Category: movie character names
By Haley Sedgwick
As a child, I remember asking my mum for a videocassette that I had my eyes on in the grocery store. Any normal preschooler would be asking for some sort of cartoon, but not me. My passion was musicals, and one actress, who had blonde curls and dimples, just like me, stood out the most.
Shirley Temple, “America’s Little Darling,“ was that one actress. And that movie I mentioned asking for earlier? No ordinary 1990’s child, I was asking my mother to buy me a sing-along VHS tape of Shirley Temple’s best known songs. That tape stayed with me until I reached the age of 8 – by which point, I had played it so often, that it had actually become unplayable.
When I found out that Shirley had passed away on February 10th – I suddenly felt very emotional, as if I had just lost a part of my childhood, which, in all honesty, I really did. I grew up with her songs and films, I grew up idolizing her, I grew up with this dream of being just like Shirley – and of one day meeting her. Neither of these dreams will become a reality for me anymore – but I know that, along with other childhood favourites, Shirley Temple will always be something I hold close to me.
If you grew up in the 1980’s you probably have fond memories of some of the fantasy adventure movies from that decade. For many, these movies were an early introduction to a different style of naming. Sometimes they were a slight twist on an old familiar name, other times they seemed completely magical and fantastical. But the great thing now is that those names are an instant reminder of those beloved films. Here are 20 of the top picks:
Atreyu (The Neverending Story) – Pronounced ah-TRAY-yoo, he was the warrior boy of the story. It is thought that the name has both Indian/Hindu origins – where it means ‘warrior’ – and German origins in the name Atreju, which means ‘son of all’. Both are quite apt for this character, who was raised by a village when his parents died. The name is still rare, but has seen some use since the early 1990’s.
Aquila (Ladyhawke) – Aquila is traditionally a male Latin name meaning ‘eagle,’ but is more often used as a girls name in America. Pronounced either ah-KEE-la or ah-KWIL-la, it was the name of the land in Ladyhawke.
Auryn (The Neverending Story) – The Auryn was the name of the amulet Atreyu wore to protect and guide him in his quest. It was also on the cover of the book Bastian was reading ‘The Neverending Story‘ from. This name could go to either gender, as it sounding similar to both girls’ name Lauren and boys’ name Oren, and has only recently started appearing on the US charts for both.
We don’t particularly think of Woody Allen as a cutting-edge filmmaker, but there is one area in which he has been—if unwittingly—prescient, and that is in giving some of his characters names that would later become trendy choices for babies. (Though there are no babies in his films—children hardly exist in Woody’s World.)
For those characters he created for himself, he chose, with a few exceptions, pretty ordinary, sometimes nicknamey names—Alvy, Sandy, Mickey, Lenny, Larry, Jerry, Sid, Gabe, Sheldon, Isaac. But for others, he did come up with some inspired choices:
Alfie—You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, 2010 (Anthony Hopkins). A fittingly British choice for a British character—but it’s doubtful if Woody knew that Alfie was the fourth most popular name for UK baby boys born in 2010.
So here are some iconic stars, and what we consider to be their two best character names—in Nameberry baby name terms— together with the one that stands out as the most incongruous and the movie in which he/she answered to that name.