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Added by Elfflame on 31 May 2012 11:06
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Powerful Women in Movies

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Ellen Ripley
Aliens series



Ripley will always be the female action hero for me, and Sigourney will always have my love for pushing Cameron to let her have that role. Too bad he couldn't manage the same for Sarah Connor in Terminator, but then god forbid that a woman be the resistance leader, right?
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Lt Vasquez
Aliens



I admit to not having seen the Aliens series (I'm a wuss, and what little I've seen has seriously creeped me out), but I was always impressed that Aliens had a second strong woman in it in addition to Ripley.
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Black Widow
Avengers/Iron Man 2



I'll admit, when I first saw Scarlett as the Black Widow, I worried. But I needn't have. Between the fact that she's a "background character" in Iron Man 2, and the fact that Whedon was at the helm of Avengers, Black Widow managed to stand her own in a pack of men, regardless of how many leers were sent her way. Her character is never about needing a man to prop her up, no matter how many men might oogle her.
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Average listal rating (1012 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Eleanor Arroway
Contact



Ellie studied the skies to the detriment of almost all social interaction. She's a strong scientist, and a very powerful woman, despite some men who might try to keep her down.
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Bethany Sloane
Dogma



Bethany might have been the subject to a great deal of oogling by Jay (and a bit by Silent Bob), but that was never her role in Dogma, as evinced by her saving god so god could stop Bartleby from destroying the universe. If she was anyone's love interest, you might as well say she was god's. But regardless, she did what she had to do to stop Bartleby and Loki, and paid the price. And got rewarded for it, too.
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Charlie McGee
Firestarter



Charlie McGee wasn't even ten when she and her father had to run from the government because of her abilities. Her Pyrokenesis makes her a valuable asset, but also incredibly dangerous to try to cage--as the government eventually learned to its detriment.
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Lucy Pevansie
Chronicles of Narnia



Lucy shows her bravery time and time again, and even though she's the youngest of the Pevansie children, they quite often find themselves deferring to her wisdom. She knew Narnia first, and she had the bravery to stand up for what was right, even when the others wanted to leave.
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Susan Pevansie
Chronicles of Narnia



Though far more cautious than her sister, Susan shows that bravery is part and parcel of being a Pevansie. Though I have to say I abhor the fact that they felt she had to be in love with Caspian. Kind of ruined things for me. And weakens her character just a bit. But for the first movie, at least, Susan works.
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Average listal rating (481 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
River Tam
Firefly



River, unlike the other girls on the Serenity (who are all kick-ass in their own right), has no love interest, nor does she need one to be a fascinating character. Granted, she has her brother, but he saves her and she saves the Verse. I'd say that kicks her out of the usual "attached to a guy" box in a big way.
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Princess Leia Organa
Star Wars



Princess Leia was my first glimpse of a kick-ass woman in the movies. She started off insulting a guy who could strangle her just by thinking about it. She was one of the main leaders of the rebel alliance. Granted, she fell in love, but that was a side note to why she was there and what she was doing. She was out to save the universe from the Empire, no matter what the cost.
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Sif
Thor



What, a girl in a movie who not only has no love interest, but doesn't dress like a centerfold???? Yep. Sif's not only one of Thor's closest men, but they don't even feel the need to treat her like anything other than an equal. Too bad her part is more background than not in the movie.
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Average listal rating (1182 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Jupiter Jones
Jupiter Ascending



There's a lot of discussion about whether Jupiter is a weak or a strong character, but to me, this movie is about her finding out who she is, and running with it. She's strong, she grabs onto her power as soon as she gets it, and the guy she falls for? He's actually there to serve her. Yes, he saves her a number of times, but she's quite happy to do the saving herself when she gets the opportunity. And in the end, she succeeds. With his help, yes, but mostly because she stood up for what was right.
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Silhouette
Watchmen



While Silhouette didn't have more than a cameo in the movie version, even with that, you could see that she was a very strong female.
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Average listal rating (1193 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
Storm
X-Men series



Storm's always been one of my favorite X-Men characters, and the movie version is totally kick-ass. Of course, she's also relegated to the background a lot more than she should be, but she's still there.
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Mystique
X-Men First Class



I'm going here with First Class, because in the X-Men movies, she was definitely a villain, but here she was a strong girl. Even if she didn't always believe it herself. There's a bit of romantic interplay between she and the two leading men, but nothing ever comes of it, and it certainly isn't what her character's all about.
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Maya
Zero Dark Thirty



I have to admit I have yet to see this movie, but a woman leading the team to capture Osama Bin Laden? Definitely a powerful statement.
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This list is very specific. I'm limiting it to those female action characters whose purpose in the movie is more than romantic. If the character's big turning point revolves around her romantic attraction to a guy, she won't be included. That also means that any female characters who are specifically seen as the love interest of the male character (Laura Dern in Jurassic Park, for instance) will not be included, for similar reasons, even if that is not the turning point of their character arc. This list will also not include villains, unless they are more than just cardboard cutout villains (highly unusual in action flicks). This will likely be a very short list, because Hollywood thinks that women can't be characters in their own right.

Feel free to offer suggestions.

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