11 essential women-led action films to watch on Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)


11 essential women-led action films to watch on Netflix

The heart-pounding world of action cinema has been dominated by male protagonists, but there are quite a few women who have made the high-octane sphere their centre stage. And Netflix is home to at least 11 such films.

Heart of Stone, starring Gal Gadot, might be Netflix’s tentpole release this week, but it might leave action enthusiasts wanting more. 

So we have curated a list of 11 incredible women-led action films in our ongoing essential binges series. These will satisfy your craving for adrenaline-pumping scenes. While not available on Netflix at the moment, we have to mention the incredible Uma Thurman’s Beatrice Kiddo in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series. Her journey of revenge is a masterclass in action and storytelling.

Anyway, you can bookmark these for later or go for a movie marathon this weekend.

11 essential women-led action films to binge on Netflix:

The Old Guard (2020)

Kicking off our list is The Old Guard, a gripping film that follows a group of centuries-old immortals with a knack for combat and a desire to make the world a better place.

Charlize Theron leads the charge as Andy, an ancient warrior with unparalleled skills. The Old Guard is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and written by Greg Rucka.

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

This film, directed by Navot Papushado, with a script co-written by Papushado and Ehud Lavski, is a visual feast for action lovers. With Karen Gillan in the lead role, Gunpowder Milkshake is a tale of vengeance, camaraderie, and stars Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, and Michelle Yeoh.

The film boasts stylish fight choreography and a unique aesthetic that sets it apart.

Hanna (2011)

Featuring Saoirse Ronan as the titular character, Hanna is a thrilling coming-of-age action film. Raised in isolation to become the perfect assassin, Hanna’s journey to uncover the truth about her past leads to a high-stakes adventure filled with heart-pounding moments.

Directed by Joe Wright, the film also stars Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett.

The Hunger Games

Based on Suzanne Collins’s bestselling novel, The Hunger Games follows Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen, a fierce and resilient young woman who fights for survival in a dystopian world, ultimately leading a rebellion against an oppressive regime.

With its sci-fi elements and socio-political commentary, this film is a must-watch. While Gary Ross directed the first instalment, the three sequels are directed by Francis Lawrence.

Ocean’s 8 (2018)

Another Gary Ross directorial, written by Ross and Olivia Milch, makes it to our list. With a star-studded cast led by Sandra Bullock, Ocean’s 8 puts a refreshing twist on the heist genre.

As a group of women plans an elaborate theft during the Met Gala, the film combines humour, glamour, and fun scheming. The film also stars  Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter.

Charlie’s Angels (2000)

An undeniable classic, Charlie’s Angels stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu as the iconic trio. This film is a whole mood, delivering action and sass, and now serves as a dash of nostalgia for the early noughties. ​​

In his feature film directorial debut, McG took the helm as the director of the first instalment in the Charlie’s Angels film series. The movie was brought to by writers Ryan Rowe, Ed Solomon, and John August.

Atomic Blonde (2017)

Charlize Theron makes another appearance on our list as a badass MI6 agent in Atomic Blonde. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, the film showcases Theron’s exceptional combat skills and a gripping espionage plot.

Directed by David Leitch, the screenplay is by Kurt Johnstad, and based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City authored by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart. The cast also features James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, and Toby Jones.

The Woman King (2022)

The Woman King may not have been able to earn Viola Davis another Oscar nod but received enough praise nonetheless. Set in the 1820s, the film features Davis as Agojie’s fearless leader, training the next-gen warriors in Dahomey, West Africa. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, it portrays the all-female warrior unit’s valour.

The movie, written by Dana Stevens and Maria Bello, stars Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and John Boyega.

Miss Congeniality (2000)

Bringing a touch of comedy to the action genre, Sandra Bullock shines as an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a beauty pageant in Miss Congeniality.

This may not have aged well in some parts but it’s stll a delightful watch. It is directed by Donald Petrie and written by Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford and Caryn Lucas.

Wonder Woman (2017)

Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, is still her best work so far. We have director Patty Jenkins to thank for much of  Wonder Woman’s successful portrayal of the warrior supero.

The story is written by Allan Heinberg based on a story by Heinberg, Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Although named after the male protagonist, Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is the most iconic character in  George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. This visually stunning film redefined the post-apocalyptic action genre with its feminist gaze.

Written by Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, the film also stars Tom Hardy with Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz.