Ah, the damsel in distress. A relic of a bygone era when men were men and damsels were damsels. Now, of course, empowered and three-dimensional female characters are the norm in Hollywood, but it wasn't always so. These four movie damsels in distress can vouch for that.

Ann Darrow, "King Kong"

One of the most famous of all damsels in distress in movie history, Ann Darrow (played by Naomi Watts) is an actress unlucky enough to attract the affection of the giant gorilla of Skull Island himself. Here's the really awful part: She gets rescued from Kong once, only to get taken by him again in New York. Remakes of the story have tried to show Darrow as being more sympathetic to Kong, but in the original movie, she's a classic damsel in distress.

Mattie Ross, "True Grit"

Even the most rugged people can sometimes become damsels in distress if circumstances allow for it. Take the young Ms. Ross, who despite having to do most of the work for her older male compatriots, ends up trapped in a cave with a bunch of snakes and skeletons, waiting for Rooster Cogburn to get her out. It sucks being a damsel in distress, but it sucks even more getting eaten by snakes.

Iris, "Taxi Driver"

Over here in the real world, looking at people as if they were damsels in distress can be misguided or even dangerous, especially if you're mentally unstable, which is exactly the case with Travis Bickle. He sees a young prostitute and assumes it's his job to rescue her, at least once his attempt to assassinate a presidential candidate doesn't go as planned. The violent finale is pretty horrifying, but the girl does get "rescued," kind of. Or does she?

Rachel Dawes, "The Dark Knight"

Not all damsels in distress get saved, especially if they live in Gotham City. That's the case with Ms. Dawes here, who gets strapped to a chair in a room full of dynamite at the same time as her boyfriend, Harvey Dent, and Batman has to choose which one to save, thanks to the Joker. The Joker predictably "mixes up" which person was in which location, so Batman ends up rescuing Dent, who becomes Two-Face, while Rachel just becomes no-face. Man, a lot of stuff happens in this movie, huh?