If you’re having a nostalgic moment and you might find yourself reminiscing over the movies and tv shows of your younger days. The shows that made a mark on you. They introduced characters with almost mythic qualities, indeed, some were goddesses, witches, and superheroines.
These archetypal legends drove our popular personal culture and became the women we aspired to be, the women we feared, and the women we loved. Let’s take a look at 18 iconic female roles from story, stage, and screen and see just how they have changed over time.
Take a look at our list, I am sure there are many more characters that could make this list. GO ahead and add your comments at the bottom, let us know what you think of the list and who you would add or take off.
#1 Wonder Woman
Let’s just go ahead and throw the cards on the table. These days, you can’t go anywhere, and I do mean anywhere without seeing a picture of Gal Gadot in full wonder gear deflecting an evil blast and charging into the fray.
The number 1 spot on our list goes to Princess Diana Of Themyscira (her official title) or the name you may be more familiar with, Wonder Woman. She made her debut in October of 1941 only months after Pearl Harbor.
America was looking for a hero and Wonderwoman filled the role with real feminine power and stellar grace. Said to be modeled after Elizabeth Marston wife of creator William Marston and their life partner, Olive Byrne, Wonderwoman was a new voice for the feminist movement.
Some of us remember the TV series that starred Linda Carter in the unforgettable role. Until Gal Gadot showed up, she was probably the one people remembered best. There were several other actresses that stepped into the role along the way like Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, even Lucy Lawless.
#2 Princess Dianna (Lady Di)
Another bright star comes directly from the pages of modern history. The character of Princess Diana took the world by storm in the 80s, becoming the first royal to bring a touch of modern independence to her duties and public persona.
She provided an example to women the world round and many TV shows and movies have been created celebrating her life. There are literally hundreds of productions chronicling her struggles, and trying to explain her tragic and mysterious death. Most recently the role was played by Naomi Watts in 2013.
You know, the one from Wonderland. This one was created by the great author, Lewis Carroll. The character portrayed by Alice is such a strong one, it has inspired tons of adaptations on stage and screen.
As far back as 1903, when Alice showed up in a silent film directed by Cecil Hepworth starring May Clark in the role of Alice. It was Disney’s unforgettable animated portrayal of the character in 1951 that really solidified the character in our minds
Stephen King is famous for creating some of the scariest stories around. It always seems to be an epic battle of good and evil, the forces of light, dark, and retribution all laid out with intrigue. It seems like every Halloween, we see some incarnation of Carrie, usually wearing a bloody prom dress.
The character of Carrie White strikes a familiar chord with anyone who has ever felt awkward or insecure, anyone who’s ever felt out of place; like they just didn’t fit in.
In 2013 a new adaptation of the film cast Chole Grace Moritz in the role of Carrie White but it was Sissy Spacek’s performance that brought believability. She was a character you instantly felt sorry for.
#5 Laurie Strode
At first, hearing the name may not raise any hairs, but this character hails from one of the most memorable horror films of all time. The incredible performance by Jodie Foster is a big reason why.
The landmark thriller by John Carpenter created an unrivaled horror franchise. It has since spawned other incarnations including Rob Zombies 2017 Remake casting Scout Taylor Compton in the role.
#6 Sarah Conor
In a post-apocalyptic world controlled by AI-driven robot destroyers, where if the woman that will step up to save us from total annihilation? Look no further than the Legendary character of Sarah Conor.
These days, emerging tech and privacy breaches have made the role of Sarah Conor, that much more poignant. In many ways, the character embodies a tough lioness, willing to stop at nothing in her dogged pursuit to save her son.
While both Emilia Clarke and Lena Headley did fine jobs in the role, it was Linda Hamilton that left us with the indelible heroine’s print.
HELP us Sarah Conor, save us from the machines!
#7 Marry Poppins
Since we’re saving the universe, let’s look at a role that started saving folks one family at a time. This timeless character originally portrayed by the genius Julie Andrews in the 1964 Disney film reminds us all of a good witch, our favorite babysitter, and your best friend all rolled into one.
One of the most beloved characters of our childhood, Marry Poppins still has the ability to transport us to a world of imagination not so far from our own. The character was created in the thirties by author P.L. Travers for a series of children’s books.
Wildly popular because of the chemistry between Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews her character has been portrayed by others but none so magically.
Kate Beckinsale is responsible for the powerful portrayal of this fantastical warrior vampire hel bent on the destruction of the Lycan species. Her motivation is drawn from the brutal killing of her own family and the landmark series of films explores real depth in a female horror character.
Whether you’re a fan of werewolves and vampires or not, this is a film franchise worth a peak, and while reportedly, Kate isn’t interested in another film, here’s to hoping she’ll change her mind.
#9 Cruella De Vil
Dodie Smith Penned the fictional character of Cruella De Vil in 1956 for the children’s book 101 Dalmations. The story idea was soon picked up by Disney, and they created the memorable film classic.
Glenn close did an amazing job filling the role in the first live-action production of the story and a new adaptation of the story starring Emma Stone is soon to be released. This character proves there’s nothing quite as scary as an evil rich lady making fur coats from puppies.
#10 Irene Adler