Bechdel Test Movie List

/bech·del test/ n.
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

[[3]] Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by kayjose on 2014-04-02 11:25:57.

Reviews

Comments

kayjose said:
The only scenes I can remember with two women in it are:
A) When Nick Fury is dying/dies, and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are standing around watching. They do not speak to one another.
B) When Maria Hill rescues Natasha Romanoff et al from captivity in the back of a van. They do not speak to one another.
Message posted on 2014-04-02 11:25:57
Saitou said:
@kayjose: In the first scene Natasha and Hill had a discussion about the ballistics from Fury's shooting.
Message posted on 2014-04-03 01:34:33
Jeremy said:
Hill and Romanof briefly discuss the bullets which killed Fury. Also, they are both present and talk at a later meeting, which also includes several men. I'd argue that this film does pass two of the three tests, but whether or not it passes the third test is questionable.
Message posted on 2014-04-03 02:45:37
Jacob said:
The scene in which they speak they are both responding to Steve Rogers and talking about Nick Fury. They never make eye contact. In the rescue scene they do not speak to each other.
Message posted on 2014-04-03 11:57:03
Victor said:
As other have noted, Natasha and Maria definitely do talk to one another about the ballistics. It's arguable whether that does or does not past the third test, considering they're more broadly discussing the fate of Nick Fury, but it definitely does pass the second text.
Message posted on 2014-04-04 02:57:33
Lance said:
Yea, I'd say that Hill and Romanov don't actually speak to each other. They both speak in the same room to Captain. Seriously, is Marvel intentionally making their movies get within one quick aside (Romanov: "What took you so long to get here, Hill?") away from passing and then intentionally avoiding it? I mean, the Avengers had the same situation with the exact same two female characters. Maybe there's some kind of contractual mandate from Disney HQ that the superhero movies absolutely should not pass the test. Maybe this is hinting at some kind of deep resentment between Romanov and Hill. Maybe in 2016 we'll see the Black Widow movie where she is put on assignment with Agent Hill and can only address her when there's a man in the room to act as go-between.
Message posted on 2014-04-04 05:27:45
A said:
I agree with Jeremy. I just watched it a couple of hours ago, and while women barely talk to each other in the film, the short conversation between Hill and Romanoff is about bullets in addition to the man those bullets injured. Not that it matters in regards to the test, but this film had really strong/positive female characters. At least a 2/3 pass.
Message posted on 2014-04-04 08:26:22
Michael said:
It really bugs me me that a film can fail the test despite having strong female characters in it. I really think that should count for something. ScarJo was practically a co-lead to Chris Evans. She kicked all kinds of ass, and proved that the female lead doesn't always have to be a romantic subplot.

Meanwhile Thor and Man of Steel pass the test with flying colors, despite having some of the weakest female characters in film history.
Message posted on 2014-04-04 21:23:17
J said:
This movie has a couple kick-butt women in it. And Black Widow may be the film's secret star. But the female characters never talk to each other.

I'm reading some vague examples. But while I recall Maria Hill and Black Widow being in the same room together a few times. I don't remember them directly addressing each other. So it fails.

I've got nothing against this movie as far as gender politics go. It just fails the test. Not a crime against humanity.

Message posted on 2014-04-05 15:08:06
Jeremy said:
Michael, the test isn't a measure of feminism nor of the strength of female characters. I do think that the film has the strongest female characters of any Marvel film in Maria Hill and Black Widow, and I think it's very cool that (SPOILER) the team of five which forms at the end of the film has both of them in it, when typically these team-ups have just one woman. Still, the fact remains that these characters only really talk once or twice, and both times it is largely about men. That doesn't make the movie less feminist than Thor...it just means it fails the Bechdel test.
Message posted on 2014-04-05 18:29:20
Victor said:
In other news, anybody check specifically whether the film passes the PoC version of this test? With both Nick Fury and Falcon in prominent roles, it seems like it might, but I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't.
Message posted on 2014-04-05 21:53:03
J said:
More specifically, it is about female representation. There wasn't enough female presence in this movie to facilitate one instance of two women discussing something other than a man.

That is a different issue than "this movie has misogynistic subtext in its representation of specific female characters, or women as a whole."
Message posted on 2014-04-06 00:03:17
Sabrina said:
I would say it passes all three test although barely. I took the two of them speaking about ballistics as speaking to one another. I've always taken the third test as talking about a man romantically. Im not saying that the movie passed with flying colors but I also wouldnt call this a misogynistic movie.
We had three amazing female character. Agent Hill, Black Widow and Agent Sharon Carter. The tree of them are named characters that aren't romantic options (although I am assuming that they brought Sharon in to be Steve's love interest like in the comics, but she really wasn't that in this movie) and each on of them does something prominent in the movie that saves the day - Widow does this many times through out, Hill does this in the truck and later with dismantling the hellicarriers, and Sharon does this towards the end when trying to stop Rumlow from killing the techie guy.
Message posted on 2014-04-07 02:44:18
Anon said:
Agreed with the rating. The women don't talk TO each other at all. They're in the same room as each other. They have lines while in the same room as each other. But they never actually say anything to each other. And it's weird because they're both right there. Given the shear volume of dialog in the movie it would have been trial to have them directly talk to each other, even if over the coms.
Message posted on 2014-04-07 19:31:12
Naomi said:
Can I just say that seeing a bunch of men arguing about the feminist merits of a testosterone-laden action flick makes me really happy.

But, Jeremy is quite correct; the Bechdel Test is not a measure of how feminist a movie is; only how women are represented in film.

There are dozens of male characters in this movie and only four female characters. Yes, they are all strong, smart, competent women, and they each take a leadership role, in their way (Peggy's at a disadvantage, there, due to being on her death bed from old age, but I think the fact the co-founded SHIELD gives her the cred), but the fact is that the world is slightly more than half women, and the Hollywood world is only about 1/4ths women. In this movie, I would say it's more like 1/10th women. It's just mis-representative.

That having been said, when Romanof took out an engine room full of heavily armed soldiers, my five year old daughter turned to me, eyes shining and said, "WOW! She is BADASS!!"

So, that was pretty cool.
Message posted on 2014-04-08 16:59:53
Scott said:
From another discussion this Linked to... Having seen the film a couple of times already (sue me, I'm a fan :p ).

Rogers and Widow discussing The Winter Soldier...
Rogers: He had a metal arm.
Widow: <stunned look>

<Hill enters from rear>
Widow: Ballistics?
Hill: <turns to Widow> Three slugs, no rifling. Completely untraceable.
Widow: Soviet made.
Hill: <turns to Widow again> Yeah.
(bunch of medical conversations)

Rogers leaves the room without saying anything after "He had a metal arm." and doesn't participate in the exchange between Hill and Widow at all.
Message posted on 2014-04-08 18:48:17
Ann said:
I agree with Scott's recollection of the scene with Hill & Romanov; the two women definitely discuss the ballistic results. I would argue the movie passes all three tests (the discussing bullets is separate from discussing Fury, even if he was the person shot). It unambiguously passes the first two tests.
Message posted on 2014-04-09 09:16:26
Lana said:
Movies have passed this test for a lot less. In this case I would give CA:TWS a shaky 2/3, because Black Widow and Maria Hill do talk to each other about Nick Fury's attack. They aren't looking into each other's eyes or anything, but the fact that one is replying to the other is clear.

The question would more likely be whether their conversation about the attack is really involving a man and his health or just ballistics.
Message posted on 2014-04-09 23:49:31
Graric said:
Disagree with the rating because, as Scott and others have said, they clearly do talk to each other.
Whether or not it passes the third test is debatable, given the subtext of their conversation, but it definitely passes 2/3.
Message posted on 2014-04-10 11:14:59
Tracey said:
I would also it squeaks by all three tests. There are six named women in it. Natasha and Maria speak to each other about ballistics. Even though there is a male character broadly involved the exchange does not mention him. It's about bullets. I give the film credit for several strong female characters and that they didn't hypersexualize the females, but I do find it amazing that despite all that we have ONE miniscule conversation between females. Even when Natasha and Maria are together they manage not to talk to each other, and for most of it each woman is only relating to a male character. Why are we so afraid of letting women interact? Also, even though the producers were clearly trying to include strong female characters and the major characters were a decent mix, I counted 8 speaking roles for women and at least 27 for men. There were so many little gender-irrelevant parts that could have easily gone to women. Why is parity such a problem?
Message posted on 2014-04-10 16:06:32
Beth said:
It definitely passes (although it doesn't hit Anita Sarkeesian's addendum that the women talk to each other for more than a minute.).
The Bechdel test does not measure a movies feminism. This movie has several decent female characters who aren't there to scream and be assaulted to give the male characters something to be vengeful about, (besides Romanoff and Hill, Agent 13 has a bit of a story arc, and Councilwoman Hawley is as intelligent and respected as the councilmen.). However, it is not that hard to give the female characters more lines and more interaction with each other.
Conversely, Showgirls passes the test with flying colors, with several named female characters having long conversations with each other with no male characters present. However, these female characters are much more the fantasy projection of the dreadful writer Joe Eszterhas than they are anything like actual human women.
Message posted on 2014-04-12 20:17:00
J said:
The movie fails the test in my view (although some are pointing out it could be a dubious pass. I could give it that I guess).

I could say it is being overly pedantic to call this movie out on gender bias because there is no non-male related female interaction. Would the movie have improved if they added a couple minutes to the run time so Maria Hill and Black Widow or Agent 13 could have a notable conversation that in no way involved Cpt America, taking down Alexander Pierce or Nick Fury's health etc? Or would it have just run longer?

There will be plenty of movies this summer with only one woman in them that is just some dumb bombshell the hero gets to sleep with as his reward for beating the bad guys, and this isn't one of them.


Message posted on 2014-04-13 14:20:47
Brandy said:
The test does pass 2 of three parameters. There are several named female characters, and they do talk "at" each other. They do discuss ballistics of bullets taken from a man, so are they discussing a man? It's really close there. (Also, note that the first named character to be killed is the black man - even if he doesn't stay dead. This is another problem in media.)
My biggest problem with the conversation they had was that IT MADE NO SENSE!!
Agent Hill comes in and says the bullets had no rifling, they couldn't trace them and had no idea where they were from. Natasha then says "Russia..." She knows about these bullets! Then Agent Hill says yeah, we knew that - which negates her previous statement!

At least all four named female characters were pretty badass...
Message posted on 2014-04-14 03:25:09
Brandy said:
@Brandy: I don't see the error. The ammunition can be determined as being of Soviet design while still being untraceable to a specific manufacturer.
Message posted on 2014-04-15 10:03:15
C. said:
This passed 2/3 unambiguously. I just watched it and intentionally followed the exchange. Scott's transcript is correct. Rogers wasn't in that ballistics conversation.
In fact, I even think this movie passes #3. Talking about the ballistics is not the same as talking about Fury, although I can see how some people can conclude that. But if you want to say that, then everything EVERYONE says in the next 30 min is about Fury because they are trying to get info about his "death". But clearly no one would concede that this movie is about him. 3/3
Message posted on 2014-04-15 22:12:02
Kristin said:
As I remember it, the point of the bullet dialog is to show that Natasha knows who did the shooting, and the bullets provide confirmation. So the discussion is really about the man who was shot and the man who did the shooting. I'd say 2/3
Message posted on 2014-04-17 19:00:20
michael said:
This is an action movie. When you look at real life professions that are as physically demanding as the ones in this film, you'll see an obvious gender bias. Just look at the military, police department, fire department, ect.
Message posted on 2014-04-26 16:38:10
Internet said:
When Black Widow and Hill discuss the ballistics, perhaps Hill thinks they are discussing Fury, but Widow is clearly thinking about the Winter Soldier and her previous run in with him - as seen when she later discusses it with Cap. I suppose you can argue that they are therefore really discussing the Winter Soldier, but I don't think it fits with the spirit of the test. I think it passes. However, it definitely does not pass the one minute rule, or even a 30 second rule.
Michael: This is an action movie. The men, even those without superpowers, accomplish absolutely ridiculous feats that I doubt you will find just looking at the military, police department, fire departments, etc. BECAUSE it is an action movie, we suspend our disbelief and accept that someone can take a punch or an explosion that hard and then get back up and go back into the fray of physics defying combat. If the audience can suspend their disbelief for characters that present as men, they can do it for characters that present as women. It's a leap either way.
Message posted on 2014-04-27 17:26:40
Tim said:
Yeah, those that say it only passes the first test aren't very attentive viewers... the ballistics conversation is clearly a conversation between Hill and Widow. The question of whether or not the ballistics subject matter is enough to pass the third test or the fact that Fury and WS are context to the conversation means it fails is still debatable.

As far as the PoC version, Fury tries to recruit Falcon at the end to go with him on his mission, and Falcon refuses. So yeah.
Message posted on 2014-05-01 16:14:49
Foggen said:
Discussing ballistics is a pass, both on technical grounds and by the fact that it's two women showing extreme competence in a generally male-dominated context.
Message posted on 2014-05-01 20:07:59
Liara said:
This film unambiguously passes 2/3, and might actually meet 3/3. Two of the named female characters. Natasha Romanoff and Maria Hill, do speak with one another at least once (after Nick Fury is shot by the Winter Soldier). I'm not sure of the wording (somebody who has a transcript would have to check about this), but I think they talk primarily about ballistics, not so much either man, so the conversation may even pass the third test.
Message posted on 2014-05-03 21:39:27
Ben said:
Maria Hill talks to Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow during the scene where nick furry is found to be alive in that secret hole in the wall. they talk about saving the world so..passes all 3
Message posted on 2014-05-14 16:01:26
Jess said:
I guess it didn't do great by this measure, but I thought this film was awesome in part because of the heroic female roles. Agents Romanoff and Hill are every bit as bad ass, independent, intelligent as the other agents. I love it when Romanoff kicks a bunch of unsuspecting fascist, dudes asses.
Message posted on 2014-05-22 03:19:28
Bob said:
@Brandy

Like most comic book adaptations they have a limited number of stories and they are repeated. Fury faking his own death is one of them. It has been done since he was white in the older comics. While the black man is often the first to die the fact that it is Fury who does transcends this unfortunate trope.
Message posted on 2014-05-31 05:54:55
A Different Tim said:
All of this is pedantic, and none of this matters. It doesn't pass the test. It can be <i>argued</i> to <i>nearly</i> pass the test, but it does not pass. Women are underrepresented in this movie. They have made the effort to make the females strong and relateable but it fails the test.

The SINGULAR instance of two women talking to each other in this film does not have them talk to one another about anything that's not explicitly related to either the winter soldier, which they had identified as male before that point, or Fury. The bullets are hostile objects that were aimed by and to somebody, and while they are, as some argue above, technically NOT themselves EXPLICITLY male or any other thing, everything surrounding them in the context is. The technicality does not erase the spirit of the matter. Every part of that conversation were still male identifying and male driven.

It is not that it is sexist. It is not that it is not progressive. It just fails the test, and the fans who argue with that fact are trying to help but they are not helping. Not at all.

The fans who take this seriously are also failing to realize that many important political movements and industries and whole cultures in real life don't pass this test every day. It's not just a failing of this movie.

This movie was actually fairly accurate in showing the representation of women in militaristic and political functions. Maybe it could have done better about the two women talking to each other, and that's about it. Fans shouldn't feel the need to defend this. It's fine. It's a nearly accurate marker of the way the world is today.

It also, definitely, does not pass.
Message posted on 2014-06-03 01:02:09
M said:
Can I state how everyone seems to be forgetting an important detail about the Widow/Hill ballistics conversation? Because, yes, they do talk to each other. Two, they are not actually talking about Fury at all. They are talking about ballistics.

But here's the most important part of that absolutely no one has mentioned. The reason Romanoff immeditially recognizes the ballistics that Hill mentions has nothing to do with any man, but about her own history of being shot. What Romanoff doesn't say but is implied is "Soviet made? Yeah, I recognize that. From personal experience." Conversations are just as much about what's not said as is. Just like in real life. Life and language is complex. The reason Romanoff didn't continue her sentence is because she's in shock and grieving. Unless she's not allowed to because that would make her look weak. Only men can grieve?

I'm not saying it passes the test with flying colors or anything, but it does when you stop assuming that everything is about male characters.
Message posted on 2014-06-05 02:05:50
Isaac said:
I want to add that everyone above is correct, Black Widow and Agent Hill discuss bullets, ballistics, and that conversation leads to Black Widow's backstory.

This shows that the Bechdel test is BROKEN. It is helpful in some capacities, but the fact that this movie has a great character like Romanov and still "fails" is a discredit to feminism.
Message posted on 2014-06-09 03:09:16
J said:
There is nothing wrong with the test Issac . And this movie still fails. Agent Hill and Black Widow discuss the fate of Nick Fury.

They DO NOT have a conversation about ballistics. Ballistics is just part of their conversation about Nick Fury, who is a man.

This movie obviously doesn't hate women. But it fails the test. The test is more about the state of movies in general than individual movies.

Message posted on 2014-06-18 04:44:20
marshall maria said:
the bechdel test in my opinion makes no sence any way ..please some one try to convince me other wise for instance are you saying you want the characters to talk about something other then the events of the plot ? as for Anita's goal of 1 minute. are you saying you want two girls blabbing about nonsense that has nothing to do with the events in the plot for 1 minute ? you know how distracting and unrealisitic that sounds ?! maybe just maybe there could have been a scene where those two talk to eachother about their profession but god damn it they are busy trying to focus on their mission ... geez -_- please I want some one to explain to me what is the point of this test ....
Message posted on 2014-06-24 11:44:45
James said:
@marshall maria

The test is about representation. There are plenty of male test passes in the movie but no female. I don't think it is awful this one movie failed (and I wouldn't say it has any sexist subtext either) but it speaks to a greater disparity in film making when so many movies fail this simple test.

If for example, Robert's Redford's character had been played by Meryl Streep then the movie would have passed when Black Widow infiltrated his security council takeover meeting.
Message posted on 2014-07-05 17:01:16
Hotaru said:
I agree with many people here that the ballistics conversation is about ballistics, not Nick Fury. It's important to not only see it from an in-world perspective, but also how the conversation functions to further the plot. I've seen it suggested that one the reasons we don't see a lot of women talking to each other on-screen is that writers, whether consciously or not, believe that the audience will see women talking and assume it is unimportant, maybe even tune them out, and so it is too risky to make them talk about something important. Therefore, I think this movie should pass because they are not talking about a man nor something random, their conversation is instrumental in introducing Black Widow's backstory.
Message posted on 2014-09-29 08:15:54
neil (webmaster) said:
I've updated the rating from 1/3 to 3/3.
Message posted on 2014-10-02 14:38:37

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