5 Old Hollywood Roles That Empower Women

These silver screen stars boast the one thing every woman should have — gumption.

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April 25, 2014 12:00 AM
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Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday (1940)

"You have to be the leading lady of your own life," has always been our biggest takeway from the modern rom-com mainstay The Holiday. In the film, Kate Winslet's character Iris Simpkins is advised by storied Hollywood producer Arthur Abbott that it all begins with having gumption. He gives her list of classic films with female characters who have just that. Here, we've rounded up our favorite classic films —two of which were featured in The Holiday — that have fierce female leads.

Back in the day, Rosalind Russell's character Hildy Johnson was one of the most sensational roles written for a women at the time, as it was treated as an equal to the male lead. Johnson portrays a loquacious, whip-smart newspaper reporter, whose editor also happened to be her ex-husband (Carey Grant). She had more smarts and wit than all her male counterparts combined — making her an inspiration to aspiring career women of the time. The rapid-fire dialogue and comic brio between Russell and Grant make this movie an absolute must-see.