Now, this really was a difficult one. I could have made this a top 50 and still struggled with who to include and who to leave out. Ah, the agony of choice. But, the fact that I have other things to do means I’ll just have to stop agonising and post the damn list.
Enjoy, and please feel free to add your own suggestions.
The Breakfast Club
The basket case. Allison is moody, withdrawn, a compulsive liar and by far the most fun member of The Club. She has the fewest lines but says a thousand words with each scowl from her hair-covered eyes. Allison is the perfect teenage enigma; she wants to be found but there’s no way she’s going to make it easy for you. Fact: she looked better before Claire’s makeover.
Greatest moment: The Cap’n Crunch cereal sandwich followed by defiant chewing.
Everyone needs an Amélie in their life. The self-appointed guardian of the hopes and dreams of those around her, Amélie avoids her own life by repairing the lives of others. If you could get near her without her freaking out, hanging out with Amélie would be a blast. Shy, imaginative and unbelievably cute, there are few characters in the world of cinema that deserve their happy ending as much as she does.
Greatest moment: The garden gnomes.
Okay, so she’s a fish but she’s a female character, isn’t she? And fish or not, Dory is just lovable. Yes, she’s absent-minded and she talks a little too much. In fact, she’s the kind of character who would probably drive you insane eventually, but contained within this hour and a half of Pixar magic, Dory is golden-hearted, wilfully optimistic and totally endearing. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
Greatest moment: Speaking fluent whale.
Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Alien Resurrection
Quite possibly the toughest woman in the history of the universe, Ripley has watched a succession of men fall prey to the alien creature which then falls prey to her. Four times over. Not content with facing down the ‘perfect organism’, Ripley also busies herself tearing multi-national corporate power a new asshole. And she still finds time to satisfy her maternal instincts.
Greatest moment: Grabbing a power-loader and opening a can of whoop-ass on the Alien Queen.
Senator Hanson is an example to all politicians. When her confirmation as Vice President is hampered by accusations of sexual indiscretion from an opponent, she chooses her principles of privacy and good politics over a defensive cry, refusing to deny or confirm the accusation in the face of overwhelming pressure to play the game. Hanson wins the day.
Greatest moment: Putting the President himself down when he asks her for the truth.
Marge Gunderson is pure magic. At first glance she may come across as a simple, heavily pregnant, small-town policewoman but underneath that docile and well-mannered exterior are the instincts and tenacity of a bloodhound. Sharp as a razor, she sniffs out guilt with a mixture of amiable conversation and stern politeness. Underestimate Marge Gunderson at your peril.
Greatest moment: Telling off killer Gaear Grimsrud as he sits sulking in the back of her car.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
From the moment we meet her, running her own bar in Tibet, Marion is the only one keeping up with the Jones. Frankly, the adventuring archaeologist never stood a chance. Over the course of two movies she saves his life, machine guns a truck full of soldiers, survives a 50-foot plunge and the wrath of God, drives an armoured car off a cliff, has Jones’ son and then finally marries her man. You go, girl.
Greatest moment: The drinking contest.
She doesn’t mean to be weird, she just hasn’t had much practice socialising with anything other than the doll her mother gave her when she was a lonely child with a lazy eye. May tries hard to find a true friend, but makes all the wrong choices and it always ends badly. She doesn’t take the rejections very well. What was that her mother said? If you can’t find a friend, make one. Look on the bright side, at least May is creative.
Greatest moment: May gets dressed up for Halloween.
The Accidental Tourist
She’s a little eccentric and has a questionable sense of fashion, but Muriel Pritchett is the kind of woman who understands exactly what’s important in life. And she’ll always be there to remind you that you’re taking yours too seriously. Even it if it means following you halfway across the planet to do so. Also great with dogs.
Greatest moment: Condensing her entire outlook on life into the simple act of adding extra pickles to her Burger King Whopper.
Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day
From diner waitress to the saviour of mankind in two movies. Not too shabby. Okay, that’s via the psychiatric ward, but when you start spouting off about the time-travelling, killer robot that chased you through the 80s, you’re bound to get a negative reaction. Mind you, by the second movie, it’s a brave man who gives Sarah Connor a negative reaction to her face. Just look at her. Would you tell her she needs to lighten up a bit?
Greatest moment: Escaping the asylum.
SOME OTHER POSTS WITH A VAGUE CONNECTION TO THIS ONE!
Some great choices. And an excellent list. Sigourney Weaver would always be high up on my list of female performances. I like the inclusion of Ally Sheedy in Breakfast Club and Dory! Frances McDormand is great in all her roles but I agree – Marge Gunderson is her most iconic.
I had to include Dory. I don’t want discriminate on grounds of species.
On mine, I think I’d try to choose at least one noir femme fatal. Maybe Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson or Kathleen Turner as Matty Walker.
I’d also want Scarlett O’Hara on there!
Yeah, I considered a couple of Kathleen Turner roles. Body Heat and Crimes of Passion. Also, Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep among others. Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction too. Too many choices.
Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I’ve done the same.
I think the #1 spot should go to Marge Gunderson, and I’m not just saying that because I have cousins in Fargo. (Don’t tell them it’s one of my favorite movies – like most people from Fargo, they aren’t fans of the film. It wasn’t filmed there, don’t cha know? That’s the truth – yah, you betcha!).
Okay, because you can include a fish, I can suggest the following random choices from the “tell us how you really feel” category of female movie characters, based on their sassy quotes alone. Maybe this should be a separate list. Oh, what the heck:
Loretta Castorini – Cher / Moonstruck
“Snap out of it!”
(During Confession) “Twice I took the name of the Lord in vain, once I slept with the brother of my fiancee, and once I bounced a check at the liquor store, but that was really an accident.”
Kate – Meg Ryan / French Kiss
[singing] “I hate Paris in the springtime, I hate Paris in the fall, I hate Paris in the summer when it sizzles, I hate Paris in the winter when it drizzles, I hate Paris, oh why oh why do I hate Paris? Because my love is there… with his SLUT girlfriend.”
(to Luc) “You’ll become one of those hunchbacked, lonely old men, sitting in the corner of a crowded cafe, mumbling to yourself, “My ass is twitching. You people make my ass twitch.”
Thanks for stopping by. Great selections and some inspired lines there, Amiable. Odd that you should seek to replace Dory with Meg Ryan. They look kinda similar since the plastic surgery.
I had heard that people in Fargo depise the movie, lol. Can’t imagine why.
Yah, you’re darn tootin’!
The heckya mean? Insulting Dory like that. (Yah, that’s a good one.)
very interesting list. I ADORE MURIEL PRITCHETT!!! She was wonderful in that!! Oh, where is she now? So sad.
Muriel was definitely one of her high points. That, and The Long Kiss Goodnight, which I thought was really underrated.
Awesome idea for a blog post, Richard, you should make this a blog-a-thon or meme. In fact, do you mind if I steal your idea and make it for both male and female? There are so many great movie characters to choose from, but what I can think of right now are from period dramas: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility, Fannie Price from Mansfield Park, Ellen Olenska from Age of Innocence. Man, I could easily go with a Top 25!
Btw, I’ve added you to my Blogroll.
Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for paying me a visit, Ruth. I look forward to reading your choices! I’m seeing a whole bunch of corsets and Hansom cabs.
You’re now on my blogroll too. Thanks!
Joan Allen never gets enough credit for her role in The Contender.
I love love love your choices, haveent seen the accidental tourist though. one thing i’s have to disagree with, Sarah Conner’s greatest moment. Escaping the asylum was cool yea, but the greatest moment by any character of any gender in any movie is her one are shotgun cock. I swear it will never get old
Thanks for reading, Brooke. Glad you liked my choices. Choosing Connor’s finest moment was a tough call, and you’ve mentioned another great moment there. Beating the shit out of that guard with a broomstick handle kinda swung it for me, though.
Great list Richard.
I love strong women, my choice of characters in your list will be sarah connor, i don’t like her version in the mini series, Linda Hamilton is the best for the job.
Ripley is amazing and Marion Ravenwood is also interesting.
I would also put Louis Lane in the list, but the old Louis lane, not the new one.
I didn’t see much of the Terminator TV show, but I heard good things about it. And I agree that the old Lois Lane was much better.
Thanks for stopping by, Novroz.