20 Movies About Badass Older Women, From Math Geniuses To Criminal Masterminds
Hollywood is starting to catch on that audiences want and need more movies that are focused on women. (The fact that movies starring women make more money helps drive that point home in a language studios understand.) But, because it's still Hollywood, the majority of movies about women are specifically about young women. So, while we might be getting more films that tell their stories, when it comes to movies about badass older women heroes, the category is still depressingly small.
Granted, it is a somewhat specific category, but the list of movies about men of a certain age is much, muc longer. And anyway, the term "hero" does not just refer to the kicking supervillains' butts variety. Heroes take many forms, from women seeking revenge and justice for themselves, to women geniuses making huge moves in the math and science department.
According to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, of the top 100 domestic grossing films of 2018, 40 were woman led or co-led, which showed an increase. But, of those 100 films, only 11 featured a woman lead or co-lead who was 45 years old or older. Still, this was an increase, as well; in 2017, there were only five.
Point is, it's pretty hard to find older women playing heroes in movies, because it's pretty hard to find older women starring in movies period. (And here, this basically just means around 45-plus, which shows exactly how unfortunate this is. Hell, give us 70-plus women heroes, too!) But, if you are looking for some options, here are 20 movies to choose from — even if, unfortunately, the hero in question isn't always the lead.
Well, Gravity is definitely woman-led. For pretty much the entire film, we only see Sandra Bullock — who was 48 at the time of the movie's release — as an astronaut trying to make her way back from outer space.
2. 'Ocean's 8'
Are the women in Ocean's 8 "heroes" in the traditional sense? No, they're thieves. But they are badass, they're not really hurting anyone, they get you to root for them, and several of them are in their 40s or 50s.
3. 'Hidden Figures'
Hidden Figures tells the story of three real black women who worked at NASA in the 1960s and the contributions they made to the Space Race while still facing segregation.
Like Ocean's 8, the widows in Widows aren't exactly heroes. And unlike Ocean's 8, this movie includes murder. But, I mean, overall, you are rooting for the thieves, including the ringleader played by Viola Davis, who was 53 at the time of the film's release. Plus, her character donates part of the money she steals to a school — that's heroic.
5. 'Halloween' (2018)
Sixty-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis returns at Laurie Strode and fights Michael Myers! Badass. Older. Woman. Hero.
6. & 7. 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' & 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
Neither of these movies star Carrie Fisher as much as the original Star Wars movies did, but General Leia Organa is undeniably a badass older woman hero. Plus, The Last Jedi also features another woman in power: Lauren Dern's Vice Admiral Holdo.
8-15. All Of The Harry Potter Movies
The Harry Potter movies star kids and teens, depending on where you're at in the series. But, there are some badass older ladies featured throughout: Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith), Molly Weasley (Julie Walters), and Professor Trelawney (Emma Thompson) among them.
Halle Berry engages in a car chase while pursuing her kidnapped son and, accidentally, seeking justice for other kidnapped children, as well. A hero.
17. & 18. 'Red' & 'Red 2'
"Red" stands for "Retired, Extremely Dangerous" and the movies star Helen Mirren. Enough said.
Aquaman is — though it goes without saying — about a man. But, it also stars a 50-year-old Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna, who is pretty kickass herself.
This movie, about the suffragette movement in the U.K., stars Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep — and a younger woman hero, played by Carey Mulligan.
OK, Hollywood. Now get on making us some more women hero movies. Not every woman actor has to be in her 20s or 30s to be worth watching. Sixty-year-old genius doctors! Seventy-year-old superheroes! We want 'em all.