5 Older Films With All-Female Casts

Updated on January 29, 2018

1. Mädchen in Uniform (1931)

Not only is Mädchen in Uniform (1931) the earliest-known example of a female-dominated film, but it’s also an early example of LGBT cinema.

This German film centers on a rebellious teenager named Manuela, who is sent to an all-girls Catholic school and develops a crush on one of her teachers, Fräulein von Bernburg. The feelings are shown to be mutual when the teacher gives her students goodnight kisses on the forehead and Manuela receives one on the lips.

The film was remade in 1958, during the Hays Code era. Surprisingly, though depictions of sexuality were severely restricted at the time, teacher and student share a kiss while running lines for Romeo and Juliet.

Most recently, Loving Annabelle (2006) was based on Mädchen in Uniform. Directed by Katherine Brooks, this film was more explicit in its portrayal of a teacher and student falling in love, and even contains a sex scene.

2. Club de femmes (1936)

The French film Club de femmes (1936), the title of which translates to Women’s Club, was a dark comedy that was so heavily censored in its time that few audiences saw the complete version.

In a Parisian boarding house full of young, unwed women, chaperones are tasked with keeping men out of the rooms. But a dancer named Claire disguises her boyfriend as a woman to sneak him in, and ends up getting pregnant. Meanwhile, a worker at the boarding house secretly runs a prostitution ring, while a lesbian named Alice pursues potential lovers.

Club de femmes was later remade as Club of Women (1956) but went largely forgotten until its rediscovery in the 1980s. The lead actress, Danielle Darrieux, went on to become one of France’s most beloved movie stars, with a career spanning over eighty years.

3. The Women (1939)

Based on a play written by Clare Boothe Luce, The Women (1939) was set in high-society Manhattan and featured some of the era’s biggest stars, including Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, and Joan Fontaine.

As a comedy of manners, The Women satirized the pampered, privileged lives of rich women and the malignant effects of gossip. Though men are never seen on screen, the plots revolve around the women’s marriages, affairs, divorces, and rivalries.

The film was written by Anita Loos, whose successful screenwriting career spanned from 1912 to 1961. She was also a playwright and author, having written the bestselling novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and its Broadway musical and film adaptations. She even became the very first staff screenwriter when she was put on the payroll at Triangle Film Corporation.

The Women's costume designer, Adrian Greenburg, designed over 200 gowns for the actresses involved. Though it was mostly filmed black and white, the film contains a ten-minute Technicolor fashion montage, featuring the designs that didn’t make the cut.

4. Venusberg (1963)

In Germanic mythology, Venusberg is a place of worship for the goddess Venus, located in a mountain forbidden to mortal men. Expanding on that theme, the West German comedy-drama film Venusberg (1963) involves seven women who are invited to a holiday villa on a snow-covered hill by a doctor they have all been romantically involved with.

One of the women is three-months pregnant; another is waiting for the doctor to divorce his wife; one is a model from Paris; and two of them are in a same-sex relationship. The doctor is conspicuously absent and never appears on screen, leaving the women to get to know each other.

Though at one point a man enters the villa and sleeps with one of them, he is never shown, only heard, and voiced by actor Oskar Werner. The women swim in the pool, discuss philosophy, read erotic literature out loud, and eventually leave one-by-one, realizing they have all been conned by a dishonest man.

5. The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972)

German director, actor, playwright, and theater director Rainer Werner Fassbinder was known for his surreal, avant-garde films. He adapted several of his own plays to film, including The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972).

Petra von Kant is an arrogant fashion designer who has been unlucky in love, and takes her bitterness out on her long-suffering assistant, Marlene. A beautiful young model named Karin enters her life, having fled her abusive husband, and Petra is immediately enamored with her. They begin a romantic relationship, which soon becomes toxic.

Fassbinder’s work was never without controversy. Some critics claimed Bitter Tears was sexist and homophobic. His other works have spurred accusations of misogyny and anti-Semitism.

Nonetheless, Bitter Tears was successful with critics and won three German Film Awards for Best Leading Actress, Best Overall Acting Performance, and Best Cinematography.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      5 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Nice article. Interesting information.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)