In the movie The Hunt For Red October, Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) begins the movie speaking Russian-- as do all Russian characters. Upon reading the following passage from the Book of Revelations (Revelation 16:15-17), on the word 'armageddon,' the characters begin to speak English instead.

[in Russian] "Behold, I am coming as a thief... and he gathered them all together in a place called Armageddon... [in English] and the Seventh Angel poured forth his bowl into the air, and a voice cried out from Heaven, saying, "It is done!" A man of your responsibilities reading about the end of the world? And what's this? "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

Why the switch? Why not just start out in English? Why on that passage, and that word, specifically?

  • FYI: I chose the [analysis] tag because I suspect there may be a larger plot implication that I don't understand. – stevvve Oct 6 '16 at 2:20
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    I think it was just a creative way to show to the audience that while hearing English, the characters were speaking Russian. Note that the word "Armageddon" is the same in English and Russian. – sanpaco Oct 6 '16 at 3:12
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    @sanpaco: You should add that as an answer. – bobbyalex Oct 6 '16 at 4:49
  • Seconded. This is required as the language barrier is a plot point later on but the audience wouldn't tolerate viewing most of the movie with subtitles. – Stephane Oct 6 '16 at 16:04

I too have wondered about this when I watch the show. It seems strange to start with subtitles and then suddenly switch to English in this manner. At first I imagined maybe they wanted to do subtitles originally but then they ran out of subtitle budget really early on and had to switch. This of course doesn't make much sense.

I don't think there is anything more to it than to have a creative way to show the viewer that while the language being heard is English, the characters are in fact speaking Russian. By having them start speaking Russian it establishes the fact that there is a different language, but then there is a transition from Russian to English, including a visual transition to help illustrate the effect. It is a creative way to do this.

As for the point of transition, it is noted in the IMDb Trivia section for the movie that the word "Armageddon" is the same in English and Russian although pronounced differently. This is likely the purpose of choosing that word as the point when the character's transition from Russian to English.


Like @sanpaco said, armageddon is the same in both languages. IMDb Link

My understanding was simply that it would be easier for audiences to follow what was happening. However, it could be that the director simply liked the idea based on a movie he had seen: Reddit Link

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