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The movie heroines who redefined cinema #InternationalWomensDay


Today marks International Women's Day, so what better time to recap cinema's most immortal and influential heroines? We've rounded up some of our favourites - scroll down to find out if yours have made our list.


The movies: The Alien franchise

Played by: Sigourney Weaver

Originally written as a man, the gender switching of Ripley was a revolutionary move that paved the way for equal representations in sci-fi and action cinema. Weaver's resourceful, vulnerable yet strong-willed heroine emerged from the first movie as the final survivor of the Nostromo when many viewers at the time had perhaps tipped characters played by the likes of Tom Skerritt and Yaphet Kotto to make it out alive.

Weaver's genre-defining heroine became the face of the Alien franchise over the ensuing three movies, and questions are circulating about how her legacy is going to be addressed in this year's prequel, Covenant. Is Daniels (Katherine Waterston) her mother? We'll have to wait and see.

Sarah Connor

The movies: The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Played by: Linda Hamilton

The character of Sarah has been treated to a multitude of different portrayals, most recently by Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke in Terminator: Genisys. But frankly, you don't mess with the original.

Hamilton's portrayal of Connor, mother of the human race's eventual saviour, is nothing less than iconic, moving from terrified and persecuted in James Cameron's original 1984 classic to fiercely driven and powerful in the 1991 sequel. The character's complex mixture of parental warmth and action movie bravado is a tricky balance to pull off but in Hamilton's hands it looks effortless.


The movie: Batman Returns

Played by: Michelle Pfeiffer

Tim Burton's deliriously dark follow-up to his 1989 blockbuster unleashes an assortment of villains on us, none more memorable than Pfeiffer's (a replacement for Annette Bening) vengeful office worker who is resurrected as the classic whip-cracking vigilante. The star's genuinely unhinged and unpredictable take on the comic book character is still seen as by many as the definitive one: a blend of feline agility and off-kilter humour that steals the limelight from Michael Keaton's Batman and Danny DeVito's twisted The Penguin.

Yu Shu Lien

The movie: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Played by: Michelle Yeoh

One of Asian cinema's most prominent and distinguished stars, Michelle Yeoh has proven time and again that action and martial arts cinema need not be a boys' own playground. Following her role as the kick-ass Wai Lin in Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, she then brought grace and intelligence to Ang Lee's multi-Oscar-winning smash, a high-flying period epic whose focus is centred more on its women characters than the guys. The rooftop chase sequence still takes our breath away.

Lara Croft

The movies: Tomb Raider & Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Played by: Angelina Jolie

The search for a movie star who could do justice to the iconic PlayStation character was an intensive one. Then in the throes of her burgeoning A-list career, Jolie brought the beauty, wit and desire to do her own stunts, fully embodying the live-action Lara with fun and panache. If the movies themselves didn't quite come up to the mark, Jolie's clear enthusiasm for the trendsetting, go-getting character was clear. Next year, The Danish Girl Oscar winner Alicia Vikander will be stepping into Lara's boots for the Tomb Raider reimagining.

The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo

The movies: Kill Bill parts 1 & 2

Played by: Uma Thurman

Sweeping aside the male competition with a deadly swipe of her samurai sword, Thurman's utterly ruthless and determined anti-hero doesn't let anything stand in her way. Quentin Tarantino's 'rip-roaring rampage of revenge' centres around Thurman's captivating central character, one who combines a lust for bloody vengeance with an eventual desire to be reunited with her young daughter. In fact, the most brutal showdown in the series pits Beatrix against her female rival, Elle Driver (Darryl Hannah), a punchy reminder of the story's femme-centric approach.


The movie: Logan

Played by: Dafne Keen

Hugh Jackman bows out as the clawed Wolverine in this critically acclaimed anti-superhero Western, but the honours really belong to charismatic young newcomer Dafne who tears onto the screen as the feral Laura. Largely silent but possessed of ferocious abilities that remind Logan of his younger self, she's a key factor in our understanding of his character, and is surely poised to lead her own spin-off movie. Please, guys, make it so.

Click here to book your tickets for Logan.

Mason Weaver

The movie: Kong: Skull Island

Played by: Brie Larson

Pitching herself as an "anti-war photographer", Brie's photojournalist character is exactly what we need to revitalise the ongoing Kong movies. Not the imperilled heroine as played by the likes of Fay Wray, Jessica Lange or Naomi Watts but rather a pragmatic documentarian and lover of nature, Weaver is someone who fights with her camera, rather than weapons or bombs. In the hands of Oscar-winning actress Larson, she's also someone we really believe in.

Click here to book your tickets for Kong: Skull Island.

The Major

The movie: Ghost in the Shell

Played by: Scarlett Johansson

Not quite machine but not all human, futuristic law enforcer The Major is the enigmatic centrepiece of the groundbreaking Ghost in the Shell manga franchise. This sleek, big-budget reworking of the classic 1995 movie, released on 31st March, sees Johansson add to her action movie repertoire that already includes the Marvel blockbusters and 2014 hit Lucy.

Click here to book your tickets for Ghost in the Shell.

Hit Girl

The movies: Kick-Ass parts 1 & 2

Played by: Chloe Moretz

Aaron Taylor-Johnson may be the nominal star as the DIY superhero of the title, but on release all of the headlines went crazy over Moretz's unforgettable, scene-stealing portrayal. A pint-sized heroine whose potty mouth is as deadly as her fighting skills, Hit Girl was unlike anything we'd seen in a comic book movie before, posing a significant threat for the film's baddies whilst providing us with any number of classic action scenes along the way. It was a role that helped propel Moretz to A-list stardom.


The movie: Star War: The Force Awakens (and, later this year, The Last Jedi)

Played by: Daisy Ridley

The Star Wars saga has invariably centred around male heroes from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in the original trilogy to Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) in the prequels. Refreshingly director J.J. Abrams opted for a different tack in his celebrated rejuvenation of the series, presenting us with one of the franchise's most compelling and enjoyable characters in the form of Ridley's Rey.

As the character learned to embrace the Force and enter the eventual showdown with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Rey immediately sped into our hearts as one of the saga's best creations, one who laid the groundwork for Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso in last year's Rogue One.

And arriving this summer...

Wonder Woman

The movie: The clue's in the name

Played by: Gal Gadot

Following last year's Batman v. Superman, it wasn't Ben Affleck or Henry Cavill on our minds. Frankly, we wanted to see more of Gadot's enigmatic Diana Prince, better known as her shield-wielding alter-ego. Thankfully this summer we get our wish as Monster director Patty Jenkins and Gadot combine forces to bring us Wonder Woman's origin story, poised to be a rip-roaring hit in which our title character most certainly won't be relying on sidekick and lover Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to save the day. Check out the trailer below.

Which movie heroines are you celebrating today? Let us know @Cineworld.