Who doesn’t love a strong, kick ass female in a movie? I’m sure they’re out there, but they’re stupid. These are our 20 favorite badass leading ladies. In order from badass, to really badass.
20. LEELO IN THE FIFTH ELEMENT
You may think Milla Jovovich’s performance in the Resident Evil franchise should make this list, well it wont. She was much cooler in The Fifth Element – let’s be honest, she got Resident Evil because she kicked mad Mangalore ass in this film.
19. CHRISTIE IN NINJA III: THE DOMINATION
This pick is a bit of a guilty pleasure. We love Ninja III. Christie’s transformation from a timid dancer into a killer ninja secures her spot on the list.
18. BLACK WIDOW IN THE AVENGERS
Black Widow needs her own movie. Her badassness is overshadowed by the rest of The Avengers and that’s why she is not higher on the list.
17. MALEFICENT IN MALEFICENT
The Queen Bitch who is misunderstood by many. Angelina Jolie finally cleared the air with her performance in Maleficent. Sure, Maleficent may have been kinda evil in the past, but for good reason.
16. PRINCESS LEIA IN RETURN OF THE JEDI
Leia’s badassness really comes into its own in Jedi. You see glimpses of it in A New Hope, but nothing as cool as choking out Jabba or ridin’ dirty on a speeder bike through the forest moon of Endor.
15. FRIGGA IN THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE
Frigga was the inspiration for another entry on this list, so that alone gets her a spot here. Her transformation from an abused sex slave into a badass killer hellbent on revenge is an incredible NSFW experience of exploitative excitement.
14. DOMINO HARVEY IN DOMINO
The late, great, Tony Scott’s Domino is a work of hyperactive art. At its center is Domino Harvey (played by Keira Knightley), a character so notoriously badass she’s a shoo-in for this list.
13. JACKIE BROWN IN JACKIE BROWN
Pam Grier is so cool in Jackie Brown. The film is an obvious nod to Foxy Brown, which also stars Pam. Foxy Brown could also find its way onto this list, but we like Jackie Brown better and there’s only room for one Pam Grier appearance on this list.
12. LISBETH SALANDER IN THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
There are two Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movies and both of their portrayals of Lisbeth Salander are great. We think David Fincher’s version is a little more thought out and stylish. The revenge scene is one of the best around.
11. HIT-GIRL IN KICK-ASS
Hit-Girl was raised by her father to be the ultimate fighting machine and it paid off. There are tons of scenes in Kick-Ass that prove why she is on this list, like cleaning up a room of gangsters in under 2 minutes.
10. YU SHU LIEN IN CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON
Yu Shu Lien’s epic fight scene with Jen Yu secures her spot on this list. The textbook definition of badass.
09. RIVER IN SERENITY
Highly underrated and extremely badass. River is one of the many reasons you should watch Firefly/Serenity.
08. HANNA IN HANNA
Hanna took the whole secret-assassin genre and perfected it. Saoirse Ronan is next-level badass in the film and holds her weight against anyone on this list.
07. GAMORA IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Unlike Black Widow in The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy did a much better job at flushing out the character of Gamora. That… and she’d totally win in a fight between the two of them.
06. KATNISS IN THE HUNGER GAMES
She’s a symbol for the oppressed, the underrepresented, and ignored. She’s conflicted, sometimes unsure of herself, and not perfect. That’s why we love and root for her. The fact that she’s played by Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t hurt either.
05. IMPERATOR FURIOSA IN MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
So far, Mad Max: Fury Road sits atop the pile of best films of 2015. One of the many reasons is Charlize Theron’s role as Furiosa. She may have lost that fight against Tom Hardy, but to be fair, she only had one arm.
04. SARAH CONNOR IN TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY
Sarah Connor fucks up Terminators… what have you done with your life?
03. THE BRIDE IN KILL BILL
There are too many examples in Kill Bill that showcase how badass The Bride is. If we had to pick one, the fight with Gogo and The Crazy 88 would be it.
02. HERMIONE GRANGER IN HARRY POTTER
Whether you love or hate the Harry Potter films, we don’t really care. We love them and Hermione. She’s had 8 movies to develop her badassness and by Deathly Hallows she’s a force to be reckoned with.
01. RIPLEY IN ALIENS
Ripley in Aliens is f’ing untouchable. She’s a total badass. She’s been through hell and back. It’s molded her into the perfect protagonist. I mean, look at the cast of soldiers surrounding her and who comes out on top? Ripley does. Done.