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The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film 

Ranker Film
Updated October 12, 2018 3.1k votes 353 voters 5.3k views 26 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite characters

Most mothers will do anything for their children – and that includes the fictional ones, too. That maternal instinct has proven inspiring for Hollywood screenwriters, and over the years they've penned a number of memorable single mother characters in their movies. Whether these fictional figures are fighting for custody of their kids, trying to make their way in the world, or even struggling for survival, the women on this list are some of the greatest fictional single moms of all time.

So, who is the greatest single mother character in film history? Maybe it's the eternally tough Sarah Conner, as played by Linda Hamilton in the Terminator films. She battled evil cyborgs and her own sanity to protect her son John's future. Or maybe it's Dorothy Boyd, who captured moviegoers' hearts in Cameron Crowe's classic 1996 film Jerry Maguire. And who could forget Erin Brockovich? The real-life woman who inspired the Julia Roberts-starring movie fought for environmental regulations for a small town. But not every single mother on this list is the maternal type. Margaret White (Carrie) and Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest) are the kinds of single moms who would make you think twice about breaking curfew.

Which single mom character is your favorite? Vote up the fictional women that you find the most inspiring or iconic, and vote down those that don't quite make the cut. Remember to add in any characters that were overlooked, too.
list ordered by
1
Erin Brockovich is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich
2
Sarah Connor is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Linda Hamilton in The Terminator
3
Lynn Sear is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Toni Collette in The Sixth Sense
4
Carol Connelly is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Carol Connelly Helen Hunt in As Good as It Gets
5
Mrs. Gump is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Sally Field in Forrest Gump
6
Dorothy Boyd is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Renée Zellweger in Jerry Maguire
7
Mildred Pierce is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
2probb_1449163300222 added
8
Meg Altman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Jodie Foster in Panic Room
9
Mary is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Mary
10
Mrs. Flax is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Mrs. Flax Cher in Mermaids
11
Mollie Ubriacco is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Mollie Ubriacco Kirstie Alley in Look Who's Talking Now
12
Christine Collins is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Angelina Jolie in Changeling
13
Mrs. Brisby is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Tom Islava added
14
J.C. Wiatt is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
J.C. Wiatt Diane Keaton in Baby Boom
15
Fiona Brewer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Fiona Brewer
16
Dede Tate is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Jodie Foster in Little Man Tate
17
Jenny Fields is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
2probb_1449163300222 added Jenny Fields Glenn Close in The World According to Garp
18
Dahlia is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Dahlia Jennifer Connelly in Dark Water
19
Alice Hyatt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
20
Molly is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Molly Marisa Tomei in Cyrus
21
Ms. Cartman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Ms. Cartman
22
Annie Hughes is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Jennifer Aniston in The Iron Giant
23
Margaret White is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
24
Mrs. Jumbo is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Verna Felton in Dumbo
25
Lady Tremaine is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Single Mother Characters in Film
Tom Islava added