Michelle Marie Pfeiffer (born April 29, 1958) is an American actress. Known for pursuing eclectic roles in a wide range of film genres, she has consistently received acclaim for her versatile performances. One of the most prolific actresses of the 1980s and 1990s, her accolades include a Golden Globe Award and a British Academy Film Award, as well as nominations for three Academy Awards and one Primetime Emmy Award. Pfeiffer has established herself as one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, with fifteen of her films grossing at least $100 million at the box office. Her total worldwide gross as a leading lady exceeds $2 billion.
Pfeiffer began her career in 1978 with minor television appearances before making her film debut in The Hollywood Knights (1980), with Robert Wuhl, Tony Danza, Fran Drescher, Stuart Pankin, and Debra Feuer; followed by minor roles in Falling in Love (1980), with Elliott Gould, Susannah York, and Kay Ballard; and Clive Donner’s Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981), with Peter Ustinov, Angie Dickinson, and Lee Grant. She got her first starring role in the musical Grease 2 (1982), with Maxwell Caulfield, Adrian Zmed, Lorna Luft, Didi Conn, Eve Arden, Sid Caesar, Dody Goodman, Tab Hunter, and Connie Stevens.
Disillusioned with being typecast based on her physical appearance, Pfeiffer actively sought more serious material until landing her breakthrough role as gangster moll Elvira Hancock in Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983), with Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Robert Loggia. This was followed with roles in John Landis’s Into the Night (1985), with Jeff Goldblum, Richard Farnsworth, Irene Papas, Kathryn Harrold, Dan Aykroyd, David Bowie, and Very Miles; Richard Donner’s Ladyhawke (1985), with Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Leo McKern, and John Wood; and Sweet Liberty (1986), with Alan Alda (who also directed), Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, Lois Chiles, Lise Hilboldt, Lillian Gish, and Larry Shue.
Pfeiffer achieved further success with films like George Miller’s The Witches of Eastwick (1987), with Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Veronica Cartwright; Robert Towne’s Tequila Sunrise (1988), with Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Raul Julia, J.T. Walsh, Arliss Howard, Gabriel Damon, and Budd Boetticher; and Jonathan Demme’s Married to the Mob (1988), with Matthew Modine, Dean Stockwell, Mercedes Ruehl, Alec Baldwin, Trey Wilson, Joan Cusack, and Oliver Platt; for which she was nominated for her first of six consecutive Golden Globe Awards.
Her performances in Stephen Frears’s Dangerous Liaisons (1988), with Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Uma Thurman, Swoosie Kurtz, Mildred Natwick, Peter Capaldi, and Keanu Reeves; and The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), with Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges; earned her two consecutive Academy Award nominations, for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress, respectively. She won widespread acclaim and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her portrayal of former escort and lounge singer Susie Diamond in the latter. She continued to establish herself as a Hollywood leading lady with roles in The Russia House (1990), with Sean Connery, Roy Scheider, James Fox, John Mahoney, and Klaus Maria Brandauer; and Garry Marshall’s Frankie and Johnny (1991), with Pacino, Héctor Elizondo, Nathan Lane, and Kate Nelligan.
Pfeiffer starred as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns (1992, with Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle and Michael Murphy; one of the most admired portrayals of the comic book character. She received her third Academy Award nomination for her performance in Jonathan Kaplan’s Love Field (1992), with Dennis Haysbert and Brian Kerwin. Other films in the early 1990s include Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993), with Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Miriam Margolyes, Geraldine Chaplin, and Richard E. Grant; Mike Nichols’s Wolf (1994), with Nicholson, James Spader, Kate Nelligan, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Plummer, Eileen Atkins, David Hyde Pierce, and Om Puri; and Dangerous Minds (1995), with George Dzundza, Courtney B. Vance, Robin Bartlett, and John Neville.
Films in the mid to late 1990s include Up Close & Personal (1996), with Robert Redford, Stockard Channing, Joe Mantegna, and Kate Nelligan; To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (1996), with Peter Gallagher and Claire Danes; One Fine Day (1996), with George Clooney, Alex D. Linz, Mae Whitman, and Charles Durning; Jocelyn Moore house’s A Thousand Acres (1997), with Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Colin Firth, Keith Carradine, Kevin Anderson, Hingle, and Jason Robards; the animated film The Prince of Egypt (1998), with Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Sandra Bullock, Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin, and Martin Short; The Deep End of the Ocean (1999), with Treat Williams, Jonathan Jackson, Ryan Merriman, John Kapelos, and Whoopi Goldberg; A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999), with Rupert Everett, Calista Flockhart, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, Christian Bale, Sophie Marceau, and David Strathairn; and Rob Reiner’s The Story of Us (1999), with Bruce Willis, Rita Wilson, Julie Hagerty, Red Buttons, and Betty White.
Films in the 2000s include Robert Zemeckis’s What Lies Beneath (2000), with Harrison Ford; I Am Sam (2001), with Sean Penn, Dakota Fanning, Dianne Wiest, Loretta Devine, Richard Schiff, and Laura Dern; White Oleander (2002), with Alison Lohman, Robin Wright, Renée Zellweger, Billy Connolly, Patrick Fugit, Cole Hauser, and Noah Wyle; the animated film Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003), with Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Joseph Fiennes; Hairspray (2007), with John Travolta, Walken, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley, Allison Janney, and Nikki Blonsky; Matthew Vaughn’s Stardust (2007), with Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Peter O’Toole, and Robert De Niro; Amy Heckerling’s I Could Never Be Your Woman (2008), with Paul Rudd, Sarah Alexander, Stacey Dash, Jon Lovitz, Fred Willard, Saoirse Ronan, and Tracey Ullman; Chéri (2009), with Rupert Friend, Felicity Jones, and Kathy Bates; and Personal Effects (2009), with Ashton Kutcher and Bates.
Films in the 2010s include New Year’s Eve (2011), with Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Héctor Elizondo, Katherine Heigl, Kutcher, Seth Meyers, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sarah Paulson, Til Schweiger, Jake T. Austin, Hilary Swank, and Sofía Vergara; People Like Us (2012), with Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, John Favreau, and Phillip Baker Hall; and Luc Besson’s The Family (2013), with De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, and John D’Leo.
Films in the late 2010s include Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! (2017), with Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, and Kristen Wiig; Murder on the Orient Express (2017), with Kennet Branagh (who also directed), Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., and Daisy Ridley; Where Is Kyra? (2018), with Kiefer Sutherland; the Marvel film Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), with Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas; and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019), with Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville.
Films in the 2020s include French Exit (2021), with Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Imogen Poots, Susan Coyne, Danielle Macdonald, Isaach de Bankolé, Tracy Letts.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- The Solitary Man (1979) – directed by John Llewelyn Moxey – TV movie
- The Hollywood Knights (1980) – directed by Floyd Mutrux
- Falling in Love Again (1980) – directed by Steven Paul
- Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon (1981) – directed by Clive Donner
- Callie & Son (1981) – directed by Waris Hussein – TV movie
- Splendor in the Grass (1981) – directed by Richard C. Sarafian – TV movie
- The Children Nobody Wanted (1981) – directed by Richard Michaels – TV movie
- Grease 2 (1982) – directed by Patricia Birch
- Scarface (1983) – directed by Brian De Palma
- Into the Night (1985) – directed by John Landis
- Ladyhawke (1985) – directed by Richard Donner
- Sweet Liberty (1986) – directed by Alan Alda
- The Witches of Eastwick (1987) – directed by George Miller
- Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) – directed by Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton, John Landis, & Robert K. Weiss
- Tales from the Hollywood Hills: Natica Jackson (1987) – directed by Paul Bogart – TV movie
- Married to the Mob (1988) – directed by Jonathan Demme
- Tequila Sunrise (1988) – directed by Robert Towne
- Dangerous Liaisons (1988) – directed by Stephen Frears
- The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) – directed by Steve Kloves
- The Russia House (1990) – directed by Fred Schepisi
- Frankie and Johnny (1991) – directed by Garry Marshall
- Batman Returns (1992)* – directed by Tim Burton
- Love Field (1992) – directed by Jonathan Kaplan
- The Age of Innocence (1993) – directed by Martin Scorsese
- Wolf (1994) – directed by Mike Nichols
- Dangerous Minds (1995) – directed by John N. Smith
- Up Close & Personal (1996) – directed by Jon Avnet
- To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (1996) – directed by Michael Pressman
- One Fine Day (1996)* – directed by Michael Hoffman
- A Thousand Acres (1997) – directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse
- The Prince of Egypt (1998)* – directed by Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, & Simon Wells
- The Deep End of the Ocean (1999) – directed by Ulu Grosbard
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999) – directed by Michael Hoffman
- The Story of Us (1999) – directed by Rob Reiner
- What Lies Beneath (2000) – directed by Robert Zemeckis
- I Am Sam (2001) – directed by Jessie Nelson
- White Oleander (2002) – directed by Peter Kosminsky
- Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) – directed by Tim Johnson & Patrick Gilmore
- Hairspray (2007)* – directed by Adam Shankman
- Stardust (2007)* – directed by Matthew Vaughn
- I Could Never Be Your Woman (2008) – directed by Amy Heckerling
- Chéri (2009) – directed by Stephen Frears
- Personal Effects (2009) – directed by David Hollander
- New Year’s Eve (2011) – directed by Garry Marshall
- Dark Shadows (2012) – directed by Tim Burton
- People Like Us (2012) – directed by Alex Kurtzman
- The Family (2013) – directed by Luc Besson
- The Wizard of Lies (2017) – directed by Barry Levinson – TV movie
- Mother! (2017)* – directed by Darren Aronofsky
- Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – directed by Kenneth Branagh
- Where Is Kyra? (2018) – directed by Andrew Dosunmu
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)* – directed by Peyton Reed
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)* – directed by Anthony & Joe Russo – cameo
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) – directed by Joachim Rønning
- French Exit (2021) – directed by Azazel Jacobs
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)* – directed by Peyton Reed