Nine Feature Film Titles That Are Palindromes

Live Evil

The most surprising thing about this list (which required far more research than you'd imagine) is that for all the goofy palindromes we grew up with - classics like "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama" and "Madam, I'm Adam" as well as more prosaic entries like "Dammit, I'm mad!" and "Dog doo? Good God!" - palindromes simply aren't used for movie titles. Of the following nine, perhaps only one of them is intentionally a palindrome. The others, I think, are just coincidental.

  1. Anna. This 1987 drama about a Czech actress in New York is mostly remembered for scoring its star, kooky actress Sally Kirkland, an Oscar nomination, mainly as the result of Kirkland's relentless campaigning for the nod. (She didn't win, but she did walk home with a Golden Globe and an Independent Spirit Award, so that's something.)
  2. AKA. Little-known indie - believe me, folks, very few movies on this list will be familiar to the average film fan - is something that at least I've actually seen. It premiered at Sundance in 2003 and is notable for its story unfolding entirely across three separate screens.
  3. Ada. We wrap up the A's with this 1961 political drama that, considering its all-star cast (Susan Hayward, Dean Martin, etc.) and its once-prestigious director Daniel Mann, has vanished into the mists of time. Ada, in this case, is the name of a prostitute (Hayward) who marries a future governor (Martin).
  4. Dad. Like many entries on this list, if you go to the IMDb you'll find quite a lot of films called "Dad". Many are shorts, some are English translations of foreign titles, most have incomplete info. The one legitimate Dad for this list would have to be the 1989 studio dramedy starring Jack Lemmon, Ted Danson, and Ethan Hawke.
  5. Eve. With a name as loaded with symbolism as "Eve", you'd think there'd be at least one major release with that title (and indeed, the name has cropped up in a number of classic films: All About Eve, The Lady Eve, The Three Faces of Eve, etc.). But of the nearly two dozen "Eve"s on the IMDb, the best I can give you is this 1968 B-movie starring Christopher Lee and Herbert Lom. And even in this case, its original title was The Face of Eve.
  6. xXx. Am I counting the title of this moderately successful Vin Diesel action picture as a palindrome, even though it's just the same letter? You bet I am. Because that's how few notable palindromic film titles there are out there. This one at least gets a little extra credit since that capital "X" in the middle does make the title a slightly more proper palindrome.
  7. Sssssss. And how could I resist including the onomatopoetic title for this cultish 1974 schlock movie about a man who becomes a giant snake? Starring Strother Martin and Dirk "the original Starbuck" Benedict as the snake man.
  8. R.O.T.O.R. We're really scraping the bottom of the barrel now, with this 1988 RoboCop ripoff starring no one you've ever heard of. By all accounts, a total turkey.
  9. Live Evil. I end this list with the only genuinely, purposefully palindromic title I could find. By pure coincidence, this 2009 straight-to-video vampire movie happened to be written and directed by my good friend Jay Woelfel, who also edited my first feature Foreign Correspondents. Leave it to Jay to be bold enough to use a palindrome, where thousands of other filmmakers would not dare.