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The Best Movies Directed by Women 

Ranker Film
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Updated July 13, 2020 32.4k votes 2.4k voters 159.3k views 405 items

List Rules Films directed by a lady. Vote up your favorite female-directed film.

It’s no longer just a man’s world out there, women have been taking over Hollywood for years in some pretty big ways and there are some amazing female directors out there! From becoming some of the world’s top actresses to screenwriting and directing, women have certainly started to make their mark in the world of movies. In fact, some of the top box office hits and award winners of recent years have been produced or directed by women! But what are the best movies directed by a woman?
 
The movies featured on this list have been ranked as the all time best films directed by women. Perhaps one of the most surprising success stories of women in film came when Kathryn Bigelow but a woman's stamp on the usually male-dominated war movie genre. Her film, The Hurt Locker was both a commercial and critical success. No matter what genre you’re craving there is sure to be a movie, directed by a woman, on this list that will do.
 
This list is made up of the best movies that were directed by a woman, including: Away From Her, Frida, Clueless, The Piano, The Kids Are All Right, Lost In Translation, and American Psycho. Vote up your favorite female-directed films below or add your favorite movies, directed by a woman, if they aren't already on the list.

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1
Point Break is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Kathryn Bigelow

Actors: Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Patrick Swayze, Anthony Kiedis, Tom Sizemore, + more

Released: 1991

Point Break is a 1991 American action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty and Gary Busey. The title refers to the surfing term point break, where ...more

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2
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Mary Harron

Actors: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Chloë Sevigny, + more

Released: 2000

American Psycho is a 2000 American neo-noir satirical psychological horror film directed by Mary Harron, based on the 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Wealthy New York City investment banking ...more

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#14 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #508 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #523 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

3
Brave is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
marylylewarrenmccue added Brenda Chapman

Actors: Emma Thompson, Craig Ferguson, Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd, Julie Walters, + more

Released: 2012

Brave is a 2012 American computer-animated fantasy comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and ...more

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#41 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #26 of 88 Animated Movies That Make You Cry the Most #367 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

4
Monster is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Patty Jenkins

Actors: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Rose Byrne, Bruce Dern, Scott Wilson, + more

Released: 2003

Monster is a 2003 drama film about Aileen Wuornos, who was executed in Florida in 2002 for taking six men's lives in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wuornos was played by Charlize Theron, and ...more

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#24 of 235 The Best Movies Based On True Stories #214 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Big is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Penny Marshall

Actors: Tom Hanks, Jon Lovitz, Elizabeth Perkins, Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Loggia, + more

Released: 1988

Big is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood ...more

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6
The Hurt Locker is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Kathryn Bigelow

Actors: Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Renner, Guy Pearce, David Morse, + more

Released: 2008

The Hurt Locker is a 2008 American film about a three-man Explosive Ordnance Disposal team during the conflict in Iraq. The film was produced and directed by Kathryn Bigelow and the screenplay ...more

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7
Clueless is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Amy Heckerling

Actors: Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, Wallace Shawn, + more

Released: 1995

Clueless is a 1995 American comedy film loosely based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma. It stars Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd, and Brittany Murphy. The film is set in Beverly Hills ...more

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8
A League of Their Own is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Penny Marshall

Actors: Madonna, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell, Geena Davis, Téa Leoni, + more

Released: 1992

A League of Their Own is a 1992 American comedy-drama film that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Directed by Penny Marshall, the ...more

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9
Fast Times at Ridgemont ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Amy Heckerling

Actors: Nicolas Cage, Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Forest Whitaker, + more

Released: 1982

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a 1982 American coming-of-age teen comedy film written by Cameron Crowe, adapted from his 1981 book of the same name. As a freelance writer for Rolling Stone ...more

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#90 of 350 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #50 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #69 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

10
Lost in Translation is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Sofia Coppola

Actors: Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Anna Faris, Giovanni Ribisi, Hiromix, + more

Released: 2003

Lost in Translation is a 2003 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola. It stars Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, and Fumihiro Hayashi. The ...more

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11
Wonder Woman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
citronlmb added Patty Jenkins

Actors: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, + more

Released: 2017

Wonder Woman is a 2017 American superhero film directed by Patty Jenkins, based on the DC Comics character. When a pilot (Chris Pine) crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, Diana ...more

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12
Wayne's World is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
marylylewarrenmccue added Penelope Spheeris

Actors: Alice Cooper, Mike Myers, Rob Lowe, Tia Carrere, Meat Loaf, + more

Released: 1992

Wayne's World is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris and starring Mike Myers as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, hosts of the Aurora, Illinois-based ...more

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13
Frozen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
robinsontravis78 added Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck

Actors: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds, Jonathan Groff, + more

Released: 2013

Frozen is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy–comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 53rd animated feature in the ...more

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14
The Parent Trap is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Lan1 added Nancy Meyers

Actors: Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Kat Graham, Dina Lohan, Natasha Richardson, + more

Released: 1998

The Parent Trap is a 1998 romantic comedy film co-written and directed by Nancy Meyers, and produced and co-written by Charles Shyer. It is the second adaptation of Erich Kästner's German ...more

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15
Boys Don't Cry is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Kimberly Peirce

Actors: Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Natalie Zea, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III, + more

Released: 1999

Boys Don't Cry is a 1999 American independent romantic drama film directed by Kimberly Peirce and co-written by Andy Bienen. The film is a dramatization of the real-life story of Brandon Teena, ...more

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#114 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #9 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

16
Zero Dark Thirty is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Kathryn Bigelow

Actors: Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, James Gandolfini, John Barrowman, + more

Released: 2012

Untitled International Thriller is a 2012 thriller film written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

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#95 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #82 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on The Best Movies About 9/11

17
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Kimberly Peirce

Actors: Julianne Moore, Chloë Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort, + more

Released: 2013

Carrie is a 2013 American supernatural horror film. It is the third film adaptation of Stephen King's 1974 novel of the same name, though Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Screen Gems, who produced the ...more

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18
Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
freeling10 added Mary Lambert

Actors: Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, Susan Blommaert, Miko Hughes, + more

Released: 1989

Pet Sematary is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name. Directed by Mary Lambert and written by King. Andrew Hubatsek was cast for Zelda's role. Author ...more

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19
Lady Bird is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Greta Gerwig

Actors: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, + more

Released: 2017

Lady Bird is a 2017 American comedy-drama film directed by Greta Gerwig. The adventures of a young woman (Saoirse Ronan) living in Northern California for a year.

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20
Miss Bala is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Catherine Hardwicke

Actors: Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Anthony Mackie, Aislinn Derbez

Released: 2019

Miss Bala is a 2019 American-Mexican action drama thriller film directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and a remake of the 2011 Mexican film. A beauty contest winner (Gina Rodriguez) is forced to work ...more
21
Winter’s Bone is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Debra Granik

Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt, Dale Dickey, Sheryl Lee, + more

Released: 2010

"Deep in the Ozark Mountains, clans live by a code of conduct that no one dares defy—until an intrepid teenage girl has no other choice. When Ree Dolly's father skips bail and goes missing, ...more
22
The Virgin Suicides is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Sofia Coppola

Actors: Kirsten Dunst, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, James Woods, Hayden Christensen, + more

Released: 1999

The film is a 1999 American drama written and directed by Sofia Coppola, produced by her father Francis Ford Coppola, starring James Woods, Kathleen Turner, Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, and A. ...more

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23
You've Got Mail is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
KaleMovieVine added Nora Ephron

Actors: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Sara Ramirez, Dave Chappelle, Parker Posey, + more

Released: 1998

You've Got Mail is a 1998 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Nora Ephron, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It was written by Nora and Delia Ephron based on the 1937 play Parfumerie ...more

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24
Sleepless in Seattle is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Nora Ephron

Actors: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Rosie O'Donnell, Rob Reiner, Rita Wilson, + more

Released: 1993

Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 American romantic comedy-drama film directed and co-written by Nora Ephron. Based on a story by Jeff Arch, it stars Tom Hanks as Sam Baldwin and Meg Ryan as Annie

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25
The Piano is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies Directed by Women
Jane Campion

Actors: Anna Paquin, Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Cliff Curtis, + more

Released: 1993

The Piano is a 1993 romantic drama film about a mute female piano player and her daughter. Set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier backwater on the west coast of New Zealand, ...more

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