12 Unforgettable Female Characters

TV shows and movies are filled with unexceptional or depthless female characters. Many on-screen women are able to stir something amazing in us. Daring, unapologetic, and intellectual female characters inspire and delight in many ways.

Whether they are the leading role or steal the spotlight from their male counterparts, these are our favorite unforgettable characters we love to stand up and cheer for.

1. Dana Scully

Dana Scully
Image Credit: Ten Thirteen Productions.

Dana Scully is not only an FBI agent but also a medical doctor, making her one of the most intelligent ladies on TV. Her balance of logic and curiosity make her a compelling character who is fierce but level-headed. Mulder is great, but what would X-Files be without Scully?

2. The Bride

The Bride
Image Credit: Miramax.

Uma Thurman plays The Bride in the Kill Bill movies and delivers an impeccable performance. The Bride has been severely wronged by the people in her life she thought she could trust, and she’s out for revenge. Even though she brutally murders people, it’s hard not to love and root for her.

3. Kat Stratford

Kat Stratford
Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

Kat Stratford is the protagonist in 10 Things I Hate About You, and while she can come off as bitter and cold, she’s a fantastic character who has influenced many other movies and shows. Her I-hate-everyone-and-everything vibe is simultaneously funny and relatable.

4. Wednesday Addams

Wednesday Addams
Image Credits: MGM Television.

Honorable mention goes to Morticia Addams, but Wednesday’s inability to care what people think about her makes her one of our favorite female characters. The way she puts the basic girls at her summer camp in their place and relishes people’s distaste for her is invigorating.

5. Elle Woods

Elle Woods
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

On the other hand, Elle Woods has no problem embracing femininity and the latest fashion trends, but that doesn’t stop her from being an insanely smart lawyer and compassionate person. Elle is a shining example of how a woman can be beautiful and intelligent, as the two are not mutually exclusive.

6. Buffy Summers

Buffy Summers
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Having to constantly protect the world from vampires is a tall order for a teenager, but Buffy takes on the role with tenacity and humanity. She is a realistically flawed character; after all, she is just a teen. But she is also one tough cookie with charm and a cool demeanor.

7. Ellen Ripley

Ellen Ripley
Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Ellen Ripley is one of the strongest female characters ever written and paved the way for many other ladies on this list. Before her, most action heroes were burly men, but she showed how a courageous and clever woman could be just as captivating and awesome, if not more, as any man.

8. Elaine Benes

Elaine Benes
Image Credit:

For a long time, women in sitcoms were one-dimensional and stereotypical, but Elaine Benes was one of the characters who shattered this trope. She is a witty and hilarious character on Seinfeld with a sense of dread and discontentment, making her far more realistic and unique.

9. Shoshanna Dreyfus

Shoshanna Dreyfus
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Shoshanna Dreyfus is the incredible woman from Inglourious Basterds who sets her own movie theater on fire to trap and murder many high-powered Nazis. Her brave actions, aloofness toward men, and perseverance make her one of the most sensational and powerful female characters ever conceived.

10. Leslie Knope

Leslie Knope
Image Credit: Deedle-Dee Productions.

Leslie Knope may be funny, but she’s also one of the most inspiring and determined characters. Everything she does, she does for other people and consistently practices impressive selflessness. The world would be much better if there were more Leslie Knopes.

11. Ilana Wexler

Ilana Wexler
Image Credit: 3 Arts Entertainment.

Ilana Wexler is one of the two main characters from Broad City. She is a hilarious, modern woman who can be silly at times but also has a serious and deep side to her. Her relentless kindness and determination to be inclusive and helpful make her endearing, even when she messes up.

12. Beth Harmon

Beth Harmon
Image Credit: Flitcraft.

Beth Harmon is the protagonist of The Queen’s Gambit and brings a certain type of power to the screen that makes her thrilling to watch. She’s quirky and troubled but has an admirable and inspiring fierceness. And she’s obviously brilliant.

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The Fugutive
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


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Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

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