Are you studying the Portuguese language? Why not watch some films to test what you already know and improve your understanding further?
Let’s explore 12 entertaining Brazilian and Portugal’s movies to learn Portuguese.
Learning a foreign language opens the door to new horizons.
The benefits of studying a new language are indisputable.
It improves your knowledge of the world and the many people and cultures that inhabit it.
Being fluent can help you enhance confidence, emigration, study abroad, find language jobs, and the cognitive advantage of being bilingual.
Language learning has grown beyond the conventional mode of study.
These days, people are exploring different avenues to make their language learning approaches more comfortable and exciting.
One way to do that is by watching films.
You can take your Portuguese language learning to a new height by watching movies from Brazil, Portugal, and other Lusophone countries.
- Why Watching Movies Is Good For Learning Portuguese
- Where to Watch Portuguese and Brazilian Movies?
- 12 Best Immersive & Enjoyable Movies to Learn Portuguese
- 1. In Vanda’s Room (No Quarto Da Vanda) — 2000
- 2. Central Station (Central do Brasil) — (R) 1998
- 3. April Captains (Capitães de Abril) — 2000
- 4. Lisbon Story (O Céu de Lisboa) — 1994
- 5. Abraham’s Valley (Vale Abraão) — 1993
- 6. Alice — 2005
- 7. Artificial Paradise (Paraísos Artificiais) — 2012
- 8. City of God (Cidade de Deus) — (R) 2002
- 9. Amália — 2008
- 10. Arabian Nights (O Inquieto) — 2015
- 11. Mysteries of Lisbon (Mistérios de Lisboa) — 2010
- 12. Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite) — (2007)
- Final Thought on Learning Portuguese with Films
Why Watching Movies Is Good For Learning Portuguese
Do you know you can get tired of studying your language materials?
Sometimes, you glance at your clock at occasional intervals, especially when you are fatigued.
In short, there are times it is difficult to focus on your Portuguese language textbooks.
Once that happens, some helpful information starts dropping off your mind, and you find it challenging to memorize even a single line.
That’s how tiring and frustrating it can get when you rely solely on conventional language learning techniques and materials while studying Portuguese.
But with watching movies to learn Portuguese, the story is entirely different.
Watching Brazilian and Portuguese movies gives you a break you need without pausing your language learning journey.
Watching flicks makes you feel relaxed and immersed in the art of learning your favorite tongue.
You get to flow with the language, and its culture and movies give you just that.
When you watch Portuguese films, you will become more acquainted with the two major dialects — European and Brazilian Portuguese.
You will also gain exposure to different Portuguese accents, slang, and vocabulary. It also provides you with listening practice and plenty of motivation to keep learning the Portuguese language.
The movie alone, though, is not enough to learn Portuguese. It would help if you also had some resources, books, audio lessons, and of course, a teacher.
Where to Watch Portuguese and Brazilian Movies?
You can find many Portuguese movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Moreover, you can also see several original films and TV-Series in Brazilian and European Portuguese on various online streaming, including Netflix, Amazon, and many more. Some flicks are available on YouTube as well.
If you are at an elementary or intermediate level, I would suggest first seeing with Portuguese subtitles.
You can watch it again without subtitles. It helps you understand sentence formation, pronunciation, and dialogues in the proper context.
12 Best Immersive & Enjoyable Movies to Learn Portuguese
The film industry of Brazil and Portugal offers a popular form of entertainment. The cinemas from these two nations have consistently won significant international festival prizes and awards.
The growing recognition has generated an ever-increasing interest in the films produced in these two countries.
So, with no further ado, let’s get into the list.
Here are some of the best 12 Portuguese and Brazilian movies to learn Portuguese and get you started.
1. In Vanda’s Room (No Quarto Da Vanda) — 2000
Here is one of the most enchanting Portuguese movies that reveal the nature of the criminal underworld in Portugal.
It allows the Portuguese people to view what it takes to live in the ghetto for the first time.
As directed by Pedro Costa, the film tells the story of life in the slum (the Lisbon low-cost housing).
It showcases the harsh conditions of life and how it forces people to cope with drug warlords and poverty.
These were the conditions the country experienced during the dictatorship periods before the carnation revolution.
While the film isn’t easy to watch, it is loaded with lots of vocabulary and expressions that make it ideal for intermediate and advanced language learners.
2. Central Station (Central do Brasil) — (R) 1998
Any movie that won an Academic Award is worth watching, and that is what Central Station entails.
Central Station tells the story of Dora, a schoolteacher. She is into the business of writing personal letters to make money.
Dora writes for illiterate passengers who travel via the train station and need to communicate with family and friends but don’t have the skills to do so.
The story took a turn when she gets entangled in the life of a young letter-writing client.
This movie will expose language students to the dialect of the Carioca Portuguese based in Rio de Janeiro.
Portuguese is one of the easiest languages to learn. The less use of slang also makes it a fabulous option for beginner learners.
3. April Captains (Capitães de Abril) — 2000
This flick follows the story of a schoolteacher who made all attempts to free two of her students after learning the secret police were detaining them.
She attempted to help them out by using her brother, who was a minister in the government.
The film is famous for painting a clear picture of what life was like before the Carnation Revolution that ended fascism and war in Portugal.
The highly regarded Portugal film will help you gain plenty of easy vocabulary and sentences.
4. Lisbon Story (O Céu de Lisboa) — 1994
It is one of the best films ever to come from Portugal.
It is an exciting movie that tells the story of a light engineer invited by a friend, a filmmaker, to go to Lisbon and help him with his upcoming movie project.
He came to the city, oblivious of the life-changing love adventure that is waiting for him.
The Lisbon story is highly romantic, musical and full of dramatic scenes.
Portuguese is not a difficult language. The accent in the film is friendly for a novice to understand.
5. Abraham’s Valley (Vale Abraão) — 1993
It is a romantic and compelling film that narrates the story of a beautiful young girl as the most desired yet hard-to-get woman in the small village where she lives.
Eventually, she got married to a man who was twice her age. It happens after that she couldn’t stop herself while meeting other people.
It was an astonishing story of one girl who was fleeing self-fulfillment and happiness.
This is a must-watch movie if you are preparing for international language tests like Portuguese CAPLE or Brazilian CELPE-Bras.
6. Alice — 2005
If you want to view something that is both tragic and outrightly depressive, Alice is it.
Alice is a drama that tells the story of a father (Mario) obsessed with his missing beautiful daughter (Alice), which, in turn, reflected negatively on Luisa, Alice’s mother.
Luisa reacted to the loss with sadness, apathy, and listlessness. It led to a tale of emotional disturbance and extreme changes and destruction its cause.
It is a highly accentual movie with a precise vocabulary for beginners and pre-intermediate-level students.
Furthermore, it is a fabulous choice for practicing your Portuguese listening skills.
7. Artificial Paradise (Paraísos Artificiais) — 2012
Artificial paradise is a movie that exposes you to the natural heaven of the Brazilian landscape and seaside life.
The motion picture tells the story of a DJ and her party-crazy friends that travel to a premier beach in Brazil to party during a music festival.
Along the way, they experience a series of pleasurable and memorable moments.
The language in this movie is casual, with several useful Brazilian Portuguese expressions for a beginner learner.
It is one of the must-watch movies to learn Portuguese, uniquely Brazilian.
8. City of God (Cidade de Deus) — (R) 2002
This list cannot be complete without mentioning the City of God. The storytelling at its most exquisite!
It is not only my all-time favorite movie to learn Portuguese, but perhaps one of the best foreign-language films of all time.
It has won dozens of awards and several more nominations, including an Oscar.
Set in Rio de Janeiro, City of God is a film about two boys who chose different and opposite career paths. While one decides to be a drug dealer, the other follows the track to become a photographer.
The director filled the film with so many twists and turns that highlight the incredible life choices.
You will appreciate the simple vocabulary of the modern Brazilian mixed with European Portuguese.
It is a good film for upcoming language enthusiasts.
9. Amália — 2008
If you love music and great singers, then this biography should appeal to you. Amalia is a film that tells the true-life story of Amalia, Portugal’s renowned fado singing legend.
Her music still resonates in the minds of millions of Portuguese people today.
The film showcases the life of Amalia, and it contains her actual and original recordings.
During her lifetime, the sensational singer sold over 30 million records, and this talkie delves into what life has been for this great singer famously called the great “Queen of fado.”
10. Arabian Nights (O Inquieto) — 2015
Arabian Night is a 3-part (Volume 1: The Restless One, Volume 2: The Desolate One, and Volume 3: The Enchanted One) film series. It was recreated to tell meaningful stories about Portuguese history.
The movie is an epic cinematic rendition that showcases excellent and highly engaging dramatic scenes.
This feature film is perfect for people who want to learn the European version of Portuguese.
The Portuguese spoken in this movie is overly exaggerated and evenly paced, making it ideal for all levels of language lovers.
11. Mysteries of Lisbon (Mistérios de Lisboa) — 2010
Mysteries of Lisbon is the masterpiece created by Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz.
The film bases on a novel of 1854 of the same name by Camilo Castelo Branco. The plot is slow, but the dialogues are fantastic.
The 272 minutes long film stories within narrated by several characters. The motion picture meticulously re-creates the world of nobility in Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy.
It will give you a glimpse of history’s most formal and authentic way.
The visually stunning cinematography film uses many complicated words and confusing sentences that a new learner might handle comfortably.
You can see with the subtitles on!
12. Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite) — (2007)
Elite Squad, aka Tropa de Elite, is a Brazilian crime and action movie directed by José Padilha.
In the late 1990s, the film is about the leader of Rio de Janeiro’s Special Police Operations Squad, who is looking for his replacement as he plans to retire soon.
But his final operation needs him to take down notorious drug dealers & criminals in the slum area before Pope arrives in Brazil.
The film has a lot of fast and action-packed scenes, so it may be tough to understand.
If you like this flick, you can also check out a sequel Elite Squad 2 (The Enemy Within).
Final Thought on Learning Portuguese with Films
There is no better and more relaxed way to learn how to speak Portuguese than watching Brazilian and Portuguese movies.
It is an effective way to practice Portuguese and a great moment you cannot afford to overlook.
This list, of course, does not cover every single Portuguese film out there. Instead, this can be a starting point for some fabulous Movies to learn Portuguese that gives a glimpse of the cinema from Brazil and Portugal.
Get on with it, and enjoy the rest of your language learning process.