Top 10 Female Antiheroes in Movies

Script written by Trevor Fonvergne. They may not be your typical female protagonists, but that’s why we love them. In this video, MsMojo counts down our picks for the Top 10 Female Antiheroes in Movies. For this list, we’re looking at female leads in movies that lack heroic or idealistic qualities that are usually present in protagonists. Special thanks to Narwhal5, governmentfree and Seizure601 for submitting this idea on our interactive suggestion tool at

You must login to access this feature

Script written by Trevor Fonvergne.

Top 10 Female Antiheroes in Movies

They may not be your typical female protagonists, but that’s why we love them. Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for Top 10 Female Antiheroes in Movies.

For this list, we’re looking at female leads in movies that lack heroic or idealistic qualities that are usually present in protagonists.

#10: Selina Kyle aka Catwoman
“Batman Returns” (1992) & “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)

Directors Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan have both given their own unique interpretations this iconic DC character. Played by Michelle Pfeiffer in “Batman Returns” and Anne Hathaway in “The Dark Knight Rises,” this jewel thief plays a game of cat and mouse with Batman before ultimately becoming an ally. Smooth, badass, and always ready with a witty comeback, these iterations, though different, have the same moral complexity at their core. Even though she’s willing to kill and steal to get what she wants, she always ends up on the right side of things, but even if she didn’t, we’d still love her.

#9: Kym Buchman
“Rachel Getting Married” (2008)

From one Anne Hathaway performance to another, this Oscar-nominated turn sees her playing Kym, an addict attending her sister’s wedding. She makes her family nervous, and it’s not hard to see why. Her penchant for creating drama alienates her from others as she continually lies to avoid responsibility for the problems that she’s caused, particularly for the death of her brother. Kym brings chaos with her to the family event, constantly engaging in arguments and trying to use her addiction to pull focus from her sister and her wedding. She’s the catalyst of most of the family drama in the film, but you can’t help but hope she’ll find her way.

#8: Mavis Gary
“Young Adult” (2011)

You wouldn’t expect a particularly ethical protagonist in a film about a woman trying to convince a man to cheat on his wife with her. Mavis is a young adult ghostwriter whose series is coming to an end and, after discovering her ex-boyfriend is about to have a baby with his wife, she travels to her hometown to get him back. She’s unapologetically selfish, and shows a general lack of regard for those around her. Charlize Theron isn’t afraid to be raw and unlikeable inthe role, and that makes the character much more interesting. The fact that she doesn’t change her ways by the film’s end makes her all the more realistic, brutal, and impossible to look away from.

#7: Veronica Sawyer
“Heathers” (1988)

“Heathers” is one teen comedy that’s not afraid to go dark, and that’s all because of its killer protagonist, Veronica. Tired of being in the popular clique at her school, “the Heathers,” she finds a love interest in JD, a dark and mysterious boy, who convinces her to play deadly pranks on popular students and frame them as suicides, which naturally, becomes the new “cool” thing to do. The film dares you to sympathize with such a morbid protagonist, as it’s easy to understand why she hates her peers. She’s likely one of the most sympathetic accomplices to murder that can be found in cinema.

#6: Carrie White
“Carrie” (1976)

“Carrie” is your normal coming-of-age, ugly duckling tale...well, if it were written by Stephen King. One of his most memorable characters, we immediately feel sorry for this telekinetic high school outcast, given her abusive home life and constant bullying from other students. However, she reaches a lethal breaking point after a cruel prank involving pig’s blood, and the phrase “seeing red” has never been quite so literal. While her climactic choice is far from a heroic one, considering the carnage she causes, her story stands as a statement that illustrates the horrifying results of bullying.

#5: Jeanette ‘Jasmine’ Francis
“Blue Jasmine” (2013)

To call this Cate Blanchett’s best performance is really saying something, considering her expansive career, but that’s exactly what this is. Playing Jasmine, she is a woman who is forced to move in with her estranged sister after her wealthy husband is arrested for fraud. Not used to a lifestyle without a surplus of money, she places herself above those she is surrounded by, taking every opportunity to condescend, complain, and cause drama. Selfish, vindictive, and unwilling to adjust to a new lifestyle, she begins a slow downward spiral into madness, and it’s all devilishly fun to watch unfold.

#4: Scarlett O’Hara
“Gone with the Wind” (1939)

The oldest film featured on our list by far, Scarlett is a privileged, self-serving woman who is thrust into unfamiliar territory by the American Civil War. As she exclaims at the film’s halfway point, she is willing to do anything to survive the ordeal, including backstabbing and manipulating others. Despite being married multiple times in the film, it’s never for love, only for her self-interest. Daring to be a pragmatic and narcissistic woman in a time when women aren’t often given power, she was early proof that viewers were willing to see complicated females on the big screen.

#3: Thelma Dickinson & Louise Sawyer
“Thelma & Louise” (1991)

In a film that received double-nominations for Best Actress, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon portray these classic movie ladies. After Thelma is nearly raped outside of a bar, Louise shoots the man in an act of revenge, sending the two on the run. They encounter various characters along their journey to Mexico, learning more about each other along the way. These heroines have been hailed as feminist icons for the strength that they find in one another, defying those who try to control them. One of cinema’s strongest depictions of female friendship, these girls certainly made their mark on subsequent movie antiheroes.

#2: Lisbeth Salander
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” franchise (2009-)

Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s gothic anti-heroine is a computer hacker who isn’t afraid to go dark. On the contrary, it’s where she thrives. She has developed a hard exterior from her abusive and traumatic background, but instead of letting that be a chip on her shoulder, she simply refuses to let anyone mess with her. Should anybody make the mistake of crossing her, like her rapist guardian, they will be dealt with swiftly and decisively. A complicated woman, for sure; she is truly understandable, despite her misgivings, especially as we see a bit of a softer side come through towards the end of the films.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

• Mathilda
“Léon: The Professional” (1994)

• Fox
“Wanted” (2008)

• Mrs. Lovett
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007)

#1: Beatrix Kiddo aka The Bride
“Kill Bill” franchise (2003-04)

One of cinema’s most badass protagonists was an easy choice for the top spot on this list. Heroes and villains are hard to define in the world of Quentin Tarantino, especially when one of his best heroes faces off against the Crazy 88 and kills most of them. Beatrix is more than a little peeved after being betrayed at her wedding by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, which includes her ex-lover, the titular Bill. After being left for dead while pregnant, she sets out on a bloody path of vengeance. She’s not without her integrity, though, offering revenge to the daughter of one of her victims. Brave, complicated, and tough, there is definitely no superior anti-heroine.

Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite female antihero? For more morally complex top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

You must register to a corporate account to download. Please login

Related Videos

+ see more

More Top 10