Why do the French have such ‘crazy’ and ‘sexy’ movie titles?

We've collected 21 of the most bizarre, sexiest, and craziest examples of when the French have renamed English movie titles... in English. But why do they do it?

Why do the French have such 'crazy' and 'sexy' movie titles?
Notice a difference?
The French have a strange habit of changing English-language movie names to different English-language titles. 

So, for example, The Hangover became Very Bad Trip for its France release.
Strange, sure. But far from the strangest. 
In fact, we noticed that the French translation team seems to have an unusual affinity for the word “sex”.
So Euro Trip, for example, became Sex Trip.
Wild Things, meanwhile, became Sex Crimes. 
Sometimes the translators didn't even really try… 
… at all.
But it's not just “sex”. The French movie re-namers also seem to love the word “crazy”, as seen below. 
And Trainwreck became Crazy Amy…
Sometimes it goes a step further and brings in full-blown orgies. 
So why are the French doing this?
Our theory is that many of the renamed films are destined to be Z-list flops, and that the French teams are desperate to “sex them up” to improve the sales. 
French film expert Judith Prescott, who runs the site French Cinema Review, says she thinks the new titles are there to tell the French market “what to expect in three words or less”. 
“Sex sells and so it's not surprising that so many movies include 'sex' in the title,” she tells The Local. 
“In the same way, putting the word 'crazy' in the title signals to French audiences a madcap, fun, romp of a movie, likewise the word 'very' suggests cool, funny, buddy movie like Very Bad Trip for The Hangover or Very Bad Cop for The Other Guys. 
“It's a form of cinematic shorthand, but the French should shy away from reinforcing national stereotypes n'est-ce pas?”
Manon Kerjean, meanwhile, who runs the Lost in Frenchlation movie screenings in Paris, says the changed titles reflect French people's approach to the English language. 
“I think it's funny although it proves that the French are a little bit lazy with English and with languages in general,” she tells The Local.
“I think it's good if it makes French people identify more easily with the film and if as a result they go to the cinema more.
“But I think it's also a little bit embarrassing in the sense that they need to modify the language to be able to understand it instead of opening up to the English culture and learning the language more thoroughly.”
Explain it however you like, but there's no denying that there is a strong tendency to get sex in movie titles. Like this one. 

Or this…
Even the cover image of the film below got extremely sex-ified. 
And why call a movie “Shortcut to Happiness” when you can call it “Sexy Devil”?
Sometimes it seems the French just take out words to add “sex” instead. 
The film below went for “Sexy Therapy” instead of the more predictable “Sex Therapy”…
But that's only because Sex Therapy existed…
Anyway, as we said, it's not all sex and craziness. Sometimes the French have just picked some interesting choices for new film names. Here are a few favourites. 
But who are we kidding? The best ones are the ones with a random “sex” in the title. 
See a whole lot more of the bizarre translations on the Pardon My Titres website here

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Le Havre rules: How to talk about French towns beginning with Le, La or Les

If you're into car racing, French politics or visits to seaside resorts you are likely at some point to need to talk about French towns with a 'Le' in the title. But how you talk about these places involves a slightly unexpected French grammar rule. Here's how it works.

An old WW2 photo taken in the French port town of Le Havre.
An old WW2 photo taken in the French port town of Le Havre. It can be difficult to know what prepositions to use for places like this - so we have explained it for you. (Photo by AFP)

If you’re listening to French chat about any of those topics, at some point you’re likely to hear the names of Mans, Havre and Touquet bandied about.

And this is because French towns that have a ‘Le’ ‘La’ or ‘Les’ in the title lose them when you begin constructing sentences. 

As a general rule, French town, commune and city names do not carry a gender. 

So if you wanted to describe Paris as beautiful, you could write: Paris est belle or Paris est beau. It doesn’t matter what adjectival agreement you use. 

For most towns and cities, you would use à to evoke movement to the place or explain that you are already there, and de to explain that you come from/are coming from that location:

Je vais à Marseille – I am going to Marseille

Je suis à Marseille – I am in Marseille 

Je viens de Marseille – I come from Marseille 

But a select few settlements in France do carry a ‘Le’, a ‘La’ or a ‘Les’ as part of their name. 

In this case the preposition disappears when you begin formulating most sentences, and you structure the sentence as you would any other phrase with a ‘le’, ‘la’ or ‘les’ in it.


Le is the most common preposition for two names (probably something to do with the patriarchy) with Le Havre, La Mans, Le Touquet and the town of Le Tampon on the French overseas territory of La Réunion (more on that later)

A good example of this is Le Havre, a city in northern France where former Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, who is tipped to one day run for the French presidency, serves as mayor. 

Edouard Philippe’s twitter profile describes him as the ‘Maire du Havre’, using a masculine preposition

Here we can see that his location is Le Havre, and his Twitter handle is Philippe_LH (for Le Havre) but when he comes to describe his job the Le disappears.

Because Le Havre is masculine, he describes himself as the Maire du Havre rather than the Maire de Havre (Anne Hidalgo, for example would describe herself as the Maire de Paris). 

For place names with ‘Le’ in front of them, you should use prepositions like this:

Ja vais au Touquet – I am going to Le Touquet

Je suis au Touquet – I am in Le Touquet 

Je viens du Touquet – I am from Le Touquet 

Je parle du Touquet – I am talking about Le Touquet

Le Traité du Touquet – the Le Touquet Treaty


Some towns carry ‘La’ as part of their name. La Rochelle, the scenic town on the west coast of France known for its great seafood and rugby team, is one such example.

In French ‘à la‘ or ‘de la‘ is allowed, while ‘à le‘ becomes au and ‘de le’ becomes du. So for ‘feminine’ towns such as this, you should use the following prepositions:

Je vais à La Rochelle – I am going to La Rochelle

Je viens de La Rochelle – I am coming from La Rochelle 


And some places have ‘Les’ in front of their name, like Les Lilas, a commune in the suburbs of Paris. The name of this commune literally translates as ‘The Lilacs’ and was made famous by Serge Gainsbourg’s song Le Poinçonneur des Lilas, about a ticket puncher at the Metro station there. 

When talking about a place with ‘Les’ as part of the name, you must use a plural preposition like so:

Je suis le poinçonneur des Lilas – I am the ticket puncher of Lilas 

Je vais aux Lilas – I am going to Les Lilas

Il est né aux Lilas – He was born in Les Lilas  


Islands follow more complicated rules. 

If you are talking about going to one island in particular, you would use à or en. This has nothing to do with gender and is entirely randomised. For example:

Je vais à La Réunion – I am going to La Réunion 

Je vais en Corse – I am going to Corsica 

Generally speaking, when talking about one of the en islands, you would use the following structure to suggest movement from the place: 

Je viens de Corse – I am coming from Corsica 

For the à Islands, you would say:

Je viens de La Réunion – I am coming from La Réunion 

When talking about territories composed of multiple islands, you should use aux.

Je vais aux Maldives – I am going to the Maldives. 

No preposition needed 

There are some phrases in French which don’t require any a preposition at all. This doesn’t change when dealing with ‘Le’ places, such as Le Mans – which is famous for its car-racing track and Motorcycle Grand Prix. Phrases that don’t need a preposition include: 

Je visite Le Mans – I am visiting Le Mans

J’aime Le Mans – I like Le Mans

But for a preposition phrase, the town becomes simply Mans, as in Je vais au Mans.