What's your favorite movie about American history?

Have you seen this film?

Talking about movies in English

I'm sure you enjoy going to the cinema or watching a great film on DVD at home. You often talk to your friends about it afterwards. But how does it actually work in English?

The following pages are all about idioms and vocabulary on this topic: After all, you would like to talk to an exchange student from England, the USA or Australia about your favorite series or film, right?


What kind of film is it?

You may be familiar with the following situation: You want to go to the cinema with a friend, but you have different preferences. He or she likes action films, you prefer love films. One speaks of Genre. Of course, these differences also exist in English:

The film is ..: The movie is …
... a historical drama: ... a historical drama
... an action film: ... an action film
... a thriller: … a thriller
... a love story: … a Lovestory
... a romantic comedy: ... a romantic comedy
The film is a typical ...: The film is a typical ...
The film is a sequel: The film is a sequel / the second part

Image: dfd Deutscher Fotodienst GmbH / ddp Images


Where and when does the film take place?

When you talk about movies it is often exciting when and where they are set. Are the film characters anchored in a different era? Do they live overseas or in a distant galaxy? All of this is important if you later want to tell about the movie you just saw. So here are a few more words and idioms on the subject Setting.

The story is set in ...: The story plays in …
... a forest: ... a forest
... a house: … a house
… The countryside: … in the countryside
... a city: … of a city
... the 19th / 20th / 21st century: ... 19./20./21. century
... the 1960s / the 1990s: ... the 1960s / 1990s
The opening scene shows ...: The opening scene shows ...
In the closing scene ...: In the last scene ...

Image: INTERFOTO (Mary Evans / NEW LINE CINEMA / Ronald Grant Archive)

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Props and costumes

Of course there are films in which the action takes place in modern times and everyone is wearing jeans or a suit. But what if it's an action film from the future or a love story from the 19th century? The following formulations will help you in English about props (props) and costumes (costumes, outfits) to speak.

The costumes / outfits are ... .: The costumes are ...
… Carefully chosen: well chosen
… well done: well done
... colorful: colorful
… old fashioned: old-fashioned
... modern: modern
The costumes / outfits are typical ...: The costumes are typical ...
There are props like ...: There are props like ...
The costumes / outfits remind me of the 18th century: The costumes remind me of the 18th century.

Image: INTERFOTO (Mary Evans / NEW LINE CINEMA / Ronald Grant Archive)

Film music (soundtrack)

Many people do not really notice the soundtrack during the film because they are drawn into the spell of the images or the story. Others buy the score later because they are so enthusiastic. What can you do about the soundtrack say in english?

The background music fits perfectly to ...: The background music goes perfectly with ...
The music supports ...: The music supports / amplifies ...
The music disturbs ...: The music disturbs ...
sound effect: Sound effect

Image: INTERFOTO (NG Collection)

Making a movie

Lead the camera yourself

You have probably already made small films yourself with your smartphone and uploaded them to the Internet. But what do the professionals call it when you get very close to the people with the camera or when the people and their feet can be seen? Here are a few fixed terms used in the film business:

long shot: The camera is far away from the people and gives an overview of the landscape or the location of the action.
full shot: The shot shows a person's whole body, e.g. interacting with another character in the scene
medium shot: The camera only shows the person up to their hips, e.g. two people talking to each other.
close-up: The setting draws the viewer into the action and often shows emotions on a person's face or emphasizes the importance of an object.

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    and tests
  • individual classwork trainer
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Facial expressions and body language

In order to understand the plot and reproduce it correctly, it is important to correctly interpret the facial expression of a character in the film. Body language also provides information about what the protagonist feels and thinks. Because not everything is always said. Here are a few idioms when you come across facial expressions and body language want to talk.

facial expressions show how ...: The facial expression shows how ...
... tense / frightened / scared s.b. is: tense / anxious / frightened sb. is.
The body language ...: The body language ...
... expresses a character’s attitude towards ...: shows the attitude towards a person.
... reflects s.b’s emotions / feelings about ...: reflects one's emotions / feelings about ...
... demonstrates the character’s ...: shows the ... of the character.

Again briefly summarized

The following points are important

When you talk about movies, you can talk about the following:

  1. Genre - genre
  2. Setting - setting
  3. Props and Costumes - props and outfits
  4. Music - soundtrack
  5. Camera settings
  6. Facial expression and body language - facial expressions and body language

So, now we're ready to go.

Image: dfd Deutscher Fotodienst GmbH / ddp Images