11 FICTIONAL CHARACTERS YOU KNOW BY FACE BUT NOT BY NAME
You’ve known some of these characters your whole life and you might even love some of them (or at least the actors who play them), but did you ever wonder what’s the real name behind the memorable face? What if they don’t have a name after all? Well, get ready to meet some of your most favorite and not-so-favorite nameless pop culture icons from film and TV.
Written by Theodoros II
THE GIRL – THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH
Arguably one of the most popular films made in the ‘50s The Seven Year Itch contains probably the most iconic and authentically sexy images of the twentieth century. We’re of course referring to the moment when Marilyn Monroe is standing on the subway grate and her white dress is blown up around her by the rush of air from a passing underground train. The scene was blatantly criticized by the super prude and conservative critics of the era for showing too much flesh and the fact that Monroe’s character had no name wasn’t even noticed.
EL MARIACHI – DESPERADO
El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas at his best) is a nameless folklore hero in Hispanic culture whose destiny played him a very bad hand. He got mixed up with another man who also carried a guitar case and had unfinished business with the local mafia. The wrong guy was hunted down and after they killed the woman he loved, they shot his “magic” hand, nearly causing him to never play guitar again. Once El Mariachi heals he fills his guitar case with guns and his soul with hate and goes out seeking revenge for the love of his life.
THE MOTORCYCLE BOY – RUMBLE FISH
Rumble Fish is Francis Ford Coppola’s most favorite of his own films, and we can all agree that this cinematic masterpiece reminds us more of a film Andrei Tarkovsky would have made than an American ‘80s classic. Mickey Rourke’s controversial character is nameless and goes by the nickname the Motorcycle Boy just as in the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton, who also cowrote the screenplay.
BLONDIE – THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Way before Clint Eastwood won four Oscars, made millions with his blockbuster films, and became a legend, he had a really hard time finding roles so he moved to Italy and started making Spaghetti Westerns. Strangely, even though one of his most recognizable, signature roles was in the Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the character’s name goes unidentified because throughout the film everybody refers to him as Blondie.
MAN IN BLACK – LOST
Lost is probably the TV show with the most unsolved mysteries (that is if one excludes The X-Files and Unsolved Mysteries, hosted by the late, great Robert Stack of Untouchables fame) and the fact that the ultimate villain of the show had more nicknames than Michael Jackson but no real name to concretely identify it, makes the show even more puzzling and dark. You can call it anything from the Man in Black to Smoke Monster and Black Smoke, just don’t ask its real name because you might piss it off and you don’t want that.
THE NAMELESS WARRIOR – HERO
There have been many films with the same title but this is probably the best one. Jet Li, in one of the most convincing and touching roles of his career, is an undefeated, unstoppable master swordsman who is on a mission to kill the king of Qin. You never learn his name while watching the film, but it won’t matter much after you have watched this powerful, timeless masterpiece.
HARMONICA – ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST
One of the toughest guys in film history, Charles Bronson, has no name and goes by the nickname “Harmonica” in what is his most noted role in one of the most well-known Westerns ever produced—Once Upon a Time in the West.
THE NARRATOR – FIGHT CLUB
Fight Club is the kind of film that marked its time as very few films manage to do, and it is the one movie that made us realize how extremely talented Edward Norton is. However, if you watch the movie more than once you will notice that even though we get to know a lot about Norton’s character, such as him being totally insane, suffering from insomnia, and creating a fictional person named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) in his head, we never learn his name since he’s just the story’s narrator.
V – V FOR VENDETTA
Well, it’s not as though as you watch this movie you will find out anything of value about the man behind the most brilliant, unique mask in film history, since as he said he’s not human but an idea, and for that matter a beautiful idea of a free world where there’s no discrimination and fascism. So, as V would probably say: Ideas have no name and never die.
THE DRIVER – DRIVE
Critics described Drive as one of the best neo-noir action crime films of our age and Ryan Gosling’s fans mainly praised him for his performance as the film’s main character, the Driver. However, if you didn’t enjoy the movie as much as the critics claimed to have done, but instead focused mostly on secondary things, there’s no way you could have missed the most intriguing part of the film in our opinion: the driver has no name; he’s just known by his profession.
THE STRANGER – THE BIG LEBOWSKI
With all the “special” characters this delightfully written and directed film includes it is not easy to remember more than one or two other than The Dude, aka Jeffrey Lebowski, of course. If you somehow remember the small but hilarious role Sam Elliott has in the film then you might also remember that his character had no name but was just known as “The Stranger.”