Springtime for History of the World Part I: More Fantastic Foreign Film Titles

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 18 2011 3:48 PM

Springtime for History of the World Part I: More Fantastic Foreign Film Titles

Earlier this week, I posted on some of the



Jewish Connection


Sexy Party: Van Wilder 2

, etc.) and solicited readers for their favorite film title translations. At the time, I noted that French distributors have a habit of inserting the English words


, or

 in movie titles where they did not exist before. My colleague Cécile Dehesdin actually wrote an

over at


last year describing the process by which American movies get their titles in France.

According to interviews with French film distributors, movies will often be rechristened with new English names if they are being marketed toward young adults and adolescents. This sort of explains how Step Up became Sexy Dance , though nothing could possibly ever justify it.


Cécile also noted that French distributors will often piggyback off a previously successful American movie, even when the new film is completely unrelated. For example, Very Bad Trip ( The Hangover ) recalled the 1998 movie Very Bad Things , while American Trip ( Get Him to the Greek ) and Very Bad Cops ( The Other Guys ) were responses to the success of Very Bad Trip.

As pointed out by reader Robert Lindblom , this copycat phenomenon was once even more pronounced and markedly more bizarre in Sweden. After Mel Brooks' original version of The Producers became a hit under the title Springtime for Hitler ( Det Våras för Hitler in the original Swedish), every single Mel Brooks film for the next 23 years got the prefix Springtime for . That includes Springtime for the Sheriff ( Blazing Saddles ), Springtime for Space ( Spaceballs ),and Springtime for History of the World Part I ( History of the World: Part I ).

Swedes did something similar with Goldie Hawn films in the 1980s, after the release of The Girl from Petrovka. Private Benjamin became The Girl Who Went to Boot Camp and Overboard  turned into The Girl Who Fell Overboard . Astute readers will note that this is the same phrase Steig Larsson's American publishers used when they re-titled his Millennium trilogy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was called Men Who Hate Women in the original Swedish.

Another commenter noted that Germans have a habit of keeping a film's original title but adding their own extraneous subtitle. Funny examples included Ghost: Message from Sam   ( Ghost—Nachricht von Sam ) and Fargo: Bloody Snow ( Fargo—Blutiger Schnee ).

Without further ado, here are our favorite title translations, as submitted by our readers.

Cool Runnings —> Rasta Rocket (France) —>  Coconuts in the Snow ( Kokosy Na Snehu in the original Czech) 

—> The Very Black Show (France)

The Pacifier
—> Der Babynator (Germany)

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
—> Rent a Man (Germany)

Dunston Checks In
—> A Monkey Inside the Hotel ( Ek Bandar Hotel Ke Andar in Hindi)

Young Frankenstein
—> Springtime for Frankenstein ( Det våras för Frankenstein in Swedish)

—> The Unbelievable Trip on a Crazy Airplane ( Die unglaubliche Reise in einem verrückten Flugzeug in German)

National Lampoon's European Vacation
—> Help, The Yanks Are Coming ( Hilfe, die Amis Kommen in German)

Weekend at Bernie's 
—> Always a Hassle with Bernie ( Immer Ärger mit Bernie in German)

Die Hard 
—> Die Slowly ( Stirb Langsam in German)

Wild Things
—> Sexcrimes (France)

Hot Shots! Part Deux
—> Hot Shots! 2 (France)

Not Another Teen Movie
—> Sex Academy (France), Not Another Stupid American Movie ( No es otra estúpida película Americana in Spanish)

Billy Madison 
—> Billy Madison: A Slob at Falling in Love ( Billy Madison Ein Chaot zum Verlieben in German)

Sweet Home Alabama
—> Fashion Victime (France)

Cruel Intentions
—> Sexe Intentions (My all-time favorite. From France, of course.)

Thanks to every reader who wrote in and commented! If you can't get enough of these, we recommend this slightly addictive game . It's crazy, sexy fun!


Photograph of Sexy Dance 3: The Battle 3D poster by Tabby Vos. 


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