Who Are the Top 10 Badass Female Heroines?

With Sigourney Weaver’s latest outing – The Cold Light of Day – being released on DVD and Blu-ray this week,  (see our review here) we decided to take a closer look at the type of movie character type she virtually created: The hard-as-nails female protagonist. Standing up against everything from nasty men to legions of homicidal robots, here’s our top 10 list for you and see if you agree with us as to who hits the No.1 spot.

10) Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009).

Swedish-born Rapace rocketed to fame with her critically hailed performance as Lisbeth Salander, a goth-punk computer hacker who more than holds her own in a world full of malicious males. We all remember that particularly cathartic scene where she creatively exacts revenge on a sordid sexual predator by use of her tattoo needle.

That’ll teach him to mess with the girl with the mohawk and spiky necklace.


9) Lee Young Ae as Lee Guem-ja – Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005).

Serving 13 years behind bars for a murder you didn’t commit does something to your outlook on life. And to your ability to inflict pain. After finally being released from prison, the resourceful Guem-ja rounds up a group of former inmates and hunts down the real child-murderer, before subjecting him to sadistic torture of the kind only found in Korean movies. Which she’s fully entitled to, of course.



8) Anne Parillaud as Nikita – La Femme Nikita (1990).

Luc Besson has a knack for creating memorable female protagonists, none of them more lethal than this French firebrand. Nikita’s career leap from psychopathic junkie to international assassin speaks volumes of her audacity. One of few women to join Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones and Robocop in that elite inner circle of master Desert Eagle-wielders.



7) Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt – Salt (2010)

Angelina’s filmography is essentially a roster of action heroines – Evelyn Salt surely the pick of the bunch. It’s impossible to grow up in the Soviet Union, work as a spy for the CIA, get tortured in a North Korean Prison, save the world from cataclysmic nuclear war and NOT make it into this list.


6) Rose McGowan as Cherry Darling – Planet Terror (2007)

How do you pick yourself up and get on with life after suffering a debilitating injury? By mounting a machine gun in the stump of your severed leg and gunning down bad guys from the back of a motorcycle, that’s how! Add stabbing Quentin Tarantino through the eye, and you’ve earned your place among the hardest in extravagant style.


5) Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor – Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Sarah Connor goes through quite a transformation over the course of two first Terminator movies. Although a timid victim at first, she eventually turns into what every little boy imagines his dad to be like: Protective, gun-savvy, a match for futuristic robot assassins and with a physique to rival that of Mr. Schwarzenegger himself.


4) Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity – The Matrix films (1999 – 2003)

Trinity is another one of that special breed of woman who has no qualms about going head-to-head with a civilization of humanity-enslaving machines. Her daily duties include hacking super-secure data systems, dodging bullets, leaping off skyscrapers and getting her male teammates out of trouble. Looking harder than a concrete elephant with stubble, Trinity’s no-nonsense appearance is arguably the most intimidating on the list.


3) Milla Jovovich as Alice – The Resident Evil films (2002 –)

After waking shivering, half-naked and vulnerable, Alice wastes little time making her way into close combat with swathes of zombies and mutated canine monstrosities. From there, she proceeds to take on two of the things most despised by mankind: International corporations and intelligent supercomputers. Completely fearless and with higher survivability than a cockroach, Alice is any movie villain’s worst nightmare.


2) Uma Thurman as The Bride — The Kill Bill films (2003 – 2004)

There’s no more effective way of incurring a woman’s wrath than spoiling her wedding – especially if it involves shooting her in the head with a shotgun. En route to sweet revenge, Thurman’s iconic “The Bride” punches her way out of coffins, bites off tongues, plucks out eyeballs and effortlessly carves through Japan’s finest martial arts experts in a shower of blood. So incessant is her spree of destruction, she doesn’t even find time to change out of that dirty yellow jumpsuit. Not that we’d want her to.


1)  Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ellen Ripley – The Alien films (1979 – 1997)

She is, of course, still number one. In her no less than legendary role as Lt. Ripley, Sigourney Weaver convincingly repels the worst horrors deep space can throw at her.  And she’s so good at it, she stubbornly keeps on going through three acid-dripping sequels. Ellen Ripley is the benchmark against which all subsequent female hardcases have been measured. None have surpassed her so far.

GS Reporter: Montoya

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  1. robschofieldphotography /

    A great list but for me your number 6, cherry darling, would get the top spot any day.

  2. You missed loads, you lightweight! Pfeiffer’s CatWoman, Hathaway’s Catwoman, Jenette Goldstein’s Vasquez in Aliens, Michelle Rodriguez in SWAT & Resi Evil, Scarlett’s Black Widow, Garner’s Elektra, Summer Glau in Serenity, Devon Aoki’s Miho in Sin City, Joile’s Fox in Wanted and Rhona Mitra in Doomsday… talk about sending a boy to do a man’s job!

  3. Dave W /

    Robocop doesn’t use a Desert Eagle, he uses a modified Beretta.

    And in less pedantic views…I can’t be doing with Trinity being above Sarah Connor. She spends most of the trilogy moping around doe-eyed at Neo.

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