Still from Return of the Jedi (1983). Image is a screengrab via 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm
10. That crazy bluff on Jabba the Hutt
I love this part because this is maybe Leia at her most daring and clever. Lando and Leia disguise themselves as a palace guard and the bounty hunter Boushh, respectively, and travel after Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine. Darth Vader has given Jabba the frozen Han Solo; Jabba is imprisoning him in exchange for a long-standing debt.
Unbeknownst at first to the audience, Leia swoops in donning desert gear, masks and voice changers and drive a hard bargain with Jabba for Han Solo. Jabba notoriously does not barter. After some back and forth and no agreement, Leia (still in disguise) pulls out a thermal detonator and activates it! The bomb is literally ticking away in her hand as the fat and useless Jabba mulls over the possibility of letting go of his special Han Solo plaque in exchange for a lesser sum. To everyone’s surprise, it works!
This scene is cool because Leia assumes such a masculine persona, simply because she maintains an aggressive stance with Jabba, and because she’s wearing a mask and distorting her voice. It’s yet another testament to how girls can (and should) do everything that boys do. Princess Leia is the tried and true symbol of that very idea.