15. The Virgin Suicides (1999)
The movie: A tragic suburban fairytale about the Lisbon sisters, that begins with the attempted suicide of the youngest, Cecilia. We're told the tale by a group of men who grew up close to the sisters and admired them from afar, so we rely on their memories, the whispers they heard, and their lovesick recollections.
How it passes: While the tragic tale is told by the male observers, it's firmly focused on the Lisbon sisters. The girls build their own ecosystem that both attracts and repels everyone else, becoming more and more insular, and the communications we do see are usually between one of the sisters and their mother. Each of the sisters Therese, Mary, Bonnie, Lux, and Cecilia, are mysterious to the men that surround them, but essential to the workings of the intense family dynamic. Rachel Weber
14. The Exorcist (1973)
The movie: William Friedkin’s still controversial possession tale follows Chris MacNeil as she desperately tries to find help for her daughter Regan who made the mistake of playing with a ouija board and invited a demon inside. While it’s now known for its pea soup projection and grim crucifix masturbation scene, The Exorcist still manages to pack a horrific punch when it comes to disturbing cinema.
How it passes: Due to the fact that there’s, y’know, a demon inside her, Chris and Regan find other things to talk about than just men. Even before the horror hits, the pair talk about what Regan did in the park and how much she wants a horse. Nice normal chats before she scuttles down the stairs backwards like a spider. Louise Blain
13. 28 Days Later (2002)
The movie: The path to hell is paved with good intentions, as the animal rights activists at the beginning of the movie realise when they release a chimp infected with a rage-inducing virus that rapidly devastates Great Britain. Jim wakes up in hospital after all this has happened and tries to survive along with Selena and Hannah.
How it passes: Selena and Hannah might not exchange that many words - they talk briefly about chocolate in a supermarket - but once they reach the army’s creepy mansion Selena basically becomes Hannah’s protector. She tries to tempt the soldiers away from raping Hannah, and attempts to shield her from the horrors she’s about to endure any way she can (including trying to drug her so she won’t be lucid at the time). Clearly Selena cares about Hannah, and in an alternate ending the two even face off the apocalypse together. Wearing ball gowns and everything. Zoe Delahunty-Light
12. Spirited Away (2000)
The movie: Studio Ghibli’s animated classic sees 10-year-old Chihiro literally ‘spirited away’ to a magical realm. Her parents are turned into pigs and she takes on a job in a bath house filled with fantastical spirits and creatures. Chihiro then has to then deal with the inhabitants all the while trying to defeat the witch Yubaba who runs the place and traps people into working for her by stealing their names.
How it passes: Spirited Away is a very female-positive movie in of itself because its central character, Chihuro, is a strong young woman and it also passes the Bechdel Test in various ways. If you’re after a specific scene, how about the one where Chihuro talks to bathhouse owner Yubaba about a job? Lauren O’Callaghan
11. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
The movie: You know the drill by now. Attractive teenagers on a road trip end up off the beaten track and into the path of rampaging chainsaw-wielding psychopath. The remake of Tobe Hooper’s grim slasher might have Michael Bay in the production credits but this is an acceptable if grisly horror that, as it should be, needs endured rather than enjoyed.
How it passes: Before the slicing begins, the Bechdel Test is passed early on when the group pass a girl walking along the road and Jessica Biel’s Erin asks her if she needs help or a lift. Once she’s in the car, the group, specifically another girl Pepper, ask where her friends are and that’s all it takes. Wasn’t that simple before all the running and the screaming? Louise Blain
10. Girl, Interrupted (1999)
The movie: Based on Susanna Kaysen’s very real stay at a mental institution during the 1960s, Girl, Interrupted is a tour de force of raw female acting talent. Winona Ryder is 18-year-old Kaysen whose parents have forced her into Claymoore Hospital after a nervous breakdown and suicide attempt. It’s there she meets sociopath Lisa (played with positively electric energy by Angelina Jolie) who turns her world even more upside down with her refusal to accept life the way it is. Add in Brittany Murphy, Clea DuVall and Whoopi Goldberg, all with scene stealing performances and it’s nigh on essential viewing from director James Mangold.
How it passes: Because simply, life is about more than just men and Girl, Interrupted knows it. While Kaysen does sneak a (very young) Jared Leto into the hospital, these women talk life, abuse, violence, media, books, and, of course, themselves and their experiences. Scenes which don’t pass the Bechdel Test are rare. Louise Blain
9. The Descent (2005)
The movie: This terrifyingly claustrophobic horror forces you into exceptionally dark spaces with a group of adventure loving friends who find more than they bargained for as they explore a new cave system. Genuinely scary, The Descent is a masterwork in horror from Neil Marshall as central character Sarah battles both her mental and literal demons.
How it passes: There’s one man in the movie. It’s not a massive spoiler to say things don’t end well for him. Thankfully, this means that the women don’t just spend an hour and a half talking about the opposite sex. These fierce spelunkers tell jokes, talk sex, hangovers, careers, and, oh yeah, discuss how to escape the monsters which are hunting them. Louise Blain
8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
The movie: After the events of The Force Awakens, Rey tries to persuade Luke Skywalker to train her in the ways of the Force, while General Leia Organa, Poe, Finn, and the rest of the Resistance attempt to stay out of reach of the terrible First Order and Kylo Ren.
How it passes: Star Wars isn’t exactly known for being female positive (Leia’s gold bikini?), but TFA went a long way to making the franchise Bechdel-friendly by putting a woman, Rey, at the centre of it. This is something its sequel, The Last Jedi, pushes even further by including even more strong female role models, from Rose Tico to Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, and not forgetting Leia. It’s true that most of them are spread out over the galaxy for the majority of the film and don’t talk to each other, but they all have important roles with a lot of responsibility. And if you’re a stickler for the rules… Leia and Holdo do talk to each other about the war. Lauren O’Callaghan
7. Scream (1996)
The movie: Once again proving that the genre that apparently mistreats women actually manages to deliver far more realistic characters, Wes Craven’s self-referential slasher sees high school students menaced by a killer in a Munch-inspired mask. Scream revamped the horror genre back in the late ‘90s as very modern heroine Sydney Prescott and her friends were targeted for the insides-on-the-outside treatment.
How it passes: While there’s plenty of time for screaming and dying, Sydney and her friend Tatem (Rose McGowan) catch up about her feelings around her mother’s murder. Almost as a bonus, Syd also talks to Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) about death before punching her in the face about her tell all book. Louise Blain
6. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
The movie: After the world is ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease that turns humans into fast, mindless zombies known as ‘hungries’, the only hope of a new future is in a group of hybrid children. Yes, they still want to eat you, but they can also think, and feel, and learn. Helen is the one responsible for educating and studying the children, and she’s formed a special bond with one of the girls, Melanie - despite the fact she wants to eat her.
How it passes: The relationship between Helen and Melanie is a beautiful thing to watch as it develops and the only mention of love here is about what’s growing between the pair as Helen fights to protect her. The maternal love that blooms throughout the film is a shining example of a film bucking the normal trends, especially in a post-apocalyptic zombie movie. Sam Loveridge