I am studying english with movies Notting Hill and Sherlock Holmes, but the Sherlock Holmes movie (Robert John Downey Jr) is based in 100 years ago.

Do you think it is good to study?

3 Answers 3


Sherlock Holmes is scripted in Modern English. The characters don't use much dated English, except to refer to old objects. It is not like watching a play by Shakespeare, which does use Early Modern English.

If I recall the movie, the actors adopt London British Accents, (some of the accents are better than others). If you enjoy the film then watch it, it won't make you worse at speaking English.

The Benedict Cumberbatch series, Sherlock was far more enjoyable for me, but this is not a TV and Film review.

  • Are you sure about probably the most popular version by Jeremmy Brett? His pronunciation is quite difficult to me.
    – user17814
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 3:38
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    The Robert Downey film (2009) is quite modern English. Benadict Cumberbatch series (2010) is entirely modern. The Jeremy Brett version (1980s) has a much older style. Basil Rathbone (1930s) is very noticeably antique. Holmes in general is a pedantic character and speaks in a careful and controlled way. The other characters vary considerably.
    – jonathanjo
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 4:09
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    @KentaroTomono I believe the question was specifically about the Robert Downey film called "Sherlock Holmes".
    – jonathanjo
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 4:12
  • @jonathanjo ah, I apologize. Though, don' t you think we can "taste" the "original" works much closer by Doyle by older films?^^
    – user17814
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 4:14
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    @KentaroTomono For normal learning purposes, I'd recommend something -- anything -- modern with a lot of dialogue. MIdsomer Murders, Columbo, Friends, Sex in the City, anything. If your English is strong enough to care about authenticity to the author, certainly you'd want an older version of Holmes, or read the books. For conversation purposes, film before the 1960s probably is too old-fashioned, and modern gangster films have a lot of slang and swearing which won't help your business and social travel!
    – jonathanjo
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 4:24

I personally don't recommend if it is not by the work by Robert.

I read almost all of the works of Dostoevsky in English which were published around at the same time with the publishments by Conan Doyle.

An native American teacher at my university at that time said, "Your English sounds too outdated".

As I answered here, can you catch every word instantly what Holmes is saying?

I still recommend listening to the up-to-the date American products whatever they are, since they are quite dominant.


Yes, watching Sherlock Holmes movies will be helpful for your English. I've been rereading the Canon, and I find myself writing more expressively in English, which is my first language admittedly. Perhaps it has also improved my spoken English---I'm not sure. It certainly won't hurt your English.

You might pick up some peculiar, out-of-date phrases. But that's other people's problem. Either rephrase it or let them look it up. Using 19th-century phrases can be charming.

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