If Rooney Mara's fearless turn as Stieg Larsson's goth-punk hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander teaches us anything, it's that you should never, ever cross a woman with fire in her heart and vengeance on her mind. But the titular Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is just the latest in a long history of utterly human movie heroines who remind us how ferocious and unrelenting a woman wronged can be. Celebrate the fictional ladies who have helped teach society not to fuck with the so-called "fairer" sex, and let their righteous fury be a lesson to us all during this warm and fuzzy holiday season.
Grindhouse icon Pam Grier blazed a trail through the blaxploitation era, was dubbed "the baddest One-Chick Hit-Squad that ever hit town" (a title that remains uncontested four decades later, one might argue), and commanded the screen with a combination of ferocity, empathy, and a look so striking Roger Ebert once described her as an "actress of beautiful face and astonishing form." Years later, in 1997, Quentin Tarantino paid homage to the work and the woman in Jackie Brown, adapted from Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch, one of the filmmaker's best and most underrated films and the spark that jump-started a career revival for its stars.