The Bechdel Test in the AFI Top 100The Bechdel Test is a surprisingly simple test to see if females are included in a movie. All it asks for is three simple things:
1) There are two females in the movie who have names.
2) These two females talk to each other at some point.
3) They talk about anything other than men.
Simple, right? But in going through the AFI Top 100 I found that in some cases I couldn't even get the FIRST criteria to pass - there weren't even two female characters with names in the movie! Sometimes it made sense, like Patton. In Patton I don't think there's any speaking female in the movie, at all. I think maybe a nurse murmurs something in a hospital scene once and that's it. There wasn't a single female in Platoon that spoke English. Just one villager.
But how about Gold Rush? In Gold Rush a portion of the movie is about the saloon girls of Alaska - but only one of them, Georgia, has a name! The rest are nameless giggling girls. Everyone else gets a name in the movie. But not the "girls". Even a fairly female-centric movie like Annie Hall barely passes. There is only ONE scene in the entire movie, a montage, where her mom says something and his mom responds. That's it.
Here's a list of the movies that past the Bechdel Test!
Passed the Test - 30
Failed the Test - 70
It's amazing how many of the movies don't even have two named female characters in them. Like King Kong. Just one female character - the one who continuously screams :) It's also amazing how the few that pass often "barely pass". In just one scene in the entire movie there'll be one sentence that two women share, and that's it. So even out of those that "pass", many are scraping by.
We're not even asking for women to be the FOCUS of a movie. It's just asking that women even SPEAK in a movie. It's sad to think that out of 100 movies, most barely have women who are allowed to speak.
Original AFI Top 100
AFI Top 100 Film Listing
Male vs Female Actors in the AFI Top 100
The Bechdel Test in the AFI Top 100
10th Anniversary of the AFI Top 100
AFI Top 100 Film Listing 10th Anniversary
Male vs Female Actors in the AFI Top 100 10th Anniversary
The Bechdel Test in the AFI Top 100 10th Anniversary