Tuesday, May 24, 2011

10 Best Film Character Names

What’s in a name? Over the last few weeks names have been a focal point of many of my conversations. Three weeks ago my wife gave birth to our first child, a boy, and I have had many discussions on why we choose the name we did. Though not outlandish like many of the names celebrities have chosen (i.e. Bear Blu, Apple, etc.), the name we chose for our son is not as common as Michael or Jason.

Most recently, it was brought to my attention that this modest blog received its first ever Lammy nomination in the category of Best Blog Name! I would like claim that there is a great story behind the naming of this blog. But the truth is my last name is “Small” and I thought the blog name was a fun play on words. Still, I would like to extend a huge thank you to those who nominated me. While I am up against some tough competition the fact that this is my first Lammy nomination ever makes it special nonetheless.

Keeping with the theme of names, here are my choices for the 10 Best Film Character Names:

Axel Foley – Beverly Hills Cop

Always thought Axel was a rather strong sounding name. The fact that he is a wisecracking street smart cop is just icing on the cake.

Keyser Soze / Verbal Kint – The Usual Suspects

Two great names for the price of one here! Not only is Keyser Soze one of the greatest cinematic villains, but his alter-ego’s handle is pretty slick as well.

Royal Tenebaum – The Royal Tenebaums
Never has royalty been so mischievous. While he may not win any father of the year awards, Royal Tenenbaum’s heart is usually in the right place.

Veruca Salt - Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory
Best. Name. Ever. Here is my theory on why Veruca is such a brat in the film...she was teased mercilessly at school. Seriously, Veruca Salt is a name will only be considered cool when she hits college. Until then, it will be a long bumpy road for young Ms. Salt.

Pussy Galore – Goldfinger
Yes there have been several good Bond girl names over the course of 22 films, yet none have reached the “how did this get past the censors?” level like the name Pussy Galore.

Scut Farkus – A Christmas Story
I was leaning towards adding The French Connection’s Popeye Doyle to add to the list but I could not fathom leaving a name like Scut Farkus off the list.

Gaylord Focker - Meet the Parents
Sure the name is a running gag that went on for three films too long, yet it is hard to deny the guilty pleasure of the name.

Indiana Jones
Man is this ever a cool sounding name. I mean, it is not easy to make an actual place into a great character name. I am still waiting for my own newly created fictional character, Toronto Tonto, to take off with the masses...Your day will come Toronto Tonto, your day will come.

Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird
There are some names that, while odd sounding, just ooze intelligence. Atticus is a name that fits that bill to a tee.

Snake Plissken - Escape From New York
You really cannot go wrong with a name like “Snake”. Whether we are talking about the eye-patch wearing vigilante from in John Carpenter’s films, or the career criminal on the show The Simpsons, it is nearly impossible for the name Snake to sound anything but badass. Please note that Snake from Degrassi Junior High is the exception to this rule.

Honourable Mentions: Popeye Doyle, Donnie Darko, Han Solo, Black Dynamite, Jesus Quintana, Ace Ventura, Igby Slocumb, John Shaft, Castor Troy

What are you favourite movie character names? Let me know in the comments section.


  1. There's something alluring about the name Sidney Falco. It's practically a fitting name since it sounds like the name of a sleaze (which he is).

  2. Shouts also to Lando Calrissian, Derek Zoolander, Clarence Boddicker and Mr. Eddy.

  3. That is a great list. Every single character that instantly popped in my head was there! I would have taken you to task, TO TASK, sir, if Indiana Jones wasn't on the list. :)

    Frankly, My Dear

  4. Excellent list! All these names deserved to be here. Pussy Galore, yes please. Indiana Jones, definitely. Snake Plissken, can you get any cooler?

    The only other name I'd throw up in there is Dirk Diggler. Because it's the only name so powerful that it blows up its own sign with bright blue neon lights with a purple outline.

  5. @MovieNut – Sweet Smell of Success is a film is on the “to see” list. I hear Tony Curtis is great in the role.

    @Multiplex Slut – Lando Calrissian is a great pick! Not a fan of Zoolander (the film) but I do like the name Derek Zoolander though. Nice pull on the Robocop name, but don’t get me started on Lost Highway. I still have no idea what Lynch was trying to say with that movie.

    @Scott - No way I could leave Indiana Jones off the list. Han Solo nearly made the cut but I was not willing to remove Dr. Jones to slot him in.

    @M.Hufstader - Dirk Diggler is an excellent choice! The neon sign scene is fantastic, one of my favourite moments from the film. Dirk Diggler has become such an iconic movie name in such a short span of time (see it on t-shirts everywhere).

  6. @CS Indeed he is. One of the best performances I've seen.

  7. This is an epic list for sure! Nicely done!

    I'd like to put in a vote for Drexl Spivey of "True Romance" fame...

  8. @MovieNut – That is high praise. I will have to track down a copy of the film.

    @Rachel - Drexl Spivey is a good choice, I also like the name Alabama Whitman from that film as well.

  9. Brilliant choices,

    Black Dynamite is one of my favourites, such an awesome name.

    Congrats on the Lammy nomination, I'm surprised you didn't receive one before to be honest, you certainly deserve it!

  10. @Jack - I really wanted to include Black Dynamite on the list but just could not find a spot. It is in my top 15 for sure though.

    Also, congrats on your well earned Lammy nomination.

  11. Congrats on the nom. In keeping with your good taste, I gotta say, off the top of my head, I can't think of too many that would beat out your choices. Though M. makes a solid point w/ Diggler. That's brilliant, Eddie!

  12. @Fletch – Dirk Diggler is a tough to beat. Frank T.J. Mackey is another name I like, but not enough to make the top 10 though.

  13. I'm just noticing this now. You and your wife were against naming your son after two Hollywood serial killers?

    (Oh, and I expect a review when you see it.)

  14. @Fletch – Anton Chigurh not only has a cool name but one of the best bowl cuts in cinema history. Ed Tom Bell is a true country western sounding name. I half expected him to release an album of sad songs based on the criminals he has met.

    @MovieNut – Jason is the weakest of the 80’s killers. Michael was decent in the first two films but fell off after that. If anything I would have named the kid Freddy or Chucky.

  15. Ooh great, fresh list! INDY! He's been popping up everywhere for me recently. You know that feeling when you haven't thought about a film in a while and suddenly you notice it gets mentioned everywhere and you get this urgent need to watch that film? Probably going to have a Indy marathon this weekend..

  16. @Anna - I actually had a similar thing happen with Jurassic Park a few months back. I had a craving to see it, and suddenly it was all over television and talked about on several blogs.

  17. motown missile2:57 am

    As excellent as you list already is, I'd probably add:

    Trudy Kockenlocker - "The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek"

    H.I. "Hy" McDonough - "Raising Arizona"

    Smiler Grogan - "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"

    Also, Veruca Salt is an even funnier name when you know that a veruca is a wart.

  18. @motown missle - all excellent choices, especially Smiler Grogan.


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