Well, just *some* of the nasty women of film
Long gone are the days when women’s roles in film were almost exclusively limited to damsels in distress or objectified sex symbols. In a stereotyped traditionally male dominated industry, it’s refreshing to see more and more Nasty Women of film doing their thing on the big screen. These characters are tough and break down barriers (sometimes even literally), fight against injustice and tyranny and are living proof that women can be equally heroic as their male counterparts—if not more. In the spirit of Women’s Month, we’ve rounded up a few of the most badass women of film. Let’s get into it.
Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)
“Alien” franchise (1979)
When considering the most epic women on screen, an obvious choice is Ellen Ripley, the ultimate space warrior of the Alien franchise. Think about it: Ellen has battled horrendous aliens with a combination of brains and brawn, yet she regularly comes out alive and ready for more. Sigourney Weaver was the perfect casting choice for this iconic role and a pioneer in the category of Nasty Women of film.
Thelma and Louise (Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon)
“Thelma & Louise” (1991)
Thelma and Louise are the ultimate road trip duo. With nothing to lose, they take on the world together, robbing groceries and blowing up tanker trucks along the way—and look good doing it. And that final scene? About as epic as it gets, we think.
Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman)
“Pulp Fiction” (1994)
Mia Wallace is one of the coolest female characters in recent cinema history. She’s undoubtedly a badass (no debate there). She also holds the distinction of one of the coolest heroin overdose recoveries we’ve ever seen. And that dance scene with John Travolta? Absolutely classic, one of the great and most suave dancing scenes in the history of movies.
Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron)
“Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)
Charlize Theron is a true thespian. She started her career as a bombshell and Hollywood ingénue but has transitioned to some real nasty roles of late. Perhaps most notable is her portrayal of Imperator Furiosa. She emerges as a leader of a group of women through a post-apocalyptic wasteland while simultaneously driving a giant truck and fending off a despotic ruler. And the kicker? She does it all with one arm. Anything more kick ass than that is hard to imagine.
Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon)
“Legally Blonde” (2001)
Here’s the thing: badassery shouldn’t be limited to action heroes. Case in point: Elle Woods. Elle may not seem like your typical Nasty Woman, but she's got brains and style like few do. She proves that you can be tough and maintain a genuine feminine vibe at the same time, all the while dismantling stereotypes and succeeding in a male-dominated world.
Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
Another OG in the list is Sarah Connor, a survivor who takes on the ultimate villain: a killer android from the future. Don’t be fooled by her humble beginnings as a waitress, Sarah channels her inner Nasty Woman who's not afraid to take on formidable opponents. And those biceps? Sheesh.
Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss)
“The Matrix” (1999)
Trinity is a martial arts expert and the right hand woman of Morpheus, but she’s a total badass in her own right. She uses her fighting prowess and smarts to defeat hordes of enemies, all the while seeming calm and collected. Her partner is Neo, and in all honesty, we can’t tell who the dominant one is. Their pairing is the ultimate power couple goals.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence)
“The Hunger Games” franchise (2012)
Don’t worry, we wouldn’t make a list of the Nasty Women of film and exclude Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games. She regularly fights for her survival in a dystopian society where children are forced to murder each other for ratings. She's a master archer and a strong-willed survivor who’s tough as nails—even when faced with seemingly herculean odds. Her famous three-finger symbol of rebellion has inspired people (both fans and non-fans alike) throughout the world.
Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman)
“Kill Bill” franchise (2003)
Congrats to Uma Thurman for making multiple appearances on this list (and both in Tarantino movies, mind you). Beatrix Kiddo, also known as “The Bride,” is a highly trained and assassin seeking revenge against those who wronged her, namely Bill. She is a ruthless fighter (with a heart) and master of several martial arts. How many women can take out an entire banquet hall of Japanese hitmen? My guess is not that many.
So there you go: some of the most Nasty Women in film. These ladies prove that strength and resilience come in many forms, from sci-fi thrillers to dystopian blockbusters—and more importantly, that it's possible to kick butt and look good doing it.
Words Art Vandelay
Art Alexandra Lara