It’s Women’s History Month, and while I think women’s history should be celebrated every month (why isn’t there a men’s history month?), this seemed like a perfect opportunity to choose some great movies celebrating the roles of women in history.
1. Joan of Arc (1948)
This movie starring Ingrid Bergman is great. (See photo above.) In the fifteenth century, France was a defeated nation after the One Hundred Years War against England. Joan of Arc, the 14-year-old farm girl, claimed to hear voices from heaven asking her to lead God’s Army against Orleans and crown the Dauphin Charles VII as King of France. You probably know the rest of this tragic story.
Photo Credit: oscarnow2009
2. Norma Rae (1979)
Sally Field won an Academy Award for her starring role in this film as a minimum-wage cotton mill worker in the South who becomes a leader in organizing a union at her plant. Based on the real-life Crystal Lee Sutton who joined up with the Textile Workers Union to battle textile corporation J.P. Stevens. The film highlights the important contributions women have made to the labor movement.
Photo Credit: BrickhouseBrandy
3. The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (1980)
This excellent documentary focuses on a radical time for women: the U.S. entry into World War II created an unprecedented demand for new workers. Notions of what was proper work for women changed overnight. Thousands of posters and billboards appeared calling on women to “Do the Job He Left Behind.” Rosie the Riveter was born — the symbol of working women during World War II.
Photo Credit: wehokatt
4. A League of Their Own (1992)
The main theme of this movie is how gender roles changed in World War II America, as two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry. Great movie, starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks.
Photo Credit: iloveyukihiko
5. The Joy Luck Club (1993)
The life histories of four Asian women and their daughters reflect and guide each other. The film, based on Amy Tan’s best-selling novel, takes place in present-day San Francisco, concentrating on a group of late-middle-aged Chinese women. Directed by Wayne Wang and written by Ronald Bass.
Photo Credit: ~Lore
6. Elizabeth (1998)
Cate Blanchett’s performance in this movie is amazing. Queen Elizabeth the First of England ruled during a time of great economic and social change. During her reign she witnessed the defeat of the Spanish Armada leaving Britain to later become one of the world’s dominant superpowers. Blanchett does the queen proud.
Photo Credit: yolandajabonillo
7. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Hilary Swank and Chloë Seivngy star in this movie based on the true story of a transgendered teen. I remember the first time I watched this film, and just couldn’t believe it wasn’t a documentary, it felt so real.
Photo Credit: daddyprincess13
8. Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999)
Halle Berry became the first African American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress after she played the first African American to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar: Dorothy Dandridge. The film focuses on the challenges in Dandridge’s career and the racism she faced as a black actress in Hollywood.
Photo Credit: FontShop Benelux
9. The Young Victoria (2009)
Presiding over one of the largest empires ever seen, Queen Victoria was the head of state for most of the nineteenth century. She became synonymous with the period symbolizing propriety and middle class values. Though the film focuses more on Victoria’s (Emily Blunt) early years on the throne, and her relationship with Prince Albert, it is an excellent film.
Photo Credit: watchmovieonline
10. Zero Dark Thirty (2013)
Whether or not you believe torture was vital to the hunt for Bin Laden, Jessica Chastain is awesome in her role as a female CIA operative who is tough and doesn’t care what anyone thinks in her determination to capture Bin Laden.
There are many, many more wonderful movies about women’s history. Which ones do you recommend?
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