There are a lot of teen movies out there, but when it comes to movies with teen girls as heroes, there aren't a ton, especially when you are looking beyond big franchises. The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight all feature teen girl heroes over multiple films, but the category is still seriously lacking. So, if you are looking for a movie with a badass adolescent lead — for yourself, for a teen in your life, or to prove the point that there should be more variety in this mini-genre — you've come to the right place.
There are a number of ways to define "hero." A hero could be someone who is a great fighter or someone who is brave; someone who stands up for themselves or who stands up for other people who need help. They could also be someone who has actual superhero powers. The list below includes all of these, because there's not one definition of hero. And because sometimes women and girls have to look outside traditional criteria to find characters that look like them that they can look up to.
From teens standing up for social justice to girls with superhuman strength to Disney princesses, here are 31 movies that prominently feature teen girls as heroes.
1-4. All 4 Hunger Games Movies
The Hunger Games is one of the first series with a teen girl hero (Jennifer Lawrence) that comes to mind, which makes sense considering these films were a massive, massive hit.
5. The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give, which came out in 2018, is about a high school student (Amandla Stenberg) dealing with the aftermath of her friend being shot by a police officer. While she doesn't want anyone to know she was a witness to the shooting at first, she decides to stand up for herself and for justice.
6. A Wrinkle In Time
Adapted from the book by Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid) as she searches for her dad in another dimension.
7. True Grit
In the Coen Brother's 2010 film, a 19th century teen (Hailee Steinfeld) decides to track down the man who killed her father — and she doesn't take anyone's crap while she does it.
8-14. All 7 Harry Potter movies
Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) is a teen hero. There's no denying it.
15. Black Panther
The main hero in Black Panther is, obviously, Black Panther. But his younger sister, 16-year-old Shuri (Letitia Wright), is a major hero, too, and she's a genius when it comes to science and technology.
16. Power Rangers
The 2017 Power Rangers movie really has its issues, but it does feature two teen girl superheroes (Naomi Scott and Becky G), who are equals in kicking butt with their male cohorts.
17-21. All 5 Twilight Movies
Twilight is not for everyone, to put it mildly. But while main character Bella (Kristen Stewart) does have to be saved sometimes, she becomes a hero in her own right.
22-24. The 3 Divergent Movies
Oh look, it's another series. The three Divergent films are about a teen (Shailene Woodley) living in a dangerous dystopian version of Chicago.
A lot of the Disney princesses are meant to be teens, but not all of them can be clearly defined as being "heroes." Some people might think that all of them are, some people might not. But here are a couple that seem to really fit the bill.
First, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen), who disguises herself as a man to join the army in Han dynasty China.
In Brave, Scottish princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) proves her place in a male-dominated world and helps bring her society together.
28. Beauty And The Beast
The 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast paints Belle (Emma Watson again) as more of a hero than the animated version as she defends her father and, later, stands up for the Beast himself.
29-31. The 3 Chronicles Of Narnia Movies
The three Chronicles of Narnia movies feature two teen girls as heroes (well, one is a child at first, then grow up): sisters Susan (Anna Popplewell) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) Pevensie.
With so many franchises here, it's clear that Hollywood could work on producing some more original films with young women as heroic leads. They're necessary for little girls to have characters to look up to, but also make for a more well-rounded world for movie fans of all genders.