Women of Awesomeness: Ellen Ripley

ellen-ripleyRipley has a long and storied history of Awesomeness. She is a frequent and high ranked member of a variety of “Best of Women Characters” lists. In fact the American Film Institute marked Ripley as the 8th greatest hero in cinema history… that’s including  her male counterparts. Not too shabby, no? Ripley is royalty among the Woman of Awesomeness.

(If you haven’t seen Alien or the sequels I give unto you this: Firstly, SPOILERS and secondly, go watch “Alien” post-haste… bring popcorn.)

In Alien we meet Ellen Ripley, warrant officer of the Nostromo, a spaceship returning to Earth from Thedus. The ship’s crew is awakened by a mysterious transmission coming from a planetoid. A crew is sent down and when they come back they unknowingly bring another along with them.

It’s Ripley who first begins to suspect something is wrong, even while the crew is planetoid-side. She determines the transmission may be a warning of some kind and when the crew returns to the ship she attempts to quarantine them, but as one member is injured her wished are dismissed. This is the first sign of Awesomeness, I think, in that Ripley seems to be the only who realizes that Bad Things could come of this.

Ellen-Ripley-Alien-Movies-female-ass-kickers-28784369-300-300Then it hits the fans, and those who you who have seen the movie know what I am talking about. An Alien with acid blood, nasty looks, and smarts escapes into the ship and mayhem and carnage ensue. Ripley is the only human survivor, the ships cat Jonesy survives with her (a fact that I was always happy about). How did Ripley survive? I believe it was a mixture of things, primarily wits, knowledge and fortitude.

No matter how scary things got Ripley didn’t panic. She kept her wits about her; she was observant and learned from the tragic deaths or her fellow crewmen. She used her knowledge of the ship to defeat the Alien. She was probably the only human in the ship to realize how smart the Alien was. She used that to her advantage, setting a trap for the Alien to strand it on the ship while she destroyed it. The Alien, of course, was clever enough to find the escape vessel and hide there. But, again, keeping her wits and by not panicking Ripley is able to eject the Alien from the vessel. She goes into stasis, and awaits rescue.


In the sequels that follow Ripley continues to be a kick ass heroine. She always manages to outwit and defeat the Aliens, usually with some pretty spectacular fireworks and almost always with an Alien being expelled into space. (Exception being Alien 3… that was more along the lines of tossing a ring into a volcano…)

(From IMDB)

Ripley has tried in vain to disengage the Nostromos self-destruct]
Ripley: Mother! I’ve turned the cooling unit back on. Mother!
Mother: The ship will automatically destruct in “T” minus five minutes.
Ripley: You… BITCH!”
[smashes computer monitor with flamethrower]

Ripley: [nervously eyeing Alien while she pushes buttons] “You are my lucky star. You… Lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky.”

Burke: “Ripley? I- You know I expected more from you – I thought you’d be smarter than this.”
Ripley: “Well, I’m happy to disappoint you.” (From Aliens.)

(Ripley is looking for the alien]
Ripley:” Don’t be afraid, I’m part of the family.” (Alien3)

And last,

Ripley: Final report of the commercial starship Nostromo, third officer reporting. The other members of the crew, Kane, Lambert, Parker, Brett, Ash and Captain Dallas, are dead. Cargo and ship destroyed. I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.
[to Jonesy the cat]
Ripley: Come on, cat.”

Flourish 1

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