Title Inflation: How Hollywood Watches Our Wallets

Marilyn Monroe in 'How to Marry a Millionaire'

'Have You Seen My Best Friends?' Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire. Twentieth Century Fox hide caption

itoggle caption Twentieth Century Fox

It's customary to say that things come in all shapes and sizes, but movie titles could also be said to come in all denominations — denominations that often say a little something about the era the movie comes from.

Four years after the Panic of 1893, for instance, nickelodeons were showing a short called Scrambling for Pennies. Months after the Crash of 1929, theaters screened a movie called Dollar Dizzy. And as world economies spin out of control in 2009, a leading contender for Best Picture is Slumdog Millionaire.

Today on All Things Considered, we go looking for clues about how well Hollywood's dream factory keeps track of our national monetary mood — and it turns out that movie titles and moviegoers' wallets are often in sync.

(Listen to the story: It won't hurt, and this next bit will make more sense.)

Below, the list that inspired today's essay: a noncomprehensive survey of money-movie titles through the years, drawn from the exhaustive database at IMDb.com. Feel free to add your own observations about how Hollywood reflects history in our Comments section.

1910s

His Last Dollar - 1911

The Mighty Dollar - 1912

The Hundred Dollar Elopement - 1913

500 Dollar Kiss - 1914

Room & Board: A Dollar-and-a-Half - 1915

Thousand Dollar Husband - 1916

The Pawnshop - 1916

The Almighty Dollar -1916

1920s

The Great Nickel Robbery - 1920

The Ten Thousand Dollar Trail - 1921

The Dollar-a-Year Man - 1921

The Five Dollar Baby - 1922

Her Fatal Millions - 1923

Greed - 1924

Million Dollar Derby - 1926

God Gave Me 20 Cents - 1926

Vanishing Millions - 1926

Million Dollar Mystery - 1927

Melting Millions - 1927

Million Dollar Collar - 1929 (Rin Tin Tin)

1930s

Dollar Dizzy - 1930

Quick Millions - 1931

Million Dollar Swindle - 1931

Million Dollar Legs - 1932 (WC Fields)

Too Many Millions - 1934

Ten Dollar Raise - 1935

Pennies From Heaven - 1936

Million Dollar Racket - 1937

A Dime a Dance - 1937

Million Dollar Legs - 1939 (Betty Grable)

1940s

Dancing on a Dime - 1940

Million Dollar Baby - 1941

A Good Time for a Dime - 1941

Million Dollar Kid - 1944

Gents Without Cents - 1944

Ten Cents a Dance - 1945

1950s

Million Dollar Mermaid - 1952

Two Cents Worth of Hope - 1952

How to Marry a Millionaire - 1953

Three Coins in the Fountain - 1954

Million Dollar Movie - 1954 (TV show)

Working Dollars - 1956

1960s

It's Only Money - 1962

Goldfinger - 1964

The Pawnbroker - 1964

A Fistful of Dollars- 1964

For a Few Dollars More - 1965

Five Thousand Dollars on One Ace - 1965

How to Steal A Million - 1966

For One Thousand Dollars Per Day - 1966

Ten Thousand Dollars for a Massacre - 1967

Take the Money and Run - 1969

1970s

Dollars to Die For - 1970

Diamonds Are Forever - 1971

A Barrel Full of Dollars - 1971

Nickel Queen - 1971

The Six Million Dollar Man (TV) - 1974

The Nickel Ride - 1974

Brother Can You Spare A Dime -1975

Billion Dollar Bubble - 1976

Twelve and a Half Cents - 1977

1980s

Pennies From Heaven - 1981

Silver Spoons - 1982

Come Back to the Five & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean - 1982

Brewster's Millions - 1985 (also 1914, 1921, 1935, 1945)

The Color of Money - 1986

I Love Dollars - 1986

The Money Pit - 1986

Tango & Cash - 1989

1990s

Other People's Money - 1991

Nickel and Dime - 1992

For a Few Lousy Dollars - 1996

Forty Thousand Dollars - 1996

Six Dollars a Minute - 1997

Six Dollars and One Sense - 1997

Money Talks - 1997 (also 1914, 1919, 1921, 1926, 1932, 1940, 1951, 1972, 1990)

2000s

Million Dollar Hotel - 2000

Million Dollar Baby - 2004

The Trouble With Money - 2006

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters - 2007

Mad Money - 2008

Slumdog Millionaire - 2008

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