Top 30 Female Leads in Movies

I decided to put together a list of some badass protagonists: Incluvie's Top 30 Female Protagonists in Film. The characters that made the cut are in essence — girls that kick butt, challenge stereotypes/gender norms, and are just in general, great characters to begin with. Who says a girl can’t have some spunk?

Jazmyn McLain
Jazmyn McLain
May 13, 2021

In honor of Women’s History Month, I decided to put together a list of some badass protagonists: Incluvie's Top 30 Female Protagonists in Film.

The characters that made the cut are in essence — girls that kick butt, challenge stereotypes/gender norms, and are just in general, great characters to begin with. Who says a girl can’t have some spunk?

1. Matilda (Matilda)

Matilda is a special girl with telepathic powers and a brilliant mind for her age. She frequently stands up to her ruthless principal and parents with both her smarts and psychic abilities.

Matilda

2. Valkyrie (Thor: Ragnarok)

Valkyrie, AKA Brunnhilde is the ruler of New Asgard and leader of the Valkyries--warriors who swore to defend the throne. She is incredibly brave, determined, and a mighty protector of Asgard, fitting for a female lead.

Valkyrie

3. Ripley (Alien series)

Lead icon of the Alien franchise, Ripley has survived, and tore through dozens of aliens throughout her many years. She is one heck of a fighter! One of the best movies with a female lead.

Ripley from Aliens

4. Toph (Avatar the Last Airbender)

One of the main characters from team Avatar, Toph is a master of earth-bending. She shatters gender roles with her spunky attitude, tom-boyish mannerisms, and a passion for battling.

Toph

5. Princess Leia (Star Wars)

Princess Leia is a strong willed politician and fighter who lead the rebellion against Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and numerous other threats against the galaxy.

Princess Leia

6. Storm (X-Men)

One of the main team members of the X-Men, Storm is a master of controlling the weather to rain down upon Magneto and all the rest of the X-Men baddies in a pinch.

Storm

7. Princess Fiona (Shrek series)

Princess Fiona kicks off in the Shrek series by being a wayward princess who is anything but a damsel in distress--she frequently saves herself from dangerous foes, saves Shrek and Donkey from whatever peril they are in, and even shows prowess in the martial arts.

Princess Fiona

8. Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy)

A key team member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora was originally a trained expert assassin under Thanos who abandoned her former life to fight for the side of good. She uses her quick wits and battle capabilities to help out the team whenever possible.

Gamora

9. Rachel Chu (Crazy Rich Asians)

Rachel Chu grew up with a loving single mother - and went on to become a professor of game theory in economics in New York City.  She learns that her fiancé is part of Singapore's elite. Of course she's suave enough to handle his mother and the crazy rich socialites.

Rachel Chu

10. Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Furiosa was previously a war captain who abandoned her post to help free "The Five Wives" and teamed up with Max and a rag-tag group of rebels to overthrow the ruthless Immortan Joe. She is a hardly survivalist, driver, soldier, mechanic, and freedom fighter. Badass female lead.

Furiosa

11. Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Master of the force, Rey is the main protagonist of the Force Awakens trilogy. She has protected the galaxy from various dangerous threats, is intelligent, kind, brave, and is a sheer powerhouse!

Rey

12. Wonder Woman (Wonder Woman)

Leader of the Amazons and founding member of the Justice League, Wonder Woman Diana Prince is an unconquerable warrior with sheer strength to rival that of Superman. Epic female lead and star.

Wonder Woman

13. Astrid (How to Train Your Dragon)

Viking warrior/dragon tamer of Clan Hofferson of the Hooligan Tribe, and the next Chieftess of Berk, Astrid is a force to reckon with!  She is one of the main protagonists of the How to Train Your Dragon series.

Astrid

14. Leela (Futurama)

Let's be real, the rest of the crew on Futurama would be toast if it wasn't for Leela holding them together. She's smart, headstrong, no nonsense, and a spaceship pilot/head of the Planet Express Ship to boot!

Leela

15. Judy Hopps (Zootopia)

Judy always had a dream of becoming a cop to make the world a better place and to help those in need; and even after all the flack she would get in police academy for being "just a small bunny", Judy would prove them wrong time and time again from her determination, wits, and big heart.

Judy Hopps

16. Okoye (Black Panther)

A key ally to Black Panther, Okoye is the the head of Wakandan armed forces and intel, and the General of the Dora Milaje.

Okoye

17. Sarah Conner (Terminator series)

Sarah Conner is the mother of John Connor, the leader of the Resistance during the Future War against the machines/Terminators. She taught him all she knew in the ways of war, and has survived the deadly Terminators countless times.

Sarah Conner

18. Moana (Moana)

Daughter of the chieftain of her home village of Motunui, Moana is a talented voyager who goes on an adventure across the seas to save her loved ones from an approaching darkness.

Moana

19. Mulan (Mulan)

Master of both sword fighting and disguise, Mulan is a true hero. In her time in China, women were banned from joining the army to fight, but nevertheless, fight she did. Dressed as a man in secret, she fought off the Huns and saved China from certain defeat. One of the best movies with a female lead - of all time.

Mulan

20. Katniss (The Hunger Games)

Main protagonist of The Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss is a survival expert, master of archery, and winner of the Hunger Games. She would later fight alongside the rebellion to stop the Hunger Games once and for all and topple over the corrupt government led by President Snow.

Katniss Everdeen

21. Eleven (Stranger Things)

Armed with powerful psychokinetic abilities, Eleven uses her powers to help fight off the monsters from the Upside Down, a parallel world to ours.

Eleven

22. Adora (She-ra and the Princesses of Power)

Gifted with a magical sword and the magical powers of She-ra, Adora is incredibly strong, and stands up for what she believes in. She and the rest of the Princesses of Power battle the Horde, a threat to their home world of Etheria.

Adora

23. Devi Vishwakumar (Never Have I Ever)

Devi is a hot-headed nerdy teen who manages to get into a lot of trouble after being traumatized by her father's death. She's loveable and relatable, and learns to do the right thing - or at least make up for it with the right thing eventually! This feisty imperfect teenager is the perfect female lead.

Devi Vishwakumar

24. Xena (Xena:Warrior Princess)

Xena is an ex-warlord who abandons her former life to fight for the greater good, alongside her close ally Gabrielle. She spends her time traveling throughout ancient Greece hunting for treasure, battling Titans and warlords, and getting caught up in countless adventures.

Xena

25. Arya Stark (Game of Thrones)

Member of the House of Stark, Arya forges her own path. Instead of being interested in the lady-like things expected of her by her family, she is talented in the use of weaponry, warfare, and swordsmanship.

Arya Stark

26. Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Buffy is a Slayer--a woman who seeks out and kills demons, vampires, and other supernatural monsters that threaten our world. She is quick, smart, tough, and truly lives up to the Vampire Slayer name.

Buffy

27. Wynonna Earp (Wynonna Earp)

Wynonna Earp takes on the role of demon protector--taking out the supernatural entities known as Revenants, and ensuring that they don't take over her hometown of Purgatory and escape into the world. She doesn't let the Revenants get in her way, and is a formidable opponent to the forces which threaten her home.

Wynonna Earp

28. The Doctor (Doctor Who)

The Doctor is a millennia-old alien known as a Time Lord. Equipped with her time & space traveling  TARDIS, The Doctor is a warm-hearted adventurer who seeks to help those around the galaxy and stop those who threaten it.

Top 30 Female Leads in Movies

29. Michonne (The Walking Dead)

One of the main characters from the Walking Dead, Michonne is an adept survivalist, swordsman, zombie-killer, and warrior.

Michonne

30. Selene (Underworld)

Fiercely strong, independent and determined, Selene is a powerful vampire who defends her clan from the warring Lycans.

Selene

In conclusion, that covers Incluvie's Top 30 Female Leads in Film! The best movies with female leads!