25 Feminist Movies for Everybody

When winter chill hits, it’s time for movie night! Curl up with your favorite hot drink, and let these badass feminist movies warm your heart.

When I was a kid, feminist movies often got written off as “chick flicks,” and it did some great movies a great disservice. Feminism and movies featuring powerful women aren’t just for women to watch any more than movies starring men are just for men to watch.

This list runs the gamut from sci-fi to romantic comedy to documentary. There is truly something for everyone here, because feminism is for everybody.

25 Feminist Movies

This list includes some of my favorites, plus suggestions from the amazing feminists in my life. Pop yourself some popcorn, get some cocoa on the stove and take in a few of these movies about powerful women.

1. The Incredible Jessica James

If you aren’t already a fan of Jessica Williams from the podcast 2 Dope Queens, get ready for her to knock your socks off. Williams plays Jessica James, a powerful, creative and hilarious “cocoa queen” bouncing back from a breakup.

2. Wonder Woman

I didn’t see Wonder Woman until it left the theaters, and, at least for me, it lived up to all of the hype. The film is packed with tough ladies, and I was super impressed with the ending, which bucked Hollywood norms. I will not spoil it for you, though. Hollywood Reporter dives into the ending, if you want more deets.

3. Serenity

Serenity is a movie based on the 2000s series, Firefly, and it may be one of my favorite feminist movies of all time. The women in this movie (and the series) are tough as nails, and they do not need a man to protect them. If you’re into science fiction or action movies, definitely give it a watch.

4. A League of Their Own

This was one of the most-mentioned movies when I surveyed folks for their favorite feminist movies. The film is about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was a real thing here in the U.S. in the 1940s and early 1950. The movie looks at the struggles that women in sports faced at the time. If you’ve ever wondered where the line, “There’s no crying in baseball!” comes from, it’s from this movie.

5. Iron Jawed Angels

Ladies, if you didn’t appreciate your right to vote before watching this historical drama, you certainly will afterward. Votes for women was about so much more than protest signs. Iron Jawed Angels dives into the horrors that suffragettes endured so that you and I could cast our ballots.

6. Hidden Figures

This historical drama looks at the women of color who worked as NASA mathematicians during the early days of the space program. The movie is based on the nonfiction book by the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, and it will change the way you picture the space race.

7. 9 to 5

A group of women work for a male boss who truly has it all. He’s racist, sexist and just plain mean—and they team up to give him his comeuppance. The empowering 1980 comedy stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, so you know these ladies are tough.

8. Daughters of the Dust

The 1992 film is set in 1902, tells the story of three women of color leaving their rural home at Igbo Landing on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia for a more modern life. Even the film’s creator has a feminist backstory. Julie Dash wrote, produced and directed the film, and Daughters of the Dust. Dash was the first black woman to have a feature film released across the U.S.

9. Alien

Alien’s feminist roots begin with the casting. Ripley, the lead character played by Sigourney Weaver, was written as a male, but when casting asked director Ridley Scott about changing him to a female, he “was entirely unfazed,” according to an article from Entertainment Weekly. Ripley is the hero of this sci-fi feminist classic.

10. Fried Green Tomatoes

This early 1990s drama is all about strong women. Based on the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, the movie follows two strong female friendships, one in the Depression era and one in the 1980s. It’s all about women working together to overcome adversity. Towanda!

11. The Color Purple

Before Oprah launched The Oprah Winfrey Show or her own television network, she portrayed Sofia in the movie adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. It tells the story of two sisters in the 1930s overcoming racism, sexism and abuse. It’s a classic, and you’ll cry like a baby.

12. Frida

The movie looks at Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and tells the story of her art and her strength. Frida is based on Hayden Herrera’s book, Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo.

13. Fargo

Not only is police officer Frances McDormand a tough, capable homicide detective, but she investigates a string of murders in Fargo, North Dakota in the middle of her pregnancy.

14. Kill Bill Volume 2

This movie is the second half of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill film, and it features Uma Thurman as the revenge-seeking, ass-kicking Black Mamba. The movie is over-the-top violent, and there are about as many women as men in the fray.

15. Tank Girl

Tank Girl was a comic book movie released years before comic book movies were cool. Lori Petty plays the lead character, and she’s defending the community’s water from corporate looters. Even the soundtrack screams 90s girl power, with songs from L7, Bjork, Hole, Joan Jett and Belly.

16. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

Christina Applegate plays a 17-year-old with four siblings whose mother is traveling to Australia for two months. When their—frankly, awful—babysitter dies in her sleep, Applegate’s character decides that rather than call her mom for help, she’ll just start a career and care for her brothers and sister all summer. And she rocks it.

17. Miss Representation

This is a newer film that looks at how media feeds our preconceived ideas about gender roles. Filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom shares stories from teenage girls and prominent women in film, politics, activism and more to shake up our ideas about what makes a woman powerful.

18. Ghostbusters

The 2016 version of Ghostbusters features an all-female team. These women are smart, capable and they keep fighting, even though people don’t believe them.

19. Muriel’s Wedding

When Muriel’s wedding starts, it certainly doesn’t feel like a feminist story. She steals money from her parents to fly off and find a husband. But stick with it—the movie’s takeaway is worth the wait.

20. Moana

This is one of my son’s favorite movies, and I am so glad! Moana teams up with a demi-god, Maui, to save her people. There’s no love story. Just a male and female lead working together as equals to change the world.

21. Thelma and Louise

Thelma and Louise take off on a road trip, leaving the men in their lives behind, for what is supposed to be a quick, fun weekend away. The trip quickly turns into a tragic adventure where they find out that they’re both a lot stronger than they thought.

22. Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich tells the true story of the real-life activist. Brockovich was a single mom who got a job in a law office. While working on what seemed like a straightforward real estate case, she uncovers an environmental scandal that’s destroying the health in a California community.

23. Joy Luck Club

This movie is based on Amy Tan’s book by the same name, and she co-wrote the screenplay. It tells the stories of a group of Chinese-American immigrant women. The mothers and daughters all bond with each other by sharing their stories and struggles.

24. Set it Off

When a group of women are finding it impossible to make ends meet, they decide to rob a bank. The movie isn’t just about strong women in a typically male-dominated storyline. It depicts realistic struggles that women in poverty, especially impoverished women of color, face every day in the U.S.

25. Run Lola Run

This late 90s action film turns the damsel-in-distress plotline on its head. Lola doesn’t need saving. Instead, she needs to get her hands on 100,000 Deutschmark to replace a bag of stolen money that her boyfriend lost. If she doesn’t, his boss is going to kill him.

Related at Care2

When winter chill hits, it's time for movie night! Curl up with your favorite hot drink, and let these badass feminist movies warm your heart.

160 comments

Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thanks

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John B
John B6 months ago

Thanks Becky for sharing the list.

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Stelnivan J
Stelnivan J8 months ago

I have watched all ten and have liked all with some minor criticisms. It is absolutely true that one is hard pressed to find feminist films with WOC on Netflix. I think I found a film by Gina Prince-Bythewood once… You can also watch them on freeflix Hq app (https://freeflixhq.org/) . Perhaps Netflix can keep this in mind when creating their own content….

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D S
D Smith9 months ago

Thanks :D

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joan silaco
joan silaco9 months ago

TYFS

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Christina Klein
Christina Klein9 months ago

thanks!

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Ian Crory
Ian Crory9 months ago

ty

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Marge F
Marge F9 months ago

Thank you for posting this interesting article.

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Patricia D
Patricia D9 months ago

Fried Green Tomatoes! One of my all time favorites!

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Marion Morin
Marion Morin9 months ago

Merci!

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