There have been plenty of women to have graced us with their acting in popular movies, but it takes something special to make a character "iconic." From crime-fighting heroes to sultry assassins, these fictional females bring something unique to the table that makes them the most attractive and powerful characters. We found the most badass women in movies throughout the years, and it shows that looks are only part of the equation.
1. Margot Robbie As Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf Of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street had many memorable and iconic moments, but nothing compares to the portrayal of Naomi Lapaglia by Margot Robbie. She played the hot wife who would do whatever to get everything she wanted.
Margot Robbie revealed that she felt awkward filming the raunchy scenes in front of an all-male crew. It didn't come across on screen because her character was seen as a seductress.
2. Audrey Hepburn As Holly Golightly In Breakfast At Tiffany's
Breakfast At Tiffany's is an iconic movie and Audrey Hepburn played the socialite Holly Golightly perfectly. It became one of her most memorable and identifiable roles.
She is classy and sophisticated, which makes her more desirable. Hepburn said it was her most challenging role because she had to play an extrovert when she was usually very introverted.
3. Jessica Rabbit In Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Jessica Rabbit is by far the most iconic and beautiful movie characters. Although she is a cartoon, she inspired so many women to appreciate their curves.
People might feel weird about sexualizing a cartoon character, but she was drawn for that purpose.
4. Sacrlett Johansson As Black Widow In The Avengers Series
Black Widow is a crime-fighting badass played by Scarlett Johansson who is naturally attractive. She took this character to the next level with her portrayal throughout The Avengers movies.
Her character makes the big green giant, Hulk, fall head over heels for her, especially when she gears up in her black spandex spy outfit.
5. Daryl Hannah As Madison In Splash
In the movie splash, Daryl Hannah plays Madison the mermaid that rescues Tom Hanks' character from drowning. Her role made people believe mermaids were real in this '80s classic.
Hannah is the mermaid dream with her long blonde beachy waves and colorful tale. It is no wonder that Hanks' character fell in love with her and had to fall in the ocean a second time to find her again.
6. Rooney Mara As Lisbeth Salander In The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Rooney Mara plays a goth hacker who is anything but the typical femme fatal, but she makes it work for her in the film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Fans went wild for Lisbeth Salander with her piercings, tattoos, and overall dark look. She shows that there are all different types of beautiful.
7. Carrie Fisher As Princess Leia In Star Wars
Princess Leia in her gold bikini was every teenage boy's fantasy in the '80s. They had a whole episode about this scene in Friends. Carrie Fisher was Jabba the Hutt's prisoner in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and she looked amazing.
The trilogy was marketed as family-friendly movies, but everyone questioned that when they saw the outfit Fisher was wearing for this scene.
8. Salma Hayek As Santanico Pandemonium In From Dusk Till Dawn
Salma Hayek's character in From Dusk Till Dawn is the vampire queen encountered by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino's characters. She tricks them with her looks so she can suck their blood.
Eventually, her character turns into a hideous beast, but people will never forget how Hayek looked in her skimpy bikini and a snake around her neck.
9. Keira Knightley As Elizabeth Swann in Pirates Of The Caribbean
Disney made Pirates of the Caribbean a family-friendly franchise, but Keira Knightley's portrayal of Elizabeth Swann brings some spice to the pirate movie.
She is the sexy pirate every girl aspired to look like when they dressed up on Halloween, and everyone was fond of Knightley's character.
10. Live Tyler As Arwen In Lord Of The Rings
Liv Tyler's portrayal of Arwen in Lord Of The Rings changed the way people thought of elves. They went from being associated with Santa and Christmas to ethereal goddesses.
Fans of the series were skeptical when they found out she would be playing the elf, but once they saw how beautiful Tyler looked on screen their minds were changes.
11. Gal Gadot As Wonder Woman In Wonder Woman
Diana, aka Wonder Woman, is an actual goddess who basically ends the first World War. She is an Amazon woman, so you know she is an independent warrior woman who values herself and what she can do.
She chooses love over rage and looks like a boss lady in all of the battle scenes. Gal Gadot could not have fit this role better.
12. Penelope Cruz As Maria Elena In Vicky Christina Barcelona
Penelope Cruz plays Maria Elena, the psychotic ex-wife of a painter who has been involved with other women over the summer. In Vicky Christina Barcelona she makes psychotic look sexy.
On and off-screen, Penelope Cruz stands out from the crowd with her beauty and her portrayal in this movie is spot on.
13. Jessica Alba As Nancy Callahan in Sin City
Jessica Alba plays a stripper in Basin City, Washington that gets caught up in the violence and corruption of the town. Sin City turned people onto noir movies, and Jessica Alba helped with that.
Alba didn't know how racy the movie was going to be when she signed on for it and she made sure that the nude scenes were cut from the script.
14. Marilyn Monroe As Sugar Kane In Some Like It Hot
Anything Marilyn Monroe did was considered sexy. She was the sexual icon of her time. When she played Sugar Kane in Some Like it Hot she stole the show despite having less screen time.
The character Sugar Kane inspired so many women to bring out their seductress side. She was and still is someone people look to for beauty inspiration.
15. Liz Taylor As Maggie Pollitt In Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Liz Taylor has had many roles where she plays the attractive leading lady, but her portrayal as Maggie Pollitt in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof was by far the most seductive.
In the movie, Taylor's character is trying to win the affection of her alcoholic husband, so she was trying to seduce him while he constantly resists.
16. Meghan Fox As Mikaela Banes In Transformers
Since transforming robots isn't everyone's favorite subject, why not add in a little sex appeal by featuring Meghan Fox as the mechanic is a skimpy top.
Her role in the movie helped attention from many different audiences. She broke some gender stereotypes by working as a mechanic and looks gorgeous while doing it.
17. Kate Beckinsale As Selene In Underworld
Kate Beckinsale brought the sexiness back to Sci-Fi movies with her role as Selene in Underworld. She played the vampire warrior in a spandex bodysuit, and people went wild for her.
It was on the set of this movie that Beckinsale met her husband, and we can see why he was fond of her.
18. Jennifer Beals As Alex Owens In Flashdance
From a welder in a sweaty jumpsuit to a dancing machine in a leotard, Alex Owens is the best of both worlds in Flashdance.
Alex Owens shows women that you don't have to fill any stereotype, and beauty can be shown in many forms. There is not one mold that every woman has to fill.
19. Angelina Jolie As Lara Croft In Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider is based on a video game and it was originally criticized because it lacked depth, but that was made up for with Angelina Jolie's performance as Lara Croft.
Even though there was no point in the movie, people found it enjoyable to watch Lara Croft raid tombs in tight-fitting clothing.
20. Julia Roberts As Vivian Ward In Pretty Woman
"Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now." The prostitutes turned millionaire's girlfriend played by Julia Roberts was an iconic role from the '90s.
She gets a complete makeover in the movie, and we don't know which version of her outfits we like better. Either way, her character is natural when it comes to the art of seduction.
21. Freida Pinto As Latika In Slumdog Millionaire
Frieda Pinto plays the love interest in the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire. She is strikingly beautiful and her co-star has been in love with her since they were children.
Pinot's character has this hold on Dev Patel's character, and her beauty is hard to get over.
22. Mélanie Laurent As Shosanna Dreyfus In Inglorious Bastards
After witnessing her family being killed by the Nazis and escaping, Shoshanna Dreyfus was waiting for the perfect moment to get revenge on the person who ordered her family to be killed.
She is one fiery woman who will do what she has to to take down the people responsible for her family's deaths.
23. Jane Fonda As Barbarella In Barbarella
Barbarella is a classic that has inspired fashion, movies, and women for decades. Jane Fonda plays Barbarella and her costumes and acting have gone down in movie history.
Fonda's character is an astronaut sent to a distant planet to destroy the evil man who threatens the future of the earth. This character was ahead of it's time by having such a strong female lead.
24. Kelly LeBrock As Lisa In Weird Science
In the movie Weird Science, two teenage nerds use a computer program to create the perfect woman. They call her Lisa, and she is played by Kelly LeBrock.
LeBrock portrays the teenage fantasy of women in the '80s. Although her character causes a lot of trouble, the boys can't get over her beauty.
25. Zoe Saldana As Cataleya Restrepo In Columbiana
No matter what character she is playing, Zoe Saldana looks flawless. In Columbiana, she plays Cataleya Restrepo the Latina contract killer who is seeking revenge.
Saldana tops the list of fantasy women with this role, and she is a strong female lead as she avenges her parent's deaths.
26. Maribel Verdú As Luisa Cortés In Y Tu Mamá También
According to most viewers, you don't necessarily have to speak or understand Spanish to enjoy the work of Maribel Verdu in Y Tu Mama Tambien.
Her character Luisa Cortes is a strong female who exudes confidence throughout the movie, and she is entertaining to watch.
27. Michelle Pfeiffer As Catwoman In Batman Returns
Michelle Pfeiffer makes wearing a leather catsuit and fighting crime look easy in the movie Batman Returns. Out of all the women who have stepped into the role of Catwoman, she was the most natural.
The character is supposed to be a fierce feline who fights crime, and she is confident in everything she does. Catwoman is awesome and beautiful at the same time.
28. Sharon Stone As Catherine Tramell In Basic Instinct
Sharon Stone's portrayal of Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct scared men because she was dangerously perfect. She is suspected of murdering her boyfriend, and she uses her seduction to manipulate the lead detective.
Catherine plays a dangerous mind game with the detective and her looks and wit to throw him off her trail, but is that enough to get away with the crime?
29. Lea Seydoux As Dr. Madeleine Swann In Spectre
In this 007 installment, Lea Seydoux takes on the bond girl role as Dr. Madeline Swann. She was a stone-cold fox and solidified her reputation as a talented actress.
Her performance was unforgettable, and Swann helps Bond find the people he has been after only to be kidnapped and need rescuing.
30. Ursula Andress As Honeychile Rider In Dr. No
Ursula Andress had the opportunity to play one of the famous Bond girls and she took the character from just being a sex icon to breaking the stereotypes.
She breaks the stereotype by portraying an independent woman who doesn't need anyone because she is resourceful and courageous. The character has beauty and brains.
31. Olga Kurylenko As Camille Montes In Quantum of Solace
Despite looking like she rolled in mud for half of the movie, Camille Montes is a gorgeous character and one of the many beautiful bond girls.
Olga Kurylenko played the professional assassin as well as all the other bond girls. She was the perfect choice for the 2008 film.
32. Sophia Loren As Adelina Sbaratti In Yesterday, Today, And Tomorrow
Adelina Sbaratti is a black market vendor played by the beautiful Sophia Loren. She uses her sexual prowess to get what she wants, and no one can resist her.
Throughout the movie, she keeps getting pregnant so she won't be imprisoned. After seven children, we can old imagine how exhausted she would be.
33. Adèle Haenel As Héloïse In Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
Although this is an indie film, Adele Haenel gained attention in the mainstream world for her performance as Heloise. She played the conflicted bride-to-be and she was fantastic.
The movie went against norms and showed the struggle for women in the 18th century. Heloise shows that there is more to a person than the way they look.
34. Brooke Shields As Emmeline Lestrange In The Blue Lagoon
For most of this movie, Brooke Shields' character Emmeline is half-naked after she survives a shipwreck and is stranded on an island.
The movie shows how Emmeline has to mature quickly as she is stuck on the island with Richard, and they have no adult supervision.
35. Catherine Zeta-Jones As Elena Montero In The Mask Of Zorro
Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Elena Montero in The Mask of Zorro and she is a sword-wielding heroine who is also a philanthropist. It's a bit confusing, but you can't deny how beautiful she looked throughout the movie.
Elena Montero knows how to fight for herself and doesn't need a man to defend her. She is the girl power we need to see more of.
36. Marion Cotillard As Fanny Chenal In A Good Year
In the movie A Good Year, Marion Cotillard plays Fanny Chenal, and the French actress portrayed her beautifully. Fanny is a small-town girl who turns a stock market tycoon into a love-sick retiree.
Fanny softens the hard facade of Max Skinner with her beauty and grace. Who wouldn't fall head over heels for her?
37. Sharon Tate As Jennifer North In Valley Of The Dolls
The actress and model Sharon Tate played Jennifer North in the classic film, Valley of the Dolls. Jennifer is a chorus-line dancer who lacks talent, but her beauty helps her land a nightclub singer husband.
Her husband grows ill, and she has to find ways to pay for his medical bills, so she starts making french "art films." Tate's character goes through a rollercoaster of life struggles, and the ending is bleak.
38. Catherine Deneuve As Séverine Serizy In Belle Du Jour
Catherine Deneuve plays a bored housewife who can't control her sexual urges, so she tries to find a solution to her problem because she has lost interest in her husband.
She decided to create a fake name and starts working at a high-profile brothel. It seems perfectly logical, right? It was the 1960s, what do we know.
39. Pam Grier As Foxy Brown In Foxy Brown
Foxy Brown is one foxy lady. She wants to get vengeance on the villains who killed her boyfriend. She has to go undercover as a prostitute to get to the mob who killed him.
Throughout the movie, Foxy oozes sexiness as she kicks butts and gets back at the people who killed the love of her life. As she says, she's a whole lot of woman.
40. Lauren Bacall As Marie “Slim” Browning In To Have And Have Not
In To Have and Have Not, Lauren Bacall plays Marie "Slim" Browning, who is an American traveler in France. She pickpockets, scams, and sings to get money as she wanders around the country.
Slim can use her looks to get away with anything, which helps her throughout the movie as she commits petty crimes.