Love to Women: Feminist Films

The films that make up this list all have two things in common: 1.) They all reflect or illustrate the basic principle of feminism, which, stated simply and famously, is that women are not doormats. These movies assert and celebrate that women have the right to self-determinism. 2.) These are all good films -- several are even excellent. I hope you enjoy this list, these films, and the spirited women they depict.
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1.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. (118 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
 
2.
Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household. (125 mins.)
Director: Yimou Zhang
 
3.
Norma Rae (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A young single mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved. (114 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
 
4.
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Judy O'Brien is an aspiring ballerina in a dance troupe. Also in the company is Bubbles, a brash mantrap... (90 mins.)
Director: Dorothy Arzner
 
5.
Little Children (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts. (136 mins.)
Director: Todd Field
 
6.
Persepolis (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A precocious and outspoken Iranian girl grows up during the Islamic Revolution. (96 mins.)
 
7.
The Cider House Rules (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A compassionate young man, raised in an orphanage and trained to be a doctor there, decides to leave to see the world. (126 mins.)
 
8.
Frontrunner (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
An account of a brave woman running to become the President of Afghanistan. (90 mins.)
 
9.
North Country (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States -- Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit. (126 mins.)
Director: Niki Caro
 
10.
Moolaadé (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When a woman shelters a group of girls from suffering female genital mutilation, she starts a conflict that tears her village apart. (124 mins.)
Director: Ousmane Sembene
 
11.
The Contender (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Senator Laine Hanson is a contender for US Vice President, but information and disinformation about her past surfaces that threatens to de-rail her confirmation. (126 mins.)
Director: Rod Lurie
 
12.
Silkwood (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant. (131 mins.)
Director: Mike Nichols
 
13.
The Burning Bed (1984 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An abused battered wife has had enough of husband beating up on her. Everywhere she turns for help, there's not much anyone will do. After he rapes her one night, she sets the bed on fire with him in it asleep. (95 mins.)
 
14.
Whale Rider (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize. (101 mins.)
Director: Niki Caro
 
15.
Vera Drake (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Abortionist Vera Drake finds her beliefs and practices clash with the mores of 1950s Britain--a conflict that leads to tragedy for her family. (125 mins.)
Director: Mike Leigh
 
16.
Far from Heaven (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world. (107 mins.)
Director: Todd Haynes
 
17.
The Color Purple (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades. (154 mins.)
 
18.
Revolutionary Road (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A young couple living in a Connecticut suburb during the mid-1950s struggle to come to terms with their personal problems while trying to raise their two children. (119 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
 
19.
The Accused (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
After a young woman suffers a brutal gang rape in a bar one night, a prosecutor assists in bringing the perpetrators to justice, including the ones who encouraged and cheered on the attack. (111 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Kaplan
 
20.
The Circle (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Various women struggle to function in the oppressively sexist society of contemporary Iran. (90 mins.)
Director: Jafar Panahi
 
21.
Go Fish (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Max is a trendy, pretty, young lesbian, who is having trouble finding love. A friend sets her up with Ely... (83 mins.)
Director: Rose Troche
 
22.
Entre Nous (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In 1942 in occupied France, a Jewish refugee marries a soldier to escape deportation to Germany. Meanwhile... (110 mins.)
Director: Diane Kurys
 
23.
V for Vendetta (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of "V", plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman. (132 mins.)
Director: James McTeigue
 
24.
Juno (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child. (96 mins.)
Director: Jason Reitman
 
25.
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A housewife who is unhappy with her life befriends an old lady in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells of people she used to know. (130 mins.)
Director: Jon Avnet
 
26.
Erin Brockovich (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply. (131 mins.)
 
27.
American Violet (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A single mother struggles to clear her name after being wrongly accused and arrested for dealing drugs in an impoverished town in Texas. (103 mins.)
Director: Tim Disney
 
28.
Extremities (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A woman takes revenge on the man who invades her home and tries to rape her. (89 mins.)
Director: Robert M. Young
 
29.
Yentl (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A Jewish girl disguises herself as a boy to enter religious training. (128 mins.)
 
30.
Waitress (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Jenna is a pregnant, unhappily married waitress in the deep south. She meets a newcomer to her town and falls into an unlikely relationship as a last attempt at happiness. (108 mins.)
Director: Adrienne Shelly
 
31.
Real Women Have Curves (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
This is the story of Ana, a first generation Mexican-American teenager on the verge of becoming a woman... (90 mins.)
 
32.
Transamerica (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A pre-operative male-to-female transgender takes an unexpected journey when she learns that she fathered a son, now a teenage runaway hustling on the streets of New York. (103 mins.)
Director: Duncan Tucker
 
33.
Gia (1998 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The story of the life of Gia Carangi, a top fashion model from the late 1970s, from her meteoric rise to the forefront of the modeling industry, to her untimely death. (120 mins.)
 
34.
Set It Off (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Desperation drives four inner-city women (Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise) to bank robbery in Los Angeles, then they start mistrusting one another. (123 mins.)
Director: F. Gary Gray
 
35.
Lake of Fire (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A graphic documentary on both sides of the abortion debate. (152 mins.)
Director: Tony Kaye
 
36.
Missing (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When an idealistic writer disappears during the Right Wing military coup in 1973 Chile, his wife and American businessman father try to find him. (122 mins.)
Director: Costa-Gavras
 
37.
Speak (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
After a blurred trauma over the summer, Melinda enters high school a selective mute. Struggling with school, friends, and family, she tells the dark tale of her experiences, and why she has chosen not to speak. (89 mins.)
Director: Jessica Sharzer
 
38.
My Brilliant Career (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Sybylla Melvyn is an independent young woman who soon after arriving to live with her Grandmother Bossier... (100 mins.)
 
39.
Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A free-thinking art professor teaches conservative 1950s Wellesley girls to question their traditional social roles. (117 mins.)
Director: Mike Newell
 
40.
Camille Claudel (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Biography of Camille Claudel. Sister of writer Paul Claudel, her enthusiasm impresses already-famous sculptor Auguste Rodin... (175 mins.)
Director: Bruno Nuytten
 
41.
Crimes of the Heart (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Three sisters with quite different personalities and lives reunite when the youngest of them, Babe, has just shot her husband... (105 mins.)
Director: Bruce Beresford
 
42.
Women Without Men (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Against the tumultuous backdrop of Iran's 1953 CIA-backed coup d'état, the destinies of four women converge in a beautiful orchard garden, where they find independence, solace and companionship. (95 mins.)
 
43.
Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Documentary following singer Madonna on her controversial Blond Ambition tour in 1990. (120 mins.)
Director: Alek Keshishian
 
44.
What's Love Got to Do with It (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The story of singer Tina Turner's rise to stardom and how she gained the courage to break free from abusive husband, Ike Turner. (118 mins.)
Director: Brian Gibson
 
45.
Bread and Roses (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Two Latina sisters work as cleaners in a downtown office building, and fight for the right to unionize. (110 mins.)
Director: Ken Loach
 
46.
Panic Room (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A divorced woman and her diabetic daughter take refuge in their newly-purchased house's safe room, when three men break-in, searching for a missing fortune. (112 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
 
47.
Iron Jawed Angels (2004 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Defiant young activists take the women's suffrage movement by storm, putting their lives at risk to help American women win the right to vote. (123 mins.)
 
48.
Love Field (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Dallas housewife Lurene Hallett's life revolves around the doings of Jacqueline Kennedy. She is devastated... (102 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Kaplan
 
49.
Desert Flower (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The autobiography of a Somalian nomad circumcised at 3, sold in marriage at 13, fled from Africa a while... (120 mins.)
Director: Sherry Hormann
 
50.
Winter's Bone (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. (100 mins.)
Director: Debra Granik
 
51.
The Handmaid's Tale (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
In a dystopicly polluted rightwing religious tyranny, a young woman is put in sexual slavery on account of her now rare fertility. (109 mins.)
 
52.
Alien (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as distress call, their landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform. Continuing their journey back to Earth with the attacked crew having recovered and the critter deceased, they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. (117 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
53.
Maria Full of Grace (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A pregnant Colombian teenager becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family. (101 mins.)
Director: Joshua Marston
 
54.
The Trojan Women (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The women of Troy face enslavement after the fall of their city. (105 mins.)
 
55.
Thelma & Louise (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An Arkansas waitress and a housewife shoot a rapist and take off in a '66 Thunderbird. (130 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
56.
Where Are My Children? (1916)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A District Attorney's outspoken stand on abortion gets him in trouble with the local community. (62 mins.)
 
57.
The Client (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A young boy who witnessed the suicide of a mafia lawyer hires an attorney to protect him when the District Attorney tries to use him to take down a mob family. (119 mins.)
Director: Joel Schumacher
 
58.
Fargo (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson. (98 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
59.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker. (158 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
 
60.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing -- or dead -- for forty years by a young female hacker. (152 mins.)
 
61.
The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
As computer hacker Lisbeth and journalist Mikael investigate a sex-trafficking ring, Lisbeth is accused of three murders, causing her to go on the run while Mikael works to clear her name. (129 mins.)
 
62.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Lisbeth is recovering in a hospital and awaiting trial for three murders when she is released. Mikael must prove her innocence, but Lisbeth must be willing to share the details of her sordid experiences with the court. (147 mins.)
 
63.
Wadjda (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest. (98 mins.)
 
64.
Fish Tank (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend. (123 mins.)
Director: Andrea Arnold
 
65.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation. (105 mins.)
Director: Robert Benton
 
66.
The Playboys (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A young woman, Tara Maguire (Robin Wright) scandalizes her provincial Irish village in the 1950s by having a baby out of wedlock... (117 mins.)
 
67.
The Long Walk Home (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Two women, black and white, in 1955 Montgomery Alabama, must decide what they are going to do in response to the famous bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King. (97 mins.)
Director: Richard Pearce