The Best Female Lead Action Movies

by jefaud | created - 29 Oct 2011 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

I love action movies. Manly action movies. There are also some action movies with female heroes. I threw this together quickly, any suggestions?

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1. Peppermint (2018)

R | 101 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

29 Metascore

Five years after her husband and daughter are killed in a senseless act of violence, a woman comes back from self-imposed exile to seek revenge against those responsible and the system that let them go free.

Director: Pierre Morel | Stars: Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz, Juan Pablo Raba

Votes: 18,702 | Gross: $35.42M

2. Red Sparrow (2018)

R | 140 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

53 Metascore

Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to 'Sparrow School,' a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.

Director: Francis Lawrence | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling

Votes: 116,274 | Gross: $46.87M

3. Atomic Blonde (2017)

R | 115 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

63 Metascore

An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.

Director: David Leitch | Stars: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Eddie Marsan

Votes: 140,066 | Gross: $51.57M

4. Wonder Woman (2017)

PG-13 | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

76 Metascore

When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, Diana, an Amazonian warrior in training, leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Director: Patty Jenkins | Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis

Votes: 452,354 | Gross: $412.56M

5. Lucy (I) (2014)

R | 89 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

61 Metascore

A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked

Votes: 390,852 | Gross: $126.66M

6. Wanted (2008)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Fantasy

64 Metascore

A frustrated office worker learns that he is the son of a professional assassin and that he shares his father's superhuman killing abilities.

Director: Timur Bekmambetov | Stars: Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp

Votes: 333,816 | Gross: $134.51M

It seems like lately we could put all of Angelina Jolie's movies on here. The Tourist is not on the list, but could have been.

7. Proud Mary (2018)

R | 89 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

35 Metascore

Mary (Taraji P. Henson) is a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes bad.

Director: Babak Najafi | Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown, Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Neal McDonough

Votes: 5,651 | Gross: $20.87M

8. Widows (2018)

R | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

84 Metascore

Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki

Votes: 22,699 | Gross: $40.88M

9. Ocean's Eight (2018)

PG-13 | 110 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

61 Metascore

Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City's yearly Met Gala.

Director: Gary Ross | Stars: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling

Votes: 110,456 | Gross: $139.38M

10. Ghost in the Shell (2017)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

52 Metascore

In the near future, Major Mila Killian is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals.

Director: Rupert Sanders | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche

Votes: 165,784 | Gross: $40.53M

11. Divergent (2014)

PG-13 | 139 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

48 Metascore

In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.

Director: Neil Burger | Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney

Votes: 390,906 | Gross: $150.95M

12. Allegiant (2016)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

33 Metascore

After the earth-shattering revelations of Insurgent, Tris must escape with Four beyond the wall that encircles Chicago, to finally discover the shocking truth of the world around them.

Director: Robert Schwentke | Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Daniels, Naomi Watts

Votes: 90,100 | Gross: $66.18M

13. Insurgent (2015)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

42 Metascore

Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.

Director: Robert Schwentke | Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Theo James, Kate Winslet

Votes: 193,336 | Gross: $130.18M

14. The Hunger Games (2012)

PG-13 | 142 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

68 Metascore

Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.

Director: Gary Ross | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci

Votes: 780,510 | Gross: $408.01M

My teenage daughter is obsessed!

15. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

PG-13 | 146 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

76 Metascore

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Director: Francis Lawrence | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Votes: 562,932 | Gross: $424.67M

Now both of my daughter's are obsessed!

16. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014)

PG-13 | 123 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

64 Metascore

Katniss Everdeen is in District 13 after she shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

Director: Francis Lawrence | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 367,324 | Gross: $337.14M

17. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)

PG-13 | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

65 Metascore

Katniss and a team of rebels from District 13 prepare for the final battle that will decide the future of Panem.

Director: Francis Lawrence | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 240,208 | Gross: $281.72M

18. Kidnap (2017)

R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Drama

44 Metascore

A mother stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son.

Director: Luis Prieto | Stars: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn, Lew Temple

Votes: 27,149 | Gross: $30.72M

19. The Call (II) (2013)

R | 94 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller

51 Metascore

When a veteran 911 operator takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl who has just been abducted, she realizes that she must confront a killer from her past in order to save the girl's life.

Director: Brad Anderson | Stars: Halle Berry, Evie Thompson, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut

Votes: 101,571 | Gross: $51.87M

On my watch list. Haven't seen it yet.

20. Hanna (2011)

PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

65 Metascore

A sixteen-year-old girl who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Vicky Krieps

Votes: 174,408 | Gross: $40.26M

With a lifetime of training, maybe...

21. Salt (2010)

PG-13 | 100 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

65 Metascore

A CIA agent goes on the run after a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy.

Director: Phillip Noyce | Stars: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Olbrychski

Votes: 272,685 | Gross: $118.31M

They asked Angelina if she wanted to be a Bond girl and she replied, "I want to be Bond"...The result...SALT!

22. Haywire (2011)

R | 93 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

67 Metascore

A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Angarano

Votes: 77,824 | Gross: $18.94M

They left her no choice.

23. Colombiana (2011)

PG-13 | 108 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

45 Metascore

A young woman, after witnessing her parents' murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.

Director: Olivier Megaton | Stars: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Callum Blue, Jordi Mollà

Votes: 85,708 | Gross: $36.67M

It's about time a Columbian Drug lord movie was made.

24. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

R | 121 min | Action, Crime, Drama

44 Metascore

A woman suffering from amnesia begins to recover her memories after trouble from her past finds her again.

Director: Renny Harlin | Stars: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Yvonne Zima, Craig Bierko

Votes: 66,393 | Gross: $33.33M

Gina Davis pulled this off fantastically.

25. The Brave One (2007)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

56 Metascore

Struggling to recover emotionally from a brutal assault that killed her fiancé and left her in a coma, a radio personality begins a quest for vengeance against the perpetrators that leaves a bloody trail across New York City.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Nicky Katt

Votes: 54,580 | Gross: $36.79M

Jody Foster as a vigilante. If you like Jody, you may also like Panic Room or Flight Plan.

26. The River Wild (1994)

PG-13 | 111 min | Adventure, Crime, Thriller

Rafting expert Gail takes on a pair of armed killers while navigating a spectacularly violent river.

Director: Curtis Hanson | Stars: Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon, David Strathairn, Joseph Mazzello

Votes: 37,421 | Gross: $46.82M

A very exciting adventure with a flawless female lead.

27. Point of No Return (1993)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A government fakes the death of a criminal to turn this young woman into a killer on its service.

Director: John Badham | Stars: Bridget Fonda, Gabriel Byrne, Dermot Mulroney, Miguel Ferrer

Votes: 22,825 | Gross: $30.04M

The American version of Le Femme Nikita. Which should be on this list but why put the same movie twice. Bridgitte Fonda did a great job.

28. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

R | 137 min | Action, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from a more advanced and powerful cyborg.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

Votes: 879,188 | Gross: $204.84M

Linda Hamilton BROUGHT IT!!!

29. Tomb Raider (2018)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

48 Metascore

Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she discovers the island where her father disappeared.

Director: Roar Uthaug | Stars: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu

Votes: 142,209 | Gross: $57.42M

30. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

PG-13 | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

33 Metascore

Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artifacts.

Director: Simon West | Stars: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor

Votes: 181,600 | Gross: $131.14M

Fun Movie and it's sequel.

31. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

PG-13 | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

43 Metascore

Adventurer Lara Croft goes on a quest to save the mythical Pandora's Box, before an evil scientist finds it, and recruits a former Marine turned mercenary to assist her.

Director: Jan de Bont | Stars: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Chris Barrie, Ciarán Hinds

Votes: 119,229 | Gross: $65.66M

Sequel gone wrong. Talks of another remake starring Olivia Wilde.

32. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

69 Metascore

After awakening from a four-year coma, a former assassin wreaks vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen

Votes: 876,536 | Gross: $70.10M

Uma meet Oprah. Bloody violent movie with a rumor of a 3rd.

33. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

R | 137 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

83 Metascore

The Bride continues her quest of vengeance against her former boss and lover Bill, the reclusive bouncer Budd, and the treacherous, one-eyed Elle.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah

Votes: 594,698 | Gross: $66.21M

Quentin doing what he does.

34. Kill Bill: Vol. 3

Action, Crime, Thriller | Announced

The plot is unknown at this time.

Is it going to happen?

35. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

R | 88 min | Action, Fantasy, Horror

23 Metascore

Hansel & Gretel are bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world. As the fabled Blood Moon approaches, the siblings encounter a new form of evil that might hold a secret to their past.

Director: Tommy Wirkola | Stars: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare, Famke Janssen

Votes: 179,322 | Gross: $55.70M

Cheezy

36. Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

57 Metascore

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Director: Rupert Sanders | Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin

Votes: 254,374 | Gross: $155.33M

Not really a genre that I enjoy, but I watched it...twice.

37. One for the Money (2012)

PG-13 | 91 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

22 Metascore

Unemployed and newly-divorced Stephanie Plum lands a job at her cousin's bail-bond business, where her first assignment puts her on the trail of a wanted local cop from her romantic past.

Director: Julie Anne Robinson | Stars: Katherine Heigl, Jason O'Mara, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo

Votes: 37,914 | Gross: $26.41M

Katherine Heigl did a good job in this mediocre flick.

38. Charlie's Angels (2000)

PG-13 | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

52 Metascore

Three women, detectives with a mysterious boss, retrieve stolen voice-ID software, using martial arts, tech skills, and sex appeal.

Director: McG | Stars: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray

Votes: 160,050 | Gross: $125.31M

Cheesy but fun.

39. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

48 Metascore

The Angels investigate a series of murders which occur after the theft of a witness protection profile database.

Director: McG | Stars: Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, Bernie Mac

Votes: 110,731 | Gross: $100.83M

Say CHEESE!!

40. Miss Congeniality (2000)

PG-13 | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

43 Metascore

An F.B.I. Agent must go undercover in the Miss United States beauty pageant to prevent a group from bombing the event.

Director: Donald Petrie | Stars: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen

Votes: 163,181 | Gross: $106.81M

Plus the sequel. Comedy with Action.

41. The Net (1995)

PG-13 | 114 min | Action, Crime, Drama

51 Metascore

A computer programmer stumbles upon a conspiracy, putting her life and the lives of those around her in great danger.

Director: Irwin Winkler | Stars: Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller, Diane Baker

Votes: 54,860 | Gross: $50.73M

Sandra Bullock could have had a few on this list. Speed 1 & 2 and others. But this is my favorite.

42. The Heat (I) (2013)

R | 117 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

60 Metascore

An uptight FBI Special Agent is paired with a foul-mouthed Boston cop to take down a ruthless drug lord.

Director: Paul Feig | Stars: Sandra Bullock, Michael McDonald, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir

Votes: 150,388 | Gross: $159.58M

I can't wait to see this one.

43. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)

R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

19 Metascore

Tasked with destroying each other, an FBI agent and a rogue DIA agent soon discover that there's a much bigger enemy at work.

Director: Wych Kaosayananda | Stars: Antonio Banderas, Lucy Liu, Talisa Soto, Gregg Henry

Votes: 17,935 | Gross: $14.29M

Lucy Liu could have several movies on this list. I don't really like horror movies, but, "Rise" could have made the list.

44. Momentum (I) (2015)

Not Rated | 96 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

18 Metascore

Alex, a mysterious thief, is pulled in by her former partner for one last heist. She quickly finds it was never just about the diamonds. A brutal murder sparks a cat and mouse chase between... See full summary »

Director: Stephen S. Campanelli | Stars: Olga Kurylenko, James Purefoy, Morgan Freeman, Greg Kriek

Votes: 12,060

45. G.I. Jane (1997)

R | 125 min | Action, Drama, War

62 Metascore

A female Senator succeeds in enrolling a woman into Combined Reconnaissance Team training where everyone expects her to fail.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Anne Bancroft, Jason Beghe

Votes: 67,698 | Gross: $48.17M

Demi Moore as a bald dude. The Juror could have also made the list.

46. Elektra (2005)

PG-13 | 97 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

34 Metascore

Elektra the warrior survives a near-death experience, becomes an assassin-for-hire, and tries to protect her two latest targets, a single father and his young daughter, from a group of supernatural assassins.

Director: Rob Bowman | Stars: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Will Yun Lee, Kirsten Zien

Votes: 80,300 | Gross: $24.41M

Sequel to Daredevil. If you like Jennifer Garner, remember her TV show, "Alias"

47. Bandidas (2006)

PG-13 | 93 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

In turn-of-the-century Mexico, two very different women become a bank-robbing duo in an effort to combat a ruthless enforcer terrorizing their town.

Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg | Stars: Penélope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Steve Zahn, Dwight Yoakam

Votes: 31,826

How about Bandidas 2 starring Eva Longoria and Roselyn Sanchez? or Bandidas 3 with Jennifer Esposito and Eva Mendes?

48. Bad Girls (1994)

R | 99 min | Romance, Western

Four prostitutes join together to travel the Old West.

Director: Jonathan Kaplan | Stars: Madeleine Stowe, Mary Stuart Masterson, Andie MacDowell, Drew Barrymore

Votes: 10,715 | Gross: $15.24M

It's hard to watch some of these actresses trying to be tough, kind of like watching Mary Steenburgen try to be mean.