The 11 Best Movies To Celebrate Women's History Month

We're still working on Hollywood to flip the script when it comes to diverse representations of people in media, but there are still plenty of fine films you can watch in honor of Women's History Month. Whether you want to get artistically inspired, kick ass and take names, or just have a laugh, we've got you covered.

This is also a good jumping-off point for other goodies. For instance if you like Pink Saris, check out Kim Longinotto's Sundance hit Dreamcatcher, which will debut on Showtime on March 27. Be sure to keep your eyes out for future projects like What Happened, Miss Simone?, which will be available via Netflix later this year. Queen Latifah's upcoming HBO doc on the amazing Bessie Smith, written and directed by Dee Rees, is on our short list of must-see TV. Plus, Rees's Pariah is fantastic.

For simplicity's sake, we've limited this list to movies based on real events, which are easy to find for rent on DVD or streaming. There are so many awesome docs, TV movies, and/or feature-length films that are harder to find, like the PBS doc Ida B. Wells: A Passion for JusticeA Woman Called Moses, Fly GirlsPillars of Hope,The Rosa Parks Story, and Paris Was a Woman. Of course, where there's a will — or maybe a library card — there's a way.

Ahead, our top 11 movies to inspire the best Women's History Month.  

Opener image by Charles Miller from Joan Rivers: Piece Of Work.
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Elizabeth (1998)

Cate Blanchett's career took off after her performance as a young Queen Elizabeth I in this glossy period piece. There's political intrigue, amazing costumes, and an affair with a dreamy suitor, played by Joseph Fiennes. Can't get enough? Try Elizabeth: The Golden Age for a second dose of Blanchett's queenly heroine.
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Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

Even if you don't dig the late comedian's stand-up work or abrasive persona, this doc offers up an unprecedented insight into her career and her personal life.
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A League Of Their Own (1992)

The onscreen grrrl power of Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell as pro baseball players is hard to beat. Adding Penny Marshall to the mix as their director makes this one hell of a unicorn chaser for any bad day.
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Silkwood (1983)

Meryl Streep stars as Karen Silkwood, a small-town gal who inadvertently becomes a union activist and heroine after blowing the whistle on dangerous working conditions at the nuclear power plant where she worked. Plus, this is one of Cher's earliest film roles; she won a Golden Globe for her performance as Karen's queer roommate, co-worker, and BFF.
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Norma Rae (1979)

Are you still feeling inspired to stick it to the man? Sally Field is inspirational as a textile plant employee who takes a key role in unionizing the cotton mill where she works. Norma Rae is based on the real-life trials and travails of the late Crystal Lee Sutton.
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The Invisible War (2012)

Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering's documentary is stunning in the literal sense of the word. Brace yourself to get extremely pissed off about sexual assault in the military and how it's covered up by those in power, as seen through the eyes of several survivors. This doc has made major waves in the government, but there's still so much to be done. (Dick and Ziering followed this film with The Hunting Ground, about rape on college campuses. It is currently in theaters.)
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Frida (2002)

Director Julie Taymor's visionary vibe can be very hit or miss, but this delicious biopic about Frida Kahlo hits the mark. Salma Hayek stars as the visionary artist whose work was best described as "a ribbon wrapped around a bomb," alongside Alfred Molina as her partner Diego Rivera, Geoffrey Rush as her lover Leon Trotsky, and Mía Maestro as her sister Cristina.
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After Tiller (2013)

This is a surprisingly even-handed look at the four — four — doctors in the United States who, at the time of filming, performed third-term abortions. It's a frank look at the legacy of Dr. George Tiller, the sinister after-effects of his assassination, and the physical and emotional toll it takes on the docs and their patients.
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Pink Saris (2010)

Sampat Pal Devi and her crew of pink sari-wearing activists, also known as the Gulabi Gang or the Pink Gang, are serious about changing the way women are treated in Uttar Pradesh, and across Northern India. This doc examines Devi's grassroots advocacy — she doesn't speak softly, but she does carry a big stick called a lathi — as well as her private life.
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9 to 5 (1980)

Three office workers, played by Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton, are fed up with their misogynistic and generally awful boss. Unlike some of the heroines on this list, they don't start a union; they get even. Just the best.
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Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley (2013)

This doc is a treasure trove for comedy nerds who want to learn about this awesome, groundbreaking stand-up. In addition to archival footage of Mabley, there are also tons of interviews with comedians and actors she knew and/or influenced, from Kathy Griffin to Sidney Poitier.
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