10 Iconic Films Starring Helen Mirren You Need to See At Least Once

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These films will reign supreme in your movie collection.

Caligula, 1979

Caesonia, the fourth wife of the Roman emperor Caligula, was Helen Mirren's first serious role. Tinto Brass' 1979 film is an anti-totalitarian epic about the rise to power of the cruel, neurotic, and promiscuous Caligula.

The picture emphasizes on the absurdity and immorality of his politics, along with his morbid relationship with his sister and lover Drusilla, played by Teresa Ann Savoy. Caligula is portrayed by Malcolm McDowell, known to audiences from Stanley Kubrick's cult film A Clockwork Orange.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, 1989

Peter Greenaway's crime drama art film is admirable for the marvelous work of the project's food stylist and costume designer.

The latter, Jean Paul Gaultier, was already known as the enfant terrible of French fashion by the time the shooting took place: the designer with a penchant for controversial looks would make his male models wear skirts or create dresses so revealing, they looked more like underwear. Gaultier's signature style is reflected in the film's costumes: the designer created the outfits of main and secondary characters, including the restaurant waiters.

Gosford Park, 2001

Robert Altman's historical mystery film is set in the British estate of Gosford Park in 1932. William McCordle, his family, and their servants arrive at Gosford Park for a shooting party. Each of the guests has an uneasy relationship with Sir William, and when the estate's owner is found dead with a knife in his chest, their family secrets and deceptions start to unravel.

Influenced by Jean Renoir's classic The Rules of the Game, the screenplay by Julian Fellowes won the Academy Award in 2001. Helen Mirren played housekeeper Mrs. Wilson, and the role earned her Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress.

The Queen, 2006

In 2005, Helen Mirren played Elizabeth I in Tom Hooper's miniseries (winning an Emmy Award for this role), and a year later, she portrayed another British Queen — Elizabeth II.

Stephen Frears' biographical drama film depicts the life of the royal family over the few days following Princess Diana's tragic death. This is one of Hellen Mirren's best roles, which earned her an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and the Volpi Cup at the 63rd Venice Film Festival.

The Last Station, 2009

Michael Hoffman's biographical drama film follows the last year in the life of the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. The German-Russian-British production had a star cast of Christopher Plummer, James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti, and Anne-Marie Duff.

Helen Mirren played Tolstoy's wife, Countess Sofya Andreevna, who was once his faithful associate and assistant but now radically disagrees with her husband's views on life since he has abandoned his religion, noble title, and part of his property for the sake of his own moral teaching known as Tolstoyism. For this role, the actress also received Oscar, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.

The Tempest, 2010

Julie Taymor's fantasy film, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name, was hardly a success — but Helen Mirren was undoubtedly brilliant in her role of sorceress Prospera (originally, wizard Prospero).

Mirren's character is usurped by her brother Antonio and cast off to die in a small boat with her little daughter Miranda, but the two survive and end up living on a desolate island. In an attempt to avenge her brother, Prospera conjures a tempest, wrecking Antonio's ship, and causing him to come to the island.

Hitchcock, 2012

In Sacha Gervasi's biopic about the life and work of the legendary director, Helen Mirren played Alma Reville — Alfred Hitchcock's wife, partner, and close friend.

The film focuses on their family relationship and shows the process of filming Psycho, one of the director's most iconic movies. The lead role is performed by Anthony Hopkins, and the 1959 horror film's star is played by Scarlett Johansson. Mirren's work gained much praise from critics and received Golden Globe, Saturn, and BAFTA nominations.

The Hundred-Foot Journey, 2014

An Indian family moves to France after political unrest in their home country. In Provence, their minivan brakes fail, and the family decides to stay in the nearby town and open a restaurant of Indian cuisine.

The new establishment happens to be right across the road from a nationally renowned Michelin restaurant run by Madame Mallory — Helen Mirren's character — who is not at all happy with her new noisy neighbors. The two restaurants enter a fierce fight for guests but eventually make a truce, and Mallory even has an affair with the head of the family. Meanwhile, it turns out that the young Indian chef, Hassan, has perfect culinary taste and can cook French dishes just as well as his native cuisine.

Woman in Gold, 2015

Simon Curtis' biographical drama film centers on the story of an elderly Jewish refugee, Maria Altmann, played by Helen Mirren. The woman lost her entire family, friends, and fortune during World War II, and she hopes to regain at least the works of art that once belonged to her family, including the famous painting by Gustav Klimt.

The painting, which depicts Maria's beloved aunt Adele, is now the property of Austria and hangs at a museum in Vienna. Mirren's character and her inexperienced young lawyer Randol (played by Ryan Reynolds) are going to sue the entire country to reclaim the stolen artwork.

Catherine the Great, 2019

In the HBO miniseries, Helen Mirren plays yet another queen — Catherine the Great, the Empress of Russia who ruled the country for nearly half of the 18th century. The series follows Catherine's late reign and her relationship with Grigory Potemkin (played by Everest star Jason Clarke), the Empress' favorite who abuses his power. Scandals, intrigues, and palace coups ensue.