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  • The Pink Panther refers to a gem in the first movie, not Inspector Clouseau, like some people thought. The studio initially tried to clear it up (the first sequel, A Shot In The Dark, didn't have the gem, and the next, The Return Of The Pink Panther, featured the return of the gem), but eventually gave up and ran with the idea, titling the final sequels The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther, Curse of the Pink Panther, and Son of the Pink Panther, despite the gem only figuring into the plots of Trail and Curse (which were shot at the same time and tell one long story between them). The end of the first film mentions that the in-universe newspapers made this same error as a joke.
    • Many younger fans don't even realize there is a diamond, and only know the Pink Panther as the rose-colored feline in the animated shorts, the Owens-Corning insulation commercials, and the animated series.
  • The title of the film The Last Samurai actually refers to the entire group of fighters at the end of the movie, but like "sheep," the word "samurai" can be both singular and plural. Thus, many think it refers exclusively to Tom Cruise's character, especially given that he is the only one to survive. This misinterpretation crept into at least one international translation of the title, in a language that does make a distinction between singular and plural for "samurai".
    • More so in languages that do make a distinction between singular and plural for "last" and "the."
      • Done in the Greek version where not only there is a distinction between singular and plural for these words but also a gender distinction (however "samurai" is not inflectional).
  • The Last of the Mohicans refers to Chingachgook, not the hero Hawk-Eye / Nathanael.
  • The title of Highlander refers to Connor (and later Duncan) McLeod's origin as a Scottish Highlander, not to the race of immortals (who are simply call that, "Immortals") that he turns out to be part of.
    • Also in the original movie, the antagonist's name is not Kurgan. In fact, he has no name. Everyone refers to him as "The Kurgan" because he is from that region, much like how people refer to Connor MacLeod as "Highlander".
  • The "Thin Man" referred to in the title of the Dashiell Hammett novel The Thin Man was actually a man whom the protagonists, Nick and Nora Charles, were pursuing. In the movie series, it came to refer to Nick Charles himself. In the book, Nick was actually overweight, but the actor who portrayed him was thin; the first couple of sequels resisted taking advantage of the resultant confusion, using awkward names like After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man, but eventually the series decided that if people thought Nick was The Thin Man anyway, they might as well go along with it.
  • Ratatouille is simply a cute pun for the title of the film, and the featured dish at the film's climax, not the name of any of the rats actually in the movie. The main rat character is named Rémy.
    • Made all the more frustrating by an All Play round in the second edition of Disney Scene It, where players are asked to "Name The Character" and the answer turns out to be Ratatouille.
  • The woman from Chasing Amy is named Alyssa. Amy is Silent Bob's ex, and even "Chasing" doesn't mean what you think.
    • "Chasing Amy" is also the comic book Holden makes based on Holden and Alyssa's relationship. So, in a sense, Alyssa IS Amy.
  • Many people believe that the title character of The Big Lebowski is that played by Jeff Bridges. The plot is driven by a case of mistaken identity between Bridges' character and another character also named Jeffrey Lebowski. However, Bridges' character repeatedly insists that he is properly called "the Dude," and refers to the other man as "the big Lebowski" several times throughout the film.
    • Not to mention the Little Lebowski Urban Acheivers, or that Little Lebowski on the way by the end of the film.
  • The eponymous whale of the film Free Willy was not named "Free Willy". The whale was named simply Willy; the title comes from a scene where Jesse says "let's free Willy!" It doesn't help that the sequels used "Free Willy" in their titles.
    • To combine with I Am Not Spock, some people even call the real whale playing the character "Willy", even though his name was Keiko.
    • Further confusion ensues in Norway, where "Free Willy" sounds like "frivillig" (roughly, "freely willing," i.e., voluntary).
  • The main character in Ong Bak is called Ting. Ong-Bak is a Buddha statue in his village temple.
  • Jaws is not the name of the shark in the movies of the same name. The shark doesn't have a name at all, although on the set the mechanical shark used for filming was referred to as "Bruce", after Spielberg's lawyer.
    • Speaking of which: Remember that James Bond villain named Jaws ? French version called him Requin, which means shark.
      • This also appears in the Brazilian DVD (in the original translation, it was "Steel Teeth").
  • The Dog-Thing from The Thing is not named "Jed", and neither is "the Norwegian sled dog". Jed is the name of the wolf-dog who played the Norwegian sled dog. "Jed" and "Jed-Thing" are fan names given to the character and creature because it's less of a mouthful than "Norwegian sled dog" and "Norwegian sled dog-Thing". It may also be a reference to the fact that John Carpenter and Kurt Russell simply refer to the dog as Jed in the DVD commentary.
  • The creatures from the movie (and television series) Tremors are called "Graboids". So many viewers have called the creatures "Tremors" that this has been brought into the series; at one point a tourist mentions a "tremor", prompting a main character to exclaim in exasperation, "They're called Graboids!"
  • The flying alien monsters in Pitch Black remain nameless throughout the film. Sorry, "bio-raptor" and "demon" are just fanspeak.
  • The protagonist of the movie Kung Fu Panda is named Po. In Disaster Movie, he was referred to as Kung Fu Panda, but the writers are of course idiots.
    • And again, Giselle from Enchanted is credited as "Enchanted princess". This one is doubly bad, as the character is not even a princess.
    • Similarly, Meet the Spartans and Vampires Suck respectively feature "Ugly Betty" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Which are, you know, the shows' names and not anything the actual characters of Betty Suarez and Buffy Summers are regularly referred to by.
  • The title character of Local Hero is Ben, the old beach bum who stands alone in blocking the oil company from demolishing the town and eventually saves it by convincing the company's CEO to drill elsewhere. The main character Mac is neither local nor a hero.
    • That's somewhat ambiguous. In the novelization of the movie, the title phrase is used only once, and refers to Murdo, the African-born reverend. (But either way, it's not Mac.)
    • The "novelization" is not reliable... it ignores the final shot.
    • However, the soundtrack album has pieces labeled "Arrival of the Local Hero" and "Departure of the Local Hero", clearly referring to Mac's arrival and departure. It seems likely that "local hero" is intentionally ambiguous.
  • Comic Book The Movie features an in-universe example of the trope's title example: a woman is condescendingly corrected by her four year old that the action figure his father has just bought is Captain Marvel, not Shazam.
  • In Sleeping Beauty, the princess's name has been unstable (the Disney one is Aurora), but never actually "Sleeping Beauty", which is a title of sorts.
  • In Bride of Re-Animator, the eponymous Bride is being constructed for Herbert West's heartbroken assistant, not for Herbert West the Re-Animator himself.
  • In all three versions of the movie, King Kong is the show name for the giant gorilla when he is brought back to New York -- his real name is just "Kong". The same thing goes for the "Mighty" part of Mighty Joe Young; the character also being referred to as "Mr. Joseph Young", or "Joe" (in the remake, it's just "Joe").
  • A strange inversion: while Ichi the Killer is the name of the main character in the film, the character who appears predominantly on the posters, DVD covers, and other promotional images is actually the antagonist Kakihara, who is often mistaken for Ichi.
  • Many people refer to Count Orlok as Nosferatu.
    • Well, he is a Nosferatu - it isn't his name, but suits perfectly well to describe him.
    • He's also the only one (around), so there won't be any mix-ups.
  • Priscilla is the bus, not one of the gay trio. Of course it makes Role Association jokes easier (a Brazilian magazine once said that Agent Smith's greatest flaw is: "Honestly, can you trust on someone who dressed himself as Priscilla, Queen of the Desert?")
    • Speaking of Smith, people call him an Agent through all three Matrix films, even though he's only an agent in the original movie. In the sequels, he's simply Smith.
  • The main characters in Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke are actually called Pedro and The Man (although Man's real name is actually Anthony Stoner). The subsequent Cheech & Chong movies subvert this by actually naming the main characters Cheech and Chong.
  • The monster in Cloverfield is not named Cloverfield. It was called "Clover" in film production and "LSA" for "Large-Scale Aggressor" by the military in the film.
  • This trope as applied to Frankenstein (See Literature below) is lampshaded as far back as Son of Frankenstein, best known for being parodied by Young Frankenstein. The title character laments while on a train that "nine out of ten people refer to that thing as..." "Frankenstein."
    • In Marvin Kaye's THE INCREDIBLE UMBRELLA, the protagonist encourages a literary-world version of the monster to name itself, and it responds that "The only name I want is that of my creator". So he makes it "Boris Frankenstein", while thinking "That's what most people call the monster anyway."
  • Johnny Mnemonic is not the name of its main character - he's just Johnny. Or "Just Johnny."
  • An interesting in-movie example occurs in Destroy All Monsters. During one scene, when all the monsters are attacking various cities, a news reporter claims that Baragon is attacking Paris, France. The problem? That's not Baragon attacking Paris but rather Gorosaurus.
    • Interestingly enough, Toho did originally want to use Baragon in the scene, but the suit was too badly damaged so they used Gorosaurus instead. Though, why they still mistakenly referred to Gorosaurus as "Baragon" is unknown.
  • In the Zatoichi series, the protagonist's name is Ichi, Zato refers to a historical guild for blind men. Ichi should be called Zato-no-Ichi, but this is shortened to Zatoichi
  • Yojimbo means bodyguard. While the character is No Name Given, he identifies himself as Sanjuro. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo gets double points for this (see above), although kind of justified in that while Milfune is obviously playing the same character as he did in the two Kurosawa films, for legal reasons, he's called something else.
  • Whenever Mel Gibson's portrayal of William Wallace in Braveheart is referenced/spoofed, odds are he'll get called "Braveheart" rather than Wallace.
  • Sean Connery's character in Zardoz is Zed, not Zardoz. Zardoz actually is The Wonderful Wi ZARD of OZ.
  • The General is the train, not Buster Keaton's character. In fact, Johnnie Gray is only shown enlisted to be a lieutenant at the end.
  • Ghostface is always mistaken for the name Scream.
  • Similar to the above: many people think that Saw is the name of the main villain, or even of the puppet appearing in the film, becoming a sort of mascot for the series. The puppet is named Billy, and the name given by the press to the killer is Jigsaw.
  • Avatar: The Na'vi are not avatars. Jake is not the only person with one, neither is he one all the time.
    • Even "Weird Al" Yankovic stumbled on this one: in his "Perform This Way" (a parody of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way") he makes a double whammy when singing: "I'm Frankenstein, I'm Avatar". Of course, singing "I'm the Creature, I'm a Na'vi" doesn't work in the least, but still...
      • Um, that was the joke.
  • The main character Kikujiro no Natsu is not named Kikujiro. We don't know who it is before the ending, which is a simple but brillant twist. Even if the DVD case may tell you who it is actually.
  • The movie Breakfast at Tiffany's has the same problem as the book with people thinking Tiffany is the main character, instead of a company. Holly Golightly is the name of the main character.
  • The main gremlin's name in Gremlins is "Stripe" not "Spike", and the lead gremlin in the sequel is officially named Mohawk.
  • The name of the main antagonist in Men in Black is "The Bug", not "Edgar". Edgar is the name of the farmer whom the Bug kills and disguises himself as. (Oddly enough, action figures and even the cartoon spin-off refer to the Bug as "Edgar").
  • There is no character called "Finding Nemo". The character's name was Nemo, and he had to be found.
  • In Goldfinger, the movie adaptation begins with the Bond destroying a drug lab, then finding himself battling a thug sent to kill him.  This character is identified in the credits as Capungo -- except that in the novel, capungo is a word for someone who'll kill for cheap, making it much more likely that that's his profession, not his actual name.
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