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If there's one rule governing the animal kingdom, it's this: You do not mess with Mom. Ever. If you come between a mama and her cub, you will lose. They're the most terrifying force in the animal kingdom, and they'll do anything to protect their babies.
Of course, you don't need science to tell you that. You know Mom can always be counted on to swoop in like a cookie-baking Batman, knock out a bully, and take you home for story time. (That reminds us, have you bought her a present yet?)
Movies may not get a lot right (physics, romance, book adaptations), but for the most part, they do right by moms. Especially tough moms. Cinema is packed with gun-toting, take-no-prisoners, willing-to-die mothers, and they're all so inspiring that we hated cutting it off at 9. But we did, and here are the Baddest Muthas in Movies. Add your own at #10.
9. Angelina Jolie as Grendel's Mother in 'Beowulf' (2007)
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Beowulf is essentially the first English action story, so it's not surprising that it features a tough mother like all of its descendants do. Sure, she's nameless, but she poses even more of a threat to Beowulf than her ferocious son does. In the original poem, she's all claws and bloodlust; in the 21st century she's been given something even deadlier -- the body and face of Angelina Jolie.
8. Jodie Foster as Meg Altman in 'Panic Room' (2002)
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Your first night in a new house is usually full of dilemmas like "Where should we get dinner?" and "Where did I pack my pajamas?" But not for the mom and daughter in "Panic Room." They're burglarized, locked in a single room and facing a diabetic crisis. Luckily, Mama Meg thinks on her feet, and isn't afraid to throw blows, grab a gun or wield a sledgehammer if it means protecting her baby girl.
7. Estelle Getty as Mrs. Tutti Bomowski in 'Stop or My Mom Will Shoot!' (1992)
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Who is the one person in the world that Sylvester Stallone's Joe Bomowski is afraid of? His ma. She cleans his gun, overfeeds him, heckles him and doesn't let a closed bathroom door stop her. What she lacks in bone density and height, she makes up for in brains, aim, wit and the ability to score heavy artillery off the back of a truck.
6. Julie Walters as Mrs. Weasley in the 'Harry Potter' Series (2001-2011)
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At first, Mrs. Weasley doesn't seem tough on anyone but her unwieldy brood. She cooks, she knits, she fusses and she shouts. But when Voldemort threatens, she's one of the first to join the fight against him, offering support that's motherly and martial. She's pure steel in her penultimate moment, when she doesn't even flinch from killing Bellatrix Lestrange -- accompanying it with a line any action hero would envy.
5. Jennifer Lopez as Slim in 'Enough' (2002)
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Slim spends much of "Enough" running from her abusive husband, Mitch. But when he pushes down their daughter, Gracie, and makes her cry, she's had enough. She takes Krav Maga, chops off her hair, plans incriminating evidence and lets Mitch have it. You can hurt J.Lo, and she'll let you live. If you hurt her baby? You'll bleed.
4. Holly Hunter as Mrs. Helen Incredible, aka Elastigirl, in 'The Incredibles' (2004)
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Married, with three kids? Pfft. Once a superhero, always a superhero. Mrs. Incredible may not fit into her suit as well as she once did, but she's willing to don it and fly right into the heart of danger if it means saving her loved ones from a supervillain. She can fight, flight a jet, cheer on her kids, and save Metroville on the way home. Easy stuff for a mom.
3. Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in 'Alien' (1979) and 'Aliens' (1986)
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We knew Ripley had a maternal side when she saved the cat in "Alien." We didn't know she was actually a mom until "Aliens." Though she lost her daughter, Ripley wastes no time grieving. Instead, she gives all her blood, sweat and tears to protecting little Newt, and woe to the Alien Queen who dares touch her adopted baby.
2. Uma Thurman as Beatrix Kiddo in 'Kill Bill' (2003 and 2004)
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If you thought a mom protecting her child was tough, wait until you encounter a mama out to avenge her unborn cub. Beatrix Kiddo happily cuts through assassins and ninjas, all in the name of her baby. When she discovers her daughter is still alive, she smiles, delivers a killing blow to BB's father and takes her girl home. And then all is well in the jungle.
1. Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in 'The Terminator' (1984) and 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' (1991)
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It's daunting to be told you're the mother of humanity's savior, and that machines from the future want to kill you. But Sarah Connor takes it as well as can be expected, and promptly transforms herself from your average waitress into a ripped warrior, ferocious and cool in combat. Her willingness to be impaled by the T2 to protect her son makes her the fiercest mom we know ... but we think ours would do the same.