What Makes a Great Movie Title?

10 Oct

The title for my current feature film script is not jumping out at me.  

Titles often come to me during the script writing process, as I write a word or phrase, but not this time!

What do you think?  What makes a movie title great?  Blah?  What are some of your favorites and why?  Do you like it when the title “makes sense” by the end of the film, or when it remains ambiguous?  Do you think a title should give an idea of what the film is about or should it be abstract?

I really want to know what you think and please share this post with others so they can chime in too…



8 Responses to “What Makes a Great Movie Title?”

  1. coastalcrone October 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    I love movie titles with a twist or connection. When I start to write a story or post for my blog, I usually start with a title and work from there. Good luck on your title!

    • Christopher October 24, 2012 at 8:31 am #

      wow, starting with a title, huh? Incredible. That makes a lot of sense, though, kind of like starting with an image, mood, or color! Thank you for the reply :)

  2. Ben October 10, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    I think that it depends on the film. I like a overly simple straightforward obvious title for a blockbuster like “Star Wars”, but more subtle title that makes you think for a more reflective film like “Shawshank Redemption”, for a comedy maybe an awkward more obvious title again like “When Harry Met Sally”.

    • Christopher October 11, 2012 at 7:21 am #

      Great point, Ben – it really should depend on the film. The title ought to reflect the overall style, mood, feel, and genre, huh? I like your examples and I can’t imagine STAR WARS being called something more ambiguous, like INTO THE DARK – LOL

      My film will have a somewhat artsy feel to it, so I’d like the title to reflect that a bit…

  3. Andrew Lovgren October 10, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    I needs to have something that makes me wonder what goes on. Trailers give away the plot. Titles give away the theme. Something memorable that makes me wonder what’s beneath.

    i.e. Silver Linings Playbook

    • Christopher October 11, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      I have a BIG PROBLEM with most trailers, Andrew. Like you said, they often give away too much plot. It really is annoying sometimes and rather embarrassing. But, yeah, something memorable that makes one wonder – that’s good! Thanks!!!!

      • Andrew Lovgren October 11, 2012 at 7:22 am #

        I.e. the misleading The Grey trailer and the ultra-revealing Dream House trailer.

        I purposefully go to movies late to avoid trailers anymore, but titles can make all the difference. (i.e. Mars Needs Moms)

      • Christopher October 11, 2012 at 7:33 am #

        That’s hilarious, Andrew! I go late too! LOL And I don’t watch trailers online. My favorite misleading is NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – it was bloody and downright immoral, so I avoided the film; however, it ended up being one of my favorites.

        Then, for revealing, there is JOHN Q, with Denzel Washington: the trailer literally goes through the entire plot chronologically until the very end, when Denzel is in the crosshairs of a rifle scope. I remember turning to my wife in the theatre and saying: “I’m not going to pay ten bucks to see if they pull the trigger, which they won’t, since its Denzel Washington!” LOL

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