Monday, June 23, 2014

The Ten Most Iconic Female Movie Characters

A couple months ago, Nostra at My Filmviews started up a blogging relay on the ten most iconic movie characters of all time. It is still going on with the list constantly changing, one character at a time. I was able to participate and I enjoyed coming up with my choice. However, one thing I noticed is that female characters are getting left out. Without going back through the entire relay, I don't recall there ever being more than three on the list at any one time. Most often, there are only one or two. Being the gentleman that I am, I thought the ladies deserved a little more light so...

A list of 10 iconic female movie characters has been made. That list will be assigned to another blogger who can then change it by removing one character (describing why they think she should not be on the list) and replacing it with another one (also with motivation) and hand over the baton to another blogger. Once assigned, that blogger will have to put his/her post up within a week. If this is not the case the blogger who assigned it has to reassign it to another blogger. After you have posted your update leave the link in the comments below and I will make sure it gets added to the overview post.

Yup, I'm starting my own relay race.

Picking out the first ten was a tough task. I think they are all justifiably iconic. Therefore, I'm very interested to see what you guys out in the blogosphere come up with. In no particular order, here is your opening list:

Ellen Ripley
How could I not start with Ms. Ripley. She's been a near constant in the other relay. When she fell out, she was almost instantly re-added. To quote Sati of Cinematic Corner, "She is the ultimate badass movie heroine and she has set the bar for other action/horror ladies so high no other actress and character has managed to cross it and it's been decades." That's good enough for me.

Holly Golightly
Holly is the eternal fashion icon/protagonist of Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's a character that has stood the test of time and remains beloved to this day. In the words of Sofia of Film Flare, "one could easily argue that it is because of Holly G. that Audrey (Hepburn) is still ridiculously well-known - the two have become one gigantic iconic image that transcends movies." Indeed.

Nurse Ratched
Believe it or not, the leading lady can sometimes be the bad guy. The beauty of Nurse Ratched is that she's not really bad, but someone hell bent on doing their job the best way she knows. She represents the establishment in an anti-establishment movie. Despite being a woman, she is The the 1970s, revolutionary minded sense of the word. Louise Fletcher's performance of the character is so perfect, it's scary.

Princess Leia
This is the one that I most grew up with. The original Star Wars came out when I was a kid. I actually went to a theater to see it during the first run. Take that, young whipper-snappers. For me, there was just no denying her a spot on my list. Don't take my word for it. Take it from Ruth at Flixchatter, "Princess Leia is not just one of the coolest female movie characters but she’s a film AND pop culture icon. I mean, if you just draw a silhouette with her hair buns on each side of her head, I think people young and old would instantly know who that is." If that's not iconic, I don't know what is.

Mary Poppins
In this era of anti-heroes starring in gritty dramas, and I'm talking about comic book movies here, a vision of perfection like Mary Poppins might not work. However, I think that's precisely why she persists as an icon. As Manon from Film Inquiry puts it, "She stood for female independence and being yourself, she was funny, charming, sweet, and I think she’s the nanny every child would want, even today." I know I wish she was my nanny.

Dorothy Gale
Is there a more beloved and romanticized female character in all of cinematic history than Dorothy Gale? I personally can't count how many times I've seen The Wizard of Oz. It's one of those rare movies that people of every possible demographic have seen numerous times. Impressive indeed for a movie of near 80 years old. And yeah, we all know and love The Lion, The Tin Man, and the The Scarecrow, but we really love Dorothy. Alex of And So It Begins sums it up nicely, "...the very sight of Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale is an image that will be forever linked to cinema. You see a picture of Dorothy, and you think film. You don’t think of The Wizard of Oz, or Dorothy, or Toto, you think film. Film as a whole, in all its lasting glory. Dorothy is a perfect example of persona and art form forever married to one another." I can't argue against that.

Sarah Connor
In the first Terminator, Sarah Connor was a great character. Her transformation into what we see in the sequel made her an icon. She went from damsel in distress, to actively fighting for her own survival and, more importantly for the sake of mankind, her son. What makes her iconic is that she symbolizes female strength in both the most raw physical form and from an emotional, maternal standpoint. Others may think she's crazy, but she's doing whatever it takes to protect her kid. That's why we love her.

Mrs. Robinson
In 1999, the movie American Pie coined the term MILF in reference to Stifler's Mom. However, three decades earlier is when we got the real original, Mrs. Robinson. Countless teenage (or early 20s) boys have daydreamed about being seduced by one of their friends' moms. Mrs. Robinson was the fantasy come to life. In the words of Nikhat from Being Norma Jeane, "Mrs. Robinson is arguably the sexiest movie character of all time. Her icon status is almost aspirational. Women wish they could be as attractive as her and I'm fairly sure every guy wants her." Pretty much.

Foxy Brown
I just had to include the great Foxy Brown. When you think of great ass-kicking women of the 70s, you have to think Foxy. When you think of sex symbols of the same era, you think Foxy. When you think of iconic black women of cinema, you think Foxy. And when you think Foxy, you think Pam Grier. She was not only an African-American female action star, she was THE female action star of the time. She still inspires women to this day. She also inspires us men, too. Quentin Tarantino included. Of Ms. Grier and her most famous role, he said "In the 1970s they talked about Jim Brown being the black Burt Reynolds, or Shaft being the black James Bond, but Pam Grier wasn't the black anybody, because there was nobody else, black or white, who was like her. And there still isn't. She founded her own genre."

Scarlett O'Hara
This was my most reluctant choice. I'm not a big fan of Scarlett or Gone With the Wind. However, that doesn't change the fact that she is iconic. Years before I ever saw the movie, I knew exactly who she was, and her plight. By the time I actually watched it, I knew so much about her it was like having deja vu. As Katy of Girl Meets Cinema tells us, "...adored attention is still paid to the character for her fashion, romance to Rhett Butler, and vivacious personality which ranges of everything from manipulative, flirtatious, smart, and definitely spoiled. It's hard for me to think of film history and iconic characters, and not have O'Hara pop into my head as one of the first picks."

There you have my two cents. Since I am blatantly ripping him off, it's only right that I start the race by passing the baton to Nostra at My Filmviews.


  1. Wow, this one sounds pretty exciting. I wouldn't mind getting in on this action if possible.

  2. I'm starting to wonder about trying my hand at a relay myself. The only issue is I'd need to find a new topic (I'm thinking maybe something about directors would be an interesting angle).

    1. Go for it. Something about directors would be great.

    2. I've started on the directors' one, but I have had the thought that since a relay is something that I just have to start it might be easier for me to do more than one of those at a time. If I did find an interesting topic for a second relay do you think you'd be interested in starting?

  3. Interesting idea, a bit of a spin off to the "My Filmviews" blogathon I've seen across the board. I'd be honored to take part in this blogathon if I get the opportunity.

  4. Pretty epic idea! Glad you cooked this up. Although, it'll be a shame to mess with your list, since it's pretty much perfect!

    1. Thanks. I'm anxious to see who will be first to go.

  5. Great idea for a relay race and terrific choices. :-)

    1. Thanks. It seems to have stalled at the moment. Hopefully, it gets cranking pretty soon.

  6. Hi Wendell! Great idea for a blogathon. I've just completed my post from Jaina: Hey thanks for including my quote on Princess Leia, I hope she stays on the list for a while :D

    1. Hey Ruth, thanks for keeping it going. And yeah, I hope Leia has lots of staying power, too.

  7. My post: