Five Films That Pass The Bechdel Test
- The Godfather: Part II (1974)
Best Female Character: Wife of the Don, Kay (Diane Keaton). After birthing a smattering of Corleone babies, she stands up to her husband Michael with strength, delivering a crushing diatribe to the family patriarch.
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
Best Female Character: Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman). The supercool retro queen innocently dallies with Vincent’s (John Travolta) affections over dinner.
- Gone With The Wind (1939)
Best Female Character: Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), who in the face of great peril shelters her insecurities to struggle through the hardships facing her – ultimately taking charge of her life, despite her past mistakes.
- Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Best Female Character: Betty Elms who is charmed by the bright lights of the big city captured by Naomi Watts.
- Donnie Darko (2001)
Best Female Character: Miss Pomeroy (Drew Barrymore). An English teacher who permits students to sit beside whoever they fancy, and rallies against the silliness of the PTA.
Five Films That Fail The Bechdel Test
- The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy
Reason: Arwen, Eowyn and Galadriel are all kick-butt women in the world of Middle-Earth, but they never even meet throughout the sprawling fantasy trilogy.
- The Star Wars Trilogy
Reason: There’s only three female characters in the original trilogy that actually have dialogue — Princess Leia, Aunt Beru and Mon Mothma. None of them ever talk to each other.
- Avatar (2009)
Reason: There are some great female characters in James Cameron’s futuristic epic, but none of them actually hold a conversation with one another. Neytiri and her mother do have a prolonged discussion, but the entirety of it centers around Jake.
- 500 Days Of Summer (2009)
Reason: This movie with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel was very well received, but the fact that it’s a story about love told entirely from the man’s perspective means that it’s not a great candidate for the Bechdel test.
- The Avengers (2012)
Reason: Only three (three!) female characters appear in this blockbuster, with Agent Hill and Pepper Potts both being very minor. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) definitely kicks butt throughout the film, but there’s no question that this action flick FAILS the Bechdel test with flying colours.
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