Sometimes I want to watch some movie in its original language i.e. without translation.

For some movies, it's pretty easy. For example,

  • Antonioni's Blowup was originally filmed in English
  • His L'Avventura was originally filmed in Italian

But for some movies it's not easy to determine the original language.

Like, Spirits of the Dead by Roger Vadim, Louis Malle and Federico Fellini. How I can determine in what language it was filmed originally: Italian or French?

Another example is Beyond the Clouds by Michelangelo Antonioni and Wim Wenders. The question is the same: How I can determine in what language it was filmed originally?

Well, currently I'm interested in these two movies, but my question is broader. Is there a way to determine the original language of any, i.e. arbitrary, movie?

  • 5
    The first language listed under the 'Language' part on the 'Details' section on a film's IMDb page is often a good indicator, albeit not always fully reliable. Also, some films don't have one original language, but are dubbed to several languages from the start. In such cases I usually prefer the language that most of the main actors speak natively.
    – Steadybox
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 14:28
  • 1
    I think it's possible that a film gets made in one language originally, but its first release is dubbed to another language. So the first release date is not an infallible measure either. Besides, it could happen that a film gets released in multiple countries on the same date, and then the release date would offer no resolution.
    – Steadybox
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 19:08
  • 1
    @johnc.j. Not a good measure. There are films which were released earlier in "dubbed" countires than in the country of origin. See Prometheus, as an example of main stream blockbusters.
    – Mouvier
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 21:11
  • 2
    @Mouvier Thanks, now it's completely clear for me. Also, for futher readers, to illustrate what Steadybox said ("some films don't have one original language, but are dubbed to several languages from the start") I would add this related link: Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns: English or Italian?
    – john c. j.
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 22:14
  • 1
    Also, here is another example: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Vinti. ("The theatrical film was dubbed into Italian for all three episodes, although the Paris episode is spoken in French, and the London episode in English. The Italian DVD by Medusa Film offers the restored uncut trilingual version.")
    – john c. j.
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


One suggestion would be the BBFC website (British Board of Film Censors) that categorizes each film it provides a certificate for.

So, for Beyond the Clouds, we see the related works that point at


Also known as - BEYOND THE CLOUDS
Year - 2009
Distributor(s) - Second Sight Films
Classified date(s) - 15/05/2009
Main language - French
Submitted run time104m 54s
BBFC reference - BVF066043

So, the original here is French.

BBFC doesn't list "Spirits of the Dead", so you'll need some other reference there. It's doubtful you'll find a single source for every film. The BBFC does seem pretty dependable though (when it has results).


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .