Revenge Served Cold: Best Feminist Classics on HBO Max Right Now

A woman’s rage isn’t often explored on screen. Since the film’s inception, female characters are often written to take up as little space as possible when they enter a frame and stand on the sidelines while the men become the action heroes and hell raisers. So when women explode on screen and speak their minds, commit acts of violence, and soar across rooms with fists raised ready to strike, it’s empowering to watch. Seeking vengeance, seeking glory, seeking peace, here are 25 feminist classics streaming right now on HBO Max featuring angry women taking up as much space as they want in pursuit of justice and revenge.

The First Wives Club (1996)

Run Time: 103 minutes

Rating: PG

Genre: Comedy/Romance

Director: Hugh Wilson

Cast: Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Stephen Collins, Victor Garber, Rob Reiner

Cheating husbands have never been sorrier than in The First Wives Club, thanks to Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler’s rage-filled performances as three scorned women. Promiscuous men and youth are their enemies, and the trio fights back with all their might as they seek vengeance against their cruel ex-husbands. Undoubtedly a feminist classic, the late 90s comedy finds Keaton, Hawn, and Midler playing Annie, Elise, and Brenda respectively, a squad of former first wives helping one another sabotage their ex-husbands after playing the nice guy for too many years.

The Last Duel (2021)

Run Time: 153 Minutes

Rating: R

Genre: Drama/ Action

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Jodie Comer, Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Ben Affleck, Alex Lawther

The Last Duel is a medieval feminist-revenge tale for the ages. A historical drama film based upon one of the last duels ever fought in France during the 14th century, Jodie Comer stars as Marguerite de Carraouges, a married woman who accuses the violent Jacques le Gris (Adam Driver) of raping her after husband,Sir Jean de Carroughes (Matt Damon), goes out of town. At a time when women were expected to keep their mouths shut or die, Marguerite never wavers in telling the truth, and Carroughes and le Gris eventually fight each other in a gruesome duel, permitted by King Charles VI.

Thoroughbreds (2017)

Run Time: 93 minutes

Rating: R

Genre: Thriller/ Dark Comedy

Director: Corey Finley

Cast: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift

Death and murder weigh heavy on the young minds of Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) in the 2017 thriller film, Thoroughbreds. Amanda (Cooke) is a wealthy, disturbed teenager who cannot feel emotions no matter what she tries. After reconciling with her former best friend Lily (Taylor-Joy), they become a lethal combination as they begin daydreaming of murder. While Lily feigns perfection as one of the most well-liked girls at school, she takes advantage of Amanda’s strange afflictions and eggs her on to commit gruesome acts of violence against the men in their lives.

The Other Woman (2014)

Run Time: 109 minutes

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Comedy

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Manning, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Kinney,

Three women band together after being done wrong by the same man in The Other Woman. Cameron Diaz stars as Carly Whitten, and when she finds out the man of her dreams, Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), is married to a woman named Kate King (Leslie Manning), the two put aside their differences to pursue vengeance. But it just gets worse from there, as they find out there is in fact a third woman, Amber (Kate Upton), and the trio go full Charlie’s Angelsmode to bring down King by sporting binoculars and ill-advised stilettos.

Catwoman (2004)

Run Time: 104 minutes

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Action/ Crime

Director: Pitof

Cast: Halle Berry, Frances Conroy, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Lambert Wilson, Alex Borstein

Halle Berry is taking down names playing the iconic, titular role in the 2004 film, Catwoman. An origin story of how the stealthy superhero came to be, designer Patience Phillips inadvertently stumbles upon a scandal within the prominent Hedare Beauty cosmetics company she works, and it results in her murder. Brought back to life by cats, Patience swears vengeance on everyone who played a part in her death, in addition to exposing all the deadly crimes Hedare Beauty committed. While the film was negatively received, it remains a monumental moment within pop culture and one of Berry’s defining roles.