When a character has an awesome name, it immediately makes them unforgettable. When we learn of their fantastic names, you know that by any other name they would not be anywhere near as cool. The Star Wars universe, for example, is filled with awesome names, and it simply wouldn’t have the same impact if it was filled with Barry, Steve, and John (sorry Barry, Steve and Johns out there). Today we are looking at a few of the coolest character names in movie history, all of which you can’t help but smile at when you hear them mentioned.
12. Ace Ventura
As such a wild, crazy and over-the-top character (a Jim Carrey specialty), there had to be a quirky name to match this character’s personality, and they certainly delivered with Ace Ventura. With such an awesome name you immediately know that he is not going to be boring, and this is absolutely true. A pet detective, Ace Ventura is incredibly eccentric and constantly displays flamboyant and vulgar behavior, and this is also reflected in his appearance with red and black striped trousers, a Hawaiian shirt and bold haircut. However, he is also very good at his job and displays excellent observation and deduction skills. He is also an animal lover (apart from bats) and this makes him a likeable and comical character, however, there is no doubt that if he was a real person he would be incredibly irritating. A great name to match his flamboyant persona.
Sure, Neo is an awesome name and of course an anagram of “one,” but it is Morpheus that has the coolest name. It is not known by all, but Morpheus as actually the ancient Greek god of dreams who appears in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (morphine is also derived from Morpheus). The god of dreams is very fitting for Morpheus, who is the character that explains the real world and dream world to Neo. He also acts as a god by offering him the choice between the two in the iconic blue pill and red pill scene. Creators Lana and Andy Wachowski instructed Lawrence Fishburne to base his performance on the character of Morpheus from Neil Gaiman’s comic book series The Sandman. As essentially a god of dreams in the films, plus some awesome shades, great fighting ability and brilliant lines, Morpheus has it all.
10. Donnie Darko
The perfect name for the character and also the film title, you immediately know that he is not going to be your average guy. This is certainly true, as Donnie Darko is a troubled teenager who suffers from disturbing Doomsday visions and sees a figure called Frank dressed in a gigantic and monstrous rabbit costume. This is just the start of the film, and things only get stranger and more twisted for Donnie Darko in a particularly eerie yet excellent story written and directed by Richard Kelly. This is powered by Jake Gyllenhaal’s breakout performance as the titular character, as he makes him an interesting, strange and likeable character who we find in some incredibly odd circumstances. With such a cool name it also serves as the title for the film, and it is hard to imagine the film or character being called anything else.
9. Vincent Vega
Quentin Tarantino has created some of the greatest fictional characters of modern times, and many of these also have very cool names to match. This includes Beatrix Kiddo, Django Freeman, Hugo Stiglitz and Marsellus Wallace, but perhaps the most awesome name is Vincent Vega from the 1994 classic Pulp Fiction. The alliteration using the letter V makes it a very cool name, and he of course had the personality to match. Portrayed by John Travolta, Vincent Vega is crucial to the plot of the film and forms half of the fantastic hitman duo along with Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson). He is a key part of two of Tarantino’s most iconic scenes—the dance routine with Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman), and when he has to administer an adrenaline shot to her heart. He is charming, funny and very cool, and Vincent Vega is the perfect name for him.
8. Pussy Galore
There are many fantastic Bond girls with brilliant yet slightly ridiculous double entendre names, but none as good as Pussy Galore from 1964’s Goldfinger. It is the most famous Bond girl name and one that is parodied frequently, most notably in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery with the character Alotta Fagina. In Goldfinger, Pussy Galore is played by Honor Blackman and the character is the leader of Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus. This is a group of women aviators who are connected with Goldfinger’s “Operation Grand Slam.” Although she claims to be immune to Bond’s charm, he of course seduces her and turns her against Goldfinger. She also has a terrific character entrance where Bond awakens to find her standing over him, which sees him ask “Who are you?,” to which she replies “My name is Pussy Galore,” where Bond retorts “I must be dreaming.”
7. Freddy Krueger
Just the name alone would make you cross to the other side of the street, as there is something creepy about it which perfectly matches his horrifying appearance. There are many excellent horror villain names out there, but perhaps the most notable are Michael Myers from Halloween, Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series, and Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street films. It is Freddy that edges the others, however, and his name is now synonymous with horror films and particularly the slasher subgenre. Brilliantly voiced by Robert Englund, Freddy has the name, looks and voice of a terrifying character. According to Wes Craven, “Freddy” was a bully who beat him up at school and we can only assume that Krueger was Craven’s own fantastic creation in what is now an iconic, awesome and very creepy name.
6. Dr. Hannibal Lecter
There is no doubt that Hannibal Lecter is one of the great fictional characters and one that has a tremendous impact on the audience. This is partly down to Anthony Hopkins’ iconic and Academy Award-winning portrayal, but everything about the character is inherently creepy yet entirely fascinating and you can’t take your eyes off of him for a second. He is a brilliant psychiatrist but also a cannibalistic serial killer, and this is reflected in his creepy name which perfectly suits his character and demeanor. He is astonishingly intelligent, cultured and well-spoken, yet equally terrifying, intense and cold-blooded. As Clarice Starling says of him in Silence of the Lambs, “They don’t have a name for what he is.” Although an awesome name, you can’t imagine too many parents naming their kid after Hannibal Lecter.
5. Furious Styles
The second appearance by Lawrence Fishburne on this list, this time it is for his character Furious Styles in the John Singleton’s 1991 classic Boyz n the Hood. Having either “furious” or “styles” as any part of your name is cool enough, but pushed together creates one of the most awesome fictional names in film history. With a name like this, you of course have to have the personality to back it up, which he certainly does. Furious Styles is a hard working, intelligent, stern, fair and caring father to Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and is determined to raise him correctly. He imparts plenty of worldly wisdom and is a great father, and as his name implies there is also a healthy amount of rage in him, which stems from living in the hood and a desire for things to change for the better.
4. Cruella De Vil
One of the great Disney villains and one with a fantastic name, Cruella De Vil is a Dodie Smith creation from the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians which Disney adapted in 1961. Her name is essentially the feminized version of the word “cruel” and “devil,” and she certainly is a cruel and evil character that you love to hate. She kidnaps the Dalmatian puppies so that she can use their fur for a coat, and in the film she is manic, wild and unpredictable which adds to the fear. As the song goes, “Cruella De Vil, Cruella De Vil, if she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will.” For the film, they based her personality and mannerisms on actress Tallulah Bankhead. Interestingly, the play on words is slightly different in some translations, with her name in the Polish version being Cruella De Mon (a play on demon).
3. Luke Skywalker
Almost this entire list could be taken up with names from the Star Wars franchise, including Darth Vadar, Han Solo and Obi Wan Kenobi. We have settled for the initial central protagonist however, Luke Skywalker. Not only does Skywalker conjure up all kinds of brilliant imagery, but it also describes the journey that the character undertakes and the mission statement for the films as he most go on adventure across the skies. Interestingly, Skywalker originally was not going to be the character’s name and it was changed to this just a few months prior to production. It was originally going to be Luke Starkiller, but George Lucas changed this as he felt it had unpleasant connotations and many associated “star-killer” with Charles Mason following the 1969 murder of Sharon Tate. Despite the change, actor Mark Hamill frequently refers to the character as Luke Starkiller.
2. Maximus Decimus Meridius
If you were to go into battle, would you want a guy named Tim or Maximus behind you? With an awesome name like Maximus Decimus Meridius, you are always going to end up a warrior and brilliant leader. This is certainly the case in Gladiator, and Maximus remains one of the coolest and most likeable protagonists in modern film history (this is also furthered by Russell Crowe’s astonishing performance). Not only does he have one of the coolest names in film history, but he also delivers one of the all-time great film lines: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
1. Snake Plissken
Everything about Snake Plissken is awesome, and this is one cool character who has the appearance and attitude to match his brilliant name. The antihero from John Carpenter’s Escape from New York and Escape from L.A., just saying his name aloud has a snake-like charm to it, and this is fitting as he has slippery cunning to go along with his sheer strength. He lives by his own rules and will do anything to survive, but he also keeps a cool head under pressure which makes him the ultimate antihero. Complete with an eye patch and black tank top, Snake Plissken is a genius creation by John Carpenter and brilliantly brought to life by Kurt Russell. He is such a cool character, that he was a heavy source of inspiration for the character of Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid franchise.