(More Than) A Handful Of… Nameless Lead Characters In Movies

As a writer, one of the first things you do when starting a new story is come up with… a title.  Well not really, because that can happen last.  Actually, you come up with a narrative idea first, then the lead character’s name next.  One hopes to conjure up a moniker that would match what the imaginary protagonist would be like (if you’re a good writer).  Bella Swan?  Really?

Anywhoisthat, here are some of the more notable exceptions to the naming game.  I present to you (More Than) A Handful Of Nameless Lead Characters In Movies:

  • TOTALLY NAMELESS

The protagonists in these films don’t have a hint of a name.  The film credits don’t even give a clue.  Well, if you don’t count Nada, Doctor, Doctor’s Wife, Guy, Girl, XXXX, Man, Boy, and the second Mrs. de Winter as clues.

They Live - Blindness - Once - Layer Cake - The Road - Rebecca

  • NICKNAMED NAMELESS

Everyone in this group is referred to by a name other than their own.  Or at least we’re lead to assume this.  Even though the lead character is called Smith, Columbus, Wichita, Little Rock, Tallahassee, Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink, Mr. White, Mr. Brown, Mr. Blue, Mr. Blonde, The Man With No Name, or El Mariachi, we never learn their real names.

Except for Wichita (Krista), Mr. Orange (Freddy Newandyke), Mr. White (Larry Dimmick), Mr. Blonde (Vic Vega), or The Man With No Name (Joe in A Fistful of Dollars, Monco in For a Few Dollars More, and Blondie in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly) that is.

Shoot 'Em Up - Zombieland - Reservoir Dogs - The Man With No Name Trilogy - Desperado

  • EVENTUALLY/ MAYBE/ KINDA NAMED NAMELESS

Sure, ten of the twelve jurors may happen to reveal their real names by the end of the film, Bill Paxton might be called “Dad” or “Mr. Meiks” throughout, Tyler Durden could actually be The Narrator’s name, and D-FENS is found out to be William Foster, but these movies are super bad-ass despite any ambiguity about the leads’ true identities.

12 Angry Men - Frailty - Fight Club - Falling Down

Oh, and one more thing.  His character is named Nameless:

Hero

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One comment

  1. Jeremy H · August 25, 2010

    In ‘They Live’ his name is George Nada, I had to look it up but in the alley fight scene his ‘friend turned foe turned friend, again’ calls him ‘George’. It has been years since I’ve seen the movie but I can remember that.

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