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16 Badass Female Movie Characters We Should Be A Little Like

These are some female movie characters who have served nothing but badassery and we should all try to be a little like (Minor spoilers ahead).

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Imperator Furiosa, Mad Max: Fury Road

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Do I really need to elaborate? This lady is a complete and total capital B badass. Arguably the true star of Mad Max: Fury Road, Furiosa starts off as a loyal and capable soldier under the command of Immortan Joe, until she betrays him and helps his five wives/"breeders" escape from his abuse. Not only does she save the wives, but she also saves Max himself on countless occasions, proving to be just as strong and capable as he is. Although initially hostile towards each other in the beginning, the two work together throughout the movie as equals and ensure their survivals, as well as the survival of the women Furiosa is tasked with protecting. She is far from a damsel in distress, and her strength, soul and rebellious spirit are what truly set her apart from other action movie heroines.

Clarisse Starling, The Silence Of The Lambs

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A woman who gains the trust of Hannibal Lecter and convinces him to help her find a serial killer should be on everyone's top badass character list. Besides that one big reason, there's a ton of other reasons why she's a badass. The only woman shown to be part of the FBI in the movie, she took no sexist remarks from them and was never deterred from her job. She did not flinch from Lecter's subversive attempts to enter her psyche. She used her humanity, empathy, and compassion to understand the female victims' mentalities. She singlehandedly solved the Buffalo Bill case. She was a leader, she was intelligent and she proved everyone wrong about her in the end. If Hannibal Lecter can see all this in her too and decide that she is an equal to him, then you sure can too.

Ellen Ripley, Alien Franchise

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Ellen Ripley created waves through the sci-fi movie community with her strong character. Ripley does not fall to easy female stereotypes; she is a hardened fighter dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder who goes to any length against the aliens who took everything she values dear. Ripley is a flawed and complex character, yet she does not back down without a fight. She is loyal, smart, tough, and cares deeply for her crew. She is not defined by any men around her and is shown to be a woman driven by maternal AND self-preservative instincts. There's a reason why she is seen to be one of the best female characters ever written, and arguably even the best female character ever written. Maybe the possibility of aliens is far-fetched, but wanting to be a bit like Ripley shouldn't be.

Amy Dunne, Gone Girl

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Okay, hear me out on this one. Yes, Amy is a psychopath and her actions should NEVER be emulated, but Amy did have a few merits. She was incredibly resourceful and smart. She also showed us all something other than the typical maternal and sweet wife we are all used to seeing. Amy realized the gender biases in our society and decided to throw them out in a trashcan. Amy did something that we should see more often: she took the stereotype "crazy bitch", put it on blast and made it work for her. In the end, she got what she wanted and with zero consequence. She is a villain and that's what makes her character so groundbreaking. We rarely see female villains, much less female villains who win against their male counterparts.

Sarah Connor, The Terminator Franchise

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Sarah Connor's transformation from a squealing damsel-in-distress to a certified badass who can yield a gun and front a resistance is something we should all be here for. In the first Terminator movie, she wasn't much of a character really and she fell to stereotypical portrayals of women but in the second and subsequent movies, she is shown as a woman who is willing to go to any lengths for her son and for defeating Skynet. Sarah is a leader, a fighter and she is fearless in the face of danger and these are all things we should try to emulate too.

Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice

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Elizabeth Bennet is one of the most well-known heroines of English literature and for good reason. In 1813 England, it is incredibly rare to find a woman as outspoken and as complex as she is. While the movie doesn't do complete justice to her character, her character still resonates with us all. Elizabeth is introduced as a woman with no interest in arranged marriages and with a thoughtful intelligence that infuriates her simple-minded mother. In the movie, she resists her mother's insistences to agree to an arranged marriage and refuses her love interest on the grounds of suspicions that he ruined her sister's relationship with a suitor. Elizabeth cares deeply for her family and her sisters and holds her family's honor and reputation above her own happiness. Although a noble character, Elizabeth does have some flaws, including stubbornness and her rash judgment concerning people. This only makes her more endearing, more human and more valued amongst many people who view her as an idol.

Hermoine Granger, The Harry Potter Franchise

Courtesy Of Warner Bros. Picture / Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture / Via

Let's be real, if it wasn't for Hermoine Granger, Harry Potter would've died from the very first movie. Introduced as an insufferable, know-it-all who has difficulty making friends, she eventually becomes an instrumental part in the movies and Harry and Ron's best friend. Her book smarts and vast knowledge on all things magical always comes in clutch and she saves the trio's lives countless times. Her bravery is also highlighted many times as she sacrifices her life for her family and friends. She even punches Draco Malfoy. Later on, after the war with Voldemort, she becomes the Minister of Magic. Now you tell me, why wouldn't anyone want to be a little bit like her?

The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2

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Now The Bride doesn't always come to mind when we think of badass female characters, but it's time that changes. Introduced as a former assassin who seeks revenge on all those who wronged her and killed her child, The Bride displays more than basic vindictive blood lust. We see her compassion when she refuses to kill a former friend who betrayed her in front of her daughter. We see her forgiveness when she accepts the apology of O-Ren Ishi. We see her respect when she gains the trust of her mentor Pei Mei and her dedication in learning martial arts. We see her journey and her backstory and we deeply empathize with her character who only seeks retribution for all that she's lost. She is represented as a human. She's not an object, she's not sexualized and she has a journey that comes to a close with a satisfying end. Kill Bill might not be everyone's cup of tea due to how gore-y and bloody the movie is, but that doesn't mean The Bride shouldn't be.

Princess Leia, Star Wars Franchise

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Although her title is "princess", Princess Leia is anything but a dainty damsel in distress. She joins and leads the Resistance and is an equal to Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. However, a few concerns exist in me about the Star Wars universe in that there is little female characters besides Princess Leia and she is barely a focus in most of the movies, only having more of a substantial role in The Empire Strikes Back. Regardless of this, she managed to steal the spotlight and hold her own weight amongst the heavily male-dominated resistance. Leia does not let her feelings for Han Solo affect her judgment and calls him out on his arrogant statements with swift and witty retorts. The late Carrie Fischer could not have portrayed her better and she brought this character to the very center of the entire Star Wars franchise, our pop culture, and our hearts.

Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

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Whether you read the books, watched the Swedish movies or watched the US remake, you will admit that Lisbeth Salander is one of the best female characters you can find. An all around badass who has an insane sense of justice and seeks to bring it down on those who do it wrong, she is raw and she is not here to take anyone's crap. Her computer skills are out of this world and her intelligence is what defines her. Her sense of justice may seem extreme, but her character's background helps round her out to more than just a one-dimensional caricature of herself. She becomes a flawed and deeply human individual who has seen enough violence and injustice and would like to serve karma right to people's doorsteps. Bonus for the excellent detective work too.

Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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In all the areas Star Wars falls short of with female portrayals, it redeems itself with Rey. Rey is a scavenger on planet Jakku whose life turns upside down when she encounters runaway Stormtrooper Finn and BB-8. No worries though, because this girl is so self-sufficient you want her to teach you her skills. She is not portrayed as Finn's love interest either, and she is more than capable of winning a fight. She does not back down easily and is incredibly loyal to her friends and family (Spoiler: although abandoned as a child, she still waits for her family on planet Jakku). She joins the Resistance and defeats Kylo Ren in the end of the movie, proving to us all that she's here to stay. If she's here to stay, then we should all be here for her.

Elle Woods, Legally Blonde 1 and 2

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A little bit of a controversial choice, Elle Wood's is actually kind of underrated. Although she joined Harvard Law for all the wrong reasons (she wanted her ex-boyfriend back), she quickly steps up to the plate and takes charge. Upon entering law school, no one takes her seriously and Elle struggles with her classes. When she realizes that all hope for rekindling her old relationship is extinguished, she redeems herself and receives an internship from her professor. Later on, her resourcefulness and her vast knowledge of hair and fashion get her client out of jail, becomes friends with her ex-boyfriend's fiance AND she delivers her class' graduation speech two years later. Elle Woods shows us that anyone can be a badass and do the right thing, no matter where they come from.

Letty Ortiz, Fast and Furious Franchise

Universal Pictures / Via

Although I do have some concerns about the franchise, especially in how it's geared towards male audiences and even its portrayal of women can come across as imaginary at best, Letty Ortiz is still a badass. It's frustrating because she is a great character, but she can come off as inauthentic and the perfect fantasy girl. Regardless, we'll focus on what makes her great. She is the only woman in Dominic Toretto's crew and she is shown to be just as competent of a drag racer as any of the men in the crew and even Dominic himself. She is a skilled fighter and packs a mean punch too. She doesn't shy away from sexual implications and is an equal to Dominic. While her character may seem like it is pandering to the male audience, you can't help but admire how well this girl drives and you wouldn't mind learning a thing or too from here.

Black Widow, Marvel Cinematic Universe

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As with most superhero movies, female characters can be diluted and sexualized. I would've liked to say that Black Widow transcends this, but sadly, that wouldn't be true. She's usually the peacekeeper in the group, is slightly sexualized and the full extent of her character isn't explored. Now, this might all change once she has her own movie, but for the time being, we'll work with what we have. Despite these minor flaws, let's not forget that we're first introduced to her when she's being held captive by Russian mobsters and when Agent Coulson calls her and asks for assistance, she beats the lights out of the mobsters all while Coulson is on hold. Black Widow is a fearless badass who does not hesitate with putting the men in her team back in line and is more than capable of holding her own against them. She cares deeply for her teammates and while each one of them has some sort of super gadget, she relies solely on her own fists to get her through a fight.

Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games Franchise

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Now, this choice might make you groan because it's been used over and over again, but you can't deny that it is used so often for good reason. Katniss Everdeen survives two Hunger Games, evades capture from the Capitol, joins the resistance, leads said resistance, and overthrows the Capitol. All that fuels her? Her sister, Primrose. Although Katniss is stuck in a typical love triangle, her love for her sister is what sets off the entire franchise and what ends it. Katniss does everything she does for her sister, and she cares for nothing else. Some people might say she can seem aloof and distant and that's exactly what makes her great. She is a leader and she focuses on the task at hand while making sure all her loved ones are safe. Now if that's not completely awesome and something we should all aspire to be a little like, then I don't know what is.

Yu Shu Lien, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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You do not want to be caught in a fight with this woman. Shu Lien is someone we should all aspire to be a bit like. She is tasked by Li Mu Bai, a man she has complicated feelings for, to return his sword, Green Destiny, Sir Te when Mu Bai announces that he will give up the warrior lifestyle. When the sword is stolen, she must embark on a journey with Mu Bai to retrieve it. What ensues is some of the most epic fighting scenes in the martial arts film genre.

Shu Lien does not let her feelings for Mu Bai get in the way with the important task at hand and she is shown to be kind and caring to her allies. She is fearless to the extent of fighting against someone who yielded Green Destiny and her fighting skills make her a formidable adversary. Shu Lien stays above the tacky role of "mother" and "nurturer" that is regularly given to characters in movies and she encompasses many different attributes that make her a well-rounded character that show us that you can be just as much of a woman while fighting to the death.

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