Top 10 Dominant Women in Hollywood Film
Great female roles are hard to come by. Just ask any Hollywood actress. It’s especially difficult for more mature actresses who see their male counterparts age gracefully and still manage to get tasty roles in quality films. But when a good part does come along, it’s important to grab the opportunity and make the most of it. Powerful female characters in Hollywood films have made for some of the most interesting characters in recent times. Top 10 Films presents the Top 10 Dominant Women in Hollywood Film – a collection of ten actresses and performances categorised by the powerful presence of a female character in the story. Here are ten films and characters where the woman has power over the men. If she is victimised she overcomes this to become the dominator. If she is the antagonist she is either unbeaten or only overcome after a great fight and the guile of the protagonist. In these films the male is often subservient to the female – she is the teacher, the controller, the all-seeing eye. Who are your favourite dominant female characters?
10. Melanie Griffith as Audrey Hankel in Something Wild
Melanie Griffith’s Audrey Hankel takes Jeff Daniels’ insecure businessman on a cross-country adventure of self-discovery with suitable amounts of sex, crime and violence.
9. Ruth Gordon as Maude in Harold and Maude
Suicidal young man Harold finds a reason to live and love life in Ruth Gordon’s wonderfully eccentric Maude. Maude, like Melanie Griffith in Something Wild, embodies the positive side of the dominant female character.
8. Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien/Aliens/Alien 3/Alien: Resurrection
Sigourney Weaver’s character in Ridley Scott’s Alien has become an icon of powerful female characters in Hollywood film.
7. Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Jack Nicholson thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of Nurse Ratched but the wily nurse won’t be beaten. She ends up with the last ‘laugh’.
6. Anne Bankcroft as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate
Sex education classes were never as good or as instructive as a night with Anne Bankcroft as Mrs. Robinson. Dustin Hoffman plays the college graduate every man wants to be.
5. Sissy Spacek as Carrie White in Carrie
Carrie White does have something many other women don’t – the power of telekinesis. It’s a great help when you’re plotting your revenge against the school bullies.
4. The Corpse as Norman Bates’ Mother in Psycho
In film there isn’t a more dominant woman than Norman Bates’ mother. She gets him into all kinds of trouble and the fact is she’s dead!
3. The Computer as Mother in Alien
She might not have boobs and blonde hair but the computer in Alien is no less a dominant female. The brain of the spaceship has a female voice and goes by the name Mother to gender its character. And by all means she’s a scary, dominant bitch!
2. Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in Misery
In one of the best female performances of all time, Kathy Bates’ Annie Wilkes is a frightening depiction of fan obsession and psychosis. Bates is terrific as she nurses a novelist back to health after his car crashes near her remote home. But, before he can fully recuperate she breaks both his legs in a horrific scene filmed in all its gory glory by director Rob Reiner, and forces him to write a new book where her favourite character doesn’t die.
1. Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct
Ooh la la. For a teenage boy women in Hollywood films don’t come more dominant (or attractive) than Sharon Stone’s Catherine Tramell. Like some warped dream she’ll give you the greatest sexual experience of your life, then kill you. Not only will she shag your brains out, she’ll remove your brains with an ice pick. Sharon Stone is perfectly cast as the seductive murderess – beautiful, intellectual, strong-willed and suitably dangerous.