10 Historical Ladies Who Deserve Their Own Movie

It’s no secret that most Hollywood productions are about men and their stories, and the same goes for historical films. While there have been a handful of famous (and awesome) ladies from history that have dominated the screen, such as Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra, and Marie Antoinette, there are plenty of others just as deserving. Historical biopics are always in season (and usually end up on the Oscar-radar) and here I give you ten ladies who I think deserve their own adaption.


1. Tamar of Georgia

Tamar was a Queen of Georgia in the early 13th century and was called the “King of Kings and Queen of Queens”. Her reign is known for making the kingdom politically, economically, and culturally strong. Tamar is a lesser-known Queen who deserves some exposure to Western audiences.  Her life of being badass would make a great film.

Previous Films: None

Who Should Play Her:  Olga Kurylenko isn’t always considered a serious actress, despite having the chops for it. A role like this would be perfect for her to flex her acting muscles.


2. Boudicca

Boudica was the Queen and leader of the people of Norfolk during their rebellion against the Roman Empire. Her army was fierce and successful and Boudicca is known as one of history’s greatest warrior women.

Previous Films: Warrior Queen (2003)

Who Should Play Her: Andrea Risborough is an extremely talented yet somehow underrated actress. She has owned roles across many genres and time periods but is still a few steps away from being on the A-list. She would be perfect to play a beautiful and fierce warrior woman.


3. Zenobia

Zenobia governed Syria from 250 to 275 AD. She allied herself with other countries to fight against Roman Rule, and it took four years of battle to take her down. She was known for her stubbornness, strong will, and deep pride in her country. Zenobia is a Cleopatra of sorts without the sexual aspect. She constantly pushed to make her kingdom stronger and secure its independence.

Previous Films: Amazons and Gladiators (2002)

Who Should Play Her: Indira Varma is best known for her roles on Rome and Luther, both where she plays strong-willed and intelligent women like Zenobia. 


4. Nefertiti

Nefertiti was perhaps Egypt’s greatest Queen and yet doesn’t get as much recognition as Cleopatra. She was a strong leader and led a religious revolution across her empire. Her life was rich and intricate and would make for an interesting film.

Previous Films: The Egyption (1953), Nefertiti Queen of the Nile (1961), Nefertit figlia del sole (1994)

Who Should Play Her:  Gina Torres is a beautiful, tough, and talented actress who could easily play a regal queen of Egypt.


5. Isabella I of Castile

Queen Isabella is perhaps best known for the Spanish Inquisition, but her life is  much more complex and interesting. Despite that dark stain on her reputation, Isabella was known to be a pious and caring woman and along with her husband Ferdinand, unified the country of Spain. The romantic drama and political intrigue of her life would make a great biopic.

Previous Films: Christopher Columbus (1949. 1985), La espada negra (1976), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), The Fountain (2006)

Who Should Play Her: Elena Anaya is an incredibly underrated Spanish actress who is talented enough to play this iconic queen.


6. Catherine de’ Medici

Catherine is another famous queen who has yet to have a modern-day English film made about her life. Her life was filled with hardship.   She was ostracized in France for being from Italy and had to deal with her husband’s long-time mistress.   Yet she stayed firm in her beliefs until she could one day gain the power she sought. She is another lady who’s life would make for a great biopic.

Previous Films: Intolerance (1916), Pearls of the Crown (1937), La Reine Margot (1954, 1994)

Who Should Play Her: Gina McKee’s performance on The Borgias proves that she not only fits in to the medieval time period, but stands out as well.


7. Empress Dowager Tzu-hsi (or Empress Dowager Cixi)

Cixi controlled the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years, from 1861 to her death in 1908 as a regent for her young son. Her life was filled with many movie-worthy events including the Boxer Rebellion and the technological and military Self-Strengthening Movement. There aren’t enough Western films out there about strong Asian women and Cixi would offer a great opportunity for one.

Previous Films: 55 Days at Peking (1963), The Empress Dowager (1975)

Who Should Play Her: Li Gong has proven time and again that she is a talented actress but American audiences know her best in supporting roles, despite her ability to carry a film.


8. Wilhemina of the Netherlands

 Queen regent Wilhemina’s reign was the longest in Dutch history and included both world wars, as well as the country’s economic crisis. She is known for being a beacon of strength for her country during World War II and an inspiration to the Dutch resistance. She was a strong and powerful woman who left her mark on history. 

Previous Films: N/A

Who Should Play Her: Carice van Houten has captivated audiences on Game of Thrones as well as many other historical dramas. Like Wilhemina, her origins are from The Netherlands and her talent and poise would do Wilhemina justice.


9. Maria I of Portugal

Maria was the first queen regnant of Portugal and under her reign Portugal colonized Brazil. During her time as leader, Portugal fought off an invasion from Godoy and Napolean. Her life is filled with many historical battles and turning points as well as her own personal battle with delirium.   It would make for a fascinating watch.

Previous Films: N/A

Who Should Play Her: Daniela Ruah is a an actress most famous in the US for her portrayal of NCIS Special Agent Kensi Blye in the CBS series NCIS: Los Angeles but she also has many Portuguese programs on her resume.


10. Christina of Sweden

Queen Christina is famous for abdicating her throne and becoming a Roman Catholic, going from Swedish queen to Roman citizen and a leader in theatrical and musical life. She was heavily involved both with the arts and sciences and is known for being intelligent and living an unconventional “masculine” lifestyle that attracts people to her story to this day.

Previous Films: Queen Christina (1933)

Who Should Play Her: Noomi Rapace is Sweden’s golden girl, and with good reason. She can tackle any role given to her with perfection and I would love to see her play this famous woman who defied typical femininity of her time.