Helen Mirren: Five Best Moments

Helen Mirren - The Queen

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."

Watch the clip on YouTube

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.

Watch the clip on YouTube

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.

Watch the clip on YouTube

4. Red

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.

Watch the clip on YouTube

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.

Watch the clip on YouTube

• What's missing? Let us know your favourite Helen Mirren moments in the thread below.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Adam Boult, for guardian.co.uk on Friday 8th February 2013 17.00 Europe/London

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