35 Inspirational Movies for Women With Strong Female Leads

Women With Strong Female Leads

In movies, women no longer play the role of the damsel in distress who needs to be rescued. Strong women in movies are a popular theme. Sometimes they are inspiring and refreshing at the same time. The best movies for women with a female lead you can find here:

1. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

The female lead Maggie Fitzgerald plays Hilary Swank like no other. Clint Eastwood not only starred in the film but also directed it. Maggie, at 31, dreams of a career as a professional boxer. Actually, she is too old to enter this tough professional sport, and nobody around her really believes in her. Nevertheless, the strong woman is not deterred and fights doggedly for her dream.

2. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Here two strong women meet, who are very different from each other. The viewer is, therefore, spoiled for choice as to whose side he wants to take. Meryl Streep plays the tough and abrasive editor-in-chief who sets the tone and asserts herself in an otherwise male-dominated industry. On the other hand, Anne Hathaway has just graduated from college and has no use for this fashion and make-believe world and is pursuing completely different goals. Tensions between the two powerful women are pre-programmed.

3. The Blind Side (2009)

Sandra Bullock plays the female lead in this film. For her portrayal of the strong mother, wife, and interior designer Leigh Ann Tuohy won her first Oscar.

The film is based on the life story of NFL player Michael Lewis. The special thing about the film and why it is a real inspiration is the role of Sandra Bullock. The film shows how the love and patience of a mother can turn a traumatized teenager from a difficult background into a successful and happy young man. Sandra Bullock shines as a lion mother with a lot of heart and courage.

4. Coco Before Chanel (2009)

Coco Chanel is probably one of the most famous fashion designers in the world. The film Coco Chanel tells about the period of her life, which probably many do not know. It is about the years before she was a famous designer and had not yet built a fashion empire. The main female role of Coco Chanel is embodied by the French actress Audrey Tatou. Coco Chanel can rightly be called a strong woman. Because although she was abandoned by her father and shipped off to an orphanage at a young age, she didn’t let it get her down. The orphan with no financial means eventually became a successful businesswoman, creative fashion designer, and unforgettable legend.

5. The Color Purple (1985)

The female lead Celie is played by Whoopi Goldberg in this film adaptation of the book of the same name. In the film by Steven Spielberg, Celie has to endure a lot of suffering as a child. Her situation does not improve when she is forced into marriage.

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Once again, she accepts her fate and resigns herself to terrible circumstances. But with the help of two other women who enter her life, she is able to free herself from her immaturity and gain self-confidence. Soul singer Shug Avery in particular, leaves a lasting impression as a strong woman on the shy Celie.

The film is intense and impressively shows the fate of many African-American women of the early 20th century.

6. Hidden Figures (2016)

The film is based on true events and tells the story of three African-American mathematicians who were instrumental in advancing NASA’s work in the race against the Soviet Union. Despite their outstanding achievements, the three women found little recognition and had to overcome many hurdles during their careers.

For her, discrimination took place on three levels at once: her skin color, her gender, and her field of science and mathematics. Still, these three strong women didn’t let it get them down and fought for recognition of their accomplishments and their raison d’être.

This fact makes the film so remarkable. Therefore, it was rightly nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture.

7. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Olive is not exactly what a beauty queen would look like. She’s a bit chubby and wears huge glasses, yet she’s determined to compete in a pageant. After winning second place in a children’s beauty contest in her home region on the first attempt, she and her somewhat crazy family full of different characters set off for the final competition in Los Angeles. It begins a journey full of turbulence of a technical and interpersonal nature.

Little Miss Sunshine is on the movie list for women because everyone can take Little Olive as a role model. The carefree girl doesn’t mind that she doesn’t look so perfect but loves and celebrates herself just the way she is. In this day and age of body-shaming, an important message for both women and men.

8. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Jess is a young girl with Indian roots. She lives with her family in a district of London. Her family is especially keen to keep the old traditions from home, but Jess has only one passion: playing soccer. For her family, however, this is out of the question because this is not a typical sport for girls. The young girl is torn between her parents’ wishes and her own big dream, for which she risks almost everything in the end.

The film deals with various themes. On the one hand, it’s about the classic problem of many young girls who have to assert themselves against old traditions and values. Another important topic is women’s soccer and the image many people still have of it today. Female professional soccer players still receive less attention and have to contend with many stereotypes. Kick It Like Beckham shows that women’s soccer can also be exciting and that there are many strong women in the sport.

9. Gone with the Wind (1939)

This classic should not be missing from any movies for women’s best list. The female lead, Scarlett O’Hara, plays Vivien Leigh. Scarlett is the youngest daughter of a plantation owner in the southern states and is spoiled by life, as her father grants her every wish. However, she is denied her wish to marry her childhood sweetheart Ashley Wilkes, who is in love with someone else. In the midst of a civil war and subsequent reconstruction, Scarlett goes her own way but can’t get over her childhood sweetheart and keeps trying to get closer to him. But in the end, she realizes that her happiness was somewhere else all along.

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Gone with the Wind is still one of the world’s most popular and commercially successful films. It won a total of 8 Oscars and two Honorary Oscars out of 13 nominations.

10. Thelma and Louise (1991)

The film shows that road movies don’t always have to be about men. Women can make at least as good a buddy team. Thelma is a housewife and has not exactly hit the jackpot with her husband, who suffers from his despotic streak. Her best friend Louise is no better off. She can’t quite get a handle on her job as a waitress or her personal life. One day it becomes too much for the two women, and they decide to take some time off for a weekend and go away together. But the trip ended up going quite differently than expected.

The film has two female leads: Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. The dynamic of the two women is what makes the film so special, as best friends stick together.

11. English Vinglish (2012)

English Vinglish is a Bollywood film with a lot of heart and a catchy message. The film is about a housewife and mother who sacrifices herself completely for her family. But no one really seems to appreciate this sacrifice. On the contrary, she has to deal with disrespect and indifference from her husband and children. She seizes the chance to free herself from her role and do something for herself: An English course it should be. Soon she blossoms as a strong woman and learns to love herself and be proud of herself.

12. Erin Brokovich (2000)

The film is based on a true story, which makes the film especially powerful. Julia Roberts stars as the female lead in the film. She is a single mother who comes to a job in a law firm through circumstances and without any knowledge of the subject matter. Practically single-handedly and with a lot of dedication and heart, she uncovers the machinations of a corrupt energy company.

The film shows that women can accomplish anything they set their minds to, even if it’s in a traditionally male-dominated world.

13. Joy (2015)

Joy, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a young woman struggling with many problems and a lot of responsibility for her loved ones. The pressure on the young woman has been very high since her childhood. She invents a special mop that not only gets her out of financial trouble but also significantly changes the lives of her entire family.

A young woman who single-handedly builds an empire and fights hard to succeed. Inspiring and powerful at the same time.

14. The Hunger Games (2012 – 2015)

Although Tribute to Panem occupies the top of the list, there are, strictly speaking, four films at once. Here, Jennifer Lawrence again embodies a strong woman who becomes the face of a revolution. She fights again and again not only for her own life but for the freedom of the oppressed people in the various districts of the dictatorial state of Panem.

The Tribute of Panem is a picture-perfect movie with a woman as the heroine.

15. Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003)

Uma Thurman is in this film a contract killer with the nickname Black Mamba. After she gets pregnant, she decides to get out of the business and live a normal, orderly life. However, her old group, around the leader Bill, tracks her down again. Shortly after, all the people from her new life are killed, and she is seriously injured. Her only goal now is to work off her death list and take revenge.

A fast-paced, action-packed film by Quentin Tarantino. Uma Thurman is by far not the only strong woman in the film. Lucy Liu can also convince as a contract killer.

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16. G.I.Jane (1997)

Demi Moore plays the female lead Jordan O’Neil. She is the first woman to join the US Navy’s elite training program. Only the best soldiers are admitted to this tough survival training course. Already in the first week, over 60% of the aspirants drop out of the program. As the first and only woman, Demi Moore has to endure the tough program and stand up to sexism and harassment.

17. Suffragette (2015)

As suffragettes, women’s rights activists in France and Britain in the early 20. Century designated. The women came from very different backgrounds with one common intention: equal rights for women in all areas of life.

This drama from Britain shows how these women fought for rights we take for granted today, such as women’s suffrage.

18. Mulan (1998)

The Disney movie is not only recommended for the upcoming generation of strong women. The animated film is set in ancient China. There the old gender roles still apply. Women must score with grace, beauty, and domestic talents. The main goal is to find a good match to marry. Mulan, however, does not fit into this picture at all, and it is quickly said that she only brings shame to her family. However, it is to turn out that the young woman becomes the savior of all of China and saves the lives of many.

The film encourages us to rethink the stereotypical image of the role of women and shows that women can achieve at least as much as men.

19. Wild (2015)

Cheryl Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon, is faced with the shards of her life. The young woman decides to make a radical cut in her previous life to make a fresh start. By chance, she discovers a travel guide and decides to hike the 1600 km long Pacific Crest Trail across the wilderness of the American East Coast without any previous knowledge and completely alone. In the film, Cheryl makes not only a physical journey but a mental one and finds herself. She meets different people and has to deal with herself, nature, and the hardships of her journey.

This film differs from many Hollywood productions because the female lead and plot are atypical. Cheryl begins her journey as a young woman with no family and no perspective for her future life, yet she experiences a happy ending. The story comes without much effect and excitement but still manages to captivate the viewer.

20. Legally Blonde (2001)

Reese Witherspoon also plays the female lead in this film. Elle is the embodiment of the naive blonde, at least at first glance. She’s interested in her looks and the latest fashion trends. Everything seems to be going perfectly in her life, and she hopes for the imminent proposal of her longtime boyfriend. But unlike expected, he breaks up with her and pushes her away. Because, in his eyes, Elle doesn’t fit the bill for a budding Harvard law student. So Elle decides to prove him wrong and also goes to Harvard to study law. After a somewhat bumpy start, Elle shows that she shouldn’t be reduced to just her looks and is much more than that. The supposedly simple-minded blonde even finishes her studies at the top of her class. The movie shows that strong women can achieve anything if they only believe in themselves. Another important message of the film is that one should not reduce others solely to their appearance.

20. Fargo (1996)

21. Easy A (2010)

22. Spy (2015)

23. Gravity (2013)

24. Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013)

25. Pitch Perfect (2012)

26. Captain Marvel (2019)

27. Alien (1979)

28. Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

29. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

30. Tomb Raider (2018)

31. Resident Evil

32. Aeon Flux (2005)

33. Kick-Ass (2010)

34. The Danish Girl (2015)

35. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Movies with a strong female leads are inspiring and important for society. Because, on the one hand, they show strong women from the past who can be role models for generations to come. On the other hand, they show entertainingly what hurdles exist on the way to equality between women and men.

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