Top 5 Live-Action Princesses Who Rule the Screen


Disney has successfully tapped into a new market: live-action princess movies. While animated princesses have dominated the silver screen for decades, live-action counterparts have gained popularity in recent years, catering to adults who grew up with classic Disney films. This list celebrates the top five live-action princesses who have captivated audiences with their strong, noble, and relatable characters.

5) Maleficent from Maleficent


Before becoming “the mistress of all evil,” Maleficent was a girl who ruled over the enchanted creatures of the forest. The 2014 film Maleficent offers a feminist revision of the classic fairy tale, fleshing out a memorable villain from Disney’s rogue gallery. The enchantress is strong-willed and well-rounded, using her tragic experiences to fuel her revenge. Maleficent’s agency within her own story makes her a compelling character.

4) Giselle from Enchanted


Giselle is the live-action prototype of Frozen’s Anna. She’s a stereotypically impulsive princess with a post-modern edge. Despite her naivety, Giselle is a well-rounded and memorable character who reminds us that women are people with diverse personalities and strengths. Giselle proves that a female character doesn’t need to possess hyper-masculine skills to be strong or independent.

3) Éowyn from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers


If Giselle represents one extreme of the female spectrum, Éowyn represents the other. She is a skilled fighter who longs to join the men in battle. Disguising herself as a soldier, she rushes into battle and slays the Witch King of Angmar, who prophecy dictates that no man can kill. Éowyn’s role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is small but critically important, as she is a strong character with real depth who refuses to be a footnote in her own story.

2) Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones


Daenerys Targaryen is a character with immense agency within her own narrative. Starting as a pawn for her brother and others, she eventually sets out on a path to benefit herself and her fallen household. Daenerys refuses to be relegated to a ceremonial life, avenges her murdered husband, revives the extinct draconic species, and leads her shattered Khalasar through the desert. She wages a moralistic war against slavery in the far East, conquering Meereen and holding it against invading and insurgent forces. Daenerys’ realistic skill and intelligence make her a captivating character.

1) Leia Organa from Star Wars: Episodes IV-VI


Leia Organa paved the way for future princesses with her unprecedented degree of autonomy within the Star Wars narrative. Her treason against the Empire leads to Luke’s involvement in the Rebellion, and her intelligence results in the destruction of the Death Star. When enslaved by Jabba, she waits for the ideal moment to kill her captor. Leia’s character has been expanded upon in a vast library of ancillary materials, showcasing her success as a politician, Jedi, and mother. Leia Organa remains an iconic live-action princess who has inspired generations.

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