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  • "The Mountain Girl" from D.W. Griffith's Intolerance is one of the earliest, if not the first, film example.
  • James Cameron likes is known for writing Action Girls into his films:
    • In Aliens, Ellen Ripley was slowly converted from a Final Girl into an early example of the Action Girl. Her performance earned her an oscar nomination and the number 8 spot on the AFI's Greatest Heroes list. Not to mention she frequently appears on lists of the best female Heroes. We also see Vasquez, a butch action girl.
    • In the first two Terminator films, Sarah Connor grows from Distressed Damsel to one of the most badass heroines of all time, perhaps the only other that can truly stand beside Ellen Ripley.
    • Mace in Strange Days. It pretty much takes an entire police SWAT team to kick her ass. Justified Trope in that she's a professional bodyguard, whom you'd reasonably expect to be able to kick someone's ass if necessary.
    • Most recently, in Avatar we have Trudy Chacón who goes out all guns blazing, the Na'vi princess Neytiri and -- while not quite an Action Girl in this film -- Sigourney Weaver's Dr. Grace Augustine, who's still no Distressed Damsel.
  • DOA The Movie! Christie, Helena, Ayane, Katsumi, and of course Tina.
  • Emma Peel of The Avengers 1998.
  • Quorra of Tron: Legacy can do just about anything, from showing kickboxing skills and driving Light Runners to piloting Light Jets and being able to give one of Clu's minions a headshot.
  • Action Girls were not common in early movies, as the true form usually requires convincing hand-to-hand combat skills. However, a female character in a Western or Pirate movie could get away with the role. Maureen O'Hara is probably the most famous. She had a powerful screen personality, great acting skills, and an ungodly beauty that could carry any part. She also always looked to be having enormous fun whenever she got in a swordfight, most particularly in Against All Flags (as a Pirate Girl) and At Sword's Point (as the daughter of one of The Three Musketeers!).
  • Many Kung Fu movies. In particular, characters played by Cheng Pei Pei (60s and 70s), Brigitte Lin, Michelle Yeoh (both 80s and 90s; coincidentally, she played the aforementioned Wai Lin), and now Zhang Ziyi.
    • Yeoh, Zhang and Cheng came together as Shu-lien, Jen, and Jade Fox of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The sequence in the bar is FANTASTIC, as well as the fight between Shu and the rebel Jen.
    • In the 1980s, the so-called "girls with guns" subgenre took off in Hong Kong action cinema. Despite its name, the "guns" in question were usually quickly discarded in favor of bareknuckle brawling, thus making more straightforward Action Girl stars out of Michelle Yeoh, Cynthia Khan, Yukari Oshima and Cynthia Rothrock. The latter two were actual martial artists (and Oshima was also a stuntwoman), making this borderline Truth in Television.
  • Williams from Terminator Salvation is a clear example of this trope.
  • The title character from Azumi and Azumi 2.
  • Marion Ravenwood of Indiana Jones is supposed to be one, but she tends to lean more towards Faux Action Girl. She's definitely one in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull though.
  • Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill. The other major females fall into Dark Action Girl territory.
  • In Last Action Hero, Slater's daughter is one of these, and at first it's played for laughs by subverting the Distressed Damsel -- she's screaming mock-hysterically as she kills the mook sent to take care of her. But it's also deconstructed a bit when Slater mentions that she spent her prom night alone in her room, field-stripping an AK-47.
  • Trinity from The Matrix.
  • Elizabeth Swann, from the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, quickly evolves from a Distressed Damsel to an Action Girl over the course of the three films.
    • Angelica from the fourth film can also be considered an Action Girl.
  • Rose McGowan's role in Planet Terror redefined the Action Girl for the next few years at least.
  • Interesting little semi-subversion in Red Eye. Rachel McAdams' character is manipulated, abused, and (metaphorically) raped by Cillian Murphy's Magnificent Bastard, and eventually she decides to man up (for want of a better term) and brutalize him with a pen, a shoe, and a field hockey stick. She does pretty well (or at least, well enough not to be a Faux Action Girl), but she still needs the help of Daddy Brian Cox, who also mans up just in time.
  • So-Ha from The Shadowless Sword.
  • Princess Leia Organa from Star Wars often switches in and out of the Action Girl role. She must have got it from her mother, Padme Amidala, who is, incidentally, the best shot with a blaster in the entire series.
  • We have (arguably) yet to have a true James Bond Action Girl, though Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) from Tomorrow Never Dies and Giacinta/Jinx (Halle Berry) from Die Another Day come close.
  • Ukrainian model/actress Milla Jovovich frequently plays Action Girls. She has the attractiveness to get by in Hollywood, and the lean, rangy body of a female athlete.
  • Selena in 28 Days Later has this kind of scheme going on. Since 28 Days Later is on the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, she may be badass and violent, but she's still just a rather athletic chemist with a machete. It's therefore understandable when she gets a bit Chickified toward the end when surrounded by a bunch of soldiers.
  • Francesca Bruni in the 2005 Casanova movie. Your brother is a poor swordsman who's got himself into a duel? No problem, just take his place and kick ass!
  • Selene in Underworld, played by Kate Beckinsale. However, this is debatable on whether she's an Action Girl or a Dark Action Girl.
  • Pam Grier's film carrier is made up of Sassy Black Woman Action Girl Girls.
  • Trixie (played by Christina Ricci) from the Speed Racer movie.
  • Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings. "I AM NO MAN!"
    • In the first film, Arwen Evenstar carries a wounded Frodo from Weathertop to Rivendell, outrunning the Black Riders.
  • The Quick and the Dead (1995) with the unnamed "The Lady" played by Sharon Stone.
  • Red Dawn. Teenaged girls Toni and Erica, who subvert the usual trope by being too rugged up in the Colorado winter to be much fanservice. After the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits kill their first Dirty Communists, they state flat out that the guys can do their own washing up. We later see them blasting away in ambushes and using their feminine wiles to get bombs into places where the Russians really don't want them going off.
  • Maya from Eight Below. Only female dog and the leader of the pack.
  • Zen, autistic teenage martial arts savant of the Thai film Chocolate.
  • The Belmont sisters from Night of the Comet, who are basically Action Valley Girls.
  • Johnny Mnemonic has Jane, a female cyborg bodyguard. She's not as Badass as Molly Millions in the original story, but this was probably due to the limits of cinema at the time.
  • Leigh (Laurie Zimmer) in John Carpenter's original Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). She starts out as just a secretary in a police station but becomes an action girl when the nearly-abandoned station is under siege by a street gang during the night and fights them off along with the lone policeman and two convicts. She keeps her cool especially in comparison to the other secretary who panics.
  • Alice in Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland.
  • Hit-Girl in the 2010 movie Kick-Ass, she is also a total Badass.
  • Angels Revenge
  • Any movie directed by Andy Sidaris.
  • Gilraen and Elgarain in the Lord of the Rings-inspired movie Born of Hope.
  • Helen Mirren's character in RED is Action Girl at retirement age. She still kicks ass.
  • Fox in Wanted. So much that some people on this wiki have gone as far to say that every scene she was in was a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Desiree from the 1974 exploitation film Gator Bait.
  • Saga in Mitt liv som hund (My Life as a Dog). She beats all the boys at boxing and is the best on her all-boys' football (soccer) team.
  • Mallory in Natural Born Killers
  • The women of Old Town in Sin City.
  • Nadia from Pandorum and is a bit of a Dark Action Girl in the earlier part of the film.
  • Laurie Strode became one of these in Halloween: H20. Not only did she spend most of the movie protecting the other characters from Michael Myers, she also ends up turning the tables on Myers and hunting him down with an axe.
  • Smurfette, normally the Distressed Damsel in The Smurfs cartoon show, is promoted to this in the live-action movie.
  • The titular character from Hanna.
  • Robin Hood's daughter Gwyn in Princess of Thieves, played by Keira Knightley. This was the role where she learned the archery skills that she later used in King Arthur.
  • Judge Hershey in Judge Dredd. She gets into a Cat Fight with Dr. Ilsa Hayden.
  • Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, who gets to do quite a bit of ass-kicking, like shooting down a Nazi agent from a block away, and even rescuing Cap from a flamethrower-wielding HYDRA mook in the film's climax.
  • Mothra has been the Kaiju version of an action girl since her first appearance, and is arguably one of the most successful ones ever, starring in her own film series, and appearing frequently in the Godzilla franchise. In the case of the latter, she's one of the few monsters to ever defeat Godzilla (and did it with no fancy powers), is willing to stand up to King Ghidorah in her larva form, and usually takes on the role of The Smart Guy and Only Sane Man during team-ups.
    • Akane Yashiro from Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, the Ace Pilot of the Millenium Era Mechagodzilla, and one of the few humans with the guts to take on the King of the Monsters one-on-one.
  • Babydoll, Sweet Pea, Rocket, Blondie, and Amber from Sucker Punch.
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