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The 100 greatest female characters in movies

90. Gertie (E.T.)

The Character: Elliotts younger sister, whose spontaneous affection for E.T. the extra-terrestrial forged a loveable bond between human and alien.

The Actress: Five-year-old Drew Barrymore was already a screen actress (debut: Altered States), but then her grandparents included Golden Age stars John Barrymore and Dolores Costello.

The Performance: Spielberg famously shot E.T. in chronological order, so Barrymores wide-eyed wonder is very probably the real thing.

89. Mrs Danvers (Rebecca)

The Character: Deranged housekeeper who mentally torments the second Mrs de Winter for not living up to the standard set by her predecessor, the eponymous Rebecca.

The Actress: With A-list stars Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine in place, Hitchcock underlined Danvers menace by casting stage actress Judith Anderson, a relative unknown.

The Performance: Andersons spectral, sexually ambiguous presence fulfils Hitchcocks love of subtext perfectly: is Danvers a lesbian? Or even a ghost?

88. Jean Brodie (The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie)

The Character: Give her a girl of an impressionable age, and shes hers for life. Great, when Brodies teaching them about culture and romance. Not so smart when Brodie is worshipping fascism.

The Actress: Maggie Smiths star had slowly risen throughout the 1960s on stage and screen, but The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie was her biggest role - and her biggest challenge - to date.

The Performance: Haughty, severe and yet often away with the fairies, Maggie Smith throws everything into her Oscar-winning role... to the point where everything shes done since (not least Minerva McGonagall) has echoes of Brodie.

87. Malena Scordia (Malena)

The Character: Italian widow whose fidelity to her dead husband is shaken by poverty and the spectre of Nazi occupation.

The Actress: Director Giuseppe Tornatore, required to cast the most beautiful woman in town, went to the top - ex-model Monica Bellucci.

The Performance: Belluccis serene grace and frankly astounding looks have rarely been better showcased.

86. Audrey 2 (Little Shop Of Horrors)

The Character: Named after the sweet object of florist Seymour's affection, but quite different from #1, Audrey 2 is a pychotic venus fly-trap with an insatiable appetite for human blood.

The Actor: Sorry, what? Yes, to distinguish her oddness, male actors have voiced Audrey 2. Charles B. Griffith in the original B-movie, Four Tops singer Levi Stubbs in the musical remake.

The Performance: Stubbs is the definitive reading, his distinctive baritone quivering with outrageous glee as he orders Seymour to "Feed Me!"

85. Gilda Mundson Farrell (Gilda)

The Character: Flame-haired nightclub singer whose sheer presence ignites scandal and suspicion amongst two men: one, her husband, the other an ex-lover.

The Actress: Rita Hayworth, wartime pin-up and wife of Orson Welles.

The Performance: Hayworth exudes a sensuality that scandalised 1940s censors despite only removing a single glove in her infamous striptease to 'Who Put The Blame on Mame?'

84. Matty Walker (Body Heat)

The Character: A film noir throwback in 80s modernist style, Matty twists an innocent man around her fingers using little more than raw sex.

The Actress: Kathleen Turner, in a film debut so startling it virtually steams up the screen.

The Performance: Sultry of look and husky of voice, Turner's indecently gorgeous, but it's the killer instinct that makes her one of the great femme fatales.

83. Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

The Character: Baseball groupie in Bull Durham with an unusually philosophical viewpoint: by shagging one Durham Bulls teammate every season, she can help him to become a better player.

The Actress: Susan Sarandon, a cult favourite for years, entered her 40s with belated mainstream popularity as one of The Witches of Eastwick.

The Performance: A crass piece of sporting wish fulfilment on paper, Sarandon's wry wisdom (and her budding real-life relationship with co-star Tim Robbins) makes you believe her passion.

82. Sverine Serizy (Belle Du Jour)

The Character: Idle housewife whose boredom leads her to indulge her secret fantasies of submission by becoming a daytime prostitute, aka Belle Du Jour.

The Actress: Popular French starlet Catherine Deneuve was in the process of reinventing herself as a deeper, darker actress via Repulsion. Perfect timing for surreal satirist Luis Bunuel.

The Performance: It's all in the contrast between the transgressive imagery and Deneuve's porcelain beauty.

81. Gloria Swenson (Gloria)

The Character: Mobster's moll who does a runner to protect a young boy being targeted by her one-time associates.

The Actress: Arthouse darling Gena Rowlands got first sight of the script, written (and eventually directed) by hubby John Cassavetes, and didn't let it go.

The Performance: A change of pace for Rowlands, but one in which her immersive realism helped to transform genre thrills into something more moving.