When foreign movies from other countries get imported to France, their titles are usually changed to a French movie title. However, sometimes English language movie titles are swapped out for another “English movie title” instead of being translated to a French movie title. The results can be weird, funny or inappropriate for English speakers.
Lost in translation English to English French movie titles
Movies get translated into other languages all the time, but sometimes the titles get lost in translation.
“Annie, Have you seen the American film with Ashton Kutcher called«SEX FRIENDS»? ”
My friend says this whole phrase in French except for the movie title “Sex Friends,” which she says in English.
Annie, as-tu vu le film américain avec Ashton Kutcher appelé « SEX FRIENDS » ?
“Sex Friends?” I repeat, thinking the movie sounded like some kind of third-rate porno movie but with Ashton in it?
I reply, “no, I haven’t seen the movie SEX FRIENDS and have never heard of the film.”
Later on, because I was curious, I looked up the movie only to realize that I had watched the movie, but it was called “No strings attached.”
That’s when I discovered the intriguing business of renaming foreign films in France.
Specifically, renaming English language movie titles to another English movie title, instead of translating them into French movie titles.
How are foreign movie titles changed when they are released in France?
Hollywood movies are extremely popular in France.
So it makes sense that foreign movie titles are usually changed from their original foreign title to something different in other countries.
In France, some foreign movie titles are easily translated to an equivalent French movie title, such as “The devil wears Prada,” which was translated word for word to “Le diable s’habille en Prada.”
Other times, foreign movie titles are changed to a French movie title with a completely different meaning.
For instance, the 1990 movie “Home Alone” starring Macaulay Culkin, was translated into a completely different French title.
- “Mommy I Missed My Plane“
- (Maman J’ai Raté L’Avion).
What I find peculiar is when an English movie title is changed to another English movie title, instead of translating them into French movie titles.
This in fashion trend happens in many countries, not only France. And it’s been going on since the early 1990s.
The results can be interesting, weird and sometimes inappropriate for English speakers.
Here are 31 examples of perfectly good English movie titles changed into strange, sometimes inappropriate English movie titles for the French movie watcher market.
Certain recognizable English words like SEX are used a lot in French movie title translations.
You’ll notice that certain English words like SEX, SEXY, CRAZY, TRIP, VERY, American, and BAD tend to get used a lot in the English-to-English movie title changes in France.
These words are recognizable to most French people, even if they don’t speak English.
Below are a few examples demonstrating the overuse of certain words like sex in renaming English language Hollywood movie titles for the French audience.
You might be interested in reading: 8 Mistakes In French That Make You Sound Horny!
1- No strings attached = Sex Friends
The term “no strings attached” is hard to translate to French, so in this case, it makes sense to change the English title for French speakers to “Sex Friends.” The French understand the word friends and the word sex.
2- What’s your number = Sex list
In the 2011 American romantic comedy film “What’s your number”, the movie title was changed to “Sex list” in France.
In the movie, a woman looks back at her past relationships with 19 different men and wonders if one of them might be her one true love. She then goes on a mission to find her perfect man, her one true love from among her 19 ex-boyfriends.
The movie title in France was changed to “sex list,” but I wonder why it wasn’t renamed to “boyfriend list?”
3- Cruel Intentions= Sexe Intentions
The 1999 American teen drama titled “Cruel Intentions” was renamed “Sexe Intentions” in France.
In the movie, wealthy and privileged step-sister Kathryn bets her stepbrother Sebastian that he can’t deflower the headmaster’s virgin daughter. If he succeeds, he can have Kathryn for one night. If he fails, Kathryn gets his vintage car. Hence the title, Sexe Intentions.
4-Fired Up = Sea Sex and Fun
This 2009 movie titled “Fired Up” was renamed to “Sea Sex And Fun” in France.
In the movie, two popular and good-looking high school football players manage to con their way into attending a cheerleading camp for the summer to get close to the 300 female cheerleaders.
In the end, the boys discover that they actually like cheering. That’s where the Sex and Fun part of the title comes from. The Sea part of the title was probably used because of the skinny dipping scenes or when one of the boys miscalculates a triple backflip and lands in the water in front of them. But I can’t be sure.
5- Step Up 2 = Sexy Dance 2
This 2008 American dance drama film was renamed from “Step Up 2: The Streets” to “Sexy Dance 2” in France.
I think the renamed English to English title for the French audience might actually be better than the one intended for the English-speaking audience.
6-If these walls could talk 2 = Sex revelations
The television film “If These Walls Could Talk 2” aired on HBO in the United States in 2000 and is the sequel to the 1996 HBO film.
In France, it was retitled “Sex Revelations.”
The plot of the film centers around a lesbian couple, Fran and Kal, who want to have a baby, but they need to find a sperm donor.
7- Made In Dagenham = We Want Sex Equality
The 2010 British comedy movie, titled “Made in Dagenham,” was renamed to “We Want Sex Equality” in France.
This movie is a dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford plant in Dagenham, a town in East London where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination.
The title used in France for this film comes from the sign that the female protestors hold in one of the scenes during the walkout, which read, “We want sex equality.”
What’s even funnier is in Germany and Italy, the movie was re-titled to “We Want Sex.” They dropped the word “equality”, most likely because of the scene where the words Equality on the protester’s sign were hidden from view, making it look like they were holding a sign that read “We Want Sex.”
8- The In Crowd = Sex & Manipulations
The 2000 American teen thriller film titled “The In Crowd” was renamed “Sex Manipulations” in France.
This really awful film is about Adrie, a beautiful blond girl who was recently released from a mental institution. Her former doctor gets her a job at a posh country club where Brittany, the leader of a snooty clique of teenagers, takes Adrien under her wing and introduces her to the life of the rich and privileged teenagers, only to discover Brittany’s dark and twisted past.
9- Wild Things = Sex Crimes
“Wild Things” is a 1998 American neo-noir thriller starring Matt Dillon, Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, and Denise Richards, which was re-titled to “Sex Crimes” in France.
The melodramatic twisted plot in this movie is like a cross between a soap opera and a softcore sex film where a police detective uncovers a conspiracy behind a case involving two girls who accuse their high-school guidance counsellor of rape. That’s the sex crime.
10- Shortcut to Happiness = Sexy Devil
“Shortcut To Happiness” from 2003 is an adaptation of the 1936 short story “The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Stephen Vincent Benet. In France, the film was re-titled “Sexy Devil.”
The movie is about a man named Bez who is washed up, lost his job, and is broke. After bez accidentally kills an elderly woman with his typewriter, he makes a bargain with a sexy devil, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, for 10 years of success. That’s when everything goes to hell.
11-Not Another Teen Movie = Sex Academy
one of the rare occasions where I think the French version of the title is actually better than the American title.
12- Judicial Indiscretion = Sex Conpiration
“Judicial Indiscretion” is a PG-13 movie from 2007 that was re-titled “Sex Conspiration” in France.
The plot is about a woman who gets nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States and falls prey to a web of political intrigue and a charming psychopath.
13-Bad Biology = Sex Addict
“Bad Biology” is a truly bizarre movie from 2008 movie which was retitled “Sex addict” in France.
The movie is about a sexually unfulfilled man and woman, both with bizarre genitals who have never met. these two unusual individuals are both in search of sexual fulfillment and eventually meet. Be prepared for gratuitous nudity and horror. So bad it’s good, or so bad it’s just really bad movie
14- Love, Honour & Obey = Gangsters, Sex & Karaoke
The 2000 film “Unmissable” is an absurdly bad mob comedy with British accents and karaoke. Makes total sense why it was re-titled “Gangsters, Sex, and Karaoke” in France. LOL!
15- Euro Trip = Sex Trip
What pops into your mind when you hear the word “Sex trip”? I think of a porn movie, but that’s me.
16-The Hangover = Very Bad Things
Despite there being an exact translation for the word “hangover” (gueule de bois),” the movie title was changed to “Very bad trip” for the French-speaking audience in France.
It may have been changed in France to this name to associate it with the 1998 film “Very Bad Things.” The two movies have similar themes. They’re both about a bunch of guys who go to Las Vegas before one of them gets married.
17-Date Night = Crazy Night
The movie “Date Night” was changed to “Crazy Night” in France. Crazy is an English word the French understand well.. Look closely at the next movie title, which also uses the word crazy.
The French Canadian title for this movie was re-titled “Méchante soirée,” which can mean anything from “wicked night” to “nasty night.”
18- Train Wreck = Crazy Amy
The English term train wreck translated to French is “catastrophe ferroviaire,” but you can’t really say someone’s life is a train wreck in French. Instead, the movie renaming people in France decided to call this movie “Crazy Amy.”
19- The other Guys = Very Bad Cops
First, there was “very bad trip” now there is “Very bad cops,” which was released in the US as “The other guys.”
20- Youth in Revolt = Be Bad
Very bad trip,” “Very bad cops,” and now, “Be bad.” The titles are starting to look a little similar, non? ”
21- Get him to the Greek = American Trip
Another English movie title re-titled using the word “Trip” in the title. Funny how the title in France “American Trip” makes no mention of the Greek.
22-American Hustle = American Bluff
Not only is the word hustle difficult for a French Petri to pronounce due to the letter “H,” but the essence of the word “Hustle” is also difficult to translate and convey in French.
So it only makes sense that another more understandable and meaningful English word would be used for the local market.
In France’s case, the movie was renamed “American Bluff.” Bluff is a word French people understand.
In the French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada, American Hustle was given the French movie title-Arnaque Américaine, “American scam.”
Here are some other titles that the movie was translated to in other countries
- Isreal: “American Dream“
- Argentina: “American Scandal“
- Portugal: “American Sting“
- China: “United States Cheat Bureau” LOL
- Spain: “The Great American Swindle“
- Turkey: “Trickster“
23- All Good Things = Love & Secrets
This movie was re-titled in France to “Love & Secrets” from its original title “All Good Things”.
Not so bad, right? No mention of the words, sex, bad or trip, but there is the word Love and secrets in the title.
24- Killers =
Kiss & Kill
Killers is an American action comedy film from 2010 starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl.
The film centers around a young woman who meets the man of her dreams who happens to be an assassin. In France, it was appropriately re-titled to “Kiss & Kill.”
25- Coyote Ugly = Coyote Girls
Ok, this makes sense.
26- Pitch Perfect = The Hit Girls
The movie “Pitch Perfect” was renamed “The Hit Girls” in France, most likely because French people understand the word “Hit” which usually refers to music or movies.
27- Jewish Connection = Holy Rollers
I’m really surprised that the movie “Jewish connection” was renamed “Holly Rollers” for French audiences in France. Jewish connection resembles the movie title “French connection,” which, despite being an American film, is known in France. The word connection is the same in French also. While “Holy Rollers” is not really a term MOST French people know.
28- Cool Runnings = Rasta Rocket
From “Cool Runnings” to “Rasta Rocket”? No comment.
29- Knight and Day = Night and Day
Look closely; the French version of the American movie “Knight and Day” was changed to “Night and Day.” Which doesn’t really have the same meaning, but I understand why it was changed. The word Knight is not really a word French people will understand. Night is.
30- Anger Management = Self Control
The new title, “Self Control,” actually works well, in my opinion. Good job, France!
31- Silver Linings = Happiness Therapy