We believe in celebrating fabulous women on screen all year round but there’s something rather fitting too about casting an eye over our favorites for Women’s History Month. There are far more than we could possibly feature here but we’ve picked out some of the iconic female double acts in movies and on TV, that make us laugh, cry and cheer them on.
Thelma and Louise, Thelma & Louise (1991)
Seen in: Thelma & Louise (1991)
Why they made the list: one of the most iconic female pairings on-screen, Thelma (Geena Davis) and her best friend Louise (Susan Sarandon) burst onto the big screen in Ridley Scott’s 1991 film of a girls’ road trip that goes wrong. Even now, decades later, it’s rare to see women at the center of their story unrepentant and unbowed. Although obviously, Thelma and Louise make some “dubious choices” and become fugitives on the run, there’s a power in their decision to choose each other and freedom, no matter what the circumstances.
Issa and Molly, Insecure
Seen in: Insecure
Why they made the list: the friendship between Issa Dee (played by writer and creator, Issa Rae) and Molly Carter (played by Yvonne Orji) was the throughline of the entire series. From being best friends in the early seasons to their messy feud in Insecure season 4 and all the way to their reconciliation in the final season they’ve been the relationship fans have been pinning their hopes on. This scene in the finale says everything about Molly and Issa’s friendship. It’s Molly’s wedding, the pinnacle of romantic love, but the most touching exchange is between the BFFs.
“Thank you so much for everything, Issa,” Molly says. “For being you, for loving me while I was me. And girl, I don’t know where life is gonna take us, but I just know that as long as you’re around, I’ma be OK.”
“Yeah,” Issa replies, tearfully. “Me too.”
Cher Horowitz and Dionne Davenport, Clueless (1995)
Seen in: Clueless (1995)
Why they made the list: for the sheer joy, energy and color that Cher and best pal Dionne bring to the world in Clueless, they’d always be high up on our list of favorite fictional characters. What makes them dead certs for this list of female duos is how well they work as a team — being supportive, teasing each other affectionately, providing encouragement in their goals and, most importantly, coordinating outfits so, so well. We stan.
Jess and Jules, Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Seen in: Bend it like Beckham (2002)
Why they made the list: featuring a very young Keira Knightley as sports-mad Jules and Jess (Jesminder), Bend it like Beckham is a clash of cultures as the values of Jess’ strict Sikh Indian upbringing come into conflict with her desire for a more Westernised lifestyle, a boyfriend and a chance to play football at the professional level. Both Jess and Jules face issues with not living up to what their parents want them to be. It’s this shared experience and their love of football (soccer) that bonds them so tightly. Minor squabbles aside, they only want the best for each other and they’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Meredith and Cristina, Grey’s Anatomy
Seen in: Grey’s Anatomy
Why they made the list: although Grey’s is known for its romantic drama (with a little medical drama tucked in) the relationship between Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) is still a fan favorite, despite Yang having left Seattle Grace/Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital almost a decade ago. Despite seemingly being very different personalities Cristina and Meredith were the heart of the show, inseparably each other’s “person”. As Cristina puts it,
“She’s my person. If I murdered someone, she’s the person I’d call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor. She’s my person.”
We couldn’t put it better ourselves, Ms. Yang.
Ruth and Idgie, Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Seen in: Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Why they made the list: Ruth Jamison and the wonderfully named Idgie Threadgoode were first found in Fannie Flagg’s novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, then adapted for the big screen starring a jam-packed cast of female talent from Mary Stuart Masterson (Idgie), Mary-Louise Parker (Ruth), Kathy Bates (Evelyn) and Jessica Tandy’s Ninny Threadgoode. Although the friendship that develops between Evelyn’s downtrodden housewife and Ninny — the senior citizen she meets in a care home — is touching it’s the lifelong, loving friendship between Idgie and Ruth that strikes a chord with the millions who’ve watched this movie. Idgie and Ruth would, literally, do anything to protect each other. Ruth helps Idgie find her way to life back after her brother, Buddy, dies and Idgie rescues Ruth from a physically abusive marriage. True soulmates.
French and Saunders
Seen in: French and Saunders
Why they made the list: this ground-breaking and award-winning comic pair — Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French — first hit UK screens in their self-titled sketch show in the 1980s. The comedy show ran for six series and built up huge audiences due to the pair’s knack for irreverent, clever humor and their specialty — parodies of films, TV shows and pop culture icons. The show only stopped because the pair decided they wanted to work on other things (Dawn French going on to start in the Vicar of Dibley and Saunders writing and starring in the hit show, Absolutely Fabulous).
The comedy duo recently reunited for 300 years of French and Saunders (Britbox (opens in new tab)) and French and Saunders will also be back in a special appearance for the BBC’s Red Nose Day charity appeal.
Susan and Nancy, Spy (2015)
Seen in: Spy (2015)
Why they made the list: watching this initially hapless pair (a wisecracking Miranda Hart and foul-mouthed Melissa McCarthy) transform from pratfalling wannabe spies into a dynamic duo is a wonder to behold. Overlooked and underestimated by everyone in the movie, Susan and her sidekick Nancy have each other’s backs and through street smarts, self-belief, sheer force of will and a LOT of luck, we’re cheering them on from our seats, as they win the day.
I head up the team at What to Watch, helping to grow our newest entertainment brand. I've worked in content strategy, production and audience development for leading film and TV companies for over 15 years. Always fascinated by digital trends, I'm currently obsessed with FilmTok. You can also find me extolling the virtues of Fringe, Smallville, rom-coms, Wong Kar Wei and Monty Don/Gardener's World.
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