Last year was a big year for women in pop-culture: Netflix gave us superhero Jessica Jones, while ABC delivered non-superpowered-but-still-powerful Agent Carter. Women were also heavily featured in ensemble casts in some of the most popular and action-filled blockbusters of the year, including Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, and even Star Wars: The Force Awakens, proving that audiences don’t care about the gender of the cast as much as they care about watching a good movie.
So it makes perfect sense to us that an all woman Ghostbusters team with some of the funniest leading ladies currently working in Hollywood was also announced last year. Because who doesn’t love a team-up movie? Whether it’s The Avengers or Star Wars, a great ensemble cast is a joy to behold, which is why we wanted to take a look at some of our favorite women-fronted ensembles.
So here are 10 of the Most Badass Lady Team-Ups from some of our favorite movies and television shows.
10. The Heat
The Heat is the unexpected and triumphant lady team-up of Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in the 2013 film of the same name. It’s an all-female good-cop, bad-cop story, with Bullock as the by-the-books FBI special agent and McCarthy as the more do-whatever-it-takes city detective. When the two are forced to work together, they must overcome their differences in order to take down a drug lord with his sights currently set on Boston. While the story isn’t groundbreaking, the two leads work well-together, proving that women can be both funny and badass at the same time.
The film premiered fresh off McCarthy’s Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Bridesmaids, and she’s really at the top of her game. She provides most of the laughs, with Bullock making an excellent straight man and getting in some funny moments of her own. Paul Feig, who also directed Bridesmaids, directs the duo, and he and McCarthy will be teaming up again to bring us another (hopefully) badass team–the rebooted Ghostbusters.
9. Rockford Peaches (A League of Their Own)
Based on the story of the real life women’s professional baseball team of the same name, which played from 1943 to 1954, A League of Their Own was one of the first major motion pictures to focus on an all woman sports team. In the film, two sisters (played by Geena Davis and Lori Petty) are recruited to the struggling All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, with one sister playing for the Rockford Peaches and one for the Racine Belles during the big championship game. While all of the characters in the 1992 film are fictitious, it depicts some of the real life struggles of women in the league, including sexism, injuries, and financing.
Directed by Penny Marshall (who, incidentally, was famously part of another badass lady team-up: Laverne from Laverne & Shirley), the movie combined an all star cast, mostly-woman cast, including Madonna in one of her most significant movie roles. Rosie O’Donnell, Anne Ramsey, Megan Cavanagh, and Ann Cusack also played members of the Rockford Peaches.
8. The Barden Bellas (Pitch Perfect)
This fictional all-lady a cappella team appeared in 2012’s Pitch Perfect, which is the third highest-grossing music comedy film, with Pitch Perfect 2 (also starring the Bellas) as the highest. A Pitch Perfect 3 has already been announced with an August 2017 release date. And it’s easy to see why: the Bellas benefit from a hilarious ensemble cast, which includes Anna Kendrick (as Beca), Rebel Wilson (as Fat Amy), Brittany Snow (Choloe Beale), and Anna Camp (Aubrey).
After facing public humiliation when one of their star performers vomits on stage, the Bellas must find new recruits if they want to redeem themselves and make it to the a cappella national competition. With the Treblemakers, a rival all-male team with the always funny Adam DeVine playing the group’s leader Bumper, as their main competition, the Bellas must come together and trust each other in order to win.
7. Hounslow Harriers (Bend It Like Beckham)
The Hounslow Harriers are a fictional women’s football club in West London that burst onto the screens in the 2002 British-Indian sports comedy, Bend it Like Beckham. The film follows the story of Jess (played by Parminder Nagra), a Punjabi Sikh Indian whose very traditional parents have forbidden her to play football (or soccer, if you’re in the States). Jess’s parents want her to be more like her appropriately feminine sister, who’s about to have a lavish wedding, while Jess dreams of the chance to be like her hero: David Beckham.
Jess gets her chance when she meets Jules (Keira Knightley), who plays for the Hounslow Harries and convinces Jess to join the team. The girls become fast friends, while each deals with romance, gender norms. and cultural prejudices. Despite the obstacles, the Hounslow Harriers manage to climb to the top of the league, with Jess playing a crucial role in the teams success.
6. Charlie’s Angels
Charlie’s Angels made their first appearance in 1976 in a television show of the same name. Revolving around three women in a private detective agency, the television show starred several women as the titular Angels throughout its five season run, including Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Jaclyn Smith, Tanya Roberts, and Kate Jackson. The Angels work for Charlie Townsend, who’s face is never shown, always giving the ladies their assignments through speakerphone.
In 2000, the popular television show was rebooted as a film, starring three of the most popular women actresses of the time: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu. While the movie was more comedy than drama, it still portrayed the Angels as tough, badass women, who could take on even the biggest villains. The movie was both a critical and commercial success, so it’s no surprise that ABC attempted to bring Charlie’s Angels back to the small screen in 2011 with a rebooted television series. However, it was canceled after only four episodes.
5. Josie and the Pussy Cats
Ignoring the 2001 film adaptation, which was critically maligned, Josie and the Pussy Cats have a long history of being a badass team of women. The show, which was based on the Archie Comics book series of the same name, first aired in 1970. The series revolved around on all-lady pop band, with the group facing off against a mysterious villain each episode. Usually, the villain was attempting to take over the world, and the Pussy Cats usually had something that was critical to the villainous plan.
Josie is the leader of the group, while Valerie is more often the brains of the operation. The third Pussy Cat, Melody, is usually portrayed as a little on the slow side, but with a heart of gold and a sense for when the group is in danger. Together, the three always come up with a plan to stop the villain from taking over the world, while still managing to make sure they get to their musical gigs on time. And what could be more badass than that?
4. Jem and the Holograms
Like Josie and the Pussy Cats, Jem and the Holograms involves an all-lady music group and was recently rebooted into a not very good film. The show revolves around Jem, the mysterious lead singer, whose real name is Jerrica Benton. She uses a holographic computer to adopt the Jem persona, and she plays with her band, known as the Holograms. The Holograms have two main rivals: The Stingers and another all girl band named The Misfits.
Two central plots in the series are Jerrica’s struggle to keep her secret identity hidden and the holographic technology out of the hands of villains, and she accomplishes her goal in a pretty badass way, with frequent action and fight scenes. The show was downright crazy sometimes, and the members of the group often found themselves in life-threatening situations, while still managing to perform the truly outrageous songs they were famous for.
3. Thelma & Louise
The quintessential lady duo, Thelma and Louise were an immediate sensation when they hit the big screen back in 1991. The film combined the star power of Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise to tell the story of two friends who set out for a short vacation, only to have the trip implode and the women end up on the run. Together, the women fend-off would-be rapists, thieves, and law enforcement.
Thelma & Louise was notable upon its release as one of the first road-trip movies to focus on women and women’s experiences, and many praised it for its feminist themes. But even looking past any positive message the movie has, it’s just a great movie, with one of the most iconic endings in movie history. The script, which is filled with action and witty one-liners, is elevated by Davis’ and Sarandon’s performances, with both ladies receiving Oscar nominations for Best Actress.
2. Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (Kill Bill)
The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad is a group of deadly assassins, compromised of mostly women. By the time Kill Bill takes place, the Squad is mostly disbanded and the members serve as the main antagonist to Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) as she seeks revenge, but that doesn’t make the ladies that comprise the team any less badass.
Of the six person squad, four of the members are women, including Kiddo, who is generally considered the deadliest woman on the planet. The other three women include Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), and Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), all of which have their own special – and deadly – skills. The group is full of trained assassins, who are fluent in multiple languages and comfortable wielding all manner of deadly weapons.
1. Sand Snakes (Game of Thrones)
In the Game of Thrones books, the Sand Snakes are comprised of the eight bastard daughters of Prince Oberyn Martell, known as the Red Viper. While not all eight have appeared on the show, the three eldest – Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes), Nymeria (Jessica Henwick), and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) – have certainly made an impression. Known for their fierceness, the eldest Sand Snakes want nothing more than retribution for the death of their father.
The eldest, Obara, considers herself a warrior, and she’s most skilled with her spear. But the group is said to also be proficient with whips and knives. For these ladies, their vengeance is best served through war, and they’re often involved in various plots to achieve their goals. It’s anyone’s guess as to how far they’ll go and what they’ll do next.
These are just some of our favorite groups of lady badasses. What’s you favorite lady team-up? Did we miss a deserving team? Let us know in the comments!