Women Rise Ranks and Lead Troops in These Inspiring Films

In Hollywood, men have been wielding guns and fighting wars for what seems like forever. And for most of America's history, those movies were simply reflecting reality: the military was exclusive to men.

Even after women were allowed to enlist, they were relegated to peripheral roles and capped at 2 percent. It wasn't until 1967 that President Johnson lifted the 2 percent rule, and it took until 2013 for the Pentagon to remove an official ban on women in combat.

Movies have justly accompanied this increased acceptance for women in the military, both in fictional stories and documentaries. From Demi Moore  in "G.I. Jane" to Kristen Stewart's role as a soldier at Gitmo, to Naomi Watts as CIA agent Valerie Plame in "Fair Game," these actors and films show that women deserve an equal place in the military. Meet some incredible warriors — many based on true stories — by clicking through the gallery above.

NEXT: MAKERS Documentary: Women in War »

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Gallery

"Zero Dark Thirty" tells the story of the team who worked to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. Jessica Chastain won a Golden Globe for her performance as Maya Lambert, a CIA officer who spent her career focused on gathering intelligence related to bin Laden.

In Camp X-Ray, Kristen Stewart plays an Army private who guards Guantanamo Bay. The film is based on a real-life temporary detention facility called Camp X-Ray.

Demi Moore's character Lieutenant Jordan O'Neil undertook intense physical trials to prove her ability to join the (fictional) U.S. Navy Combined Reconnaissance Team — similar to the real-life Navy Seals — in "G.I. Jane."

"Fair Game" details real-life CIA officer Valerie Plame's betrayal by the White House. Naomi Watts portrays the protagonist.

In 2012, Hilary Duff played Kelly Collins, a "teen fashion queen" whose parents send her to military school, where she transforms into Cadet Kelly!

Meg Ryan portrays Army Captain Karen Emma Walden, a pilot of a rescue helicopter in Desert Storm, in 1996's "Courage Under Fire."

After her new husband dies, Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn) joins the U.S. Army in the 1980 film "Private Benjamin." While comedic, the film addresses sexual assault, sexism, and communism. 

"The Invisible War" addresses sexual assault in the military, and a broken system in which only 8 percent of military sexual assault cases are prosecuted.

In "MAKERS: Women in War," groundbreaking soldiers, nurses, spies, and war correspondents share their stories that shaped the history of women in the military.