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I love movies and I'm always on the lookout for primo stuff to watch. I'm curious who your fav women in movies are! They don't have to be the main character or anything. I think most of my very favorite movies are my favorites because they contain really neat shards of things I couldn't find anywhere else.

Off the top of my head, non-exhaustively, in no particular order:

Cass from Midnight Cowboy, portrayed flawlessly by Sylvia Miles. I love her introduction, wherein she makes many entreaties to her little white dog to take a poop. She then precedes to completely overwhelm and fleece Jon Voight, who was just going to ask her for payment for his "services" as a hustler, out of cab fare and extra. She's only in this one scene but she's absolutely hilarious and Sylvia Miles does such a good job. I've seen it a million times because it's one of my favorite movies and it never gets old for me.

Andy Feldman in Heat, as (coincidentally) Sylvia Miles's wildly unhinged daughter. I will forever remember her repeatedly screaming at her girlfriend, "BONNIE DON'T TAKE THOSE PILLS!" Andy deserved so much better than she got and she was a wonderful actress. I wish her all possible happiness in Heaven and I miss her presence in the movies so much.

Mink Stole as Peggy Gravel in Desperate Living, who is at turns pathetic, pitiable, evil, hilarious, and completely my queen. The scene where she screams at children playing in her yard is absolute gold. "Tell your mother I hate her! TELL YOUR MOTHER I HATE YOU!" plays endlessly in my brain. This is maybe my favorite woman in any movie ever. Mink Stole is also excellent as the petulant, vindictive, bizarre Taffy in Female Trouble, who shares my childhood penchant for playing car accident.

Mae West as Diamond Lou in I'm No Angel. I am in love with her narcissism, her unshakeable confidence, her sometimes downright stupid wordplay, her cane-swinging bravado and the song she sings about an ill-fated romance with a little tiny jockey. I love Mae West in general but this was the first movie I ever saw her in and nobody will watch it with me but I watch it over and over anyway. To be honest I also love her in Myra Breckenridge and Sextet, two much maligned movies that deserve way more praise because they are hilarious.

The titular Mamma Roma in Mamma Roma. Anna Magnani is so beautiful, and she has this amazing husky voice and a great broad laugh. I especially love the obscene song she sings at a wedding. I know people have a lot of feelings about Pasolini but I always really liked this movie. It has a lot of heart, whereas I find a lot of his other films a little too cold to be special to me or to merit more than one watch.

Hortense Daigle from The Bad Seed. I love Eileen Heckart in everything I've had the pleasure to see her in. She is an amazing actress and the scene in which she shows up drunk to Christine's nice apartment to despondently question her about what really happened and what Rhoda's real role in her son's drowning was is one of the saddest, most visceral and most well-acted bits of film I've ever seen. She knows Christine, a rich and comfortable woman, looks down on her to some degree, she knows that Rhoda did something to her son, and she knows that she can't do anything about any of it. Her bitterness, her rage and her grief break my heart every time.

Sadie, played by Jeramie Rain in The Last House On The Left, which is the only acceptable version of the movie, as the remake is a complete disaster with none of the janky charm or abject despair and brutality of the original. She is described over the radio as "a young, animal-like woman" and this is completely correct. My favorite scene, paraphrased, occuring on a top-down fugitive drive: "Frood, Sigmund Frood! I can't even look at the Grand Canyon anymore without crossing my legs. Everything's a giant PUH-HALIS!"

Susan Hayward as Barbara in I Want To Live! She's so insanely rude, defiant, glamorous and cool. I love every minute of this movie. I also love Susan Hayward's work as Lillian Roth in I'll Cry Tomorrow. She's excellent all the time, no exceptions. I know people either love or hate Valley of the Dolls, but she's great in it and so are all the other actresses.

Faye in The Day of the Locust. Self-absorbed, childish, spiteful, and a devout believer in the magic of movies, she is incredible in every scene and alternatingly funny and tragic. I love her insane freakout at her impish, unsettling, sickly salesman father, in which she weaponizes Jeepers Creepers in a way that no human has done or ever will do again. Karen Black is also wonderful as Rayette in Five Easy Pieces. I will miss her forever. She is one of my favorite actresses in the world.

Taeko in Strange Circus, who is incredibly complex, brilliant, wounded, evil, and completely unique. I have never seen a woman like her in movies and like as not will never again. Masumi Miyazaki is amazing. Bonus: this movie contains an extremely evil TiF.

Thomasine in The VVitch, portrayed by Anya Taylor Joy. She is such a real young girl to me and I relate to her. I love the scene where she menaces her little sister and threatens her with witchcraft.

Baby Jane, played by the inimitable Bette Davis. I love this character. She's terrifying, funny, completely deranged, tragic and childlike. Bette Davis is great in everything she ever did but Baby Jane is my favorite.

Havana Segrand in Maps To The Stars. Julianne Moore has brought so many unforgettable and complicated women to life but Havana is special to me. Her raw woundedness regarding her monster mother, the desperation with which she claws to her career as she becomes older, more damaged, and less desired, her alternating callousness, unctuous sweetness, dependency and cruelty on and toward Mia Wasikowska's character, who is also one of my favorites, is totally unforgettable and completely ferocious.

Jeliza Rose in Tideland, which everyone seems to hate for some reason but which is one of my favorite movies ever. She's one of the most believable little girls I've ever seen on screen and Jodelle Ferland plays her incredibly. Jennifer Tilly also absolutely wrecks it as Jeliza Rose's monstrous junkie mother, a pillow-shaped, negligee-wearing, baby-voiced demon who I will never get out of my head.

I also can't conscionably make a list of my fav female roles without mentioning, of course, Gena Rowlands as Mabel Longhetti in A Woman Under the Influence. She is perfect and singular and I will always love her deeply.

I am forgetting a ton but these are some of mine. Share yours! Thank you for reading.

I love movies and I'm always on the lookout for primo stuff to watch. I'm curious who your fav women in movies are! They don't have to be the main character or anything. I think most of my very favorite movies are my favorites because they contain really neat shards of things I couldn't find anywhere else. Off the top of my head, non-exhaustively, in no particular order: Cass from Midnight Cowboy, portrayed flawlessly by Sylvia Miles. I love her introduction, wherein she makes many entreaties to her little white dog to take a poop. She then precedes to completely overwhelm and fleece Jon Voight, who was just going to ask her for payment for his "services" as a hustler, out of cab fare and extra. She's only in this one scene but she's absolutely hilarious and Sylvia Miles does such a good job. I've seen it a million times because it's one of my favorite movies and it never gets old for me. Andy Feldman in Heat, as (coincidentally) Sylvia Miles's wildly unhinged daughter. I will forever remember her repeatedly screaming at her girlfriend, "BONNIE DON'T TAKE THOSE PILLS!" Andy deserved so much better than she got and she was a wonderful actress. I wish her all possible happiness in Heaven and I miss her presence in the movies so much. Mink Stole as Peggy Gravel in Desperate Living, who is at turns pathetic, pitiable, evil, hilarious, and completely my queen. The scene where she screams at children playing in her yard is absolute gold. "Tell your mother I hate her! TELL YOUR MOTHER I HATE YOU!" plays endlessly in my brain. This is maybe my favorite woman in any movie ever. Mink Stole is also excellent as the petulant, vindictive, bizarre Taffy in Female Trouble, who shares my childhood penchant for playing car accident. Mae West as Diamond Lou in I'm No Angel. I am in love with her narcissism, her unshakeable confidence, her sometimes downright stupid wordplay, her cane-swinging bravado and the song she sings about an ill-fated romance with a little tiny jockey. I love Mae West in general but this was the first movie I ever saw her in and nobody will watch it with me but I watch it over and over anyway. To be honest I also love her in Myra Breckenridge and Sextet, two much maligned movies that deserve way more praise because they are hilarious. The titular Mamma Roma in Mamma Roma. Anna Magnani is so beautiful, and she has this amazing husky voice and a great broad laugh. I especially love the obscene song she sings at a wedding. I know people have a lot of feelings about Pasolini but I always really liked this movie. It has a lot of heart, whereas I find a lot of his other films a little too cold to be special to me or to merit more than one watch. Hortense Daigle from The Bad Seed. I love Eileen Heckart in everything I've had the pleasure to see her in. She is an amazing actress and the scene in which she shows up drunk to Christine's nice apartment to despondently question her about what really happened and what Rhoda's real role in her son's drowning was is one of the saddest, most visceral and most well-acted bits of film I've ever seen. She knows Christine, a rich and comfortable woman, looks down on her to some degree, she knows that Rhoda did something to her son, and she knows that she can't do anything about any of it. Her bitterness, her rage and her grief break my heart every time. Sadie, played by Jeramie Rain in The Last House On The Left, which is the only acceptable version of the movie, as the remake is a complete disaster with none of the janky charm or abject despair and brutality of the original. She is described over the radio as "a young, animal-like woman" and this is completely correct. My favorite scene, paraphrased, occuring on a top-down fugitive drive: "Frood, Sigmund Frood! I can't even look at the Grand Canyon anymore without crossing my legs. Everything's a giant PUH-HALIS!" Susan Hayward as Barbara in I Want To Live! She's so insanely rude, defiant, glamorous and cool. I love every minute of this movie. I also love Susan Hayward's work as Lillian Roth in I'll Cry Tomorrow. She's excellent all the time, no exceptions. I know people either love or hate Valley of the Dolls, but she's great in it and so are all the other actresses. Faye in The Day of the Locust. Self-absorbed, childish, spiteful, and a devout believer in the magic of movies, she is incredible in every scene and alternatingly funny and tragic. I love her insane freakout at her impish, unsettling, sickly salesman father, in which she weaponizes Jeepers Creepers in a way that no human has done or ever will do again. Karen Black is also wonderful as Rayette in Five Easy Pieces. I will miss her forever. She is one of my favorite actresses in the world. Taeko in Strange Circus, who is incredibly complex, brilliant, wounded, evil, and completely unique. I have never seen a woman like her in movies and like as not will never again. Masumi Miyazaki is amazing. Bonus: this movie contains an extremely evil TiF. Thomasine in The VVitch, portrayed by Anya Taylor Joy. She is such a real young girl to me and I relate to her. I love the scene where she menaces her little sister and threatens her with witchcraft. Baby Jane, played by the inimitable Bette Davis. I love this character. She's terrifying, funny, completely deranged, tragic and childlike. Bette Davis is great in everything she ever did but Baby Jane is my favorite. Havana Segrand in Maps To The Stars. Julianne Moore has brought so many unforgettable and complicated women to life but Havana is special to me. Her raw woundedness regarding her monster mother, the desperation with which she claws to her career as she becomes older, more damaged, and less desired, her alternating callousness, unctuous sweetness, dependency and cruelty on and toward Mia Wasikowska's character, who is also one of my favorites, is totally unforgettable and completely ferocious. Jeliza Rose in Tideland, which everyone seems to hate for some reason but which is one of my favorite movies ever. She's one of the most believable little girls I've ever seen on screen and Jodelle Ferland plays her incredibly. Jennifer Tilly also absolutely wrecks it as Jeliza Rose's monstrous junkie mother, a pillow-shaped, negligee-wearing, baby-voiced demon who I will never get out of my head. I also can't conscionably make a list of my fav female roles without mentioning, of course, Gena Rowlands as Mabel Longhetti in A Woman Under the Influence. She is perfect and singular and I will always love her deeply. I am forgetting a ton but these are some of mine. Share yours! Thank you for reading.

55 comments

Ellen Ripley (Alien).

She is not a weak, clueless sex object like so many other women are portrayed in movies. She has principles and courage and is therefore a healthy role model for girls.

Yes yes yes. Badass, realistic mother figure, with a completely neutral affect as far as femininity. Ripley and Furiosa are my female heroes, and the two heroines I relate to the most of anything I’ve ever watched

Ripley is the coolest. For sci-fi ladies I also loved Natalie Portman's character in Annihilation and especially Amy Adams in Arrival, which made me cry uncontrollably lol. Jennifer Jason-Leigh is also incredible in Existenz.

Professor McGonagall (portrayed perfectly by Dame Maggie Smith). McGonagall is tough, but fair. She's clever and capable. She has a soft side that she shows to those she trusts. She's loyal and brave. She's principled and shows great self control and discipline. She's proud of her heritage and who she is. There's nothing I don't like about her. 😍

[–] Sameseks 13 points Edited

It's such a shame how underused she was in the movies. Even Maggie Smith herself said she never felt the role challenged her

Book McGonagall is incredible. Movie as well, but not nearly as much. The sass between her and Umbridge in the books is my favourite part of the whole series

"I'm terribly sorry to have to contradict you, Minerva, but as you will see from my note, harry has been achieving very poor results in his classes with me -"

"I should have made my meaning plainer," said Professor McGonagall, turning at last to look Umbridge directly in the eyes. "He has achieved high marks in all Defence Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher."

Hahaha! Excellent quote.

Yes, I agree with everything you said.

Oh I love McGonagall! She doesn't get nearly enough love. The Harry Potter movies were such a wonderful part of my childhood and I was just old enough to have had the extant books read to me or to have read one or two myself when the first movies came out that it was such a huge event and so much fun.

Ellen Ripley is the obvious one. Clarice Starling is pretty memorable as well, so is Sarah Connor from Terminator.

I really liked Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Hermione's great too of course, so is Mrs. Weasley, but we got to see plenty of them. I always wished there was more content with Luna in it.

I'll throw in Imperator Furiosa of Mad Max: Fury Road. I love to see her journey of awakening to class consciousness and letting that guide her actions in the movie.

I agree with that one, they also defeated the going toe to toe with a man aspect by giving her that fake arm to add strength making it believable.

I really enjoyed Hidden Figures. It was LONG overdue to celebrate the black women who were instrumental in the U.S. space program. The movie did a good job of centering them and their achievements while also highlighting the double discrimination of racism and sexism that they faced (and triumphed over) while serving at NASA in 1960s Virginia.

(I was disappointed to hear that Janelle Monae announced that she’s NB awhile back but of course that doesn’t tarnish the strong feminist message of these real-life women’s stories in the movie).

[–] LunarWolf 11 points Edited

Most of the cast of A League of Their Own (edit to say, the movie, haven't seen the new series yet so can't rule on it)

Shirley McClain in The Apartment (a very ahead of its time older movie with themes of being mistreated by men, abortion, suicide, corporate toxicity)

I know it's not a movie but Captain Janeway in Star Trek Voyager

And as ways already said, the women of Friend Green Tomatoes.

You're just a bee charmer Idgie Threadgoode

Be still my lesbian heart.

Molly Grue in The Last Unicorn, played by Tammy Grimes. She's a tough, wise, plain-talking woman of a certain age. She's a jaded romantic who has enough hope and courage left to help...rescue unicorns that have been trapped in the ocean by a greedy, grasping king. It makes more sense if you see the movie, but it's also a really weird movie.

Pocahontas/Rebecca in The New World, played by Q'orianka Kilcher. I've never seen a more heartbreaking portrayal of a girl experiencing an all-consuming first love and loss. Her relationship with Colin Farrell's character has a lot to say about men exoticizing foreign women, and using and abandoning them. Also a lot to say about older men manipulating younger, more naive women in romantic relationships.

Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate (who also has a great role in The Last Unicorn). I love a villainess! She plays a conniving, manipulative, Lady MacBeth type who conspires with foreign powers to brainwash her Korean War veteran son in order to further advance the career of her senator husband. The main character is technically played by Frank Sinatra, but you really watch it to see Angela Lansbury chomp some damn scenery.

I used to watch The Last Unicorn over and over as a kid! I loved it so much. I haven't seen it as an adult though.

Ohhhh wow I saw that movie with my dad when it came out. I've literally never heard anyone talk about it, to the point that I had completely forgotten the title!

I love Angela Lansbury! I have always been told to watch that movie but I haven't yet. Definitely going to put it on my list. Thanks for reminding me!

I saw it at my aunt's house decades ago and I've been in love with it ever since! Don't know if you're in the US, but if you are, it's available of FreeVee 😃

This seems terribly tame compared to most of the list, but Anne Elliott in the 1995 version of Persuasion, as portrayed by Amanda Root. Dumped on by everyone, she quietly perseveres, is true to herself, and gets a happy ending.

Ellen Ripley is probably one of my all time favs, for reasons stated otherwise here. She's smart, competent, tough, and still incredibly feminine.

On the silly level - Mrs. White from Clue. "So much...it...flame...flame flames...on the side of my face..."

Because in my old age I like silly movies that make me feel good and are a form of escapism, "The Happytime Murders" Detective Connie Edwards made me happy. Come at me, but I still feel like this is an underrated funny non-sensical movie. Melissa McCarthy is funny, charismatic, and has an action scene where she beats up on muppets.

Nancy from "The Craft", oh Nancy I related so much to you as an angry teenager! It was an impossible wish but it saddened me to see her as the 'bad example' when it could have been such an empowering character. On a side note, "The Craft: Legacy" was as if someone took everything woke and puked it up on a wall as a cube painting.

Professor McGonagall, of course. Life goals.

They showed us Cleopatra (1963) in middle school and I have been captivated by Elizabeth Taylor forever because of it.

[–] arete 3 points Edited

Miss Honey in Matilda;

Gloria Swanson as Agrippina in Mio figlio Nerone - just thinking about her scenes with Vittorio de Sica’s Seneca is enough to crack me up;

Greer Garson in Mrs. Miniver;

Julia Jentsch as Sophie Scholl in Sophie Scholl: Die letzten Tage;

And pretty much every member of the Footlights Club in Stage Door (1937), esp. Katharine Hepburn’s Terry Randall.

The first thing that comes to mind are my favorite characters from childhood. Idgie from fried green tomatoes (but I love all the female characters), Wednesday Addams from the 90s movies, and Vada Sultenfuss from My Girl.

I loved Fried Green Tomatoes so much! And VADA 😍 I am thankful to my mom for showing me those movies when I was little. Also, Mrs. Brisby in The Secret of NIMH and Charlotte in Charlotte's Web.

Oh shit! I haven’t thought about the secret of nimh in years! I’m gonna hafta make my family watch it with me, lol.

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