This may seem like a rudimentary solution, but if you find a great fit for your work in the pages of the first folio, you’ll be joining a proud tradition of writers haughtily self-congratulating themselves for their bardolatry and getting a ripper of a title out of the deal as well. It’s well known that Shakespeare was a prolific pilferer himself, so take notes. After all, would The Fault in Our Stars have set teenage minds ablaze by any other name? Debatably, but it’s a neat allusion all the same.

If you’re worried about seeming pretentious, consider the satirists among us; All the World’s a Stooge, for instance. An invitation with a warning; leave all poise at the door. Mostly this technique is favourable because so many of Shakespeare’s turns-a-phrase just plain sound great – they roll around the mind in the after and roll off the tongue when recommended. Why did The Shawshank Redemption, despite spectacularly positive audience responses, underperform in theatres? Well, it was the ’90s, and word of mouth was king. Heavy lies the crown on anyone who had to clamber that jungle-gym of syllables to tell Beckie from accounting she ought to give it a go. How about ‘Set Me Free’? ‘The Burden Bear’ ‘Like Birds in the Cage’, ‘Fly to Others’, ‘Bear Those Ills’, ‘Hell is Empty’, ‘The Clouds Would Open’, ‘This Thing of Darkness’, ‘More Things in Heaven and Earth’, ‘Sit Still, My Soul’? A bit flowery, but you won’t misremember any of them as The Scrimshaw Reunion.

Of course, the film comes first, and the title ought only match its intention (and, to be frank, sell the thing), but this is another reason to dive into Shakespeare’s work specifically; he gave thought to so much of who we are. After all, if we’re to believe the bard is responsible for ‘the invention of the human, the inauguration of personality as we have come to understand it’, its fair to say you’ll have a better shot at finding your niche among his 884 647 words than among the more single-mindedly preoccupied personalities of some other top-contending writers (though they are there for a reason as well, just be mindful of copyright or else suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous lawsuits). Extra points for alliteration!

This is circumstantial, but the above examples for The Shakshouka Resurrection are all drawn from either Hamlet or The Tempest, and there are plenty more that are less conspicuous. Did you know, for instance, that North by Northwest was lifted from the Shakespeare readership? Same goes for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Infinite Jest, What Dreams May Come and The Trap, too. All, again, from Hamlet. If you’re intimated by all the pages that need paging through, or just don’t have a complete addition handy at this moment and can’t find a Shakespearean movie title generator, there are websites that randomly generate lines from Shakespeare’s work. There are no excuses. All that’s left is to write the thing.

Need a Great Movie Title? Steal from Shakespeare!
Tagged on: