Hollywood has a problem: It’s predominantly dominated by men. For decades we’ve been watching movies that are starring, writing and directing by men, it’s only in recent years where the opposite sex gets a voice. Even then you have keyboard warriors on the Internet sabotaging female-centric movies on the silver screen.
On the bright side, Hollywood producers are starting to realise that people are actually demanding for movies with strong female characters. With the rise of the #MeToo movement back in 2017, now we get to enjoy a high count of quality female-made and female-led movies. What a time to be alive as a woman. Not to mention, this year we’ll also be gifted with not one, but two female-led superhero movies (Let’s just hope DC and Marvel don’t make a competition out of these because pitting women against women is so 1950s) — something we thought would never happen in our lifetime.
While there is still a long way to go to make Hollywood more inclusive, we’re grateful that these women help to forge a path for the future and show us that women are as powerful and inspirational (if not, more) as their male counterparts. In conjunction with International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at some of the most iconic female characters in movie history.
The Bride (‘Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2’)
Whether you’ve watched Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series or not, you’ve definitely seen Uma Thurman’s character donning a yellow jumpsuit and wielding a katana. Uma Thurman plays The Bride, an assassin who seeks revenge on those who attack her on her wedding day. Even though the movie was released almost two decades ago, people still look up to The Bride because she’s one of the most badass female characters in movie history. She’s fierce, righteous, empowering and most of all, she’s determined to finish what she’s started, which is to kill Bill.
Most badass scene: The fight scene between Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu. Gorgeous cinematography. Killer score. Badass fight sequence. Need us to say more?
Diana Prince, (‘Wonder Woman’)
Out of all the female comic characters, Wonder Woman is one of the most well-known and relatable one, and we’re glad that she’s the first-ever female superhero to have her own standalone film. Daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus, Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot) is born with superhuman strength and she’s often seen with her weapon, the Lasso of Truth. Despite having the power to kill an actual God (she is nicknamed as the “Godkiller” in the movie), she remains humble and kind, helping people everywhere she goes.
Most badass scene: The famous scene where Diana goes alone through No Man’s Land to capture the enemy trench. That. Was. Legendary.
Leia Organa, (‘Star Wars’ Saga)
You can’t have a list of iconic female characters in history without including Princess General Leia. She’s the leader of the Rebel Alliance. She saves Luke and Han on several occasions. She saves the galaxy multiple times from her father. She was also promoted to become a military general in the Rise of the Skywalker saga. What can’t this woman do? Noted for her fearlessness in battle and dedication to freedom, Leia is one of the greatest leaders in the Alliance, if not the universe.
Most badass moment: Princess Leia strangles Al Capone, her oppressor to death with the chains that cuff her. It was such an empowering scene because you don’t often see a woman breaking free from her oppressor using her own strength and wit.
Hermione Granger, (‘Harry Potter’ Franchise)
Let’s face it, without Hermione (the Muggle-born witch), Harry and Ron would be dead before the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ends. Hermione is the perfect role model for little girls out there. Not only is she smart, hard-working and resourceful, but she also possesses other qualities like loyalty, kindness and integrity. Over the course of eight films, she has grown from miss-know-it-all to a confident young lady who fights for justice and fairness. But most of all, she encourages young girls to not be afraid to be the smartest one in the room.
Most badass moment: Nothing beats (pun intended) Hermione giving Malfoy one tight slap in the face. Everybody wants to do it, but no one has the gut to go for it.
Elle Woods (‘Legally Blonde’ Series)
Elle Woods is the perfect example of why you shouldn’t underestimate a person. She may look like a frivolous sorority girl who only wants to get married and settle down, but she’s so much more than that! The movie and Reese Witherspoon’s character challenge our notion of what feminism entails. Her journey from a dumb blonde to a sharp-witted lawyer is one of the best transformations/character developments we’ve seen.
Most badass scene: The debate over the Theoretical Latimer Case where she made a compelling argument and thus winning the case. We’re still having chills whenever we rewatch that scene.
Sarah Connor (‘Terminator’ Franchise)
Sarah Connor is not a hero. Heck, she isn’t even the chosen one. When we first met her in The Terminator, she’s just a timid waitress with a destiny to fulfil – to birth John Connor, aka the saviour of the humankind. That’s her sole purpose in the movie. But instead of getting sidelined and becoming a damsel in distress, she gets shit done. From training herself, keeping John out of harm’s way to preparing for the impending apocalypse, Sarah Connor never once gives up even though nobody believes a word she says. Rather than letting destiny take its course, she forges her own path and takes control of her own life.
Most badass scene: When Sarah Connor escapes from the mental asylum in Terminator 2 — that’s when you know she’s no longer the innocent girl we know in the first movie. And would you take a look at that physique?
Ellen Ripley (‘Alien’ Franchise)
Of all the people who went to space and fought aliens, none have proven to be as competent as the great Ellen Ripley. Sigourney Weaver’s character is quick-witted, hard-headed and fearsome in Alien. But her most admirable quality is the fact that she doesn’t give a shit about what other people think about her. Unlike most female characters out there who look like literal goddess even when they fight, Ripley could care less about her look and manner because, honestly, who has the time to groom yourself when you’re literally hunted down by a terrifying monster in a spaceship where you have nowhere to hide?
Most badass moment: “Get away from her, you bitch!” That’s it. 5 seconds of pure cinema.
Read more: 20 Biggest Movies to Watch in 2020