Biggest multi-language subtitle database

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 2, 2007
Updated • Jul 16, 2013

I prefer watching foreign movies with subtitles over watching them synchronized. This has two main reasons: the first is that I feel that a lot of atmosphere is lost when you hear Bruce Willis or Brad Pitt speaking in a foreign language, especially if the voice does not match that well or if you have heard the original voice before. The second reason is that I can use subtitles to watch movies that are not officially available in my country.

I'm not speaking about movie downloads here - although that would be a possible application as well - but about legal purchases of movies that have been created in Asia and Scandinavia. Many of those movies have no synchronization and English subtitles which means that I cannot enjoy those movies at all as I have no clue what is going on. Think about the great Gaki No Tsukai Batsu game show that airs once a year in Japan. Without subtitles, it would still be funny but you would not really know what is going on unless you speak Japanese.

I usually search subtitle databases such as Open Subtitles for the title and download the English subtitle if available. Subtitles are available in numerous languages all added by a dedicated bunch that create them for free.

The database contains more than 285000 subtitles, sometimes even more than one for individual titles. A search for Fight Club for instance had 258 hits for various languages and versions.

A nice feature is that you may search for subtitles in a certain language which really reduces the hits for every search that you conduct.

To find a movie or TV show, simply enter the title on the main page, select a language if you want or keep the setting to return all hits, and click on search. Advanced search offers more options to filter results, including searching only in the movies or TV series database, selecting the movies genre or country, or the subtitle format you want to download.

Update: Open Subtitles is still going strong, now offering more than 2.24 million subtitles to site visitors. The site itself has not changed much in recent time with the exception of the ten-fold increase of the subtitles it offers. The site is featuring subtitles for movies and TV shows now, so that you may watch your favorite show in the original language but with subtitles attached to it to understand what is going on.

This is excellent if you have started to learn the original language, as you can use the subtitle as backup if you do not understand a certain scene or word in the show or movie.

It is important to find the right version at times. You find subtitles for a lot of "scene" releases on the site, but also for different versions of a movie, e.g. a special edition with extra scenes and the regular version.


If you are looking for subtitles then you may want to start your journey right here, as it is offering loads of them. While it is not certain that you will find subtitles for the show or movie you are looking for, you will usually find that all popular ones are available on the site.


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  1. Maverick said on June 17, 2007 at 1:23 am

    please if you know about spanish subtitles of Diggstown (1992), tell me!!! thank you very much.

  2. Thinker said on June 3, 2007 at 11:17 am

    In Poland recently all popular sites with subtitles were closed and some translators and server administrators went to prison :/ It’s sick. Good that international sites are free of stupid Polish law.

  3. Tobey said on June 3, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Useful website, although the popup is awkward.

  4. Artorios said on June 2, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    I didn’t understand. When you download the subtitles…are you downloading the entire movie?

    Or else how do you add the subtitles to your legally purchased video??

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