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alisa kwitney

Ironically, my least favorite title for a great series is...Firefly. Even though I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, I somehow overlooked his shortlived SF Western, in part because the name said nothing to me (unlike the ineffable "Buffy the Vampire Slayer.")


I'm with Josh Friedman in loving Snakes On A Plane it says so much about the campiness that I expect from this movie.

From Dusk Till Dawn

Kill Bill

One Fine Day

Mad Hot Ballroom


8 Mile


I could go on and on


I like alliteration: Marathon Man

But sometimes it sucks: Captain Corelli's Mandolin (you're right about the K sounds)


Alisa: ditto, totally, on Firefly...

GlassBC: From Dusk Till Dawn is a beauty (and fits my loved-the-title, not-the-movie category)...

Welcome HuckleCat: hey, yeah, alliteration! which could explain some of the appeal of Dusk Till Dawn...


First 12 favourites that come to mind (regardless of whether or not I love the film):

Truly, Madly, Deeply
Life as a House
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Hours
Hope Floats
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
It's All Gone Pete Tong
Crimes and Misdemeanors
To Kill a Mockingbird
While You Were Sleeping

I apparently dig full phrases...

Most hated titles? Those pulled from familiar songs, words I don't know (I love Matewan but the question of how to pronounce it bugged me), and the "Adjective Noun" formula, aka Blanking Blank. Chasing Amy's fine, but I'm tired of Choosing Somebody and Kissing Somebody and Losing Somebody, etc.


While I am not a professional writer, I do believe we all have a screenplay in us. I have my title - actually titles - as I have a trilogy, but no screenplay yet. I'm sort of a backwards person. I am yes.


Some titles that just sing for me:

Fear Eats The Soul
Vivement Dimanche
Body Heat
I Know Where I'm Going
The Big Combo
The Long Goodbye
In A Lonely Place
Maniac Cop
Out Of The Past
Ride The High Country


It's interesting you should bring this up because I have no title for the rewrite. Agent and I talked about it for a while on the phone, didn't come up with anything, were sure I would come up with something... I haven't.

Maybe these resources will help.

The Way of the Gun
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
(and the remake Snatch)
Panic In The Year Zero
The Big Sleep


I would avoid titles based on a song title -- unless it is a movie about the music industry. Although there are some exceptions (American Pie), most of the time, it's a sign that the movie is going to bomb.


Jennica: ditto to Truly and Crimes, both faves. And I'm glad you raised this issue of what we could call Passive Adj/Noun titles -- I was going to devote a paragraph to same (Being John Malkovich, et al) and how they suck, except... the title of my own novel is... Making Up (which I don't totally love but works on SO MANY LEVELS that I'm stuck with it, for now) -- so I couldn't wax hypocritical...

Brooke: you believe I. Love that you've got a trilogy and nothing on the page! Most curious to hear the titles -- would you be willing to share one?

Grieg, those are many of my faves, e.g. In a Lonely Place!!! How wonderful is that?

JJ, yes, go see Steven. Who KNOWS what will get triggered (The Big Sleep is one of the greats, along with The Long Goodbye; Chandler had a knack for these).

Neil: yeah, that generally seems to be true (e.g. Bird on a Wire, etc.), though interestingly, film titles have yielded great songs (see Thunder Road, etc.).


Thank you for the post! Most of my titles start with letter "F". What kind of writer who rarely using F-words titles all her stories with F-words? Point? Thank you for the post.


Not a big "tittle" guy. Always believed the "story" made the movie, not the cleaverness of a maketing gimic. Titles can promice and fail to deliver. Titles can lie. I've always thought in terms of moives that moved me at varrious times in my life.

The Road Warrior
Forrest Gump
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Saving Private Ryan
The Patriot
How To Loose a Guy in 10 Days
13 Going on 30

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA


Well, right about now my favorite movie title is Poultrygeist, but I'm strange. Keeping the whole strange thing in mind, here's the rest of my list.

Serial Mom

The Howling

(so perfectly pretentious)

Household Saints

It Happens Every Spring

(a title I like so much that I quite unconsciously stole it for one of my own scripts without realizing it was already a movie title -- what are the odds??)

Angels with Dirty Faces

Dead Again


The Day the Earth Stood Still



Cabin Fever


MaryAn, clearly you are effen' repressed... Calling Dr. F...

E.C.: You gotta admit that The Road Warrior's a cool title, though.

Kristen: Dead Again another of the greats, and I've always had a soft spot for The Day...



I beg to differ with you on "I Eat Your Flesh." Something about those words gets me excited.

A couple of title that come to mind as great ones:


At Play In the Fields of the Lord


Kristen: "Poulrtygeist" Girl, you're not strange. We're on the save wavelengh -- I love that title too. Suggests a "B" grade picture. Am I right? Did you see the movie. What was it about?

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA


Poultrygeist is currently in Troma's post-production pipeline. So yeah, highly b-movie.

It's, quite *IMprobably*, about zombie chickens. So really, the title has nothing to do with the actual monster deployed in the film. Ah well. Still a rockin' title.


Dean, re: Flesh, I confess I had a similar thought even as I nay-sayed it. Alien rocks.

Bill Sebring

Weird--I'm writing a piece on text in the movies, including titles (and subtitles, and even stretching to include the "Hollywood" sign). Thanks for the pointer to the every-film-title-set-to-a-bad-techno-soundtrack: that's gotta be good for a line or two somewhere.



I am a minimalist.
The titles I like are one word or even one letter:

Q (nice letter, bad movie)

Even this was kind of cool (but terrible film):


I like the impact and elegance of one-word titles:


But then I get a kick out of breaking my own rules and going totally polysyllabic:

The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

And the Alliteration Award goes to:

Debbie Does Dallas

Not everyone has seen it, but everybody knows that title.


And how could I forget?:



Bill: GMTA (Great Minds Think Alike) and, always happy to be of service.

Welcome FlimFlamFF! Great list. I'm a fan of minimals, too (BTW, there's a great photo capture of the "M" title card on Steven's site). Metropolis is a longtime fave... and of course! Unbearable Lightness...


Could easily spend far too long at my desk thinking about this instead of working, so will just give you the one that springs to mind first:


What a great film name. Even if it does also lead to you having Duran Duran stuck in your head for the next 3 days!


Welcome Randomkiwi! (Nice name)
Notorious is one of my favorite movies and a perfect (classic, classy) title.

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