Level Up Your English Skills With Top Movie Idioms Ep 653

A man eating popcorn at a cinema. Cinema isn't just entertainment, it's an English dictionary waiting to be explored.

📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 4079 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 21 min

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What Films Teach About English: Don't Miss These Key English Idioms!

Is your life ever stuck on repeat and you need a phrase or an idiom to describe it? Ever wonder how movies shape everyday English language? Inside today's lesson, you'll uncover a treasure trove of common movie-inspired idioms, phrases, and expressions that keep the English language interesting. Imagine how it'd feel to effortlessly use phrases from films like 'The Matrix', 'Groundhog Day', or 'The Godfather' in your everyday English conversations - cool, right? Get an insider's view into English idioms, one film at a time! Join us in our FREE #englishlesson

🌟 With us, you'll:

  • Discover language treasures hidden in famous movies 🎥
  • Learn idioms that make your English sound native 🗣️
  • Dive into English culture through the lens of cinema 🌐
  • Gain a newfound confidence in using idioms in conversation 💬

✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/english-idioms-films-movies/

The language of cinema is universal. It’s a form of communication where everyone can understand its messages of love, faith, hate, fear and hope.
⭐ Priyanka Chopra Jonas

But here's the kicker - if you're not using these expressions, you might just be missing out on a massive piece of cultural knowledge that could fast-track your journey to English fluency.

Want to know more? Dive into this English lesson right now. Because the true secret to speaking English fluently might just be hiding in plain sight... on your movie ) screen. Make your English learning journey not just a task, but a blockbuster adventure! It's your time to shine, and we're here to get you there, FAST! 💫

Movies touch our hearts, and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places...open doors & minds.
⭐ Martin Scorsese

Movies aren't just for entertainment - they're your new English classroom! Discover how with #englishidioms - Go cinematic with us today! 🎞️💪

🚀 So start listening and boost your English: unleash cinema's top idioms! is not just another language lesson - it's a ticket to an immersive journey that catapults your English to new heights!

More About This Lesson

This is an enlightening English language lesson that explores the remarkable influence of films on the English language. We delve into common idioms derived from popular movies, and offer a unique method to enhance your English fluency through these cinematic expressions.

Cinema is a language. It can say things—big abstract things. And I didn't know that.
⭐ David Lynch

Things you will learn listening to this English idioms and phrases lesson:, you will

  1. Uncover secrets of English fluency through movie idioms!
  2. Mastering the art of idiomatic language from films.
  3. Improve your English with the ‘Catch-22’ phenomenon!
  4. Embrace the real meaning of 'Groundhog Day' to boost vocabulary.
  5. Understand 'Red-pilled' - Amplify your conversational English.
  6. Unlock advanced English with 'Sleeping with the fishes'.
  7. Ever used 'Gaslighting'? Films can expand your English lexicon!
  8. The Matrix's 'AI anxiety' can level up your language skills!
  9. Enrich your English: learn phrases beyond their literal meanings.
  10. Movie idioms - the key to sounding like a native speaker!
  11. Real-life applications of movie idioms: turn movie time into study time!

Benefits of our listen & learn approach to learning

Learning English through interesting topics, like films, provides a unique and entertaining approach to language acquisition. Here's how you benefit:

  • Engage in a fascinating exploration of film-influenced English.
  • Understand common everyday conversational idioms that originate from iconic movies.
  • Boost your fluency and cultural knowledge simultaneously.
  • Overcome common fears and challenges faced by language learners.
  • Enjoy an exciting alternative to traditional language learning methods.

Participating in our lessons gives you an edge in your English learning journey. You'll uncover a treasure trove of movie-inspired idioms, expressions, and phrases that will help you feel more at ease in English conversations. Understanding these idioms and their cultural context will also make you feel more connected and enrich your interactions. Moreover, this method accelerates your journey to fluency by exposing you to natural speech patterns, making learning not only more effective but also a lot more fun.

Idioms and everyday conversational phrases which come from movies are not just about fun:

  1. Films are cultural mirrors, reflecting language use within society.
  2. Using idioms properly can significantly enhance your language fluency.
  3. Film dialogues offer an excellent resource for improving listening skills.
If it’s a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.
⭐ Alfred Hitchcock

Ready to transform your English learning experience? Dive into the world of films, master idioms, and start sounding more native! Join our podcast community today and start your journey towards enhanced English fluency. Don't miss out, subscribe now!

Movie magic to make your English sparkle! Join us on Spotify, YouTube or visit adeptenglish.com. Let's make learning fun again! 🌟

Questions You Might Have...

Just as a movie ticket takes you on an exciting journey across worlds and cultures, this lesson is your pass to an extraordinary linguistic adventure. Uncover hidden idioms like uncovering the hidden Easter eggs in a blockbuster, each one a key that opens up a new dimension of the English language.

  1. Q: How can learning idioms from movies help me speak English more fluently? By learning idioms from movies, you're not only expanding your vocabulary but also familiarising yourself with the nuances of the English language. Just like in your own language, idioms add colour to the conversation and show a deeper understanding of the culture. Utilising these phrases will make your English sound more natural and fluent.
  2. Q: What is the importance of cinema in language learning? Cinema provides you with an immersive language learning experience. Through movies, you encounter dialogues in real-world contexts, helping you understand how language is actually used. This natural exposure can help enhance your language intuition and conversational skills.
  3. Q: How often should I practice using these idioms to become fluent? To truly master these idioms, try to practice them in context as often as possible. Embed them in your everyday conversations, journaling, or even in your thoughts. Remember, consistent practice is the key to achieving fluency.
  4. Q: Will understanding these movie idioms help me in understanding British English better? Absolutely! These idioms are not just movie references, but are often used in daily conversation by native English speakers, particularly in Britain. By understanding these idioms, you will be better equipped to grasp the essence of British English.
  5. Q: How does the 'Adept English' podcast help me in learning English? 'Adept English' provides informative and engaging podcasts designed to improve your English fluency. Through topical discussions, like the influence of cinema on language, it introduces you to a range of vocabulary and idioms, enabling you to understand and speak English in a more natural and fluent manner.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Idiom: An expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning.
  • Subtext: An underlying and often distinct theme in a piece of writing or conversation.
  • Dystopian: Relating to or denoting an imagined state or society where there is great suffering or injustice.
  • Surreal: Having the qualities of surrealism; bizarre or dreamlike.
  • Satire: The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices.
  • Red-pilled: To become aware of the harsh realities of life, often used in political contexts. The term comes from the film 'The Matrix'.
  • Gaslighting: A form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group.
  • Catch-22: A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.
  • Connotation: An idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning.
  • Jargon: Special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand.

Most Frequently Used Words:


Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: Level Up Your English Skills With Top Movie Idioms

Are you unknowingly using movie quotes in daily speech?

Hi there. Are you ready to take the red pill today and discover how films and movies influence the English language? Or will you take the blue pill and not listen and not find out about this? You'll understand shortly why I did that, perhaps.

Let's look today at the influence of films on the English language. You may have used films to help you with your English language learning, but you may not have thought about how films influence English. I did give you an example recently in podcast 642 where I talked about the phrase 'gaslighting', which does come from a film.

So today let's do some more of these. Idioms and phrases in English that come from films. And the idioms and phrases I cover in the Adept English podcast are always current, always frequently used and well-known by English speakers.

And if you hang around to the end, I'll do a bonus one, which you may already know!

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

If you want to speak English like a native....

By the way, don't forget that we have lots of other podcasts, covering topics like idioms and many, many other things. Our unique collections of 50 English Language Learning podcasts will help you and transform your language skills. And help you speak English like a native. Go to our website adeptenglish.com and find out more about our courses and our podcast bundles.

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

Have you ever heard the phrase 'It's Groundhog Day'?

OK, so the first film idiom I'm going to cover today. I'd like to know, have you ever watched the film 'Groundhog Day'? What did you think of it? ' Groundhog Day' is quite an old movie, but still a good one. It's a 1993 film, s tarring Bill Mary and Andy McDowell.

Groundhog Day tells the story of a TV weatherman, who basically needs to learn to be a nicer person. He is sent - reluctantly - to a small village in Pennsylvania to cover the story of Groundhog Day Festival. Apparently Groundhog Day festivals are quite common in the US. And they celebrate the reappearance, the emergence of an animal called a 'groundhog' from its winter sleep, from its hibernation. ' Hibernation', H I B E R N A T I O N is when animals go to sleep for the winter.

Apparently on Groundhog Day in the US and Canada, that's February 2nd, whether or not the groundhog appears and whether or not it's a sunny day is meant to determine the weather for the next six months. We don't have Groundhog Day in the UK, so we don't know anything about this! Possibly because we don't have the animal, the groundhog in our country.

Anyway, Bill Murray's character in this film, 'Groundhog Day', has only contempt for his assignment, for his task of reporting on this festival, and he lets everybody know it.

He wants to return home as quickly as possible, but of course, he gets snowed in and ends up staying in this small village for much, much longer than he intended. In fact, when he wakes up the second day, it starts to become clear that the day is repeating over and over again. He's in a 'loop', L O O P.

Exactly the same day comes over and over again, and nobody else seems to know that the day is repeating. After a lot of experimentation - and it's very entertaining - the main character does learn to be a nicer person by the end of it.

How is 'Groundhog Day' used in English?

So that's 'Groundhog Day'. That's the film and the American festival. But when we use this phrase in UK English, we say, 'Uh, it's Groundhog Day!', we're referencing the film, and we're meaning that the day or the days are repetitive, the same as the one before. We don't usually say 'It's Groundhog Day' in a positive way. We're kind of complaining ' Each day is the same as every other day' is what we mean. So that's the origin of our phrase in English, 'It's Groundhog Day'.

Do you realise the phrase 'red pilling' promotes a dystopian view of reality?

Moving to our second film and second phrase, which is a bit more recent, a bit more contemporary. ' Contemporary' means 'of our time, now'.

Have you ever heard the phrase 'to red pill' or used the gerund 'red pilling'? Again. Do you use this phrase in your language perhaps? So this one comes from the 1999 film, 'The Matrix', actually a series of films starring Keanu Reeves. We all like a bit of Keanu - and Laurence Fishburne. I'm sure you know this film, 'The Matrix'.

So remember those worries about AI, about artificial intelligence that I discussed recently, podcast 643? Well, the film, 'The Matrix' is set in the future, where everyone lives in a simulated reality, not 'real life'. 'Simulated', S I M U L A T E D means 'it's not real, it's computer generated', but most people in 'The Matrix' don't know that!

But Keanu Reeves's character in this film is Neo, and he has a number of experiences that reveal to him that 'every day reality is not the truth'. Partway through the film, Laurence Fishburne's character, Morpheus offers Neo a choice between the red pill and the blue pill.

So a 'pill', P I L L or tablet is a form of medicine. You might take paracetamol or ibuprofen in a 'pill' form. So the choice is between the red pill, which if Neo takes it, means that the true nature of the Matrix will be revealed - he'll know the truth.

Or Morpheus also offers the blue pill, which means that he would forget everything and continue to live not knowing the truth, continue to live in ignorance. It's probably not going to spoil the film for you if I let you know that he chooses the red pill.

How is 'red pilling' used in English?

And this phrase 'red pilling' or 'you've been red pilled' is something that's become common in the English language. It means you've discovered or you've been told a truth, which changes everything. And what you believed before was just an illusion, a pretence.

I think this phrase is popular in English because the film was popular, but also it's a symptom of our times.

There are so many situations which are represented to the general public in ways which are simply not true or which are misleading. Often a bit of research or 'digging a bit deeper', as we say, reveals a different truth, reveals a different reality - not the one that we were led to believe.

And I'm not talking here about conspiracy theories, I'm talking about truths, which you can validate, which actually check out, which really are real.

Many situations current to our times come to mind where you might say that you've been 'red pilled' - you've seen the reality.


A photograph people watching a movie at a cinema. Popcorn, a good movie, and a journey into the world of English idioms – all in one lesson.

©️ Adept English 2023

Have you ever felt 'caught in Catch-22'? Guess its origin!

Coming to our third movie idiom. Again, it's from an older movie, but it's a phrase that we definitely are still using. What phrase are we gonna discuss next? What about 'catch-22'?

You may have heard of this, or you may use the phrase 'catch 22' in your own language. ' Catch- 22' was a novel, a book written in 1961 by Joseph Heller. And it was made into a film in 1970.

The film is set in World War II and tells the story of an American airman, a bombardier called Captain Yossarian. Captain Yossarian is stationed on an island off the coast of Italy.

So he's an airman, a bombardier, which means that he flies military missions on a plane, and his job is to drop bombs, B O M B S. So he goes on bombing missions, which is extremely dangerous, of course.

A mission, M I S S I O N. That just means 'a job' or 'a task', 'something that you are sent to do'.

In the course of the film, Captain Yossarian sees many of his friends die in combat. And it becomes clear that he wants a way out. He wants to be able to go back home - go back home alive.

Now normally airmen in these situations - they do a certain number of flights and then they're released - they're seen as having completed their tour of duty and they're allowed to go back home. But the trouble is here in this film, the officer in charge keeps raising the number of missions that the airmen must complete, before they're allowed to go home.

In the end, the number of missions is crazily high. It's really difficult to survive on that many bombing missions.

Captain Yossarian finds that there is no means of escape. Even if you are mentally ill, there is no release from this situation. That's the 'Catch-22'.

It's explained to him that you have to be crazy to fly more missions, but if you are crazy, you would be seen as 'unfit to fly'.

If you refuse to fly more missions, this would mean that you're sane, not crazy, which would mean that you are fit to fly those missions. So either way, you have to carry on doing the bombing missions.

It's an impossible situation with no escape. Another way of saying this, catch-22 in English? 'You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't'. There's another saying for you. Either way, it's no good. Either way, it's not gonna be positive.

How 'catch-22' is used in English

So if you hear someone say in English, 'Oh, it's catch 22!' or 'You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't', it means the same sort of thing. There's an impossible choice and you're trapped between two things.

A good example is something that people sometimes encounter when they're looking for a job. You don't get the job, you're told, because 'you don't have enough experience'. And yet how are you to get relevant experience if no one's going to give you the job in the first place?

That's a classic catch-22 situation that probably we've all found ourselves in.

A bonus film idiom for you...

Finally a bonus one for you. Ever thought about what it means if you hear the phrase 'to sleep with the fishes'? Does that make you think of 'The Godfather'?

Well, it's a phrase that's associated with gangster movies and it has little to do with sleep! If someone ends up 'sleeping with the fishes', it means they've been killed, murdered. And their body has been hidden, disposed of in water. So it comes originally from that great old film, 'The Godfather', and in fact, again, there's a 'Godfather Series' of movies.

Listening Lessons

Do you want to 'sleep with the fishes'?

In the first film, 'The Godfather', a message is received 'Sicilian style'. That the character, Luca Brasi 'sleeps with the fishes'. So his bulletproof vest is delivered to the Corleone family with a fish wrapped inside, a dead fish.

So this message 'he's sleeping with the fishes' means he's been 'whacked', as they say in these films, murdered, killed and hidden in the sea, a river or a lake. 'To sleep with the fishes' is a euphemism. That's E U P H E M I S M.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

' A 'euphemism' is a phrase we use to describe something really horrible, but we make it sound a little bit nicer or sometimes like this, a lot nicer.

'The Godfather' is a classic. Don't be put off by the age of the movie - it was made in 1972. But if you've not seen it, it's an essential watch.

Most of us don't have opportunity to use that one - but we know what it means!

And the phrase? Well, it's probably not one we use all the time, possibly because most of us aren't going round murdering people, I hope! But it is a phrase that most English speakers would recognise. They'd know what it meant.

OK. So that's my round-up of some commonly used phrases and idioms in English that come from films, that come from movies.


Let us know if you enjoyed this podcast and don't forget to share our podcast with other people, especially on Spotify using that share button. That really helps us out, so thankyou!

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com




The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
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