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First Name Basis / Film

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Examples of First-Name Basis in Film.


  • Cousin Cousine: Ludovic and Marthe start addressing each other with tu, the familiar "you" in French. Marthe's husband Pascal notices this, and says that he and Ludovic's wife Karine address each other with the formal vous.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Significantly, making up after an argument midway through the cinematic grand finale, Miss Brooks and Mr. Boynton finally move to a first name bais, "Connie" and "Phillip" respectively.
  • In most Superman movies Lois, Jimmy, Ma and Pa Kent refer to Supes alter ego as "Clark" while Perry White, and other characters call him "Kent". Oh and of course Lex Luthor only gets "Luthor" from Superman, even Otis only his female henchmen tend call him by "Lex".
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    • Played mostly straight with Superman's Kryptonian name "Kal-El" which is what Zod and his Mooks refer to him as in Man of Steel as well Jor-El Superman's father, however Terence Stamp's excellent Zod averts this mostly calling Supes "Son of Jor-El" showing how little respect he has for the Man of Steel.
  • Minor but fun example in Batman (1989) when meeting The Joker as Bruce Wanye in Vicki Vale's apartment, Bruce actually refers to Joker as "Jack" instead of his chosen new name. Joker isn't noticeably bothered by it despite gunning Grissom when he called him Jack, though he also guns down Bruce as well so it's clear he is indifferent to his old name and life and would rather be recognized as the clown prince of crime: Joker.
    • Played straight then averted in The Dark Knight Harvey Dent friendly refers to Bruce by his first name when meeting him, but in private with Rachel he calls him "Wayne" with audible disrespect... very two faced, heh.
      • In the same trilogy James Gordon is called "Gordon" by everybody with only his family, Batman (towards the end), a few Police Officers call him "Jim".
  • Played straight in Wonder Woman (2017), in fact pretty much nobody refers to Diana by her namesake and only her first name. Justifiable since in the comics Wonder Woman is mostly called "Diana" by her friends while her superhero name of "Wonder Woman" is more of a public title.
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  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Elizabeth is furious that Jack refers to her by her first name during their first encounter - "It's Miss Swann!". Will refuses to call Elizabeth by her first name, despite their knowing each other as children, because of their difference in social status; when Elizabeth accepts it and calls him "Mr. Turner", he is deeply grieved and quietly says "Elizabeth" when she leaves . Later, Jack calls Elizabeth "Captain Swann" to acknowledge (with some difficulty) that she has one of the pieces of eight; Bootstrap Bill calls his own son "Captain" and Will calls his own father "Mr. Turner" to acknowledge their roles on the ship; and Barbossa calls Elizabeth "Mrs. Turner" to acknowledge her marriage (though this one is a callback to the first movie, where Elizabeth passed herself off as Elizabeth Turner). Such careful usage was not common in the movies.
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
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    • Kirk tries to get newly-resurrected Spock to call him Jim rather than Admiral. It draws attention to them because they're in 1986, but he's also upset that his best friend has apparently forgotten they were on first-name terms. Spock did greet him by the nickname in the previous film but here says that it would be inappropriate while they're in the middle of a mission.
    • When rescuing Chekov from 20th-century medicine, in whose hands his head injury would have been fatal, Kirk calls him by his first name of Pavel—something he rarely does with any crewman other than Spock.
  • Nero in Star Trek (2009) consistently uses first names, apparently to show his contempt for his opponents. For example, consistently referring to Captain Pike as 'Christopher'.
    • At the beginning of the movie Nero asks about "Ambassador Spock," which is about as formal as possible since Spock only has one name. He's probably trying to be polite, at least until he finds his opponent doesn't have the information he wants, as well as foreshadowing the Time Travel plot twist.
    • Also invoked by Uhura, since Spock is the only one with whom she is on a first name basis.
    • Spock calling Kirk "Jim" for the first time is a turning point in their previously antagonistic relationship.
    • In Star Trek Into Darkness, when Scotty resigns in protest over the missiles, he makes a last appeal for Kirk to reconsider and calls him "Jim".
  • In Ever After, Prince Henry asks Danielle to call him "Henry" after he falls in love with her. Then he painfully reverses the trope later on: "Do not address me so informal, madam. I am a Prince of France — and you are just like them." Later, when they've decided they really do love each other, the prince calls Danielle by her name for the first time, instead of the alias she used for half the movie.
  • The Replicants from Blade Runner are all referred to by their first names, while human characters refer to each other by their surnames.
  • Scout and Jem from To Kill a Mockingbird consistently refer to their father Atticus by his first name rather than "Dad". He doesn't mind, and considering the mother's not around...
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Notably, the film series is when we first hear Erik called "Erik" with any regularity, and it crosses back to the comics and all other versions. Before the movies, those who knew Magneto well called him Magnus, as his "real" name (as in, what his birth name is gets retconned back and forth, but this is the name he has used most consistently for the longest in-and-out-of-universe time) is Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, with "Magnus" being the only thing we knew (as things stood then) to be part of his "real" name. Of course, "Magnus" just sounds like something else you might call a master of magnetism, so in the films, Charles and Raven call him Erik, and everything else follows suit.
    • X2: X-Men United:
      • Professor X and William Stryker use each other's given names because Jason Stryker was once Xavier's student.
      • The following dialogue foreshadows an off-stage Face–Heel Turn:
        Magneto: What is your name?
        Pyro: John.
        Magneto: No, what is your real name?
    • Denied by Mystique in X-Men: The Last Stand
      The Interrogator: Where is Magneto? Raven? Raven, I asked you a question.
      Mystique: I don't answer to my slave name.
    • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine ironically Sabertooth is technically the only character who calls Wolverine by his actual name "James", though he mockingly uses "Jimmy" instead. This makes sense since in this telling Saberooth has been with Wolverine since childhood.
    • X-Men: First Class: On a meta level; before this movie was released, fans frequently referred to Professor X, Magneto, Mystique and Beast by their codenames, but afterwards, it became commonplace for audience members to call them by their first names, especially when differentiating between their "regular" selves and their superhero/supervillain persona.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • While the public and most other characters refer to Erik (Magneto) and Raven (Mystique) by their mutant code names, Charles and Hank still remain on a first name basis with both of them, and vice versa. This is also presumably true for Alex, who still addresses his former allies as Raven and Erik.
      • This is the first time in the franchise where Logan uses Charles' first name when speaking to Xavier directly. It's the result of the close friendship they developed during the Time Skip after The Wolverine.
      • Surprisingly, the elderly Magneto calls Bobby by his first name instead of his codename (Iceman). This indicates that Erik must have gotten to know Bobby on a more personal level during their war against the Future Sentinels.
    • Logan, the very titular invokes this as James Mangold wanted it to be film about the man not the Wolverine.
      • Wolverine's birth name of "James Howlett" shows up again, god knows how Wolverine remembers it let alone how Transigen uncovered it.
      • Notably Wolverine averts this when it comes to X-23 he doesn't call her by her real name just "kid". So it's more of a Tear Jerker when while dying he calls her "Laura".
  • Lampshaded by the Captain of the submarine in Ice Station Zebra, who explains to a passenger that on such a small vessel it's more comfortable to call everyone by his first name. "My first name is Captain."
  • In Big Game, Moore suggests from the very beginning that Oskari call him Bill, but the boy keeps on calling him "president" until it's time to introduce him to his father.
  • In GoldenEye, Janus actually addresses Bond as "James" instead of "Mr. Bond," which is rare for a James Bond villain. Though it's justified, since he and James are old buddies.
    • The Bond girls also normally call him "James". (all the other characters refer to him as Bond, Mr. Bond, or 007)
  • The Enforcer. Dirty Harry is partnered with a rookie female officer who's naturally defensive about any attempt to patronize her — so much so that "Don't concern yourself, Inspector" becomes her Catchphrase. Her Famous Last Words as she dies in his arms are "Don't concern yourself...Harry."
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It's an important moment when Indiana's father addresses him by name for the first time, having spent the entire movie calling him "Junior". And not just his given name (which they share), but the one his son has chosen for himself.
  • Doc Hudson's real name is Hudson Hornet. Guess what car he actually is!
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers:
      • Lampshaded when Phil Coulson shows up at Stark Tower. Note that it is completely in character for Pepper to learn his name, and for Tony to not.
        Pepper Potts: Phil!
        Tony Stark: Phil? Uh, his first name is "Agent".
      • This gets a Call-Back after Coulson is killed by Loki:
        Tony: And there's one other person you pissed off. His name was Phil.
    • Among the Avengers only Rhodey, Bruce Banner, Hawkeye and Black Window address Iron Man by his first name. Captain America notably calls him "Tony" instead of the usual "Stark" when trying to calm him down after Tony learns Bucky killed his parents in Captain America: Civil War.
    • Gamora is the only member of Guardians of the Galaxy who calls Star-lord by his name "Peter" while everyone else calls him by his surname "Quill".
    • Janet Van Dyne is the only person in the franchise who calls her husband "Henry" instead of "Hank" or "Dr. Pym".
  • It is a point brought up by Pep Strebeck to Joe Friday in Dragnet that friends call each other by first names.
  • The only character in the Back to the Future trilogy to address Doc as "Emmett" is Clara Clayton, his love interest from Part III.
  • EVERYONE in The Room — nobody seems to have a last name (Except possibly Chris-R, but who knows what that stands for)
  • In Pacific Rim, Herc always addresses Pentecost as "Stacker", given that they were contemporaries.
    • Raleigh and Mako gradually get onto a first-name basis over the course of the movie. Raleigh starts calling Mako by her first name midway through, but Mako only reciprocates at the very end.
  • In The Guns of Navarone, Colonel Andrea Stavros insists on going by his unadorned first name, in spite of outranking everyone else in the team. This is a confirmation of two things; that the Greek army is disbanded, and that he defers to Captain Mallory and Major Franklin since this is an Allied operation.
  • Oddly enough, the Hutts in Star Wars are on First Name Basis with everyone, despite the fact that they consider all other races inferior. For example, Jabba's full name was Jabba Desilijic Tiure, but everyone simply addressed him as "Jabba the Hutt". This seemed common for all Hutts.
  • The Crazies (1973). Colonel Peckham establishes a radio-phone link with higher authority, trying to get something done about the virus. The official on the other hand can be heard asking his aide for the colonel's first name in order to invoke this trope. Peckham angrily cuts him off in mid-greeting.
  • After the heroes save Utah in Broken Arrow and seem headed for the Smooch of Victory, First-Name Basis happens instead. They shake hands, and the last lines of the movie are "Riley Hale." - "Terry Carmichael."
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Harry Potter calls Voldemort "Tom" during their final battle. Unlike most other cases this is meant as an insult. Voldemort wants to be feared and being called by such a normal name reminds him of when he was nothing.
  • Fandom example: Jason Voorhees of the Friday the 13th movies is popularly referred to as simply "Jason".

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