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]] Run Lola Run (1998) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Pete on 2011-04-16 19:57:25.



Pete said:
It's an extra shame this fails. It has quite a lot of dialogue for an action film and features a strong female lead rescuing her dumb blond boyfriend as the main plot, a bit of a reverse from the norm. The film also fails stage 3 of the reverse Bechdel.
Message posted on 2011-04-16 19:57:26
Watson said:
The way you just said it was an "extra shame" is concerning. The Bechdel test isn't without some pretty obvious flaws. This movie not passing showing a few. Lola is a strong female lead, she's the most developed character in the movie and is on screen for about 4/5 of the entire movie. She doesn't fall in to generic cinematic stereotypes of a strong woman being emotionless and she's involved in a relationship with a man who clearly respects her as an intellectual equal. The fact this movie doesn't pass the test and as a consequence becomes a statistic in the pushing of the idea that films are inherently misogynistic means that the test has failed and not the film.
Message posted on 2011-04-16 22:50:15
Pete said:
The film fails to pass in part because so much of the supporting cast are male and so the film could be criticised for that. The film fails the bechdel worse than it would fail a reverse bechdel. Given that though, for me the test isn't so much useful in judging individual films, rather the sheer number of films that fail shows us something about film making and film makers as a group. If there are some misogynistic films that pass and some positive films that fail then that doesn't effect the overall picture of underepresentation. Personally I really like the film and don't think of it as any kind of failure, nor do I think of this as a good reason for criticising the test.
Message posted on 2011-04-17 17:09:22
Watson said:
A pretty awkward argument though given that none of the male supporting cast are anywhere near as fleshed out as Lola?

What you're referring to now is statistics and it's at this point the Bechdel test becomes particularly useless if films that are clearly inappropriate are added. The test requires a typical narrative structure and for there to be a certain amount of dialogue for the test to be applicable. It's not that some misogynistic movies might pass and some not misogynistic movies might fail, therefore balancing things out, it's that structurally a large number of movies don't suit the test. Any lengthy conversation in Run Lola Run is between Lola and a supporting cast member with if I remember correctly the exception of a brief conversation between the homeless man and Lola's boyfriend. So not only is structurally the entire film based around one female character, it's also pretty sparing on dialogue anyway. Lets look at other examples of films that wouldn't pass the Bechdel for logical reasons. Rescue Dawn: set in a Vietnamese pow camp. set in a time when women weren't allowed in the army and as a consequence logically wouldn't involve female characters. So, the time and place in which a movie is set becomes a factor. Throne Of Blood: a Japanese adaptation of Macbeth. Remember how annoyed people became when Huckleberry Finn was altered to appear more politically correct? Sorry, altering classics to fill quotas because of a disregard for historical context is foolish. A historical under representation of female characters doesn't translate to a modern one. The Antichrist: It has two characters in it. One of each gender. The Vagina Monologues: the third word in the title explains this pretty well.

With all of these potential reasons that a movie might fail the Bechdel, it becomes apparent that the test has to be reformatted to only consider appropriate movies for it to prove it's hypothesis. However, at that point we no longer have a basic pseudo-scientific test and are back to making value decisions on movies which is what the test attempted to get away from in the first place but is unable to due to it's inability to incorporate structure and context. Hence, the Bechdel test proves very little. At least from a statistical point of view.
Message posted on 2011-04-18 15:58:51
Pete said:
>Watson Thanks for your insite you have clearly thought about the Bechdel alot more than I have. However I'm not sure I understand what you desire. Do you think the Beched should be abandoned or do you think it needs rewriting?

I think a big strength of the test is it's simplicity. I discovered the test quite recently and it has made me think about the films I like. If I had come across a more complicated test I don't think I would've bothered with it in the first place.

As for Lola she is an impressive character you are right to point out she is involved in nearly all the dialogue. She is also in control of most action. I think there is more dialogue in the film than you remember I thought after watching it the other night more than normal for an action movie, though that might be a result of reading subtitles when unused to it. The dialogue without Lola is conversations between her father and his lover(sorry I can't remeber names and IMDB's being unhelpful) and between Lola's father and the man who tends to crash his car. I don't think the tramp says enough for his exchange with Manni to count and so the film fails the reverse Bechdel. On one level the film is about Lola's relationship with three men- Manni, her father and the security guard. If any of these had been female it would have passed, that is not to say that it should have been made differently just that there was scope for it to pass.

As I say I don't think a more comlicated Bechdel would be a better one. I don't think that the number of traditional tales, literary classics and historically accurate period pieces explains that nearly half the films on this site fail the test. You are probably right to say the Bechdel proves little but it does suggest alot.

P.s. I've noticed at least one other Pete I am not he and with a different name in future

Also these pages provide a good guide to gender in individual films if you read the comments.
Message posted on 2011-04-19 17:10:08
Nellie said:
Hmmm....I'm pretty sure I remember some connversations with other women. Lola's father's mistress, an old woman and a woman working at the casino.
Message posted on 2011-12-13 23:00:42
Nellie said:
Hmmm....I'm pretty sure I remember some conversations with other women. Lola's father's mistress, an old woman and a woman working at the casino.
Message posted on 2011-12-13 23:00:48
Robert said:

Father's Office, Run 1:

Uta (Father's mistress): That's your daughter? I'm Uta Hansen, Board of Directors.

Lola: Sorry to interrupt, but it's urgent, very urgent.

Uta: It's alright, I was just about to go.

It's brief, but it happens.
Message posted on 2013-02-26 22:15:51
trina B said:
@Watson, I agree that the Bechdel test doesn't apply to all kinds of movies... for example, Baraka, which doesn't have any dialogue, or a movie that has only two opposite sex characters -you mentioned Antichrist - as well as documentaries.

However, the point of the Bechdel test is not that all films should pass it. It is not a value judgement on a particular film or genre. Also, It is not that we should make all films politically correct at the cost of art and/or historical accuracy, but rather that the trend of underrepresentation that the test exposes suggests a need for more women's stories to be told and for more movies that center on women's experiences and relationships. Historical inequality doesn't mean we didn't exist, or that there isn't a vast wealth of topics about women, featuring women, that have to be scripted in a demeaning or subjugating way. Also, more often rather than not, a film has plenty of room for female dialogue and interaction that would not weaken or digress from the plot- for example, Terminator. There is a scene where Sara and her roommate are standing next to each other in a bathroom, putting on makeup, and yet they say absolutely nothing. Adding a simple conversation between them would have felt more natural than the film's represented awkward silence and would have added some depth to the rather flat roommate character.

I agree that the system is a bit flawed because it is too simplistic and vague. But as a basic, rough pulse taker of the film industry, it's quite useful.
Message posted on 2013-06-15 18:50:55
Paul said:
I think it's worth pointing out again that this passes, especially as I saw it mentioned recently in a list of films that you'd expect to pass the Bechdel, but don't (according to this site, at least).

Lola has a conversation with her father's mistress, as described.

She also has a conversation with an old woman that runs something like this:

OW: Poor girl. What's wrong?
L: Do you have the time?

Okay, it's short, but it's there.

Lola speaks for longer with the woman at the front desk at the casino, and they dispute Lola not having enough money for the amount of chips she wants.

Please change the rating!

(Just for completion's sake, I'll mention that Lola's mother asks her to buy shampoo, but Lola doesn't reply.)
Message posted on 2014-01-07 00:13:05
Colin said:
Love this movie and does not fail the test, there is a lengthy exchange between two females at the casino. You can view it at:
Message posted on 2014-01-10 01:17:19
juli said:
hi, there are brief interactions between Lola and Jutta in Lola's father's office. Jutta introduces herself and Lola cuts her off. There is a short interaction where Jutta asks Lola if she isn't ashamed of herself and Lola says she doesn't give a shit. There is also a very short interaction between Mrs.Jäger and Lola.
Message posted on 2014-02-16 21:18:45
Jared said:
Watch the scene that starts at about 19 minutes 45 seconds.

Jutta Hansen identifies herself by name to Lola, and then they talk to each other, about something other than a man.
Message posted on 2018-08-05 06:40:11
neil (webmaster) said:
I've updated the rating from 1/3 to 3/3.
Message posted on 2021-03-15 08:12:26

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