20 Girl Power Movies That Prove Women Are Amazing On And Off The Field (PHOTOS)

It's a fact: Movies about sports are way more interesting when they acknowledge that female athletes can be just as incredible as male ones -- or even better. In fact, some of the greatest sports films of all time have featured strong female characers we can all root for. 

 

 

Check out 20 movies that celebrate girl power physical and otherwise. Three cheers!

Image via Mandate Pictures

  • 'A League Of Their Own'

    1

    A female baseball league that features Geena Davis, Madonna, and Rosie O'Donnell as star players? We're buying season tickets. Add Tom Hanks as a ballbusting, borderline misogynistic alcoholic recruited to coach the team -- and comes to appreciate the ladies -- and you have a home run. 

     

  • 'She's The Man'

    2

    Based on Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, She's The Man features Amanda Bynes as a rockstar soccer player and tomboy who poses as her twin brother in order to play soccer at an elite boarding school.  Things get awkward when she falls head over heels for her roommate Duke (Channing Tatum), who unfortunately thinks that she's a man -- until she flashes him at the end of the movie. Talk about a happy ending!

  • 'Whip It'

    3

    As Bliss Cavendar, the daughter of a former Texas beauty Queen (Marcia Gay Harden,) Ellen Page gives the middle finger to beauty pageants and joins a girls' roller derby team instead, where her commanding presence earns her the nickname "Babe Ruthless," a play on Babe Ruth's name. 

  • 'Girlfight'

    4

    It's a very common trope in womens' sports movies that a female athlete practices a sport without her parents' approval, and Girlfight is no exception. In the film, a then-unknown Michelle Rodriguez plays a Brooklyn boxer who steals her dad's money to pay for lessons. And boy does she work out her demons in the ring.

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  • 'Blue Crush'

    5

    The women of Blue Crush weren't meeting up for cosmos at the bar or girl talk on the weekends. They were surfing some pretty gnarly waves on Hawaii's famed North Shore in one of the most physically demanding sports films ever.

  • 'Bend It Like Beckham'

    6

    The friendship between two soccer stars, played by Parminder Nagra and a then-unknown Keira Knightley, is central to this sweet story about a girl whose traditional Sikh parents forbid her playing soccer. She does anyway, while Knightley's supportive character scores goals and makes out with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. 

  • 'National Velvet'

    7

    A young legend in the making, Elizabeth Taylor starred as a 12-year-old girl who trains a horse for the Grand National Steeplechase. Taylor's character, Velvet Brown, is badass and focused, way ahead of her time in the 1944 movie.

     

  • 'Million Dollar Baby'

    8

    In the role that won her a second Best Actress Oscar, not to mention  endless admiration for her uber-toned physique, Hillary Swank plays Maggie Fitzgerald, a waitress-turned-boxer who teaches her sexist trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) that girlie tough is tough enough, right through to the heartbreaking end. 

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  • 'Wildcats'

    9

    A girls' track coach, played by Goldie Hawn at the height of her goofy  cool chick powers, leaves her job at an elite high school to coach a boys' highschool football team in the inner city. Which makes her pretty awesome in our book!

  • 'Love & Basketball'

    10

    As Monica Wright, Sanaa Lathan plays a star freshman basketball player gunning for a senior's spot on the starring lineup. But her aversion to doing her hair and getting all dolled up (tomboy alert!) prompts Quincy (Omar Epps) to fall for a materialistic flight attendant played by Tyra Banks. But the movie is called Love & Basketball, so you know Monica is getting her guy in the end -- and ends up in the WNBA.

  • 'Center Stage'

    11

    This awesome, diverse movie about teenagers who enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York, features several strong and talented female dancers, each struggling with their own major personal issues, including built-up anger, bullimia and the inability to keep up with the rigorous demands of the challenging program. 

  • 'Stick It'

    12

    Directed by Jessica Bendinger, who also wrote Bring it On, Stick It follows a rebellious teenager and former talented gymnast who is ordered to return to the sport she left behind. 

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  • 'Bring It On'

    13

    Kirsten Dunst plays a champion cheerleader who finds out that her entire career has been a lie, because the former team captain stole all the routines from a better team. She challenges her squad to come up with an original routine for nationals, while also kicking her douchey boyfriend to the curb. Although they finish in second place, Kirsten and her team give the opposing team one hell of a run for their money. 

  • 'The Cutting Edge'

    14

    In this Olympic drama starring One Tree Hill's Moira Kelly, a spoiled figure skater and a former hockey player (D.B. Sweeney) are paired up to compete at the 1992 winter Olympics against a Soviet pair. Spoiler, not really: They aso fall in love. 

  • 'The Next Karate Kid'

    15

    Before Hillary Swank was a Million Dollar Baby she was learning to wax on and wax off as Mr. Miyagi's protogée in the 1994 film The Next Karate Kid. The film, which came out 10 years after Ralph Macchio broke that piece of wood in the original, was Hollywood's way of acknowledging that women can also kick butt.

  • 'Wimbledon'

    16

    Sure, we checked out the 2004 tennis flick partly to see the drool-worthy Paul Bettany in short shorts, but we loved seeing Kirsten Dunst as an ace American tennis star who wins the US open and Wimbledom twice, and gets the guy, too.

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  • 'Fast Girls'

    17

    Forget Fast and Furious -- the women in Fast Girls are fire on their feet! The British drama tells the story of two professional sprinters who join the British relay team for a world championship event. Unlike many movies that depict rivalries between girls over a guy, Fast Girls depicts a rivalry between two ambitious female athletes. We can rally behind that.

  • 'Bull Durham'

    18

    In the Oscar-nominated film, Susan Sarandon plays Annie, an unabashed baseball groupie who helps Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) train a hotshot rookie pitcher (Tim Robbins) for the big leagues -- by sleeping with both. Bull Durham is considered one of the best sports movies of all time, and Sarandon's liberated character is a big reason why.

  • 'Little Giants'

    19

    Although the film Little Giants centered on a sibling rivalry between two brothers coaching opposing Pee Wee football teams, it was a young female character named Becky "Icebox" O'Shea (Shawna Waldron), who stole the show as a player cut during tryouts because of her gender. But Becky creates a team of her own with the help of her dad, and shows her former coach, Kevin (Ed O'Neill) that talent has nothing to do with gender. 

     

  • 'The Mighty Ducks'

    20

    Although The Mighty Ducks focuses mostly on two male athletes,  the classic Disney movie sent the message to young viewers that female athletes were equally talented, via Julie Gaffney (Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine), an agile goalie who easily made the starting lineup. 

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