How did the movie “Ladyhawke” influence baby names?

The characters Etienne of Navarre and Isabeau of Anjou from the movie "Ladyhawke" (1985)
Navarre and Isabeau from “Ladyhawke

The main character in the medieval fantasy film Ladyhawke (1985) is a young, talkative thief played by Matthew Broderick.

But at the heart of the film is a cursed romance between a knight and a lady who are “always together, eternally apart.”

Etienne Navarre (played by Dutch actor Rutger Hauer) is human by day, but transforms into a black wolf at night. His lover Isabeau (played by Michelle Pfeiffer), in contrast, is human at night, but transforms into a hawk during the day. Only at the moment of sunrise and sunset are Navarre and Isabeau in human form at the same time.

(Broderick’s character is recruited by Navarre to help him seek revenge upon the Bishop of Aquila, who put the curse on the couple after Isabeau refused his advances.)

Ladyhawke wasn’t a hit at the box office, but it did have an effect on the baby name charts. Navarre, Rutger, and Isabeau all debuted in the U.S. baby name data after the movie came out:

Boys named NavarreBoys named RutgerGirls named Isabeau

Navarre refers to the historical Kingdom of Navarre (which was located in the western Pyrenees), Rutger is the Dutch form of Roger, and Isabeau (like Isabel) is a form of the name Elizabeth that emerged during the Middle Ages.

The name Isabeau may get another boost in a couple of years if U.S. figure skater Isabeau Levito — who was born in 2007 and named after the Ladyhawke character — participates in the 2026 Winter Olympics.

What are your thought on these names?

P.S. Rutger Hauer also had a starring role in the 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner


Image: Screenshot of Ladyhawke

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