What’s in a name, you ask? Research and logic, filmmakers would say! Naming a character in a movie takes a lot of effort and moviemakers make sure that the characters they develop for their films leave a lasting impression on the audiences’ minds; and that these characters are remembered for a very long time. On the contrary, there are certain filmmakers that do not believe in naming their characters so that they intrigue the viewers even more.
From Daniel Craig as a coke dealer codenamed “XXXX” in ‘Layer Cake’ to John Hillcoat’s ‘The Road’, in which lead characters are named “Man”, “Woman”, “Veteran”, “Thief” and “Boy”, directors have purposely tried this trick for giving a new dimension to their films. With that said, here’s the list of ten such films, where characters had no names, yet they made the movie more memorable.
10. He and She: Antichrist
The controversial English-language Danish film, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg in the lead, was the story of a couple, who loses their child, and the father, a psychotherapist, takes charge of treating his grief-stricken wife to bring her back to normalcy. The film was commercially successful in some parts of the world, while the rest found the horror movie quite violent, grotesque and repulsive. The avant-garde film had a chapter-wise narration, and interestingly the lead actors had no names; instead they were called He and She!
9. V: V For Vendetta
The political thriller, which sparked controversies for touching upon some taboo topics, contrarily opened to a positive response from the public. The movie, set in an alternative universe, was based on DC and Vertigo Comics’ titular book and starred Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman and Stephen Rea as protagonists. The film followed the story of a vigilante freedom fighter, who employs terror tactics and incites anarchism among people to bring down the fascist British government. Weaving, who was only seen wearing Guy Fawkes masks throughout the film wasn’t given any specific name and was simply called V!
8. The Girl: The Seven Year Itch
Marilyn Monroe’s iconic photograph in a little white dress blowing due to a passing train underneath, while she stood on a subway grate, happens to be one of her most memorable pictures ever. The scene was shot for her rom-com ‘The Seven Year Itch’, in which she played a model and film actress, who stays in an apartment, one floor above the protagonist’s, who fantasizes being in a relationship with her. Monroe had no name; she was only called The Girl in the film and both the writer and director confessed later that they couldn’t think of a better name for the sex goddess and settled for such a name!
7. Driver: Drive
Received with a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, the 2011 film ‘Drive’, starring Ryan Gosling, was one of the goriest films of the year, yet the action sequences and the cast’s performances were greatly lauded at movie galas. The film narrates the story of a driver, who is a Hollywood stunt double by day and a getaway driver at night, who gets entangled in a heist gone wrong, which leads to loads of other troubles. Gosling, the pretty-faced actor, played a tough character with no name and was plainly addressed as The Driver in the entire movie.
6. Beast: Beauty And The Beast
The animated Disney fairy tale of 1991 tasted success at the box office and the story retold in a live-action format in 2017, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, became the second highest grossing film of the year. But despite a story that we all know by heart, there is one thing, which not many have paid attention to while watching both these films. Belle, who risks her life for her father, is imprisoned by the prince-turned-beast and surprisingly his name is Adam! But in the entire narration and even in story books, he is only referred to as Beast.
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5. The Narrator: Fight Club
The Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter and Jared Leto starrer was not an instant success when it released in 1999, but gained prominence worldwide from word of mouth publicity as audiences loved the treatment given to the film. It depicted an ordinary individual, who in a bid to feel powerful, starts a fight club, where individuals can fight each other for recreation. David Fincher’s nervy and thought-provoking film had superlative performances from the actors but what made a lasting impression was Norton’s character, whose name was The Narrator.
4. M: James Bond Movies
While the world knows him as the stylish and suave secret agent, who loves his martini, his guns and his girls alike, James Bond’s boss is the one, who literally takes him places! The head of the secret service agency MI6, has been portrayed by multiple actors over the years, just like the superspy 007 in his films; but if there’s one actor that stands out for playing this character with finesse, it is Dame Judi Dench, who took over the baton from Robert Brown. Playing a toughie is tough but Dench played it really well. Though the characters have their actual names in films, the head of MI6 still serves under one name and that is M!
3. The Joker: The Dark Knight
The late Heath Ledger, who set such a high benchmark with his portrayal of the antagonist in Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ that he immortalized the character and those that tried to play the same character in different movies, failed miserably at it! The slight lisp, the rasp in the voice and the expressions that Ledger brought out while playing Batman’s arch nemesis won him all the accolades and awards. While some say his real name is Jack Napier, the psychopath with a sadistic sense of humour has no name and is only called The Joker!
2. The Bride: Kill Bill
‘Kill Bill: Volume 1’ and its sequel were slick martial arts movies, which were written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Although the films are now considered QT’s best works, they were too violent and gory for the audiences to watch. The movies were panned by critics for them being too flimsy without a strong script, yet ‘Kill Bill’ remains one of the most popular revenge sagas, where a woman is at the helm of it all. Uma Thurman played the protagonist, who seeks revenge on a gang of assassins for killing her unborn child and their failed attempt at killing her too. The best part of the movie? Thurman had no name. She was just called The Bride!
1. The Man With No Name: Dollars Trilogy
If there is somebody who popularized the spaghetti western genre in Hollywood, it is Sergio Leone and if there is one name that has glorified cowboy movies, it is definitely Clint Eastwood’s. The iconic pair gave three memorable movies together – ‘A Fistful Of Dollars’, ‘For A Few Dollars More’ and ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’ – which are revered the world over and enjoy a cult status even to this day. Eastwood, who rose to international stardom post his appearance in the ‘Dollars Trilogy’, gave a performance of a lifetime and not-so-surprisingly, his name from the film – The Man With No Name – finds the first spot on the list!
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