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The Best Final Girls From Horror Movie History

Updated October 9, 2020 39.2k votes 2.8k voters 31.9k 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
    1,658
    276

    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
    1,547
    313

    Ellen Ripley

    Sigourney Weaver

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

  • Grace Le Domas3
    1,609
    379

    Grace Le Domas

    Samara Weaving

    Ready or Not (2019)

  • Sidney Prescott4
    1,606
    420

    Sidney Prescott

    Neve Campbell

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

  • Maddie5
    1,205
    302

    Maddie

    Kate Siegel

    Hush (2016)

  • Nancy Thompson6
    1,025
    355

    Nancy Thompson

    Heather Langenkamp

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

  • Erin Hanson7
    930
    342

    Erin Hanson

    Sharni Vinson

    You're Next (2011)

  • Sarah Bailey8
    834
    335

    Sarah Bailey

    Robin Tunney

    The Craft (1996)

  • Tree Gelbman9
    1,053
    462

    Tree Gelbman

    Jessica Rothe

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

  • Gale Weathers10
    1,012
    446

    Gale Weathers

    Courteney Cox

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

  • Heather Langenkamp11
    597
    273

    Heather Langenkamp

    Heather Langenkamp

    Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

  • Clear Rivers12
    773
    393

    Clear Rivers

    Ali Larter

    Final Destination (2000)

  • Sarah Carter13
    654
    331

    Sarah Carter

    Shauna Macdonald

    The Descent (2005)

  • Carol Anne Freeling14
    470
    228

    Carol Anne Freeling

    Heather O'Rourke
  • Buffy Summers15
    640
    338

    Buffy Summers

    Kristy Swanson
  • Dana Polk16
    809
    445

    Dana Polk

    Kristen Connolly

    The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

  • Mari Collingwood17
    562
    309

    Mari Collingwood

    Sara Paxton

    The Last House on the Left (2009)

  • Sally Hardesty18
    531
    299

    Sally Hardesty

    Marilyn Burns

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

  • Anita Needy Lesnicky19
    596
    343

    Anita Needy Lesnicky

    Amanda Seyfried

    Jennifer's Body (2009)

  • Lila Crane20
    391
    212

    Lila Crane

    Vera Miles, Julianne Moore

    Psycho (1960), Psycho (1998)

  • Julie James21
    691
    418

    Julie James

    Jennifer Love Hewitt

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

  • Mia Allen22
    499
    316

    Mia Allen

    Jane Levy

    Evil Dead (2013)

  • Jamie Lloyd23
    429
    273

    Jamie Lloyd

    Danielle Harris

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

  • Max Cartwright24
    399
    255

    Max Cartwright

    Taissa Farmiga

    The Final Girls (2015)

  • Helen Lyle25
    359
    229

    Helen Lyle

    Virginia Madsen

    Candyman (1992)