Baby Names

50+ Baby Names Inspired by Classic Movies for Your Little Star or Starlet

Graphics by: Anna Wissler
Graphics by: Anna Wissler

Old Hollywood can be a great source of inspiration for baby names. If you associate a particular movie with cherished childhood memories, naming your child after a character or actor from the film could be a sweet way to remember them. Maybe you always watched It’s a Wonderful Life during the holidays or sang tunes from The Sound of Music with your grandparents. Maybe you grew to love a film or star on your own. Perhaps, you just love the elegance of names from the golden age of cinema.

Whatever your reason, classic movies have many baby name options to choose from. Between the many glamorous stars and the memorable characters they play, the options are nearly endless. Read on for a few of our favorites.

Classic Movie Baby Names for Girls


Origin: Spanish | Meaning: Grace

Fans of West Side Story could take inspiration from the character of Anita. The character was played flawlessly by Rita Moreno in the 1961 version of the film and by Ariana DeBose in the 2021 remake.


Origin: British | Meaning: Noble Strength

You can’t get more classic than Audrey Hepburn, star of Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, among several others.


Origin: Latin | Meaning: Bird

Ava is brought to our list thanks to the legendary starlet Ava Gardner. Gardner starred in Show Boat, The Barefoot Contessa, and many other hit films.


Origin: Hebrew | Meaning: God’s Promise

One of the main reasons to look to Old Hollywood for baby name inspiration is all of the classic names. One of our favorites is this uncommon option inspired by actress Bette Davis.


Origin: French | Meaning: Enclosure

An old-fashioned name to be sure, Claudette Colbert is known for staring in some stunning roles, such as Cleopatra and It Happened One Night.


Origin: Hebrew | Meaning: Bee

Moms who were once ’90s babies may know her more as Marnie Piper’s witchy grandma in Halloweentown, but Debbie Reynolds has been gracing our televisions much longer. One of the most well known films from her early days (and one of our favorites) will leave you singin’ in the rain.


Origin: English, Greek | Meaning: Gift of God

Dorothy pays homage to the adventurous, pure-hearted hero of The Wizard of Oz. This movie somehow still feels magical and relevant despite being more than 80 years old.


Origin: Hebrew | Meaning: God is Satisfaction, Joyful

Eliza from the 1964 film My Fair Lady was a charming character. This “joyful” name is the shortened form of Elizabeth.


Origin: Persian | Meaning: Star

Esther appears in the Old Testament and means “star.” It was also the name of the character played by Judy Garland in the 1944 Christmas musical Meet Me in St. Louis.


Origin: Greek | Meaning: Farmer

More known for her dance moves but also some notable film roles—like that of “Miss Torso” in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film Rear Window—is Georgine Darcy. We love this unique spin on the more common Georgina and the feminine version of George.


Origin: Filipino, English | Meaning: Golden

Brought to our list by a love triangle for the ages, Gilda was played by the incomparable Rita Hayworth. It would be tough to find a name more perfect to honor the “golden” age of Hollywood than this one.


Origin: Welsh | Meaning: Fair

Imagine a child’s delight when she learns that the glittering “good witch” from The Wizard of Oz shares her name.


Origin: Latin | Meaning: Favor

Grace Kelly epitomized old glamour, starring in a number of Hitchock films and other mid-century hits.

classic movie baby names
Source: @adkphoto


Origin: British | Meaning: The Holly Tree

This sweet name with a nod to Christmas is brought to our list by the complicated but iconic character, Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Origin: German, Spanish, Dutch | Meaning: God’s Promise

Ilsa is inspired by the tragic heroine of the 1942 film Casablanca, often referred to as one of the greatest romance movies ever made.


Origin: Greek | Meaning: Pure

As far as timeless names go, Katharine truly never goes out of style. This inclusion is brought to us by another well-known Hepburn who starred in The Philadelphia Story, Katharine Hepburn.


Origin: Slavic | Meaning: Shining, Light, Blessed

A list of baby names inspired by classic movies would be incomplete without The Postman Always Rings Twice actress, Lana Turner. Not to mention, her character’s title, Cora, also makes for great baby name consideration.


Origin: Hebrew, Greek, Hindi, Hawaiian | Meaning: Heavenly Flowers

With her commanding confidence, Princess Leia from Star Wars makes a very cool namesake for a modern girl.


Origin: British, Hebrew, Norwegian | Meaning: Torch, Ray of Light, Tower

Lena is historically used as a nickname for many different names, including Helen, Alina, and Magdalena. It’s also one of the characters from the seminal play and 1961 film, A Raisin in the Sun.


Origin: German | Meaning: Enchantress

This unique name is inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s character, Lorelei Lee, from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.


Origin: French | Meaning: Light

While most well known for her work on her television series, I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball also graced the big screen more than once.


Origin: British | Meaning: Mae

More commonly seen as a middle name option, this short but sweet title is brought to our list by leading lady Mae West.


Origin: Latin | Meaning: Star of the Sea, Beloved

Maria, which has long been one of the most popular names in Latin America, pays homage to two beloved classics: The Sound of Music and West Side Story.


Origin: Welsh, Arabic | Meaning: Patience

This lovely name references the 1954 film, Sabrina, starring Audrey Hepburn. (However, no one has to know if you’re low-key more familiar with the ’90s sitcom Sabrina The Teenage Witch.)


Origin: Greek | Meaning: Manifestation of God

Whether you prefer being inspired by classic movies or a staple in the jewelry game, Tiffany is a must to consider. This name is, of course, brought to our list by one of Audrey Hepburn’s many shining roles as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Origin: Latin, French | Meaning: Lively

The name Vivien, which means “lively,” is shared by British actress Vivien Leigh. She’s known for her roles in Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire.


Origin: Czech, Yiddish | Meaning: Lily, Sweet

There’s something fun and unexpected about names that start with “Z,” and Zuzu Bailey, a character in the 1946 Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, is no exception.

Classic Movie Baby Names for Boys


Origin: British | Meaning: Elf

The brains behind many of our of favorite Golden Age films is Alfred Hitchcock. A little one with this historical name is sure to make a name for himself, too.


Origin: Portuguese | Meaning: Strong as a Bear

The name of the smooth leader of the Sharks in West Side Story, Bernardo, means “strong as a bear.” (If nothing else, it’d be a fun excuse for a teddy-bear-themed nursery).


Origin: English | Meaning: Scribe, Clerk

The name Clark may bring to mind “The King of Hollywood,” Clark Gable. And, for fans of The Postal Service, the song is named after the actor.


Origin: English | Meaning: Barrel Maker

Gary Cooper is a two-time Best Actor Oscar winner and his occupational surname meaning “barrel maker” is an adorable choice for your very own award-winning guy.


Origin: English | Meaning: Valley

Dean, which means “valley,” nods to James Dean, star of Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, and many other classics. For a little one that’s sure to be the coolest kid in school, consider giving him this name that will forever feel edgy.


Origin: English, Irish | Meaning: Chief, Noble

Don, the name of one of the characters in the delightful 1952 musical Singin’ in the Rain, means “chief” or “noble.”


Origin: Old English | Meaning: Shallow Body of Water

For an unexpected choice, you could name your child Ford, inspired by Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy, as well as Harrison Ford of Indiana Jones and Star Wars fame.


Origin: German | Meaning: Peace

This name is shared by Fred Astaire, widely considered one of the greatest American dancers in history.


Origin: Greek | Meaning: Farmer, Earth Worker

George Bailey, the endearing, self-sacrificing protagonist of the holiday tearjerker, It’s a Wonderful Life, would make a meaningful namesake.

classic movie baby names
Source: @strollergang


Origin: Scottish | Meaning: Green River

Nominated for Best Supporting Actor once upon a time was Eddie Albert for his role as the photographer, Irving Radovich, in Roman Holiday. Though old-school, the name is as classic as it is noble.


Origin: English, Latin, Greek | Meaning: Light-giving

While Luke is a very old, Biblical name, it’s now inextricable from the humble hero of the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke Skywalker.


Origin: American | Meaning: Falcon

We’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse with this baby name option! This name pays tribute to Marlon Brando Jr., who appeared in dozens of influential films during his long career, including The Godfather, Julius Caesar, and A Streetcar Named Desire.


Origin: French, Latin | Meaning: Bear Cub

A name that’s all but forgotten, Orson is a classic name ready for a revival. It’s inspired by the actor who brought us Citizen Kane, Orson Wells.


Origin: Hebrew | Meaning: God has Heard

Samuel “Sammy” Davis Jr. was groundbreaking as a Black performer at a time when Hollywood was still highly segregated. The inspiring namesake started his career in vaudeville at the age of three—not to put any performing pressure on your little guy!


Origin: English, Scottish, Gaelic | Meaning: Steward

Inspired by actor Jimmy Stewart, a little one with this title is sure to be a star, as his namesake was in several of the most well-known classic Hollywood movies. A few of our favorites are It’s a Wonderful Life and Rear Window, just to name a few.


Origin: English, Old French | Meaning: Lathe

Hollywood starlet Lana Turner played some incomparable roles, like Lora Meredith in Imitation of Life and Cora Smith in The Postman Always Rings Twice. We love this surname turned first name that’s perfect for a little boy.


Origin: Latin | Meaning: Winner, Conqueror

The name of one of the love interests in Casablanca, Victor, means “winner” or “conqueror.”


Origins: German | Meaning: Commander of the Army

Cary Grant made a name for himself with each and every role he took on. A favorite may be the male protagonist in His Girl Friday, Walter Burns.

Gender-Neutral Baby Names Inspired by Classic Films


Origin: Welsh | Meaning: Pure

Before we all associated the name “Carrie” with Sex and the City or the ’70s horror film, it was famously the name of actor Cary Grant. He starred in many movies, including four Hitchcock films. (Fun fact, his original name was Archibald!)


Origin: Greek | Meaning: Wellborn, Noble

Fans of Singin’ in the Rain and the 1915 film, An American in Paris, might associate the name Gene—a nickname for Eugene—with classic Hollywood star Gene Kelly.


Origin: English | Meaning: Son of Hudd

A prominent member of the Golden Age of Hollywood is none other than Rock Hudson. We love this out-of-the-box baby name for either a little boy or girl.


Origin: Irish | Meaning: War

Speaking of Gene Kelly, there is also great baby name potential from his surname as well.

classic film baby names
Source: @rcitystyle


Origin: Scottish and Irish Gaelic | Meaning: Mouth of the River Roe

While Marilyn Monroe epitomized the mid-century starlet, her last name on its own is growing in popularity as an unexpected and sophisticated name for a boy or girl.


Origin: Middle English | Meaning: Northern

We may have Kim Kardashian and Kanye West to thank for putting this baby name on the map. But in this case, we were inspired to include this unique baby name because of the 1959 thriller, North by Northwest.


Origin: English | Meaning: Bright, Shining, Famous

With a meaning like “famous,” that was nearly enough to land this gender-neutral name a spot on our list. Not to mention, there are more than two dozen adaptations of the Robin Hood story spanning from the early 20th century to today. Its significance bridges generations.


Origin: British | Meaning: Wide Island

Your boy or girl could share a name inspired by legendary actor Sidney Poitier of such influential movies as A Raisin in the Sun and Look Who’s Coming to Dinner.


Origin: French | Meaning: Tailor

An occupational title brought to our list by the talented and gorgeous star Elizabeth Taylor.

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