IMDb is littered with characters with no names (Creepy Guy, Woman on Phone, Chimp With Child On Roof), but they’re usually supporting characters who are best described by what they do. But on those rare instances when a main character has no name and is just credited as “Man” or “Him” — or, in the case of Ryan Gosling in Drive, “Driver” — there’s an artistic rationale: Perhaps it’s meant to underline the character’s mystery, or maybe he or she is a stand-in for us all! Minds: blown! And yet, symbolic gravity aside, we still think these people should have names; it makes us feel closer to them. So we have decided to bequeath well-considered names onto some of cinema and TV’s most anonymous characters; if nothing else, it will make their lives easier at the DMV.
Driver in Drive (Ryan Gosling)
Name: Max Bullitt
Why?: Remember when a Max was either a lovable, cigar-chomping sidekick or a dorky, loyal friend who’d bail you out of jail or take you to the prom when old Mr. Dreamboat stood you up? Those days are gone. Now Maxes are all testosterone, axle grease, and Henley shirts, fitting Gosling’s stuntman/wheelman like a fingerless glove. And his last name is Bullitt because, you know, movie references are fun.
The Narrator in Fight Club (Ed Norton)
Name: James Smith
Why?: The most common American first name and the most common American last name for the most common American man — sad, tired, addicted to furniture catalogues, mentally ill — ever captured on film.
The Mariner in Waterworld (Kevin Costner)
Name: Blobfish Splashman
Why?: By the time the world’s polar ice caps have melted and the planet is almost entirely covered in water, we will all have aquatic names. Blobfish will be the new John.
The Man With No Name in The Dollars Trilogy (Clint Eastwood)
Name: Susan B. Anthony
Why?: You don’t become known as “The Man With No Name” without having a name so embarrassing you pretend like your overly patriotic parents didn’t give you one at all.
The Girl in The Seven Year Itch (Marilyn Monroe)
Name: Kitty Cassidy
Why?: Born Mary Jane Clottstein, she changed her name because she knew the only way to make it in this town is by pandering to the alliteration-loving masses.
The Bass Player in That Thing You Do (Ethan Embry)
Why?: As Flea and Sting have proven, all a bass player needs is a single, insect-related name.
The Old Man in A Christmas Story (Darren McGavin)
Name: George Parker
Why?: There’s actually a law in Ohio that forces men who turn 45 to
change their name to George and spend at least one hour a day reading
the paper in a recliner everyone calls “dad’s chair.” Parker, of course, because that’s Ralphie’s last name, and even though the Old Man hates Ralphie like a stepchild, we’re pretty sure he’s not.
Agent 99 in Get Smart (Barbara Feldon)
Name: Susan Hilton
Why?: 99 uses Susan Hilton as an alias in the episode “99 Loses Control” but later claims she made it up as a cover, which is exactly what you’d expect a secret agent to say after accidentally letting her real name slip. Busted.
Man in The Road (Viggo Mortensen)
Name: John Doe
Why?: Because that guy wandering the cold, dead Earth, fighting off bands of cannibalistic marauders with his only son, COULD TOTALLY BE YOU.
Nada in They Live (Rowdy Roddy Piper)
Name: Billy Ray
Why?: The flannel shirt and mullet are dead giveaways that Piper’s world-saving drifter is a Billy Ray. Like most guys with mullets, it’s a safe bet he’s forgotten his last name.
The Doctor in Doctor Who (Lots of guys)
Name: The Doctor
Why?: The shroud of mystery surrounding The Doctor’s name is actually a big misunderstanding caused by an innocent typo.
He and She in Antichrist (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg)
Name: Leia and Mutton Tailing
Why?: Like the characters themselves, their names seem innocuous, if somewhat odd. But also like the characters, when you look closer you see there’s something very weird going on. Again, like the characters, the something is genital mutilation, which is an anagram for their names.