Five unforgettable princesses of the silver screen

  • By Christy Lemire Associated Press
  • Friday, March 1, 2013 4:54pm
  • LifeMovies

This week’s “Jack the Giant Slayer,” a 3-D retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk legend, contains all the elements of the classic tale: farm boy, beans, giants, etc.

But along for the ride is a new character, Princess Isabelle, played by Eleanor Tomlinson.

Here’s a look at five other movies featuring strong princesses:

“Roman Holiday” (1953): Truly a classic in the princess-in-disguise genre, this romantic comedy charmer stars a young, radiant Audrey Hepburn in her only Oscar-winning role.

She plays Princess Ann, who’s tired of the schedules and demands so she sneaks out, meets journalist Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) and together they do all the things she’s always wanted to do: drink champagne midday, race around on a scooter, dance under the moonlight and even get into a wild brawl.

While she retains her elegance, she’s truly up for anything.

“Star Wars” (1977): Stands up to Darth Vader. Leads the Rebel Alliance in taking on the evil Empire. Enjoys snappy banter with Han Solo. And she does it all with enormous, symmetrical buns on either side of her head.

Is there anything Princess Leia can’t do? As played indelibly by Carrie Fisher, she’s petite but driven, smart and smart-mouthed.

“The Princess Bride” (1987): Don’t let the name Buttercup fool you. As played by Robin Wright, this is a woman who’s as resourceful as she is beautiful. And she’d rather risk her life than be forced into a “mawwiage” with a man she doesn’t love, the evil Prince Humperdinck.

Although she’s kidnapped at one point, Buttercup is no damsel in distress.

This cheeky fairy tale is of Rob Reiner’s best films: endlessly quotable and as clever and hilarious as ever.

“A Little Princess” (1995): OK, admittedly this pick is a bit of a cheat because the little girl at its center isn’t actual royalty, but she’s so lovely — as is the film as a whole — that I had to sneak it in there.

This early Alfonso Cuaron movie is beautiful and truly magical, with Oscar nominations for its cinematography and art direction.

Liesel Matthews stars as Sara, a child of privilege at an exclusive New York boarding school.

When her beloved father is presumed dead while fighting in World War I, Sara is forced into servitude by the school’s cruel headmistress.

Liesel’s plucky and full of personality, a loyal and generous friend who brings out the best in everyone around her. Sounds pretty regal to me.

“Princess Mononoke” (1999): She was raised by wolves, people, come on! What more do you need to know?

This gorgeous and wondrous animated fantasy from Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki features a true warrior princess: a fierce young woman named San (voiced by Claire Danes in the English-language version) who can communicate with the spirits.

She finds herself in the center of a war between animals, humans (whom she hates) and demons in a mystical 14th century setting.

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