Top 10 Damsels in Distress in Movies

Script written by Sean Harris. When beauty meets the bad guy, sparks may fly – but not always in a good way! In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 movie damsels in distress. For this list, we’ve looked at any female character that’s placed in danger and needs a hero to save her; however if she doesn’t manage to get herself saved, then she’s disqualified. Also, it’s live action only though, so no animated gals! Special thanks to our users Finister2, janeyrevanescence12, Sara Cohen, jayepapers, Gus Aldana, jillvalentineinreall, Sparkstorm150 and Sparkstorm150 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Sean Harris.

Top 10 Damsels in Distress in Movies


When beauty meets the bad guy, sparks may fly – but not always in a good way! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie damsels in distress.

For this list, we’ve looked at any female character that’s placed in danger and needs a hero to save her; however if she doesn’t manage to get herself saved, then she’s disqualified. Also, it’s live action only though, so no animated gals!

#10: Nancy Callahan
“Sin City” (2005)

Bruce Willis’ John Hartigan isn’t the stereotypical guardian angel, but Nancy Callahan is sure lucky to have him. Played as an adult by Jessica Alba, she owes her life to Willis… and she lives it rather exotically. Alba is a mixture of cute and cutthroat – she has butter-wouldn’t-melt eyes, and a fiery flip side. After a more-than-tough childhood, distress is camped upon her doorstep. ‘She grew up. She filled out’, she’s damsel number 10.

#9: Debbie Edwards
“The Searchers” (1956)

The youngest damsel to make our list, Debbie suffers distress that is cruelly drawn out. After she’s kidnapped by Comanche Indians as a child, the responsibility for her rescue falls largely on the shoulders of John Wayne. He’s a capable cowboy, we all know that, but searching for Debbie is no easy task, and it turns into a 5-year mission. By the time she’s found, she’s a young woman, and a whole different person.

#8: Kim Mills
“Taken” (2008)

Maggie Grace plays out parental nightmares in this movie, and she sends Liam Neeson on a Parisian manhunt. Kim Mills had hoped to be a U2 groupie, but instead was kidnapped on her very first night in Europe – from that point on, the audience, like her father, sees nothing of her. The very definition of youthful vulnerability, we’re with Neeson – whoever you are, let her go, or else!

#7: Marisol
“A Fistful of Dollars” (1964)

As ‘the man with no name’, Clint Eastwood arrives in San Miguel and quickly assumes the role of Marisol’s protector. She’s held hostage by the Rojo brothers – she’s the brunette beauty on the arm of a gangster. Until Eastwood, hers was the life of a captive – with him, there is hope. The second woman from the Wild West to make our list, Marisol is proof that you should talk to strangers.

#6: Lois Lane
“Superman” franchise (1978-)

One of our more famous damsels, Lois Lane has to manage her distress at ‘Super’ levels. She’s the Daily Planet’s pin-up girl – a top journalist, and a very attractive lady. She makes Superman feel almost human – she’s the Man of Steel’s weak spot. Though getting saved is a regular thing for her, she’s no pushover. Shakespeare said, ‘Frailty, thy name is woman’, but for Superman, ‘perfection, thy name is Lois’!

#5: Wilhelmina “Willie” Scott
“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)

When you’re stuck inside the ‘Temple of Doom’, perhaps ‘distress’ doesn’t quite cut it… Whatever level of dismay this damsel felt, however, it might partially have been worth it for this top 5 position. Kate Capshaw, as the all-singing all-dancing Wilhelmina Scott, has an attitude for show business and an aptitude for sticky situations. Spoiled but strong, this lady is always up for an adventure. And while Indy may be her hero, but the director’s her desire – Capshaw married Spielberg seven years after this film was released.

#4: Princess Leia Organa
“Star Wars” original trilogy (1977-83)

She’s certainly a damsel, and at times she’s in distress… But, there’s more to our next character than sex appeal and scary situations! Princess Leia is part Jedi, part revolutionary, part sister and mother. A Princess of Alderaan, an Imperial Senate member, and a Rebel spy, she’s an intergalactic girl who can really bring it home! However, even the strongest ladies are in need of assistance sometimes – especially when enslaved, and practically de-clothed, by Jabba the Hutt! – and Luke and Han are her heroes on-call.

#3: Princess Buttercup
“The Princess Bride” (1987)

This fairytale female has let down her golden hair, and climbed onto our podium. A lady of esteemed heritage, she finds herself in a royal mix-up, as her dream of a wedding to the charming Westley is hijacked, leaving her with the ghastly Prince Humperdinck. Buttercup is the blonde beauty straight out of a storybook – she’s wanted by all men, but cherished by only one. Despite her glowing features, though, she is but third in line to our throne!

#2: Mary Jane Watson
“Spider-Man” franchise (2002-)

‘Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman’ is a little more than friendly with one neighbor in particular! As Peter Parker, he can’t stop thinking about her, as Spidey, he can’t stop saving her. Kirsten Dunst is MJ, the soft-spoken, clean-cut darling of New York. Her character is timeless, she’s often found defenseless – she’s practically faultless! Plus, she’s just the right level of oblivious to keep the web-slinger’s secret safe – for now. You don’t really need Spidey senses – this lady leaves everyone tingling!

Before we rescue our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Elizabeth Swann “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003)
- Julia “Jules” Meade “Mission: Impossible III” (2006)
- Helen Tasker “True Lies” (1994)

#1: Ann Darrow
“King Kong” (1933/2005)

Played by Fay Wray in the original, and Naomi Watts in the 2005 remake, Ann Darrow is our undisputed damsel-in-distress! In desperate need of work, this actress travels to the far-off Skull Island for a dangerous film shoot, with the promise of adventure. Things don’t go as planned when the natives capture her as a sacrifice for the mysterious ‘Kong’, and what ensues is a legendary story about love, loss, and loneliness. As pure and pretty as it seems possible to be, Ann Darrow is just too beautiful… even for the beast.

Do you agree with our list? Which damsel did we miss? For more titillating Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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