On Watching Credits

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Whenever I go see a movie, I’m the person who sits and waits until the credits end before leaving.  There are many reasons why I do this, but I’m not here to convince you to watch credits.  I understand if people don’t like to watch credits; they can be tedious and have more details than one needs to know.  But I believe that credits are part of a movie, and I do enjoy watching them.  I find, however, that there are many little things that often pressure people not to watch them.

About a minute into the credits in a movie theater, most of the audience has left.  I was shocked the second time I saw Slumdog Millionaire; most people left just as this was beginning (embedding is unfortunately disabled).  When the audience leaves, in come the theater staff to clean up their mess.  They either lurk at the back, waiting for me and other credit watchers to leave, or they begin cleaning around us.

Even though it makes me feel hurried, at least I can stay and watch.  With television, the situation borders on impossible.  Live broadcasts never show credits in full; usually, they’re squished at the bottom of the screen while the network shows an advertisement for the next episode or for another show entirely.  Only on DVD can you watch credits in peace.

Online viewing is no easier.  Hulu usually places an ad right after the show finishes, so only those like me would sit and wait for it to finish in order to watch the credits.  And as soon as the credits do begin, the screen gets smaller to accommodate a button urging you to watch the next episode.  Of course, you can make the credits full screen again but it’s an annoyance to those who want to watch them – and another blow to those whose names are in the credits.

I firmly believe that all those people put in a lot of effort to make the episode (or, more broadly, the movie) and that their names deserve to be read.  But I also have a deep appreciation for film and TV music, and I love listening to the score on its own.  Sitting in a theater listening to this blasting from the speakers is certainly an experience.  And the end credits music for movies and television can sometimes be more stimulating than the opening titles.

And credits contain lots of little (albeit, insignificant) things, like the names of Johnny Depp’s three personal assistants during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.  Credits also tell you the filming locations, the music used, and the various special consultants who helped on the film. More importantly, credits can be pretty entertaining; in addition to Slumdog Millionaire, those for Ratatouille spring to mind:

And don’t forget that there can be scenes after the credits, a small reward for those who stick around.  Sometimes, credits can be funny.  The credits of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire contain the tongue-in-cheek “No dragons were harmed in the making of this movie.”

For these reasons, I love watching credits, and I wish that people could be left in peace to watch them.  So don’t rush people when they’re watching credits in a theater – and surely don’t smash the credits away with more advertising.

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3 thoughts on “On Watching Credits

  1. ever since I went to movies with you, I have developed a habit of watching the credits. And I’m surprised by how much I like to watch the credits now. I think part of it was watching movies and being able to identify people who are in the credits (like the pixar movies); the other part was me wanting to become someone on the credits someday; and another reason was memorizing the names of people on the credits in the hopes that I’ll be able to at least identify them at some function (i.e. like actually knowing that the legendary effects director Doug Trumball was part of Tree of Life, etc). I think it’s incredible how much labor goes into making a movie. Thanks for inspiring this new habit of mine!

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