Here, at Spring Spanish, we think one of the BEST ways to learn Spanish is through watching Spanish movies and series. That’s why we’ve already made a video and an article about the best Netflix originals to watch and, today, we’re doing the same for Amazon originals!
En este artículo vamos a explorar (In this article we’re going to explore) 5 Amazon originals you must watch if you’re learning Spanish. I’ve chosen one TV show or movie of different genres, so I hope you can find at least one good recommendation.
I’ll also give you two easy things you should do while watching to make sure you discover and memorize new Spanish chunks that you can start using in conversations yourself!
1. MasterChef Junior México
Te voy a decir un secreto (I’m going to tell you a secret): I love reality TV competition shows, and I love it even more when these shows take place in Latinoamérica, like MasterChef Junior México.
Ya sabes la mecánica (Lit., You know the mechanics; more idiomatically, You know the drill): a group of participants —en este caso, niños (in this case, children)— compete for the MasterChef title.
Lots of personal stories there, which I think are not only a great way to learn Spanish, but also an insight into Mexican families. There, you can find a good amount of “proper slang” that we natives use, but that can also be said on national TV, on a children’s show.
It’s of course a great show if you are into cooking, y recordarás y aprenderás nombres de vegetales y frutas (and you will remember, and learn, names of vegetables and fruits).
Oh, and two things:
1. Usa subtítulos en español, no en inglés (Use Spanish subtitles, not English ones).
If you do so, you can listen and read at the same time, and you’ll understand much more, unless you are a beginner… only then are you allowed to use English subtitles!
Make sure you’re listening to Spanish, though, and don’t ignore what is being said by only reading the subtitles in English; otherwise, it will have no effect on your Spanish skills at all.
2. Pay attention to the phrases (or chunks) the characters are using!
Whenever you hear somebody saying “¡Qué onda! ¿Cómo te ha ido?” (What’s up! How have you been?) You’ll think “Ah, now I know how a Spanish native speaker says it!”
Escribe y memoriza la frase para que después la uses tú (Write the phrase down and memorize it, so you can start using it yourself later on). You don’t have to do this all the time, but try to find a couple of chunks in every episode you watch.
2. Cuando los hijos regresan (When the children come back)
A comedy movie —aunque padre diga que es más bien de terror (even if father says it’s more of a horror movie)— that tells the story of Manuel and Adelina, an elderly couple that is ready to enjoy retirement and themselves… when, suddenly, their three children, por equis o por ye (lit., because of X or Y; more idiomatically, for one reason or another), return home to live with them. So, the couple must find a way to get them out again!
Debo confesar que no fui fan de la trama: de repente se pone un poco dramático el asunto (I must confess I wasn’t a fan of the plot: it suddenly becomes a bit dramatic), but it delivers, and it has the amazing performance of one of the most beloved actors here in Mexico, who passed away hace un par de años (a couple of years ago): Fernando Luján.
Did you notice I used two letters of the alphabet to express “one reason or another”?
Por equis o por ye is an expression we use a lot in Mexico when we want to tell there’s a lot of reasons for something, but you won’t go over them at that moment. If you use this sentence, sonarás como un verdadero nativo (you will sound like a true native).
For more chunks like this, download our free Essential Spanish Chunking Kit! It contains a list of the Spanish chunks used most frequently by native speakers in conversations.
Recuerda, pon subtítulos en español y escribe algunos chunks para repasarlos luego (Remember, put subtitles in Spanish and write some chunks down to review them later).
3. Cuna de lobos (Cradle of wolves)
¡Prepárate para una verdadera novela mexicana! (Get ready for a true Mexican soap opera!) Yes, the kind that has made us famous all over the world… I even have friends from Romania who know novelas mexicanas (Mexican soap operas)!
Here is the synopsis: Catalina Creel, a woman whose beauty equals her evil, hides a great secret for which she is willing to kill… even her own family. A bisexual son; a stepson who, according to her, wants to see her finished; and an innocent girl who has been deceived are the pieces that Catalina will move in her deadly game.
This is a remake of one of the most popular telenovelas (soap operas) of all times, filmada en 1986, era una hora sagrada en la casa de la abuela (filmed in 1986, and it was a sacred hour at my grandma’s house).
Remember me when you hear the infamous sentence: “Te pasó lo que le pasa a la gente estúpida y ordinaria: te enamoraste” (“What happens to stupid and ordinary people happened to you: you fell in love”).
Este tal vez sea mi show favorito de esta lista (This might be my favorite show on the list)… It’s about the conquest of Mexico and each episode is told by someone who knew Hernán Cortés, the conqueror, closely.
¿Cómo pudo un solo hombre, con un puñado de soldados, subyugar a todo un imperio? (How could one man, with a few hundred soldiers, subdue an empire of warriors) to the peak of his glory?
If you like history, this is the show for you, but it also has a lot of action and intrigue, and the actor Óscar Jaenada… ¡madre mía!… pero qué buen actor es el tipo, ¡de verdad! (Holy mother! He’s such a good actor, for real!)
Trigger warning for violencia, muertes y traumas explícitos… y demás de esas cosas delicadas (violence, explicit deaths and explicit trauma… and other sensitive stuff).
This is a Spanish-Mexican production, so the accent will be quite strong… and as a plus, sometimes Náhuatl and Maya, dos lenguas nativas de México, son habladas (two native Mexican languages, are spoken).
5. Los tres huastecos (The three huasteco men)
It’s an honor for me to introduce you to the movie Los tres huastecos, from 1948!
This film belongs to la Época de Oro del cine mexicano (the Golden Age of Mexican cinema), a period in the history of Mexican cinema (between 1930 and 1969), when the Mexican film industry reached high levels of production, quality and economic success, además de haber ganado reconocimiento internacionalmente (besides having gained recognition internationally).
This is an amazing tale about triplets raised separately in three villages in La Huasteca, a region in Mexico. Lorenzo is an atheist cowboy, Juan de Dios is a parish priest, and Víctor is a captain in the army.
Mexican superstar Pedro Infante played three separate roles, as each of these three individual triplets, and it’s such a special movie, where you can see how people used to dress in the towns back then.
¡No olvides anotar todos los chunks que descubras si es que te animas a ver esta película! (Don’t forget to write down all the chunks you discover if you decide to watch this movie!)
If Hernán was my favorite show on Amazon Prime, this must be my favorite movie!
¡No te asustes! Seguro que esta tarea será de tu agrado (Don’t be scared! You will certainly like this homework).
I would like for you to watch one of these movies or TV shows, and write down at least one or two chunks you’ve learned. Then, let me know in the comments which ones these were, and why you liked them, ¿vale (okay)?
Need more great Spanish shows to watch? Then, check out teacher Paulisima’s article about 5 great Netflix Originals in Spanish. She has some more tricks on how to effectively learn Spanish with TV Shows.