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Movies To Watch If You Like Birds Of Prey

"Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)" is quite the mouthful. But hey, so is a delicious, runny-yoke breakfast sandwich. Directed by Cathy Yan, the 2020 film reconnects with the standout character from 2016's "Suicide Squad." That's right — Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the wisecracking, PhD-slinging, and not quite mentally all-there anti-heroine.

But don't let that flashy DC logo fool you, "Birds of Prey" is a breakup movie. When the film begins, Harley is reeling from a breakup with the Joker that, unlike all the other breakups, feels final. After an especially riotous bender, Harley sees fit to blow up a chemical plant — their romantic "spot" — as a public statement regarding her single status. But with all of Gotham's underbelly aware that she no longer has the Joker's protection, Harley finds herself with a big ol' target on her back. After the narcissistic crime boss Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) comes calling, Harley winds up embroiled in a criminal plot that tests just how far she's willing to go for her independence.

If you've finished "Birds of Prey" and would like to watch more films like it, you've come to the right place. Below we've assembled a list of films from across a litany of genres that would make for excellent follow-ups to Yan's silly, candy-colored comic book effort. Read on for our recommendations for what to watch if you liked "Birds of Prey":

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Harley's enemies come calling when her breakup with the Joker goes public. And while she's able to give lesser grunts the slip, Roman Sionis has the manpower necessary to bring Harley in. Itching to "let off some steam" at our heroine's expense, Harley takes a beating that leads to an especially inspired hallucination. Between punts, the nightclub stage morphs into a technicolor daydream ripped right out of one of Howard Hawks' most infamous set pieces. It makes sense that Harley's baby-pink imagination would whisk her away from such a dire situation. Sionis' furious demands for the whereabouts of the priceless Bertinelli diamond make the imaginative leap all the easier. Taking us along for the dissociative ride, our heroine launches into a Harley-ified pastiche of the "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" number from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

Harley's coping mechanisms have great taste. Hawks' 1953 musical-comedy may be all eye candy, but it's some of the sweetest and most charming candy one can consume. The film follows Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe), a showgirl at odds with her future father-in-law who's pegged her as a gold digger. While on a cruise with her best friend, Dorothy (Jane Russell), the two are trailed by a private eye on the hunt for engagement-canceling red flags. Frequently cited today as a feminist buddy comedy (not unlike "Birds of Prey"), "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" is about appreciating the finer things in life ... like taking advantage of men blinded by machismo.

A Clockwork Orange

Now, a word of warning: Stanley Kubrick's 1971 adaptation of Anthony Burgess' novel is not for the faint of heart. Set in a dystopic, not-so-distant vision of Britain, "A Clockwork Orange" follows Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a charismatic, culture-obsessed sadist who'd probably get along famously with "Birds of Prey" big bad Roman Sionis. Alex is the domineering leader of a gang of delinquents who partake in all manner of ill-spirited "ultra-violent" delinquency. Eventually, the state, eager to crack down on juvenile crime, incarcerates Alex and signs the youth up for an invasive, experimental procedure that robs him of all personal agency.

While "Birds of Prey" and "A Clockwork Orange" take very different tonal approaches to their depictions of crime, violence, and delinquent youngsters, they do have one thing in common. As director Cathy Yan explained (via CinemaBlend), the production took inspiration from the Milk Bar in "A Clockwork Orange" in the design of the Black Mask Club. As Yan notes, in Kubrick's film, sexualized female forms serve both an architectural and aesthetic purpose. Pay close attention, and you'll notice a family resemblance in "Birds of Prey," from the disembodied, jutting hands in Roman's club to the gaping female mouth that provides entry to the Booby Trap. So, if you've got a strong stomach and an aesthetic itch to scratch, consider checking out this infamous classic to track where Yan's production team took inspiration.


Did you know, dear reader, that director Sam Raimi made a superhero movie before he made "Spider-Man?" Born out of his inability to secure the rights to Batman or the Shadow, Raimi made up his own superhero, and thus, "Darkman" was born. As for the plot, Dr. Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is on the verge of a major breakthrough in synthetic skin. Unfortunately, when his lawyer girlfriend (Frances McDormand) runs afoul of the wrong crowd, Peyton's laboratory is destroyed. Burned beyond recognition and with his nerves severed in an experimental medical procedure, Peyton assumes the mantle of Darkman. Using his imperfect face-printing technology to disguise himself as alternate identities, Peyton embarks on a quest for revenge.

Despite being an original idea, "Darkman" is one of the few comic book movies that really feels like a comic book. It certainly has that in common with the kinetic pop-punk sensibility of "Birds of Prey," in addition to a lively, comedic pep in its step despite its, uh, dark subject matter. No brooding here, just camp-tastic slapstick shenanigans. Also, "Birds of Prey" and "Darkman" both have a vested interest in skinless faces. So if that floats your boat, you've come to the right double bill.

Leon: The Professional

If the relationship between fledgling criminal Cassandra Cain and accomplished mercenary Harley Quinn really did it for you, good news: "Léon: The Professional" exists. Directed by French "Cinéma du look" adherent Luc Besson, "Léon: The Professional" sees an accomplished, if socially muted, hitman (Jean Reno) becoming the unwilling guardian of 12-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman) after her family is wiped out by a volatile DEA agent (Gary Oldman). As Mathilda's thoughts veer into violent territory, she considers following in Léon's steps to exact revenge for her family's murder.

Ella Jay Basco, who portrays the streetwise young pickpocket Cassandra Cain in "Birds of Prey," took inspiration from Portman's performance. As Basco explained (via Slashfilm), "[Cassandra is a] vulnerable, kind of scrappy kid and I ... took some inspiration off of 'The Professional' with Natalie Portman. And that was something that I really used while trying to figure out her character." Director Cathy Yan also cited the film as a direct influence on "the relationship between Harley and Cass." While Harley has decidedly more pizzaz than the low-key Léon, if you're a fan of resourceful urchins latching onto morally dark mentors, this is the double bill for you.

Tank Girl

While we're out here patting DC on the back for making a kick-ass female superhero film, we ought to pay tribute to another spunky blonde. Rachel Talalay's "Tank Girl" walked so that "Birds of Prey" could run. A trailblazer for the women-led comic book film, "Tank Girl" is set in the post-apocalyptic hellscape of 2033. Water is a precious commodity. And our protagonist — a quip-slinging, foul-mouthed punk named Rebecca "Tank Girl" Buck (Lori Petty) — is forced to take on Australia's water-controlling mega-corporation when they ruin her life. 

"Tank Girl" is pure on-screen anarchy and by no means perfect. And while we're likely never to see anything that bananapants ever again, Petty's unapologetic and indomitable performance is undeniably magnetic. It is also not that hard to imagine how Petty's performance helped shape Margot Robbie's take on Harley Quinn. Both are blonde, motor-mouthed, punk-influenced sweethearts with a gleeful edge and a penchant for mayhem. Oh, and if all that wasn't enough, Robbie might actually reboot "Tank Girl" through her production company, LuckyChap Entertainment. What's that old saying? About icing on the cake?

Romeo + Juliet

If there's one way to describe Baz Luhrmann's films, it's the old adage "more is more." The man has never seen an ostrich feather he didn't like, and you have to respect that. Cathy Yan certainly does. You can see Luhrmann's glitter-coated fingerprints all over "Birds of Prey," from its frenetic line delivery to its constant high energy to the vibrant, ultra-colorful production design. One Luhrmann film that served as an inspirational touchpoint for Yan was 1996's "Romeo + Juliet," a contemporary take on William Shakespeare's famous tragedy of star-crossed teenage lovers torn apart by familial conflict. Despite the retention of the Bard's iambic pentameter, visually "Romeo + Juliet" looks like a bomb went off at a seaside costume shop. You're going to have to believe us that we mean that as a compliment.

Yan cites "Romeo + Juliet" as a touchstone both visually and "the way that it feels like it was familiar but also completely foreign. You didn't quite know where it was, and it had this interesting 'more-is-more,' very cool and street style. I use that reference a lot in terms of how I wanted the world to feel — that it was heightened and full of life" (via the British Film Institute).

Legally Blonde

So you like movies where an uber competent, pink-loving blonde finds empowerment after being dumped by her toxic boyfriend? Well, hold onto your pom-pom adorned pens because have we got the double bill for you. Much like Harley Quinn, Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) doesn't quite know what to do with herself when Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis) calls their relationship quits. Being broken up with wasn't part of her fantasy, and if it takes following him to Harvard Law to prove to him that she's not "too blonde" to be his fiancé, so be it. What, like it's hard? With remarkable speed, wit, and determination, Elle realizes that uplifting other women and believing in herself is way more fulfilling than basing her identity around dating a frat bro.

Unrepentantly feminine, effortlessly intelligent, and not above the requisite post-breakup snack, Harley and Elle have a boatload in common. Is there a better way to recover from being broken up with than being wildly successful on your own terms? We think not. Does Harley need legal representation? Probably. She should give Elle a ring.

Moulin Rouge!

In a totally Baz Luhrmann move, we're recommending not just one of the Australian director's films but two. Maximalism prevails yet again, folks. 

We've already detailed how Yan drew inspiration from Luhrmann's "more is more" approach to production design, as well as his high-energy frenetic pace. And with that in mind, another Luhrmann effort should populate the watchlists of "Birds of Prey" fans — his 2001 musical "Moulin Rouge!" In addition to sharing a similar riotous energy to Yan's superhero effort, there's one, uh, less subtle connection that makes this an easy pick to recommend. Oh look, it's Ewan McGregor! And while he's not chewing the scenery as voraciously as he is in "Birds of Prey," he's still an absolute delight as a young poet plunged into the frantic world of a glamorous Parisian nightclub. 

A jukebox-style musical directed with the subtlety of the Tasmanian Devil, if you wanted Harley's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" number to be its whole own movie, this is exactly what you'd get.

Kill Bill

When the Joker breaks up with Harley, she isn't out for blood. Sure, by all accounts, she'd have due cause to kick his door down and get even. But Harley's post-breakup story is more about proving to herself, and to Gotham, that she's her own woman ... to the degree that Mr. J doesn't even make an appearance in her film. 

The "Kill Bill" films are another story, told emphatically within the legacy of the revenge genre. Beatrix "The Bride" Kiddo (Uma Thurman) is betrayed by her fellow assassins. Shot and left for dead on the day of her wedding while heavily pregnant, you can understand why a roaring rampage of revenge is in order after she awakens from a coma. Unlike Harley, the Bride's emancipation requires resetting the scales and ridding the world of those who did her wrong ... one by one. 

Across two blood-drenched films, director Quentin Tarantino details his blonde heroine's quest to dispatch her treacherous former associates one by one. Energized by a bloodthirsty, anti-patriarchal spirit, the "Kill Bill" films may be decidedly less giddy than "Birds of Prey," but if you're a fan of killer ladies running circles around their lesser male counterparts, you've come to the right place.

John Wick

If you watched "Birds of Prey" and thought to yourself, "Huh, these actions scenes are really well choreographed, I'd like to see more of that," today is your lucky day. During principal photography, director Cathy Yan worked with 87eleven Action Design, the company behind the "John Wick" trilogy. This involved working with 87eleven alums Johnathan Eusebio and Jon Valera on stunts and fight choreography, respectively, as well as collaborating with Chad Stahelski, the director of the "John Wick" films. "That was the style I wanted for the movie," explained Yan (via CinemaBlend). "It just felt right. It was that mix of practical but also heightened, like where it felt really real, but they're also kind of having fun with it."

So if the action scenes in "Birds of Prey" got your heart pumping, you should certainly check out the "John Wick" films if you haven't already. The trilogy details the reluctant return of its titular assassin to a life of crime. Initially pulled back into the criminal underbelly when a mobster's petulant son kills his puppy, each film progressively expands the scope of John Wick's (Keanu Reeve) assassin-filled world. Thankfully, Bruce (Harley's pet hyena) remains unharmed for the duration of "Birds of Prey."


Sure, there aren't any grenades, mobsters, or metahumans in Paul Feig's 2011 comedy. But if you enjoyed the way that the third act of "Birds of Prey" captured a real relatable sense of "girls hanging out," then you owe it to yourself to give "Bridesmaids" a watch. The film follows yet another messy blonde: Annie (Kristen Wiig), an aspiring baker whose life is slipping away from her. When Annie's lifetime best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), gets engaged, Annie steps up as her maid of honor, bluffing her way through the costly and often absurd pre-wedding rituals. The escalating pressure doesn't exactly do wonders for Annie's deteriorating personal life, putting her friendship with Lillian in jeopardy.

Lest you think we're recommending "Bridesmaids" to fulfill some secretive rom-com quota, "Birds of Prey" director Cathy Yan herself has cited the film as an influence. As she explained to the British Film Institute, "I ended up using 'Bridesmaids' as a reference because I thought the humor was great and raw, and it felt like how I speak to my girlfriends and how Margot [Robbie] and I speak to each other. ... The second thing about 'Bridesmaids' that I loved was it was a motley crew of women. They don't visually look like they would be part of a team per se. [I liked] that element of diversity in how strange, interesting, and individual they are." 

Deadpool 2

At the time of its release, more than one critic noted that "Birds of Prey" was DC's answer to Marvel's "Deadpool." And sure, there are some similarities between each respective entity's R-rated comic book movie about a motormouthed mercenary. Both Harley and Deadpool do have the gift of gab and a notable talent for breaking the fourth wall. But if you're planning to cross studio lines and check out Marvel's comic relief-du-jour, we'd recommend skipping to the sequel. It's not that we're not fans of the first instalment. It's just that "Deadpool 2" sees the wisecracking mutant (Ryan Reynolds) tasked with sheltering an angsty teen (Julian Dennison) who's become the target of a daunting threat (in this case, a genetically enhanced soldier sent from the future, played by Josh Brolin). The question of who makes for the better babysitter, Deadpool or Harley, is something you're just going to have to decide for yourself.


When a mission to set up an outpost on Earth goes haywire, an alien being known as B-127 collapses from its wounds and transforms into a yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Years later, a young teenage girl named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) discovers the Beetle in a junkyard by a small Californian beach town. In the process of befriending B-127, who she dubs Bumblebee, Charlie accidentally activates a signal alerting enemy aliens to B-127's whereabouts. 

While the similarities between "Bumblebee" and "Birds of Prey" may not be immediately obvious, upon closer inspection, the pair have a heck of a lot in common. Both films are late entries in blockbuster franchises that have, historically, been marketed to young men. Both films focus on female leads and enjoy a markedly different tone than their predecessors. Oh, right, and they were both written by screenwriter Christina Hodson.

Both "Bumblebee" and "Birds of Prey" offer refreshing, uncynical, and smaller-scale entries to bombastic (and frequently misogynistic) franchises. In other words, they're the films that folks who "don't watch DC/Transformers" movies might actually be able to enjoy. If "Birds of Prey" felt like a palette cleanser, we heartily recommend you give the ridiculously charming "Bumblebee" a shot.


Wish the final act of "Birds of Prey" were its own movie? Same here. The good news is that we can enthusiastically point you in the direction of Steve McQueen's 2018 heist-thriller "Widows." When a police shootout leaves a team of four thieves dead in an armed robbery gone sideways, their widows are left behind to pick up the pieces. With nothing in common except a towering debt left by their spouses' criminal shenanigans, the women have no choice but to carve out a future on their own terms ... by pulling off one heck of a heist.

Starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo, "Widows" is the current modern benchmark for the female-led take on a traditionally male-dominated genre space. Co-written by "Gone Girl" scribe Gillian Flynn, "Widows" has a distinctly "men are trash" gait that vibes well with "Birds of Prey." Featuring exquisite action set pieces, a heart-racing pace, and a piercing take on the similarities between cops and robbers, "Widows" is an absolute must-watch for fans of action-heavy genre films where criminal women seize their independence.