When we see heroes in military movies they usually have one thing in common — they’re all men. It’s no secret that the portrayal of women in the armed forces is uneven so it’s time they got their due. This Memorial Day weekend we wanted to shine a light on the female movie soldiers who fought against the pretty and precious stereotype to show that girls can play just as hard as the boys. We salute you!
Here’s our list of the Top 5 Kick-Ass Women in Military Movies…
5. Judy Benjamin in Private Benjamin
Private Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn) was a money hungry prima donna who accidentally joined the U.S. Army on a whim. She could have easily fallen victim to the grueling training regimen or her arrogant superiors but she didn’t. She proved to be more than just a pretty face when she completed boot-camp and stayed in the service despite everyone’s low expectations. Private Benjamin is a constant reminder for us to never judge a book by its cover.
- Film Genre: Comedy
- Biggest Obstacles: Physical Activity, Discipline, Infantry Captain, Overbearing Fiance
- Greatest Achievement: Showed a woman go from entitled gold digger to a capable solider.
4. Jill Valentine in Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) is part of a special ops group called STARS that appeared in the video game and film version of Resident Evil. Even though Milla Jovovich’s Alice is highlighted as the franchise star, Valentine is the originator who made her character possible. She’s beautiful but deadly and paved the way for a lot of the video game heroines we see today.
- Film Genre: Action, Horror, Video Game
- Biggest Obstacles: Lack of Respect, Seen as the “weaker” member of the STARS team
- Greatest Achievement: Went from being eye candy to one of the deadliest characters in the video game genre.
3. Karen Walden in Courage Under Fire
Meg Ryan’s Captain Karen Walden was a soldier who lost her life in combat in Courage Under Fire. Even though she wasn’t the typical embodiment of the All American Hero (having a vagina and all) you couldn’t deny everything she sacrificed for her troops. She proved that in the heat of battle a woman could handle just as much as a man, and in some cases even more.
- Film Genre: Drama
- Biggest Obstacles: Sexism, Corrupt Soldiers and Government Officials
- Greatest Achievement: Proved that a woman can make rational decisions under the most extreme circumstances.
2. Jordan O’Neil in G.I. Jane
Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil (Demi Moore) in G.I. Jane was one tough cookie. She was the first woman to enter the elite training program in the Navy’s Special Warfare Group. Everyone thought she was going to break but when she shaved off all her hair, started doing extreme pull ups, and told her commanding officer “Suck my d*ck!” She showed that she was just as butch and capable as any man out there.
- Film Genre: Drama
- Biggest Obstacles: Sexism, Physical Abuse, Commanding Officers, Training Peers, Government Officials
- Greatest Achievement: Showed that a woman can train at the same level as a man in the military.
1. Ellen Ripley in Alien
Alien’s Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley is no joke. The character was originally written as a man, but was played by Sigourney Weaver who turned her into one of the first REAL female heroes to grace the big screen. She always took charge and never waited for a knight in shining armor to rescue her from the big bad monsters. She was her own hero.
- Film Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Thriller
- Biggest Obstacles: Sexism, Physicality, and of course aliens!
- Greatest Achievement: First woman to headline a sci-fi action movie franchise.
What kick-ass woman do you think should be on our list?