Film Noir Baby Names

Film Noir Baby Names

Baby names drawn from film noir, or "black film" — the genre of Hollywood crime dramas that capture the suspenseful happenings of private eyes in distinct black and white form —tend to be dramatic and rooted in an earlier era. While some of these names, such as Della and Harvey, have begun to make a comeback in the US, many others are stuck in style limbo.

Along with Della and Harvey, other film noir names in the US Top 1000 include Axel, Bruno, Celia, Jules, Stella, Vivian, and Walter. Some of the most iconic names from film noir include Gilda, Velma, Laura, and Dixon.

Names like Eunice and Barton don’t have the same Classic Hollywood glamour they once did, but there are many names in the noir style worth reviving.

Here, our collection of film noir baby names, ordered according to their current popularity on Nameberry.

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Old Hollywood Names for Girls

Movie Character Names

  1. Nora
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Honora or Eleonora, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "honor or meaning unknown"
    • Description:

      Nora is a lovely, refined name that conjures up images of Belle Epoch ladies in fur-trimmed coats skating in Central Park. Long seen as a quintessentially Irish name though its roots are not in Ireland, Nora is a quietly stylish favorite that's tiptoed to the top of the popularity ladder.
  2. Cora
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "maiden"
    • Description:

      Cora is a lovely, old-fashioned girls' that has been recently rejuvenated by its contemporary-feeling simplicity. In fact, Cora seemed headed straight for the top of the popularity list when the coronavirus pandemic somewhat weakened its appeal.
  3. Miles
    • Origin:

      English form of Milo
    • Meaning:

      "soldier or merciful"
    • Description:

      Miles, which has a permanent veneer of cool thanks to jazz great Miles Davis, is a confident and polished boys' name that's an American classic. Always ranking in the US Top 1000, it's been drifting up the charts for the past half century but has never been TOO popular.
  4. Stella
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "star"
    • Description:

      Stella is a name with star quality and sparkle, that manages to sound both ethereal and earthy. Celestial but not otherworldly, it lands somewhere between the popular Ella and bold Seraphina.
  5. Lilith
    • Origin:

      Assyrian, Sumerian
    • Meaning:

      "ghost, night monster"
    • Description:

      Lilith is derived from the Akkadian word lilitu meaning "of the night." In Jewish folklore she is portrayed as Adam's rejected first wife, who was turned into a night demon for refusing to obey him. Lilith is unrelated to most other Lil- names, with the exception of Lilita, which is the Latvian variation.
  6. Willa
    • Origin:

      Feminine variation of William
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      Willa has become increasingly fashionable, with its combination of Willa (born Wilella) Cather-like pioneer strength and the graceful beauty of the willow tree.
  7. Vera
    • Origin:

      Russian
    • Meaning:

      "faith"
    • Description:

      Vera was the height of fashion in 1910, then was for a long time difficult to picture embroidered on a baby blanket. Now, though, it has come back into style along with other old-fashioned simple names such as Ada and Iris.
  8. Poppy
    • Origin:

      English from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "red flower"
    • Description:

      Poppy, unlike most floral names which are sweet and feminine, has a lot of spunk. Long popular throughout the rest of the English-speaking world, Poppy is finally starting to rise toward the top in the US, where it entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 2016.
  9. Eden
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "place of pleasure, delight"
    • Description:

      Eden is an attractive, serene name with obvious intimations of Paradise, one of several place names drawn from the Bible by the Puritans in the seventeenth century.
  10. Axel
    • Origin:

      Scandinavian variation of Absalom
    • Meaning:

      "father of peace"
    • Description:

      A classic in its native Scandinavia, Axel has a cool rock 'n' roll flavor in the US, thanks to Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose (born William). With its distinctive letter 'x', it has an effortlessly cool vibe about it, and is currently growing in popularity.
  11. Millie
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Mildred or Millicent
    • Meaning:

      "gentle strength; strong in work"
    • Description:

      Millie is back. It's a Top 100 name throughout much of the English-speaking world, though not yet in the US. Millicent would be an appealing long form, but many people are using Millie all by its cute self -- so many, in fact, that it returned to the Top 500 in 2015 for the first time since World War 2 and continues to climb.
  12. Vivian
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "life"
    • Description:

      Vivian, once an elderly lady name, is on the rise, along with all form of girl names that mean life -- from Zoe to Eva to those who share the vivid Viv syllable. It was one of the fastest-rising names of 2023, vaulting into the Top 100.
  13. Harvey
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "battle worthy"
    • Description:



      Harvey, which was brought to England by the Normans and is a version of the French name Herve, is a genial, old-timey name that has been much more popular across the pond. It has been a Top 100 choice in England & Wales since 1997.
  14. Lola
    • Origin:

      Spanish, diminutive of Dolores
    • Meaning:

      "lady of sorrows"
    • Description:

      A hot starbaby name – chosen by Kelly Ripa, Chris Rock, Lisa Bonet, Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen, Carnie Wilson, and Annie Lennox, and used as the nickname of Madonna's Lourdes – Lola manages to feel fun and sassy without going over the top. Be warned, though: "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets," to quote a song from the show Damn Yankees.
  15. Lucia
    • Origin:

      Italian, feminine variation of Lucius, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "light"
    • Description:

      Lucia is a lush, rich Latinate equivalent of Lucy, popular in Spain and throughout Latin America and also a cross-cultural favorite. You might be surprised to know that Lucia has ALWAYS ranked among the Top 1000 girl names in the US, though she's really taken off only since the turn of this century.
  16. Walter
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "army ruler"
    • Description:

      Walter was seen as a noble name in the Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Walter Scott era, but it then spent decades in baby name limbo. Now quite a few independent-minded parents are looking at it as a renewable, slightly quirky, classic, stronger and more distinctive than James or John, second only to William among the handsome classic boy baby names starting with W.
  17. Althea
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "with healing power"
    • Description:

      Althea is a poetic, almost ethereal name found in Greek myth and pastoral poetry, associated in modern times with the great tennis player Althea Gibson, the first African-American to win at Wimbledon.
  18. Laura
    • Origin:

      English from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "from Laurentum or bay laurel"
    • Description:

      Laura is a hauntingly evocative perennial, never trendy, never dated, feminine without being fussy, with literary links stretching back to Dante. All this makes Laura a more solid choice than any of its more decorative counterparts and one of the most classic girl names starting with L.
  19. Celia
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "heavenly"
    • Description:

      Celia, splendidly sleek and feminine, is a name that was scattered throughout Shakespeare and other Elizabethan literature, but still manages to feel totally modern.
  20. Ziggy
    • Origin:

      German, diminutive of Siegfried and Sigmund
    • Description:

      The ultimate nicknamey name, à la Ziggy Stardust or the comic-strip character Ziggy. Then again, there's Ziggy Marley, and most anything Marley is cool. Originally named David, his father Bob Marley gave him the nickname "Ziggy" due to the soccer move of the same name.