Gratuitous English/Film

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Examples of Gratuitous English in Film include:


Other examples

  • In Armour of God, when the characters chase a villain to a British-owned restaurant, the maitre d' tries to speak to them in rather dodgy English. Jackie Chan's character angrily tells him to speak Chinese instead.
  • The American characters in Godzilla: Final Wars (most of whom are Badasses to some degree) never say anything in Japanese. This makes sense for the New Yorkers, and even the two working at Godzilla's Antarctic prison, but you'd think Gordon and Kazama would have taken a "rooma-shi ni toki" attitude by now. But then, everyone understands everything they say anyway, so why bother?
  • Suicide Club—The psychopath Genesis shouts out "Welcome to my pleasure room!" and sings a song with an English chorus in an otherwise completely-Japanese film.
  • Nobutada from The Last Samurai likes to say "Jolly Good" around captured American soldier Nathan Algren, at first to mock him for his nationality.
  • The title of the South Korean movie Wonderful Days, which still became Sky Blue for its English-language release.
  • Dostana. There's about as much English in the film as Hindi.
  • In the 2007 romantic comedy Tokyo Serendipity (original Japanese title: Koisuru Madori), hulking wrestler Satan makes his signature entrance by climbing onto the turnbuckle, glaring menacingly at his opponent, and intoning "GO.... TO.... HELLLLLLLL!!!" in near-perfect English while turning his hand slowly into an ominous thumbs-down.
  • European example: In Los Nuevos Extraterrestres, one of the band members has a T-shirt reading "I'm a virgin".
  • If you not watch Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, I will be execute.
  • Roadside Romeo has copious amounts of English randomly mixed with Hindi.
  • Parodied hilariously in the French comedy La Cité de la Peur (although it's more of a Gratuitous English Accent case):

Serge: I think we're dealing with a serial-killer (pronounced with an American accent) *dramatic music*
Odile: A what?
Serge: A serial-killer (same accent, same dramatic music)
Odile: ... A what?
Serge: *sigh* Un sériale-killeur (drops the accent)
Odile: Oh, I see... a serial-killer (with the exact same American accent) *dramatic music*

  • The Heroic Trio has a few of these:
    • Thief Catcher, played by Maggie Cheung, says "Good morning" to cops.
    • Later, when attempting to blow up the Big Bad, she drops a load of dynamite down a manhole while shouting "Happy New Year!" This could be an example of The Cast Showoff since Maggie Cheung spent years in Europe and speaks English fluently.
    • Another examples occurs when Michelle Yeoh's character learns that her scientist boyfriend is dying. He quietly types "Don't cry" in English on the computer.
  • The 80s and 90s Godzilla movies feature some of this. In Godzilla vs. Biollante it's used (and mangled) for any time a character is speaking a foreign language (which is disappointing seeing that the previous film featured actors speaking English in American roles and Russian in Soviet roles quite competently). In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, as Terasawa is about to detonate a bomb placed on the Futurians' computers, he intones "Make my day!" in a way that sounds half badass, half narm. In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, during one of the Mechagodzilla training sims, everyone speaks (bad) English. And in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, as Shinjo and Sato prepare to give chase to Godzilla on a motorcycle, one of them says "Okay! Aye aye, sir!" with a very thick accent.
  • This cheesily hilarious Ugandan film trailer has some, especially at the 20 second mark. "YOU AMERICAN SON OF THE BEECH!"
  • El Bracero, in Mexican classic movie Ustedes, los Ricos gratuitously and humorously speaks with random English phrases, as he has just come back from living and working in the USA.
  • "Hey, Black...come on."