Top Ten Fun Facts About German Dubs of Movies

Martin_Canine
While in most countries foreign movies get subtitled, they almost always get dubbed for their release in German speaking territories (I know not even a handful of movies where that isn't the case), which is a standard procedure. While the dubs are mostly faithful to the original, there are some instances where there is something weird about it, which is why I made this list.

The Top Ten

1 Singers Bill Kaulitz and Nena do the German voices for the two leading roles in "Arthur and the Invisibles". At that time, Bill Kaulitz was 16, and Nena was 46, while their roles were around the age of 10 and have a strong romantic tension.

In the original version, it's not so different. Freddie Highmore was 14 and Madonna was 48. - Martin_Canine

2 In the German dub, the two Jive guys from "Airplane!" speak Bavarian.

This is funny, because the joke is entirely different. Typically, most African-Germans speak neutral German or have an accent resembling their mother tongue. It looks pretty funny seeing black people having such a strong Bavarian dialect. It's a lot like the Irish cowboy joke in "Family Guy". However, it's not so unusual seeing the old white lady speaking it. In a way, the joke is opposite to the English one, where the Jive speak suits the African Americans but not the old lady. - Martin_Canine

3 Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have the same standard voice actor. When in "The Expendables" they appear side to side, he simply spoke in a different pitch.

The guy also dubs John Travolta, John Cleese and Terence Hill. - Martin_Canine

4 In the German version of the Animated "Pink Panther" series, there is a voice over commenting on the action on screen in rhymes.

Not really a film fact, but it is what makes the series a cult classic over here. - Martin_Canine

5 Shortly after World War II, most Hitler and Nazi references were removed from the dub, and some movies were even cut. That's usually not the case anymore.

Of course, "The Great Dictator", "The Stranger" and "The Trial in Nuremberg" are still about nazis. But for example, "Notorious" has all verbal nazi references removed, and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" was heavily edited. - Martin_Canine

6 The infamous line from "Casablanca", "Here's looking at you, kid", has been incorrectly dubbed as "Look into my eyes, kid" initially, but nevertheless became one of the most famous movie quotes in Germany.

Due to the fact that in its initial release, this movie as well had its Nazi content removed, the entire movie was re-dubbed centuries later, more faithfully to the original. But the quote "Look into my eyes, kid" has already been so famous that it was criticized they didn't leave it in the movie. - Martin_Canine

7 In the 60s and 70s, there was a dubbing writer called Rainer Brandt that added several jokes and gags to the movies he translated, which include movies starring Louis de Funes or Bud Spencer.

Character is off-screen --> let them say something funny, even though he doesn't say a word in the original. - Martin_Canine

8 "Clerks", while a well known movie in Germany as well, did not get a German dub until 2014. Before, it was one of the few movies that were only subbed. Its sequel, however, was initially dubbed.

When Netflix got the rights for the movie, they made a dub of it, 20 years after its initial release. - Martin_Canine

9 The city in the movie "Zootopia" is called "Zoomania" in German, which is also the movie's German title.

Due to copyright issues. There already was a zoo called "Zootopia". - Martin_Canine

10 Instead of "Keep your loving brother happy", Henry Fonda's role in "Once Upon a Time in the West" says "Play Me the Song of Death" in the end, which is also the German title and the most infamous quote of the movie.

One of the few cases where I like the German title and dubbing edit better than the original. Sounds more cold-hearted, which fits the tone of the movie. - Martin_Canine

The Contenders

11 The German Dub of the TV Series "Digimon" is Based on the Original Japanese Version, While that of the Movie is Based on the Heavily Edited and Altered American Version, Giving Them an Extremely Different Tone.

The T.V. series has J-pop music and a very serious and dark tone, the movie is light hearted and has 2000s pop rock and rap music playing. Considering the movie, I can kind of understand why Digimon is less popular in the USA, they often made it look like a Pokémon rip off rather than a way darker anime serious of its own. - Martin_Canine

12 When someone in a movie asks "do you speak English", it is often translated to "do you speak our language?" to avoid confusion.

For example in "Pulp Fiction".
Of course, in the German dub, they speak German, but the movie is set in America, so it wouldn't make sense that they are aware of the fact they speak German. - Martin_Canine

13 In the German dub of "Vampires Suck", almost all of the characters have the same voice actor as their original "Twilight" counterpart.
14 Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't do his own dubbing despite German being his mother tongue.

Other actors in the same situations do. For example, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Brühl and Til Schweiger dub themselves. Klaus Kinski only infrequently did. Most of the time, the standard voice actor of Louis de Funes dubbed him. - Martin_Canine

15 The Standard Voice Actor for Steve Buscemi is the Same that Also Voices SpongeBob SquarePants and Ren from "Ren & Stimpy"

In a few movies, like "Fargo", he has a different, deeper voice, but mostly, yeah, it's the same. - Martin_Canine

16 Often when American celebrities that are little known outside of the US are mentioned, they use another, more well known celebrity name instead for the German dub instead.

Happens regularly on Family Guy. While most American movie actors and musicians are just as famous over here, stand up comedians and T.V. hosts mostly aren't, because Germany has their own. - Martin_Canine

17 Even though in the movie "Brüno" the protagonist is supposed to be Austrian, he was dubbed in neutral German most of the time, except for the scenes, in which he originally speaks German, where he uses a pseudo dialect.
18 Squidward from "SpongeBob Squarepants" is named Thaddäus in German, often shortened to the nickname Taddl. This is why Dat Adam member Thaddeus Tjarks uses Taddl as his stage name.
19 In the Animated Movie "Sing" About a Singing Competition, Silbermond Lead Singer Stefanie Kloß Provides the Voice of Ash, Yet Does Not Perform Any Music as None of the Songs Have Been Dubbed.

What is the point of getting the singer of a popular and successful band who's had a career lasting for over a decade and still is relevant AND has lots of loyal fans for a movie about SINGING and not have her singing even one song?
That's like saying: we hired Hayley Williams for the dub of a character that essentially reflects everything she stands for... but the songs are sung by Scarlett Johansson.
Scarlett does a great job, for sure, but it just feels so weird that they hired a popular singer only for a speaking role in a movie about music. - Martin_Canine

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List StatsUpdated 20 Jul 2017

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Top Remixes

1. Singers Bill Kaulitz and Nena do the German voices for the two leading roles in "Arthur and the Invisibles". At that time, Bill Kaulitz was 16, and Nena was 46, while their roles were around the age of 10 and have a strong romantic tension.
2. In the German dub, the two Jive guys from "Airplane!" speak Bavarian.
3. Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have the same standard voice actor. When in "The Expendables" they appear side to side, he simply spoke in a different pitch.
Martin_Canine

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