This is a guest post by Jamy Russell from learntherussianlanguage.com
What do you think is the most important thing for learning Russian? If you’ve guessed talent, following a specific program, or a good teacher than you’re partly right. These things can certainly help, but I think the most important thing is putting in the time (and effort). Everything that’s difficult requires that you put in the hours of practice. And one of the easiest ways I’ve found that you can put in a lot of ‘Russian-time’ in your day is – you guessed it – by watching Russian movies or series!
Watching movies and series can help a lot for learning Russian
Not only is it a lot easier to lay down on the couch and watch a movie than sitting behind your desk with a Russian textbook, but it’s also a lot more fun. If you’re watching a good movie, you won’t have to put effort into keeping your focus. But you’ll naturally want to watch it till the end.
If you usually watch an English movie or series at night to relax after your day, then I challenge you to switch to Russian ones. It will make a big difference in your learning.
Short from travelling to Russia or having a Russian friend/partner, watching movies is the ultimate way of immersing yourself in the language. Two hours of watching a movie is 2 hours of:
- practicing your comprehension of Russian
- training your ears to distinguish words and sounds
- learning real-life spoken vocabulary
Plus you’ll learn a lot about Russian culture, customs and the history of the country.
With that out of the way, here is a list of Russian movies and series that I personally enjoyed. They’re all available for free on Youtube. And a great deal of them have embedded subtitles. So whatever your skill in Russian, you’ll be able to understand what the plot is about.
Recommendations for Soviet movies
If you’re anything like me, you’ll absolutely love watching the old Soviet movies. They’re a pleasure to watch and the spoken Russian is still relevant today. Here are some of the most popular soviet movies with a link where you can watch them on Youtube (including subtitles):
- The Diamond arm (Бриллиантовая рука)
- The Caucasian Prisoner (Кавказская пленница)
- Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Professions (Иван Васильевич меняет профессию)
- Love and Doves (Любовь и голуби)
There are many and more – but these 4 are a good start if you want to get to know the classic Soviet Movies!
Recommendations for new Russian movies/series
Modern Russian cinematography is something special. In some cases, the movies are on the same level as Hollywood – and in many cases, I’d say they are even better. Most modern movies are available online, the only thing is that it’s often difficult to find them with subtitles. Here are some good ones including subtitles.
- Brother (Брат)
- The postman’s white nights (Белые ночи почтальона Алексея Тряпицына)
- The 9th company (9 рота)
- Khottabych (Хоттабыч) – unfortunately without English subs
There are also some series that are a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately they’re not available with subtitles. But if you’re an intermediate learner – I can highly recommend you watch these!
One last thing
If you’re looking to improve your Russian, then watching Russian movies and series is one of the best things you can do to progress faster and learn new things. I hope the list in this blog gave you a good impression of the wealth of Russian cinematography out there!
One last thing though: watching movies is a lot of fun – but don’t make the mistake of only watching them as your daily/weekly Russian practice. They’re best used together with other strategies such as textbook courses, grammar drills, writing exercises and a private tutor. So use them as a part of your Russian learning – not as the only thing!
What Russian movies or series did you enjoy? Share your favorites in the comments so we can all enjoy them!