Remember That Famous Chick Who Fell Madly In Love?

Think of real-life historical figures who are women, and who do you get?  Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea, Billie Holiday, Anne Frank, Mother Teresa.  Each of whom earned her place in the history books by snagging her one and only true love.

No, wait a minute….

With a very few exceptions, nobody, male or female, makes a significant dent in the annals of history by falling in love.  Even with superstars of the more current world — Venus and Serena Williams, Hilary Clinton, Julia Roberts, Madonna — their love lives may be splashed across the tabloids, but that’s not what made them famous in the first place.  (Kardashians don’t count.  Possibly literally.)

Not-A-Dick Flicks require a leading female role.  By default, any biographical film centered on a woman fits that single requirement.

A Strong Female Lead cannot entertain a romance that significantly impacts the plot.  Because of the nature of what we deem to be historically significant, a love story is not going to be the central plotline of most biopics.  99.8% of the time, anyway.

So a biopic about a woman is an automatic Not-A-Dick Flick, and its subject is an automatic Strong Female Lead.  Because of these inherent attributes, we list this genre and their subjects separately.  It’s a reflection not of the merit of these incredible women but of the choices we as writers, filmmakers, and even audience members make when we choose to invent new worlds and characters.

Incidentally, DickFlicks endorses a blatant double standard:  biopics about men in the various dick flicks lists.  There are just too many to leave them off.

Strong Female Leads in Biopics

  • Amy Adams:  Julie Powell, Julie & Julia
  • Angela Bassett:  Tina Turner, What’s Love Got to Do with It
  • Cate Blanchett:  Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth
  • Cate Blanchett:  Veronica Guerin, Veronica Guerin
  • Catherine McCormack:  Veronica Franco, Dangerous Beauty
  • Charlize Theron:  Aileen Wuornos, Monster
  • Diana Ross:  Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues
  • Faye Dunaway:  Bonnie Parker, Bonnie and Clyde
  • Helen Mirren:  Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen
  • Hilary Swank:  Betty Anne Waters, Conviction
  • Hilary Swank:  Erin Gruwell, Freedom Writers
  • Jennifer Lopez:  Selena Quintanilla-Perez, Selena
  • Jessica Lange:  Frances Farmer, Frances
  • Jessica Lange:  Patsy Cline, Sweet Dreams
  • Julia Roberts:  Erin Brokovich, Erin Brokovich
  • Marion Cotillard:  Edith Piaf, La vie en rose
  • Meryl Streep:  Julia Child, Julie & Julia
  • Meryl Streep:  Margaret Thatcher, The Iron Lady
  • Meryl Streep:  Roberta Guaspari, Music of the Heart
  • Michelle Williams:  Marilyn Monroe, My Week With Marilyn
  • Salma Hayek:  Frida Kahlo, Frida
  • Sigourney Weaver:  Dian Fossey, Gorillas in the Mist
  • Sissy Spacek:  Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
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