Film-spiration for Baby Names
From classic to trendy, there’s a style of name for everyone. And if you're a huge film buff that wants to pay tribute to the industry, here's a list of movies with popular names already in the title.
You just might find the perfect one for your little star.
“Cool Hand Luke”
This 1967 classic film stars a young Paul Newman who plays Lucas "Luke" Jackson, who’s sentenced to a Florida prison but refuses to conform to the system. The movie shot Newman to stardom and solidified his place in Hollywood, earning him an Academy Award nomination for best actor.
The name Luke broke into the top 50 most popular names in 2001 and has been steadily climbing up the list, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). In 2017, the name was the 30th most popular name for boys.
“(500) Days of Summer”
In this dramedy about heartbreak and life thereafter, Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a hopeless romantic who is suddenly dumped by his girlfriend, Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Throughout the film, he daydreams about their 500-day relationship and unexpectedly goes on a journey of self-reflection.
The name Summer was most popular in 2005, when it ranked No. 140 on the SSA’s list. Since then, it's seen a steady decline. In 2017, it was ranked at No. 219.
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
In this fantasy-romance, Benjamin Button, played by Brad Pitt, is a man who was born old and ages backwards. The audience follows his life as he experiences getting younger while those around him, including a woman he loves, gets older. The movie has unexpectedly become a verb to compliment maturing adults, as in, “Wow, you look great! You’re Benjamin-Buttoning!”
Benjamin has consistently ranked in the top 100 most popular names since the 1960s and has recently spiked in popularity, sitting securely in the sixth-place spot for the past two years.
“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”
Stella, played by Angela Bassett, is a successful stockbroker living in California. Her career is soaring, but her love life is dismal. She and her best friend go on vacation to Jamaica, where Stella has a fling with a man who’s 20 years younger than her and revives a part of her soul that’s been neglected for way too long.
The name Stella was somewhat popular in the early 1900s before it went dormant. In 1985, it was ranked 995th, but the name is making a comeback — just like our heroine perhaps? In 2017, it saw its highest spot on the list since 1900, coming in at 42nd.
It’s the near future, and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman in what Roger Ebert calls “a fantastic performance”) is nearing his final days. He’s working as a chauffeur and taking care of a sick and elderly Professor X. And there hasn’t been a mutant birth in more than 20 years — or so he thinks.
The name Logan has been steadily growing in popularity since the turn of the century. In 2016, it was ranked as the 18th most popular name, and in 2017, it jumped to fifth place.
“Julie & Julia”
Modern-day New Yorker Julie (Amy Adams) feels uninspired in her life and career, so she decides to challenge herself to cook through Julia Child’s iconic cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and blog about it. Weaved through her story is that of Julia Child’s (played by Meryl Streep) time in France and her journey to create the cookbook.
"Julie" was a popular name in the 1960s and ’70s, consistently breaking into the top 20. The name, however, has seen a decline in popularity since the 1980s and was ranked 518th in 2017. However, "Julia" is experiencing the opposite and has stayed in the top 100 names since 1980.
This biopic about the gun-slinging Western lawman stars Kevin Costner in the title role. The film is set in the late 1800s, during an era when he and his crew band together to take out gangs and protect their town and families at all costs.
Up until recently, “Wyatt” has ranked pretty low on the list of popular names since 1900. In fact, it stayed near the bottom, ranking anywhere from 600 to 950 until it broke into the top 100 in 2004. Since then, it’s been increasing in popularity and was ranked 25th in 2017.
In this whimsical romance, Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tatou) is a shy, quiet waitress living in Paris. She fantasizes about connecting with people but has trouble doing so in real life. She plots small acts of revenge and kindness to those around her and unexpectedly falls in love while doing so.
“Amélie” is the French variant of the name “Amelia,” which has gained traction in the last five years. The name broke into the top 100 in 2004 and made its way into the top 10 in 2017, coming in as the eighth most popular name that year.
Jack Reacher (played by Tom Cruise) is a former U.S. Army major who travels the country taking on odd, highly dangerous jobs chasing down the bad guys. His tactics are non-traditional, but that’s how he gets the job done. So far there have been two “Jack Reacher” films, based off Lee Child’s best-selling crime thriller novels. There’s rumor for a third installment, but it has yet to be confirmed.
You can’t go wrong with a classic name like Jack. For nearly half a century, “Jack” has been listed in the top 50 most popular names for a boy. It was the most popular name in 1930, coming in at No. 14. The trend died down in the 1970s and 1980s, but started to pick back up again in the late ’90s.
In this film based on Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy children’s novella of the same name, Coraline is an adventurous 11-year-old girl who goes through a secret door in her new home to discover a parallel universe that feels eerily different than her real home.
While "Coraline" isn't a popular name (its highest rank was in 2015, coming in at 578), it's a combination of two popular names. "Cora," the most popular girl name in 1900, had pretty much fallen off the charts until breaking into the top 100 a few years ago, and it has slowly been inching its way up the list. "Caroline" has always been popular, but it wasn't until 2017 when the name saw more use than ever before, ranking No. 55.
“Oliver!” is a 1968 film adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the classic Charles Dickens novel about an orphan boy who runs away and joins a group of young pickpocketing bandits in the streets of London.
It’s hard to believe that in 2007, “Oliver” was ranked 140th most popular name because in 2017, it was the ninth most popular name for a boy. Clearly, it is here to stay.
“Alice in Wonderland”
In this film loosely based on Lewis Carroll's fantasy novels, Alice is a young girl who follows a white rabbit down a hole and uncovers a thrilling world filled with wonder and fantasy. Along the way, she befriends the Mad Hatter (played by Johnny Depp) and the Cheshire Cat, among others.
“Alice” ranked eighth in popularity in 1906. The name was dormant for the past 50-plus years but has slowly been making a comeback, breaking into the top 100 most popular girl names in 2014.
In a dystopian future, the world is overrun by biker gangs and struck with famine, war and chaos. Enter Max, a patrol officer with a personal vendetta against the gangs, who will stop at nothing for vengeance. The first “Mad Max” trilogy came out between 1979 and 1985, starring Mel Gibson. The fourth film, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” was released in 2015 and starred Tom Hardy as the main character.
The name "Max" saw its highest level of popularity in 2011, breaking into the top 100 in the 96th spot. The last time it did that was in 1914!
Penelope Wilhern (Christina Ricci) was born with an unusual condition: She has the snout of a pig. Her mother has tried to protect her by keeping her inside and shielding her from society. Penelope believes her “curse” will be broken if she marries someone who can look past her appearance. One night, she decides to leave her home — and you guessed it, adventure ensues.
“Penelope” has recently shot up on the baby name list, going from the 125th spot in 2012 to the 24th in 2017. Could the surge in this name’s popularity be linked to the birth of Kourtney Kardashian’s daughter, Penelope, in 2012? Umm ... probably.
“The Young Victoria”
Eighteen-year-old Victoria (Emily Blunt) has just succeeded the throne to become the Queen of England. During this time, she becomes a pawn in her family’s power struggle to gain control of her so they can control the nation. Meanwhile, she finds an ally in Albert, who she eventually marries.
"Victoria" has been a top 30 name since 1991. It saw the most traffic in 1999, when it was ranked the 16th most popular name that year.
Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, the character of Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a charming socialite who delights in meddling and matchmaking. It’s all fun and games until hearts are on the line and emotions get blurred, potentially ruining her chance at love and happiness.
"Emma" is a strong and solid name. It's been the No. 1. most popular name for girls since 2014 and has been in the top five since 2002. The name hasn't seen this kind of popularity since 1900, when it was the 14th most popular name for a girl.