The 11 Best Spanish Movies Of All Time

Watching Spanish movies is one of the most fun ways to learn a language.

When you watch a movie, you are relaxed, which makes it easier for your brain to capture and retain words and phrases. But you also must make sure you aren’t just passively listening and not retaining the information.

Believe it or not there is a lot of quality movies out there besides the typical Hollywood flics. From world famous directors to Oscar winning movies, we have seen some superb flics come out of Spain and Latin America in recent years.

Motorcycle Diaries

Whether you are going to watch a TV show or a movie, why not watch it in Spanish?

Below we have outlined the 11 Best Spanish movies to learn Spanish. We have made sure to provide plenty of diversity for those out there looking for a good drama, a comedy, or just plain adventure.

We also included a short 2 minute trailer to each movie to give you a preview of what the film is about before you set aside a couple hours of your life.

11 Best Movies in Spanish

  • Want to see Andrea's explanation of the 7 Best Spanish Movies? Check it out below

First let me preface with this.  These selections are not in any particular order.

Best Spanish Movies

This is a list of the highest rated Spanish movies that I found through research and personal experience.

 I have sorted through a list of over 50 potentials and narrowed it down to these top 11.

​Each movie has a bulleted list of the key points and a 2 minute trailer so you can determine if it is something you might be interested in watching.

In case you are looking for my personal favorite, I made that selection at the end of this article.

Now let's dive into the Top 11 Spanish movies.

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1) Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother)

Todo Sobre Mi Madre

This movie is about the interesting life of a young man named Esteban who doesn’t know his father and writes a diary about his discoveries. Esteban dies in an unexpected car accident.

His mother, Manuela, travels to Barcelona to find his father and soon discovers that he is a transsexual. This adds drama to the film and makes it even more interesting.

The movie was directed by the world-famous director Pedro Almodóvar and features excellent acting from numerous stars including Penelope Cruz. The film debuted in 1999 to rave reviews and scores an almost perfect, 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

All About My Mother

If that isn't enough, it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The movie is rated R and runs a little over an hour and a half long.

The storyline is complex with many hot button issues like Homosexuality, AIDS, and faith.

If you want to watch an excellent Spanish drama, we recommend you check out this one.

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • ​Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Language Film
  • Spoken with Spain Dialect
  • Rated R and 1.5 Hours Long
  • Superb Drama with 98% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

2) El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth)

Pans Labyrinth

Pan’s Labyrinth a fiction film about Cecilia, a girl who has moved in with her mother to a small town where she doesn't want to live.

There she finds a faun that gives her an incredible revelation.

It is a bit of a horror and fantasy movie all rolled up into one. It has been described as Alice and Wonderland for grownups and currently enjoys a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Pans Labyrinth

The film was written and directed by the Mexican director Guillermo del Toro in 2006 and has earned over $80M in the box office. The movie is rated R and runs about 2 hours long.

If you like dark movies with a fantasy twist, we recommend you checking out Pan’s Labyrinth.

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Dark Fantasy Drama
  • Spoken with Spain Dialect
  • Rated R and about 2 Hours Long
  • 95% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

3) Y Tú Mama También (And Your Mother Also)

Y Tu Tambien Cover

This is an interesting movie about two teens who are attracted to the same older woman who is in her 20's.

They decide to plan a trip and invite her to come along.  Amazingly, she decides to go, which leads to many wild and memorable adventures.

Y Tú Mama También is a Mexican drama that came out in 2001. It has received excellent reviews and has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In 2003, it was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay by the Academy Awards.

Y Tu Mama tambien

The movie is rated R due to sexual content and drug use. It runs for a little over an hour and a half.

Ready for a wild adventure? This might be just the movie for you.

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Adventure, Comedy, and Romance
  • Spoken with Mexican Dialect
  • Rated R and 106 Minutes Long
  • 92% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

4) No Se Aceptan Devoluciones (Instructions Not Included)

No Se Aceptan Devoluciones is a comedy that leaves you walking away with a good message.

No Se Aceptan Devoluciones

The story is about the life of a man who is forced to care for his daughter that suddenly shows up on his doorstep one day. He tries to find her mother to return the child, but then he decides he must keep his daughter and struggles to give her a good life.

It is co-written, directed by, and stars Eugenio Derbez.

Here’s one thing to note. It is probably one of the best movies to learn Spanish. It features a clear, Mexican dialect while sprinkling in some English as much of the film takes place in the US.

The film is rated PG-13 and runs about an hour and a half long. This lighthearted comedy came out in 2013 to mixed reviews. It only has a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but that is probably due to the fact that the plotline is rather simple is certainly not an "artsy movie."

Instructions Not Included

Personally, I really enjoyed this movie as it is fun and lighthearted and has a good message to it. I loved the acting and found it to be entertaining throughout.

It did not win any Academy Awards, but it has had widespread appeal and has grossed a whopping $100 million in the box office.

If you want a fun, lighthearted comedy spoken with the Mexican dialect, we recommend you check this one out.

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Mexican Directed and Acted
  • Lighthearted Comedy
  • Rated PG-13 and almost 2 Hours Long
  • Mixed Reviews and 55% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes
  • Best Movie To Learn Spanish

5) Amores Perros (Lifes a B****)

Amorres Perros is an action drama based in Mexico City.

amores perros

It begins with a car chase that culminates with a terrible car accident involving 3 different vehicles. The movie shows how the accident affects the lives of 3 separate people and their families on that fateful day.

So it is a movie with three stories in one as they are all told one after the other. It comes highly recommended and has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

This movie is not for the faint of heart and has quite a bit of brutality to it. It explores the dark underworld of Mexico City and part of the criminal culture.

I found the opening story about Octavio to be very intriguing but also had to look away a little bit as the plot features a horrific dog fighting ring. It’s pretty disgusting (although you don't see everything).

As expected, it is rated R for the violence, foul language, and sexuality. It is a long one as well and comes in at almost 2 and a half hours. Amorres Perros was released in 2000.

Amores Perros Scene

That being said, I liked it a lot and found all three stories to be very fascinating as they all tied together quite nicely yet were completely unique to the main character’s lives and struggles.

One of the lead actors is none other than the extremely popular and critically acclaimed Gael Garcia (Octavio).

If you are in for a dark action drama, I have no doubt you will like this one.

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Action Drama based in Mexico City
  • Features Three Uniquely Told and Intertwined Stories
  • Rated R and over 2 and a half Hours Long
  • 92% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

6) Biutiful

Biutiful is the story of a man with cancer who struggles to care for and raise his two children as his spouse is an alcoholic.

Biutiful

This is a beautiful (or is it Biutiful?) story of a man overcoming in life.

This Spanish-Mexican drama came out in 2010 to, for the most part, positive reviews and has a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in the Academy Awards, but did not win.

It was directed by the famous Alejandro González Iñárritu who also directed the movie Amorres Perros mentioned above.

Biutiful is rated R for some disturbing content and sexuality and like Amorres Perros is a long movie that runs for almost 2 and a half hours.

biutiful scene

Even though it is a Mexican and Spanish co-production it was shot in Barcelona, Spain so naturally has a dialect from Spain to it.

Personally, I didn’t love it and found it to be just okay. That being said, it does have some great reviews and many people have found it to be entertaining.

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Drama with a bit of Romance
  • Spoken with Spain Dialect
  • Rated R and 2 and a half Hours Long
  • 64% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

7) Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Diarios de Motocicleta

This film is based on the diaries of "Che Guevara.” It is about a long trip on a motorcycle that Che takes with his friend around South America.

The film features some of the amazing life experiences that the two experienced before Che became a famous revolutionary.

You see the beautiful countryside’s of South America and meet some wonderful people along the way. Beyond that, you get to hear the unique and fun Argentinian accent.

It has a fantastic storyline and I found it to be very interesting throughout. The filmography and acting is superb. It was extremely moving at several moments of the story and definitely left me thinking after it ended.

The film was released in 2004 to great reviews and currently has an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is Rated R due to language and is a little over 2 hours long.

Motorcycle Diaries

I enjoyed watching the journey of these two on their motorcycle and found it to be a Latin classic.

Beyond that, it is probably the best movie for those learning Argentinian Spanish so you can get used to the typical accents.

This was also my favorite flic from this list.​

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Adventure Comedy with Sporadic Romance
  • Spoken with Argentinian Dialect
  • Features Che Guevara before he was a Revolutionary
  • Rated R and a little over 2 Hours Long
  • 64% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

8) Aquí Entre Nos (Between Us)

Aqui Entre Nos

This is a Mexican produced movie that is about a man named Rudolpho who takes a day off of work and realizes he wants to change his life after experiencing that freedom.

He finds himself tired of the way things are with his life and family and decides that he doesn't want to go to back to work.

Thus, his wife becomes angry with him and he is forced to leave the house. Then the madness begins.  The series features a lot of interesting themes such as divorce, marriage, infidelity, etc.

It is a comedy, so if you are looking to laugh a little bit this might be the best movie for you.

Aqui Entre Nos Scene

It is a highly acclaimed Mexican comedy that came out in 2011 and features a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

It is about an hour and a half long and doesn’t appear to be rated.

If you are looking for a fun family drama and comedy, we think you should check this one out.

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Family Drama with a bit of Comedy
  • Spoken with Mexican Dialect
  • Not Rated and about an Hour and a Half Long
  • 99% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes!

9) Una Noche (One Night)

Una Noche

The movie is centered around Raul who lives in Havana, Cuba. He hopes to one day escape to Miami. During his time in Cuba, he gets into trouble and he seeks to find a way out.

Thus, Raul makes plans for the arduous 90-mile journey through the ocean to get to Florida. It is a fantastic film with plenty of drama and even some love interests.

It is loosely based on a true story. The film appeared in 2012 to high acclaim and currently has an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

One Night Movie

The plotline is captivating and I am sure you will be very entertained throughout the hour and a half that this movie runs. Just like Aquí Entre Nos, the movie is not rated with a maturity level.

If you want to see the Cuban dialect first hand and see a little bit of the often maligned but beautiful country, I recommend checking out Una Noche. I am confident you will find it interesting!

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Romance Drama loosely Based on True Story
  • Spoken with Cuban Dialect
  • Not Rated and 90 Minutes Long
  • 81% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

10) También La Lluvia (Even The Rain)

The movie begins in 2000 with a film crew that is seeking to shoot a controversial film about the Spanish conquest of Latin America.

Tambien La Lluvia

They find themselves traveling to Cochabamba, Bolivia of all places.

However, when they get there they become embroiled in an ongoing conflict with locals revolting against plans to privatize the water supply.

It is a fantastic and historical movie with superb acting from lead stars Luis Tosar and Gael Garcia Bernal. The movie was released in 2010 and runs for 103 minutes long with an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

This story, is a little more personal to me. Although I was not around during the intense water protests, I did live in Cochabamba, Bolivia for 5 months a little over a year ago. I was able to hear firsthand how difficult this time period was for the people during that time.

Even the Rain

Water is a scarce resource in Bolivia that many people do not have continual access to.

I lived in a decent middle class neighborhood and even then, infrequently found myself waiting to get back running water in the house.

I highly recommend you check this movie out as it is enthralling throughout. Plus, you can hear a little bit of the Bolivian Accent.

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Historical Drama Based on a True Story
  • Spoken with Spain and Bolivian Dialect
  • Not Rated and an Hour and 40 Minutes Long
  • 88% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

11) Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes)

This 1997 film is about a good looking 25 year old that starts imagining and then sees the woman of his dreams.

Abre Los Ojos

Then the movie takes a terrible turn. After suffering a horrendous injury, he is forced to have surgery to look normal once again. Everything in his life starts to change.

It is a gripping film on the exploration of existentialism and the human spirit.

Perhaps, you have seen the American remake of this movie titles Vanilla Sky that came out with Tom Cruise and Penélope Cruz in 2001.

It is hard to fit this movie into one category as it is a little bit unusual. It is a Sci-Fi thriller and mystery drama all wrapped up in one. Of course it has a bit of romance that sets the basis for the movie throughout.

Open Your Eyes Movie

The movie is a Spanish production and runs for almost 2 hours long.  It has an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

It is rated R for some strong sexuality and language throughout.

Take a look at the trailer below and see if it is something you would be interested in.

Short Trailer​

Key Points

  • Sci-Fi Mystery Thriller with Romance
  • Spoken with Spain Dialect
  • Rated R and is 2 Hours Long
  • 85% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

3 Tips When Watching a Movie in Spanish

Check out these three quick tips below and you are guaranteed to get more out of your movie watching.

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1) Always Use Spanish Audio and Spanish Subtitles

If you watch the movie with the audio in Spanish, but the subtitles in English then you are cheating.

Top Spanish Language Movie

Actually, your learning will not be as effective as you are likely just focusing on the words on the screen and will quickly lose track of the actual spoken words.

So, even though it is difficult, the best way to make substantial progress watching Spanish movies is to use actual Spanish dialogue and Spanish Subtitles.

If you must, watch the movie first with English subtitles and then watch it later with Spanish subtitles and write down what you learned. This tip alone is probably the #1 way to get the most out of your Spanish movies.

2) Watch Your Favorite Movies in Spanish

You probably already know the dialogue of your favorite movies.

Best movies in Spanish Language

So why not watch it with Spanish dubbed audio and Spanish subtitles?

 It will be very easy for you to relate what the sentences mean.

This works well as you are already interested and familiar with the movie and understand what is going on.

This gives you some room and opportunity to focus on the Spanish audio and Spanish Subtitles.

You will be surprised with how quickly you learn new vocabulary with this method.

3) Don't Be A Perfectionist

Don't feel bad if you don't understand all the words.  I cannot say this enough.

Just be patient and if you need to see the same scene more than 5 times and still don’t understand it, it is quite okay.

Best Spanish Movies of All Time

I cannot tell you how many times I have grown frustrated while watching a Spanish movie.

It can be extremely annoying and will make you feel like you are back at square one.

But you're not!  Please don’t think you can be a native speaker just like that.  Natives have lived in a Spanish environment for many, many years. My guess is, you likely haven’t.

The important thing is that you understand the context of the movie and enjoy it with however much or little you do understand. Pick out new words and write down the common ones you don’t know and then look up the meaning later.

Then, use these words in your next Spanish conversation!

What’s the Best Spanish Language Film To Watch First?

If you apply these 3 tips you will notice a difference in the way you learn Spanish with movies.

Motorcycle Diaries

There are lots to choose from with many different styles, lengths, and dialects.  

I tried to put together a diverse list so you can find just the right movie for you.

My personal favorite is ​Diarios de Motocicleta. However, you need to pick the movie that you are most interested in.  

That is why I created this simple to use comparison chart so you can easily decide which one to watch.

Watch each movie in an educational way and you are guaranteed to learn something new.

Now it’s time to get started. Pick out a couple Spanish movies that grab your attention and give them a whirl.

Top Spanish movies

We Want To Hear From You!

I hope you liked our list of the best Spanish movies of all time. We spent a lot of time researching, watching, and reviewing these movies, but undoubtedly we might have missed a few here or there.

So now it’s your turn. What did we miss?

Let us know in the comments what your favorite Spanish movie is.

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22 thoughts on “The 11 Best Spanish Movies Of All Time”

  1. Really quite a good list! I like that you explained why YOU liked the films. I like the Key Points.

    I think you guys are wonderful!

    Reply
  2. Thank you! And I agree with you about the listening in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. Oddly enough, was just doing this very thing while watching Narcos a few weeks. It stuck me how effective it seemed to be. (My Spanish is beginner-to-intermediate.) .

    Thanks for this list – all these seem worthwhile.

    Reply

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