Trying to Remember Movie Characters’ Names

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. There are some movies I absolutely love, and I’d like to see how many character names I can remember from them without looking them up. These are just all off the top of my head. I’m not sure if I’ll have some deep point to make by doing this, but I’ll try to explain how I managed to remember the names in these 12 films.

Alien

  • Ripley
  • Dallas
  • Ash
  • Kane
  • Brett
  • Parker
  • Lambert
  • Jones
  • Mother

I don’t know what to call the alien itself. I suppose Kane’s son. Alien has some of the most memorable character names of all time. I know them all by heart, as though they’ve been seared into my memory. It helps that they yell each other’s names quite often.

Aliens

  • Ellen Ripley
  • Corporal Dwayne Hicks
  • Rebecca “Newt” Jordan
  • Private Hudson
  • Carter Burke
  • Sargent Apone
  • Lieutenant Gorman
  • Drake
  • Vasquez
  • Frost
  • Wierzbowski
  • Ferro
  • Spunkmeyer
  • Bishop
  • Van Lewen

There are more characters in Aliens than in its predecessor, so it’s a greater challenge to name them all. It helps that nearly all of the character names appear on a computer screen right before they wake up from hypersleep. Probably the only marine I missed is the first one to get grabbed by an alien right after hypothesizing that “they don’t show up on infrared at all.” I know Hudson says her name when he notes that Apone’s and her vital signs are real low, but they’re still alive after the aliens’ initial attack. I just can’t put my finger on what her name is. I probably didn’t spell Van Lewen’s name correctly, but I remember it because Ripley says it so forcefully at the end of her inquiry to stop him.

Back to the Future

  • Marty McFly
  • Doc Brown
  • George McFly
  • Loraine Baines
  • Joey Baines
  • Biff Tannen
  • Principal Strickland
  • Jennifer Parker
  • Einstein
  • Dave McFly
  • Goldie Wilson
  • Lou
  • Red
  • Old Man Peabody

I’m not sure of the names of Loraine’s two friends, her family (except Joey), or Biff’s henchmen, but other than that, I know just about everyone in Back to the Future. I think Marty’s sister is named Wendy, but don’t quote me on that.

Fiddler on the Roof

  • Tevye
  • Golda
  • Tzeitel
  • Motel
  • Hannah
  • Vietka
  • Lazer Wolf

I’m not confident of my spelling of most of these names, but those are my best attempts. I’m kicking myself because I can’t remember Tevye’s second-oldest daughter or her revolutionary suitor. They’re right on the tip of my tongue. Oh, and I don’t know if the matchmaker or the Russian official Tevye always calls “your honor” have names.

The Fugitive

  • Richard Kimble
  • Samuel Gerard
  • Cosmo
  • Newman
  • Fredrick Sykes
  • Charles Nichols
  • Helen Kimble
  • Joel
  • Desmando Jose Luis
  • Clive Drexel

It’s funny, I had a lot of trouble remembering the name of Richard Kimble’s wife. She’s a pivotal character, but I couldn’t picture anyone saying it until I recalled the trial at the start. I believe the prosecutor says, “You will hear a voice from the grave identifying Helen Kimble’s killer.” And then on the rooftop near the climax, Kimble asks Nichols, “Why Helen?” On a happier note, I love the moment Kimble says “Bye-bye, Joel” before saving a young man’s life at the hospital and when Samuel Gerard uncovers Kimble’s fake identity badge and says, “Desmando Jose Luis? Whoa, where you at, Desmando?”

Ghostbusters (1984)

  • Phil Venkman
  • Ray Stantz
  • Egon Spengler
  • Winston Zedmore
  • Dana Barrett
  • Louis Tulley
  • Walter Peck
  • Dean Yeager
  • Gozer
  • Zool
  • Vince Klorman
  • Jeanine
  • Slimer

I’m not confident of my spelling of all these character names, but I’m confident I got close. I can’t remember if the mayor has a name, and I know Slimer is never actually named in the movie. I think he’s referred to in the script as a potato ghost or something like that. But Ghostbusters has left such a deep impression in my mind, I know every character quite well.

The Karate Kid (1984)

  • Daniel LaRusso
  • Miyagi
  • Johnny

What is Elizabeth Shue’s character name in The Karate Kid? I really can’t remember right now. Weird. Nor can I remember Johnny’s evil sensei or any of his fellow bullies. The movie is so focused on a small number of characters, you’d think I’d be able to recall them better.

Mulan (1998)

  • Ping/Mulan
  • Yao
  • Mushu
  • Little Brother
  • Ling
  • Shan Yu
  • Chen Po

I can’t remember the name of Ping’s commanding officer or the emperor’s assistant. It took me a long time to think of the main villain’s name. It came to me when I thought of the scene when two scouts are brought before him and one of them whispers his name in fear after he removes his hood. I’m sure I butchered at least some of the names I did recall.

Predator

  • Dutch
  • Dillon
  • Hawkins
  • Anna
  • Mac
  • Paine
  • Billy

There are only a handful of characters in the original Predator. The only name that escapes me is of the one who tells Jesse “The Body” Ventura, “You’re hit! You’re bleeding, man.” And then the famous follow-up that consists of “I ain’t got time to bleed” and “Okay. You got time to duck?”

RoboCop (1987)

  • Alex Murphy/RoboCop
  • Anne Lewis
  • Dick Jones
  • The Old Man
  • Bob Morton
  • Kenny
  • Johnson
  • Clarence Boddicker
  • Leon Nash
  • Emil
  • Bobby
  • Sal

It’s embarrassing that I can’t recall all of Clarence Boddicker’s known accomplices because they’re great characters. The guy with the crazy laugh and the Asian guy are just outside my grasp. I remember one of them saying Emil’s name and when RoboCop tracks down Leon Nash at a dance club. Even though Bobby only appears briefly, he gets a legendary sendoff: “Can you fly, Bobby?”

Rudy

  • Daniel “Rudy” Ruttiger
  • Pete

The names of just about everyone except the main character and his older brother in Rudy elude me. What are the names of Rudy’s tutor, the priest who gives him a chance at Holy Cross, any of the coaches he trains under, his best friend who dies at the start, and the girls in his life? I think after the bar fight, Rudy’s father says, “Pete, good!” referring to Rudy’s brother. And the girl Rudy meets at the start of his college career might be named Mary because at a bar Rudy drunkenly tells her, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, what makes your garden grow?” But that might have just been a joke.

Three Amigos

  • Dusty Bottoms
  • Ned Needlander
  • Lucky
  • El Guapo
  • Jefe

I don’t remember Lucky’s last name or how to spell Ned’s, but at least I know which actor plays each one of the three amigos. The “plethora” scene cemented the names of the two big baddies in my mind, but I am unable to remember the names of the Germans or Lucky’s love interest.

What’s in a Name?

Some movies do an incredible job drilling their characters’ names into my brain. I think it’s a combination of them doing memorable things, saying each other’s names fairly often without getting repetitive, and being worthy of remembrance. I’m sure you can correct me on my spelling and forgetfulness in many instances above. Feel free to share your thoughts and what movie character names you remember the most.

This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.

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About Robert Lockard, the Deja Reviewer

Robert Lockard has been a lover of writing since he was very young. He studied public relations in college, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 2006. His skills and knowledge have helped him to become a sought-after copywriter in the business world. He has written blogs, articles, and Web content on subjects such as real estate, online marketing and inventory management. His talent for making even boring topics interesting to read about has come in handy. But what he really loves to write about is movies. His favorite movies include: Fiddler on the Roof, Superman: The Movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Back to the Future, Beauty and the Beast, The Fugitive, The Incredibles, and The Dark Knight. Check out his website: Deja Reviewer. Robert lives in Utah with his wife and four children. He loves running, biking, reading, and watching movies with his family.
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4 Responses to Trying to Remember Movie Characters’ Names

  1. Nathan says:

    You remembered 95% more names that I would be able to list off from these flicks, but I did remember the name of the mayor from Ghostbusters:
    “If we’re wrong, then nothing happens! We go to jail; peacefully, quietly. We’ll enjoy it! But if we’re right, and we can stop this thing… *Lenny*, you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good for you. I forget the names so quickly, to protect the guilty, I guess. I know nothing. I see nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

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