You probably already know that foreign movies are dubbed, here in Italy.
This is a horrible habit and one of the reasons why Italians have such a low command of English but we can’t help it. That’s how it has always been, how it is and probably it’s a tradition that will never change. I am sure the future will bring significant changes in Italian society but movies will always be dubbed.
It is something I really hate but it is part of our culture. The fun thing is that there are a lot of Italian sayings that come from American movies or series, which you probably don’t recognize because we don’t use them in their original version.
So I decided to make something fun for today’s post and find some of the most common Italian sayings belonging to American movies and TV series that are part of our culture and language.
I have come up with a few of them but I am sure there are many more, so let’s take this just as a selection of the most popular ones. Here they are:
“Quello che ha preso la signorina” – this is the Italian version of ‘I’ll have what she’s having’, the sentence that comes from the very iconic fake-orgasm scene from When Harry Meets Sally (Harry, ti presento Sally in Italian), probably one of the most famous movie scenes ever.
“Non può piovere per sempre” – this is what Eric says to her young friend Sheila in The Crow (Il Corvo in Italian), which in the original version is ‘It can’t rain all the time’. This has been a cult movie in Italy, I wonder if it is the same in the US.
“Francamente me ne infischio” – we all remember the end of Gone With The Wind (Via col vento, in Italian), when Rhett tells Rossella ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn’. And another very popular Italian saying taken from this movie is “domani è un altro giorno” (tomorrow is another day).
“Ti spiezzo in due” – I am a kid of the 80s and this was such a popular quote at the time! It’s taken from Rocky IV and it is the Italian version of ‘I must break you’, what Ivan Drago tells Rocky before the beginning of the match. It’s fun because the Italian is not correct – Ivan Drago was Russian and he had a strong accent (the correct way of saying it would be “ti spezzo in due“).
“Gli farò un’offerta che non potrà rifiutare” – movie quotes come and go from the language, they clearly are a sign of the times. However, there are some quotes, like this one from The Godfather (Il Padrino, in Italian) that will always be part of the language. The English version is ‘I am gonna make an offer he can’t refuse’ and it is one of the many quotes that come from that masterpiece of a movie.
“Nessuno può mettere Baby in un angolo” – raise your hands if you watch Dirty Dancing every time it is on TV. Here in Italy, it is some kind of cult movie! This phrase is the Italian version of “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”, the phrase that Johnny tells Baby’s parents before taking her onto the stage. Another great quote is “ho portato un cocomero” (I have brought a watermelon) from the party scene.
“Non sono cattiva, è che mi disegnano così” – here is another quote that comes straight from the 80s. It is the Italian version of the famous phrase Jessica Rabbit says in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Chi ha incastrato Roger Rabbit, in Italian). If I am not wrong, the original quote from the movie is ‘I am not bad, I’m just drawn that way’.
“La vita è come una scatola di cioccolatini, non sai mai quello che ti capita” – Tom Hanks is my favorite actor and Forrest Gump is one of the best movies I’ve seen, so I am really attached to this quote. It’s the Italian version of “life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get”.
“Potrebbe andar peggio, potrebbe piovere” – this is a very popular Italian saying, which you can hear quite frequently. It comes from Mel Brooks’ cult movie Young Frankenstein (Frankenstein Junior, in Italian) and it is the Italian translation of ‘could be worse, could be raining’, the phrase Igor tells Frederick when they are digging a hole in the cemetery.
“McFly, c’è nessuno in casa?” – the 80s have definitely influenced the language, since this phrase – that you might say if somebody does not understand what you are saying – comes from Back to the Future (Ritorno al futuro, in Italian), a movie that has also given us the expression “furgone dei libici” (the van of the Libyan terrorists), which is the way sometimes the Volkswagen T2 van is colloquially called.
“Ho visto cose che voi umani…” – another very popular Italian saying, something that is frequently used colloquially to describe something unusual or an incredible experience. It is the Italian translation of the Blade Runner quote “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe” which comes from the final monologue of the movies.
“Sono il signor Wolf, risolvo problemi” – this is a fun quote used when one wants to ironically address the fact that he/she is a problem solver. It is the famous sentence by Quentin Tarantino’s character Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction, which in English is ‘I am Mr. Wolf, I solve problems’.
“Che cavolo stai dicendo, Willis?” – I’d like to end this selection with a quote I am very attached to because it was really popular when I was a kid. Nowadays, young people do not use it and if you use it, it clearly shows your age. Anyway, it is a quote from the TV series Diff’rent Strokes (Il mio amico Arnold, in Italian) and it’s the translation of ‘What you talking about, Willis’, something that the main character used to tell his older brother all the time.
Are there other popular Italian sayings taken from American movies that you know? I have a feeling there are many more!
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