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25 of the Greatest Femme Fatales
You can't take your eyes off them — and you'd better not turn your back on them. These devious dames will haunt your dreams, ahead.
Want more? EW has detailed the best in movies, TV, music, and books for 25 years with the Must List, and in celebration, The Must List: Ranking the Best in 25 Years of Pop Culture is out now. This gallery is an excerpt from the book. The Must List: Ranking the Best in 25 Years of Pop Culture is in stores now, or available for order online.
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Catherine Tramell, Basic Instinct (Sharon Stone)
A male fantasy transformed into a nightmare: a bisexual nymphomaniac who might sleep with or kill you.
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Suzanne Stone Maretto, To Die For (Nicole Kidman)
Blind ambition meets blonde ambition. Suzanne wants fame at any cost — and she's just delusional enough to get it.
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Claire Underwood, House of Cards (Robin Wright)
Behind every great man, there's a great woman. And behind every Machiavellian power-monger politician, there's a partner just as nefarious. (With better hair, too.)
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Bridget Gregory, The Last Seduction (Linda Fiorentino)
Beware a woman in trouble. Manipulative and brilliant, Bridget's a big New York City fish in a small-town pond.
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Jane Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Angelina Jolie)
An assassin hunting her assassin husband (Brad Pitt), who never stood a chance.
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Nikita, La Femme Nikita (Peta Wilson)
A wrongfully accused innocent forced into a world of double-crossing agents and crisscrossing alliances. Nikita's a tough trained superspy — and her greatest endurance challenge is how she holds onto her soul.
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Meredith Johnson, Disclosure (Demi Moore)
A lady boss who sexually harasses straight white men, Meredith's a post-feminist cartoon, but Moore makes her an enthralling antagonist.
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Amy Dunne, Gone Girl (Rosamund Pike)
What happens when the perfect metropolitan New Yorker cool-girl goes domestic? Spoiler: You wouldn't like her when she's angry.
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Selina Kyle, Batman Returns (Michelle Pfeiffer)
Witness the healing powers of the psychotic break, as a shy lonely secretary gets reborn into a proud, unafraid, wild creature of the night.
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Selina Kyle, The Dark Knight Rises (Anne Hathaway)
The Catwoman legend reimagined for the Recessionary era. Hathaway's Selina Kyle is an amoral streetwise antihero searching for a new beginning — by any means necessary.
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Mystique, X-Men (Rebecca Romijn)
Covered in blue body paint, speaking only the bare minimum of dialogue, the model-turned-actress gave the shape-changing mutant balletic grace. She's Eastwood's Man With No Name with less clothes and fewer names.
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Sil, Species (Natasha Henstridge)
She positively demands going all the way on the first date. in this case, "all the way" means "give birth immediately to an alien-human-hybrid monster."
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Lara Croft, The Lara Croft Movies (Angelina Jolie)
Indiana Jones in skintight short shorts. Only Jolie could bring the bodacious video game adventurer to life.
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Gemma Teller Morrow, Sons of Anarchy (Katey Sagal)
Lady Macbeth was a no-talent rookie compared to Queen Gemma. She'll do anything for her family — and anything to her family.
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Ginger Knowles, Swordfish (Halle Berry)
The perfect vehicle for Berry's sultry-sweet charisma, Ginger's less femme fatale than femme mysterieuse. That smirk could be deadly.
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Lucinda Harris, Derailed (Jennifer Aniston)
Successful, married, beautiful — and bored. Lucinda's a tantalizing siren for a man looking for excitement.
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Kathryn Merteuil, Cruel Intentions (Sarah Michelle Gellar)
Before Mean Girls, she was the meanest girl. Gellar's prep-school puppet master is villainous on a Biblical level. Literally: She keeps cocaine in her crucifix!
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Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones (Lena Headey)
Men are such boys. Westeros needs a good, firm hand.
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Xenia Onatopp, GoldenEye (Famke Janssen)
A Soviet agent running rampant through the post-Cold War superspy private sector. James Bond's met so many women, but how many of them literally have killer thighs?
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Samantha Caine/Charly Baltimore, The Long Kiss Goodnight (Geena Davis)
An amnesiac small-town schoolteacher finds out she's got a mysterious espionage past. She's Jason Bourne for desperate housewives.
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The Bride, Kill Bill (Uma Thurman)
Left for dead on her wedding day — shot by her unborn baby's dad! — the blood-splattered Bride awakes seeking vengeance. Just your average cowboy samurai assassin.
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Sarah Walker, Chuck (Yvonne Strahovski)
Every nerd's dream: a badass secret agent with a heart of gold. The central joke of Chuck is that the title should actually be Sarah.
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Lynn Bracken, L.A. Confidential (Kim Basinger)
A hooker cut to look like Veronica Lake, Lynn is the femme fatale gone meta: an alluring Hollywood dreamgirl who dreams of a regular old-fashioned normal life.
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Saffron, Firefly (Christina Hendricks)
An oft-married con lady with the power to seduce the whole solar system. A defining role for pre-Mad Men Hendricks, who plays Saffron like a chameleon. She's whatever you want — and you'll do whatever she desires.
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Aeon Flux, Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron)
Because every totalitarian postapocalyptic dystopia needs at least one gun-totin', jump-kickin', rebel acrobat.