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The Best Final Girls From Horror Movie History

Updated October 9, 2020 38.6k votes 2.8k voters 31.6k 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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  • Laurie Strode1
    1,634
    272

    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)

  • Ellen Ripley2
    1,528
    311

    Ellen Ripley

    Sigourney Weaver

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

  • Grace Le Domas3
    1,588
    375

    Grace Le Domas

    Samara Weaving

    Ready or Not (2019)

  • Maddie4
    1,191
    297

    Maddie

    Kate Siegel

    Hush (2016)

  • Sidney Prescott5
    1,577
    421

    Sidney Prescott

    Neve Campbell

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

  • Nancy Thompson6
    1,007
    354

    Nancy Thompson

    Heather Langenkamp

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

  • Erin Hanson7
    912
    335

    Erin Hanson

    Sharni Vinson

    You're Next (2011)

  • Sarah Bailey8
    827
    325

    Sarah Bailey

    Robin Tunney

    The Craft (1996)

  • Tree Gelbman9
    1,037
    454

    Tree Gelbman

    Jessica Rothe

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

  • Gale Weathers10
    991
    445

    Gale Weathers

    Courteney Cox

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

  • Heather Langenkamp11
    588
    270

    Heather Langenkamp

    Heather Langenkamp

    Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

  • Clear Rivers12
    764
    385

    Clear Rivers

    Ali Larter

    Final Destination (2000)

  • Sarah Carter13
    644
    324

    Sarah Carter

    Shauna Macdonald

    The Descent (2005)

  • Carol Anne Freeling14
    461
    225

    Carol Anne Freeling

    Heather O'Rourke
  • Buffy Summers15
    634
    330

    Buffy Summers

    Kristy Swanson
  • Dana Polk16
    801
    437

    Dana Polk

    Kristen Connolly

    The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

  • Mari Collingwood17
    552
    304

    Mari Collingwood

    Sara Paxton

    The Last House on the Left (2009)

  • Anita Needy Lesnicky18
    585
    338

    Anita Needy Lesnicky

    Amanda Seyfried

    Jennifer's Body (2009)

  • Lila Crane19
    384
    208

    Lila Crane

    Vera Miles, Julianne Moore

    Psycho (1960), Psycho (1998)

  • Sally Hardesty20
    514
    298

    Sally Hardesty

    Marilyn Burns

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

  • Julie James21
    678
    417

    Julie James

    Jennifer Love Hewitt

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

  • Mia Allen22
    494
    310

    Mia Allen

    Jane Levy

    Evil Dead (2013)

  • Jamie Lloyd23
    422
    272

    Jamie Lloyd

    Danielle Harris

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

  • Max Cartwright24
    390
    250

    Max Cartwright

    Taissa Farmiga

    The Final Girls (2015)

  • Helen Lyle25
    348
    227

    Helen Lyle

    Virginia Madsen

    Candyman (1992)