30 Movies to Watch If You Love Legally Blonde and Elle Woods
Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde will always be one of our favourite badass female main characters. The bubbly college girl who decides to apply to Harvard Law to chase her boyfriend who dumped her, Warner (Matthew Davis), ends up proving everyone wrong when she not only gets in but makes a name for herself in her first year. Though she’s a fumbling fish out of water when she first arrives – no one expected a brightly clad blonde with a tiny dog in tow at Harvard – she eventually finds her people and even falls in love. And while the movie spawned a few sequels, with Legally Blonde 3 on the way in 2022, nothing will ever top the original story. You can’t honestly say you weren’t impressed with Elle totally shutting down her case in court with her knowledge of hair care!
While we wait for Legally Blonde 3 to finally come out, we’re perusing some similar movies that have some of the same themes. Some star Witherspoon, many of them have fierce women leading, some are set in schools, and plenty of them feature characters dropped into situations who claw their way out and find success. We came up with a list of 30 movies like Legally Blonde that you can watch right now – what, like it’s hard?
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Bring It On
Bring It On is the most beloved cheerleading movie ever made. After being let down by their former captain, the Toros have to take on the Clovers in the national championship, and they have to choreograph their entire routine from scratch. Led by captain Torrance (Kirsten Dunst), the Toros overcome the odds that are completely stacked against them in their road to the big competition. But Clovers captain Isis (Gabrielle Union) has her squad ready to take the crown too. Legally Blonde fans will love the strong women at the centre of this movie with the school setting behind it all.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Bridesmaids
Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Lillian (Maya Rudolph) have been besties for ages, so it makes sense for Annie to play maid of honour for Lillian’s upcoming wedding. “Pick me” girl Helen (Rose Byrne) isn’t really one to stand on the sidelines. As Lillian’s new good friend, she can’t help but try to take over maid of honour duties, even though she’s just a bridesmaid. Of course this leads to some drama between Annie and Lillian – after a botched flight to Las Vegas in which Annie gets high and claims there’s a Colonial woman churning butter on the wing – and Helen is happy to step in and take over Annie’s job. It’s another lighthearted, funny movie with women at the forefront, with a special emphasis on friendship like in Legally Blonde.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Clueless
As if we could leave Clueless out of this! Popular girl Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is just trying to get through high school. When she’s not giving her teachers makeovers, trying to find a boyfriend, and giving her new friends makeovers, she’s just a regular teenager. But don’t underestimate her. Cher is bold, funny, smart, and unbelievably caring when it comes to the people she loves. This is another school movie with a strong female lead, plus Cher’s dad is a lawyer just like Elle Woods. Cher even pitches in to help him out from time to time. Perhaps Harvard Law is in her future.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Cruel Intentions
For another Reese Witherspoon movie, albeit much darker than Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions is one of her earlier films. Annette (Witherspoon) is the good girl. Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her stepbrother Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) are the not-so-good kids. The two take it upon themselves to corrupt Annette, but what none of them expect is for Annette and Sebastian to develop feelings for each other. Though their tentative relationship is rooted in dishonesty, perhaps they can overcome it. Though this movie is set at a hifalutin high school, it bears striking resemblance to Harvard in its opulence and its classiness.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: The Devil Wears Prada
There are a lot of similarities between Andy (Anne Hathaway) and Elle Woods. Both are totally fish out of water when they get to their new settings and both spectacularly adapt. For Andy, it’s a new job at “Runway” as Miranda Priestly’s (Meryl Streep) second assistant. Despite knowing nothing about fashion – and acting like she doesn’t care – she eventually realizes she’s sabotaging herself by not putting any effort into her work. As her tastes change and she becomes a fashion girl through and through, she also starts to flourish at work. So much so, in fact, that she earns herself a new job.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Easy A
Most high school kids wouldn’t want rumours to be started about them. Olive (Emma Stone) is not most high school kids. Like Elle Woods, Olive takes matters into her own hands after a rumour starts about her losing her virginity. She sees it as an opportunity to build on it and create a reputation for herself. She even dons a scarlet letter on her clothes, much like Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter, which she’s studying in school at the moment. But while the rumour mill can work in your favour for a bit, there’s no way it’ll last forever.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: The Girl Next Door
Matthew (Emile Hirsch) gets the surprise of a lifetime when a hot porn star moves in next door. They have a bit of a taboo relationship – Matthew’s still in high school and, well, Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert) is a bit older and way more experienced. She softens when she’s around him, though, and they tease each other mercilessly. It’s actually quite a cute love story these two share, but it couldn’t possibly be that easy, right? It’s not, and these two will face a few challenges, but they are mostly ready for it.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: House Bunny
We’re heading to college with Anna Faris in House Bunny. After getting kicked out of the Playboy mansion, Shelley (Faris) needs somewhere to go, and she finds herself in charge of a failing sorority house with a group of misfit girls. The sorority is on the brink of getting shut down if they can’t get their numbers and reputation up, and Shelley is up for the challenge. With motivation, makeovers, and a lot of laughs, Shelley and the girls turn the chapter around and suddenly people are actually interested in joining. The real question is if they’ll have enough members to stay afloat. This movie features a strong sense of college camaraderie like in Legally Blonde, plus Elle Woods is also a sorority girl.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
How-to girl Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is tasked with making a guy break up with her in less than 10 days. Meanwhile, advertising executive Ben Barnes (Matthew McConaughey) is tasked with making a woman fall in love with him in less than 10 days. Naturally, they’re (unknowingly) each other’s targets, which can only end in disaster. Vivacious personality Andie hilariously does everything she can to push Ben away and get what she wants, and we love a woman on a mission. Plus, just like Elle Woods, Andie has a secret smart side that she rarely gets to let out, but she’s hoping one day she’ll be able to.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: How to Build a Girl
Much like Elle Woods heading off to Harvard to make something of herself, Johanna (Beanie Feldstein) leaves her small British town to move to London to make a name for herself as a journalist. She goes through a bit of a reinvention of sorts, becoming a bold, mouthy woman who says what she thinks and goes after what she wants. And while Elle initially went to Harvard to chase Warner, Johanna’s intentions are a little more respectable: She wants to make it big so she can take care of her parents.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Late Night
Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is on the brink of losing her late night talk show. She’s earned herself a reputation as a brash woman-hater, so she does what she thinks will help boost her ratings and prove people wrong: hire a woman for her writing team. Molly (Mindy Kaling) joins the team and hits the ground running to try to improve the show, but she and Katherine butt heads. Mostly it’s because Katherine really doesn’t care about what Molly has to say. It’s a battle of wills between these two tough women, and the best way through it is to work together.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Mean Girls
Cady (Lindsay Lohan) is the new girl in town. After befriending a couple of quirky kids, they decide Cady should infiltrate the Plastics to take down the mean girls from the inside. But while she’s trying to bring down their leader Regina George (Rachel McAdams), she slowly but surely becomes one of them, eventually taking on the crown after she fully shuts Regina out. But Cady realizes in the end that a mean girl isn’t who she truly is – she’s a math nerd who deeply cares about her friends and wants everyone to get along. Smart girls like Cady and Elle Woods have to stick together!
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Neighbors
For another college-based movie, Neighbors is the hilarious story of a young couple, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), who get stuck living next door to a fraternity house. Teddy (Zac Efron), the fraternity president, insists to Mac and Kelly that the brothers will all be well-behaved, considering they’re the ones who moved into a quiet residential neighbourhood, but they’re still a fraternity, so quiet wouldn’t exactly describe them. Mac and Kelly try to be reasonable, but eventually, they decide they have to fight fire with fire and deal with the fraternity on their own terms. Who will win? You’ll have to watch to see.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: The Proposal
Elle Woods may be a badass in the court room, but Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is a badass in the publishing industry. Hard-nosed boss Margaret doesn’t go easy on her assistant editor Andrew (Ryan Reynolds). But when her immigration status is in question, she doesn’t hesitate to bribe him to help her stay in the United States. She proposes a fake relationship, even travelling to his parents’ home in Alaska for a getaway. What neither of them expect is for everything to change in that one weekend. Add in Betty White to the mix, and you have the perfect rom-com.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: She's the Man
Another film that takes place at a fancy school (though it’s high school), She’s the Man is a fun story about Viola (Amanda Bynes), who pretends to be her brother at his boarding school. While she’s absolutely not believable as a teenage boy in the slightest, for the sake of the cinema, everyone goes with it. She low-key falls in love with Duke (Channing Tatum), who starts to question his sexuality when he catches feelings right back. It’s an absurdly funny movie loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night that’ll make you laugh just as much as Legally Blonde does.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Sisters
Sisters Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate (Tina Fey) are none too thrilled when their parents tell them they’re going to sell their childhood home. They take it upon themselves to throw a massive rager reminiscent of their younger years – that Elle Woods and her sorority sisters would be proud of – to bid farewell to the house. The house party turns into the throwback reunion that this group of adults needs to feel like kids again and gives Maura and Kate a time to bond and remember their younger years when things were a little easier and life was way more fun.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Spy
Susan (Melissa McCarthy) has a chance to prove herself as a top CIA spy, but every situation she’s dropped into is like a whole new world. She takes on different identities, all to go up against an international arms dealer hellbent on basically ending the world. Susan is a delightfully charming operative who wants nothing more than to succeed (and maybe go on a date with her fellow agent Bradley Fine played by Jude Law), which is something Elle Woods can certainly relate to. These women are just out here proving people wrong left and right, and we love to see it.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Sydney White
Yet another movie that takes place on a college campus, Sydney White, starring Amanda Bynes in the title role, is a new take on Snow White. Sydney shows up to college ready to pledge her mom’s old sorority but soon realises it’s not the organization she dreamed it would be. Instead she finds solace in a group of misfits who quickly become her friends. Sydney quickly learns a lot about Greek life, college, herself, and life in general while going through all these experiences. Plus this is just a really fun and funny movie showcasing Bynes at her comedic peak.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: 13 Going on 30
Jenna (Jennifer Garner) may seem like a functioning adult, but that’s only because she fast-forwarded her life from 13 to now. Her life, though, isn’t anything like what her younger self imagined it would be. For one, she no longer has her best friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) at her side. She soon learns that it’s because she turned on him as a teenager and decided it was better to be popular than to be friends with him. This coming-of-age movie has a lot of life lessons in it about doing what’s right and caring for your people, which is exactly what Elle does in Legally Blonde.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: 10 Things I Hate About You
You can’t talk about strong women like Elle Woods without mentioning Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) and Kat (Julia Stiles) in 10 Things I Hate About You. In this movie based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, both Bianca and Kat go after what they want (though in differing styles). Bianca gets Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to convince her dad to let her date and Kat, well, Kat wreaks havoc on Joey (Andrew Keegan) for being awful to her and then also wins over the notorious bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger). These sisters are two people you’d want to have on your side in a fight.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Two Weeks Notice
Tune in for another badass female lawyer in Lucy (Sandra Bullock), who loves to go up against greedy people and corporations. It’s how she meets George (Hugh Grant), who admires her tenacity and invites her to come work for him. George is a bit of a sleaze, though, and usually just hooks up with the female lawyers who work for him, but he and Lucy feel confident that nothing will happen between them. What does happen, actually, is that Lucy gets into George’s heart and starts to convince him that some of his greedy nature needs to change and she’ll help him see it.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Uptown Girls
When Molly (Brittany Murphy) starts working as a nanny to Ray (Dakota Fanning), it doesn’t go well . . . at all. Molly’s a bit of a free spirit, whereas Ray – who is a literal child – is wise beyond her years and has no time for Molly’s frivolity. The two (who would combine flawlessly to create Elle Woods) struggle to bond, but they eventually find common ground in their pain. Molly lost both of her parents when she was young, and Ray’s dad is terminally ill and her mom is neglectful. They find solace, comfort, and love in each other and teach the other how to live in the moment.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Josie and the Pussycats
Rachel Leigh Cook plays frontwoman Josie in the band Josie and the Pussycats in the movie of the same name. The fierce women in the band are thrust into the spotlight and shoot to stardom ridiculously quickly, but then everything starts to get twisted. Their people try to pull Josie away from the other girls to turn her against each other and to turn Josie into a solo star. They all took a page out of Elle Woods’s handbook, though, and stood their ground and stayed strong. They also keep their friendship top of mind, even when in the limelight.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Miss Congeniality
Don’t mess with Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock), aka Gracie Lou Freebush. The FBI agent goes undercover at the Miss United States pageant to solve a series of crimes, but what she doesn’t expect is to make friends with her fellow pageant queens. After initially hating on the pageant circuit, Gracie comes around and realizes there’s a lot of good to these scholarship programs. Most of all, though, she realises how strong, smart, and capable these women all are. They can do anything: be an FBI agent, sing and dance, and even go on to be lawyers (just like Elle Woods).
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Never Been Kissed
Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) is totally out of her comfort zone when she goes back to high school as an undercover journalist. While she was originally there, she was the epitome of unpopular, but when she goes back as an adult, things are totally different. Josie’s able to find her people – with the help of her brother, Rob (David Arquette) – and starts to fall for a very handsome teacher. It all sounds terribly reminiscent of Elle Woods falling for her older colleague at Harvard, doesn’t it? Both characters had to learn a lot about themselves on their road to success, and it worked out well for each.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: The Princess Diaries
Elle Woods may not have been a princess, but she did struggle to fit in at Harvard. Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) has the same struggle in The Princess Diaries. After finding out she’s royalty, her grandmother the queen orders a makeover. Mia has suddenly gone from a nobody to the most popular girl in her high school, which is tough to navigate. She can’t tell who actually wants to spend time with her and who’s just using her for her fame. She learns, though, who her real friends are when things start to come crashing down around her and finds that popularity is fleeting.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Pretty in Pink
Andie (Molly Ringwald) is at a bit of a crossroads, just like Elle when she has to figure out if she should go to Harvard to chase Warner and become a lawyer. For Andie, though, she has to decide if she wants to stick with her not-so-popular group of friends, including Duckie (Jon Cryer) who has a crush on her, or if she should try to pursue something with the new object of her affection Blane (Andrew McCarthy). Despite being tight with Duckie for ages, Andie is intrigued by Blane and his shiny newness. Which way will she go – the reliable friend who loves her or the cute new guy?
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
Elle really struggled to fit in among the smart kids at Harvard when she arrived. Used to being a party girl rather than a bookworm, it took some time to find her people. Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) definitely didn’t fit in when they were in high school. When their class reunion rolls around, they decide they’re going to go back and show their former classmates how fabulous their lives are now (even if they actually aren’t). What they find when they come back, though, is that high school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and their lives after the fact aren’t really so bad.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: She's All That
In a bet that should never have been made, Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) has to turn Laney (Rachel Leigh Cook) into the prom queen. Laney, the quiet and quirky art-lover, is understandably resistant when the most popular guy in school suddenly wants to hang out with her. It’s hard to resist his smile and charm, though, which is why she gives in and starts spending more and more time with him. But as pure as Zack’s intentions (mostly) are, his friends still mostly suck, and they’re the ones to tear Laney down. Laney, though, is Elle Woods-style strong and won’t take the hate.
Movies Like Legally Blonde: Sweet Home Alabama
For more Reese Witherspoon, Sweet Home Alabama is a must. When Andrew (Patrick Dempsey) proposes to Melanie (Witherspoon), she says she has to go back to Alabama to settle some things at home. What she doesn’t tell him is that she’s technically still married to her childhood sweetheart Jake (Josh Lucas). The two hate each other, though, so Melanie is at her wits’ end trying to get him to sign divorce papers. While in Alabama, though, she starts to relearn some of its charms and wonders if leaving all those years ago was the right thing to do after all.