Movies Still Enjoyable to Watch With the Sound Muted

I’ve been doing quite a bit of treadmill running, and I’ve discovered that it goes by a lot faster if I’m watching something while I run. The main problem is that I can’t fully attend to what I’m watching when I’m putting for a real effort, so I save TV shows and movies that I enjoy for the plotting and dialog for walking. I have also found that I can watch a movie with no sound and enjoy both it and the run, if it’s the right movie. Highly visual movies that allow me to admire the cinematography work well. For example, today I ran to Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and it’s a visual feast, and the minimal dialog in the first half of the movie worked well for me.

Any other suggestions for movies that work well with no sound? I think the otherwise execrable “Sucker Punch” might also fit the bill.

Finally, yes, I can do subtitles, but I’d probably rather not.

Thanks for the suggestions!

I don’t watch a lot of movies with the sound off, however I was in a bar in Portland a few years ago that was showing Chronicles of Riddick. It was impossible to hear a thing but I couldn’t stop watching - in fact I enjoyed the movie while I think pretty much everyone else who has seen it thought it was terrible. So I’m thinking muted may be the way to watch that movie.

Haven’t tried it, but I think The Fifth Element could work. Also, if you can have sound but are just not wanting dialog, Interstella 5555 might be perfect. It’s an album-length Daft Punk music video, essentially, and I find Daft Punk to be great exercise music anyway.

Sometimes I’ll have a movie on the tv but with sound muted, if I’m doing something and I need to concentrate. Then I’ll just glance at the screen every now and again. A couple of movies actually seem to benefit from being watched this way.

Constantine, with Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz, is pretty good this way. It helps that I like Rachel Weisz, a lot. It also helps that Tilda Swinton is very watchable even without sound. It especially helps that you don’t hear a peep from Shia LaBeouf.

Witness, with Harrison Ford, also is pretty good this way. I think it works this way for a different reason though, without sound and depending on which scenes you watch this movie could be about anything you like.


These are amazing suggestions. I actually already own a couple of these on DVD that I can rip (well, not the porn), and the rest I’ll start looking into! Keep 'em coming.

The Fall probably wouldn’t make any less sense if you couldn’t hear what was being said.

A lot of Charlie Chaplin’s early stuff I’d say.

I bet Stalker and Tree of Life work well for this for the same reasons 2001 does.

If you’re okay with subtitles, obviously anything foreign works.

I don’t do any of my workouts at the gym, but I do watch muted movies at bars all the time. My favorite genre for this is old school horror. Like young Christopher Lee era. The dialog hardly matters, since you can follow that same old story just from the cheesy imagery.

Oh, and gameoverman actually made me want to watch Constantine.

3-Iron, The Isle, Spring Summer Autumn Winter and Spring. Nearly anything by Kim Ki-duk should work, since he’s so fond of mute protagonists.

Speed Racer.

Also, if you have Netflix, they have subtitles on pretty much everything now, so you can experiment if you want. I don’t mind them for watching Star Trek reruns while working out sometimes.

The General. Steamboat Bill Jr. Safety Last. Modern Times.

And if he wants colour, he could always try The Viking. (It’s actually quite good, in a melodramatic way.)

Terrence Malick’s films also work well without sound. Just gorgeous, all around.

Any of George Lucas’ films (even outside of Star Wars) should work since his whole thing is supposed to be how different use of colors can be used to tell stories

LoTR 3 Return of the King, the extended version. It’s got long battle scenes and if you’re a rabid fan, you probably know all the dialogue by heart already.

Movies that look like long music videos counterintuitively work great with the sound off. I’d recommend the following:

Tron Legacy
Resident Evil
Streets of Fire
Enter the Void

A lot of Samurai Jack’s episodes had very minimal dialogue.

his whole thing is supposed to be how different use of colors can be used to tell stories

This put me in mind of Hero and The House of Flying Daggers, but thinking about it, most martial arts films would probably work quite well. Most have the same plot anyway.