In the UK, redheads or "gingers," once considered evil demonic spawn, are regularly insulted and abused. But we in America have a long-standing love affair with strawberry locks, so much so that many blondes and brunettes have dyed their hair to become famous fiery redheads, a la Lucille Ball, Nicole Kidman and Emma Stone.
In honor of Pixar's new "Brave" heroine Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), we've assembled our list of favorite cinematic gingers -- and by that we mean the characters were redheads, not necessarily the actors. Yes, they're all ladies, but we'd love it if more actors like Damian Lewis, Michael Fassbender and Kevin McKidd let their ginger flags fly high. Rupert Grint can't be the only one to represent, guys.
9. Giselle in 'Enchanted' (Amy Adams)
A mashup of all the fairest of princesses, Giselle (like the actress who portrays her) is so adorable, it's impossible not to smile when she's twirling around Central Park encouraging guys not to take the ones they love for granted. As the great Bruce Springsteen puts it, "It takes a red headed woman to do get a dirty job done," and Giselle can make anything sparkly clean with her can-do spirit. That's what the Boss meant, right?
8. Rose in 'Titanic' (Kate Winslet)
Is there a more romantic movie image than the sight of Rose standing in Jack's embrace "on top of the world," the ocean breeze fluttering through her auburn curls? We think not. High-born Rose may have worn her hair in a tightly controlled up-do at the beginning of the film, but by the time she's pledged herself to steerage's passionate Jack Dawson, her red hair blazes free and wild, just like their love.
7. Black Widow in 'The Avengers' (Scarlett Johansson)
We adore women who can kick butt, and Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanoff) is precisely the sort of beauty you should never mess with -- ever. Look beyond the skin-tight uniform (we know it's hard) and spectacular display of fighting skills and see how vulnerable she is whenever Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is mentioned. Tasha may be a mysterious badass, but she's no ice queen. We can't wait for her crimson-haired heroics in "Avengers 2."
6. Vivian in 'Pretty Woman' (Julia Roberts)
If this were a list of our nine favorite movie streetwalkers, Vivian would top it. Roberts rocked her iconic role as the hooker with the heart of gold who wanted the fairy tale, not just a rich john. Give in to the pull of Roy Orbison's classic theme song and picture Vivian's Rodeo Drive makeover, dazzling smile and infectious laugh, and it's obvious why Richard Gere gave her everything.
5. Leeloo in 'The Fifth Element' (Milla Jovovich)
It would be easy to dismiss Leeloo as just a sexy alien wearing an intergalactic bikini, but she's actually an extraterrestrial heroine, people, not just Jovovich stuffed into four strips of cloth. There's a lot of exposed skin, but this is Jovovich at her best -- a femme fatale who knows what she has to do to save our skin. Cheers to the redheaded rescuer of humanity who can rock a teeny-tiny costume for two hours.
4. Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' (Jodi Benson)
We could've gone with the more predictable (not to mention red-hot) Jessica Rabbit, but there's something magical about Ariel. The irresistibly sweet mermaid princess is desperate to be part of the world above, and she sacrifices her one talent -- her voice -- in exchange for legs just to meet with her crush, Prince Eric. Disney infused Ariel with unmatched beauty and a transcendent voice that, along with the Oscar-winning soundtrack, gave "The Little Mermaid" legs.
3. Little Orphan Annie in 'Annie' (Aileen Quinn)
Leapin' lizards! Annie is the most delightful ginger of the bunch. The character's signature red curls were a comic-strip legend long before she ever hit the silver screen, but Quinn brought the cute and scrappy orphan to life in the cherished '80s movie musical. Annie's the ultimate underdog, and with her sheer optimism -- even in the face of a hard-knock life – she helps audiences young and old realize that no matter how gray and lonely things get, there's always "Tomorrow."
2. Olive in 'Easy A' (Emma Stone)
If Molly Ringwald is the epitome of the angst-ridden middle-class girl wondering if she's worthy, Stone's Olive is the embodiment of what we wish we'd been like in high school: confident, whip-smart, daringly subversive and unapologetically close to her awesome family (we want Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as parents). Olive's "Scarlet Letter" experiment is at once a brilliant feminist statement and a comically misguided teen stunt, but through it all, Olive remains ridiculously lovable.
1. Molly Ringwald in Any '80s Movie
Ringwald will forever be known as the queen of '80s teen flicks. Her collaboration with writer-director John Hughes led to the Me Decade's most unforgettable suburban high-school movies, and she managed to make us believe that a swoon-worthy guy could fall for someone other than the busty blonde cheerleader. Ultimate props go to her fashion-forward misfit Andie in "Pretty in Pink" and her adorably insecure sister-of-the-bride Samantha in "Sixteen Candles."
Bonus Male Ginger: Ron Weasley in the 'Harry Potter' Movies (Rupert Grint)
We've already bemoaned the fact that there aren't enough redheaded guys in showbiz (and no, we aren't going to count Carrot Top, Chucky or the Lucky Charms leprechaun), but we can pay tribute to the ultimate male ginger: Ron Weasley in the seven "Harry Potter" films. He may not be the hero of the story, but Ron is more than just comic-relief sidekick: He saves Harry, faces his biggest fears, destroys a horcrux AND gets to finally snog the witch of his dreams.