mary tyler mooreThe Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977)
When I was a kid, my mom and I spent Friday nights watching reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which probably explains why I still want to be Mary and her best friend, Rhoda. Mary’s apartment, her friends, and her clothes made me excited for what growing up might offer, while Rhoda’s sarcasm and tell-it-like-it-ism (that’s a thing, right?) assured me that my loud indoor voice and so-called “weird” sense of humor would finally have a place. (It did!) However, the older I got, the more I began seeing this series as blueprint for hard work. And to be honest, I still see it as a comforting reminder that determination and kindness can go a long way. On top of their impressive careers (Mary was a producer for TV station WJM, while Rhoda owned her own window-dressing business), they refused to stop climbing. And throughout the series, they unapologetically ask for raises, recognition, and responsibility, and stop only to punch sexism in its smug proverbial face. (You can’t count how many times Mary gets hit on inappropriately, nor how many times she puts up with none of it.) The only downside: Rhoda moves from Minneapolis to New York to star in her own show, which makes me selfishly miss her. But even then, these best pals prove that real friendship transcends distance—especially when crossover episodes allow for catch-ups and moral support. Now let’s throw our hats in the air! —Anne

daisiesDaisies (1966)
Daisies is a surreal take on Czechoslovakian politics in the 1960s, shown through the escapades of hell-raising teen girls. The film’s protagonists, Marie and Marie, are best friends who feel downtrodden by how bad life has become under the Stalinist regime. Rather than trying to save a doomed world, they decide it’s in their best interest to follow it down. They lie, cheat, steal, and act out. Basically, they’re as bad as they can be—but for the cause of gaining back a little of the personhood taken from them by their radically oppressive government. They do it all in flawless cat-eye makeup, minimal mini-dresses, twee lingerie, and flower crowns (if you’re a Tumblr user, you’ve likely seen screencaps and GIFs of the Maries). After its release, Daisies was banned in Czechoslovakia, supposedly because the film’s production wasted too much food in a time of rationing and scarcity (there are so many proto-snackwave scenes of the Maries pigging out on cakes, apples, sausages, anything—as well as one of the most epic food fights in film history). I’m willing to bet, though, that director Věra Chytilová got in trouble because people were/are terrified of the power inherent in girls who stop caring about society’s expectations. —Meredith

we are the bestWe Are the Best! (2013)
We Are the Best! is a funny Swedish flick by director Lukas Moodysson, and it’s based on the graphic novel Never Goodnight written by his wife, Coco Moodysson. The movie is about BFFs Bobo and Klara, punk rock fanatics who set out to start a band. They’re barely able to play, and are teased by the older boy-rockers who take up all the practice space at the local community center. So the pair asks Hedvig, a shy Christian girl who’s wicked at the guitar, to join them. As a trio, the girls deal with parental drama, first crushes, and mansplainers. (One really badass moment comes when Hedvig schools two grown men on how to shred.) This is a movie for anyone who loves punk rock, friendship, and girl gangs. —Hazel

doll-emDoll & Em (2013–present, HBO)
Doll and Em put the “forever” in best friends. The title characters (played by real-life besties Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer) have been close since childhood. They’ve supported each other through family deaths, career lows, and some good times, too. When Doll’s tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend implodes, Em offers her an escape in the form of a job. Doll packs her bags and moves from their native England to L.A. to act as Em’s personal assistant while Em, a Hollywood actress, shoots a new film. The dynamic—Em as a powerful and beloved celebrity and Doll as her lowly errand-girl—quickly creates tension for the friends, who know exactly how to help each other AND how to push one another’s buttons. Their relationship is kinda like a rubber band; it stretches and threatens to break, and stings when it snaps at them, but ultimately stays intact, holding everything together. —Brodie

personaPersona (1966)
Persona, my favorite Ingmar Bergman film, follows two women, an actress, Elisabet Vogler, and a nurse, Alma, whose identities converge as they lose themselves in each other. In an attempt to convince herself otherwise, Alma shouts, “No! I’m not like you… I’m not Elisabet Vogler. You are Elisabet Vogler!” Later in the film, she eventually ditches her own identity and pretends to be the actress when Vogler’s husband visits. It becomes unclear whether Elisabet and Alma are enemies, lovers, friends, or strangers, and it’s hard to pinpoint exact meaning in this movie. I still find myself getting as lost in it as Alma and Elisabet. —Mads

playing housePlaying House (2014–present)
I cannot get enough of the shows real life besties Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair have created! Even though I’m still recuperating from the cancellation of Best Friends Forever, this adorable and hilarious duo came back with the wildly endearing Playing House. Childhood friends Maggie (played by Lennon) and Emma (played by St. Clair) live far away from each other but remain close. Emma comes back from her business-job in China to help Maggie prepare for the arrival of her baby in the town where they grew up. When Maggie discovers that her husband is cheating on her, Emma decides to leave her job and stay to help Maggie raise the baby. The show’s premise sounds really heartbreaking and sad, but as real-life best friends do, the pair turn the situation into something really hilarious and sweet. —Brittany S.

Beaches (1988)
I could watch Beaches a million times (I probably have, anyway) and wouldn’t get tired of it. The movie follows CC and Hillary Whitney throughout their lives together, and they prove to be one of the best examples of best friends in history. They pass through every phase of a friendzone—success, jealousy, relationship meltdowns, illness, etc.—and they constantly have this buzzing connection between them, even when they’re far apart. Also, if you’ve never seen the scene where Bette Midler belting “Wind Beneath My Wings” plays in the background, then you should probably watch this movie right now (I’d link to it, but it is a VERY serious spoiler). —Chanel

lick the starLick the Star (1998)
Before The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, Lost in Translation, The Bling Ring, and Somewhere, Sofia Coppola directed and cowrote Lick the Star, a mini-film about clique politics at a middle school (viewable here). Chloe, the meanest, most popular girl in school, is both beloved and feared. She plots to poison the boys in her school (not a metaphor—there’s actual poison involved), but she slips up, and the social hierarchy seamlessly rearranges itself. It’s one of the earliest examples of Sofia Coppola’s insular girl-worlds, and probably the shortest, too: You can watch the whole thing in less than 15 minutes. —Brodie

summer of loveMy Summer of Love (2004)
This indie film is literally about a summer of love: between Mona and Tamsin, who meet by chance and start a friendship that goes from platonic to romantic pretty quickly. They start to have a toxic effect on each other, though, and Mona’s influence, especially, feeds Tamsin’s fantastical lies. My Summer of Love shows the experimentation and fluidity inherent in friendship, but it also shows how manipulative intimacy can be. —Chanel ♦