What Makes Female Characters in Film Iconic?

Ranking of Female Characters, by Category

Overall Most Iconic Film Character Character People Most Want to Be Like Character People Most Want to Befriend Best Role Model for Kids Best Role Model for Adults Breaks the Most Female Gender Norms Bravest Smartest Strongest Average Ranking
1 Katniss Everdeen - "The Hunger Games" 1 4 10 4 6 1 8 2 4.5
2 Diana Prince - "Wonder Woman" 3 7 11 2 10 8 19 1 7.6
3 Lara Croft - "Tomb Raider" 2 6 20 16 2 4 10 3 7.9
4 Leia Organa - "Star Wars" 7 10 12 3 15 6 13 12 9.8
5 Hermione Granger - "Harry Potter" 4 1 2 7 34 11 1 20 10
6 Ellen Ripley - "Alien" 5 27 21 9 4 3 15 6 11.3
7 Mulan - "Mulan" 11 20 3 11 1 2 42 8 12.3
8 Belle - "Beauty and the Beast" 6 8 5 12 39 12 11 22 14.4
9 Erin Brockovich - "Erin Brockovich" 14 15 29 1 20 18 3 22 15.3
10 Sarah Conner - "Terminator" 11 27 40 16 8 7 20 5 16.8
11 Black Widow - "The Avengers" 9 11 29 36 11 22 17 7 17.8
12 Rey - "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" 15 24 14 18 17 16 33 13 18.8
13 Juno - "Juno" 20 2 18 26 14 19 26 33 19.8
14 Margaret Thatcher - "The Iron Lady" 20 52 40 6 11 19 2 11 20.1
15 Queen Elizabeth - "Elizabeth" 20 20 21 10 39 30 7 19 20.8
16 Moana - "Moana" 19 11 3 32 30 8 33 37 21.6
17 Alice - "Resident Evil" 18 40 49 32 7 5 22 4 22.1
18 Lisbeth Salander - "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" 20 24 49 59 5 14 6 15 24
19 Shuri - "Black Panther" 17 14 16 40 26 37 4 39 24.1
20 Mary Poppins - "Mary Poppins" 11 22 8 4 51 44 13 46 24.9
21 Elle Woods - "Legally Blonde" 7 5 14 14 45 52 9 56 25.3
22 Clarice Starling - "Silence of the Lambs" 24 59 40 12 30 10 5 25 25.6
23 Nakia - "Black Panther" 27 37 21 32 19 28 21 20 25.6
24 Alice - "Alice in Wonderland" 37 18 6 20 45 22 25 42 26.9
25 Anna - "Frozen" 34 13 1 23 51 26 42 33 27.9
26 Jo March - "Little Women" 34 27 12 20 34 39 18 42 28.3
27 Rose - "Titanic" 29 32 35 18 27 26 29 31 28.4
28 Catwoman - "Catwoman" 24 27 26 52 22 34 42 15 30.3
29 The Bride - "Kill Bill" 16 59 61 29 9 17 42 10 30.4
30 Maria - "The Sound of Music" 27 34 16 8 58 37 28 46 31.8
31 Carrie Bradshaw - "Sex and the City" 9 3 61 23 25 63 29 46 32.4
32 Elsa - "Frozen" 43 37 7 29 27 44 57 29 34.1
33 Trinity - "Matrix" 37 52 49 43 27 28 16 25 34.6
34 Imperator Furiosa - "Mad Max: Fury Road" 29 69 61 26 3 19 57 15 34.9
35 Amelie - "Amelie" 29 15 26 32 37 44 42 56 35.1
36 Jen Yu - "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" 29 59 40 48 20 58 29 13 37
37 Leeloo - "The Fifth Element" 41 24 40 73 22 52 27 18 37.1
38 Norma Rae - "Norma Rae" 34 67 29 15 39 22 53 39 37.3
39 Dottie Hinson - "A League of Our Own" 29 40 29 22 34 58 33 56 37.6
40 Dorothy - "Wizard of Oz" 53 52 9 26 71 14 33 46 38
41 Gamora - "Guardians of the Galaxy" 43 23 35 52 39 44 48 22 38.3
42 Scarlett O'Hara - "Gone with the Wind" 41 64 49 29 39 25 42 25 39.3
43 Harley Quinn - "Suicide Squad" 37 18 61 52 17 52 48 33 39.8
44 Celie - "The Color Purple" 63 52 49 40 39 13 33 33 40.3
45 Elizabeth Bennet - "Pride & Prejudice" 24 40 35 25 58 63 22 56 40.4
46 Tris - "Divergent" 53 40 29 48 30 39 48 37 40.5
47 Eowyn - "The Lord of the Rings" 48 40 61 36 45 31 33 31 40.6
48 Annie Hall - "Annie Hall" 63 46 21 45 30 44 33 46 41
48 Storm - "X-Men" 37 40 49 48 58 34 53 9 41
50 Letty Ortiz - "The Fast and Furious" 43 27 49 64 15 58 53 29 42.3
51 Buttercup - "The Princess Bride" 58 32 21 52 51 44 29 56 42.9
52 Bonnie Parker - "Bonnie and Clyde" 48 59 61 64 11 32 33 39 43.4
53 Mia Wallace - "Pulp Fiction" 51 34 49 52 37 39 48 46 44.5
54 Annie Walker - "Bridesmaids" 58 9 40 48 51 52 57 42 44.6
55 Eleanor Arroway - "Contact" 51 46 29 45 63 44 12 69 44.9
56 Elizabeth Turner - "Pirates of the Caribbean" 43 49 49 36 45 39 53 46 45
57 Minny Jackson - "The Help" 70 49 35 36 63 32 57 28 46.3
58 Ariadne - "Inception" 63 52 35 59 63 34 22 46 46.8
59 Mia Thermopolis - "The Princess Diaries" 43 15 19 59 51 52 69 69 47.1
60 Baroness Karen von Blixen - "Out of Africa" 53 64 26 64 45 44 33 56 48.1
61 Thelma - "Thelma & Louise" 53 34 61 40 22 52 69 56 48.4
62 Lettie Lutz - "Greatest Showman" 58 70 40 64 45 39 48 42 50.8
63 Holly Golightly - "Breakfast at Tiffany's" 48 37 40 43 71 63 57 69 53.5
64 Sister Mary Clarence - "Sister Act" 63 46 49 52 51 58 57 69 55.6
65 Sandy - "Grease" 53 52 61 59 51 58 69 46 56.1
66 Rose Tico - "Star Wars The Last Jedi" 63 64 49 52 63 63 57 46 57.1
67 Shelby - "Steel Magnolias" 58 49 61 45 71 63 69 56 59
68 Giselle - "Enchanted" 63 59 40 64 63 63 69 56 59.6
69 Nina - "Black Swan" 63 67 61 59 58 63 57 56 60.5
70 Merida - "Brave" 70 70 49 73 58 63 69 56 63.5
71 Dina - "Girls Trip" 71 52 61 73 63 63 69 69 65.1
72 Catherine Tramell - "Basic Instinct" 71 70 61 73 63 63 57 69 65.9
73 Jean Grey - "X-MEn" 71 70 61 73 71 63 69 56 66.8
73 Scarlett Witch - "Avengers" 71 70 61 73 71 63 69 56 66.8
75 Katherine Johnson - "Hidden Figures" 71 70 61 73 71 63 57 69 66.9
75 Lucy - "Lucy" 71 70 61 73 71 63 57 69 66.9
75 Matilda - "Matilda" 71 70 61 73 71 63 57 69 66.9
78 Shu Lien - "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" 70 70 61 64 71 63 69 69 67.1
79 Eliza Doolittle - "My Fair Lady" 71 70 61 64 71 63 69 69 67.3
79 Okoye - "Black Panther" 71 70 61 64 71 63 69 69 67.3
79 Toula Portokalos - "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" 71 70 61 64 71 63 69 69 67.3
82 Angela Bennett - "The Net" 71 70 61 73 63 63 69 69 67.4
83 Buffy - "Buffy the vampire slayer" 70 70 61 73 71 63 69 69 68.3
83 Maude - "Harold and Maude" 70 70 61 73 71 63 69 69 68.3

Source: Survey of 1,003 People in the U.S.