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10 Top Movies To Celebrate Women’s History Month

10 Top Movies To Celebrate Women’s History Month

Itís Womenís 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 worldís dominant superpowers. Blanchett does the queen proud.


Photo Credit: yolandajabonillo

7. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

Hilary Swank and ChloŽ 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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4:02PM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

What about women celebrating ourselves daily?

1:47PM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

I keep wanting to watch Elizabeth.

11:12PM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

I have a movie poster of Gorillas in the Mist. Is there anything better than Sigourney Weaver playing Diane Fosse? One woman known for playing badasses got to play a real life badass when she stepped into the role of the amazing Ms. Fosse.

6:39PM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Excellent choices and a couple of good reminders, thanks.

2:12PM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

thank you

2:11PM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

thank you

11:36AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Carl N....your dismissal of Kevin's educated comments is "interesting," to say the least.

PERHAPS if more women's history were might be educated and then wouldn't find it so "obscure."

7:05PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Judy Molland, you ask "why isn’t there a men’s history month?" and my only answer is 'every month is a men's history month.' Through the aeons, history has traditionally been recorded by men and therefore is seen through the male lense. It is rather like the kid that on Mother's Day or Father's Day asks when is children's day? The usual reply is every day is children's day.

There are no two ways about it, women have contributed substantially to history. Just think about it, all the "great" men in history were birthed and nurtured by women. Yes there were other influences, but the first was mommy dearest.

3:38PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Carl- Because the writing of history has been dominated by males, women have been marginalized from history. That is a fact that most, if not all historians recognize. I find it amazing that you continue to argue for such marginalization.

Great women like Empress Theodora; Eleanor of Aquitaine; Empress Wu Zetian; Isabella I of Castile; Elizabeth I of England; Empress Dowager Cixi; Catherine II of Russia; Queen Victoria; Maria Theresa of Austria; Hatshepsut; Agrippina the Elder, Agrippina the Younger; Calpurnia; Cornilia; Octavia; Berenice II, Boudica; Erinna of Telos; Aristodoma of Smyrna (to name just a few) get nowhere near the attention in the history books as males who accomplished far less.

Western history was generally written by well-to-do white men, and as such, they generally wrote about well-to-do white men and marginalized the contributions of women, working poor, and people of color.

3:09PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013


I guess the history books give all of the women mentioned the credit they deserve - now whether they deserve to be mentioned obviously depend on the scope of the history book. A book on the US suffrage movement should have several of them, a book about the history of Civil Rights in the US also, but in a book of world history definitely not. Just because someone was influential on something rather obscure you happen to be interested in doesn't make that something everybody should know about.
I happen tho know who Josephine Baker, Harriet Tubman and Grace Hopper was - that last one being the only one of them all I think I should know about, because I am a Computer Scientist and believe its part of being a professional to know the history of ones profession.
Now how many people male or female of importance in the field computer science do you know of? And are you competent to understand Grace Hoppers contribution?

Did you have to discover the women listed by researching primary sources or did you happen to read about them in the books they are supposed to be kept out of?

Is it really your opinion as a historian than that anyone on the list has had even remotely the same impact on the world as a person like Martin Luther (the German guy)?

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