10 of the best and most deadly femmes fatales in Hollywood history

10 of the best and most deadly femmes fatales in Hollywood history

While movie making has come on leaps and bounds since the first cinematic enterprises began in Hollywood, some things never change.

The femme fatale is a stock character that underpins some of the best movies ever made. It doesn't matter whether you're a fan of James Bond or film noir, the deadly female protagonist never goes out of fashion. Femme fatale is the French phrase for "fatal woman", and these characters try to achieve their hidden aims through a heady cocktail of intelligence, beauty, charm, and sexual allure. In short, don't trust these beautiful ladies, as they usually have a pretty shady agenda.

To pay homage to these wonderful female characters, we've compiled a definitive list of the sexiest, the slyest, and the most deadly femme fatales in Hollywood history. Hold onto your hats folks, cause this is about to get murky.

1. Catherine Tramell, Basic Instinct

Arguably one of the most iconic female characters in movie history, Basic Instinct's Catherine Tramell was played by the incomparable Sharon Stone. Known the world over for that famous crossing and uncrossing of the legs moment, Stone mastered the art of playing the calculated killer. Never before has a female character been laid out more chillingly.

2. Claire Underwood, House of Cards

What is there that hasn't already been said about Robin Wright's portrayal of Claire Underwood? Fiercely ambitious, dangerously unscrupulous, and maniacally sexy - Claire Underwood is one scary lady.

3. Amy Dunne, Gone Girl

With crazy twists at every turn, Gone Girl is one interesting movie - and in Rosamund Pike it has a femme fatale of the highest order. Want to see a metropolitan New Yorker cool-girl go domestic? Then give it a watch.

4. Ginger Knowles, Swordfish 5. Kathryn Merteuil, Cruel Intentions

Known primarily for her cult role as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar's portrayal of Kathryn Merteuil is simply stunning. the ultimate bad girl, Gellar takes us to places we've never been before, and since.

6. Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones

This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the TV phenomenon that is Game of Thrones, and predictably Cersei takes the gold. In a world of power-hungry men, Lena Headey's character shows exactly how to manipulate your way to the top. Treads the line between femme fatale and despot brilliantly.

7. Xenia Onatopp, GoldenEye

Again, this list wouldn't be complete without James Bond featuring somewhere. A film franchise often attacked for its approach to female characters, Famke Janssen's Xenia Onatopp broke the mould somewhat. A Soviet agent bulldozing her way through the post-Cold War super-spy private sector? Not your traditional Bond girl for sure.

8. The Bride, Kill Bill

Another contender for 'best female character of all-time", The Bride is one of Quentin Tarantino's greatest creations. Played superbly by Uma Thurman, she can be soft and hard in equal measure - while also being a devastating presence on screen.

9. Lynn Bracken, L.A. Confidential

There aren't many films that can hold a torch to L.A. Confidential, and there aren't many femme fatales that can get near Lynn Bracken. Played by Kim Bassinger in her pomp, this character has everything. A super sexy Hollywood dreamgirl who just wants a normal life, embroiled in scandal and death - it's the stuff of movie legend.

 10. Phyllis Dietrichson, Double Indemnity

One of my all-time favourite films, this list would be nothing without film noire to add some much-needed class. Made in 1944, this is a different kind of femme fatale. Insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) gets roped into a murderous plot when he falls for the sensual Phyllis Dietrichson (played by the stunning Barbara Stanwyck). A tale of lust, love and betrayal unfolds, and leaves audiences wondering why they ever thought black and white films were boring...

These are 10 women you definitely wouldn't want to get involved with (unless you like adding a little dose of betrayal and murder into your Tinder dates). But while they are clearly not the sort of girls you'd take home to meet your dear old mum, they have woven the mysterious femme fatale into the very fabric of Hollywood with their amazing one liners and stunning performances on screen.

Personally, I wouldn't mind meeting a few of these fictitious leading ladies, even if it did mean I ended up in a body bag...