The Top Female Action Heroes in Movies

A look at the top female action heroes in movies

This weekend, we say goodbye to one of the great action heroes of our generation. No, Jennifer Lawrence isn’t going anywhere, but Katniss Everdeen is. The protagonist of the popular The Hunger Games series concludes her journey with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, and walks off into legend as one of the greatest female action heroes in movie history. 

Which is, if you think about it, fairly illustrious company. Although conventional (read: wrong) Hollywood wisdom dictates that most action heroes are men (white men, no less), there is an impressive list of female action heroes who have dominated the screen throughout the years. The list is getting longer every single year as women finally break through the action movie glass ceiling in larger numbers, and films like The Hunger Games prove that audiences aren’t nearly as biased as the entertainment industry thinks they are.

So our list of The Top Female Action Heroes has more recent entries than many lists of its ilk, but that’s a good thing. It means that the tide is finally turning, and that action movies with female heroes are emerging more frequently, and with increasing quality. 

To narrow the list down a bit, we are limiting our picks to characters, not the actresses playing them, and only selecting one film (or film series) per actress. We are also focusing entirely on live-action (or significantly live-action) movies, since there are enough badass female action heroes in anime to fill a list all on their own. (Now that’s an idea…)

On a desktop, click Full Screen to read each entry.