Unlike watching TV, seeing Hollywood movies, especially viewing some of my favorites repeatedly, helped a great deal in improving my listening comprehension and spoken English. My self-scheduled and fun classes with American movies dated back to my sophomore year in college.

One day, a roommate triumphantly dropped a bomb: he secured a copy of videotape that has a pirated American movie with some “goodies” in it. To six restless young men, all packed in a one-room dormitory and living in a temple-like campus, hearing both “Hollywood” and “Goodies” in one sentence was as to the hungry wolves seeing a piece of lamb’s flesh on the ground. It spun us into an immediate action.

With a pack of Marlboro and a promise of his concurrent viewing, we bribed a senior, the Party member, who had the key to the only classroom equipped with a VCR in our department. We sneaked into the room one by one in a great care, hoping not to alert others, and tried hard to suppress our excitement.

Behind the closed curtains, amid the heavy smokes, I had experienced my first authentic viewing of a Hollywood movie—original soundtrack in English, no subtitles, and, thank God, no funny voiceover in Chinese—in its entirety.

It was Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese.

After the sunlight resurfaced and the smoke was cleared, my roommates were utterly disappointed; the “goodies”, as it turned out, were no more than an underage hooker’s mini skirt. But I was in a content mood, despite that I couldn’t tell exactly what pleased me.

Truth to be told, I could hardly understand the dialogues in the movie, although I picked up some clues from Jodie Foster’s revealing outfit and Robert DeNiro’s weird actions. Maybe, just watching real Americans talking back and forth the first time amazed me.

Since then, I would seize every opportunity to lay my hands on Hollywood movies. It's not always an easy task, since the authority deemed most American movies the “spiritual pollution” in the 80s, and had a strong rein of the materials. But by then, the iron curtain had many cracks, and the western "pollution" somehow often found its way to trickle in.

Gradually, the magic of storytelling, along with the make-believe scenes, did the trick to my ears: even the long and complicated dialogues became easier to understand. Many times during the viewing, I loved to mimic the dialogues as if I was acting along. Here is one of my favorites:

“Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms—greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge—has marked the upward surge of mankind.” --Gordon Gekko, Wall Street

This is Michael Douglas at his best. And mimicking after a great actor like Douglas, as I found out, is a great way to develop a sense of rhythm and flow. And it's a tremendous fun.
What country are you originally from? The "iron curtain" comment would lead me to believe somewhere in eastern Europe.
I was originally from China. Most Americans would think Iron Curtain is referring to Soviet Union and eastern block, probably because of Cold War context. I would define any country that has dictatorship system in place and mostly isolated from the rest of the world as behind Iron Curtain. China was certainly one of them between 1949 to early 1980s, but began to loosen up gradually thereafter. I would still put the countries like Iran and North Korea in that catogary.
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Well, I don't think it's just Americans who refer to the "Iron Curtain" as such. Frankly, I think it's generally accepted all over that the Iron Curtain was the dividing line between the western free-market and eastern Soviet-influenced countries of Europe. I still understand the comparison though.
It's settled. Let Soviet Union and its eastern block alliances stay behind Iron Curtain, and let the rest of the communist regimes stay behind, say, Brass Curtain, or, since we are in the 21st century now, Titanium Curtain. Hope this clarifies the matter; when whichever curtain is lifted, there will be no confusion for anyone either staybehind the curtain or look from outside in.