A much-loved siren of stage and screen, Helen Mirren (star of Hitchcock, out this week) has spent a career avoiding pigeonholes and typecasting, and has turned in a number of hugely memorable performances in some classic films.
Here are five of our favourites, including suggestions from @guardianfilm Twitter followers @Alex_Neon_John, @circusthuppaki, @thefilmgoer, @DukesFPM @dbsweeney and @AnnaLikesThis. What scenes would you add to the list?
1. The Queen
In this Oscar-winning performance, Mirren's beleaguered monarch encounters a (highly symbolic) Highland stag. As suggested by @thefilmgoer: "The way she says 'Oh, you beauty!' humanises Elizabeth II more in three words than most portraits do in a thousand."
2. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
SPOILER WARNING: This is the final scene in Peter Greenaway's thoroughly OTT metaphorical take on capitalist excess. Michael Gambon is the thief, Mirren his wife – exacting a gruesome revenge at gunpoint following the murder of her lover.
3. O Lucky Man!
In Lindsay Anderson's sprawling fantasy, Malcolm McDowell's Travis first encounters the "very intelligent" Patricia (Mirren) under some coats in the back of a van. She wastes no time in seducing him.
There's more to Helen Mirren than Shakespeare, royalty and arthouse cinema. She's equally at home tooling up with a machine gun for some high-octane ultra-violence.
5. The Parkinson interview
Not from a film, but an infamous TV appearance in 1975 on Michael Parkinson's chat show. This clip is 15 minutes long, but you need only watch the first few to get the picture: Parky is clearly mostly interested in discussing his interviewee's figure, and lingers over a review that described her as "projecting sluttish eroticism". An unpleasant reminder of the mainstream attitudes in the 70s, but gratifying to see Mirren effortlessly outclassing her host.
• What's missing? Let us know your favourite Helen Mirren moments in the thread below.
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