Seven Strong Female Characters in the Movies

Seven Strong Female Characters in the Movies

It is true, things are not as bad as they used to be. We are now, thankfully, used to seeing strong female characters on our movie screens. Gone are the days (almost) of a woman just acting as a sidekick to a male lead or, even worse, as something of a trophy, rather than a rounded character in her own right.

Hollywood has not always been as positive about strong women
Hollywood has not always been as positive about strong women

There are times when movie directors still get it wrong though. Sometimes, even with the best will in the world, films feature women where the personality and supposed strength of a character is somehow lost in translation. But we like to celebrate the good times here. When a woman is featured in the Academy Awards winner betting markets on the sites featured on we know we will want to see that film.


There are plenty of amazing female actors that we could profile here. But we thought we would specifically highlight some of the best roles played by women in the past. The strength of the character is powerful – and powerfully portrayed by some of the best actors in Hollywood.

Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road

We thought we would start off with this one, as it is a great example of how a strong female character doesn’t have to be in a film specifically aimed at women. Charlize Theron takes a lot of the plaudits here but, to be perfectly honest, there are a surprising number of strong female characters in the movie.

A lot of the focus for this film was heaped on Tom Hardy taking over Mel Gibson’s original role. But the way that Theron portrays a woman who goes against her tyrannical leader and frees other imprisoned women is inspiring. The fact that there was no need to give her some love interest with Hardy either was also very welcome.

Frances McDormand in Fargo

The Fargo TV series has gone from strength to strength in recent years, thanks to some incredible performances from its actors. But few can compare with Frances McDormand’s portrayal of a small-town cop quietly doing her job – incredibly well – in the original Coen Brothers film.


There is no need to give Marge a gritty backstory, a drink problem, or any other of the usual TV cop tropes. Instead, the Coen Brothers allowed McDormand to professionally and methodically go about her business. The fact that she is incredibly funny, in a brilliant subtle way, is why McDormand ended up winning an Academy Award.

Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Now for a completely different kind of female character. Terminator 2 is one of those rare things – a sequel that, if anything, is better than the already very accomplished original film. One of the reasons for that success is the way that Linda Hamilton’s character developed from the first movie.

It is true that Hamilton’s Sarah Connor grew from being just a waitress in the original Terminator. But in this second movie, Connor takes a much bigger role in the story. She becomes a self-trained soldier intent on doing her bit to bring down the nefarious Skynet. An inspiration to us all!

Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde

On the surface, Legally Blonde could be dismissed as just a light romantic comedy drama. Reece Witherspoon’s talent and charm elevates it from that tag alone, but there is more in her character that makes this movie far more important. It may have been about a woman trying to impress and win back her man – but it is much more than that.

As Witherspoon’s character attends law school to be with the man of her dreams, she ends up shattering preconceptions along the way. Even though that story arc would be refreshing enough, this movie showed that women can like fashion and beauty and still be intelligent and articulate. Who knew, right?

Sigourney Weaver in Alien

One of the original tough women in Hollywood, Sigourney Weaver’s performance of a female crewmember of a space ship is now simply iconic. She starts as just one of the gang but shows that she is much more once the titular alien starts killing the rest of the crew one by one.

When you consider that the original movie was released back in 1979, the responsibility put on Weaver’s character is impressive. The fact that the smart and intelligent woman is not listened to by a crew that all end up dying speaks volumes. And Weaver was just as good in the many sequels.

We are now getting more used to seeing strong female characters in movies
We are now getting more used to seeing strong female characters in movies

Danielle Deadwyler in Till

Possibly one of the most important films released in the last few years, Till tells a side to the infamous civil rights-era true story that has hitherto taken a back seat. Emmett Till was, of course, the 14-year-old boy killed by racists in Mississippi in 1955. But this movie puts his mother in the spotlight.

Danielle Deadwyler plays Mamie Till, who initially hears of her son’s kidnapping, and then deals with the aftermath of the murder as well as a harrowing court case. Deadwyler plays Till incredibly well, showing the fearsome, warrior spirit of a mother who would not let her son’s death be forgotten.

The Entire Cast of Steel Magnolias

There are plenty more obvious candidates to be put forward as strong female movie performances – and we didn’t even get around to mentioning the one and only Meryl Streep! But for our final movie, we thought we would go with absolutely everyone who starred in the joyous Steel Magnolias.

The film tells the story of a group of women in a small southern town and how they cope when one of the group dies. The range of personalities feels completely honest, wherever in the world you may live, and the bonds that are forged in the face of adversity show the spirit that is innate in all women.


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Seven Strong Female Characters in the Movies

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