Treva is a pop culture fan who has been writing about the entertainment world for over a decade.
It's hard to say exactly what it is that makes a movie character's name great, but you know a good one when you hear it. Sometimes it can be an excellent use of alliteration, and sometimes a character just has a name that seems to perfectly encapsulate who they are; the right moniker can immediately make you view a character as being malicious or courageous, or maybe even a bit mad.
Great movie character names can be funny or foreboding, and of course it always helps if they're unique. Here, I'm counting down 50 of the best female movie characters of all time, from the sexy to the sinister and everything in between.
1. Maleficent from 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'Maleficent'
This dark fairy is both malefic and magnificent, so it's fitting that her name is a combination of these two words. I'm of the opinion that Disney always does a better job with its villains than its princesses, and it will be hard for any filmmaker to ever top the moniker that was chosen for this formidable force of nature.
Disney fans can debate over whether the animated version of the fairy tale character or Angelina Jolie's flesh-and-blood Maleficent is better, but they'll all agree that her name is perfection.
2. Vermithrax Pejorative from 'Dragonslayer'
If Maleficent had a BFF while she was in her dragon form, it would be this dark Disney creation. Vermithrax is a female dragon who just wants to help her babies survive by letting them feast on the dead bodies of the virgin sacrifices provided by the king of a terrified kingdom. Obviously, he's no Targaryen.
Speaking of Game of Thrones, author George R.R. Martin once said that Vermithrax Perjorative "is the best dragon ever put on film" and that she also "has the coolest dragon name." You can't argue with the expert on naming dragons, even if he does borrow their monikers from deceased humans.
3. Trinity from 'The Matrix' Movies
Something about this short moniker that you don't hear everyday just works for the surreal futuristic world of The Matrix. Carrie Anne Moss is certainly the trinity of awesome: she's intelligent; she can dodge bullets with mind-bending moves; and she looks incredible in black leather.
4. Satanico Pandemnoium from 'Dusk till Dawn'
All you have to do is listen to the first two syllables of this exotic dancer's name to know that she's nothing but trouble.
Salma Hayek's seductive performance, complete with a scaly living accessory, might be one of the sexiest that the silver screen has ever seen, but her scantily-clad character's beauty belies her true nature as a bloodthirsty beast. You've got to love how the second part of the snake charmer's name accurately describes what happens after she bares her fangs.
5. Lola Lola from 'The Blue Angel'
This cabaret girl's name is so nice that she used it twice. When actresses like Salma Hayek are looking for inspiration to portray enticing exotic dancers, they might want to take lessons from Marlene Dietrich's magnetic Lola Lola.
6. Cruella De Vil from '101 Dalmatians'
Next to Maleficent, this is definitely Disney's best villain name. It warns you that the woman who wears the moniker like an expensive fur coat is cruel enough to kill puppies, and her posh surname let's you know that she's wealthy enough to buy dalmatians by the bucketfuls.
Cruella is such a fearsome creature that she even has her own theme song. To quote Roger, "If she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will."
7. Buffy Summers from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
All the best female movie character names don't belong to villains. Satanico Pandemonium would have been in real trouble if she'd opened up her club in this Valley Girl vampire slayer's town. Buffy's unusual name might sound silly, but don't let it fool you; the cheerleader can do the funky chicken and drive a stake right through the heart of a vampire king.
According to Buffy creator Joss Whedon, he chose the unique name for his heroine because he didn't want people to take it seriously.
"There is no way you could hear the name Buffy and think, 'This is an important person,'" he said. "To juxtapose that with Vampire Slayer, just felt like that kind of thing—a B-movie. But a B-movie that had something more going on. That was my dream."
8. Juno from 'Juno'
Juno's name suits her because it's an unusual name for an unusual girl: a smart and snarky teen who gets pregnant before she falls for the baby's father and starts dating him. The sixteen year old is wise beyond her years, and her wit and sharp tongue probably made a lot of seasoned writers and comedians feel a bit inadequate when they first saw Juno.
According to the character, she was named after the Greek god Zeus's wife, who "was supposed to be really beautiful but really mean, like Diana Ross."
9. Bunny O'Hare from 'Bunny O'Hare'
Sometimes movie names are just so good that they become titular, es evidenced by this film and the one above.
There doesn't seem to be any point to the double rabbit reference here, but it's an appropriately silly name for a silly movie. Bunny is what you would get if Bonnie Parker didn't decide to go on a crime spree until she was a retiree. I guess the moniker works because Betty Davis's kooky character is always having to flee away from her latest heist as fast as she can, but instead of sprinting away on four furry legs, Bunny takes off on the back of her partner-in-crime's motorcycle.
10. Nova from 'Planet of the Apes'
All the best sci-fi characters have names inspired by science, right? Linda Melson Harrison's human character never says anything in the Planet of the Apes movie, but she does an impressive job of making a decaying animal hide look good. Her beauty also helps her earn an awesome name inspired by astronomy that was bestowed on her by a man from the stars.
11. Bellatrix Lastrange from the 'Harry Potter' Movies
Speaking of names inspired by the stars, author J.K. Rowling turned to the skies to name many of her beloved Harry Potter characters, and she bestowed one of the best upon this sinister and sadistic Voldemort devotee.
Bellatrix is a star in the Orion constellation, but when you combine it with the surname "Lastrange," you get a moniker that just screams "mad witch." It's hard to imagine any other name suiting Helena Bonham Carter's character better.
12. Luna Lovegood from the 'Harry Potter' Movies
If James Bond were a wizard, it's easy to imagine him encountering a wand-wielding Bond girl with this naughty-sounding name.
But no, Luna isn't a Veela learning the art of seduction so that she can take down a super spy someday; she's just a slightly loony but lovable witch who is a bit like the antithesis to Bellatrix Lastrange.
13. Plenty O'Toole from 'Diamonds Are Forever'
And now we've reached the Bond girl segment of this list. I could probably fill up half of it with their cheeky and suggestive monikers alone, but I've settled for a pair of my favorites. Surely this one just means that actress Lana Wood's character is a handywoman who has plenty of tools at her disposal. Unfortunately, hammers and screwdrivers can't help her defeat Tiffany Case in the battle for Bond's affection.
14. Alotta Fagina from 'Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery'
Before I get to the next Bond girl on the list, I've got to give a shout-out to one of the silliest spoofs of a Bond girl name, courtesy of Austin Powers writer/actor Mike Myers.
The sexual innuendo dripping from the names of 007's romantic interests reached its peak with a Bond girl name that is so dirty that I couldn't put in on this list (hint: her surname is "Galore"). Myers expertly spoofed this overtly sexual name by turning it into something so silly and ridiculous that it's a miracle that actress Fabiana Udenio could say it with a straight face.
15. Honey Ryder from 'Dr. No'
Agent 007 found himself in a few sticky situations while wooing Ursula Andress's iconic beach babe character. But who cares about what Bond was up to? When the actress who shares her real fist name with Disney's octopus-legged villain stepped out of the sea wearing a belly-baring swimsuit top that Ariel would envy, she helped turned the bikini into the swimwear sensation that it is today.
Thanks to her barely-there beachwear and her status as the original Bond Girl, Honey Ryder is definitely one of the most memorable female movie character names on this list.
16. Madison from 'Splash'
Ursula Andress isn't the only actress who played a sexy sea vixen with a memorable name. The moniker of Daryl Hannah's mermaid character might not seem all that special now that she shares it with so many millennials, but it was not a popular name when the movie Splash came out in 1984.
Madison the mermaid knew nothing of human names when she started wandering around New York, so she chose to name herself after a famous avenue named after a U.S. president. Her love interest Allen (Tom Hanks) tried to convince her that Madison is not a suitable first name, but many mothers-to-be who watched the movie obviously disagreed. Now, Madison has become one of the most popular baby names in America.
17. Pris from 'Blade Runner'
This is the second non-human Daryl Hannah character to make this list. There's just something about one-syllable names that seem to suit androids like Pris; maybe it’s because the machines are so close to being human, but fall just a bit short. However, I'd argue that this replicant and her rebel lover were better at being human than most of us are.
18. Rey from the 'Star Wars' Movies
This is such a short name for someone who the force is so strong in. In our universe, the name given to Daisy Ridley's orphaned character means "regal" or "king." Could this be a hint about her true ancestry?
19. Princess Leia Organa from the 'Star Wars' Movies
This iconic character's first name feels so familiar; you probably know a few Lees or Leahs. However, it's just different enough to suit a space princess from a galaxy far, far away. It's beautiful, regal, and befitting of a character played by the late, great Carrie Fisher.
20. Harley Quinn from 'Suicide Squad' and 'Birds of Prey'
This moniker is so simple, but so ingenious; there is no name that would suit The Joker's sexy sidekick better. Luckily for psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel, her given name meant that she didn't have too think too hard when she was coming up with her supervillain alter ego.
21. Vicki Vale from 'Batman'
Here we have an example of a great use of alliteration, something that seems to be pretty common when it comes to female comic book characters. Vicki Vale might be a photo journalist, but her name evokes old Hollywood glamour and brings to mind beautiful blonde bombshells like Veronica Lake. The name certainly suits gorgeous actress Kim Basinger, who plays Batman's love interest in this movie.
22. Sugar Kane Kowalczyk from 'Some Like it Hot'
Speaking of blonde bombshells, Marilyn Monroe's character bears a memorable moniker in this hilarious classic film. She's hot and sweet, and she gets compared to a sugary treat when she's described as "Jell-O on springs."
23. Sugarpuss O'Shea from 'Ball of Fire'
But when it comes to diabetes-inducing names, Sugar Kane can't top the sweet moniker borne by Barbara Stanwyck's slang speaking nightclub character.
24. Vanellope von Schweetz from 'Wreck It Ralph'
Let's stick to the sticky sweet theme with this animated character. "Vanellope von Schweetz" might seem like a big name for such a tiny character, but it needed a regal touch to suit the race car-driving princess of the Sugar Rush video game kingdom.
25. Valkyrie from 'Thor: Ragnarok' and 'Avengers: Endgame'
What is about names beginning in "V" that makes them so awesome? In the case of Tessa Thompson's superhero character, it helps that she's an elite Asgardian warrior who drinks as hard as she fights. Let's just ignore the fact that her real name is Brunnhilde.
26. Clarice Starling from 'The Silence of the Lambs'
This character's name might bring to mind a delicate bird that's quick to take flight when faced with danger, but Clarice does no such thing; she confronts it head-on by talking to a sadistic serial killer.
Hers is one of the most iconic names in cinema because it's impossible not to hear it in Anthony Hopkins's creepy cannibal character's voice whenever you read it.
27. Nurse Ratched from 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'
Perhaps Hannibal Lecter should have been locked up in an asylum with this sadistic nurse as punishment for his crimes.
The cold and inhumane caregiver's surname sounds similar to "wretched," and she certainly makes a wretched human being. Or maybe she's more like a "ratchet" that is used to ensure that nuts don't budge by securing them in place.
28. Princess Aurora from from 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'Maleficent'
Most Disney princess names aren't all that interesting, but this one is so beautiful that I just had to add it to this list. Aurora even gets a cool fake name when she spends her early years hiding out in the forest as a cottage dweller named Briar Rose.
Sleeping Beauty's real name brings to mind the awe-inspiring Northern Lights with their ever-changing colors, so it's fitting that the royal gets to dance in a dress that changes colors at the end of her animated fairy tale film.
29. Princess Buttercup from 'The Princess Bride'
This cutesy name might bring to mind a silly spoiled princess who loves to deck herself out in lacy pink confections covered with bows and lace. Or maybe it makes you think of a bright and cheery royal who loves to laugh and smile.
Princess Buttercup is neither of these things. She grew up on a farm, so she's no pampered royal, and she can be a bit cold, aloof, and argumentative. However, she fiercely loves her Westley, and she's even willing to brave the frightening Fire Swamp to be with him. In other words, she's no delicate buttery flower.
30. Mary Poppins from 'Mary Poppins' and 'Mary Poppins Returns'
This magical nanny has a peppy personality to match her peppy name. She's merry, and she can use her magic umbrella to "pop in" at anytime with a spoonful of sugar.
31. Effie Trinket from 'The Hunger Games' Movies
This playful, frivolous name is perfect for an upbeat character who is ultra-feminine and over-the-top, and Effie could hide more than a few shiny trinkets in her fluffy, colorful wigs.
32. Coraline from 'Coraline'
Coraline might have a beautiful name, but she finds herself trapped in an ugly fairy tale in this dark animated film.
I love the origin of Coraline, who began her fascinating life as a character in a Neil Gaiman book. According to the beloved author, he once accidentally misspelled the name "Caroline" by transposing the "A" and the "O." He thought that the result looked like a real name, and this generation's Alice in Wonderland was born.
33. Foxy Brown from 'Foxy Brown'
This character's first name accurately describes actress Pam Grier. But she wasn't just a pretty face and a curvaceous figure; by kicking butt and taking names, the Queen of Blaxploitation Cinema paved the way for the black actresses of today who are getting cast as superheroes and super spies.
34. Penny Lane from 'Almost Famous'
Has there ever been a better name for a "Band-Aid?" Kate Hudson's too-cool character obviously got her name from the beloved Beatles tune that so beautifully paints a picture of life on a street in Liverpool. However, writer/director Cameron Crowe didn't have to invent the name for his movie about a rock band on the rise; Hudson's music muse is based on Pennie Lane Trumbull, a woman he met in the 1970s while working as a Rolling Stone writer.
35. Mystique from 'The X-Men' Movies
There is certainly a mystique surrounding this blue-skinned mutant. Because she can mimic anyone's appearance perfectly and does it so often, it's hard to tell what she is really like as a person. What we do know is that her powers make it possible for her to spy on the good guys and to pose as powerful people, so she's pretty much the perfect supervillain.
36. Domino from 'Deadpool 2'
I love how this super-confident superheroine played by Zazie Beetz uses her alter-ego's name to embrace a skin condition. Dark-skinned Domino has a patch of vitiligo around one eye, which makes her skin there white. In other words, she has a spot like a domino. Her superpower is basically being lucky, so it's also fitting that she named herself after a game that requires some luck to win.
37. Suzanne Stone-Maretto from 'To Die For'
Combine Suzanne Somers and Sharon Stone, and you have the perfect name for a fame-hungry femme fatale. However, Suzanne Stone-Maretto wasn't played by either of these gorgeous blondes; redheaded Aussie actress Nicole Kidman was cast as the ambitious weather girl who decides to rid herself of her unsupportive husband.
38. Chicklette from 'Female Trouble'
I had to include at least one John Waters creation on this list. I like this Female Trouble character's name because it's short and sweet, just like the flavor of Chiclets gum. I know Divine's Dawn Davenport was the movie's main character, but Susan Walsh's Chicklette also deserves some love for her insane bouffant hairdo.
39. Beatrix Kiddo a.k.a. "The Bride" a.k.a. "Black Mamba" from the 'Kill Bill' Movies
Silly rabbit, don't mess with Black Mamba or she might chop off your head with a katana.
I love how Beatrix Kiddo's ridiculous name is completely ill-fitting for a deadly assassin hellbent on getting revenge. Quentin Tarantino's B-movie education has made him a pro at coming up with creative and kooky names for deadly movie characters, and this one is definitely one of his best.
40. Barbarella from 'Barbarella'
Smash two normal American female names together and you get the perfect moniker for a sci-fi sex kitten.
Barbarella is actually a Latin name meaning "foreign woman," which is fitting since Jane Fonda's titular character is a human woman who encounters various alien beings during her titillating space adventures.
41. Breathless Mahoney from 'Dick Tracy'
This blonde bombshell with a big secret knows how to leave all the boys breathless. She's played by the Material Girl herself, and Madonna does a pretty decent job channeling Marilyn Monroe to bring the comic book femme fatale to life.
42. Pepper Potts from the 'Iron Man' Movies
Gwyneth Paltrow spices up Tony Stark's life as his pretty personal assistant in the first Iron Man movie, eventually becoming so close to the brash billionaire that he asks her to become the CEO of Stark Industries.
Once again, we have a comic book love interest with an alliterative name, and this one is ridiculously cutesy for a character who has such an important job (but I still love it).
43. Negasonic Teenage Warhead from 'Deadpool' and 'Deadpool 2'
What's not to love about this character's insane name? It's like the living embodiment of teenage angst was thrown into a vat of radioactive ooze and survived a nuclear explosion before biting a girl and giving her atomic superpowers. Even Deadpool agrees that Ellie Phimister has the coolest superhero name ever.
44. Holly Golightly from 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'
One of Audrey Hepburn's most iconic characters has a name that perfectly describes her outlook on life. She's like a manic pixie dream girl who refuses to let a man clip her wings, and she doesn't seem to have a care in the world.
Holly Golightly is a socialite who is simultaneously sophisticated and uncouth, and she's a gold digger with a heart of gold. She's really more complex than she first seems, so don't let her playful moniker fool you into thinking that she's just a flighty flirt who only cares about getting her dainty hands on a rich man's money.
45. Imperator Furiosa from 'Mad Max: Fury Road'
This character has an imposing name that suits her imposing appearance. Charlize Theron's one-armed road warrior beats the heat in an apocalyptic hell-scape by shaving her head, and Imperator Furiosa wears her fury on her face by painting half of it black. But while she might look like one of the bad guys, she's actual one of the most moral people in a dystopian future where there are no laws or governing bodies to dissuade people from doing terrible things, like treating women like little more than breeding stock. The future could use more Furiosas.
46. Aunty Entity from 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome'
This futuristic name isn't quite as cool as Furiosa's, but it's still pretty original and fun. The "Aunty" title makes Tina Turner's character sound like a woman who is harmless and kindly, but she most definitely is not.
Instead, Turner plays a ruthless, tyrannical ruler who is cunning enough to outsmart the movie's hero. While Aunty Entity can be deceptive, I like that she's capable of showing mercy to those who she believes deserve it. Oh, and she serves up some amazing post-apocalyptic looks.
47. Amber Waves from 'Boogie Nights'
Julianne Moore's character in this drama about the adult film industry gets her stage name from a song about the USA, and what's more American than adult movies?
48. Marge Gunderson from 'Fargo'
She might have the word "gun" in her name, but this folksy cop doesn't seem like much of a threat. She's also heavily pregnant, so you wouldn't think that she'd be able to bag many bad guys. However, her intelligence and persistence make her a formidable foe to even the most depraved villains, like those who would dispose of a body in a wood chipper.
When we used to hear the name "Marge," we'd only think about a purple-haired housewife with yellow skin. However, now we also think about one of the best movie heroes ever.
49. Lilo from 'Lilo & Stitch'
This is an appropriately cute name for an adorable girl who just happens to be good at coming up with creative names, as evidenced by the original moniker that she gives to the odd experimental creature that she adopts as a pet.
50. Leeloo from 'The Fifth Element'
What is it about names with double L's in them that make them sound so amusing? While the name on this important living element's multipass might be "Leeloo Dallas," her real moniker is a real mouthful: "Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat." Luckily, she cut it down until there was less to it than her iconic bandage bodysuit.
So from our favorite female sci-fi characters to fairy tale villains and heroines who can hold their own against the boys, I hope you enjoyed this list. If you can think of any other movie character names that I've missed, be sure to let me know in the comments.
Treva Leigh (author) on July 31, 2019:
Larry Slawson from North Carolina on July 31, 2019:
Great list! Thank you for sharing!
Treva Leigh (author) on July 30, 2019:
Thanks! She's one of my favorites, too.
Michael115 on July 30, 2019:
Great list! I think Maleficent is one of the best villains put to screen. Keep up the good work!