Surprising films that pass the Bechdel test

The Bechdel test is a metric used to measure how women are represented in a given film. To qualify, a film must feature at least two women on screen conversing about something other than a man. This may seem like a very low bar, but scrolling through a list of films on reminds one how male-centric the shape of cinema is. While it’s not the fairest or most accurate way to judge a film when used alone, this list shows the limitations of the Bechdel Test, as the following list of films actually passed the test, much to everyone’s surprise, but under no circumstances would all of these be considered feminist lyrics. However, in some cases it shows that they have a better understanding of how to portray women realistically.

rear window (1954)

Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock's The Back Window.

Alfred HitchcockThe offscreen relationship with his female actors is quite complicated, and his films revolve heavily around the ordeal of men, but his classic voyeuristic thriller sees the film’s women mixed up with the obsessions of LB Jefferies (James Stewart). His romantic partner Lisa (Grace Kelly) and nurse, Stella (Knight theme), eventually becoming unofficial investigators of their own in relation to the alleged murder that took place at a neighboring house. The two converse in speculation as to what happened leading to this Master of Suspense movie being over.

RELATED: The 10 best female movie characters of all time according to Letterboxd

The Karate Kid (1984)

Elisabeth Shue and Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid.
Image via Columbia Pictures

Male-associated ideas dominate this classic sports film about teenager Daniel who learns karate from an elderly gardener to defend himself against bullies. The film’s two main female characters, Daniel’s mother Lucille (edge lighter) and his girlfriend Ali (Elizabeth Shue), have a conversation about “how to open the clutch to start a car”. For 1984, showing women talking about cars is more surprising than Daniel-san winning the All Valley Karate tournament.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Matthew Broderick, Mila Sara and Alan Ruck post together

The titular lead in this 80s classic from John Hughes is every high schooler’s dream figure. Although the film is carried through the perspective of the absent student who wants to stop and look around the world, Ferris’ sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) and mother Katie (Cindy Picket) have various conversations throughout the film, although most of them actually revolve around their brother and son’s “illness” that keeps him out of school. In one instance, Katie lectures her daughter after she is arrested.

Good Fellas (1990)

Good Fellas - 1990 (1)
Image from Warner Bros.

Martin Scorsese has been criticized in the past for his lack of portrayal of women in his films. While most of his films are male-centric, it’s inaccurate to say he fails to create well-rounded female characters. Karen Hill (Lorraine Bracco) from Goodfellas is one of his crowning achievements in this department. She and fellow gangster Rosie (Illeana Douglas) have a conversation about life in Florida, Karen gets her own narrative track, in which she admits that she loves the lifestyle her husband’s illegal work affords her, but also finds herself equally conflicted as a trailblazer for the criminal underworld.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Image via Universal Pictures

The Bechdel test is a quantitative metric and should only be viewed as a limited source of critical analysis for good reason. The Steven Spielberg Blockbuster will never be mistaken for feminist lyrics, but there are two very brief interactions between Ellie (Laura Dern) and Lex (Ariana Richards), consisting of the latter directing the former to the control room, and Ellie and Lex discussing calling for help amid a T-Rex attack. Giving credit where credit is due, I guess? People who saw the 1993 film went for the dinosaurs and didn’t expect complicated characterization but deep female characters

Think of the titans (2000)

Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans

While a sports movie that Denzel Washington-led story about a newly racially integrated football team is a film about family at its core. This is evident in an interplay between the daughters of the respective coaches played by Washington and Will Pattonwhen they talk about dolls and football. The interaction, while not groundbreaking, puts the film’s wholesome message into action, demonstrating the value of inclusion and showing that we could all get along if we tried.

American Pie 2 (2001)


This wacky comedy franchise is probably the least suited to portraying women in a realistic way rather than as a perverted male fantasy. This lesser-loved sequel upset the world by passing the Bechdel test. Two female characters played by Lisa Arthur And Joelle Carter Briefly discuss fashion. Again, the test is only a resource and not an index to the definitive work on the portrayal of women in film.

No country for old men (2007)

A man looking into a truck

There’s no coin toss to decide the fate of this Best Picture winner in the Bechdel Test. A conversation about medicine between Carla Jean (Kelly McDonald) and her mother after she Llewelyn (Josh Brolin) at a bus station leads to this joel And Ethan Coen film get a pass. While their exchange is nothing monumental, it shows the fragile state in which her mother finds herself, left alone to care for her because her husband has gone away to hide a briefcase containing drug money.

Protector of the Galaxy (2014)

Gamora (Zoë Saldana)
Image via Marvel

Female representation has been a long-standing issue since the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the relationship and individual character arcs of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and fog (Karen Gillan) are among the most nuanced in the entire universe. Their interactions are a welcome change amidst the rest of the Wardens’ crazy space antics.

The Batman (2022)


Breakthrough the Bechdel Test in this version of Batman as an investigator looking for clues behind a series of political assassinations in Gotham. While participating in neighborhood voyeurism, Batman overhears a conversation between Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz) and Anika. Selina packs a bag for her friend and they discuss Annika’s lack of security from being in Gotham and her need to flee the city for her own protection.

(Referenced from EW and Surprising films that pass the Bechdel test

Olly Dawes

Olly Dawes is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Olly Dawes joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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