Silence of the Lambs type movie titles?

One of the first mentioned should have been Gone With The Wind (or was Tara also gone with the wind that had swept through Georgia)

Jacqueline Susann had Valley of the Dolls and Once is Not Enough.

**The Day the Earth Stood Still
Panic in the Year Zero
Vanilla Sky

Minority Report

Liquid Sky



Vanilla Sky is a funny one- even after you learn the reference, it still has fuckall to do with the movie- obviously someone just liked the sound of it and wanted to use it. And the song Sir Paulie wrote for it has lyrics that maybe share the theme of the movie, but nothing to do with a Vanilla Sky.

*Hopscotch * is the title of the book the main character in Hopscotch is writing, but he doesn’t pick that title until about 2/3 of the way through the film, and that’s the only time it’s mentioned until the end, when you see the published book.

A few years ago, my mother was going on a vacation, and she wanted to borrow some DVDs to take along as entertainment. She browsed through my small collection of DVDs and instantly selected Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, saying “I just love Brazil! Every time I’ve been down there I’ve seen something new and wonderful.” I gently pried the DVD from her hand and assured her that this movie has a very tenuous connection to the nation of Brazil: a song called “Brazil” is on the soundtrack, and that’s about it. I love Terry Gilliam, but sometimes his artistic choices baffle me.

My Own Private Idaho

Glengarry Glen Ross.

The significance of the title is obvious - Glengarry Acres is one plot of land being sold by the firm in the movie, and Glen Ross Farms is another. However, the two names being smushed together in a seemingly incoherent way for the title is what gets me.

I think it used to be fairly common for a novelist or a screenwriter to have a poem in mind that s/he thought apropos; then lift a line from that poem to use as a title. In looking up the poet Ernest Dowson in Wiki, we get two film titles:

from “Vita Summae Brevis”

and from “Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae” we get

Steinbeck did this over & over. “Grapes of Wrath” (from the Battle Hymn of the Republic), “Of Mice and Men” (from the Robert Burns poem, “To a Mouse”), etc.

CalMeacham: there was that point in the film where all electro-mechanical activity gets shut down for a brief period…somewhat less than a complete day, though.

That’s an interesting point I had never pondered, Argent. I wonder if it’s meant to suggest that even though each of these different scams have their own names, they really are all just the same scam.

Until I saw The Prestige, I assumed that the title was probably the name of a theater. I knew that the movie was about stage magicians, but the term “prestige” for a part of a magic trick was unknown to me.

What about Rain Man? About three quarters of the way through you find out that used to be what Tom Cruise’s character called Dustin Hoffman’s character (Raymond) when he was a kid.

I’m quite aware of what it means, just as, having seen the movie, I know what “The Silence of the Lambs” means, or why the other movie bears the odd title “The Color Purple”. The OP doesn’t ask for movie titles you don’t understand, but for titles whose meaning isn’t clear until after you’ve seen part or all of the film.
In this case the meaning is clear about halfway through. But it also suggests something else – the way the impact of the first contact with extraterrestrials rivets the world’s attention, and makes it Stand Still as it watches events unfold. It’s a clever double-meaning title, and much better than that of the short story it’s based on, Harry bates’ “Farewell to the Master”.

David Mamet annoys the pee out of me for giving his movies pretentious titles like this. Spartan is another one- I’m sure many people rented it thinking it was a gladiator type movie.

Reservoir Dogs is a strange title that doesn’t refer to a quote or get explained in the movie itself. It’s a reference to the French movie Au revoir, les enfants - which has nothing in common with Tarantino’s movie. But he liked the movie and once heard somebody who couldn’t pronounce the name call it “reservoir dogs” which he thought was funny.

I hope I’m not stretching the OP too much… But what about Cool Hand Luke, in which you find out a little ways into the movie how Luke gets his nickname:

Luke wins a hand of poker with a bluff, and Dragline (George Kennedy) taunts the loser, “Hah, he beat you with nothin’!”, to which Luke replies, “Yeah, well, sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand”. I think that kind of sums up Luke’s whole philosophy.

Or, The Best Years of Our Lives. The years depicted in the movie are not the best years of anyone’s life, probably. Frederich March and Myrna Loy* hold together pretty well, but everyone else is a trainwreck. The title passage comes when

Dana Andrews’ wife (Virginia Mayo) blows up at him, saying something like “I wasted the best years of my life waiting for you!”. Well, sure they might have been good years for her, but he was, like, off fighting a war and all.

*Myrna Loy, by the way, is one of the most beautiful women ever to appear in the movies. earned my wrath for not including her in their list of screen “hotties” from pre-1960. Bozos!

‘The Right Stuff’ is uttered in the film when Jeff Goldbloom and Harry Shearer are going to Pancho’s.

They think they got the ‘right stuff’.

You mean heroism? Bravery? Are there snakes here?

Yeah, in the bushes. There’s more to it than bravery.

What do they say it means?

They don’t say anything. They don’t talk about it.

You mean to outsiders?

To each other. To outsiders they say even less.

The Paper Chase never made much sense to me. It’s a story about a student’s first year at law school. I’m familiar with a paper chase game, and perhaps law student Hart is the hare that the hounds (the other students) chase. But it’s never really made clear, and I’ve yet to see how The PaperChase refers to a paper chase.

…maybe I’m not seeing something, but it always seemed to me to be about the Last Stand that both sides take…it was never a mystery to me at all…am I getting it wrong there?

Full Metal Jacket and A Clockwork Orange are hard to understand from just watching the movie. I still don’t completely understand Full Metal Jacket.

I think the paper they’re chasing is a law school diploma.