Lisbeth Salander (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”)
Trinity (“The Matrix”)
Alice (“Resident Evil”)
The Bride (“Kill Bill”)
Lady Snowblood (“Lady Snowblood”)
As you rush to see Gal Gadot in all her grandeur this weekend, take a moment to appreciate those who came before her, from Leeloo to The Bride.
played by Milla Jovovich
Also known as Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat, the world’s most famous Multipass holder is also its only hope when Gary Oldman comes around trying to extract mystical stones from blue opera singers who will later go on to win awards at Cannes (look it up!).
played by Linda Hamilton
What a strange life the “Terminator” heroine has. The father of her child came from the future to protect her, as did the Terminator itself; then, years later, that same model of Terminator returned to protect her from a different Terminator. Linda Hamilton was grace under pressure through it all, even when her apocalyptic visions landed her in a mental institution.
played by Pam Grier
Described as “a whole lot of woman,” Pam Grier’s heroine is also one of the faces of the blaxploitation genre — a sort of female answer to Shaft. Quentin Tarantino was so enamored of Grier’s work in this and the similar “Coffy” that he built “Jackie Brown” around her.
played by Anne Parillaud
Whatever you think of Luc Besson, there’s no denying that the French filmmaker has brought us a number of memorable female characters. Nikita, a prisoner forced to become an assassin after her captors fake her death, is among the best thanks largely to Parillaud’s vulnerable, daring performance.
played by Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara
It’s not often that an English-language remake of a foreign thriller lands its star an Oscar nomination, which speaks not only to the talent of both Rapace and Mara but also to the character they both portrayed so memorably.
played by Carrie-Anne Moss
She never says “whoa” with as much gusto as Neo, but there’s no “Matrix” without Trinity. Brave, cunning and skilled with all manner of martial arts, she hacks her way through both the real and simulated worlds, guiding a path for viewers and fellow survivors alike.
played by Milla Jovovich
Even when the “Resident Evil” movies weren’t good — which, if we’re being honest, was most of the time — Milla Jovovich was. Whoever replaces her in the recently announced reboot has her work cut out for her, especially since the dreaded Umbrella Corporation probably doesn’t plan on getting its act together anytime soon.
played by Uma Thurman
Master of the five-point-palm exploding-heart technique, bane of the Crazy 88 and devoted mother, Uma Thurman’s blood-spattered Bride may just be Quentin Tarantino’s most sympathtic character — and certainly the most skilled with a kitana.
played by Meiko Kaji
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. A clear influence on The Bride — Tarantino is said to have made cast and crew watch Toshiya Fujita’s revenge classic during production — Yuki exacts vengeance not for her daughter but for her mother.
played by Sigourney Weaver
Sometimes you have to save the best for last. Noomi Rapace and Katherine Waterston are both great, but there’s only one Lieutenant Ellen Ripley. We may have seen the last of Sigourney Weaver’s embattled xenomorph-slayer, but her presence looms large in “Prometheus” and “Alien: Covenant” all the same.