Catwoman: Every On-Screen Performance, Ranked

Catwoman: Every On-Screen Performance, Ranked

Selina Kyle is an expert cat burglar, master planner, and anti-hero who has a special connection with Batman. Though she started as a villain, she is often seen working with Batman, more than against him. Over the years, their relationship has evolved into one of love and trust. Though, Bruce’s devotion to the cowl keeps them apart.

RELATED: The Best Live Action Catwoman Costumes, Ranked

Catwoman has featured in many of Batman’s most famous stories, played by some of TV and movies’ most well-known actresses. While each brings her own style to the role, they all have the character’s signature qualities in common. With that in mind, these are the 10 best on-screen performances of Selina Kyle/Catwoman.

Updated on April 26th, 2022, by Shawn S. Lealos: Catwoman was back on the big screen in 2022 with a brand-new portrayal in Matt Reeves’ movie The Batman. While the origin story changed completely, the look and feel of what Catwoman really is remained loyal to what fans have come to expect from the cat burglar turned antihero.

What might be hard to believe for some fans is that there have been 14 different women who have portrayed Catwoman in live-action and animation over the years, including three different actors in the same classic show from the 1960s. Not every version connected with fans, but in every case, the women brought their all to the beloved DC antihero.

14 Halle Berry – Catwoman (2004)

Halle Berry as Catwoman in her solo movie.

Streaming now on HBO Max.

One of the most hated comic book movies of all time is the solo Catwoman movie from 2004. On Rotten Tomatoes, Catwoman has a rock-bottom nine-percent rotten rating, with the audience score only a slightly higher 18-percent.

However, Halle Berry’s performance gave Catwoman all the alluring appeal and sultry attitude that fans of Batman Returns loved so much from the superior Michelle Pfeiffer. It wasn’t a good movie, but Berry gave it her all.

13 Gina Gershon – The Batman (2004)

Streaming now on HBO Max.

The women who brought Catwoman to life in the ‘60s TV series set the standard for the character. However, this led to many performances coming very close to impersonations. In The Batman animated series, Gina Gershon takes on the mantle, not really bringing anything new to the character.

The series didn’t give Selina a backstory, so it was hard to become emotionally attached to her, as she never felt like an individual. She was just another one of Batman’s endless rogues, with Gershon not given a chance to stand out.

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12 Eliza Dushku – Batman: Year One (2011)

Streaming now on HBO Max.

It sounds weird, but Batman: Year One is actually about Jim Gordon more than Bruce Wayne. The film chronicles the caped crusader’s earliest days as a hero and the detective’s entry into the GCPD. Unfortunately, it doesn’t leave much time for Selina, as she’s somewhat shoehorned into the story.

RELATED: 10 Things Only Comic Fans Know About Batman: Year One

She’s a young burglar, using her skills to help other girls in trouble. She also has a vendetta against the mob, which is her main motivation for everything. It’s not the best version of the character, essentially making her a prop for prop’s sake, which gives the talented Eliza Dushku very little to work with.

11 Jennifer Morrison – Batman: Hush (2019)

Streaming now on HBO Max.

In Batman: Hush we get to see both sides of Bruce and Selina’s relationship play out as Selina struggles to stay on the right side of the law as she begins a romance with Bruce. When one of Batman’s enemies threatens to ruin his life, he reveals himself to Selina to protect her.

Jennifer Morrison gives us the full range of Selina’s experience, as she joins the team, wanting to be better for Bruce. The actress’ best moment comes at the end when she displays Catwoman’s independence by not being second fiddle to Batman’s endless hero complex.

10 Sanaa Lathan – Harley Quinn (2019)

Catwoman in the Harley Quinn cartoon.

Streaming now on HBO Max.

Catwoman showed up in Harley Quinn in the second season and added more female firepower to the animated series. This helped the show create the Gotham City Sirens, with Catwoman teaming with Poison Ivy and Harley, although she was catty and full of puns, giving her the attitude fans wanted from Catwoman.

Sanaa Lathan voiced Catwoman in the series, and if her voice is familiar to fans, it is because she also voiced Donna Tubbs on The Cleveland Show for four years.

9 Camren Bicondova – Gotham (2014)

Streaming now on Netflix and DirecTV.

When it was announced that Gotham would be a Batman prequel featuring a young Bruce, as well as a young Selina, fans were understandably skeptical. However, when they saw the performance of Camren Bicondova as Selina, viewers knew they were getting a fresh take on a classic character.

The young Gotham actress hit all of Selina’s strengths, her independence, loyalty, and rebellious streak, while also giving her the freedom to make the same kinds of mistakes all teenagers make. It was such a fantastic portrayal of the character, fans were interested in her getting a spinoff.

8 Naya Rivera – Batman: The Long Halloween (2021)

Catwoman lying on money in Long Halloween.

Streaming now on HBO Max.

Batman: The Long Halloween was a two-part movie event that adapted the classic comic book series. In this animated movie, Carmine Falcone tried to bring together villains to work for him in his organization, but these major Gotham City villains had plans of their own.

Much like in the sequels of the comic book story, Catwoman learned that Carmine Falcone might be her father. That played out here as well, with Catwoman playing the antihero role and remaining close to Batman. Sadly, voice actress Naya Rivera died before the movies were released.

7 Adrienne Barbeau – Batman: The Animated Series (1992)

Streaming now on HBO Max.

The legendary status of Batman: The Animated Series is well known among comic book fans. One of the many reasons it’s so beloved is the depiction of Batman’s relationship with Catwoman. Through several episodes, especially “The Cat and the Claw” and “Tyger Tyger,” we got to witness their evolution from adversaries to lovers.

RELATED: 15 Best Animated Batman Movies (According To Ranker)

Adrienne Barbeau gave Selina depth, portraying a real separation between Catwoman and her secret identity, making every appearance memorable. She and Kevin Conroy had a chemistry that highlighted how important the duo is to each other’s lives.

6 Lee Meriweather – Batman (1966)

Lee Meriweather lying down as Catwoman.

Streaming now on Tubi, DirecTV, and IMDb TV.

Based on the 1966 TV series, the Batman movie features Lee Meriweather taking on the role. What’s so great about the three actresses who embodied the role for the Batman series, is that they were all able to give similar, yet original performances.

Meriweather made her Catwoman an equal to the other villains, not something often seen in the sixties. She effortlessly balanced her wits and sexuality to set her plans in motion. Her one appearance introduced a Catwoman ahead of her time.

5 Zoë Kravitz – The Batman (2022)

Catwoman talking to Batman.

Streaming now on HBO Max.

There are a lot of differences in The Batman’s version of Catwoman from the comics. Instead of a cat burglar who ended up turning into an antihero thanks to her relationship with Batman, Matt Reeves changed up her origin story in this movie.

Here, Selina is Carmine Falcone’s daughter, much like in The Long Halloween, and her crimes are simply to get back at her father after her mother’s death. However, what matters is how she acts, and Zoë Kravitz was great as Catwoman, a strong woman who wouldn’t let any man hold her down.

4 Julie Newmar – Batman (1966)

Streaming now on Tubi, DirecTV, and IMDb TV.

In her turn in the bodysuit, Julie Newmar’s Catwoman had a regal quality. She was a queen, who was not afraid to let the men of Gotham City know it. She had the same affection for Batman but never hesitated to put her plans ahead of her feelings.

The playfulness Newmar brought to the character set the tone for future portrayals. She made her a woman who handles her business but is completely aware of the absurdity around her. She was excellent at highlighting the contradictions of Catwoman’s personality.

3 Eartha Kitt – Batman (1966)

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman

Streaming now on Tubi, DirecTV, and IMDb TV.

Catwoman has always moved through life with confidence to be admired, and no one played that confidence like Eartha Kitt. She portrayed the character’s sexiness with a self-assuredness to be envied. No actress on the list had more fun with the role than her. In fact, she became synonymous with Catwoman.

Kitt never lets viewers forget that Catwoman was the boss in every situation, whether she was facing off with Batman or manipulating the Joker. Everything comic book fans love about Catwoman can be found in Kitt’s TV performance.

2 Anne Hathaway – The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, and Vudu.

Before she was cast in The Dark Knight Rises, Anne Hathaway was most well known for her roles in romantic comedies. This caused fans to go crazy when she was cast as Selina Kyle. Of course, they all turned out to be wrong, as she was the highlight of the movie.

Her Selina is completely comfortable with herself, unapologetic in the choices she makes to survive. In Dark Knight Rises, she is 100% Batman’s equal, even outsmarting him a couple of times. While she has a costume and mask, she’s not using it to hide herself the way Bruce is. Her strength comes from being herself and not caring what anyone thinks.

1 Michelle Pfeiffer – Batman Returns (1992)

Streaming now on HBO Max.

Of all the versions of Catwoman on this list, Michelle Pfeiffer’s is the only one to truly make a transition from mousy, pushover Selina to self-reliant Catwoman. Though she teams up with Penguin, she’s not really into being a villain, because she always retained her humanity.

Once she commits to being Catwoman, she discovers her true self, never being pushed around again. Her physical performance, which has the perfect touch of feline qualities, set the standard for all the actresses and animation that followed. She’s the blueprint for Catwoman performances.

NEXT: Every Live-Action Catwoman Portrayal In Chronological Order

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