Earlier this year, Women Woman hit the screens and raked in millions at the box office. But Diana, Princess of the Amazons, is set to be just one of many fearless heroines that have made a huge impact on the big screen.
Here, we take a look at 10 of our favourite female movie characters…
Although Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft was initially accused of being a ‘cyber-bimbo’ during the computer game years, the movie version of the character – played by Angelina Jolie – helped quash this. Whatever you think of her, there’s no getting away from the fact Lara holds her own in the face of vindictive and violent men and is clever, fit and seriously empowering.
You can’t get more of an iconic heroine than Star Wars’ Princess Leia. Head of the Rebel Alliance, the character (originally played by the late Carrie Fisher) has been hailed a feminist role model. She speaks her mind, doesn’t buckle under pressure – or even torture – and puts others before her self, while proving herself to be a super successful leader.
Anna from Frozen may live in her sister Elsa’s shadow, but she is a real hero. When Elsa runs away from Arendelle, Anna grabs a horse and heads off through the wind and snow to find her. Sure, she is eventually accompanied by a man in the form of Kristoff, but it is Anna who leads the charge. She is impulsive, funny and determined – and packs a mean punch. Ain’t that right, Hans?
Is there nothing Kill Bill’s Beatrix Kiddo can’t do? The mum-of-one is an undeniably fierce kung fu master, who survived an attempted murder at her wedding, survived being in a coma for years, dug herself out of a grave and took on O-Ren’s Crazy 88 team of assassins – and won. Beatrix, played by Uma Thurman, is one lady you don’t want to mess with.
Unlike her sister Bianca, 10 Things I Hate About You’s Kat Stratford is not a sheep. Far from it. Kat refuses to conform to what society ‘thinks’ she should do and never bows to peer pressure. Kat (Julia Stiles) says true to herself, even when her heart gets broken, and heads off to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Even though her dad wants her to “go to a West Coast school”. Hero.
Arguably one of Disney’s most fearless female characters yet, Mulan proves that girls can fight just as well as boys. When war breaks out, the Chinese emperor rules that one man from each family must join the army. Fearing for the safety of her elderly veteran father, Mulan cuts her hair off, dons his old armour and heads off to battle in his place – disguised as a man. And she kicks butt.
Bend It Like Beckham’s Jesminder ‘Jess’ Bhamra is the daughter of a traditional Sikh family, with ambitions of making it as a professional footballer. Although her parents disapprove of her hobby, the feisty teenager (played by Parminder Nagra) is determined to follow her dream and eventually makes them proud both on and off the pitch.
The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen is a hero right from the get go, when she volunteers to take the place of her little sister Prim during the annual ‘reaping’ of tributes. Once accepted to represent her district in the gladiator-like Hunger Games, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) goes on to become quite the fearless warrior as she does her very best in standing up to oppression.
Though only six years old, Roald Dahl’s Matilda was – and still is – quite the heroine. The bookworm (played by Mara Wilson) proves herself to be brave and seriously independent, as she fights back against both her neglectful family and her terrifying headteacher, Miss Trunchbull. And all with a little help from telepathy, of course.
She might not have had any formal legal training, yet that didn’t stop mum-of-three Erin Brockovich from taking on the big guns. Erin (played by Julia Roberts) was instrumental in a successful legal case against Pacific Gas and Electric Company, over alleged water contamination, and refused point blank to back down. And the best bit, the 2000 movie is based on a true story.
Originally published 3rd June 2017
Updated 1st December 2017