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A Year With Women: 103 Essential Films By Female Filmmakers


Find out more about A Year With Women here.

Lately I’ve become more and more frustrated with the various “best ever” lists that have been released because they rarely feature films by women, or if they do it’s usually one or two films. I think this is more a reflection of those who are polled for these kinds of lists, as well as a compounding of history on itself. For so long films by men have made up the bulk of the film canon and I think people are afraid to add new films to these revered lists. I also think many people haven’t seen very many films by women, or if they have it’s always the same handful of films. In an attempt to create a better, more inclusive list of great films by women, I polled over 500 critics, filmmakers, bloggers, historians, professors and casual film viewers, asking them to tell me what films directed (or co-directed) by women are essential viewing. Some people only responded with as little as five votes, others submitted hundreds of films. In the end, I received over 7,000 votes for 1,100+ different films. After tallying up this data, with ties factored in, I then had a list of 103 essential films directed by women.

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Movie Quote of the Day – Renaissance Man, 1994 (dir. Penny Marshall)


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Bill Rago: All I know is, the choices we make dictate the life we lead. “To thine own self be true.”

Movie Quote of the Day – Jumpin’ Jack Flash, 1986 (dir. Penny Marshall)


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Terry Doolittle: Drag the river! There are killers running around the fucking city!
Detective: How would you like me to wash your mouth out with a wire brush?
Terry Doolittle: How would you like if I kicked you in the nuts so hard they get lodged in your fucking nostrils?
Marty Phillips: My, that’s a vivid image, isn’t it?

Female Filmmaker Friday: The Preacher’s Wife, 1996 (dir. Penny Marshall)


I’m not sure if I saw this first or the first film adaptation of Robert Nathan’s book, 1947’s The Bishop’s Wife (with one of my favorite Cary Grant performances!), but I did watch this movie A LOT in the late-90s when it was on TV all the time (I think TBS?) I did, however, have no idea that Penny Marshall directed it until I noticed it was on Netflix last week. I decided it was time I revisited this film (not the least of which because Denzel Washington is so goddamn charming as Dudley!)

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Movie Quote of the Day – The Preacher’s Wife, 1996 (dir. Penny Marshall)


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Julia Biggs: Every fire dies sometime, Dudley. What do you do when you need to decide if the memory of it is enough?
Dudley: What do you do?
Julia Biggs: Yeah.
Dudley: What you do is. . . you go dancing!

Female Filmmaker Friday: A League of Their Own, 1992 (dir. Penny Marshall)


I can’t even remember the first time I saw this film, but I know I was very young. I’m not a big baseball fan. I never have been. But I love this film. I love what it represents and I love this history that is showcases. I love the characters and I love the costume design and I love the story and basically, I just love this movie.

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Movie Quote of the Day – Riding in Cars with Boys, 2001 (dir. Penny Marshall)


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Beverly: How will I tell my parents about this? I can’t even talk to them about the weather! How am I supposed to tell them I committed a mortal sin?! A mortal sin?!
Fay: Okay! I know, I know, I understand. Calm down. We’ll practice. Pretend I’m your parents. Say what you’ll say. You’ll get through it. Okay,  tell it to me like you would tell them.
Beverly: Mom. Pop.
Fay: Yeah?
Beverly: I don”t know how to tell you this.
Fay: But. . .?
Beverly: I’m pregnant.
Fay: My daughter’s a tramp. My daughter’s a tramp! My daughter’s a tramp! You’re 15 years old! How could you do this? You make me sick to my stomach! Just take my gun! Why don’t you just take my gun, take my gun and shoot me in the head, tramp! I wish you were never born! Okay, go. You can do it.
Beverly: [stutters]

Movie Quote of the Day – Big, 1988 (dir. Penny Marshall)


Billy: So what do they make you do for all this?
Josh: Well, I play with all of this stuff and then I tell them what I think.
Billy: And they pay you for that?
Josh: Yeah.
Billy: Suckers!

Movie Quote of the Day – A League of Their Own, 1992 (dir. Penny Marshall)


Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There’s no crying! THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!