Ever heard of the Bechdel Test? Well, for the uninitiated, this test is a benchmark for movies. It was developed by Alison Bechdel in 1985. For a movie to pass the test, it must contain two women who talk to each other about anything at all, but men. The Bechdel Test may not exactly be the perfect measure, but works as a metric to see how cinema is treating female characters in general.
May sound rather simple, but it may be a little surprising to know that of all the movies made, just about half pass the test. Not that failing the test indicates the movie is has a misogynist theme, or that passing makes it a strongly feminist movie. In fact, there are quite a few movies, that do not even have women characters at all, but still manage to shine.
Here are five movies that have no female characters in them:
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Angry Men, directed by Sidney Lumet, as the title suggests features only 12 men. These men are jurors on a murder case and it is their differing social outlook that leads to a high-tension tale as they debate whether the accused should walk free or face a death sentence.
While women heavily feature in the story and are essential to the case at hand, the jurors are all male.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
This film is literally a filmmaking masterclass with David Jean, considering he is just as good at emotions as he is with humongous set-pieces. Lawrence of Arabia follows T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.
The film features some of the greatest actors of the time – Omar Sharif and Alec Guinness, but does not have a female character. The closest it gets to women is in the droves of extras in some of the biggest scenes. Although, it could have fit in some female speaking roles.
The Lord of the Flies (1963)
The Lord of the Flies is an adaptation of William Golding's novel of the same name. The film revolves around a group of schoolboys stranded on an island after a plane crash and descending into anarchy after mere days of isolation. It manages to show the descent into barbarism perfectly.
Keeping the story an all-male adventure, it has no female character; not a single one.
The Great Escape (1963)
This John Struges war movie may be laden with memorable memories, but it does not have any female characters that memorable. In fact, the closest it actually gets to women is when the soldiers tunnel out and find themselves in provincial Germany. We see a few female extras in certain scenes, however, none of them get screentime, leave alone dialogues.
No Escape (1994)
The Ray Liotta starrer, No Escape, is set in a semi-dystopian 2022. It follows an ex-marine sent to an island prison where the worst criminals in the penal system run riot. This film, too, does not have any female characters, not even as inmates (which could have been a possibility).