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Last Name Basis / Film

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Examples for Last-Name Basis in Film.

  • A running theme in Blade Runner. Human characters in the film are referred to by their last names, while the Replicants are all referred to by their first names, which serves to reinforce the point of how humans in the film tend to act distant and impersonal, and the replicants are more emotional. This also foreshadows Rachael's status.
  • Done hilariously in Give 'Em Hell, Malone where Hard Boiled Detective Malone is referred to as such by everyone... Including his mom.
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  • The first Final Destination had high school bully Carter calling protagonist Alex Browning by his last name due to their antagonistic rivalry. In an alternate ending where Alex dies saving his girlfriend, Clear Rivers, from the exploding car, Carter joins Clear (who is with her son Alex Jr.) at the cemetery. He is friendlier with her and the now-deceased Alex, referring to the latter by his first name.
  • In Four Daughters, violinist Ann insists on calling music composer Feliz "Dietz", and he in turn always calls her "Lemp". Naturally, they fall in love.
  • Martin Riggs from the Lethal Weapon movies is always referred to as "Riggs", even though he calls his partner Roger Murtaugh by his first name.
  • Over the three Rush Hour films, Carter and Lee never once call each other by their first names.
  • Alien
    • Almost all of the characters in Alien and Aliens go by last names only. Ripley's first name (Ellen) was never stated in the original theatrical cut of either film, appearing only in a deleted scene from Aliens.
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    • In fact, the original draft of Alien (included as a DVD extra in the Alien Quadrilogy box set) was written such that all the characters had no assigned gender.
    • With the exceptions of Carter Burke, Ellen Ripley, Dwayne Hicks and (possibly) Gorman, all the marines in Aliens have their actor's first name for their real one (e.g. Al Apone (Matthews), Jeanette Vasquez (Goldstein), etc)
  • In most movies about military squads, characters are referred to by either their last name or a nickname. The Alien example above comes to mind, as well as Predator (except Dutch, of course) and Saving Private Ryan (his full name is James Francis Ryan). Somewhat oddly, he's far from the only character in the story with the surname Ryan (and, in fact, is being pulled out of the war zone for precisely that reason), but calling the movie Saving James Francis just wouldn't make the military context clear.
  • All of the characters in The Thing (1982) only refer to each other by their last names. This is only averted after Bennings is shot and MacReady calls him "George".
    • In the original novella, Norris is called Vance.
  • Most James Bond villains call him "Mr. Bond" (his traditional The Name Is Bond, James Bond introduction helps it).
    • The ladies call him James. Including M at times. Normally M (and Q) refers to him by his number, 007
  • In Rear Window, the protagonist, L. B. Jeffries is called "Jeff" by everyone.
  • Withnail of Withnail & I.
  • You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone calling Richard B. Riddick by his first name in Vin Diesel's series of action thrillers. Also true for (William J.) Johns and (Carolyn) Fry.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean Commodore Norrington's first name isn't even never mentioned in the first movie. Second and third movie reveal that it is James. Similarly, Barbossa's first name isn't mentioned until the third when Captain Jack Sparrow calls him "Hector," which is itself Ascended Fanon taken from an earlier interview with Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush when the former speculated on what Barbossa's name might be.
  • Almost everyone in The Great Escape except for Roger (the leader), Colin (the forger), Danny, and Willy (the Tunnel Kings).
  • Pretty nearly the entire The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, except for Nemo (who doesn't have any other name) and Mina (most of the men address her by her first name, eventually).
    • Skinner usually refers to Quatermain as Allan.
  • In Inception, the characters often refer to each other by their last names — the main character, Cobb, is only called by his first name by his wife and father/father in law, another character only goes by 'Eames', implied to be his last name (there's even a fanfic about this), and the team usually refers to Robert Fischer as just 'Fischer'.
  • The Way Back has Mister Smith, who refuses to give his first name and is simply called Smith by most of his companions. Some of the ones with a shakier grasp of English think 'Mister' is actually his first name, and the sole child in the group uses it like it is.
  • In the movie Waitress Jenna won't call the man she's having an affair with by his first name, even though Dr. Pomatter (Jim) uses hers.
  • Taylor in Planet of the Apes (1968). His first name doesn't even pop up in the film, it was revealed later. Brent is this as well in the Beneath sequel, which also has Mendez. It might not have been a last name but more of a title among the mutants by the time of the film, but it appears to have begun as a last name (see Battle). Conquest has MacDonald and Governor Breck. 'Battle' has another MacDonald and Kolp.
  • Highlander had Ramirez, and sometimes Connor would just be called Macleod.
    • Only his kinsmen and his first wife Heather ever called Mac Leod by his first name. The other immortals and other characters would call him Mac Leod. (Or Nash, depending.)
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, Oliver Pike refers to himself and is referred to by others simply as "Pike." His first name (which was revealed in the comics adaptation) is never spoken in the film.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Most characters use Last-Name Basis and First-Name Basis interchangeably when among friends and colleagues:
    • Agent Phil Coulson often goes only by his last name.
    Pepper Potts: Phil! Come in.
    Tony Stark: Phil? His first name is Agent.
    Ross: "36 hours. Barnes. Rogers. Wilson."
    • In Captain Marvel, a 20-years-younger Nick Fury only answers to "Fury". When his boss suddenly calls him "Nicholas", he's immediately tipped off that "Keller" is one of the Shape Shifters that Vers warned him about.
  • In The Shop Around the Corner, the shop workers all address each other as "Mr. _____" or "Miss _____". Kralik does start privately calling Miss Novak "Klara" once he begins to care for her, though.
  • In the original Ghostbusters movie, Ray Stantz almost exclusively refers to his colleagues by their last names, while everyone else uses given names. This seems more like personal preference rather than any indication of his relationship with them, however. In the sequel he seems to have moved on from using only surnames and has instead started nicknaming everybody (though he does use Winston Zeddemore's last name while he and Winston are under the effects of the negatively-charged mood slime and on the verge of killing each other and uses Egon Spengler's surname to refer to him in a much less emotionally charged moment).
  • In The Soloist, Steve and Nathaniel end up calling each other as Mr. Lopez and Mr. Ayers by the end of the film, a sign that Nathaniel has begun to move from personal dependency on Steve to greater independence and that Steve rediscovered respect and integrity in his journalistic work.
  • You can always spot Margaret Dumont's character in the cast list of a Marx Brothers movie, since she inevitably played a feisty, wealthy Grand Dame known only by her surname ("Mrs. Claypool", "Mrs. Teasdale", "Mrs. Upjohn", 'Mrs. Rittenhouse', etc.). By the same token, Groucho almost always played a character with two names and a middle initial ("Otis B. Driftwood", "Rufus T. Firefly", "Hugo Z. Hackenbush", etc.), and Chico and Harpo inevitably played Those Two Guys with Only One Name each ("Tomaso" and "Fiorello", "Chicolini" and "Pinky", "Tony" and "Stuffy", etc.). The convention was a handy way to reinforce the idea that each actor played a variation of the same comedic character in every movie.
  • (Wendy) Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch, though his given name wasn't revealed until Lilo & Stitch: The Series.
  • (Felonious) Gru from Despicable Me. This became rather awkward in the third film when the filmmakers forgot this and named his twin brother Dru Gru.
  • In Cars, Mater's first name is actually "Tow." Lightning McQueen, though viewers usually call him by his first name, is almost always called by his last name by most characters.
  • James P. "Sulley" Sullivan from Monsters, Inc..
  • Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. Especially since he has an Overly Long Name.
  • In WarCraft, Anduin Lothar is always referred to as Lothar, with few situations where he's referred by his full name instead.
  • In American Pie", Steven "Steve" Stifler is called by his last name Stifler to everyone besides his family he's simply Steve an also Paul Finch or simply just Finch is also called by everyone also Christopher Ostreicher Or Chris Ostreicher is called Oz by everyone.
  • In the film version of The Man From Uncle Alexander Waverly is only referred to by his last name Waverly, likely because he happens to share his first name with one of the villains, and, well, One Steve Limit and all.
  • In Zootopia, everyone, including most of the supplementary materials and his friends, refers to Manchas by his last name, or as Mr. Manchas, although he does have a first name (Renato).
  • In The Apartment, Bud and Fran always refer to each other as "Miss Kubelik" and "Mr. Baxter", in and out of the workplace; even when he tells her that he loves her, he uses her last name.
  • In Blood Diamond, Danny Archer is referred to only as "Archer" except one from his former superior in South Africa.
  • Z for Zachariah: Caleb always calls John "Mr. Loomis", seemingly in keeping with his Southern civility.

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