How popular is the baby name Isabella in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Isabella.
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(…And this doesn’t even account for all the Tristan-related girl names that got a mid-’90s boost.)
So, what was the influence?
The character Tristan Ludlow (played by Brad Pitt) from the movie Legends of the Fall — a saga set in rural Montana during the early decades of the 1900s.
Tristan was the rebellious middle son of rancher Col. William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins). He and his brothers — the older, ambitious Alfred (Aidan Quinn), and the younger, naïve Samuel (Henry Thomas) — all fell in love with the same beautiful woman, Susannah (Julia Ormond).
Released at the very end of 1994, the “big, robust Western love story” ranked #1 at the box office for four weeks straight in the early months of 1995.
Regarding Tristan Ludlow’s first name, one incredibly prescient reviewer noted that we should “look for [it] to be given to more than a few babies over the next few years.”
Tristan Ludlow didn’t end up with Susannah, but he did get married — to a Native American woman named Isabel (Karina Lombard). The name Karina saw it’s highest-ever usage in 1995, and the usage of Isabel also increased — though it was already on the rise, so there’s no telling how much of the increase was due specifically to the film.
Speaking of Isabel’s rise…
The fact that Legends of the Fall featured both a character named Isabel and an actor named Aidan, and that forms of these names (Isabella and Aiden) went on to reach the U.S. top 10 — peaking almost simultaneously a decade and a half later — is very interesting to me. It makes me wonder whether the movie’s impact on U.S. baby names wasn’t substantially greater (but also more complex?) than what the mid-’90s data would have us believe.
Isabella ranking, U.S.
Aiden ranking, U.S.
(I began wondering about this after a friend of mine, who has a son named Aiden, mentioned that she’d had the name in the back of her mind ever since seeing Legends of the Fall as a teenager.)
What are your thoughts on this theory?
And, do you know anyone with a name that was inspired by Legends of the Fall?