Movies · Podcast Unlimited

The Top Ten Female-led Action/Adventure Films

Aliens (1986)

“I’ve been watching you waltz all night Diane,
Nobody’s found a way behind your defenses.
They never notice the zap gun in your hand,
Until you’re pointing it and stunning their senses.”

– Billy Joel, “Sleeping With the Television On”

There is a misconception out there that Hollywood exists in a bubble. That there is a complete disconnect between itself and the rest of the world. This is utterly untrue. Hollywood is in the people pleasing business, and their unofficial motto is “Give ’em what they want.” So if Tinseltown has been covered by an air of chauvinism the past hundred years or so, then it is because the movie-going public at large are chauvinists.  

It is a Catch-22 of circular logic – Hollywood won’t cast women in the lead of action/adventures films because the public won’t go to see them; yet the public don’t pay to see action/adventure films starring women because Hollywood don’t make any. The truth is simpler and slightly more sinister. Hollywood dies make these films – it’s that these films for the most part aren’t very good. And it is not the fault of the actresses (most of the time). They are saddled with poor scripts, weak direction, even worse editing, and less than half the budget given to movies starring a man (even with the disparity of salaries taken into account).

As you can see, the perception does not match reality; for we were able to find at least ten examples of quality-filled entertaining movies in this genre. Normally, I don’t insert my disclaimer how any list is just a snapshot of my mind at that moment in time and how it could/would change any other day. With two high-profile films due to be released within a year (Wonder Woman, the live-action Ghost In The Shell), I immediately realized that the list was created a bit prematurely, and Keith and I might have jumped the gun with this list.

So with all that in mind, here are our lists.

The Podcast Unlimited Top Ten Female-led Action/Adventure Films

Keith’s List

  • 10. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
  • 9. Kill Bill 1 (2003)
  • 8. Colombiana (2011)
  • 7. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
  • 6. Point of No Return (1993)
  • 5. The Hunger Games (2012)
  • 4. Underworld (2003)
  • 3. G.I. Jane (1997)
  • 2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  • 1. Aliens (1986)

Honorable Mentions: Æon Flux (2005); Charlie’s Angels (2000); Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001); Lucy (2014); Mad Max: Fury Road (2015); Salt (2010); The Brave One (2007); Wanted (2008).

My List

  • 10. Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
  • 9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
  • 8. Romancing the Stone (1984)
  • 7. Foxy Brown (1974)
  • 6. Spirited Away (2001)
  • 5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  • 4. Kill Bill 1 + 2 (2003/04)
  • 3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  • 2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
  • 1. Aliens (1986)

Honorable Mentions: Coraline 2009; Gravity (2013); Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001); The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996); Lucy (2014); Red Sonja (1985); Resident Evil (2002); Sucker Punch (2011); Tank Girl (1995); The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013); Underworld (2003).

Next Podcast Unlimited List: Top Ten Horror Films.


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