The Brilliant Bechdel/Wallace Movie Test

I had not heard of this amazing test until seeing a mention in the morning paper, but it has been around since 1985. That was when Liz Wallace told it to her friend Alison Bechdel who put it in the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. See here for the comic and here for discussion.

For others who have been in the dark, here is their devastatingly simple rule.

To be worth watching, a movie must
  1. Have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other, 
  3. about something besides a man. 

This morning's paper went through the Time Magazine top ten movies of all time list. Classics like The Godfather and 2001 A Space Odyssey fail. I have a feeling both TV programs I watched this evening fail. And I'm half way through reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which I think is likely to fail as well.

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Would it were true… but I fear not. A lot of popular movies seem to require only one babe adn no other women. Even TV sitcoms that are about friends seem to have a 3 men/2 women rule, as if it would be commercial suicide to have parity.
    As I recall, The Unbearable Lightness of Being has two major female roles though…

  2. I suspect that the new Battlestar Galactica TV series meets the test. Even the trailer for Razor emphasizes the main female roles:
    Does the test prove that the film industry is misogynist or that men have a tendency to get into unbelievable situations that make for entertaining plots?

  3. Rather anthropomorphically-centric, no?

Comments are closed