5 Michelle Pfeiffer Movies To Add To Your Watchlist

Michelle Pfeiffer’s career has spanned decades, captivating audiences with her versatility and commanding screen presence. From iconic villainesses to vulnerable heroines, she has tackled a diverse range of roles, leaving an undeniable mark on cinema. Whether playing the seductive Catwoman in “Batman Returns” or delivering a nuanced performance as a struggling single mother in “Dangerous Minds,” Pfeiffer consistently delivers unforgettable portrayals. Delving into her filmography reveals a treasure trove of cinematic gems, each showcasing a different facet of her remarkable talent. So, buckle up as we embark on a journey through the best of Michelle Pfeiffer’s movies, exploring the captivating performances that solidified her place as a Hollywood legend.

Pfeiffer’s popularity among fans doesn’t seem to be slowing down either. A recent study of fans’ favorite Catwoman of all time had Pfeiffer tied for first as DC fanatics’ favorite actress to take on the anti-heroine. Data revealed the tie was between Michelle Pfeiffer from “Batman Returns,” Anne Hathaway from “The Dark Knight Rises,” and Adrienne Barbeau, who voiced Selina Kyle for the animated series. Batman debates aside, you’re here because you probably already know the magic of Michelle Pfeiffer. Luckily, we at StudyFinds feel the same, which is why we have researched across 10 expert sources to bring you the top five best Michelle Pfeiffer movies of all time! Don’t agree with our list? No worries, we would love to hear from you in the comments below!

The List: Best Michelle Pfeiffer Movies, According to Fans

1. “The Age of Innocence” (1993)

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“The Age of Innocence” is a captivating period drama set in New York high society. Michelle Pfieffer delivers a mesmerizing performance as Ellen Olenska, a scandalous and enigmatic countess who disrupts rigid social norms with her unconventional behavior and allure.

Pfeiffer isn’t known for playing damsels in distress. She often brings a captivating sensuality and depth to her characters, something rarely demanded of her in “The Age of Innocence.” Here, she steps into the shoes of a Countess returning to high society after a scandal, navigating the rigid social norms of the late 19th century. Critics agree, Pfeiffer shines alongside the enigmatic Daniel Day-Lewis, pushing his performance to new heights, as noted by The Guardian.

Imagine the opulent setting of New York City during the Gilded Age. A young lawyer (Day-Lewis) prepares to marry a charming socialite (Ryder), while a mysterious Countess (Pfeiffer) re-enters the scene, determined to reclaim her place. This sets the stage for a forbidden love triangle, as the three navigate the complexities of unrequited love, societal expectations, and the tightrope walk of maintaining their positions within the elite, as described by MovieWeb.

2. “Batman Returns” (1992)

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In “Batman Returns,” Pfeiffer hands in a 10/10 performance, complete with a suit she had to be stitched into and a whip she professionally learned to use. So well, she managed to whip the heads off four mannequins in one take. 

Pfeiffer’s Catwoman is like a force of nature, leaving a trail of stunned silence and chaos in her wake. Top10Films calls her performance “shockingly committed,” going beyond mere acting and into the realm of high-octane performance art. She masterfully transforms Selina Kyle from a timid secretary to a ferocious, whip-wielding antihero. One moment she’s cleaning herself with feline grace, the next she’s taking down anyone who dares cross her path.

Tim Burton‘s dark and twisted sequel to his original Batman film gifted Pfeiffer with one of her most iconic roles. As A.Frame puts it, she embodies Selina Kyle, whose encounter with a murderous boss ignites the birth of her alter ego, the unforgettable Catwoman. Just a simple “Meow” from Pfeiffer is enough to send shivers down your spine.

WGTC argues that while “Batman Returns” isn’t solely about Catwoman, Pfeiffer’s performance is so electrifying that it overshadows any other portrayal of the character. They point to the film’s chaotic nature as a backdrop for Pfeiffer’s brilliance, and for those who might need further convincing, they remind us of the iconic scene where she holds a live bird in her mouth – a testament to the sheer commitment and unhinged energy she brings to the role. It’s no wonder many consider this her definitive performance.

3. “The Fabulous Baker Boys” (1989)

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While the actress doesn’t identify as a singer, that hasn’t stopped her from lending her sultry voice to a number of film soundtracks. None quite as iconic as “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” with tracks such as “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” being serenaded by Pfeiffer.

It was “The Fabulous Baker Boys” that truly cemented her star status. Top10Films describes her performance as Susie Diamond, a foul-mouthed, sexy lounge singer, as pure electricity. From a rough-around-the-edges ex-escort, she transforms into a captivating singer who pours her heart and soul into every performance, particularly during the iconic “Makin’ Whoopee” scene in that unforgettable red dress.

The Guardian praises Pfeiffer’s powerful vocals and considers this role a potential peak in her career. As the Baker brothers desperately seek a new singer to revive their tired act, Susie bursts in, late and chewing gum, and blows them away with her rendition of “More Than You Know.” The Guardian goes on to compare her captivating performance to the legendary Marilyn Monroe.

GoldDerby highlights 1989 as the year Pfeiffer truly reached movie legend status with this film. Her portrayal of Susie garnered her a string of awards, including a Golden Globe, and even a dubious record – the only person to win four major precursor awards and miss out on the Oscar (which went to Jessica Tandy for “Driving Miss Daisy”). Despite this, GoldDerby considers Pfeiffer’s work in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” some of the best ever seen on screen, and with her recent return to high-profile roles, her chance for Oscar gold might still be on the horizon.

4. “Married to the Mob” (1988)

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Everybody loves Angela de Marco. Frank loves Angela, but he’s married to his job. Mike loves Angela, but he’s married to the law. Tony loves Angela, but he’s married to his wife. Everybody loves Angela, but she’s “married to the mob.”

Before “The Sopranos” brought mafia drama to the small screen, Jonathan Demme delivered a hilarious take on the genre with “Married to the Mob.” The Hollywood Reporter commends Michelle Pfeiffer’s transformation into brassy Long Island widow Angela de Marco, complete with a thick Brooklyn accent and a brunette wig. This career-defining performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination and showcased her comedic chops.

The Guardian praises the film for proving Pfeiffer’s comedic talent, noting how her “beautiful movie-star face” lights up with every witty line. Angela, the wife of mobster “Cucumber” Frank De Marco (played by Alec Baldwin), longs to escape the mob life after her husband’s demise. The film follows her hilarious attempts to navigate the dangerous world of the mafia while also falling for a goofy FBI agent. The Guardian commends both Pfeiffer’s performance and the film’s sharp script, making “Married to the Mob” a truly memorable comedy.

GoldDerby emphasizes that 1988 was a banner year for Pfeiffer, with “Married to the Mob” arriving just months before the critically acclaimed “Dangerous Liaisons.” This offbeat comedy allowed Pfeiffer to shine with her comedic timing.

5. “Dangerous Liaisons” (1988)

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In the critically acclaimed film “Dangerous Liaisons,” Michelle Pfeiffer delivers a mesmerizing performance as the cunning and seductive character Madame de Tourvel. Through her nuanced portrayal, Pfeiffer captures the vulnerability and strength of her character, immersing the audience in a tale of manipulation and deceit.

“Dangerous Liaisons” was a cinematic event upon its release, earning recognition for its lavish costumes, production design, and clever script based on an 18th-century French novel. ComingSoon loves the intricate web of seduction woven by the characters, including Michelle Pfeiffer alongside a star-studded cast featuring Glenn Close, Uma Thurman, John Malkovich, and Keanu Reeves.

Collider dives into the film’s plot, set in decadent pre-revolutionary Paris. A scorned lover seeks revenge by manipulating her ex’s new fiancée, but things take an unexpected turn when the seducer falls for another woman, the virtuous Madame de Tourvel. Played by Pfeiffer, Madame de Tourvel embodies the allure of forbidden love, slowly succumbing to the temptations whispered by the cunning Vicomte de Valmont.

The Guardian delves into the complexity of Pfeiffer’s role, perhaps the most challenging in the film. As the beautiful and innocent Madame de Tourvel, she must convincingly navigate a journey from purity to passionate desire. The Guardian praises her nuanced portrayal, perfectly capturing the aristocratic grace and the gradual transformation that unfolds throughout the story. Her on-screen chemistry with John Malkovich’s Valmont is undeniable, making “Dangerous Liaisons” a timeless tale of love, manipulation, and the dangerous games played by the elite.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

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About the Author

Jilly Hite

Janelle is a freelance writer from New York. Her writing focuses on parenting, tech, business, interior design, education, and telling people’s inspiring stories. Janelle has written for Mustela and Newton Baby and has bylines in Pregnant Chicken, Syracuse Woman Magazine, the Baldwinsville Messenger, and Family Times Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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