The 5 Best Foreign Movies To Show Subtitle-averse People

The 5 Best Foreign Movies To Show Subtitle-averse People

Published on December 26, 2022 16:30 PM by Andrew Koschiev

Bong Joon-ho said subtitles sometimes felt like a barrier to watching movies outside of English. It made history by winning Best Picture at the Oscars. In his acceptance speech, he said, "Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you'll discover so many awesome movies." Upon its success, he stated, you will discover so many more amazing films once you have broken through that barrier.

Anybody who has watched movies from all over the world can attest to him being right. It's a little awkward reading subtitle at first, but once you get used to them, you can watch and follow any movie, no matter what language you speak. Here are 5 movies you do not know. They are all well-loved and accessible. They are worth watching if you want to overcome the one-inch barrier Bong Joon-ho mentioned.

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

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The fantasy and war genres are combined to striking effect in Pan's Labyrinth, a dark fairytale that is not meant for kids. As Ofelia escapes the reality of her real life, she lives in a grim fantasy world because it is even worse than the one, she finds the Spanish Civil War ended in the 1940s.

A simple plot that can be followed by viewers new to non-English language films, it has many themes and visual metaphors that add complexity. Although Pan's Labyrinth has a beautiful look, a memorable cast, and a unique fantasy element, it is considered one of the best foreign films of the 21st century.

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Das Boot (1981)

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The title of Das Boot means "The Boat" in English, and it is an unforgettable World War Two story. A claustrophobic German U-boat is almost entirely the scene, showing the terror of life on such a vessel unflinchingly during wartime.

While subtitles should not deter non-German speakers, the cramped location and relentless tension can do so. Das Boot is a masterfully made war movie for those brave enough to stomach it and has many cuts depending on the viewer newcomers should stick to the 149-minute cut.

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The Lives of Others (2006)

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Despite both films being excellent, Pan's Labyrinth probably has a stronger cultural impact, so surprisingly, The Lives of Others beat it out for this award. No matter where you live or what language you speak, The Lives of Others remains gripping and accessible. In this subtle and moving thriller set in Berlin in 1980, a secret police agent is tasked with watching a couple. The plot is captivating, and the performances are excellent, making it an excellent film with a good pace and accessibility.

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Oldboy (2003)

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Its plot centers on a man who is mysteriously abducted and held in a single room for 15 years. Despite its confronting story and infamously grisly scenes, Oldboy is one of South Korean cinema's most recognizable films. After being released, he dedicates himself to discovering who stole so many years of his life.

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Purple Noon (1960)

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Though Purple Noon is an older non-English language movie, it is still no less accessible than more contemporary world cinema classics. Adapted from the first book in the series, The Talented Mr. Ripley, it features the character, Tom Ripley. With its twists and psychological intensity, this movie is an effortlessly stylish movie that features an outstanding performance from French icon Alain Delon. Anyone who enjoys a good crime-thriller needs to watch Purple Noon.

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