LeFou's name sounds similar for "the fool", indicating his clownish and stupid behavior. In addition, as a Bilingual Bonus, the names translation from French means "the mad, the insane, or insanity", hinting that he is Gaston's Psycho Supporter.
The Beast's official name (only given in an online quiz) is Adam. It literally means "Man" in Hebrew.
MK from Epic is named after William Joyce's daughter, Mary Katherine, who died back in 2010 around the age MK is.
A ronin is a samurai without a lord to serve. Fittingly, Ronin goes through most of Epic without a queen to command him.
Finding Nemo: Nemo is Latin for nobody and it doubles the meaning of the title, because Marlin also finds the courage to be not-so-overprotective towards to his son. The name also alludes to Captain Nemo. It could also be a reference to "anemone" (the habitat of clownfish).
Not only does the eponymous panda have a name which reflects his personality yet is contrary to his destiny (Po means "peace"), but his master is named Shifu ("teacher" or "master"). Meanwhile, the facility where the villain is held, Chorh-Gom, means "sitting in prison" while Tai Lung himself translates very close to "Cat Dragon"... the latter having a rather effective if Anvilicious double meaning.
Oogway (Wu Gui) means "turtle". Tai Lung means "Ultimate Dragon". With a name like that, it's no wonder Tai Lung grew up convinced he was meant to have the Dragon Scroll. What else was he supposed to do with his life, read tea leaves?
In the sequel, Lord Shen's name means either "divinity" or "flame". The former relates to his quest for power. The latter, quite obviously, is a reference to his obsession with cannons.
Chi Fu from Mulan. His name actually means "to pester or annoy" in Chinese.
Horice and Jasper are actually named "Baddun" (bad one(s)), both in the book and the live action version.
Princess Mononoke has Lady Eboshi, who commands her troops with ruthless efficiency. Her name refers to the high hats traditionally worn by Japanese military commanders and nobility.
Ratatouille gives us a few examples, such as the protagonist Alfredo Linguini, a "master chef" whose name means a type of pasta, and the film's antagonists; Anton Ego, who is British critic, who has almost impossible standards and takes offence if someone dares to disagree with his opinions, and chef Skinner, a reference to B. F. Skinner, who invented the Skinner Box, a device for torturing lab rats animal behavioural studies. (Or the name can refer to someone who skins rats.) This being a Pixar movie, it's unlikely that these are the only examples.
Violet is a "shrinking violet" with issues of shyness, and has powers that include keeping people away with force fields. Dash has super speed. (Brad Bird, on the DVD Commentary, says that this was deliberate; the children were given names, personalities and powers to match their ages.)
In the animated short about Jack Jack, he seems to possess many talents, thus making him a "Jack-of-all-trades".
Violet could also refer to the fact that she can become invisible, like ultraviolet radiation.
The family's surname, Parr ("par"), reflects how their secret identities are an attempt to blend in with "average" society.
Syndrome is Buddy "Pine", as in "I cry because I can't be your friend". In addition, he has the same initials as Mr. Incredible: Bob Parr and Buddy Pine. He also has a bad case of hero's syndrome.
Edna Mode: 'Mode' means 'fashion' in several languages.
Nomanisan Island (No man is an island), which ties into the film's themes of teamwork and family. Attempted in the Spanish translation, where the island is known as Isla Palos Locos ("Crazy Sticks Island", but can also be read as Isla Pa'los Locos, "Island For The Crazy").
In The Little Mermaid, Ursula's disguise, Vanessa, derives from the latin word Vanitas, which means Vanity, Worthlessness, Emptiness, and Nothingness. Although the Vanity part is extremely obvious, the latter three also have a meaning in there as well, as it hints at Vanessa being Eric's false savior.
Other examples: Ursula's real name means "she-bear". Triton, Ariel's father, is named for (or is) the son of Poseidon. Sebastian's Overly Long Name has two references to musicians in it, Thelonious for Thelonious Monk and Sebastian for Johann Sebastian Bach. Another one of his names, "Crustaceous" is kind of obvious. He's a crab.
Simba means "lion", Mufasa means "king", Nala means "gift", Rafiki means "friend", Sarabi means "mirage", Sarafina (Nala's mother) means "bright star".
Word of God has it that before Scar received his scar and his subsequent name change, his name was Taka which means "trash". If my parents named me this, I would be a bit put off as well.
It gets better with some of the other names. Timon means "spirited" and Pumbaa means "simpleton".
There are the hyenas Shenzi ("savage, pagan, uncouth"), Banzai ("skulk, lurk") and... Ed (who was named after Ed McMahon, whose job was to laugh at all of Johnny Carson's jokes). There is also a word in English, 'Eddy', which is a synonym of 'whirlpool'.
The mysterious fairy girl, Aisling, has a meaningful name in more than one way: not only is it an Irish girl's name meaning "dream" or "vision", it's also a kind of Irish poetry that frequently features a woman who represents Ireland itself, while calling back to its previous pagan beliefs. In the film, Aisling serves the same purpose.
There's also Pangur Ban the cat, who is named after the oldest known poem written in the Irish language...which is about a cat.
WALL•E has quite a few of these, starting with the title character whose name sounds like "Wally" (and is referred to as such throughout the shooting script). In British English, a "wally" is a foolish or naïve person. Also BURN-E, who sounds like Bernie, the put-upon teacher from The Incredibles. The female robot's name is EVE, and her mission is to help the humans to recolonize the Earth by finding the signs of life. Does it ring any bells? In-universe, WALL•E stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, and MO is the friendly neighbourhood Microbe Obliterator.
We Are the Strange has "Blue", a depressed emo and "HIM", a chauvinistic and abusive boyfriend.
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit the Toon Patrol had meaningful names in the script - Smart Ass, Greasy, Wheezy, Psycho and Stupid. And Judge Doom.
The police chief from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is called Lois Einhorn ("one-horn" = unicorn). If you've seen the film you can't help but notice the irony.
In American Beauty, the provocative underage girl Angela has the surname Hayes which sounds exactly the same as fictions most famous underage provacateur Lolita Haze.
And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird!: The robot is named Newman because he'll be a "new man" when they get his artificial intelligence working. It turns out to have a double meaning when the robot is used to allow Matt to come back from the grave and interact with his family again.
In Be Cool: Exemplified by "Sin" LaSalle (played by Cedric The Entertainer), who will go to any lengths, up to and including murder, to get what is owed to him... or just to get even with those who disrespect him.
In Big Fat Liar, perpetual liar Jason Shepherd has his English paper stolen by Hollywood executive Marty Wolf and Jason isn't believed when he explains this. Their last names refer to Aesop's fable "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".
Black Swan protagonist is named Nina, a Russian name that means "little girl." Lily, meanwhile, sounds like Odile, the black swan in the ballet, and Lillith, a demonic seductress.
Cherry Falls is a Slasher Movie about a killer who attacks virginal teens, so the kids are all rushing to disqualify themselves by getting it on with each other. In the town of Cherry Falls. Virginia. Did you spot the meaningful name yet?
In Chicago, the only two innocent characters in the musical have names that imply that they are fools:
Hunyak, the only wrongly convicted prisoner, and the only one to be executed. "Honyock" is an ethnic slur that was popular in America from the 1880s through the 1950s. It is derived from a Hungarian word meaning (among other things) "simpleminded" and "loser." Mostly directed at Central-Eastern Europeans.
Amos, whom Billy calls "Andy" when he steps down from the witness stand. This is a reference to Amos 'n' Andy, a race comedy radio series originating from Chicago radio station WMAQ beginning in 1928. Most of the series' male characters were performed by two white comedians who had worked in minstrel shows on vaudeville. In the series, Amos was a schemer and Andy was innocent and a bit simpleminded. (This is a happy accident as the name Amos is a carryover from the original play and silent movie which both predated Amos 'n' Andy.)
The central character in Clerks has the unusual first name of Dante. Work, and life in general by extension, is hell for him.
Beeman is obsessed with insects and dies by being infested with them.
Hennessy is a heavy drinker and is killed by being made to drink himself to death.
All the characters of Cube are named after prisons. Quentin is named after San Quentin State Prison in California, Holloway after the Holloway Prison in London, Kazan after the prison in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. Rennes is named after a prison in Rennes, Britanny, France, Alderson after the prison in Alderson, West Virginia, and Leaven and Worth after the prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. The characters themselves reflect the prisons in their traits. Kazan (the autistic man) is a disorganized prison. Rennes (the "mentor") pioneered many of today's prison policies. Quentin (the policeman) is known for brutality. Holloway is a women's prison. Alderson is a prison where isolation is a common punishment. Leavenworth runs on a rigid set of rules (Leaven's mathematics), and the new prison is corporately owned and built (Worth, hired as an architect).
Mr. Madson in Dead Again. He is quite mad, and kills on behalf of his mother.
The FBI agents named Johnson in Die Hard. It's a generic name fitting faceless government suits, It's probably also a penis reference, especially since they're called Big Johnson and Little Johnson in the credits.
The Jerk Ass reporter is actually named Dick. Go figure.
Dr. Strangelove has General Buck Turgidson and General Jack D. Ripper. There's also Colonel "Bat" Guano, President Merkin Muffley, and Premier Kissoff. Strangelove is also a reference to the war-as-sex motif throughout the film.
The two protagonists in the slapstick comedy Dumb and Dumber are named Harold and Lloyd, a reference to slapstick pioneer Harold Lloyd.
Edge of Tomorrow has Major Cage, who's locked in his time-loop, and Rita Vrataski (possibly from the slavic "vrata", meaning "door"), who shows him the way out.
Final Destination 3 has characters named Ashley and Ashlyn, whose deaths involving heavy burning by tanning beds.
The villain of First Knight is named Prince Malagant. He was once a part of the Round Table, but turned evil, making him "malignant."
The less-than-genetically "perfect" hero of Gattaca is named Vincent Freeman; the man whose identity and "second to none" genetic code he assumes is named Jerome Eugene ("good genes") Morrow. Irene Cassini's surname is taken from a space probe which was, at the time of filming, on its way to Saturn's moon Titan. In the film, Vincent is preparing to embark on a manned space mission to Titan.
Ferriman in Ghost Ship, who is an infernal accountant collecting enough souls so he can ferry them to Hell and please his masters.
Battra comes from "Battle Mothra." The original Japanese name, "Batora," came from "Bad Mothra," but the name was thought to be awkward to pronounce so Toho changed it to its final form.
Kamoebas (Kameba) comes from "kame," which is Japanese for turtle.
Anguirus (spelled "Angilas" in that film) is derived from the ankylosaurus, which it resembles (it's said to be an "angilosaurus," which is pronounced roughly the same in Japanese).
Zilla's name in Japan is Jira, which is part of the word kujira, which means whale.
Kiryu's name is derived from the words kikai or ki ("metal"/"machine") and ryu ("dragon"); thus Kiryu combined means either "metal dragon" or "machine dragon".
King Ghidorah's name is a play on the Japanese word for "hydra", hidora, and was also inspired by the appearance of the Yamata no Orochi (large, multi-headed serpent).
Hot Fuzz: The hero is named Nicholas Angel, his chubby partner is Butterman, the farmer with a large weapon stash is called Webley and many of the townsfolk have names associated with their jobs (the grocer is Skinner, the gardener is Tiller. Mr. Treacher is named after The Siege of Treacher's Farm, the novel on which Straw Dogs was based (there are repeated references to Straw Dogs throughout the film); the vicar is called Philip Shooter (P.Shooter); Eve Draper, the gossip, is a phonetic pun on "eavesdropper."
Word of God has also stated that the preservation of the old tradesman's names is not only for punnery, but also an indication of how deeply insular, reactionary and endogamous Sandford actually is.
In Hot Shots! one of the characters is nicknamed "Deadmeat". He dies.
If You Believe: The protagonist's name is Susan Stone and she is a shrewish book editor. What could her heart be made of?
Everybody in Inception, the most obvious being Ariadne, "The Architect" (or weaver) of the dream worlds. She is named for the character in Greek mythology who gives Theseus a ball of string to help him navigate the labyrinth. There's also Cobb, who cobbles together his crew, and his love Mal, which is a root word for bad, wrong or evil, as in malevolent. Yusuf is the Arabic form of the name "Joseph"; one Joseph in The Bible was known as a dream interpreter. Also, the various character's names add up to spell "DREAMS": Dom, Robert (Fisher), Eames, Ariadne/Arthur, Mal, Saito. You should have seen that coming.
The name of Will Dormer, the troubled protagonist in the film Insomnia, is a cognate for the word "to sleep" in several Romance languages.
The James Bond franchise is legendary for its female characters' names having obvious sexual subtext. Pussy Galore, anyone?
For Your Eyes Only has a subtle one in Bibi Dahl, a play on the Tennessee Williams play "Baby Doll".
Also, Auric Goldfinger, who is obsessed with gold.
Needy from Jennifers Body. You'll never guess what her defining personality trait is.
Discussed in Man-Thing, when the main character questions about the town's name.
Kyle: Why they call it 'Bywater'?
Boat driver: Because it is by the water.
Mean Girls. Regina George, leader of the Plastics. Regina is derived from the Latin for queen. (Her last name is "George," bringing to mind a certain President, or a certain king.)
And in the same vein, it's surely no accident that on many different occasions, a character will mispronounce Cady's name, thinking it's pronounced "catty."
Janis Ian shares her name with the singer of "At Seventeen," a song about discovering that the "pretty girls" get the love. The real Janis Ian is a lesbian, and was the musical guest on the first episode of Saturday Night Live, the show screenwriter Tina Fey first became famous for.
As an aside, Tina Fey later sang a bit of "At Seventeen" in an episode of 30 Rock.
The three main characters all have names that have to do with birds. Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann are obvious, and William Turner is the name of a famous ornithologist.
Tia Dalma's name is an anagram for Dalmatia, a famous haven for pirates.
Barbossa's name is rather close to Barbarossa, another famous pirate. It also means "Bonebeard", a probable reference to the skeletal undead the Aztec curse turned him into.
'Norrington' may be (consciously or otherwise) more or less a compound name of Nelson and Wellington (both commanders were a little young for this period, but it's close; the character- at least in his first appearance- has had a career more like Admiral Nelson's, but is more like General Wellington in personality.)
Syrena is Greek for "siren" and, in the movie, is pronounced as the Spanish word for mermaid, "sirena." (Could count as a Bilingual Bonus)
Which made the Spanish dub sound like "The mermaid's name will be... Mermaid".
Averted in Prisoners, at least for honest, hardworking Detective Loki. There's also a (probably coincidental) Alex Jones, who is quiet and creepy but harmless and gets brutally tortured when he says one inflammatory thing too many.
Pulp Fiction. Esmeralda asks what Butch's name means. Although it's obviously a nickname meaning "tough" and "manly," fitting a boxer, he just says, "I'm American, honey. Our names don't mean shit."
Warren Peace which wasn't just a pun on the famous Leo Tolstoy novel, but also symbolized his inner turmoil due to his blood; he was the son of a supervillain (war) and a superhero (peace).
The Strongholds (both Will and his dad have superstrength)
Principle Powers (which, since she's the principal of a school for superpowered teens, is significant)
Though it may have been unintentional, Ethan is derived from Hebrew and means 'solid/enduring', which could be considered ironic given that Ethan's superpower is to melt.
Magenta, who seems to only dress in various shades of purple.
Played with mercilessly in Spaceballs. The ship is crewed with Assholes. And sleepy Prince Valium.
Star Trek Into Darkness: The USS Vengeance is described as a Dreadnought-class ship. The class is named after the HMS Dreadnought, a British battleship that made all other battleships obsolete when she was built. The Vengeance is supposed to do something similar to the warships of the non-Federation states in the Star Trek Universe. Considering how Harrison helped design and build her, the name Vengeance might allude to what he planned to do with her if he ever got the chance. Its name is also similar to the name of a ship from the Mirror Universe episodes of Enterprise, hinting that it stands for something opposite of what a Starfleet ship should.
Darths Vader, Sidious, Maul, Tyrannus, and Plagueis also have names that sound like sinister words, such as "invader," "insidious," "maul," "tyranny" and "plague." "Vader" is also Dutch for "father," though this is probably a coincidence.
Han Solo starts out the series as a loner who is out for himself. Hence he's "solo."
And the death stick dealer Obi-Wan encountered in Episode II is named Elan Sleazebaggano (though this got retcon'd to Elan Sel'Sabagno.)
Remember the somewhat overweight X-Wing pilot from A New Hope? His name is Porkins. Nicknamed "Piggy".
The Skywalker family has an innate affinity for piloting. So naturally adept with the vehicles of the sky they might as well be able to walk in it.
Additionally, his name was originally going to be Starkiller. Somewhat appropriate for the guy who blew up the Death Star.
The Rodian species, composed largely of bounty hunters and other hired guns, may be named after the killer in Crime and Punishment, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. And speaking of Rodians, guess what Greedo the bounty hunter is like?
General Grievous. This one speaks for itself.
Padme is part of "om mani padme hum," a Buddhist chant. It means lotus flower.
In Stay the main character's last name, Letham, is both an anagram of Hamlet and one-letter-different from "lethal", both of which are fitting as the plot is about his struggle with the question of whether To Be or Not to Be.
In The Comebacks, Lambeau Fields is a college football coach. Lambeau Field is the Green Bay Packers' home field. One of his players is the talented receiver Aceal Tare, pronounced a-SEAL ta-REE, who has a long successful future ahead of him unless he suffers a freak debilitating injury. Coach Fields repeatedly mispronounces his name as "ACL tear", a serious injury that often ruins sports careers. You can probably see where this is going.
The Machinist is a dark and creepy movie. The main character's name is Trevor Reznik, which subtly invokes both Trent Reznor (who records dark and creepy music) and Darryl Revok (a character in a different dark and creepy movie). In fact, the actor who played Revok, Michael Ironside, is in The Machinist. He plays another machinist. "Reznik" also means "butcher" in several slavic languages.
The Matrix is like the Construct for sci-fi movies. It has:
Neo's "real" name Thomas intentionally or not goes with the apocryphal "Gospel of Thomas". The excluded gospel is full of mysterious Koan-like sayings and goes "once you know your true self/become enlightened you become like Jesus" (there are implications that the author learned a bit of Indian mysticism). The name Anderson may be a pun on the Greek "andros", making him the "Son of Man".
Neo is The One, the human with the power to manipulate the Matrix and foretold to end the war between humans and machines. "Neo" is an anagram of "one".
"Neo" is derived from the Ancient and Modern Greek word "νεα", meaning "new".
Morpheus helps people enter and leave the "dream-world."
Cypher, meaning zero and also a type of encryption, i.e. enigma, or a secret. His most famous quote is when he tells Agent Smith, "After 9 years, you know what I have learned? Ignorance is bliss.", which also hints at his desire that the secret of the Matrix had never been revealed to him and that he wants to go back into it. There's also the fact that his "real" last name is Reagan - he wants to forget his past and become an actor!.
Agent Smith, at first glance, may not have much of a meaningful name other than the fact that he is a program based on conformity (the agents are Anglo-Saxon, American basic-accented men, even if some of them have Australian actors to play them), but even he actually has a meaningful name: Smith was also used in the Bible, specifically Isaiah 54:16, to which, depending on whether the translation is of the regular or King James edition, it was said: "Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy..." or "Behold, I have created the Smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.", respectively, which essentially foreshadows Agent Smith's attempt at destroying the Matrix and existance as a whole. The Matrix Reloaded lampshades it in Smith's first appearance with his car, of which the license plate number has the symbols IS5416.
Mason in The Rock notes that Stanley Goodspeed's surname means "godspeed."
Will Caster from Transcendence. His consciousness is uploaded digitally, and the degree that this consciousness still retains his humanity is central to the film's plot. Also, Evelyn Caster, as her consciousness is also uploaded, and she becomes Will's 'original woman'. The remnants of her and Will still exist at the end of the movie in their garden.
The eponymous "true man" of The Truman Show may actually be an in-story example, as the entire point of his adoption and upbringing was that he was the most "real" person on television. Then there's the fact that the Big Bad is named "Christof."
In The Villain (released as Cactus Jack in the UK and Australia), Arnold Schwarzenegger's character Handsome Stranger is named after his father.
All of the pubs in The World's End, and in the last scene of the film, The Rising Sun - the dawn of a new civilisation without the Network's influence.
The main characters' last names reflect their roles in the gang: (Gary) King is The Leader (and "a very irresponsible King Arthur", as Edgar Wright puts it); (Steven) Prince is the Always Second Bestlancer, and the one to get the girl in the end, as in Prince Charming; (Andy) Knightley is the best fighter, and Gary's most steadfast friend; and (Peter) Page and (Oliver) Chamberlain are the ones to hold the least influence in the group.
Inverted in George Lucas's THX 1138, as everyone has nondescriptive generic cyber-names...which is the point, and thus itself descriptive of the characters and the society they live in.
In Unbreakable, the killer turns out to be Elijah Price. Given that Elijah is a biblical character known for genocide, this is not exactly unexpected. At that point, it seems reasonable to take his surname on face value.
In Russ Meyers Vixen the eponymous character is named Vixen Palmer. And funnily enough she isn't chaste and virginal.
Wild Wild West. All of Loveless' mistresses: The lip reader is "Miss Lippenreader," the one who mans the weapons he calls "Munitia," the tallest is "Amazonia", the Asian girl is named "Miss East" and he dubs West, while in disguise, "Ebonia."
The title character in All About Eve. On the one hand, her name makes her sound like an everywoman, which makes her easier to sympathise with. On the other hand, it allows the title to be taken two ways: the film is all about the character, but it also deals with women in general and what it means to "be a woman" in contemporary society.
Crematoria from The Chronicles of Riddick, a planet where anyone unlucky enough to get caught in the sunlight is incinerated.