Total Recall: The 25 Best Action Heroines of All Time


In this week's Wanted, Angelina Jolie returns to heat-packing form as an assassin named The Fox...but how does she measure up against the likes of fellow fatal femmes like Sigourney Weaver (Aliens), Uma Thurman (Kill Bill), Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), and Pam Grier (Foxy Brown)? We count down through 25 of the baddest chicks in movie history and name the number one best action heroine of all time. Back to Article



Andrew Wankier

This is a terrible list. I don't know if you people who wrote it are actually watching these movies but Angelina Jolie and Milla Jovovich are stick figures. You honestly think they're tougher than Weaver or Hamilton? Jolie or Jovovich wouldn't stand a chance in hell. It's funny to see Angelina's bony arms trying to lift those huge guns. Anyone who actually buys that is a complete moron. Same with Kiera Knightley, as some people have suggested. Domino was a joke and she's too skinney to be taken seriuosly. Hardly anyone on this list is even believable as tough. I've seen lists like this before and this is far and away the worst one. Bad list. Bad, bad list.

Jul 4 - 08:56 PM

Hyphen Cide

Nicholas Duncan

That is why this is a list of the best action female stars. Heroines not heroes.

Jul 5 - 12:01 PM


eric barron

hey what happened to the jessicas? alba or biel? i think they should be top 25!!im probably alone in this!! fantastic 4's, dark angel.. blade 3,chainsaw.. they need to do a dark angel movie..and on a different subject, why dont they do a professional 2 with portman? def think theres a movie there!!

Jul 5 - 11:21 PM


Seth Williams

The top 5 was... worthy. Although I would have swapped Uma Thurman and Angelina Jolie... a minor twitch, in all consideration. Not a bad list.

Jul 6 - 07:51 AM


Alexander Macmillan

This list loses all credibility with Ripley at #7. She is clearly #1 and is not just a great heroine but one of the greatest action heroes in two (alien and aliens) of the greatest action/thriller movies ever made

Jul 6 - 10:15 AM

slow like honey

Angela Bruno

NO LUCY LAWLESS XENA? The list is no longer relevant.

And some of the positions I would bring much higher, as others have noted.

Jul 6 - 11:47 AM

slow like honey

Angela Bruno

OK I just realized that this isn't counting TV...but still. She is so gritty,gutterkickass she has to transcend the rules and be on this list anyway.

Jul 6 - 05:08 PM

slow like honey

Angela Bruno

OK I just realized that this isn't counting TV...but still. She is so gritty,gutterkickass she has to transcend the rules and be on this list anyway.

Jul 6 - 05:08 PM


mike k

"Heroine" means women. You're very smart.

Jul 6 - 06:01 PM


Nunya Bizneth

This list is crap. Milla Jovovich above Sigourney Weaver? Ripley's pretty much as solid as they come.

Jul 6 - 08:17 PM


Dino ?tatebriga

This list SUCKS. SUCKS I say.
Sigourney Weaver #7 she should be #1 or #2

Milla Jovovich #5 ....... OH PHulease


Jul 7 - 05:20 AM


Niraj Sehdev

I think Uma Thurman could take over Angelina Jolie. She is a vicious lady herself in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 and that says no more!

Jul 7 - 09:42 PM


Niraj Sehdev

I think Uma Thurman could take over Angelina Jolie. She is a vicious lady herself in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 and that says no more!

Jul 7 - 09:42 PM


chris cruey

Sarah Conner would beat the piss out of Ripley in a streetfight. Shes definetely the most intense of all of these characters on the list. Christ, didn't she get stabbed through the shoulder and shot through the leg? Didn't she bark orders at ahnold like she had a bigger **** than he did? And what about Enrique, she made that fool her *****. And that escape from pescadero. "You broke my arm." Silverman was lucky, she shattered that other dudes face with a broomhandle. And above all, shes probably the most believable of all of them, no cheap gimmicks, just straight up im gonna **** your *** up attitude.

Jul 8 - 02:52 PM


jody Giardina

OK, not going to beat the dead horse about Weaver (#1 no doubt). But how about this dark horse: Natalie Portman. She's got the Star Wars movies (as tough as Carie Fisher, anyway), V for Vendetta (she and Weaver both shaved their heads to show how badass they are, so good company...), and you can't forget The Professional (she even kicked your *** when she was like 11).

So theres my contribution. I'm not saying #1, but I'd sure as hell rank Natalie Portman over Natasha Henstridge...

Jul 8 - 06:36 PM


Clay Tilden

I'm sorry. There's just no excuse for Sigourney Weaver not being #1. This list is a sham.

Jul 8 - 11:06 PM



Why isn't Peta Wilson (from the V show "Le Femme Nikita") not on this list?

And why is Kate Beckinsale ranked higher than Linda Hamilton?

Jul 9 - 12:20 PM


Joe Johnson

I may not agree with everything on the list but I do find it interesting--and the balance of actresses from different genres and regions was nice.

Some of the unevenness seems to come from a somewhat inconsistently applied, "if I saw this actress walking down the street, how scared would I be?" which sometimes blurs with "if I saw this character...?"

Just for fun I thought I'd list the "actresses who would scare the **** out of me on the street." Again, this isn't meant to replace the RT list. This is just a small subset based on different criteria.

1. Grace Jones - dis her films and acting if you like, but she's an iconic badass. both physically cut and a hint of the crazy that makes her intimidating.

2. Bridgette Nielsen - not a big fan of her, and the thing with flav still weirds me out, but she's definitely physically imposing.

3. Michelle Rodriguez - Love her as an actress. But she's definitely got the crazy/wild child. Not as physically imposing, but definitely a scrapper and has an attitude to match.

4. Linda Hamilton (T2 era) - hard as hell. the work out scene at the beggining of T2 showed off her physical transformation and when she whups *** on the way out of the hospital I believed it.

Honorable Mention: Chiaki Kuriyama - Not physically imposing, and I haven't heard enough about her outside of her roles to know how crazy she really is, but she's got enough of that glint in her eye that I'd frankly be a little worried that I'd talk to her and end up with a knife in the gut in a ditch somewhere.

...and that's about it. On the real list, I agree with many that Weaver & Yeoh are tops. I agree that James Cameron did put out two iconic badass women (with the extra credit for Vasquez, who I f-ing love), but I definitely have to disagree with the earlier comment about Jamie Lee Curtis. Her character was whiny, killed by dropping her gun, and generally acted stupidly. As I recall I'm definitely not the only person to criticize Cameron's disappointing shift from strong female characters to a very stock damsel in distress character.

Jul 9 - 03:27 PM


Scott Hodgins

This list is called "The 25 Best Action Heroines of All Time" where the keyword is "Heroines" which means female heroes.

Jul 9 - 09:16 PM


Jason Amerling

I was gonna say, if Michelle Yeoh isn't on here, this list sucks. And what do you know, she's number 1! Perfect!

Jul 9 - 10:33 PM


Buzz Lightyear

OK - firstly - the criteria is completely *****ed up. Zoe Bell being in there is a strong reminder that actors couldn't actually kick their own way out of a paper bag (generally) - and that, is the point! I wouldn't give a sh*t if Michelle Yeoh or Sigourney Weaver wanted to kill me...but I'd be pretty freaked if one of their characters was to step up.

So, we shouldn't be rating real people (actors), we should simply be assessing the on-screen character and how much they made you just go "Holy sh*t!". I also don't really think super-heroes should count (including Kate B in Underworld). Obviously, super-powers are not a fair advantage when comparing who would best kick arse.

The CLEAR No.1 for me is not even on the list:

1. Samantha Caine (a.k.a. Geena Davis) - The Long Kiss Goodnight

Have any of you seen the transformation she makes from normal woman (courtesy of amnesia) to an assassin that would make mince of Jason Bourne??? I can't believe no one else has bitched about it!!! When she comes up from the water torture, converted back to her old, assassinating just sh*t bricks at how incredibly ready she is to murder, murder and murder some more! Oh - and she does a sh*t load of it too.

Shame on you RT. Kudos to the site though!

Jul 10 - 07:38 AM

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