The 10 Greatest Female Protagonists

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In the world of film there have been some breath-taking leading ladies, some of which have been trail blazers for their gender in their profession, as genuinely amazing actors and kick-ass characters. Here is a rundown of ten of the most amazing silver screen seductresses to date:
1. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) – Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott’s Alien was released slap bang in the middle of the female empowerment movement of the late 20th Century and Weaver’s portrayal of the alien fighting space exploring protagonist Ripley, has long been described as symbolic of the social gender power shift within the culture of the time. The infamous image of Weaver surrounded by giant eggs is unapologetically representative and boldly celebratory of the growing power of females at the time.


2. Chihiro – Spirited Away (2001)

Miyazaki’s animated masterpiece sees a young girl being stripped of her parental guidance and protection and thrown into a world completely unlike her own, one which is inhabited by spirits and strange creatures and ruled by an evil bath house keeper/witch; Yubaba. What is most striking about the Chihiro character is the journey she goes through and how much she genuinely grows as a person throughout the movie, Miyazaki’s narrative has been woven with such skill and masterful craft the viewer is oblivious to the personal growth of the character right until the flash back scene at the end where it dawns on you like the warmth of the Japanese sun.


3. Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) – Erin Brockovich (2000)

The true story of an unemployed single mother bringing down a Californian power company is beautifully portrayed by Roberts in this unforgettable underdog tale. Brockovich is so instantly relatable for anyone who has felt trapped or helpless in their lives. A truly uplifting feel good story, one for which Roberts received a female’s record breaking $20 million fee for.


4. Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) – Secretary (2002)

Maggie Gyllenhaal gives her most impressive and extraordinary performance to date in the critically acclaimed 2002 smash hit, Secretary. Gyllenhaul carefully and faithfully explores the lines of mental health through her character Lee Holloway as she embarks on a sadomasochistic relationship with her boss Mr. Grey.


5. Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) – The Exorcist (1973)

William Friedkin was celebrated as an absolute pioneer of the horror genre when his 1973 adaptation of the 1971 book of the same name hit the silver screens. The reason Linda Blair has to be added to this list is the fact that her rendition of the demon infested child, that performance that had people running out of movie theatres and passing out in fear, that performance that has had the film named scariest movie of all time, was executed by an actor of only 14, carving her place in horror history forever.


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