We all remember iconic movies from the 90s like “Die Hard,” “Red Heat,” and “Raw Deal,” which were presented to the Russian audience with names that differed from their original titles. We’ve become accustomed to these titles, even though many of them were translated incorrectly. Today, I’d like to provide a few examples of these mistranslated titles from our childhood and youth.
Die Hard (1988)
“Die Hard” is a cult action film starring Bruce Willis. However, in the original title, the film is called “Die Hard,” which can be literally translated as “Умри тяжело” (Die Hard) in Russian, sounding rather strange. Some websites suggest a translation like “Умри сражаясь” (Die Fighting), which is also incorrect.
In reality, there’s no need for such a literal translation. The title refers to a person who is tough to kill or someone who remains resolute despite challenges. Hence, “Крепкий орешек” (Die Hard) is quite fitting, especially since the Russian-speaking audience understands that it’s not about a nut but rather characterizes strong-willed individuals who are not easily defeated.
In contrast, the translations in other countries sounded rather absurd. For instance, in Finland, the film was titled “Через мой труп” (Through My Dead Body), and in Poland, it was “Стеклянная западня” (Glass Trap).
Red Heat (1988)
We all remember “Красная жара” (Red Heat), where Arnold Schwarzenegger played Soviet policeman Ivan Danko. However, the original film title is “Red Heat,” which can indeed be literally translated as “Красная жара.” Still, the creators had something else in mind when naming the film.
Apart from the word “жара” (heat), the English word “heat” can also be translated as evasion, interrogation, violence, round, or “фараон” (a slang term for a policeman). Therefore, a more appropriate translation would be “Красный мент” (Red Cop), where “красный” (red) refers to “Soviet.”
Raw Deal (1986)
Another Arnold Schwarzenegger film, “Raw Deal,” has a great title, but it’s not entirely accurate. In the original title, the film is called “Raw Deal,” which can be translated as “Нечестная сделка” (Unfair Deal).
These are just a few examples of how iconic 90s movies had their titles translated incorrectly, yet we’ve become accustomed to them.