When anyone says that women haven’t been given enough representation or anything to do in action and adventure movies in the past it’s easy to laugh and remind them that there have been plenty of tough women that have come from several decades before now. While a lot of them admittedly came in the 80s and 90s to really start with, the idea of forgetting strong women from any era is a much greater disservice to women since it takes the idea that women have been completely subservient and not at all tough when the truth is that women have had fairly diverse roles in the movies over the years. The 90s were just one of many decades since the beginning of cinema that showed some of the toughest women in the business. Anyone that wants to argue that fact might have to look at this list and hopefully understand that women in cinema have been far tougher than they’re given credit for over the years.
Here are a few of the best female heroes from the 90s.
10. Dr. Joe Harding – Twister
Calling this woman heroic might stretch things just a bit since she wasn’t a storm chaser due to her bravery. It was an obsession she had to understand tornadoes, but all the same, someone that takes on the job of a storm chaser has to have nerves of steel to get close enough to a twister to record it. Some of those death funnels have been known to be deadly, but while the movie took a lot of liberties, Helen Hunt managed to sell the idea that she was someone that knew what she wanted and was bound and determined to see the object of her obsession up close and personal.
9. Ellen Ripley – Alien 3
Some might want to say that Ripley was scared to death of the single xenomorph in this movie, much as she was in the first movie, but that’s common sense, to be honest. Not only can the creature dominate pretty much everyone in the prison that she wakes up in, but it’s revealed that it won’t kill her because there’s an alien inside of her, a queen no less. It’s kind of fitting really, and her fear comes more from the idea that if left unchecked, a queen could start her nightmare all over again. But this is Ellen Ripley, a woman that took on a hive of xenomorphs and their queen.
8. Samantha Caine – The Long Kiss Goodnight
A killer becomes a housewife after a bump on the head and then, when her old life comes crashing back into the present, she becomes the killer again as she seeks to regain what she had. But once she comes to terms with who she is and what she can do, she becomes even deadlier since she has something and someone to fight for, which can make anyone a bigger danger when people underestimate them. Telling someone that they’re going to die screaming, without lying or exaggerating, while smiling in a wolfish manner, should easily make a person’s blood run cold at the mere thought.
7. Vivian Ward – Pretty Woman
Like it or not, even though this isn’t an action movie, Vivian was the hero of her own story in a way since she not only changed her own persona during the course of the movie, but she gave purpose to and changed the man that might have picked her up for a night but came to care about her. Vivian is the kind of character that shows us that with a little faith and humanity toward those that many believe are of a lower station, people can surprise us in a big way and show us that a big bank account is secondary to everything else.
6. Dizzy Flores – Starship Troopers
So yes, Dizzy did manage to challenge Carmen in high school and was a bit abrupt now and then, but it was largely because she loved Johnny Rico while Carmen likely saw their relationship as more convenient than real. This was proved when Carmen’s career came before their relationship, which was a choice she made that was right for herself, but was still devastating. Dizzy was willing to go all-in with Johnny since they were far more compatible, even if it took Johnny a little too long to see this.
5. Mathilda – Leon: The Professional
This young girl went megaton or tried to anyway, in a manner that was kind of foolish since she was trying to exist in an adult’s world when she was still a kid. While she learned from Leon, she was too eager for revenge and it nearly cost her the last little bit that she had. What she did manage to do though was give a hardened assassin a lust for life that he hadn’t had in a long time. While some think that this was disturbing because of Mathilda’s feelings for Leon, it’s important that ‘lust for life’ didn’t mean Leon was about to be a creep, as he was Mathilda’s savior and guardian, nothing else.
4. Leeloo – The Fifth Element
Take the gathered knowledge of the universe and introduce it to humanity and you get Leeloo. She knew nothing about the human race other than the fact that humans were a curious bunch, but she learned. In fact, she almost didn’t fulfill her purpose because she learned of the awful things that humans tend to do to each other, and nearly lost hope because of it. One can’t really blame her for a lack of faith in this regard.
3. Buffy – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The moment this movie came out it was deemed as kind of goofy and out of the norm for a vampire movie, but when it ended up spawning a popular TV show it became something of a cult classic since for one reason or another people locked onto it. Luke Perry wasn’t the main reason obviously, but then again, neither was Kristy Swanson.
2. Sarah Connor – Terminator 2: Judgment Day
This one should be pretty obvious since from the first movie to the second, Sarah Connor ended up becoming a badass that knew how to handle all types of firearms, was skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and was seriously unstable when it came to her mental state. She was a bit blunt with her son when they reunited, but when it came to defending him she wasn’t letting anything happen to John.
1. Trinity – The Matrix
The black leather and attitude managed to impress a lot of people since Trinity became one of the most emulated characters in the movies for a while thanks to her iconic kick that happened during the opening of the movie. As to how she’s going to come back in The Matrix 4 is still unknown, but a lot of fans are ready for it.
Women have been tough in every decade, one just has to take notice.