Bad Movie Titles

It can be debated whether having a catchy title helps drive people to the theater. But it sure doesn’t help matters if a film is badly named! The following movies certainly all belong on this ignominious list of Bad Movie Titles. Feel free to share your picks in the comments section below.


As if a nauseously pandering tagline, “These Pretty Women…are Clueless,” wasn’t enough, this movie was also burdened with an eminently forgettable acronym, short for “Black American Princesses.” Apparently.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
A movie that landed on many worst-film-ever-made lists has an even worse title. Why? Because they don’t fight against each other. They team up to fight an enemy together!

Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?
Too long. Not funny. Not clever. In 2006 the movie won a Chicago Tribune readers’ poll as The Worst Movie Title Ever. No big surprise there.

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
It rhymes! That’s so funny!!! Wait, not “funny”—what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah: unfunny.
(Bonus boner: It’s redundant; all gigolos are male by definition.)

The Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood
I don’t have anything against sisterhood—or brotherhood or any other ‘hood you can think of. But do I have a problem with inane movie titles? Ya.

Excessive Force II: Force On Force
Yes, excessive.

Gleaming The Cube
You’d think that the title here is some sort of counterculture lingo. But you won’t impress your skateboarding pals by dropping this line on them. In fact, you’d just be showing your ignorance. You see, although it sounds like cool skater jargon it is actually nonsense. It means nothing.

Hard Rain
Sure, we get it. The filmmakers were trying to be hip by utilizing an oxymoron. But sometimes intellectual use of juxtaposition isn’t really so smart. Like Spinal Tap’s David St. Hubbins said so eloquently: “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

The Human Stain
Those eager for a big screen version of Tim Burton’s Stainboy had to be sorely disappointed. Doubly so upon seeing Anthony Hopkins miscast in an earnest, yet pc-heavy, racial melodrama. Blecch.

Krakatoa: East of Java
Though it is hardly a revelation to movie fans anymore that Krakatoa is actually west of Java, that doesn’t make the title any less ridiculous.

Let Us Be Gay
We know, we know, it’s an innocent title from the ‘30s. But let’s face it, today it connotes something much different.

The Lieutenant Wore Skirts
If only Ed Wood had directed it…


Love Happens
No, it doesn’t. Love grows. Love hurts. Love comes quickly. Love lies bleeding. Love conquers all. Love blossoms. Love stinks. Love endures. But love doesn’t just happen.

Manos: The Hands of Fate
Entertainment Weekly named this Worst Movie Ever Made and it has garnered a 0% rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The title rivals its dopey plot since “manos” is Spanish for “hands;” in other words the title reads Hands: The Hands of Fate.

Meet the Deedles
Ooh, can’t—I’m rearranging my sock drawer that night.

My Brother Talks to Horses
…when he should be talking to a therapist.

Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin In The Bronx
I have a sister-in-law in Philadelphia—who gives a s**t?

Quantum Of Solace
This really polarized the Bond franchise’s faithful. There were those who hated it immediately. Their detractors commented upon how it was a thinking man’s name (“you really have to ponder its significance!”) and how, in time, the title would stand apart from the rest. Well, it has…but not in a good way.

The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants
This is not a film about what happens to your laundry after dropping it off at the dry cleaner. And to be clear to UK film enthusiasts, “pants” does not refer to one’s underwear (otherwise it would be yucky); it means trousers. The movie is about girlfriends sharing a pair of jeans. Come to think of it, sharing jeans seems kinda yucky, too.


Step Into Liquid
The best we can say about this title is at least it is not Step Into Poop.

Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven
These three words may well sum up Friday Night Lights, Saturday Night Fever and Sunday night supper, but as a movie title it’s hardly engaging.

There exist single-pronoun films that are considered classic. Two come immediately to mind: Them and It (The Terror from Beyond Space). Somehow those two titles inspire a sense of dread. On the other hand, They conveys nothing—and is only marginally better than its clunky alternate title, Wes Craven Presents: They.

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
Does this silly title pique your interest for the movie in the least? Didn’t think so. Worst Movie Title Ever runner-up in a 2006 Chicago Tribune readers’ poll.


It blows.

Good name for a comic strip or tiny candies; lousy for a film.

  • Stacy Borans

    I suppose the point is made about the titles as I have never heard of 3/4 of these movies. Short road to DVD oblivion, I’m guessing

  • Jim

    “The Human Stain” is the title of the Philip Roth book upon which the movie was based (something the writer apparently doesn’t know). Although the meaning of the title wasn’t fully explored in the movie, it was in the book. And terming it “earnest, pc-heavy,” and a melodrama suggests the writer didn’t watch it very carefully, because it is none of these. (Or it could be that the writer never saw it at all, only read about it.)

    • Jason Marcewicz

      While I applaud your desire to defend a movie you enjoyed, the intent of the article was to poke fun of movie titles. Yes, I knew that it was derived from the 2000 novel, but the fact that I (and others) would have to go back to source material to find the “meaning” is absurd [also see Quantum of Solace] especially in my light-hearted article obviously not intended as a scholarly film critique. The Human Stain is a laughable title at worst, and an ambiguous one at best–you even admit it as much!

  • Trainman

    I guess I’m from the old school what ever happened to the one or two word titles like Red River, The Shootist, True Grit, Rio Bravo, The Hangman, The Gunfighter, Wake Island? I could go on and on but those were the days of the Good Actors Like John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Or Gary “The Coop” Cooper. I still feel and I have for a long time that the Hollywood as I once knew it has died and today there isn’t the class that was once there. Oh well I’ve got a birthday next month I’ll be 62 and I guess I’m not that classy anymore either.

  • Jimbo

    One of my (least) favorite movie titles:

    “Hope Floats”

    I can think of a few other things that float, too.

  • Rob in L.A.

    Worst movie title as far as I’m concerned: “Sour Grapes” (1998), written and directed by Larry David. Unless its an Iron Chef challenge, who wants to see a film with a title like that? Not many, I guess. The movie died miserably at the box office.

  • Bob Campbell

    To your very entertaining list and commentary, you could add the 1967 catastrophe “Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad.”

  • Joe Gideon

    “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”. Does anyone have an extra marquee?

  • stephen reginald

    Obviously the compiler of this list has a very recent history regarding bad movie titles. “Kiss the Blood off My Hands” from 1948, starring Joan Fontaine and Burt Lancaster, definitely needs to be on any list of bad movie titles.

  • John Quinlan

    I have never met another person that saw or even heard of ‘ Quackster Fortune….’ Am I the only one that has?

  • Billyboy

    Zardoz. Bad title, bad movie.

  • Marya Zajac

    Not many people have heard of Quackster Fortune, but I am one of the lucky ones. It’s a lovely little movie. Gene Wilder’s best as far as I’m concerned. I had a VHS, but I’ve not seen it in DVD. Family joke…….we still often use the line “how about a nice boiled egg for your tea, Quackster?”.It’s actually not a bad title, taken in context of the story.

  • Travis Thompson

    A sound or symbol as a movie title is especially grating. Take, for instance, PHFFT from 1954 (Jack Lemmon & Judy Holliday) or $ from 1971 (Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn).

  • Frank

    That’s “Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx.” (Certainly heard of; absolutely did not see.)

    Here’s three:

    “Synecdoche, New York” (Horrible title; worse film.)

    “No Such Thing” (Awful title; terrific film.)

    “Forrest Gump” (I’d NEVER go to see a film with the word “Gump” in the title!)

  • Steven Wells

    A few more nominations:

    “The Woo-Woo Kid”
    “Welcome To Woop Woop” (I sense a pattern)
    “Feeling Minnesota” (??)
    “Movie Movie” (which, during production, had a perfectly decent title, “Double Feature,” which the marketers decided would confuse audiences. So, instead of being confused, audiences said, “Who cares?”

    And another – not a feature, but a TV movie that seems to show up on cable every other month:
    “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” (“It’s alright with me, honey, if it’s alright with your father.”)

  • Steve

    How about “On My Way to the Crusades I Met a Girl Who…..” I think Tony Curtis was in that classic – why am I not surprised.

    Speaking of Krakatoa, I always liked Dick Cavett’s comment that they should have changed the title to “Krakatoa, Way, Way, WAY East of Java”

  • Andrew

    I always thought “I Love Trouble” was a dumb title even though it had two well known stars in it.

  • Bob

    “Hard Rain” is not necessarily an oxymoron. There is such a thing as soft rain. Note Ray Bradbury’s short story “There Will Come Soft Rains.” And Shakespeare has “the gentle rain of heaven” falling in a notable speech. The precedents for hard rain include, of course, Bob Dylan.

  • tim

    Tori Spelling once did a tv movie called “Mother May I Play With Danger?” I think that it qualifies for at least an honorable mention.

  • James

    Haven’t you people heard of the movie known by the short title of MARAT / SADE, but fully known as THE PERSECUTION AND ASSASSINATION OF JEAN-PAUL MARAT AS PERFORMED BY IN INMATES OF THE ASYLUM AT CHARENTON UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE MARQUIS DE SADE? Guess you don’t watch avant-garde cinema.

  • Salvatore R. LaRosa

    Zotz! should have been Zits!

  • Marjorie

    I think you have to eliminate movies with “bad” titles if the titles were the same as the source material. It seems pretty good sense to make sure that people who enjoyed a book know that your film is a movie version of it. (Although I think the folks who made the movie Someone Like You were wise not to name that one after the book it was based on, which was called Animal Husbandry. Doesn’t exactly scream romantic comedy…)

  • Barry Monush

    Any sequel title with a number slapped on the end is inane but special mention of bad titles should go to HOME ALONE II: LOST IN NEW YORK. How exactly can Macaulay Culkin be both Home Alone AND lost in New York at the same time? 2nd place goes to RAMBO III (at that point there was no movie called RAMBO or RAMBO II – the first sequel was RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II – so how could there be a RAMBO III?).

  • Gordon Moore

    In “The Tall T”, the title refers to absolutely nothing in the movie. Incidentally, the movie stars Maureen O’Hara, who is repeatedly referred to as “homely”. Huh?

  • Charlie Ray

    What?! Where is:

    The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies.

    Now THAT’s a title!

  • filmfan

    How is Synecdoche, New York a terrible title? If you understand what “synecdoche” means, and actually pay attention to the film, the title is actually genius.
    My favorite bad title: “Kiss Me Deadly,” although I love the film.

  • Dave in LA

    “Maximum Overdrive” (1986). I always thought this title was a really bad title choice. “Sssssss” (1973) wasn’t great either. But I did like the movie “Zotz!” (1962).

  • Rob in L.A.

    Gordon Moore: Re – Budd Boetticher’s “The Tall T” (one of my favorite Westerns, by the way): “Incidentally, the movie stars Maureen O’Hara, who is repeatedly referred to as “homely’.” The actress is Maureen O’Sullivan (MGM’s Jane to Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan from 1932 to 1942, the female lead in “A Day at the Races,” and mother of Mia Farrow). I need to agree with you, though, about the inappropriateness of the adjective “homely.”

  • Ken A

    Thanks to James for mentioning Marat/Sade! That joins “Too Wong Foo…” for me as being in the category of insane titles that turned out to be really interesting, excellent films.

  • Blair Kramer

    Speaking as a James Bond fan, QUANTUM OF SOLACE is not a title that bothers me. You just have to be reasonably literate to know what it means (and I suppose, after all is said and done, the movie going public proved that you really don’t have to know what it means at all. QUANTUM OF SOLACE did very well at the box office). On the other hand, OCTOPUSSY is a title that still makes me squirm. Basically, it’s an uncomfortable double entendre. Be that as it may, OCTOPUSSY is an actual Ian Fleming title that remains a pretty good James Bond film. So I guess it comes down to this question: What’s in a name?

  • rickeysays

    Seeing the title “Ecks vs Sever” for the first time I flashed back to my Media teacher who was big on the subliminal advertising. Combine the sexy pictures with “Ecks vs Sever and doesn’t everyone’s mind go “Sex 4 Ever”. I know looking at Lucy Liu mine does.

  • Tlynette

    Wow! I’d never heard some of these titles–and some are pretty darn bad!–so it’s a good bet I’ve never seen them. I agree with Travis’ comment about sounds and symbols — WTH? Oh, and “Octopussy?” Get real!

    One of my favorite lame titles is (but I do love my Mickey Spillane) “My Gun is Quick”–and the taglines are equally lame (“IT RIPS – DEEP AS THE CLAW OF A KILLER! IT STRIPS – DOWN TO THE RAW THRILLS THAT ONLY SPILLANE COULD DISH OUT!”) which only add to the lameness of the novel itself! You should see the book covers, and the poster for the movie! It is to laugh!!

  • dementia13

    “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies.”

    Au contraire, that is a great title. “Strip Nude for Your Killer” is a lousy title for a pretty decent giallo mystery. “Rat Pfink a Boo Boo”- what in the world?! “The Gore-Gore Girls” stinks both as a title and as a movie.

  • Fort Worth

    “Final Countdown” is on my list. There is no countdown and there is nothing final about it. Great movie, tho.

  • sfOldBoy

    My vote goes to: The Christmas Tree (1969)
    Wow! Is it not what you’d expect!
    The original title of the French novel was far more appropriate. Translated, it’s: When Wolves Cry

  • DeMeio

    Paul Newman should get some kind of award for being saddled with the most lousy titles. I had no interest in seeing BLAZE, FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY, WHEN TIME RAN OUT, BUFFALO BILL AND THE INDIANS, POCKET MONEY, and WUSA among others.

  • don snyder

    “Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad.” Worst title ever from 1967. Impossible to put on a marquee. And it only ran 86 minutes.

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