Thirty years ago, "Troop Beverly Hills" hit theaters. The 1989 flick starred Shelley Long as Phyllis Nefler, a Beverly Hills socialite who becomes the den mother of her daughter's unruly girl scout troop in an attempt to get closer with her child. The film, which also stars Stephanie Beacham, Jenny Lewis, Tori Spelling, Carla Gugino and Kellie Martin, is laugh-out-loud funny and filled with girl power. To celebrate the anniversary of the movie's debut on March 24, 1989, Wonderwall.com has compiled a list of the best female-led films ever to hit the big screen. Keep reading for more…
In June 2018, the female-led crime caper "Ocean's 8" starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter and Awkwafina arrived in theaters. The movie, about a group of female criminal masterminds who devise a plan to steal millions of dollars in jewels from the annual Met Gala, is definitely on our must-watch list.
In 2016, the world was given the gift that is "Bad Moms." Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn, the female-led comedy is all about imperfect mothers who aren't afraid to admit that they have no idea what they're doing.
RELATED: Female stars who date younger men
"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"
It didn't matter how old you were when "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" arrived in theaters in 2005 because this coming-of-age drama had us all caught in our feelings. Starring Amber Tamblyn, Blake Lively, America Ferrera and Alexis Bledel, the movie (and its later sequel) was a little bit about a pair of magical jeans and a lot about an unbreakable bond between friends.
"Bridesmaids" was one of the few films in history that made us laugh so hard we grew abs in the theater. Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy and more, this 2011 female-led comedy tackled marriage, friendships and the horror of sudden-onset food poisoning while trying on expensive bridesmaid dresses.
"Sex and the City"
Based on the HBO original series of the same name, "Sex and the City" the movie brought our favorite friends from New York City to the big screen. Starring Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall as Miranda, Charlotte, Carrie and Samantha, the movie affirmed our faith in female friendships, the healing power of laughter and the beauty of a great pair of heels.
While stories about female friendship are powerful, we have to admit, stories about high school cliques and getting revenge on bullies are sometimes even more satisfying. In the 2004 comedy "Mean Girls" starring Lacey Chabert, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried, one brave girl finds a way to make the meanest girls in her school pay for their bad behavior while learning a few important life lessons along the way.
When four best friends head to the Big Easy for a very necessary getaway, there's bound to be a lot of laughter. Thankfully, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Queen Latifah took us along for the ride in the 2017 comedy "Girls Trip." Not only do the ladies rediscover the bond that's connected them throughout their lives, but they also get themselves into a whole lot of (hilarious) trouble.
"Bring It On"
One of the best teen movies of all time, "Bring It On" follows two separate high school cheer teams as they prepare to compete against each other at the national championships. The 2000 flick starred some of young Hollywood's biggest names at the time including Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradford and Gabrielle Union. This cult classic is hilarious, fun and a must-watch film for all women.
"9 to 5"
What do you do when you have an egotistical, sexist boss? Take him down, of course! At least, that's what the ladies of Consolidated Companies did in 1980's "9 to 5." Starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton, "9 to 5" follows three female employees who live out their fantasies of getting even with and overthrowing their horrible boss, Franklin (played by Dabney Coleman). The empowering film was one of the biggest hits of the '80s and went on to spawn a TV series and a musical spinoff.
Based on the TV series of the same name, "Charlie's Angels" was a full-throttle ride that proved women could be beautiful while kicking a– and taking names. Starring Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz, these ladies weren't just pretty faces but trained detectives with slick ninja moves who could take down the baddest criminals in the business.
"Life of the Party"
One of the newest female-led films on our list is the 2018 comedy "Life of the Party" starring Melissa McCarthy and Molly Gordon. The movie's about a middle-aged mom (played by Melissa) whose husband divorces her after 23 years of marriage. Instead of having a pity party, she enrolls herself in the same university her daughter attends and devotes herself to having the full collegiate experience while finally finishing her degree.
There have been many musicals and many female-led films, but none combined the two as brilliantly as "Pitch Perfect." Starring Alexis Knapp, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and more, the hilarious comedy about an all-girl singing group determined to defeat their male counterparts had us dancing in the aisles and singing "When I'm Gone" at karaoke bars for longer than we're comfortable admitting.
With no less than six different remakes, the 1994 version of "Little Women" (based on the book by Louisa May Alcott) is definitely our favorite. Starring Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, Trini Alvarado, Winona Ryder and Claire Danes, this beautiful tale of the March sisters' coming of age after the Civil War captured our hearts and never let go.
Can there be a list of movies starring mostly women without "Steel Magnolias"? No, we didn't think so either. Starring Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton, this 1989 classic is, on the surface, about Southern women who spend their days gossiping at a beauty salon, but underneath, it's really a tale of friendship, love and the power that comes from women supporting each other.
"Real Women Have Curves"
One of the few mainstream stories focused on the Latina experience also happens to be one of our favorite female-led films ever. "Real Women Have Curves" stars America Ferrera, Lupe Ontiveros and more in a touching film about a young woman's struggle to balance her family obligations, tradition and her deep yearning to break free and discover what her life could be, on her terms.
Although the book "The Help" created quite a controversy and even led to a lawsuit, the 2011 film was arguably one of the best of that year and still remains one of our most beloved female-led movies of all time. It stars Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard in a story about African-American maids during the 1960s who worked for white families amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement. The film offers us all a chance to reflect on the past and honor the unsurpassed courage of black Americans, especially black women, throughout some of the most painful moments in our country's history.
"The Secret Life of Bees"
Grab a tissue when you watch this heartfelt drama because "The Secret Life of Bees" is guaranteed to make you cry. Starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, this female-led film tells the story of a young girl named Lilly (played by Dakota) who escapes her abusive home with her African-American housekeeper, Rosaleen (played by Jennifer), at the height of the Civil Rights movement. The two find shelter in a bright pink house owned by three African-American businesswomen who teach Lilly and Rosaleen about love, forgiveness and the meaning of home.
Last on our list is the 2000 flick "Coyote Ugly." The musical comedy-drama stars Piper Perabo as Violet Sanford, a songwriter who moves to New York and works a day job as a barmaid at Coyote Ugly. Tyra Banks, Maria Bello, Bridget Moynahan and Izabella Miko round out the cast of ladies who know how to party hard and work harder.
Because women can do anything a man can do, audiences got the gift of a "Ghostbusters" remake in 2016, this time featuring an all-female crew of supernatural exterminators. Starring Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon, this sci-fi comedy was an exciting update of the 1984 original.
"Waiting to Exhale"
Sometimes, friendships are the only thing that women can count on in their lives. In the 1995 romantic dramedy "Waiting to Exhale" (based on the novel by Terry McMillan), Loretta Devine, Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett and Lela Rochon star as four tight-knit friends dealing with different relationship and career struggles but find love, understanding and support in each other when everything else in their lives seems to be going wrong.
"First Wives Club"
They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and that was never more true than in 1996's "First Wives Club." Starring acting legends Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler, "First Wives Club" follows three divorcées who seek revenge on their ex-husbands for having left them for younger women. The ex-wives eventually realize that revenge is cool, but all they really need is each other.
"A Wrinkle in Time"
Although the 2018 family fantasy adventure "A Wrinkle in Time" had some male cast members, the heroes of the movie were all women and we're so here for it. Starring Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and more, the film, based on the book by Madeline L'Engle, took audiences on an adventure through the multiverse so one young girl, with the help of her little brother and school crush (and three magical beings), could save her father from the darkness.
"A League of Their Own"
In the 1992 dramatic comedy "A League of Their Own," Lori Petty and Geena Davis star as sisters recruited to join the women's baseball league during WWII. After successfully competing during tryouts, the sisters wind up on the same team where they learn to deal with their differences and work together (while overcoming gender discrimination and sexist attitudes) to win the championship.
Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page and Kristen Wiig star in the 2009 female-led sport dramedy "Whip It," which tells the story of a teenage girl named Bliss (played by Ellen) who finds herself and her inner passion when she links up with the local ladies' roller derby team. Overcoming a strict, conservative upbringing and a mother who would rather have her daughter in beauty pageants than in the rink, Bliss learns the important lesson of standing for what she believes in and how to rise up whenever she gets knocked down.
Another newly released gal-powered movie on our list is the 2018 comedy "Book Club." The film stars Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen in a hilariously sordid tale of four mature female friends who find inspiration for their dilapidated love lives after reading "50 Shades of Grey" as their monthly book club selection.
In the 2002 romantic coming-of-age drama "Crossroads," Britney Spears, Taryn Manning and Zoe Saldana star as three best friends who set out on a road trip to Los Angeles after graduating from high school. While on their journey west, the girls, who'd drifted apart over the last few years, learn about each other and the hardships they'd experienced and ultimately find a renewed love and sense of purpose in their own lives and in their bonds with each other.
In the haunting 2009 drama "Precious," Gabourey Sidibe stars as the title character — a teenage girl growing up in the Harlem projects who struggles with physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of her parents. Based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire, the film is a dark and troubling look into Precious's life as she fights to escape the trauma of her past with the help of a few positive, encouraging women, like her teacher Mrs. Rain, played by Paula Patton (seen here), and her social worker Ms. Weiss, played by Mariah Carey.
The reason the 1939 comedy "The Women" is on our list isn't because the storyline is so great. The film, which began as a traveling show and later moved to the big screen, was often marketed as "The Women — and it's all about men!" It gave us more of a comical glimpse at how cattily women were portrayed during the Golden Age of cinema. The movie, starring Norma Shearer, Joan Fontaine, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland and Joan Crawford (not pictured), was about gossip, the impossible standards for women (that were often perpetuated by other women) and one wife's discovery that her husband was having an affair. The film is guaranteed to make audiences laugh almost as much as they cringe. It also inspired an even more terrible remake in 2008 starring Meg Ryan and Eva Mendes, but given that it was made nearly 70 years after the original, we can't forgive the sexist and patronizing storyline.
"Now and Then"
The 1995 nostalgia-inducing coming-of-age dramedy "Now and Then" starred Ashleigh Aston Moore, Gabby Hoffman, Christina Ricci and Thora Birch as childhood friends who had the best summer of their lives in 1970. Also appearing in the film are Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rosie O'Donnell and Rita Wilson, who star as the girls as adults reflecting back on the magical summer they shared so many years ago that bonded them together for the rest of their lives.