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The Best Final Girls From Horror Movie History

Updated October 9, 2020 38.0k votes 2.7k voters 31.3k views52 items

List RulesVote up your favorite female characters who are still breathing 'til the end...

If you're a fan of scary movies, this is your opportunity to vote for the best final girls in horror movies. A "final girl" is a female character who manages to survive the wrath of the killer -- human or otherwise -- when most, if not all, of the other characters have been wiped out. Although the term originated in the 1990s, final girls were around for decades before that, as Laurie Strode in 1978's Halloween, Sally Hardesty in 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Lila Crane in 1960's Psycho prove. 

Horror movie survivors of this type are most commonly found in slasher flicks. The Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween franchises commonly make use of the final girls trope. Traditionally, these characters tend to be the purest and most virtuous of the group or cast of characters. That's because, for reasons known only to the filmmakers themselves, the abundance of '80s slasher movies usually had the villain target teens who were amorous with each other. Friday the 13th, in particular, was notorious for that and became part of the trope. 

The threats final girls face are not always psychos wielding knives, machetes, or hooks. They can survive interstellar creatures, as Ellen Ripley does in Alien. What counts is that the final girl gets through the ordeal, leaving her to tell the tale of what happened.

Vote up your favorite final girl horror characters from the list below.

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  • 1
    Laurie Strode
    1,607
    267

    Laurie Strode

    Jamie Lee Curtis/Scout Taylor-Compton

    Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Halloween (2007), Halloween II (2009), Halloween (2018)

  • 2
    Ellen Ripley
    1,507
    308

    Ellen Ripley

    Sigourney Weaver

    Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), Alien Resurrection (1997)

  • 3
    Grace Le Domas
    1,561
    370

    Grace Le Domas

    Samara Weaving

    Ready or Not (2019)

  • 4
    Maddie
    1,174
    290

    Maddie

    Kate Siegel

    Hush (2016)

  • 5
    Sidney Prescott
    1,541
    421

    Sidney Prescott

    Neve Campbell

    Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Scream 4 (2011)

  • 6
    Nancy Thompson
    984
    351

    Nancy Thompson

    Heather Langenkamp

    A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

  • 7
    Erin Hanson
    888
    332

    Erin Hanson

    Sharni Vinson

    You're Next (2011)

  • 8
    Sarah Bailey
    820
    320

    Sarah Bailey

    Robin Tunney

    The Craft (1996)

  • 9
    Tree Gelbman
    1,021
    451

    Tree Gelbman

    Jessica Rothe

    Happy Death Day (2017), Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

  • 10
    Gale Weathers
    971
    442

    Gale Weathers

    Courteney Cox

    Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Scream 4 (2011)

  • 11
    Heather Langenkamp
    572
    268

    Heather Langenkamp

    Heather Langenkamp

    Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

  • 12
    Clear Rivers
    758
    380

    Clear Rivers

    Ali Larter

    Final Destination (2000)

  • 13
    Sarah Carter
    635
    324

    Sarah Carter

    Shauna Macdonald

    The Descent (2005)

  • 14
    Buffy Summers
    628
    325

    Buffy Summers

    Kristy Swanson
  • 15
    Carol Anne Freeling
    455
    222

    Carol Anne Freeling

    Heather O'Rourke
  • 16
    Dana Polk
    790
    434

    Dana Polk

    Kristen Connolly

    The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

  • 17
    Mari Collingwood
    550
    300

    Mari Collingwood

    Sara Paxton

    The Last House on the Left (2009)

  • 18
    Anita Needy Lesnicky
    581
    332

    Anita Needy Lesnicky

    Amanda Seyfried

    Jennifer's Body (2009)

  • 19
    Lila Crane
    374
    207

    Lila Crane

    Vera Miles, Julianne Moore

    Psycho (1960), Psycho (1998)

  • 20
    Sally Hardesty
    500
    295

    Sally Hardesty

    Marilyn Burns

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

  • 21
    Julie James
    674
    415

    Julie James

    Jennifer Love Hewitt

    I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

  • 22
    Mia Allen
    482
    310

    Mia Allen

    Jane Levy

    Evil Dead (2013)

  • 23
    Jamie Lloyd
    418
    272

    Jamie Lloyd

    Danielle Harris

    Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

  • 24
    Max Cartwright
    385
    248

    Max Cartwright

    Taissa Farmiga

    The Final Girls (2015)

  • 25
    Helen Lyle
    342
    225

    Helen Lyle

    Virginia Madsen

    Candyman (1992)