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Scared of Subtitles? You’ve Actually Been Using Them For Years and Didn’t Even Notice

Have you ever avoided a film because of subtitles? Does it feel like you can’t possibly enjoy watching something if you have to read it too? Does watching a foreign-language film without dubbing feel like eating your vegetables? Well, I’ve got good news for you: you’ve already proven this theory wrong countless times—you’ve been enjoying your veggies all along. That’s right, you’ve been reading subtitles for years and you didn’t even notice.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a (nondefinitive) list of popular films, series, and other media that even the most anti-subtitle folks have likely consumed with joy, never once batting an eye at those little words on the screen.

(And if you want more TV and film from around the world, be sure to subscribe to Topic and discover your new favorites.)

Game of Thrones

The mammoth series regularly used subtitles for its several fictional languages, including Valyrian, Dothraki, and Qaarth. Yet, it still attracted 13.6 million American viewers for its finale.

Star Trek

“Star Trek'''s popularity means that Americans have been reading subtitles while watching TV since the 1960s. The sci-fi classic often featured characters speaking in Vulcan, Klingonese, and other alien languages.

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Avatar

Americans can’t seem to get enough of alien speak. “Avatar,” which heavily features the fictional Na’vi language, set a new record for highest-grossing film in both the US and Canada.

District 9

Just to drive the point home further, “District 9” was another popular blockbuster that featured subtitles for its own alien language.

Amélie

This is more than a film; it’s an obsession. If you’ve seen the whimsical French love story set in Paris, then you know what I mean. Bet you never thought once about the subtitles.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Some films transcend language with its utter beauty. Viewers were likely so transfixed by the film’s stunning fight choreography and breathtaking cinematography that they completely forgot they were reading subtitles.

Inglorious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino might be a quintessential American director, but his 2009 film prominently featured French and German.

The Artist

Remember this 2012 Best Picture winner? It was without a doubt THE it-movie of 2011—and guess what? It was a silent film, which means you know what—subtitles!

Parasite

More recently, “Parasite” won Best Picture 2020 Oscars, making it the first foreign-language film to take home the honor. Its director, Bong Joon-ho, famously said during his Golden Globes acceptance speech, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” We couldn’t agree more.

Just About Every Video on Social Media

Last but not least, we’d like to kindly remind you that every time you go on social media you’re likely reading subtitles on Instagram Reels, TikTok videos, video ads, and more. Hardly feels like like eating vegetables, am I right?

See what other subtitled series or films you can enjoy on Topic.

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