I don't know if "culturally literate" is the appropriate term here, but it was the first phrasing that came to my mind.

Can some native Spanish speakers give some movies, books, music, poems, etc. that you might consider to be requirements to be "culturally literate" in your respective countries or even just simply in your own opinion. These would be parts of your culture from which the average person would understand references, jokes, etc. For example, I am from the Midwest of the USA. I might answer this with "The Wizard of Oz," "ET," "Babe," most books by Dr. Seuss, most songs by Queen, the poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost (although it's usually misunderstood), Sesame Street, Mister Roger's Neighborhood, etc.

I guess I am thinking of this in the context of, if I were to watch a game show, comedy skit, old TV series, what are common things in your culture that may be referenced of which I would have to had read, heard, etc. in order to understand the reference?

Thank you!

  • 2
    This seems very broad and hard to pin down. For instance, do most young people in the United States still know the names of Doctor Seuss books besides perhaps "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham"? Is Queen really still as well-known as you say? The same thing in Spanish—it will depend a great deal on age and country. I am no expert, but I would hazard a guess that almost everyone will have heard of Don Quijote and El Chavo del Ocho. But would La Vida de Lazarillo of Tormes or the Canto General be so well known across countries and age groups?
    – Obie 2.0
    Dec 27 '20 at 1:46
  • It would definitely depend on the country. I'm from Argentina, and the first few times I went to Chile half the jokes and references were a mystery. Then again, half of their words and expressions were just as mysterious! Who knew what "queque", "fome" or "momio" meant, or who was "el viejito pascuero"??
    – Gaviota
    Dec 27 '20 at 22:11

Good question, but it depends on the country and also probably on the age, ... I propose the following for my country and I encourage the community to complete the post with their opinions

Spain (born in 70's)

Classic Books

  • Don Quijote de la Mancha, but you don't need to read the book: there is a TV cartoon that it's also part of our reference.
  • Don Juan Tenorio
  • El Lazarillo de Tormes


  • Barrio Sesamo, "un, dos, tres"
  • Don Quijote de la Mancha, David el Gnomo


  • "La copla", Manolo Escobar, Rocio Jurado, Paloma San Basilio, Lola Flores, Isabel Pantoja, Antonio Molina...
  • 80's groups of La Movida, Mecano, Alaska, Barricada, Los Suaves, Barón Rojo, Loquillo, La Unión ...


  • Torrente,
  • Bienvenido Mr. Marshall
  • any movie of Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez
  • any movie of Marisol

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