Bad Girls

by Michelle Miles

In my quest for a blog topic this month, I explored several options. One was TV show titles: are they a dying breed? I also toyed with the idea of writing about if life like was Princess Bride. And then I thought since I did Hollywood hunks last night, maybe I should talk about the ladies.

But not just any ladies. Film’s greatest femme fatales. Because not all girls are sugar and spice. There are those who are catty and downright mean and then there are those who are devious and deceitful. They’re the ones we love to hate and the ones we can’t take our eyes off when they’re on the screen. Here are my top picks for film’s feisty females.

The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz). She rocked the pointy hat and the broomstick, didn’t she? Really, we should give her a break. All she really wanted were those ruby slippers. Never fight a witch over a pair of shoes. She'll get you, my pretty! And your little dog, too!

Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca). Conniving Mrs. Danvers wants the new Mrs. de Winter to go crazy because she immediately dislikes her and resents that Mr. de Winter has replaced her beloved Rebecca. She’ll do anything to get rid of her, including dressing up the new wife in the dead wife’s clothes and insisting her husband will love it.

Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With The Wind). All she wants is Ashley. Is that so much to ask? She’ll do just about anything to get him, too, including marrying into the family to get close to him. But Ashley never has eyes for Scarlett, much to her chagrin. Too bad she never realizes it until Melanie is on her deathbed and the one true love of her life is walking out the door, not giving a damn.

Catherine Tramell (Basic Instinct). Oh, the infamous uncrossing and crossing of the legs is her claim to fame in this movie. Well, that and an ice pick. She’s the kind of character we want to kick in the teeth before it’s all over, yet we can’t help but watch her on screen to see what she’s going to do next.

Matty Walker (Body Heat). Naughty Matty wants her way – her husband dead. She spins a wonderful web of deceit to entice her love to help do the deed. When you can purr your words (and you have the voice of Kathleen Turner), that’s a pretty easy thing to do.

Catwoman/Selina Kyle (Batman Returns). Michelle Pfeiffer gives new meaning to meow!

Morgana (Excalibur). This naughty witch will do anything to steal the throne from her half-brother, Arthur. Even disguise herself as his wife to sleep with him (ick) and give birth to the son who would end the glory of Camelot.

Phyllis Dietrichson (Double Indemnity). Phyllis, oh, Phyllis. Such a bad girl beneath that sultry pout of yours. A familiar plot line here – kill the rich husband for the insurance money – but Ms. Stanwyck practically invents the role of femme fatale with her portrayal. And yes, we really, really hate her.

I know there are many, many more. But I want you to tell me what your favorite movie bad girls are.

Michelle Miles writes steamy romance with lots of bad girls and even more bad boys. Learn more about her books at


  1. I guess I've loved bad girls my whole life - they are often the inspiration for the "strong" women in my writing. Love Barbara Stanwyck - the ultimate bad girl - bad enough but not too edgy. Writers are often asked what books inspired them to write. While there are a few, I think Hollywood B movies were my biggest inspiration. lol! Great topic!

  2. Great post, Michele. I love your femme fatales. I have to go along with Barbara Stanwyck as my favorite Hollywood bad girl. She always manages to be classy no matter how bad she is.

  3. Hm, that's a strong lineup! I don't know that I could add much to it. Jessica Rabbit springs to mind, but she wasn't bad, she was just drawn that way! Rebecca De Mornay as Countess De Winter in Three Musketeers was fascinating. Her redemption at the end was perfectly done. Cruella De Vil - the ultimate baddy in my opinion. Love to hate her! Sarah Michelle Gellar in cruel intentions. Great topic!

  4. Great list Michelle! I think Scarlett really is up there! She's not a femme fatale in this flick - but Bette Davis in All About Eve - kicks butt! I've seen that movie a gajillion times because of her performance and it never gets stale. ;)


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