— bowing to the movie gods

These are just 16 of the classic movies every woman should watch

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With the film industry traditionally dominated by men, you may feel like there aren’t a ton of classic movies that speak to you as a woman. Yet, there are some magnificent classic movies that every woman should watch at least once in her life. Whether the film stars an iconic leading lady, features a feminist character, raises interesting questions about gender roles, or is just a Hollywood staple that you should have seen by now, this list of 16 classic movies for women will provide you with hours of thoughtful entertainment.

Although the timeframe of what makes a movie a “classic” is debatable, we stuck with anything made before 1980. In doing so, this list sadly lacks a lot of diversity since (as an addendum to our previous statement) Hollywood has traditionally been dominated by white males.

Hopefully, these films will still make you proud to be a woman in some aspects. And if not, they will at least help out your film buff status. From comedies to horrors to dramas, here are 16 movies that you need to watch as a woman no matter what.

1Gone with the Wind, 1939

The story of Scarlett O’Hara is a long one, but it’s worth it. She’s a complicated woman who does many questionable things —all in order to survive during the Civil War and the years afterward. Although Vivien Leigh’s character isn’t always likable, you’ll be admiring her by the time she proclaims, “After all, tomorrow is another day!”

2Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961

Although Holly Golightly isn’t exactly a feminist icon (though it has been debated), if you’ve never seen this iconic Audrey Hepburn film, it’s time to remedy that.

3Carmen Jones, 1954

Dorothy Dandridge became the first black woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as the doomed femme fatale in this musical.

4Norma Rae, 1979

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Speaking of the Oscars, Sally Field won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Norma Rae, a cotton mill employee who attempts to unionize the factory she works in.

5Dance, Girl, Dance, 1940

Besides this film starring Maureen O’Hara and Lucille Ball, it was also directed by a woman — Dorothy Arzner — who is one of the most notable female directors in early Hollywood. Although both women compete for a man in this film, a TCM article says it has become “something of a feminist cult classic,” particularly regarding the women’s friendship and O’Hara’s speech to the men watching the female burlesque dancers.

6Cleopatra, 1963

If you can handle the racially inappropriate casting of Elizabeth Taylor, this epic film places the Egyptian queen front and center.

7Adam’s Rib, 1949

Katharine Hepburn goes toe-to-toe with Spencer Tracy in this courtroom comedy. They play a married couple, who are both lawyers, and face each other in court as Hepburn’s character defends a woman — and equal rights.

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