OpenSubtitles – The Web’s Largest, Completely Free Searchable Subtitles Database

Tim Brookes 20-12-2010

It’s a rather annoying moment when you realise that film, episode or documentary you downloaded (completely legally, of course) doesn’t come with the necessary subtitles.


For those who are hard of hearing or obsessed with world cinema, subtitles are a necessity. Step in, a vast database of subtitles that we’ve happened to mention previously Where to Download Subtitles for Movies and TV Shows: The 6 Best Sites Subtitles elevate the viewing experience. Here are the best subtitle download sites where can you get quality subtitles for free. Read More .

The key is in the name, but aims to be as open as possible. This has allowed for a few features that give the website the edge over the competition.

Finding Subtitles

The home page is packed with info and small text, but if you’re simply after a quick download then you’ll be done in no time.

movie subtitles

Finding the subtitles you’re after is a fairly straightforward process. On the main page, enter your search query and hit Search. You’ll immediately be taken to a list of possible films that match your query.


english subtitles

Once you’ve found the film you’re after you’ll be taken to the subtitles results for that film. The language of the subtitles you are downloading is indicated via the flag in the second column of the results.

Simply click on a result to learn more information, add a rating or comment or click Download (ZIP) to download your subtitles. Extract the archive (put the subtitles file in the same directory as the movie, for ease) and you’re good to go.

You can then use your favourite media player to choose the file you just downloaded as a subtitle track and finally enjoy your movie.



In line with the openness mantra that follows, there are a few other ways of getting hold of your subtitles. There happens to be an API What Are APIs, And How Are Open APIs Changing The Internet Have you ever wondered how programs on your computer and the websites you visit "talk" to each other? Read More for the website, which a number of applications take advantage of.

The list of supported media players is a fairly long one. It’s also refreshing to see some big-name projects on the list.

One such supported player is SMPlayer, a popular Linux media player The Top 5 Video Players For Your Linux OS Read More which also works on Windows. Within SMPlayer is the ability to directly search using the file you are playing.

english subtitles


Simply click Subtitles then Find Subtitles on Your results will be showed almost immediately, and can be directly downloaded with a click.

Another media solution that makes use of is Boxee Boxee Beta - The Best Media Center App for Your TV Read More , the media centre application which transforms your TV into an internet-ready entertainment centre. Simply click the closed caption (“CC” in a speech bubble) button and Boxee will automatically connect and display results.

english movie subtitles

There are currently more than 220 registered user agents making use of the API, so there’s a good chance you’ve already got software that supports OpenSubtitles.


There’s also the website’s own project, the OpenSubtitles MKV Player which only works on Windows. Much like the other programs, it is a player that connects and downloads subtitles for you (though there are better media solutions 5 Best Free Media Players for Windows The best media player for you is the one you most enjoy using. Here are the best free media player apps to consider on Windows. Read More out there).

Uploads & Requests

If you’re a particularly patient individual with a love of helping out your fellow man then you might be tempted to upload subtitles. You don’t necessarily have had to slave away on each and every line, you just might find a version in your collection that the website doesn’t have.

Simply click the Upload link to be taken to the subtitles upload page. You will need to input a fair bit of information related to the film that you’ve subtitled, including the IMDB ID and how many frames per second (FPS) your version adheres to.

movie subtitles

If you can’t find the subtitles you’re after then you can lodge a request, but you’ll need to register on the site before you can do so. You can also see what everyone else is after, and whether you can help out.

If all that’s not enough, then there’s also some add-ons for your browser. For iGoogle users, you can add an OpenSubtitles gadget, there’s also a Firefox subtitle matcher add-on [No Longer Available] and an Opera widget if you’re that way inclined.


There’s loads of subtitle search engines and databases online, but none quite offer the plug-and-play ease of The use of an API to deliver the content directly within media players is second to none.

Whether you’re physically searching yourself or have a media player that uses the API, you probably won’t find a faster way to download subtitles online.

Do you have any favourite subtitle spots? Do you use Boxee or SMPlayer and rely on the ability to directly download subtitles? Share the love in the comments.

Related topics: Television, Video Editor.

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  1. Johnny
    January 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Check also this software: [Broken Link Removed]

  2. Johnny
    January 2, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Check also this software: [Broken Link Removed]

  3. chapulina
    December 31, 2010 at 2:06 am

    You don't have to enter all that information in the upload form. IMDb number and language, and the release name if you know it. But anyway it's better to upload subtitles using the Java uploader or one of the programs that use the API, because then you can associate them with the exact movie file (release) you have.