued by a passing cargo ship. Chuck is taken back home, however, four years later everything has changed and it’s no longer the life he once knew.

Why this is a great movie for learning English: Most of the dialogue in this movie is a monologue (one person speaking). There are no complicated relationships or turnovers between different characters which makes this movie very easy to follow. Tom Hanks is also known for his clear and slow voice, which is perfect for any English learner to understand.

Favorite quote: Chuck (Hanks) to Wilson (the ball): “Don’t worry Wilson. I’ll do the paddling. You just hang on.”


6. “(500) Days of Summer” (2009)

Learning English with Movies

Starring: Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Story: This is not your typical love story. On January 8, a young architect called Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). He almost falls in love with her right away, and over the next few months they spend a lot of time together. Then hang out a lot even though Summer tells him she doesn’t believe in love.

Despite how much time they spend together, Summer doesn’t feel the same about Tom. This story shows how Tom loves Summer but she doesn’t feel the same. A couple of years later they meet again and she explains that he was right about the idea of love and that she has met someone.

Why this is a great movie to learn English: The English is very simple to understand it’s a narrative from one person’s perspective so it’s easy to follow. It’s not your typical love story and it catches the audience’s interest from the beginning.

Favorite quote: Tom: “Either she’s an evil, emotionless miserable human being, or…she’s a robot.”

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