Nothing Manic-Pixie about these characters. Also, making this list cause a lot of movies made by dudes are less progressive than they think (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Fincher version) -not the book- and I Spit On Your Grave, as some examples)
  1. She's Gotta Have It
    Spike Lee's first movie has some flaws, but pre-HIV (that's important in terms of the change in the mid-late 80s response to casual sex circa Regan/Bush era ), it takes a look at gender, relationships, and societal constructs from a woman's POV.
  2. Chasing Amy
    Kevin Smith's best movie that holds up a mirror to liberal straight white dudes. He tackles so much regarding sexual orientation, friendship, and dating. He was 27 when it came out and it's so perceptive with great dialogue that's both comedic (the sex scars comparison) and dramatic (outside the hockey rink and the last 10 mins), and it takes love more seriously than most movies out there.
  3. Ms. 45
    This is a pretty divisive choice, but Abel Ferrara has a surprising amount of layers in an 80 minute exploitation movie that ends on a powerful note. If you know nothing of this movie, look up the logline, let the rest surprise you.
  4. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
    Maybe not pro-sex feminist and I'm not sure it would pass the Bechdel Test, but James Cameron has made Sarah Connor as badass as an action hero gets. Her "men like you speech" applies to every moment in our past and present and it will in the future, when our version Skynet takes hold.
  5. Aliens
    Take all the things I said about Sarah Connor and apply them to Ellen Fucking Ripley!!