Girls and Guns discussion

Miscellaneous > Gun-packing ladies in movies/TV

Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Thad (last edited Dec 21, 2012 09:26AM) (new)

Thad Brown | 50 comments Jevron wrote: "Cinematically, I think you'd be hard pushed to find a tougher, sexier female character than Uma Thurman as Beatrix "The Bride" Kidder in the Kill Bill Double 'Bill' (look what I did there!)

She was awesome, and very sexy.

Kate Beckinsale in Underworld. She was pretty amazing too!"

message 2: by Werner (new)

Werner As an older teen, I was a big fan of the Charlie's Angels TV series, though I discovered the series after Cheryl Ladd had replaced Farrah Fawcett. So I was an admirer of Kate Jackson (and had quite a crush on her!) rather than Farrah. :-) (Before that, I liked The Avengers with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. But while she carried a gun and could use it capably, what I mostly remember about her was her martial arts skills.) More recently, back in the 90s, I was a hardcore fan of the original La Femme Nikita series starring Peta Wilson, whose Nikita is one of my favorite action heroines of all time. Another very watchable TV action lady from the same period was Nia Peeples, Ranger Sydney Cook on Walker, Texas Ranger. Though she wasn't the star of the show, she got plenty of opportunities to show her fighting skills, and she was good with a gun (though, like Mrs. Peel, her karate skills were impressive enough that she often didn't need one). My schedule doesn't afford me a lot of time nowadays to watch TV (I've seen very little of the new Nikita series, for instance). My favorite gun-toting heroine on a current TV show, though, has to be Fiona (played by Gabrielle Anwar) Michael's girlfriend on Burn Notice.

When it comes to the big screen, the actress that stands out for me in this category is Angelina Jolie as Lady Lara Croft in the two Tomb Raider movies. But while Westerns, especially the older ones, have tended to be male dominated, the silver screen has given us some memorable pistol-packing cowgirls, too. (My wife is an avid Western fan, so I've actually seen several films featuring actresses in this type of role.) Two that I think deserve special mention (that I've actually seen personally) are Beverly Garland for her trail-blazing role as a lady sheriff (replacing her murdered husband in that job) in Roger Corman's 1956 Gunslinger, and the four actresses who play the title roles in the much more recent Bad Girls. (They're not really bad, despite the title --and indeed, all of these characters are presented as admirable women with qualities that command liking and respect.)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) I think Sidney Bristow from the 5 year running TV show "Alias" could kick butt. For westerns, also more recent, but not exactly "modern" the film "The "Quick and the Dead," featured a beautiful gunslinger out for vengence, competing in a lethal quick draw tournament for the chance to go against the man whom she wanted vengence on.

message 4: by Werner (new)

Werner I've never seen The Quick and the Dead at one sitting from start to finish; but I've seen enough bits and pieces of it on different occasions that there's probably not much footage I haven't seen. The movie as a whole has its drawbacks --the whole idea of a lethal quick draw contest like that parts company with reality, drastically, for one thing, and the filmmakers indulged in some weird camera work, to the detriment of the storytelling. (And contrary to what many people believe, the impact of even a .44 slug won't actually knock a person through the air, at all.) But the straight-shooting lady protagonist was a quintessential action heroine, really well-realized; and Sharon Stone played her just perfectly, IMO. I'd really like to actually sit down at least once and watch that whole movie the way it was intended to be!

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) Yes, I thought the move was a bit ... hmm... Hollywood-ized too. I'm not always a Sharon Stone fan. Sometimes she comes across to me as the female Tom Cruise, but, as with Tom Cruise, I do like some of the roles she's played. I thought she was a believable Heroine in an unbelievable movie in "The Quick and the Dead."

Angela Jollie has made the shift successfully from Dramatic Actor to Action-Heroine. Not only as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, but also "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" where she went up against, and across from, Brad Pitt.

message 6: by Alex (last edited Jan 25, 2013 05:15AM) (new)

Alex (goodreadscomalexsheridanwrites) | 7 comments This is going to sound a little quirky, but I like to use press photos of actors as my screen saver while I'm writing my WIPs.

I'm hoping to get some suggestions for who could play the female MC. I don't watch much TV or movies and am finding myself drawing a blank for a female muse to 'star' in my latest WIP.

The character is a 22-yr old woman, dark hair, green eyes, who wields knives with scary precision (and later on, guns) while escaping through the Amazon jungle. She's fierce because she has no choice - it's kill to survive and get herself free. So I need someone who can believably kick a*s, but a good person underneath.

This screen-saver muse probably sounds silly, but I've found it really makes a difference in my writing, so would love to get some suggestions of female actors (can be older as long as they could pull off 20-something).


The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) It's a different kind of Heroine, but, the main weapon was an M-16 (Gun) and, I think it did a good job of, if not properly characterizing Heroics in a feminine sense, allowing a conversation about what is courage and what is not.

The Character is played by Meg Ryan and the cast includes Lou Diamond Phillips and Denzel Washington.

"Courage Under Fire" (1996)

message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex (goodreadscomalexsheridanwrites) | 7 comments Thanks Hugh. I've never seen that movie, so I'll have to check it out. I love Denzel. :)

message 9: by Werner (new)

Werner I've seen roughly the last half hour of Mr. and Mrs. Smith on TV once (I didn't know it was on until I saw it listed on the TV Guide channel). Jolie did well in the action scenes (no surprise there), but I found it hard to follow what was going on. (In fairness, tuning into it that late in the plot might have had a lot to do with that!) The novelization is in one of my many to-read piles, and I'm looking forward to reading it sometime; I think the plot and action scenes will be easier to follow in that format. (I've also heard good things about Jolie's performance in Salt; has anyone seen that one?)

A female soldier who fights with an M-16 (or any other kind of rifle) certainly fits bill for the kind of heroine this group is interested in! I've only seen some bits and pieces of Courage Under Fire, tuned into on TV (as you can tell, I haven't often had a chance to watch TV very systematically, especially in the last 10+ years or so!), but I liked what little I saw. Meg Ryan is an outstanding actress, IMO, in any kind of role.

message 10: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) Meg Ryan is a very unlikely hero type, yet, she was able to do what she does in the romantic comedies and (Under stress) made it work for her character and pulled it off wonderfully.

The best message I got about female heroes (Heroines) which came from that movie is also one of those things that befuddles most men. We understand it inteliectually, but we have a huge problem getting that concept where the rubber meets the road.

That is, that "I may be crying, but that does not make me weak, nor unable to act, it's just a reaction to stress, I will be able to do what needs to be done, crying or not," and when I'm done crying I'll have had some relief from my stress, how are you going to deal with what's going on in your head?

message 11: by Werner (new)

Werner Hugh, that is a good message! I think women are often more pragmatic about how they react to stress, and less hampered by unwarranted shame when they need to react with some kind of release, than most men are --and that does enable them to handle it better, paradoxically, than guys who seem stoic but are about to explode on the inside.

message 12: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) Werner wrote: "Hugh, that is a good message! I think women are often more pragmatic about how they react to stress, and less hampered by unwarranted shame when they need to react with some kind of release, than ..."

That's sort of the theme of the movie (Using spoiler tags for those who have not seen it yet and want too.) (view spoiler)

It was a pretty good movie.

message 13: by Alex (new)

Alex (goodreadscomalexsheridanwrites) | 7 comments Interesting take on women/stress/crying while in kick a*s situations. I'll have to file that in the back of my 'points to highlight' cabinet. :)

message 14: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) Alex wrote: "Interesting take on women/stress/crying while in kick a*s situations. I'll have to file that in the back of my 'points to highlight' cabinet. :)"

Well, you know I think your Heroines in Finding Round though not Gun Toting Heroic Women, were great examples of what it means to be "strong like a woman" and how powerful that can really be.

message 15: by Alex (new)

Alex (goodreadscomalexsheridanwrites) | 7 comments Thanks Hugh!

A little bird told me someone's mom is a 'real life action hero'. So if you like my heroines, I must be doing something right. ;)

message 16: by Seeley (new)

Seeley James (seeleyjames) | 16 comments Alex wrote: "This is going to sound a little quirky, but I like to use press photos of actors as my screen saver while I'm writing my WIPs.

I'm hoping to get some suggestions for who could play the female MC..."

Alex, did you ever see the movie Haywire? yeah, neither did anyone else. Gina Carano played a heroine as realistic as any James Bond. It was a fairly descent movie with a fairly descent set of twists, so I never figured out why it didn't take off. (Maybe because she's a real MMA fighter and not a professional actress, but I'm no movie critic). Anyway, Gina is pretty close to what you described there.

Peace, Seeley

message 17: by Alex (new)

Alex (goodreadscomalexsheridanwrites) | 7 comments Thanks Seeley, I will check out Haywire. Sounds like my kind of movie. :)

message 18: by Alex (new)

Alex (goodreadscomalexsheridanwrites) | 7 comments Alex wrote: "Thanks Seeley, I will check out Haywire. Sounds like my kind of movie. :)"

I watched Haywire yesterday. Interesting movie. Loved all of the girl-kicks-a*s stuff. It's probably the first movie I've ever watched where the lead female gets into serious fights and it seems 'real', and I didn't flinch too much over the fact that it was a chick getting punched and puching back. Great pick on the producers' part for slating Gina Carano in that role. I'd never heard of her before, but would love to see her in more movies--she's great.

The movie itself was one of those that constantly had me wishing they'd turn the lights and the sound up, too loud during the music, too quiet during the dialogue. Why in the heck does Hollywood do that??? Seems like a pretty basic thing to get right. Loved the action scenes, though. Thanks for the recommendation.

message 19: by Seeley (new)

Seeley James (seeleyjames) | 16 comments Alex wrote: "Alex wrote: "Thanks Seeley, I will check out Haywire. Sounds like my kind of movie. :)"

I watched Haywire yesterday. Interesting movie. Loved all of the girl-kicks-a*s stuff. It's probably the ..."

She was one of the American Gladiators and then moved to MMA fighting, made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Hollywood. She wasn't a bad actress. I've seen some of the prettier starlets wreck a role like that but she did well. I was sorry to see it didn't get enough traction for a series, but oh well.

The volume thing works in theaters but not at home. You'd think they rework that for online videos.

message 20: by Thad (new)

Thad Brown | 50 comments In the short (just six episodes in Season 1, though apparently plans have been discussed for a Season 2) TV series Cleaners, Emanuelle Chiriqui and Emily Osment star as lethal hired guns for a female crime boss. But even though they're criminals, they do have a conscience and some moral standards; so when their boss crosses the line, they find themselves forced to take a stand that will put them into action heroine territory. Osment's character doesn't care much for guns (knives are her weapon of choice), though she can handle one when she has to; but her partner Veronica's firearms skills are really formidable. The main weakness of the series is a lot of unnecessary bad language (including the f-word, quite a few times); if I were rating it the way Goodreads rates books, I'd deduct a star for that --but I'd still give it four.

Last night, I commented on this series in much more detail in the Action Heroine Fans group, on the topic (scroll to message 300). If anyone's interested, that post has a link where you can connect with all six episodes on YouTube. They don't have the commercials at the latter site (since it's a well-respected site, I'm assuming the show isn't pirated!); if you watch all six back to back, the running time would be about two hours, like a movie, and the plot is connected all the way through just as a movie would be.

message 21: by Thad (new)

Thad Brown | 50 comments You're welcome, J. B. Let us know how you like it.

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 6 comments Agree about Scarlett Johansson J.B. Thad, never heard of that series. Where was it available...if I may ask.

message 23: by Thad (new)

Thad Brown | 50 comments Mike, I don't have the URLs for the YouTube links, but they're linked to in the review of the series at . Either click on the banner-style visual for the series near the top of the page, or scroll to the listing in the updates not far below it.

However, knowing something about your tastes, I don't think you'd like this one as well as I did. Part of the plot very definitely comes to involve a romance element, and that's a serious aspect in the last half of the episodes.

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 6 comments Well, it depends. I don't mind a romance as part of the story. I just have trouble when it's the "moving factor" or what drives the story. I may get to it, I don't watch a lot of TV.

message 25: by Thad (new)

Thad Brown | 50 comments In this case, I'd say the romantic attraction is just part of the story, not what drives it. As I noted above, my post in the Action Heroine Fans group describes/reviews the series in more detail, so that might help you decide whether or not it's worth checking out sometime. (It won't be everybody's cup of tea!)

message 26: by Thad (new)

Thad Brown | 50 comments Glad you enjoyed it, J.B., and thanks for sharing the link!

message 27: by Werner (new)

Werner A couple of years ago, both Hugh and I mentioned the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith on this thread. This week, I finally had the opportunity to watch it all the way through (I'd picked up a copy of the DVD version at a flea market on Monday). Overall, the movie has its flaws; it's easier to understand the action when you see it from the beginning, but the plotting and premise are still underdeveloped and under-explained, with some significant logical holes.

However, the core of the film is the relationship between the title characters (so the human element is more central to the story than it is in a lot of action flicks). Both Jolie and Pitt are perfectly cast for this, and bring their characters to life convincingly. But it definitely doesn't stint on action, either, and Jolie's also in her element there (as is Pitt). She's a crack shot with a gun (not to mention being able to dispatch a man with bare hands), and I think most members of the group would find her character right up their alley!

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 6 comments My favorite segment of the film is the car chase with Making Love Out of Nothing At All playing in the back ground. That or the elevator music break in the action shoot out.

(view spoiler)

message 29: by Werner (new)

Werner Being tone deaf, I didn't get into the music as much as some other viewers probably do. But I did enjoy the car chase scene! I wouldn't describe the movie as a comedy by any means; but the writers do understand the value of comic relief, and a lot of the lines there (and elsewhere through the film) have a genuine quality of dry humor. (view spoiler)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 6 comments (view spoiler)

The song during the car chase exemplified their entire life together, "Love Out of Nothing at All".

message 31: by David (new)

David | 14 comments I just watched a film "Columbiana". The script was written by Luc Besson who you may recall did "The Professional". The story has many similarities: the MC is a girl whose parents were murdered and she seeks revenge upon the killers but this time as a grownup.

I rated it 3 out of 5 stars on Netflix. It's not a bad film (cinematically its pretty well made) but the story is predictable. The heroine is cool though so its not a bad way to spend 1.5 hrs. Or you could just watch "The Professional" again. :)

message 32: by David (new)

David | 14 comments I'll bump this thread by adding a few TV shows I've been enjoying.

"Blacklist" is wonderfully engaging, quirky and has a strong yet flawed female heroine. There isn't a lot of gunplay in most episodes but I think she is consistently badass to keep one's attention. Megan Boone in the earliest episodes seems to have not quite found her character but by season two she's fully embraced a rough-edged yet feminine protagonist. James Spader does steal every scene though.

"Banshee" is a Cinemax series (limited to four seasons) that is quite violent and has a fair amount of gratuitous sex, so its not for the squeamish. There are two tough ladies: Lili Simmons as the jewel thief living a double life and Trieste Kelly Dunn as a doe-eyed police officer who slowly falls for the lead male character. Frequently implausible and geographically inaccurate (the Amish are nothing like those depicted in the show) I nonetheless can't help but watch it as a 'guilty pleasure'.

message 33: by Werner (new)

Werner David, posts like yours make me wish I had more time to watch TV in my typical schedule! (Oh well, maybe someday....)

One movie that I just realized I've never mentioned in this group, but which deserves some attention, is No Man's Land staring Stella Stevens ( .) This is a 1984 TV movie, intended as the pilot film for a series that was regrettably never made (if it had been, my wife and I would have tried to watch it!). Like Gunslinger (message 2) it's a Western focused on a sheriff's widow who's taken over his job, though in this case he died a natural death, and the tone here is much less dark and gritty than that of the earlier film. (None of the violence is lethal, for instance.) Nonetheless, Stevens' character does get a chance to display her firearms skills, more than once; a ruthless outlaw has decided to target her town, and there's also some mysterious undercover doings going on that will take some detection to unravel. Steven's performance is credible; there are also fine performances by the supporting cast, which includes John Rhys-Davies, Dack Rambo, and Estelle Getty; the sheriff's family dynamics are well portrayed (she's thrice widowed, with three daughters, one by each husband, ranging from age 15 to early 20s); good use is made of a little-known bit of 19th-century history; and the script has a leavening of humor. Even though the plotting has some logical lapses, I'd still recommend the movie to fans of clean Westerns and action-heroine portrayals. Alas, it's apparently not commercially available at present, but it's worth watching for if you can ever get a used VHS/DVD copy, or catch a showing on TV.

message 34: by David (last edited Feb 07, 2016 02:10PM) (new)

David | 14 comments I love film as much as reading. Here's another strong female lead movie review: Sicario

Emily Blunt (who I would gladly accept to play the lead when my Brianna books are made into films...if only...) plays an FBI agent coerced into 'volunteering' for a special drug task force led by a CIA operative. The only problem is that the CIA doesn't have jurisdiction for domestic issues, the FBI does. Protagonist Kate is the only woman in a sea of alpha males from the CIA, military and drug world. Kate is never sure who she really works for or what the mission is and the story will keep you guessing throughout. This is a dark movie where everyone has an agenda and there don't appear to be any winners. Beautifully filmed and well acted, I enjoyed it and appreciated its depiction of the War On Drugs as a futile endeavor.

Kate is a strong character. Though she only draws her weapon a few times you will cheer for her and worry about her. Some grisly depictions of corpses and a few bloody shoot-outs earn the R rating. No nudity, only a smidge of sex and a few bouts of profanity as you would expect from alpha military types.

message 35: by Bran (new)

Bran Gustafson (brangustafson) | 3 comments One of my absolute favorite female characters of all time is from the Mad Max film that came out this last summer. Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, is the perfect example of a multiple gun-toting, tough woman who doesn't sacrifice her femininity.

message 36: by Werner (new)

Werner Although I'm only getting time to post about it now, I watched one of my wife's and my own favorite movies this past Thursday night: Westward the Women (1951), starring Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel, and John McIntire. (Generally speaking, I'm not a big Western fan, but I like this one.) For more information, see this link: .

In 1851, California rancher Roy Whitman realizes his men need wives to create a stable community. So he and a wagon train guide (Buck, who's skeptical of the whole idea) undertake a three-month journey to Chicago to recruit women willing to travel 2,000 miles from Independence, MO to his ranch by covered wagon, over dangerous and inhospitable terrain. To start with (not everybody --and maybe nobody-- will survive), it's 138 women, 18 men, and one child against Indians, the elements, and other dangers. Everybody will have to pull his/her weight.

Not all the characters are paragons of perfect behavior all of the time; this a very realistic look at human nature, as well as at the actual conditions of transcontinental travel at that time, and the guts and endurance required of both sexes in order to settle the West. But it has a remarkably feminist message (and a very positive treatment of a Japanese character!) for a 1951 film. The technical aspects reflect the era (it's black-and-white, and gunshot wounds don't bleed); but the characterizations are excellent, and it's quite well-written, IMO.

Barb and I own this on VHS; it's probably no longer commercially available in that medium, and I don't know if it can be purchased on DVD. But if you're intrigued by my description, and you ever get a chance to buy a used copy or see it on TV, it has my highest recommendation!

I'm surprised I never mentioned this movie before in this group, because although it doesn't stress gunfighting action, it clearly shows women meeting an array of demanding physical challenges, of which combat is only one. I think it would appeal to a good many members of this group. At the beginning of their trek, only two of the gals are proficient with a handgun (the scene where they display their skill to a skeptical Buck is pretty cool!), but before it's over a number of them have taken to wearing Colts, and not for decoration; and they'll all learn to handle a flintlock rifle. And yes, there are times when firearms skills will come in very handy!

back to top