Léon
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FAQ for
Léon: The Professional (1994) More at IMDbPro »Léon (original title)

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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones, if any, will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Lon can be found here.

Lon was based on a script by French film-maker Luc Besson, who also directed the movie.

Gary Oldman indicated that the capsules and the effects of the drug were intentionally unknowable, i.e. intentionally different from any specific drug. The idea was to increase his strangeness rather than fit any specific model of drug use.

Mathilda (Natalie Portman)'s father (Michael Badalucco) was holding 100% pure dope for Stansfield (Gary Oldman) and his men. When Stansfield came back for it, the dope was only 90% pure. Dope is usually 'cut' and mixed with other inactive substances (such as mannitol, a crystallized milk sugar normally used as a baby laxative, salt and flour etc) as it shifts from dealer to dealer, hence why it's so hard to find any that is 100% pure. Stansfield's men determined that because their product was now only 90% pure, Mathilda's father must have stolen some and replaced it with a filler. This is later proven true when one of Stansfield's men finds the original dope hidden in a clock radio in the apartment. By doing this, her father was hoping to cheat them by giving them 90% pure drugs to sell themselves, while he would sell the bit he stole himself and pocket the money.

As part of his code of conduct, Leon's main rule is "no women, no kids," and Mathilda fits both categories. He knew that she would suffer the same fate as her family at the hands of Stansfield and his men if he didn't open the door. Although he would not be the one who pulled the trigger, he would have felt responsible for her death, since he could have prevented it.

According to the original draft of the script, Mathilda didn't like the dress because Lon (Jean Reno) was treating her like a toy or mascot, hence her comment: "Did you buy the doll that goes with the dress?"

Portman was 11 when she first read the script and was offered the role.

See here for a detailed overview of all of the weapons seen in the film.

The R1 US Deluxe Edition DVD released by Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment in 2005 contains the following special features:

The Uncut International Version of the film running 133 minutes.

Feature length text commentary with background information about the making of the film.

'10 Year Retrospective: Cast and Crew Look Back'; a 25 minute featurette in which cast and crew reminisce about the making of the film.

'Jean Reno: The Road to 'Léon''; a 12 minute featurette looking at the performance of Jean Reno in the film.

'Natalie Portman: Starting Young'; a 14 minute featurette looking at how shocked Natalie Portman was when she read the script and acted in the film at such a young age.

The R2 UK DVD, released by Touchstone Home Entertainment (UK) in 2000, contains no special features other than scene selection. The film is non-anamorphic.

It is often reported that due to poor test screenings in the US, Luc Besson cut out nearly 25 minutes for the US Theatrical Cut of the film, primarily depicting more of the interactions and relationship between Lon and Mathilda, with which American audiences were uncomfortable. This, however, is not entirely accurate. When the film was first test screened in Los Angeles, the only scene that the audience reacted to was the scene where Mathilda propositions Lon, and he rejects her. The audience responded with nervous laughter, and Besson was pressured to remove the scene. However, this is the only scene which was cut. In 2000, in an interview with Richard Jobson of the Manchester Guardian, Besson stated "I was happy with the first one, it was mine, my director's cut, no one asked me to cut it." He also explains why he made the extended cut for the first time in 1996;


At the same time you still have 25 minutes that nobody has seen. I think it was the beginning of the summer; in the summer France is like a desert, the people are on the beach, but there are some poor guys who stay in the cities to work, so we decided to make a long version, an extended version, to play in a just a few theatres for the people who stayed.
Besson further elaborates on why the longer version was released in Japan; "So we had like five screens and people loved it and sent their friends and then the Japanese called and said: "We want the long version, please. It is for this reason that the extended version tends to be called the International Cut rather than the Director's Cut. A detailed comparison between the original version and the extended version with pictures can be found here (although it's worth noting that this site makes the mistake of assuming Besson was forced to cut the extra 25 minutes).

Yes it is. Both the US edition and the UK Special Edition include both the theatrical and extended version of the film. The Trivia Track from the R1 US Deluxe Edition DVD is not included on the UK Blu-ray, although it is on the US edition. There is also a 20th Anniversary Edition available in the UK, released in 2014 by StudioCanal. This includes none of the special features from the previous Blu-ray or DVD editions, but it does feature newly recorded interviews with Jean Reno and composer Eric Serra. This version is Region B locked.

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