Best Movies to Watch in the Levantine Arabic

Movies are a great way to learn any language. They not only teach you the language but they’re also a source of entertainment for the viewer. Watching movies can improve your vocabulary and boost confidence in speaking that language.

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For a language learner, what is a better way to learn a language than watching some of the best top-of-the-world movies? Below are our top 10 picks. 

  • Caramel:
    2007, 1 hour 6 minutes
    Caramel is a feature film created by Nadine Labaki in Levantine Arabic. It was the director’s first feature film and it premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. 

    Caramel is a film about the lives of five Lebanese women – Layale, Nisrine, Rima, Jamale, and Rose. The story follows these five Lebanese women as they deal with issues like forbidden love, binding rituals, repressed sexuality, the struggle to embrace the normal process of ageing, and duty versus desire.

    This Lebanese classic is available on Youtube and Tubi. It’s a great watch for someone wanting to learn Levantine Arabic.

  • Ghadi:
    2013, 1 hour 40 minutes
    Ghadi is a Lebanese drama film directed by Amin Dora in Levantine Arabic. This movie was the original Lebanese movie selection at the 2015 Oscars for the Best Foreign Language Film. This movie is in the Levantine Arabic. 

    Ghadi revolves around a Lebanese man Leba and his wife Lara who are trying to have a son. Their firstborn and second-born are baby girls, much to the chagrin of his relatives, neighbours, and colleagues. Lara is expecting her third child, and they’re finally expecting a boy. The medical examinations, however, indicate that the boy may have special needs. The movie revolves around the dilemma of whether Ghadi will be a burden and how the family will tackle this situation.

    This film is not only entertaining and charming, but it also exposes the nuances of Lebanon Arab culture. It’s available to watch on Amazon Prime.

  • Capernaum:
    2018, 2 hours 6 minutes
    Capernaum is a Lebanese drama film directed by Nadine Labaki in Levantine Arabic and by far our favorite. The film debuted at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and won the Jury Prize.

    The story revolves around a boy named Zain, who has run away from his parents. He has committed a violent crime and has been sentenced to five years in jail. The boy sets out on a journey to sue his parents in protest of the life they have given him.

    Capernaum is a smart, compassionate, and ultimately stirring picture of lives in the balance. It’s a highly advisable watch for someone keen on learning Levantine Arabic. The movie is available on Youtube for purchase and Google Play Movies.

  • The Insult:
    2017, 1 hour 53 minutes
    Another great movie in the Levantine dialect is The Insult. A Lebanese legal drama film directed by Ziad Doueiri. This movie was selected as the official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for Oscars in 2017.

    Tony George Hanna, a Lebanese Christian mechanic, and Yasser Salameh, a Palestinian foreman, are involved in a court case that causes political upheaval in an already unstable region.

    This Lebanese movie gives a hard-hitting statement on modern Middle Eastern politics. The Insult is a perfect choice for a gripping and thought-provoking Levantine Arabic movie watch. It’s available on Amazon Prime, Youtube, and Google Play Movies. In this movie you will hear Tony speaking in the Lebanese dialect while Yasser speaks in the Palestinian dialect. A great way to hear both dialects!

  • The Syrian Bride:
    2004, 1 hour 37 minutes
    The Syrian Bride is a Levantine Arabic film directed by Eran Riklis. This Lebanese film has garnered critical acclaim and has been nominated and won several notable awards.

    The plot revolves around a Druze wedding and the difficulties that the village’s residents face as a result of the unresolved political situation. The plot of the film examines the Arab–Israeli conflict through the lens of a family separated by political boundaries, and how their lives are shattered by the harsh political realities of the region.

    It is a must-watch for Levantine Arabic learners to gain a better understanding of the contemporary Arab-Israeli conflict.

  • Where Do We Go Now?:
    2011, 1 hour 15 minutes
    ‘Where Do We Go Now?’ is a Lebanese drama film directed by Nadine Labaki. This feature film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. This is another wonderful movie to watch in the Levantine Arabic as well. 

    The story revolves around a Lebanese village where Christians and Muslims have coexisted peacefully, but as a result of slights and misunderstandings, animosities grow among the men. The villagers’ women devise a series of blundering schemes to stop sectarian conflict, none of which succeeds in slowing down the cycle of abuse. When tragedy hits, the women are compelled to make a deeply complex sacrifice in the name of reconciliation.

    This Lebanese women-driven film is a must-watch for all Levantine Arabic learners out there. It’s available on Youtube and Vudu to watch.

  • West Beirut:
    1998, 1 hour 45 minutes
    West Beirut is a 1998 Lebanese drama film directed by Ziad Doueiri. The film has gained critical acclaim and has received various awards.

    West Beirut is a coming-of-age story about two Muslim teenagers who befriend a Christian girl and their adventures in a city split along religious lines amid a civil war. With school closed due to a bus attack, the trio has plenty of time to explore Beirut’s shifting environment and learn about all the various aspects of a time when tensions and disputes abound.

    This is a great watch for the people who are interested in history and the Lebanese 1975 civil war. The movie is available to watch on Netflix.

  • Heaven Without People:
    2017, 1 hour 31 minutes

    Heaven Without People is a feature-length film directed by Lucien Bourjeily. It is a Levantine Arabic film that has featured in the 14th Dubai International Film Festival and has won several awards.

    The plot follows a large family that reunites for the first time in two years for Easter lunch. As they resolve an inevitable dispute that threatens to derail their reunion, tensions rise to the surface in unexpected ways. When each family member confronts their own political and moral hypocrisies and slowly unravels the bonds that bind them, the older and younger generations clash.

    This Lebanese comedy is a good choice for someone who wants a light-hearted watch. The movie is available on Netflix.

  • The Present:
    2020, 24 minutes
    The Present is a Levantine Arabic dialect short film directed by Farah Nabulsi. It was nominated for Oscars in the Best Live Action Short Film category in 2021.

    The movie has a simple premise about a father and daughter attempting to buy a wedding anniversary present in the Israeli-occupied West Bank’s Palestinian enclaves.

    This eye-opening art of a film captivates one’s heartstrings. For the Lebanese Arabic learner, this movie is an unmissable watch. It is available on Netflix to watch.

  • Zozo:
    2005, 1 hour 45 minutes

    Zozo is a Swedish-Lebanese film directed by Josef Fares. It was one of the submissions to the Oscars under the Best Foreign Language Film category in the year 2006.

    Zozo tells the story of a Lebanese boy, during the civil war, who gets separated from his family and ends up in Sweden.

    This gripping Lebanese story about war, pain and loss is striking, to say the least. Zozo is streaming on Netflix.

If you are on a rush and on the go and looking to hear a podcast in the Levantine Arabic podcast, check out “Levantine Arabic, made easier” podcast. It’s available on iTunes, Android, and Spotify. Levantine Arabic, made easier podcast is ranking top 100 podcasts on iTunes. Levantine Arabic, Made Easier is a podcast designed for people who understand enough Arabic to want engaging content, the host Carol Haidar checks in throughout the story to point out important words in Arabic. Make sure to check the shows notes for TOP 20 vocabulary picks from each episode.

What are you waiting for? Hurry and watch these Lebanese classics to learn and improve your Levantine Arabic vocabulary now! Happy Watching and Learning!