MOVIES have traditionally been male dominated, with most female characters portrayed as the sexy sidekick, love struck, or needing saving.
But there are some female characters in movies that don't need men to look after them. Instead, they are strong, powerful and sassy!
Check out our list of these top heroines that can stand their own ground and kick some serious butt!
1 - Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
With Jennifer Lawrence currently lighting up movie screens worldwide as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, it just goes to show that female characters can be strong and can be the hero.
Katniss is not only a skilled fighter, fiercely independent, but also a canny manipulator. She is also selfless and compassionate, as she always tries to protect the innocent and those she cares about. But rest assured that although Katniss may display guilt or remorse when taking down enemies, she will do it as quick as an arrow!
2 - Ellen Ripley in Alien
Ellen Ripley is one of the first female action heroes. She stands strong among the men around her, and is definitely not a damsel in distress in need of saving. Plus, not only does Ripley know how to handle her guns, but she also kills a bunch of aliens!
Unlike a few of the heroines on the list, Ripley doesn't have any superpowers. She is just a normal regular woman taking charge in an alien crisis. Ripley is smart, confident, courageous and a leader. But she is not emotionless, she cares deeply about her crew and also looks after Newt like a mother would.
Ellen Ripley is considered an iconic and memorable character and is regarded as one of the best movie heroes. Therefore, it is a no-brainer that she earns a spot on our list.
3 - Sarah Connor in Terminator
Even though the Terminator had a strong male lead in Arnold Schwarzenegger, I find that Sarah Connor was the true star. When we first saw Sarah Connor, she was a waitress who happened to be the future mother of humanity's saviour. But after loads of running, fighting against a relentless cyborg killer, and losing someone she loved - Sarah trained and developed necessary skills and abilities to make herself a suitable mentor to her son.
In Terminator 2, she has transformed into a strong and ferocious warrior who is fiercely determined to protect her son John. Although she is slightly mentally unstable and extremely violent, you still see her love for her son shine bright. Her determination and perseverance make her a strong character capable of taking care of herself and protecting others. I like that although she is tough and deadly, her motherly instinct is shown as the driving source of her drive.
4 - Beatrix Kiddo/The Bride in Kill Bill
Beatrix Michelle Kiddo, also known as The Bride, is the leading actress in the two Kill Bill movies and is considered one of the most deadly women in cinema. She was once a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, consisting of five deadly killers.
After falling pregnant, she decided to leave the squad and settle down into a new life. However, on the day of her marriage, her old colleagues gunned down everyone at the ceremony, including her fiancé.
Four years later, after waking up from a coma and discovering her baby is gone, The Bride embarks on a mission of revenge and hunts down the people who ruined her life. The two films see her slicing and dicing her way through armies of ninjas, assassins and bodyguards, until she finally gets to Bill. This heroine definitely knows how to hold her own, and brings a whole new meaning to "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".
5 - Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Although Lara Croft comes from British aristocracy, she is no sissy, this woman really knows how to kick some butt! Lara Croft is a "tomb raider" who enjoys collecting ancient artifacts around the world and doesn't mind going through extreme dangers to get them.
She is skilled in combat and weapons training, fluent in several foreign languages, and she can rock some seriously tight outfits (a lethal combination indeed)!
6 - Selene in Underworld
Not only is Selene one of the sexiest movie heroines but she is also one of the most lethal. Even though Selene of the Underworld series is an immortal vampire, she is also an expert in combat and hunter.
Through the course of the films, we see Selene encounter staggering revelations and perseveres unbowed. Selene proves to be one of the baddest and deadliest vampires around, ranking her as one of our butt-kicking heroines.
7 - Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Lisbeth Salander is an unlikely heroine with short jet-black hair with piercings and tattoos, but I believe that her look contributes to her bad-ass persona. She is a genius - as she shows herself to be an expert computer hacker, intelligent, and a cunning manipulator with photographic memory.
Lisbeth is also a survivor of a traumatic childhood, making her very introverted and anti-social. She is particularly hostile against men who abuse women, and takes pleasure in punishing them. She ultimately fights for justice and punishes those who do wrong. Lisbeth is a tough woman who knows how to stand on her own two feet and defend herself, earning her a spot on the list.
8 - Thelma and Louise in Thelma and Louise
Thelma and Louise is not just a powerful film about friendship, but it is also about transformation and liberation. Not only do these women stand up and look after themselves but they have the courage to escape from their old lives (where they have been very much domesticated) to go on a new exciting adventure. These two women manage to shoot dead a potential rapist, rob a convenience store, stands up to the cops, and blows up a truck!
I like that this film is not about Thelma and Louise's lives revolving around men. Rather, it shows two independent women as the stars of their own lives. How often do we see a movie about two female fugitives? Thelma and Louise clearly know how to make their own decisions and look after their own backs, earning them a well-deserved spot on this list.
9 - Mulan in Mulan
I love this Disney film because it's not about a girl finding true love, but about a woman proving herself in a male-dominated society. This film shows how a woman can fight just as effectively as a man, who protects and saves her country from the Huns. Mulan is brave, intelligent, and determined, qualities which make her a top movie heroine!
10 - Merida in Brave
This is another Disney film that deserves some merit. Merida is a young Scottish princess of the clan Dunbroch who is very talented archer. Refusing to comply with her parent's plan for her to marry a son of her father's allied clans, she runs off into the woods where she comes across a witch and asks for a spell to change her mother. Although it brought about a change she wasn't hoping for, she tries her best to fix it.
The film shows Merida using her bravery and skills as an archer to right her terrible mistake. Merida is honourable, independent, and not afraid to stand up for her beliefs. I like that she makes mistakes and takes on the responsibility and challenge of fixing it - making her a good role-model and a great heroine!