Funny movie title translations
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Funny movie title translations from English to French

A completely different title!

Maman, j’ai raté l’avion

In French, this title literally means “Mum, I missed the plane“. First of all, why is that title so long ?! It is an actual sentence ! Still, it is one my favorite movies : Christmas season, big soft socks, a blanket and a chocolate cake with whipped cream and Maman j’ai raté l’avion on TV. Are you able to guess which movie it is? (Home Alone)

Mon beau-père et moi

Mon beau-père et moi” would be translated as “My father-in-law and I“. Which movie is mainly about a man facing issues with his father-in-law? Wouldn’t it be Mr. Focker? Such a funny movie! (Meet the Parents)

Les Dents de la Mer

The translation of “Les Dents de la Mer” is “the Teeth of the Sea“. How cute does it sound? However, the film is not cute AT ALL and has traumatized many people all over the world. Its soundtrack is absolutely iconic! (Jaws)

Mon voisin le tueur

If I literelly translate, “Mon voisin le tueur” means “my neighbor, the killer“, which pretty much sums up the whole movie! (The Whole nine Yards) ↰ If you could explain to me in the comments what this title means, I would really appreciate it as I don’t get it!

Allô Maman Ici Bébé

Allô Maman ici Bébé : I am sure you are able to translate it… Hello Mummy, Baby here. That is very explicit title and I am sure you guessed which movie it was… (Look who’s talking)

Translating English into… English!

Very Bad Trip

This is a French specialty at its finest : translating a movie title that is originally in English into … English words (?!) for the French market… Very logical! In this case, I guess French people understand this title though, as in French a bad trip means a bad trip drugs. Did you find which movie is Very Bad Trip ? (The Hangover)

Very Bad Cops

Honestly I really don’t understand why we changed this one : Cops is neither a word that we use in French nor that people who don’t speak English understand… However it could suit the movie in English pretty well. (The other Guys)

No Pain No Gain

You will never find out which movie it is… As the title in French is actually the opposite of the English title. (Pain and Gain)

Read also : Top 12 tricky Anglicisms in French

Night and Day

Here again, this translation is quite absurd. *SPOILER* Phonetically, it’s identical but the sense and the speeling are different. (Knight and Day)

Happiness Therapy

That title was well-found. But once again, even though, “therapy” is “thérapie” in French, “happiness” is not a word that we use in French so people who don’t speak English won’t understand it. (Silver Linings Playbook)

Just Married

This title is funny when you know the English version as we can say that we are looking at it on the bright side! (Runaway Bride)

Just-Married

American Bluff

Although “American Bluff” is in English but it can actually be understood by French people as “American” is “américain” and “bluff” is word that we use in French. So this title makes sense to me. (American Hustle)

Kinkier in French!

SexCrimes

France is less puritan than the US, that might be one of the reasons why translators don’t hesitate to adapt movie titles with the word “sex“. This movie is the trial of a guidance counselor, accused of rape by teenagers. (Wild Things)

Sexe Intentions

This a movie that was freely inspired by the French book “Les liaisons Dangereuses“, written by Choderlos de Laclos. Any guess? (Cruel Intentions)

Sexy Dance

In French, this movie is reduced to dance and sexiness. No, it’s not the film “Coyote Ugly” (that is by the way translated as “Coyote Girls” in French). (Step up)

Sex Academy

This is a spoof movie, mocking all of the teen movies in the 2000’s. Any guess? (Not another teen movie)

Sex Friends

Knowing that in the English version, there is the word that means “thong” in French, so I can understand why the translator would rather use the word “sex” than “thong“! (No strings attached)

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15 Comments

  • Larry

    Very good article. «  The whole nine yards ». In my experience this phrase is another way of saying «  giving it everything »
    or «  putting the maximum amount of effort in » to something.
    eg the soccer goalkeeper gave it «  the full nine yards » 
    as he kicked the ball as hard, and as far as he could, right in to the opposition’s half.
    Best wishes,
    Larry

  • Mikael

    Very cool article !
    There’s also “AMERICAN NIGHTMARE” (The purge)

  • Objectif Bucket List

    Cool article 🙂 Just a remark, or maybe the beginning of an explanation. The people who actually translate the movie (subtitling and/or dubbing) have nothing to do with the “translation” of the title. The title is chosen (not translated) by the marketing division of the distributing company and therefore those are not translations but simply (good or bad) marketing choices. That’s why movies were titled “very bad cops” and “very cold trip” to try to capitalize on the success of “very bad trip” (The Hangover). The same goes with a lot of rom-coms which end up being titled “coup de foudre à…” so that people instantly know it’s a rom-com, whatever their original title was. This also explains why there are so many titles with “sexe” in it. Everybody knows sex sells 😉

    • Sabrina F.

      Thank you so much for your clear explanation! That makes sense! Marketing people can make very cheeky choices! Honestly, who would have guessed that the title “Maman j’ai raté l’avion” would have been such a hit. Of course the movie is cool, but the title is even cooler!!!

  • Samuel Delage

    Excellent ! As a french writer and screenwriter, my full time activity, the subject fascinates me.

    • Sabrina F.

      Thank you Samuel 🙂 Indeed, it’s fascinating and inspiring : sometimes we need to think outside the box, just like the title translators are doing !

      • Nic

        The whole nine yards, it’s a reference to American football. It’s to say, you need to put in as much effort as possible to gain nine yards in the next play.

        • Sabrina F.

          Thank you for your explanation Nic ! It makes more sense now

  • Laure

    Excellent article ! Il ne me reste plus qu’à l’apprendre par cœur pour épater mes amis 😜

  • eric

    Oh this is funny … and although I know the movie titles were not exactly literally translated from English to French, I never realized some of the meanings were completely different … not talking about the revised English title to fit French marketing needs … Thank you and I loved your article 🙏

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