Culture For Members

Six weird and wonderful Danish film title translations

The Local Denmark
The Local Denmark - [email protected]
Six weird and wonderful Danish film title translations
Photo by Jeshoots on Unsplash

English films generally aren't dubbed in Denmark but that doesn't stop Danes taking liberties when translating the titles. We've collected some of the strangest examples of when film titles have really been lost in translation.


If you're watching an English film in Denmark from the 80s and 90s, you may notice a similarity in the titles. Certain words such as iskold (ice cold) and ondskaben (evil) were very popular choices to translate a whole range of films. 

'Basic Instinct', became 'Iskoldt begær' (Ice cold desire); 'Murder by Numbers', became 'Iskoldt mord' (ice cold murder).

'The Shining', became 'Ondskabens hotel' (Hotel of Evil), 'Pet Sematary' was translated as 'Ondskabens kirkegård' (Cemetery of Evil) and 'Silence of the Lambs' became 'Ondskabens øjne' (The Eyes of Evil).


But there are other film title translations that range from random to ridiculous. Here are our top six:

The Shawshank Redemption: En verden udenfor

The 1994 prison film starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins as inmates in Shawshank State Prison has a confusing title in English, which is blamed as one of the factors behind its initial box office flop.

The Danish title isn’t much better, though. It’s called 'En verden udenfor' (A world outside) which is about as descriptive as the English version.

Die Hard with a Vengeance: Die Hard - Mega Hard

The action film from 1995 is the third in the series of 'Die Hard' films with Bruce Willis in the lead role as the policeman John McClane, who is constantly thrown into action-packed and life-threatening situations.

The title 'Die Hard' means that the main character is hard to kill. Instead of just calling the film 'Die Hard 3', as most fans call it, in Denmark it was decided 'Die Hard - Mega Hard' was better.

It's thought the title was changed because the word 'vengeance' is difficult for Danes to pronounce but it resulted in a slightly embarrassing attempt to place contemporary slang in a film title.

It's not the only film that Denmark has changed from English to another version of English: 'Cruel Intentions' became 'Sex Games''; 'Joyride' became 'Roadkill'; 'The Help' became 'Niceville' and 'Everything Must Go' became 'Neighbour For Sale'.

Why not.


Friends with Benefits: Bollevenner

The romantic comedy 'Friends with Benefits' from 2011 stars Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as two ambitious career people who are too busy and jaded to find a partner and therefore decide to have casual sex with each other.

The situation becomes complicated when the guy falls for the girl, who has meanwhile started dating someone else.

While the Danish title 'Bollevenner' ('Fuck buddies') is not inaccurate, it is in true Danish style, very direct and portrays the film to be more explicit than it is.

Another romantic comedy was made in 2011 called 'No Strings Attached' starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, which has roughly the same plot. This film was given the more appropriate Danish title 'Venskab med fryns' ('Friendship with benefits').

Music and Lyrics: Et sikkert hit

The Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore film is about an 80s washed-up singer who is given the chance to revive his career by writing a song for a teenage pop star. He enlists the help of the woman who waters his plants and together they write a song and fall in love.

The Danish translation, 'A sure hit', doesn't really add anything, nor is it necessary, given the borrowed word 'hit.' Altogether quite random.

Raw Deal: Sagen er bank

Arnold Schwarzenegger's action film from 1986 tells the story of an elderly and embittered FBI chief who wants to get revenge against a Mafia organisation and sends a former FBI agent and now small-town sheriff to destroy the organisation from the inside.

Directly translated, the Danish title means 'A case of a beating', or 'A proper beating' could be derived from it - slightly harsh and direct but gets to the point. A similar variation was used on another Arnold Schwarzenegger film, the 1977 documentary 'Pumping Iron', which was translated as 'Sagen er bøf' (roughly 'A case of muscles').

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging: Hormoner, hængerøve og hårde bananer

The British youth comedy 'Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging' is about 14-year-old Georgia, who dreams of dating handsome Robbie. But unfortunately, Robbie is already paired with the popular Lindsey. It's basically about all the problems that very young teenagers struggle with, and the main character Georgia can be described as a 14-year-old version of Bridget Jones, who keeps getting things wrong.

The title, 'Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging' refers to Angus who is Georgia's cat, the type of underwear teenage girls start to wear and snogging. The Danish version, 'Hormoner, hængerøve og hårde bananer' literally means 'Hormones, hanging arses and hard bananas', which doesn't quite get the tone of the young romantic comedy but definitely has a ring to it.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also