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Woolseyism / Film

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Animated Films

  • Shrek:
    • In the Czech version of the first movie, the translators have smuggled in a number of references to popular Czech fairy tales. And the Czech dubbing of Shrek movies in general have a lot of these.
    • The Polish versions are loaded with Woolseyisms, pretty much like all movies translated by Bartosz Wierzbieta. Wierzbieta's translations and "localization" of jokes that are more obscure in Poland are almost universally praised there.
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    • The Latin American Spanish version of the Donkey was dubbed by Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez, who took a lot of liberties with the script and even referenced his (at the time) popular sketch TV show, yet the dubbing worked giving the nature of the character.
    • The French dub replaced Mongo for the giant gingerbread man with Cake Kong, arguably a funnier name.
    • In Puss in Boots, a Parental Bonus pun involving the "golden eggs" works even better in Spanish, as "huevos" is both the Spanish word for "eggs" and the Spanish slang equivalent of "balls."
    • The Norwegian version also has a few of these. When Shrek rescues Fiona from the tower, she asks him "What kind of a knight ARE you?!" and he replies "One of a kind." In Norwegian, his reply was changed to "Ridderen over alle riddere!" ("The knight above all knights"). This is a reference to Shrek's Norwegian voice, Asgeir Borgemoen, who was the host of a popular children's show called "Fritt Fram" where he refered to himself as "Sjefen over alle sjefer" ("The boss of all bosses"). And when Farquaad is torturing/interrogating Gingy, instead of "The Muffin Man, who lives on Drury Lane" they reference a Norwegian song about "The baker who lives in Eastern Aker", which also carried over into Shrek 2. In the same movie, King Harold is renamed "Harald", which is what the current king of Norway is called.
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  • Most of the best lines in Disney dubs from the 90s are ad-libs from the translators anyway (because there's no other way to "translate" humor).
  • Aladdin
    • In "Prince Ali", the Genie joins a trio of well-built young ladies in a balcony, disguised as a courtesan. The French dub turns "Well, get on out in that square" to "Il y a du monde au balcon" ("it's crowded on the balcony"), which is an extremely popular, ironic euphemism used to say "wow, these breasts are big" — a holdover from the tradition of "precious language". This joke was just so good that the dubbers threw it in without any regard for the original line. Hilarity Ensues.
    • The immediate next line, "moi j'ai du voile au menton" ("me, I've got a veil on my chin") sounds like a case of the Genie gratuitously stating the obvious, except that it also sounds a lot like "j'ai du poil au menton" ("I've got hair on my chin"), which could also be true, on account of the Genie turning into a rather homely woman and having a beard in his normal form.
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    • The French "Prince Ali" also translates the "strong as ten regular men, definitely!" line into the wonderful "qui vous porte d'Abou Dhabi à bout de bras!" ("carrying you from Abu Dhabi at arm's length!"). Carrying people with his arms extended being literally what Aladdin is doing onscreen at this exact moment, along with "à bout de bras" sounding very similar to Abu Dhabi, forming a pleasant repetition.
    • The French dub also turns the song "One Jump Ahead" into "Je Vole" — the song takes advantage of the double meaning of the refrain "Je vole", using it to mean both "I fly" and "I steal". It also fits with the song's ending, where Aladdin escapes out a window.
    • The European Spanish translation of 'One Jump Ahead' has Aladdin declare: "Yo soy el rey, toreando a los guardias, y hoy no me quedo sin pan, tal vez, cuando llegue el ramadán!" This means "I am the king of dodging guards, and I won't go without bread, unless it's Ramadan".
  • The French translation of Beauty and the Beast is also pretty awesome. "The Mob Song" is already amazing in English but the French dub changes most of the lyrics to paint the Beast as a devilish soul-stealing monster and it's absolutely effective.
    Aux frontières/ Du mystère/ Au château de l'impossible/ Vit le diable dans son horrible tanière.
  • The Lion King:
    • Disney understood sometime in the 1990's that bad adaptations ruin movies, so they created DCVI, a whole company dedicated to dubs. The French department somehow managed to recruit some of the most creative translators out there, and made them work with great dubbers. The result, especially for this film, was crack.
      "Vive la republique, adieu l'Afrique! Je ferme la boutique!"note 
      "Prends garde, lion! Ne te trompe pas de voie!"note 
      "Rebelle et lion font rébellion!"note 
    • The German dub has another example. In the original English version, when Rafiki starts following Simba, Simba simply calls him a "creepy little monkey." In the German dub, his line is Was soll denn das Affentheater? Idiomatically this translates as "What's with the crazy antics?", but Affentheater, which means "farce" or "craziness," literally translates as "monkey theater." In essence, not only is he saying Rafiki's crazy, but it's a clever pun on his species. (A similar English pun could've been, "Will you quit with the monkey business?")
    • During the scene where Timon and Pumbaa learn Simba is heir to the Pridelands, Pumbaa bows before him and says "I gravel at your feet!" In the Japanese dub, Pumbaa tries to say he's Simba's shimobe ("servant"), but instead says shimobukure ("fat-face"). In the Finnish dub, he says palvistun instead of polvistun - he means to say "I kneel (before you)" but instead essentially says "I become smoked meat".
  • The Lion King II:
    • The Japanese version of the song "One of Us" is rendered as あいつはよそものnote (roughly translated as "You are a Stranger"), which is made harsher by the fact that "Aitsu" is also the equivalent of calling someone "That person/thing" to their face.
    • The same song in the Polish dub has a line that translates roughly as "he never was one of us, in his heart he has (a) S/scar" (in the polish dub of Lion King, Scar's name (Skaza) means "defect" or "flaw", which introduces the nice double meaning); frankly, makes much more sense than just rhyming 'us' with 'us' like in the original.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    • The French version's "Hellfire" has Frollo asking "Is this my fault?" rather than outright saying so.
    • The German dub of The Hunchback of Notre Dame has a couple of these, the funniest probably being the scene on the cathedral roof. The English version has this exchange:
      Esmeralda: And maybe Frollo's wrong about both of us.
      Hugo: What'd she say?
      Laverne: Frollo's nose is long and he wears a truss.
      Hugo: (to Victor) Ha! I knew it. Pay up, chump.
      The German version, however:
      Esmeralda: Und Frollo tu uns beiden Unrecht.note 
      Hugo: Was hat sie gesagt? note 
      Laverne: Frollo ist bleich und trägt 'n Corsette! note 
      Hugo: (to Victor) Hah! Wusst ich's doch! Kohle her! Geizhals.note 
    • The Dutch dub manages a bit of witty rhyming wordplay during the search for the Court of Miracles.
      Quasimodo: Is this the Court of Miracles?
      Phoebus: Offhand, I'd say it's the Court of Ankle-Deep Sewage.
      Dutch, however:
      Quasimodo: Is dit nou het Hof der Wonderen?note 
      Phoebus: Lijkt mij eerder het Riool van Onderen.note 
  • Hercules:
    • In the French version's "Il me reste un espoir" ("One Last Hope") Phil sings, "Bien que tu ne sois pas encore prêt pour l'Olympia" ("Although you're not yet ready for Olympia") where in English it was "Though kid, you're not exactly a dream come true." While "Olympia" obviously refers to Mount Olympus, L'Olympia is also the name of a famous concert hall in Paris that helped launch the careers of famous French-language singers such as Jacques Brel. So Phil saying Herc isn't yet ready for Olympia in a French context would be like saying he's not yet ready for Carnegie Hall in English.
    • The English version of Hercules has the line "Oh, how cute, a couple of rodents looking for a theme park." The German dub has "Oh, wie süß! Zwei Stinktiere auf dem Weg nach Disneyland!" That is, "Oh, how sweet. Two skunks on their way to Disneyland!"
      • This one also happens in the Polish dub, where Megara says something like "oh look, two cute rodents looking for Disneyland", containing the Woolseyism while being close to original line.
  • Dutch Disney translations tend to have these too. Most notable is probably the song "the bare necessities" from The Jungle Book. Since that pun doesn't work in Dutch it first got translated as a song about "Baloe de bruine beer" (Baloo the brown bear). Some years later people started noticing Baloo was actually not brown at all, so they retranslated it as "als je van beren leren kan" (if you can learn from bears). The text is still completely different from the original, but it works just as well. They've been doing it right ever since.
  • The Italian dub of The Emperor's New Groove is one big Woolseyism. Most jokes from the original version were ignored and replaced with a new one, even adding some jokes that were not in the original. From Kuzco referring to Yzma as "Dracula's ugly grandma" to Yzma asking to Kronk if he is feeling "the black power" when brewing the clearly pink potion, prompting Kronk to answer "Truly black, indeed". And the most infamous one, Kronk's answer when Yzma can't explain how they got back before Kuzco being changed from "By all accounts, it doesn't make sense" to "Everyone in the audience is asking that too!"
    • The "Scary beyond all reason" line has some pretty good translations in other dubs as well: in Brazilian Portuguese she's instead described as "Uglier than a scythe fight mediated by an axe", and in Polish the description goes "So old that your brain gets wrinkled".
  • Wreck-It Ralph:
    • In the English version, Felix says "I'm hopless, this is hopeless!" when drowning in chocolate with Calhoun. However, in the Swedish dub, "jump" and "hope" is the same word, "hopp" in any definition. So they would be the same word; "Jag är hopplös, det här är hopplöst", which is the exact translation of the English line, but more fitting and with more alike words.
    • There's another clever one in the same dub. When Ralph later meets King Candy, he says that he will lock him in his "fungeon". In Swedish, dungeon is "fängelsehåla", and "kola" is a type of candy, so he says "fängelsekola" ("candy dungeon") instead.
    • In the original version, after hearing Ralph's story, Vanellope cracks "Hero's Doody" jokes. In the Italian dub, to make the pun work, Ralph says that he got his medal "nientepopò di meno che in Hero's Duty!", which literally translates as "in Hero's Duty, no less!", but also contains the word "popò" which is childish slang for poop, allowing Vanellope to crack in Toilet Humour with no problem.
    • The Greek dub replaces the toilet puns with puns regarding gyros and souvlaki.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet:
    • At the beginning of the movie, Ralph and Vanellope make a Call-Back of the "Duty/Doody" gag from the first movie: Ralph states that he takes his duty as an hero very seriously and Vanellope asks him where he took his "Serious doody". This time, the Italian dub translates Ralph's like as "Sono un vero eroe, non batto mai la fiacca!" ("I'm a true hero, I never rest!" with Vanellope mishearing the latter part as "non faccio mai la cacca" ("I never poop").
  • In the Norwegian dub of the movie The Great Mouse Detective Ratigan is called "Rottenikken" (Ratnod) named after a infamous Norwegian criminal with the same name. Also "rotten" in Norwegian means the same as in English. Something that describes Ratigan personality perfectly.
  • In Cars, John Ratzenberger, who's been in every single Pixar film to date, plays Mack. During the end credits, Mack goes to a drive-in featuring car versions of Toy Story, Monsters, Inc.., and A Bug's Life. Mack praises the John Ratzenberger characters at first, until he realizes...
    • In the Swedish version, where these characters were not voiced by the same actor, Mack instead rants about how P. T. Flea (the last Ratzenberger character shown) is leeching off of the hard-working circus bug(gies), even squeezing in a flea-related pun.
    • The Norwegian version doesn't have the characters voiced by the same actor either, but since Norwegian dubs in general tend to use the same actors and voices a lot, in this version Mack ends up complaining about the limited voice cast in general rather than just one actor being re-used.
    • The Greek dub includes Sulley, who shares a voice actor with Mac, among the characters Mack praises.
    • Attempted in the Hungarian dub. Mater, whose voice actor has been part of a popular comedic sketch at the time, uses the famous Catchphrase of his character from that sketch. This was met with mixed reception, only because that phrase included the F-word in an abbreviated form.
    • The Italian dub had some trouble with Luigi and Guido's Gratuitous Italian, especially with Guido speaking only in Italian. It was solved by giving Luigi a strong Modena accent (Ferrari is based very close to Modena) and making Guido speak in Bolognese dialect, that most Italians cannot understand (also, Bologna is relatively close to Modena too). Also, the cast includes names involved in the Italian Formula One world, such Marco Della Noce (comedian that at the time was best known for sketches where he played a Ferrari mechanic. Voices Luigi), pilot Alex Zanardi (Guido), and the race commentators being dubbed by RAI's actual race commentators.
  • The Incredibles:
    • In the Brazilian dub, in the scene in which Dash uses Super Speed to place a tack on his teacher's chair, the teacher goes from a regular guy to a Portuguese Large Ham.
    • Meanwhile, in the Portuguese dub, they decided to give everyone a meaningful/punny name, including the deleted scenes. For instance, "Bob Parr" becomes "Roberto Pêra",note  while in the deleted scene (which is fully voiced in the DVD) his secret identity surname is "Rocha".note  Also of note is the translation of "Buddy" to "Bochecha"note  to maintain the lip movements intact, and though "Bochecha" is not a real name, "Buddy" isn't really that common either.
  • The Norwegian dub of the Pixar/Disney movie Brave avoided the language pun in the movie completely, as all the characters originally use a Scottish accent. In Norway, all the characters sound and speak like they come from the Oslo upper class, with some possible exceptions. That would be like having a Scottish setting where every actor used posh English.
  • The Japanese dub of Inside Out has many of these:
    • Fear laughs for no reason after thanking Joy for letting him know that earthquakes were myths.
    • Anger mentions Riley hated Hawaiian pizza because it had pineapples on it, a fact that was glossed over in the original.
    • The Brazilian word the titular character of That Brazilian Helicopter Pilot calls the girl who he asks to fly with him is changed to "お姫様", which means "princess".
    • When the Forgetters are deciding which memories to forget, they find two piano lessons to keep: "Chopsticks" and "Heart And Soul". In the Japanese dub, the latter becomes "Für Elise", since "Heart and Soul" is not as well-known in Japan.
    • Bing Bong talks in a sing-song voice when reading each hiragana letter when spelling "Shortcut", and Sadness describes the stages of Abstract Thought by using a similar tone of voice. During the latter scene, the depth joke made by Bing Bong is replaced by one about him not being able to feel his fingers.
    • "I would die for Riley!" becomes "ライリーのために!", or "For Riley's sake!"
    • When Riley gets off the hockey rink, we hear some kids scream in fear in the background.
    • Joy's "Who's ticklish, huh? Here comes the tickle monster!" line becomes her asking Bing Bong where his ticklish spot is.
    • Bing Bong mentions that "I Can Fly!" involved a castle at one point.
    • Instead of "Oh no!" when Joy and Sadness wake up Jangles, Bing Bong asks "What are you doing?".
    • In the dejá vu scene, "language processing" becomes "confusing words".
    • Bing Bong's last line, "Take her to the moon for me...okay? is translated into "月お連れってあげってね。 いい?", which means "Please fulfil my wish of going to the moon. Is that good?"), meaning that Bing Bong wishes that he could be by Joy's side when she takes Riley to the moon.
    • Joy's impersonation of Sadness is not done in a sing-song voice like the original.
    • Disgust's "moron" insult to Anger becomes "赤ちゃん" (akachan), which means "baby". This can also be a pun, as "aka" also means "red", Anger's theme color.
  • In the Hungarian dub of The LEGO Movie, Superman is voiced by rapper-celebrity "Fluor Tomi", whose perhaps most (in)famous song, Mizu ("Wazzup") contained the lyrics "lets come together like two little Legos". Superman's first line in the dub ("Kicsi lány, mesélj! Mizu?") references the title and part of the lyrics.
  • In the Italian dub of Pooh's Grand Adventure, since the "School-Skull" pun wouldn't work, Owl misreads "a scuola" ("at school") for "Has Kwollah", which, according to Owl, is Elvish for "Skull Mountain".
  • The Hungarian dub of the The Spongebob Squarepants Movie rendered much of the dialogue in rhymes, and also inserted a number of wordplays and puns not present in the original.
    • In the Dutch dub, all of David Hasselhoff's lines remain untranslated and several lines were changed or added to indicate that Patrick didn't speak English and Spongebob only had a very loose grasp of the language.
  • In the Spanish dub of Monsters, Inc., during the scene where Randall is interrogating Mike, instead of quibbling over Randall pronouncing "cretin" with a short "e" sound, Mike corrects Randall when he calls him a cretido de un ojo ("one-eyed believer") instead of a cretino de un ojo ("one-eyed cretin").
    • In the Finnish dub, Randall instead calls Mike a voipallo ("butter ball"), and Mike corrects him by pointing out that unlike Mike, butter is not colored green.
  • In the Japanese dub of Sausage Party, Douche is renamed Bidet-kun.
  • In the Norwegian dub of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Cat R. Waul name is changed to "Katt E. Vold", which is a play on the words "katte vold" (cats violence).
  • A strange example of this happens in the Japanese dub of Alice in Wonderland. When Alice discovers the Mad Hatter and the March Hare having a party, they tell her it is an unbirthday party, and follow it up by singing a song about it. However, the celebration gets two different names in the Japanese dub. When the characters discuss the celebration, they use "otanjyoubi jya nai hi", meaning "The Day That Isn't Your Birthday". However, due to "unbirthday" using less syllables than "otanjyoubi jya nai hi", the song refers to it as "nandemo nai hi", or "Nothing Special Day".
  • Barbie as Rapunzel: Penelope the dragon's name works better in the Greek dub, as Penelope sounds like the Greek word for "paintbrush", and the film mainly revolves around a magic paintbrush.
  • Chicken Little's Greek dub made some changes that made the lines funnier, at least for greek audiences:
    • When Fish imitates King Kong, Runt, who's holding a paper doll, quotes the classic "beauty killed the beast". The Greek dub makes him ask about the size of the Oscar instead.
    • References to Barbra Streisand have been replaced with Marinella, a popular Greek singer.
    • Runt's line when Fish out of Water says what he translated from Kirby also undergoes a change:
      English!Runt: DARTH VADER'S LUKE'S FATHER?!
      Greek!Runt: Η ΜΑΤΣΟΥΚΑ ΕΙΝΑΙ Η ΜΑΜΑ ΤΟΥ;! note  It helps that the actress in question plays Abby in the Greek dub.

Live Action Films

  • In the Czech dub of Jumanji, Alan says "It's harvest time, Adele!" when attacking the carnivorous plant. Adé la ješte nevečeřela (Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet) is a Czech movie, and the titular Adele is a man-eating plant created by a mad scientist.
  • The Polish version of Pulp Fiction has this line:
    Fabienne: Czyj to Harley? (Whose Harley is that?)
    Butch: Zeda. (It's Zed's.)
    Fabienne: Kto to jest Zed? (Who's Zed?)
    Butch: Zed zszedł, kochanie. (Zed passed away, baby. - which sounds in Polish almost exactly like the original "Zed's dead" as the two words rhyme.)
    • Turning the "I'm gonna get medieval on your ass!" line into the equally highly memetic "Zrobię ci z dupy jesień średniowiecza!" (I'm gonna make The Autumn of the Middle Agesnote  out of your ass!).
  • Because of the Production Posse, Fierce Creatures is known as A Lemur Called Rollo in Poland.
  • The Italian dub of Batman Returns is full of these. "I have other fish to fry" becomes the equivalent Italian expression, "ho altre gatte da pelare", which literally means... "other [female] cats to skin". Also, in Italian, "pistola" means "gun", and "pistolino" is a colloquialism for penis. Hence, the line "You poor guys. Always confusing your pistols with your privates" becomes "confondete sempre le vostre pistole coi vostri pistolini".
  • Various dubs of Robin Hood: Men in Tights change the gag when Robin Hood tells the Sheriff, "unlike other Robin Hoods, I speak with an English accent" because foreign viewers who saw the dubbed 1991 Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves wouldn't get the joke. So, it is changed to another line deriding Costner. For example, the German dub changes the line into something like "because unlike that other Robin Hood, I do not cost the producers 5 million", putting stress on kosten (cost) as a pun on Costner.
  • The Italian version of Young Frankenstein is full of these. One example; 'Werewolf?' 'There. There wolf, there castle!' Was translated with a mispronunciation of 'ulula' (howls) to sound like the sardinian dialect's 'u l'u là', 'it's there'. So, it became 'Là. Lupu u l'u là, e castellu, u l'u lì.' 'The wolf is there and the castle is here.', the single most famous line from the movie in Italy. Also, the "Damn your eyes!" "Too late" exchange was translated as "Questo è un malocchio!" "E questo no?" ("Malocchio" means "curse" but also sounds like "bad eye", hence Igor's claim being "what about this other eye?")
    • In the German dub of the same movie, Igor helpfully explains his preferred pronunciation of his name as ("Eye-gor") thusly: "Eiger. Von der Nordwand." A reference to the famous North face of the Eiger. Later he makes a bad attempt to cover up that he fetched an abnormal brain, saying that it belonged to "Abby someone." - "Abby who?" - "Abby Normal." In the German version he explains he brought the brain of a cleric, an abbot. So the original owner of the monster's brain supposedly was one Abt Normal.
  • The Latin American dub of the 2008 Get Smart movie got back the original voice actor for Smart and he ad-libbed many of the jokes, sometimes placing Mexican pop-culture references over the original ones and overall made the film much more true to the original series than the English version was.
  • The French dubs of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies are prone to this. The dub of Last Action Hero has Arnold call himself "Arnold Albertschweitzer" (a reference to famous medical doctor Albert Schweitzer) and great improvements on the original dialog, like when one of the mooks gets taken out by an ice cream cone to the head ("Pour qui sonne la glace! Celui-la j'ai refroidi!" - "For whom does the ice cream toll? That guy I just froze!") and during the Schwarzenhamlet scene ("Moi, doux? Tu veux rire!" - "Me, fair? You're kidding!")
  • A lot of German film dubs from before the mid-nineties took liberties in translation. Blatant example in the first Terminator film. Arnold rudely interrupts a caller at a public phone booth to look up Sarah Connor's address in the book. Said caller mentions Arnold to have "a serious attitude problem". Very witty indeed. Compare the German version:
    Why don't you look up "asshole" in the phone book? I bet you'll find your number listed!
  • The French version of Dirty Dancing has quite a few, which have become so cult that most viewers miss them when they watch the original version. For example, the very flat line "I'm sorry you had to see that, Baby... Sometimes in this world you see things you don't wanna see." became "Parfois, on assiste à des scènes terribles. Malheureusement le monde est une jungle, l’homme est un loup pour l’homme et surtout pour la femme..." ("Sometimes, we see horrible things. Unfortunately, the world is a jungle; man is a wolf to man, and especially to woman.") Some of the lines just have an irresistible Narm Charm that goes perfectly with the story.
  • The French version of Back to the Future even created a new expressionnote . "Great Scott!" was changed to "Nom de Zeus!", a Gosh Dang It to Heck! version of "Nom de Dieu!" (literally "God's name", but it's more of a "Goddamnit").
    • The French dub is actually full of Woolseyisms. For example, the Calvin Klein joke is changed to refer to French fashion designer Pierre Cardin, and the DeLorean needs 2.21 gigowatts of power (because 2.21 is more easily heard in French.) The "Hey, McFly!" scene changes the insult from "Irish bug" to "espece de crème anglaise" (a pun on the food creme anglaise and "English piece of shit") and an attempt by Biff to say McFly in a British accent.
    • Actually, on this very scene, Biff calls George "McFlan". Flan is a kind of custard ; "crème anglaise" is too.
    • The Italian and Spanish versions turned Calvin Klein into Levi Strauss (as in the jeans).
  • From Wikipedia: "In the German dub of the 2005 movie version of Bewitched, the line 'The Do-not-disturb sign will hang on the door tonight.' became 'The only hanging thing tonight will be the Do-not-disturb sign.'"
  • Sometimes, Woolseyisms can move a rather poor movie into So Bad, It's Good territory. Case in point: the French dub of Braddock: Missing In Action 3, featuring Chuck Norris as the titular character. One memorable line :
    Littlejohn: Braddock! I'm warning you, don't step on any toes.
    Col. James Braddock: I don't step on toes, Littlejohn, I step on necks.
    Littlejohn: Braddock! Attention où vous mettez les pieds. (Braddock! Pay attention where you put your feet!)
    Col. James Braddock: Je mets les pieds où je veux, Littlejohn. Et c'est souvent dans la gueule. (I put my feet where I want, Littlejohn. And it's often in (people's) faces.)
    • One of the worst (or, arguably, best) offenders are these memetic one-liners from Invasion USA.
    Matt Hunter: Si tu te pointes encore, tu peux être sûr que tu repars avec la bite dans un tupperware. (If you ever come back here, I'll stick your dick in a Tupperware bowl.)
    Matt Hunter: Toi, tu commences à me baver sur les rouleaux. (You're drooling on my balls.)
  • The French dub of A Christmas Story is widely considered by bilingual viewers to be far superior to the original thanks in large parts to the lively and emotional delivery of the narrator who has more lines than anyone else in the movie. Kudos to the snappy, catchy French version of the arc words "Tu vas te crever un oeil!" ("You'll put your eye out!")
  • In Hero there are four scenes where the soldiers yell in unison: before the emperor appears, before the attack on the city Flying Snow and Broken Sword are staying in, when Nameless is executed, and when Nameless is given a hero's burial. In the original Chinese the soldiers are simply yelling "Ha! Ha!", but the English subtitles transcribe it as "Hail! Hail!", creating a pun not found in the original work.
  • Appears in all but the very earliest movies with Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. The German dubs give them witty and funny dialogues, often completely changing the original meaning or outright changing the theme of the movie from a grim spaghetti western to a lighthearted buddy romp. The high quality of the dubs (not in accurateness, but in sheer outlandish mannerism) are responsible for the fact that these movies are still extremely popular in Germany.
  • French film La Haine has a character nicknamed 'Asterix', famous to the French but likely to be lost on English and American viewers at the time of release. At least one release instead called him Snoopy in the subtitles. Another character later snarks that they have Obelix with them; he was localised as Charlie Brown.
  • In the Japanese dub of 300, the famous "This! Is! Sparta!" line was translated as これはスパルタの流儀だ!note (Roughly translated as This Is The Spartan WAY!), possibly due of lip-synch issues between the original English line and the literal translation of the phrase, without the Ryuugi (Way/Style) part.
    • On the other hand, in the Japanese official subs (at least the ones used in the trailers), the aforementioned line is translated as スパルタをなめるな!note  (Don't mess with the SPARTANS!)
  • The novel and film Twilight was released in Germany as Bis(s) zum Morgengrauen, a forced awful pun that can be translated as "Bite at Dawn" or "Till Dawn", depending on whether you read the (s) or not. In the same vein, New Moon became Bis(s) zur Mittagsstunde ("Bite at Noon"/"Till Noon") and Eclipse was Bis(s) zum Abendrot ("Bite at Sunset"/"Till Sunset"). This narmtastic style of naming finally paid off when Seltzer and Friedberg's Vampires Suck (itself a pun that can not be recreated in German) could be released as Biss zum Abendbrot ("A Bite for Supper").
  • The German dub of Full Metal Jacket has a couple instances:
    • Since The Andy Griffith Show was not well known in Germany, Private Pyle's nickname was changed to Private Paula, "Paula" not only sounding similar but being a woman's name.
    • Private Brown is called "Private Snowball" in the English original. In the German dub, his nickname is "Private Schneewittchen," or "Private Snow White."
    • When Joker utters his famous "Are you John Wayne?" line, and nobody confesses, GySgt. Hartman quips that "the Fairy fucking Godmother said it!" His line in the German dub:
    "Is' wohl der verdammte Weihnachstmann gewesen!"("Guess it must've been the goddamn Santa Claus!")
  • In the Hungarian dub of the second Asterix live-action movie, Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre, the entire script was written in verse, with incredibly witty rhymes and wordplays, and is seen as one of the most memorable examples of Woolseyism in any Hungarian movie dub. The translation was handled by Dávid Speier, who is quite famous for freely reinterpreting the dialog in movies to insert jokes, puns or references, or to simply replace untranslatable gags. For this reason, he's often hired to translate comedic animated movies. On the other hand, he has also been criticized for going too far, making the dialog sound forced and unnatural in places. Do note, however, that this does not apply to all of his work, as many are simple, straight translations.
  • Godzilla has three prominent examples:
    • The scenes with Raymond Burr which were added specifically for the North American release, although completely unnecessarynote , are still remembered fondly thanks to a combination of Nostalgia Filter and the fact that they honestly did add a certain charm to the film. Similarly, the scene where the Russians were changed from trying to prevent a nuclear launch to deliberately trying to launch before they died are still beloved purely thanks to the Narm factor.
    • Anytime Mecha-Godzilla was referred to as Kiryu (Except for Godzilla Vs Mecha Godzilla, hilariously enough) in the original Japanese was simply replaced with "Mecha-Godzilla" in the dub. And it works simply because "Mecha-Godzilla" just sounds worlds cooler and more threatening than "Kiryu" to an English speaking audience.
    • The Big Creepy-Crawlies in Son of Godzilla, Kamacuras (derived from the Japanese word for mantis, kamakiri) and Kumonga (from kumo, the Japanese word for spider), became Gimantis and Spiega in the original English dub. Spiga carried on into Destroy All Monsters.
  • In the Japanese dub of Revenge of the Sith, an already dramatic scene in the original version becomes even more heart-wrenching when Anakin becomes Darth Vader: Rather than just screaming NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! at that scene, Vader uses a generic scream in a more loud, painful and more dramatic way.
  • In the Japanese dub of Downfall, the famous Hitler Rants scene sounds somewhat different from the original German version as the late Chikao Ohtsuka's rendition of the Führer sounded more like an angry boss, rather than a really pissed off man. This is somewhat justified, as his voice actor was an old man, and it's possibly he didn't tried to emulate too hard his German counterpart out of consideration for his own health.
  • One of the most famous examples in horror movies: the European cut of Dawn of the Dead (1978), known as Zombi, which was handled by Dario Argento. It removed most of the humor and social commentary, while giving the film new music by the band Goblin (who frequently collaborated with Argento on his soundtracks) and streamlining the pacing to give it more of an action movie feel. It's strongly debated whether the original American version, the Director's Cut, or Argento's cut is the best version of the film.
  • The Japanese dub of the first Planet of the Apes (1968) film has a very weird instance of this: Despite the first film being dubbed about three times, Taylor's Japanese voice actor (Goro Naya, aka Inspector Zenigata) is the only one who didn't get replaced in all three dubbed versions, but he still did some modifications on some of his lines between versions. The most obvious changes were in the Japanese translation of the famous ending when Taylor finds out he was in Earth all this time and he curses humanity: The first two versions were more or less literal translations of the original English lines, but in the last version Naya's performance was more dramatic and heart-wrenching, while altering quite a bit the lines from the English version. You can see a comparative between all the three Japanese dubbed versions here.
  • The Mexican Spanish dub of Commando, the line when John Matrix says after throwing a length of pipe clean through Bennett and into a boiler, releasing a jet of steam through him Let off some steam, Bennett was translated with the possibly more badass-sounding Date un baño de vapor, Bennett (Give yourself a sauna, Bennett).
    • In the Japanese dub, the same line was translated (roughly), in the Special Edition version as Now you're going to stink like gas. You can see a clip of that dub here. In the TV Asahi dub, it was translated with a generic "Go to hell, Bennett" instead.
    • Another slight change in the Mexican Spanish dub, and also overlaps with Translation Correction of sorts, is about John Matrix's birthplace in the film. In the original version, Matrix was born in then-West Germany, hence his European accent. Since in the Mexican dub Matrix does not use any European accent in his voice and the name John Matrix doesn't sound German for the Mexican translators, they changed with Matrix being born in an American base in West Germany. This is quite fitting, since the U.S. have military bases in Germany since World War II.
  • The Norwegian version of Garfield is filled to the brim with these. Replacing American jokes with Norwegian ones. The reference to the "Got Milk?" commercials was replaced with a reference to a Norwegian milk commercial with the slogan "Må ha det. Bare MÅ ha det." ("Gotta have it. Just GOTTA have it") All this combined with the fact that the Norwegian voice of Garfield, Dennis Storhøi, puts in a lot more effort and soul in the performance than Bill Murray has resulted in the film being much more fondly remembered in Norway than the US.
  • The German version of Watchmen has a moment of brilliance as Rorschach is broken out of prison by Niteowl but stops in the middle of his own liberation to kill a midget criminal who has fled into the restroom. Explaining why he's going there, his explanation in the English original is just "I have to use the men's room." The German version, hilariously, makes this "Ich muss noch was Kleines erledigen," which translates as either an idiom of "I have to go pee" OR - literally - "There's something small I have to take care of / finish off".
  • In the French dub of The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow's line after getting his Doctrate of Thinkology, "Sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isoceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side" becomes "La somme de l'hypoténuse au carré doit être égale á la somme des deux cotés opposés au carré" ("The square of the hypotenuse must equal the squares of the two other sides"), making the equation the Scarecrow states correct, unlike what happened in the original version of the film. May be a case of Completely Missing the Point; that the Scarecrow couldn't have actually become smarter.
  • In Gladiator, Maximus says that he is from Trujillo, a small town in Spain, implying that he is a self-made man that came from nothing. In the Spanish dub, he says that he is from Emerita Augusta (modern Mérida, Spain, a city not far from Trujillo). Since any Spaniard who has been through primary school knows that Emerita Augusta was founded by Augustus to house Roman veterans, the implication to a Spanish audience is that Maximus is from a family with a long, probably distinguised military career, and this makes Commodus an even bigger asshole for betraying Maximus and his family.
  • Despite its very British humour, the first Austin Powers movie was dubbed faithfully in Spain (other than Austin and Dr. Evil being dubbed by different actors) and had little success. For the sequels, they allowed Spanish comedian Florentino Fernández to voice all the characters played by Mike Myers as he pleased, often changing the dialogue and including references to his own TV work, and they became hits.
  • The German dub of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang contains one during "Roses of Success." The original English contains a mention of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, while the German version mentions Wilhelm Röntgen, who discovered x-rays.
  • The Brazilian dub of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie has three hammy voice actors improvising as much as they can.
  • John Wayne's film about the 1950s Red Scare, Big Jim Mclain, was determined to not make any sense in Italy, where it was therefore dubbed into a movie about marijuana.
  • In one scene during Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, a scientist programs a super-computer to find the remaining golden tickets. It refuses because that would be cheating. The scientist's offer of sharing the grand prize (a lifetime supply of chocolate) is rebuffed differently in the German dub.
    Scientist (English): It says "What would a computer do with a lifetime supply of chocolate?" I am now telling the computer exactly what it can do with a lifetime supply of chocolate!
    Scientist (German): It says "Thank you, very kind of you, but I prefer sausage to chocolate." First, I'm going to teach this sassy computer some manners!
  • The Italian dub of Transformers reworks the dialogue when Megatron kills Jazz since the "You want a piece of me?" joke wouldn't work. So, Jazz says "Sono tutto d'un pezzo!" ("I'm a straightforward guy!", but can be literally translated as "I'm all in one piece!"), and Megatron, after breaking him in two, answers "Wrong, you're two pieces!".
  • The Russian dub of Gravity. At the end of the film Sandra Bullock's character decides to face death with dignity and simply says, "I'm ready," as her capsule enters the atmosphere. The Russian dub changed this line to, "Поехали (Poyekhali)," meaning, "Let's go." This famously (in Russia) was the last word spoken by Yuri Gagarin before he ascended into space and began the Space Age, making an already emotional scene even more poignant for Russians.
  • Pananormal Inactivity 2 like many humor movies has changes, a significant one that already reached memetic status is the add on of a line of Shilo in the funeral "No me duele, me quema, me lastima" as he falls to his knees, which translates as "It doesn't pain me, it burns me, it hurts".
  • The Japanese dub of Top Gun has many some different interpretations of the personalities of the main characters, depending of the version of the dub used, since it was dubbed about four times there:
    • While Maverick's voice acting doesn't change a lot between any of the four versions, some of his lines sounds different between versions. Ditto with Goose.
    • In the Fuji TV version of the movie, many of the characters use Gratuitous English a lot, especially when giving or receiving orders. On the other hand, the other versions use the Japanese equivalents of those words.
    • In the TV Tokyo version, Maverick (and likely others) is addressed with the "-kun" honorific by his seniors officers. In the other versions, honorifics are rarely used.
    • Viper sounds much angrier with Maverick in the Fuji TV dub when scolding him about the true reason of the TOPGUN school. In the other versions, Tranquil Fury is used instead.
    • Charlie sounds much older in the TV Tokyo dub, compared with the other versions.
    • Goose's wife sounds much like an airhead in the Fuji TV dub, compared with the other dubs, when she sounds as mature as the rest of the cast
    • In all versions, Maverick's last quote when he returns home after the last air duel in the film and he talks with Iceman asking him to be his wingman removes the "bullshit!" part of it, albeit it has nothing to do with censorship, but with the way how Japanese language works, especially when dealing with profanity. In some versions, like the TV Tokyo dub, replace the "bullshit" with "you too" in a rude way, in this case with Omae kozo.
  • In a similar way, the Japanese dub of The Terminator has some differences on perfomance and translations between versions, which were about four, but with a twist: The titular Villain Protagonist was voiced by Ryuzaburo Otomo in the TV Asahi and VHS versions, while in the DVD/BD and TV Tokyo ones, Tessho Genda voiced him instead. The difference here falls in the fact, in the Otomo's rendition of the T-800, he sounds even more emotionless than his original actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, very likely in an attempt to make him sound more like a machine and less like a human, giving him a very unnerving feeling. Extra points, Otomo tried (intentionally or not) to replicate Schwarzenegger's Austrian accent. On the other hand, Genda's version of the T-800, while still emotionless, tried his best to replicate Schwarzenegger's original performance, while giving his own twist, except, unlike Otomo, he doesn't speak with any foreign accent.
  • In yet another Japanese example, the dubs of the RoboCop films are notorious for taking many liberties with the translation, mainly:
    • Excluding the titular hero, Anne Lewis, and few other characters, the dubs includes extra profanities not included in the original English versions.
    • Unlike the English versions, the Japanese voice actors vocalize many scenes which were either silent or with very few dialogue.
    • Almost every villain, especially Clarence Boddicker and his gang, hams their dialogues to almost epic levels.
    • The titular Robocop is somewhat more emotional than the original English version, making two key scenes even more heart-wrenching than the original version:
      • When he faces Emil in the exploding gas station and when he interrogates him, Robocop is basically yelling "Who are you?" to Emil, instead of using Peter Weller's much slower but still intimidating tone.
      • After Robocop faces Boddicker in the drug factory and when he tries to strangle him with his own hands, Boddicker begs for his life in a way that sounds out-of-character for a criminal lord to a Japanese viewer, while still keeping the original context of the translation: While the Japanese dub keeps the "You're a cop" line when Boddicker reminds Robocop of his duty as a police officer before he can try to kill him, the line is translated as "Omae wa keisatsu-sama" (お前は警察様). By adding the "-sama" honorific before the "police/keisatsu" part, Boddicker sounds like a honorless butt-kisser who tries to beg for his life at Robocop's feet and also as a way to get Murphy to see reason, as it can also be translated as "You are an honorable cop", and as such, he wouldn't steep into petty revenge.
    • If you're wondering how they translated Boddicker's Pre-Mortem One-Liner "Sayonara Robocop!", the Japanese dub translated it as "Bye-Bye Robocop!" in English instead.
    • A curious change was done during the final duel between Murphy and Dick Jones: When the Old Man uses his authority as OCP's CEO in order to fire Jones and as such override Robocop's Directive 4, the "DICK, YOU ARE FIRED!" line is changed to "JONES, YOU ARE FIRED!" (Jones, Omae wa kubi da!/お前はクビだ!). It seems that even in a hostage crisis, Japanese Politeness still applies here.
    • On the other hand, the Japanese dub, at least from the first film, does some strange ommisions or changes:
      • When Murphy is shot by Boddicker and his gang, Murphy sounds more like he was being punched in the gut than someone being shot with high-powered guns.
      • When Robocop shot a rapist in the groin, the guy sounded more like he was being kicked in the nuts rather than someone screaming in pain after being castrated with hot lead.
      • Also overlapping with Inconsistent Dub, Jones address Bob Morton at the beginning of the film as "Morton-kun", being "-kun" a honorific used by older people to address their juniors (which is the case regarding the relationship between those two characters) but much later Jones stop using honorifics with him and he address him as either Morton or his full name instead. In the same way, Boddicker address Jones as "Shachou-dono", (Mr. CEO/vice-president) through the "-dono" honorific is used by him in a rather conscendent way.
  • The first Men in Black movie features Edwards quipping that NYPD stands for "kNock Yo Punkass Down". The Danish translation gives the acronym as "Nu Ydmyger Politimanden Dig" (the Policeman will Humiliate You Now) instead.
  • In the original version of The Dinner Game as Pignon is about to call Juste Leblanc the first time Brochant tells him that his wife Christine has signed the novel she wrote with Leblanc as "Christine Le Guirrec" and Pignon whether she is Breton; Brochant loses his calm for a second and tells Pignon to focus on the situation. In the Italian version the dialogue was changed and made much funnier as Brochant says that Christine signed the novel as "Christine Dispersed Woman", to which Pignon answers "She already knew (that she would eventually ditch both Leblanc and Brochant). Moreover Pignon's phone call to Leblanc in the French version is made with a Belgian accent, whereas the Italian version has Pignon use a German accent.
  • In Che (which is written almost entirely in Spanish), one scene has a guerrilla getting offended by his comrade calling him "ventrílocuo" ("ventriloquist"), which he mistakes for the made-up insult "ventrílo culo" ("culo" meaning "ass"). Since this pun wouldn't translate very well into English, the English subtitles have him mistaking "ventriloquist" for "vanilla piss".


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