What's the significance of certain movie titles with respect to their context? I mean, take for example, these 3 movies (spoilers ahead, be warned):

  • Winter's Bone
  • Raising Arizona
  • Monster's Ball

I couldnt figure out why these movies were named as they are. For example, in the case of the second listed movie, the baby was called Nathan Jr. so wouldnt it make sense to call it Raising Nathan Jr or even Raising Junior? So why the last name, especially when it could mean any one of the tiny tots and not one specific one?

  • Similar question is asked by me movies.stackexchange.com/questions/2192/…
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 12:35
  • 3
    I'm a bit confused as to the scope of your question. Are you asking why in general directors sometimes pick a title that doesn't seem to relate back to the movie, or asking about just these movies?
    – Tablemaker
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 12:43
  • @Tyler, Both these.
    – Mamta D
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 13:21

3 Answers 3


Winter's Bone - According to the author in the afterword of the novel, the novel takes place during winter, and the character is put through a figurative hell all her life. She is given, in the end, knowledge of what actually happened to her father and the house. So, she was "thrown a Winter's Bone"

Monster's Ball - On the last night before a death row convict is executed, he is given a meal of his choice, and is generally treated with more calm respect than in the past years. This night is known colloquially as the "Monster's Ball."

Raising Arizona - This one was covered fairly expertly by @wobegacz. :)


Movie titles can be anywhere from straight-forward, such as "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark", to a simple play on words like "Smokin Aces" (in this context it means killing a person named Aces), to complex plays on words with deeper meaning, like “Winter’s Bone” (in this context meaning something along the lines of winter throwing you a bone, so to speak).

Some titles are meant to be descriptive, while others are meant to get their audience to look at the deeper meanigns of the title and film, and to come to their own conclusions as to the meaning.


In the Raising Arizona case, one of the quintuplets was chosen at random. Using the last name was the only solid thing in that experience. Randomness is a player in the movie. Everything seems to be driven positively or negatively based on chance. Nick Cage's character is the stereotypical Hapless Man.

The title would have been tough to choose any way if it were to be based on the movie's events:

  • Shiftless Ex-con pulls failed con,
  • Con/Law-Woman Rom-Com,
  • Baby-on-Board-and-off Bank Robbery,
  • and on...

If the title says too much, why bother seeing the movie? Though there are movies like The Great Train Robbery that reveal just enough with the title.

  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Commented May 25, 2022 at 21:24

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