This page shows you the list charts. By default, the movies are ordered by how many times they have been marked as a favorite. However, you can also sort by other information, such as the total number of times it has been marked as a dislike.
(Or as close as I could get.) Suggestions/corrections welcome, but please be sure of your facts* and nice about it. Updates especially welcome!
*For example, these directors are not women: Kay Gunnar Leopold Pollak, Even Benestad, Reha Erdem, Jasmin Dizdar, Mariano Llinás, Gabriele Muccino, Lynn Reynolds, Karen Schachnazarov, Jean-Marie Straub
Lately I’ve become more and more frustrated with the various “best ever” lists that have been released because they rarely feature films by women, or if they do it’s usually one or two films. I think this is more a reflection of those who are polled for these kinds of lists, as well as a compounding of history on itself. For so long films by men have made up the bulk of the film canon and I think people are afraid to add new films to these revered lists. I also think many people haven’t seen very many films by women, or if they have it’s always the same handful of films. In an attempt to create a better, more inclusive list of great films by women, I polled over 500 critics, filmmakers, bloggers, historians, professors and casual film viewers, asking them to tell me what films directed (or co-directed) by women are essential viewing. Some people only responded with as little as five votes, others submitted hundreds of films. In the end, I received over 7,000 votes for 1,100+ different films. After tallying up this data, with ties factored in, I then had a list of 103 essential films directed by women.
While this list is in no way the end all and be all of female filmmakers, it does include films from multiple countries, filmmakers of all ages, films from all kinds of genres and spans 9 decades. Also, I would like to point out that although the earliest film on this list is from 1935, there were several filmmakers from the silent era who were women (and whose films were in the initial 1,100+ list), including Alice Guy-Blaché, Lois Weber and others. This list should be looked at as a springboard, a way to get your feet wet with the most beloved films made by women. There are lots of resources to find even more great films by women. DirectedByWomen.com and TheDirectorList.com are two such invaluable places to start learning more about the thousands of women who have been making films since the beginning of cinema.
A list of 100 films directed by women (no more than one film per director) selected by the editorial staff of the magazine Little White Lies and published in July 2015.
Awesome movies with positive portrayals of women in lead roles, from goofy comedies to badass action flicks. Many pass the Bechdel Test, but not all, and many of them feature female writers and/or directors.
This list is determined by the personal tastes of Alexandra Kittle, blogger at http://www.filmforager.com. Enjoy!
Every film listed in the appendix of Kier-La Janisse's 2012 memoir "House of Psychotic Women." From the book:
"[…]while by no means comprehensive, this appendix is a cross-section of horror and violent exploitation films that feature disturbed or neurotic women as primary or pivotal characters […] Admittedly some films stretch genre definitions, and others fall completely outside of the centre but are nonetheless important progenitors for genre characterizations."
Films aimed at lesbian, bisexual and queer women have never exactly been noted for their universal excellence. Hollywood is a notoriously sexist machine and it’s hard enough to get a solid film about women made, let alone a solid film about women who prefer the company of other women. While unprecedented progress is being made on television, film lags sadly behind, offering few, if any, portrayals of LGBTQ women.
The term “lesbian movies” is used in the headline because that is the most popular search term for people looking for films about women who like other women, but these movies feature women of all sexual orientations besides “straight.”
"To be clear, the list itself isn't comprehensive and doesn't claim to represent every woman-directed film about women of color; there would be too many to name. Rather, consider it a solid reflection of people's tastes. The original call was to "name three films you like with black, brown, native or Asian women leads" that were also directed by women. So the response online tells us a great deal about the films that general movie fans watch, like and remember.
You could say that the original list of 84 films reflects which movies had an impact on Hollywood and the US independent film scene, since the call came from a well-known US-based filmmaker. In order to come up with titles beyond the original 84, many of you looked to films made overseas, in nations where people of color are the majority.
It’s interesting to note which directors were listed multiple times; names like Mira Nair, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Gurinder Chadha came up more than once as women who have built careers on telling the stories of women of color, and whose films have made money over the years.
And of note, we’re looking only at feature-length, scripted films directed by women. Of course there are lots of important documentaries made by and about women of color, arguably many more than narrative features due to the cost and means of documentary production. So again, there would be too many documentaries to name here. There’s also the fact that many docs focus on groups of people, societal systems, or eras in history rather than individual protagonists, which makes it tougher to classify which documentaries are "led by women of color." But it may be worth a separate discussion on docs in the future."
The best in queer cinema - nothing like Room in Rome or that other cheap crap. I've tried to order the movies regarding cinematic aspects and/or importance of the film or subject. However I can only rank the movies when I am on my PC, so new additions below Carol might get ranked higher when I get round to it.
The Handmaiden is awful and I can't include it here.
Blockers I normally wouldn't include because the lesbian story line doesn't take up much space, but gets an honorary mention because it is surprisingly good and funny.
I only add movies I have watched. If you think I have missed a great movie, please send me a pm! :)
Alison Nastasi's essential feminist films list is diverse and audacious, offering everything from obscure avant-garde shorts to Hollywood classics.
The Tenth Anniversary of AFI's 100 Greatest Movies List got us to thinking, especially when we noticed that of 400 films nominated for AFI's list, only 4.5 were directed by women. We thought it would be interesting and fun to see whether AWFJ members– a diverse group of strongly opinionated and outspoken professional women film journalists who care passionately about the movies and industry they cover– would develop a list substantially different AFI's. The result, presented in alphabetical order, is an eclectic, perhaps somewhat surprising, collection of titles. It's neither politically nor academically correct, and it's far from definitive.
Let’s hope the seismic waves triggered by #MeToo and #TimesUp result in serious, lasting change—the kind that marks one generation from the next. In the meantime, we're inspired. We're furious. And we want to watch the best feminist movies of all time. From Oscar-winning classics like ‘Norma Rae’ and ‘Thelma & Louise’ to ferocious action movies like ‘Foxy Brown’ and ‘Kill Bill’, we've packed decades of empowerment into our list, along with the landmark accomplishments of women directors, women screenwriters and women documentarians.
A promise: If you watch all of these films—and take your time, because they're all worth savouring—you'll become a better person, more aware of the distance we've come and how far we still have to go.
List published March 2018
Out of the 6,652 films that have been nominated at least once, only 162 of those are directed by women. 18 are co-directed by women and men. In the top 1000, there are only 12 films directed by women (+ 1 co-production). Some of these are anthologies that have at least one segment directed by a woman. This list is a top 50 of all films directed and co-directed by women.
(For the ICM Forum poll Favourite Films Directed by Women, Apr 2019)
My favourite films made by women. Top 100 ranked, the rest unranked. Some films co-directed with men are included.