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Six iconic mothers in film history

Whether they are displaying unconditional love or fighting off bad guys, these six mothers never fail to inspire.

Nyi Htet

Captivated by horror and tattoos and horror tattoos.

Published: 8 May 2022, 12:39 PM

With Mother’s Day around the corner, we take a look at the maternal figures in cinema who go above and beyond for their children.

Whether they showcased their endless love through physical acts or words of wisdom, these mothers are icons in their own right. 

Here is a list of six iconic mothers in film history:

1. Sarah Connor (Terminator 2: Judgement Day)

Going from a damsel in distress to a warrior hardened by battle, Sarah Connor’s arc has cemented her as a bonafide badass female protagonist in film history. 

Yet, what sets her apart from the other gun-wielding, machete waving survivalists is her fierce love for her son, John Connor. John happens to be the leader of the resistance against Skynet, a malevolent AI entity bent on annihilating humanity through a nuclear holocaust. 

Sarah’s monologue in Terminator 2: Judgement Day about creating life and feeling it inside is immensely telling: All her risks and sacrifices were the result of her deep faith in John. It was her adamant belief that he was destined to save humanity which spurred her on throughout.  

In the end, not bullets, asylums or even a shapeshifting android assassin designed as a killing machine could take her down. 

The moral of the story? Never mess with a mother on a mission to protect her child. 

2. Aunt May (Spider-Man trilogy)

We live in a world fortunate enough to witness three live-action Aunt Mays grace the big screen in the last two decades alone. 

My pick however, is Rosemary Harris’s soft spoken portrayal from the original Spider-Man trilogy which gripped millions of comic fans around the world due to its faithful adaptation. 

While May is not Peter Parker’s mother per se, her gentle yet firm approach in raising our beloved web-slinger as his legal guardian cannot be overlooked. Aunt May was known for dishing out invaluable words of wisdom, which more often than not put him on the right path. 

After all, it was her tear-jerking speech at the end of Spider-Man which reminded Peter that the world needs a hero, giving him a renewed sense of vigour to don the suit once more.


3. Molly Weasley (Harry Potter series)

With Harry Potter being one of the highest-grossing movie franchises of all time, this feisty flame-haired witch needs no introduction. 

As a mother of seven magical children, you would think that Molly Weasley had enough on her plate. Yet, she welcomed Harry Potter (and Hermione Granger) into her family with no reservations, taking care of him as though he were her own. 

From knitting iconic Weasley jumpers for the family to making sure Harry was well-fed, Molly’s love for her children (including Harry) was selfless and unconditional.

The definitive moment that epitomised Molly’s love was when she engaged in a deadly duel with Bellatrix Lestrange in a bid to protect her daughter, eventually dealing a fatal blow to the dark witch.

It was an epic moment which solidified her standing in this list. 

4. Mrs Gump (Forrest Gump)

While Mrs Gump had minimal screen time, the profound impact that she had on her son, Forrest Gump was irrefutable, so much so that the film started off with a grown Forrest quoting his mother to a stranger sitting on a park bench.

This happened throughout the film as Mrs Gump’s character was brought to life through Forrest’s narration where he started his sentences with “my mama always said”, highlighting how the lessons she taught had stayed with him throughout his life. 

With quotes like “You got to put the past behind you before you can move on” and “Don’t ever let anybody tell you they’re better than you”, Mrs Gump was definitely one of the wisest mothers in cinema.

5. Yang (Where Got Ghost?)

As the only local feature on this list, Malaysian actress Lai Meng plays Yang, a spirit who watches over her children even after death. 

Throughout the segment, her character shows up at inopportune moments which scares her children (Bao Hui, Bao Huang and Bao Qiang) who wonder why their mother is haunting them rather than blessing them supernaturally. 

As the film reaches its climax, Yang appears as a ghastly apparition in the middle of the road, causing Bao Qiang to swerve and lose control of his car which crashes. As the brothers scramble out of the car, they notice a massive landslide occurring right in front of them which would have killed them had Yang not intervened. 

Realising that their mother had saved their lives, the brothers vow to be more appreciative, eventually taking Yang’s urn to a temple. 

Yang’s character is a moving reflection of a mother’s eternal love. 

6. Lily Aldrin (How I Met Your Mother)

Yes we know, this was a TV show and not a film. But how can one not include the most iconic mother on a screen ever?

College sweethearts Lily Aldrin and Marshall Eriksen got engaged in the pilot episode of the series and were married at the end of season two, making their relationship the most stable one on the show.

This love carried over into motherhood in season seven when Lily conceived Marvin Eriksen.

Strong-willed and devoted, Lily often confronted the challenges of motherhood head-on, making for many humorous yet heart-warming moments throughout the series.

With so many memorable maternal figures in cinema, picking out just six was excruciatingly difficult. Nevertheless, we believe that these six mothers take the cake, either due to their feats or the impact that they had on their children.

PS. How I Met Your Mother is available for viewing on Disney+.

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