To celebrate International Women’s Day, Sky Cinema asked 2000 British women which female characters in film they deemed most inspiring to them. It is perhaps no surprise that the iconic diarist came out on top, maybe because the millennial experience is rather neatly summed up by a hopeless dating life, inappropriately fantasising about your superiors, and constantly dodging questions about your future from well-meaning relatives. But a celebration of potty-mouthed granny pants-wearing singletons isn’t the only thing Brits find inspiring, and you can explore the whole list as part of Sky Cinema’s Women in Film season starting tomorrow.
First and second runners up are Erin Brockovich and Hermione Granger, the former an unemployed single mother turned legal clerk and investigator who helps bring justice to a community incapacitated by unsafe drinking water. The latter, a magical teen bookworm who taught a generation of young readers how to be smart, brave, and a loyal friend. The rest of the list, which you can read below, features a range of characters from modern franchises to classic tales, and even everyone’s favourite glamour queen Muppet.
To celebrate, critic and broadcaster Anna Smith has also curated twenty films featuring fearless female leads to be enjoyed on the service. The season will also see the premiere of the Sky Cinema exclusive documentary This Changes Everything, which looks towards the future of representation of women in front of and behind the camera in Hollywood.
Sky Cinema’s poll revealed that “seven in 10 women agree more films should feature powerful female leads, with 39 percent saying it would have boosted their confidence growing up if they’d seen more of these in films.” This is no surprise to us here at SQ – championing such work and its visibility to audiences is at the core of our values as a platform, and it is encouraging to see this work reflected in the programming of mainstream broadcasting services.
On her research, Smith says: “The fact that Bridget and Erin are topping the list shows that women relate to complex, layered characters who overcome the obstacles of life with humour and compassion. Even those in fantasy genre are fully-rounded characters, not fantastical stereotypes. And I’m thrilled to see that so many women are rooting for more powerful female leads and that Sky Cinema is celebrating this too.”
The Women in Film season is available to stream on Sky Cinema now
Top 30 Fictional Female Movie Characters UK Women Find Inspiring
1. Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary)
2. Erin Brockovich (Erin Brockovich)
3. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter film series)
4. Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins)
5. Matilda (Matilda)
6. Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
7. Miss Honey (Matilda)
8. Mulan (Mulan)
9. Merida (Brave)
10. Princess Leia (Star Wars)
11. Professor Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter series)
12. Sarah Connor (Terminator series)
13. Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind)
14. Jasmine (Aladdin)
15. Black Widow (Avengers: Endgame)
16. Alice (Alice Through the Looking Glass)
17. Rose DeWitt Bukater (Titanic)
18. Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Captain Marvel)
19. Princess Tiana (Princess & the Frog)
20. Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
21. Ally (A Star is Born)
22. Kim Possible (Kim Possible movie)
23. Miss Piggy (The Muppets)
24. Cher (Clueless)
25. Bo Peep (Toy Story 4)
26. Catwoman (Batman Returns 1992)
27. Elastigirl (The Incredibles 2)
28. Valkyrie (Thor)
29. Hit Girl (Kick-Ass)
30. Trinity (The Matrix)
by Megan Wilson
Megan (she/her) is a northerner and Film Studies graduate now pursuing an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture at the University of Manchester. When not wrangling her cats or watching football, she dreams of being a professor and writing endless books on lesbian cinema just because she can. Her favourite films include Carol, Moonlight, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and she’ll always have a soft spot for Matilda. Find her on Twitter.