Little Women became "Eine fröhliche Familie" (A joyous family).
Hikari no Densetsu was renamed "Die kleinen Superstars" (The little superstars).
Captain Tsubasa went under the inane name "Die tollen Fußballstars" (The amazing soccer-stars).
Following the theme, Attack No.1 was known as "Mila Superstar", renaming the main character to Mila.
Jack and the Beanstalk (1974) (an extended Japanese version of Jack and the Beanstalk, which is it's title in most other countries) became "Tom, Crosby, and the Mouse Brigade".
Marvel Comic Titles often got strange translations up until the 80s, during/after which they slowly restored the original titles.
SpiderMan was, for a very long time, released as Die Spinne ("The Spider").
XMen had it bad, as it got translated as Die Gruppe X ("The Group X"), which doesn't sound like a superhero-team (not even in german).
Avengers was translated as Die Rächer, which is a somewhat correct translation ... however, when the first run of NewAvengers was released in German, it was called Spider-Man und die neuen Rächer ("Spider-Man and the New Avengers"), most likely to profit off of the back-then recent success of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. However, every Avengers-title afterwards got to keep the original, English title.
An American Tail became Feivel Der Mauswanderer (or Feivel the Mouse Wanderer) in German, to preserve the pun in the title. Auswanderer means emigrant. Also of note is that Feivel is spelled the correct way, whereas in America it is always spelled 'Fievel' to avoid pronunciation confusion.
The first dub (i.e. not the Disney one) of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind became known as Star Warriors in Germany. Even though the characters never went near any stars.
Future War 198X got two different titles, one for each side of the Berlin wall. "Null Zeit - Zero Hour" (not related to this one) and East Germany got "Das Ende Aller Tage - The End of All Days".
Thefirstthree films in the Toy Story series keep the same name as the original. However, Toy Story 4 released there under an unusually much more different and longer title than in any other place it released: A Toy Story: Alles hört auf kein Kommando ("A Toy Story: Everything Listens to No Command").
The Prisoner of Zenda is a very odd case. The title of the book and 1937 film are directly translated as "Der Gefangene von Zenda". The 1952 film, on the other hand, became "Im Schatten der Krone" ("In the Shadow of the Crown").
The Graduate is Die Reifeprüfung ("The Maturity Test"); Reifeprüfung is also an officialese German word for "school graduation examination" (the student has to show s/he is "mature" enough to enter university or a profession).
12 Angry Men is merely Die zwölf Geschworenen - "The Twelve Jurors".
To Catch a Thief is Über den Dächern von Nizza ("Above the Roofs of Nice"), as the saying the title alludes to does not have a German equivalent. Probably for the same reason, the TV series It Takes a Thief (1968) was released as Ihr Auftritt, Al Mundy ("Your Entrance/Cue, Al Mundy").
For some bizarre reason, We Were Soldiers became We Were Heroes (even though overly patriotic themes are typically looked down on in Germany).
Speaking of bizarre reasons, Monty Python and the Holy Grail was turned into Monty Python und Die Ritter der Kokosnuß (Monty Python and The Coconut Knights)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was translated as "Zwei glorreiche Halunken", meaning "Two Glorious Scoundrels", based on Leone's intended title for the film, "Two Magnificent Tramps".
Airplane! is called Die unglaubliche Reise in einem verrückten Flugzeug ("The Incredible Journey in a Crazy Airplane") in Germany. The sequel became Die unglaubliche Reise in einem verrückten Raumschiff ("The Incredible Journey in a Crazy Spaceship").
L'eclisse released in 1862 became Liebe 62. Remarkably its action is set in 1961.
In the same vein as Airplane!, Ruthless People was renamed Die unglaubliche Entführung der verrückten Mrs. Stone ("The Incredible Kidnapping of the Crazy Mrs. Stone").
Annie Hall is Der Stadtneurotiker ("The City Neurotic") in German, referring to Woody Allen's character, not Diane Keaton's. Indeed, lots of German journalists like to use "der Stadtneurotiker" as a kind of nickname for Allen.
Bend It Like Beckham was released as Kick It Like Beckham in Germany, because "kick" is a more familiar word - a number of German football clubs are called Kickers, and the toy known as foosball in America is a Kicker.
Don't Look Now became Wenn die Gondeln Trauer tragen ("When the Gondolas Wear Mourning")
The Caine Mutiny became Die "Caine" war ihr Schicksal ("The Caine Was Their Fate").
Parents became, believe it or not, Pfui Teufel, Daddy ist ein Kannibale ("Yuck, daddy [sic] is a cannibal").
Pete's Dragon (1977) became known as Elliot das Schmunzelmonster (literally "Elliot the Smiling Monster") in Germany.
Sixteen Candles became Das darf man nur als Erwachsener ("You're only allowed to do that as an adult").
The Sandra Bullock romantic comedy Forces of Nature became Auf die stürmische Art ("In the Tempestuous Manner").
The German title of Imagine Me & You is Eine Hochzeit zu dritt ("A Threesome Wedding" or "A Wedding for Three").
The Jerk is Reichtum ist keine Schande ("No Shame in Wealth").
The Jean-Pierre Jeunet film A Long Engagement is called Mathilde - Eine große Liebe ("Mathilde - A Great Love").
Stepmom was retitled Seite an Seite ("Side by Side", with undertones of "Shoulder to Shoulder").
Trois hommes et un couffin was very successful on the German-speaking market under the title Drei Männer und ein Baby, so when the American swipe remake Three Men and a Baby was released, it was titled Noch drei Männer, noch ein Baby - "Another Three Men, Another Baby".
Trouble with the Curve became Back in the Game. Untranslated.
Runaway Bride became Die Braut, die sich nicht traut, a rhyming and punning title that means "The Bride That Does Not Dare" and "The Bride That Does Not Get Wed".
The Susan Sarandon film White Palace is Frühstück bei ihr ("Breakfast at Her Place").
Witness became Der einzige Zeuge ("The Only Witness").
Quite often (West) German distributors will want to give a film a more "badass" or at least more dramatic title.
Once Upon a Time in the West became Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod ("Play the Song of Death for Me"). In a case of Translation Matchmaking, Soldier Blue was then retitled as Spiel mir das Wiegenlied vom Totschlag ("Play the Lullaby of Manslaughter for Me") and Los Amigos (1972) as Das Lied von Mord und Totschlag ("The Song of Murder and Manslaughter").
The 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma (2007) was renamed as the rather more lurid Todeszug nach Yuma ("Death Train to Yuma"), although strangely the original was Zähl bis drei und bete ("Count to Three and Pray").
The Boat That Rocked was retitled: Radio Rock Revolution. The pun in the original title can't be translated into German anyway.
Cookie's Fortune got the additional subtitle Aufruhr in Holly Springs (Uproar/Insurrection in Holly Springs).
Fanfan la Tulipe starring Gérard Philippe was released as Fanfan der Husar ("Fanfan the Hussar"), even though Fanfan served as an infantryman.
Fort Apache became Bis zum letzten Mann ("To the Last Man").
The Horse Soldiers became Der letzte Befehl ("The Last Order").
Les mariés de l'an II ("The Newlyweds of the Year II"), an action comedy set during the French Revolution starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, was released as Musketier auf Hieb und Stich ("Musketeer for Cut and Thrust"), even though Musketeers are usually associated with the 17th century.
Stagecoach (1939) was first released as Höllenfahrt nach Santa Fé ("Hell-Ride to Santa Fe"), even though the stagecoach went to Lordsburg. The title was later changed to Ringo.
The Long Kiss Goodnight became Tödliche Weihnachten ("Deadly Christmas"), which might have helped to make it a Christmas staple for some.
Les tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine ("The Tribulations of a Chinaman in China"), a Belmondo picture based on a Jules Verne novel, was relased in West Germany as Die tollen Abenteuer des Monsieur L. ("The Great/Crazy Adventures of Monsieur L.").
The Errol FlynnSwashbucklerCaptain Blood became Unter Piratenflagge ("Under the Pirate Flag"). Similarly his The Sea Hawk is known in Germany as Herr der Sieben Meere ("Master of the Seven Seas") (though oddly enough, the Austrians retain the title Der Seefalke).
The German for dilemma is "Dilemma". The Dilemma is shown in Germany as Dickste Freunde, which means Fat Friends. Or less literally Best Buds. note This inexplicable transmogrification was riffed on by Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo. Simon thought Dickste Freunde might have stared in some straight-to-video erotic thrillers. Mark: "Wally Pfister shoots Dickste Freunde, in The Fat Friends!"
If the English language titles of movies featuring Godzilla, Gamera, and other Kaiju seem odd at times, the titles used by the original German language distributor of these films can be downright bizarre. By and large, the German distributor seemed to sell all these movies as "Frankenstein" films. Minor changes in the dialog lead to a new German Framing Device to explain how Dr. Frankenstein "created" the monsters appearing in each particular film, although some changes, like the random insertions of King Kong, were just down-right nonsensical. A few examples of German titles (compared to their American titles for simplicity's sake):
Destroy All Monsters became Frankenstein und die Monster aus dem Weltall ("Frankenstein and the Monsters from Space").
Son of Godzilla became Frankensteins Monster jagen Godzillas Sohn ("Frankenstein's Monsters hunt Godzilla's Son").
Godzilla vs. Hedorah became Frankensteins Kampf gegen die Teufelsmonster ("Frankenstein's Fight against the Devil-monster").
Godzilla vs. Megalon became King Kong — Dämonen aus dem Weltall ("King Kong — Demons from Space"). Even though only one of the monsters is from space. And yes, Jet Jaguar is calledKing Kong here. Which is weird because...
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla became King Kong gegen Godzilla ("King Kong versus Godzilla"). So the benevolent humanoid robot "King Kong" suddenly became an evil robo-Godzilla?
It has another German title, King Kong — Monster aus der Tiefe ("King Kong — Monster from the Deep"), which makes less sense, unless "the Deep" refers to "deep space".
Gamera vs. Gyaos became Gamera gegen Gaos - Frankensteins Kampf der Ungeheuer ("Frankenstein's fight of the Monsters").
Gamera vs. Barugon became Godzilla, der Drache aus dem Dschungel. ("Godzilla, the Dragon from the Jungle"). Yes, that's correct. Daiei's flying turtle kaiju headliner was identified as his Toho arch-rival!
Alternate titles include the catchy Dragonwars — Krieg der Monster ("Dragonwars — War of the Monsters") and Panik — Dinosaurier bedrohen die Welt ("Panic — Dinosaurs threaten the World")
Invasion of Astro-Monster belongs to a league of its own: not only was the title changed to Befehl aus dem Dunkel ("Command from the Dark"), the movie was also promoted as an adaptation of a book of the same name, even though they had next to nothing in common.
The Swedish movie Fucking Åmål (aka Show Me Love) was changed in German to Getting Out of Åmål.
Major League became Die Indianer von Cleveland, literally "The Cleveland Indians". The first sequel followed this trope with Die Indianer von Cleveland II, but the second was a combination of aversion and playing straight: Zweite Liga Die Indianer von Cleveland sind zurück ("Second League The Cleveland Indians Are Back'').
Captain America: The Winter Soldier ended up as Return of the First Avenger. Yes, in English. This was probably due to anti-US feeling in Germany at the time due to revelations about the NSA spying on Angela Merkel.
Beyond the Law also got an English to English translation. The German title was Made of Steel Hart wie Stahl. Try to follow: They gave it a different English Title with a German Subtitle that was an incorrect translation of the English Title used in Germany (Hart wie Stahl means Strong/Hard like Steel). Confusing? Maybe a little
The Other Woman (2014) became Die Schadenfreundinnen (A pun based on the word schadenfreude and freundinnen - the plural feminine for friend)
In an incredibly weird case of translation, Taken became 96 Hours (yes, in english); however, for some reason the sequel was called 96 Hours - Taken 2, while the third film got to completely keep its original title.
Signs got the title Signs - Zeichen. "Zeichen" is german for "Signs". It seems they could not decide whether to keep the original title or to translate it, so they did both.
The film of Bridget Jones's Diary was titled "Schokolade zum Frühstück" (Chocolate for Breakfast) in Germany because the book was published under that title there. However, the scene the title refers to didn't make it into the adaptation.
The book version of The Bourne Identity was known as "Der Borowski-Betrug" in Germany, and the title character was renamed. Because the name Bourne appears on-screen in the movie, the character's name was changed back, as was the title: "Die Bourne Identität".
Toni Morrison's Beloved was published as Menschenkind ("Child of Man", in analogy to the Biblical Menschensohn, "Son of Man").
Dee Brown's book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee became the more vague Begrabt mein Herz an der Biegung des Flusses ("Bury My Heart at the Bend of the River").
Childwold by Joyce Carol Oates became Im Dickicht der Kindheit ("In the Thicket of Childhood").
Exiled author Stefan Heym wrote the novel The Crusaders (1948) based on his experiences in a psychological warfare unit of the US Army from D-Day onwards. When a German version was produced in 1950, it was titled Der bittere Lorbeer ("The Bitter Laurels").
Most German editions of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (Prestuplenie i nakazanie) are entitled Schuld und Sühne (Guilt and Atonement).
Cry, the Beloved Country was retitled Denn sie sollen getrösted werden ("For They Shall Be Consoled"), a quote from the Sermon on the Mount.
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler became Sonnenfinsternis, "Solar Eclipse".
Astrid Lindgren's Emil i Lönneberga was named "Michel aus Lönneberga" in Germany due to preventing it for being mistaken for the also popular German children`s novel "Emil und die Detektive" by Erich Kästner.
Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow is Die Enden der Parabel ("The Ends of the Parabola").
Harry Potter is not immune in German either: The second book, Chamber of Secrets became Kammer des Schreckens which means... "Chamber of horror". It may fit, but is more straightforward.
The Hunger Games became Die Tribute von Panem ("The Tribute of Panem"), both the first book and the trilogy.
The Hurog duology, consisting of Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood was published under the title Drachenzauber ("Dragon Magic'') in German.
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon has the German title Tolldreiste Kerle in rasselnden Raketen (roughly: "Daring Guys in Rattling Rockets")
Actually, that's only the title for the 1967 British movie - to match better with the similar Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines made 2 years earlier. The book and other adaptations are titled much closer to the original.
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy has the disconcerting German title Der Idiot des Südens ("The Idiot of the South") in reference to Dostoyevsky's The Idiot.
Face of the Dark Palmira, a side novel by Vladimir Vasiliyev set in the Night Watch (Series) universe, was published as Bewahrer des Chaos (preserver of chaos) in German.
Notre Dame de Paris in all versions is known as Der Glöckner von Notre Dame ("The Bell-Ringer of Notre Dame").
The original Swedish title of Simona Ahrnstedt's debut novel, Överenskommelser, can be translated into "Agreements" or "Understandings". But the German title, "Ein ungezähmtes Mädchen", can be translated into "An untamed girl".
Zig-zagged with the Rivers of London series. Rivers of London is translated directly as Die Flüsse von London; Moon Over Soho gets a slight addition to become Schwarzer Mond Über Soho ("Black Moon Over Soho"); Whispers Under Ground is Ein Wispern unter Baker Street (A Whisper Under Baker Street, presumably to keep the London locations going); Broken Homes gets the completely different and not entirely accurate Der Böse Ort ("The Evil Place"); Foxglove Summer is translated directly as Fingerhut-Sommer; and The Hanging Tree becomes Der Galgen von Tyburn ("The Gallows of Tyburn", a more direct reference to the same thing, and returning to the London locations theme).
Haruki Murakami's book South of the Border, West of the Sun became Gefährliche Geliebte ("Dangerous Lover") in German. The original title was refering to two great themes in the book, while the translated one doesn't really fit. It also changed the fact that most of Murakami's books are named after song titles.
The TV series Get Smart was shown under different names over the time: 'Super-Max, der Meisterspion (Super-Max, the master spy) ,Mini-Max and Die unglaublichen Abenteuer des Maxwell Smart (Tthe Incredible adventures of Maxwell Smart). The film as Der Agent Maxwell Smart.''
The German-dubbed version of Hogan's Heroes is entitled Ein Käfig voller Helden ("A Cage Full of Heroes"), an obvious Shout-Out to the German title of La Cage aux folles. It has also been named Stacheldraht und Fersengeld ("Barbed Wire and Heels").
The title I Dream of Jeannie quotes a song that is not terribly well-known in German-speaking countries, so on German TV they opted for the pun Bezaubernde Jeannie - "Enchanting Jeannie".
The TV series I Spy was Tennischläger und Kanonen, "Tennis Raquets and Guns".
The original TV series Mission: Impossible was Kobra, übernehmen Sie ("Cobra, You Take Over (the assignment)"), and its 1988 revival was In geheimer Mission ("On Secret Mission"). The Tom Cruisemovies use the original title.
The old TV series Mr. Terrific was entitled Immer wenn er Pillen nahm, "Every Time He Took Pills".
Moonlighting was Das Modell und der Schnüffler ("The Model and the Snoop").
Murder, She Wrote was released under the somewhat ambiguous title Mord ist ihr Hobby ("Murder Is Her Hobby").
Also known as Immer wenn sie Krimis schrieb ("Whenever she wrote crime stories") during the first run in Germany.
The TV series The Odd Couple was Männerwirtschaft ("A Men's Household").
The Tony Curtis/Roger Moore series The Persuaders became popular in a notoriously loosely dubbed version, Die Zwei ("The Two").
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers is called Chip und Chap: Die Ritter des Rechts (roughly "Chip and Chap: The Knights of Justice"), thus preserving the "RR" initials in the Rescue Rangers logo. However, the name is never really used outside of the title card and theme song, in the show they're known as Die Rettungstruppe, which is much closer to Rescue Rangers.
Interestingly enough, before the show hit our lands, Chip n' Dale from the Classic Disney Shorts used to be known as Ahörnchen und Behörnchen (a pun on Eichhörnchen = red squirrel and "Ahorn": maple).
For TaleSpin there was absolutely no way audiences would understand the pun between aviation and storytelling, so it received a rhyming Character Title known as Käpt'n Balu und seine tollkühne Crew (Captain Baloo and his Daredevil Crew).