What are the best movie titles ever?

Killbill_lWhat makes a good original movie title? It should be evocative, but it shouldn’t promise more than the film can deliver. (For instance, Snakes on a Plane, a title so awesome that the movie couldn’t live up to it.) Kill Bill (pictured) has a good title; it’s blunt, tells you what you need to know, and yet it actually undersells the movie, which turns out to be about so much more than the Bride’s quest for revenge. On the other hand, Reservoir Dogs is not a good title; not only does it tell you nothing, but it has no apparent connection to what’s on screen.

What got me thinking about this topic was Spout’s list of the 10 Best Movie Titles of the Last 10 Years. (Which, in turn, was inspired by EW’s own list of fall 2008 Movies with Misleading Titles.) I’m not sure I agree with much of what’s on their list, but I thought it would be fun for us here at PopWatch to come up with a list of the Best Movie Titles Ever. Some ground rules: Titles that already existed (say, in movies adapted from books, plays, or TV shows) don’t count. It has to be a title that was thought up for the movie. Also disqualified: Any movie that borrows its title from a pop song. Except for Pretty in Pink (which pretty much started the trend), no movie that takes its title from a song has ever been any good.

That said, have at it. If your favorite original movie title is Star Wars or Head or The Killing of a Chinese Bookie or Rebel Without a Cause, let us know. And if you have any suggested rules for what makes a good title (or a bad one), feel free to include them.

addCredit(“Uma Thurman: Andrew Cooper”)


Comments (412 total) Add your comment
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  • Chris G

    Um, hello, the best movie title is obviously Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. And the movie ain’t half bad either…

  • NineDaves.com

    how in the world did chris g already take my choice!

  • NineDaves.com

    ah! hit send to quickly. anyway, i was going to offer eternal sunshine of the spotless mind up for consideration. i like it because it’s aloof. it keeps you guessing. and it really reflects the movie’s tone.

  • Dennis N.

    The simple, yet intriguing title perfectly reflects the organic quality of the film.

  • Andrea

    One of my favorite titles is the Manchurian Candidate (it sounds mysterious and creepy, kind of like the movie). I also like Witness (again, kind of mysterious) and Clockwork Orange (very creepy). I tend to dislike titles that are too long or that are too cutesy, but other than that, pretty much anything goes!

  • MK

    I’m not sure this is the exact title, but I stumbled across a movie on imdb onetime called something like “I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her On a Meathook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal with Disney.” I think it was directed by and/or starred Ben Affleck. Or maybe I dreamed the whole thing, I don’t know.

  • Bill Jennings

    “Honey I Shrunk The Kids” is truly great.
    I remember Premiere Magazine once did a whole series of fake sequels to that one. My favorite was “Honey I Shrunk Three Men and a Baby”.

  • Tom S

    Mars Needs Women

  • Catherine

    To Dennis N.: It’s perfect, thanks for reminding me!
    And I know it’s cliche, but I like Casablanca. It’s mysterious, exotic and at the same time romantic.

  • LJ

    Dumb & Dumber — wearing its lack of pretension on its sleeve.

  • Roon

    The first one to leap to mind was cult classic “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.”
    The other was “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” — a title so good, Joss Whedon couldn’t let it go when the original version flopped.

  • Eric Friedmann

    Here are some of my favorite movie TITLES. They are not all necessarily good movies, though, nor have I necessarily even seen them. We’re talking only TITLES here:
    – Dude, Where’s My Car?
    – Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
    – Psycho
    – Blade Runner
    – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    – My Big Fat Greek Wedding
    – Thunderball
    – Halloween
    – Friday the 13th
    – The Exorcist
    – All the President’s Men
    – The Towering Inferno

    • scarlette

      What’s the best movie you have ever seen?

  • Snarf

    Exit Wounds
    Dark Water
    Sordid Lives
    Happy Endings
    Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist

  • Jason

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Duh.

  • Sarah

    The first one that came to my mind was Superbad.

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