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La Femme Nikita (1990)

Nikita (original title)
R | | Action, Thriller | April 1991 (USA)
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2:30 | Trailer

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Convicted felon Nikita, instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin.

Director:

Luc Besson

Writer:

Luc Besson
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Popularity
3,622 ( 296)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Parillaud ... Nikita / Marie Clément
Marc Duret ... Rico
Patrick Fontana Patrick Fontana ... Coyotte
Alain Lathière Alain Lathière ... Zap
Laura Chéron Laura Chéron ... La punk
Jacques Boudet Jacques Boudet ... Le pharmacien
Helene Aligier Helene Aligier ... La pharmacienne
Pierre-Alain de Garrigues Pierre-Alain de Garrigues ... Flic pharmacie
Patrick Pérez Patrick Pérez ... Flic pharmacie (as Patrick Perez)
Bruno Randon Bruno Randon ... Flic pharmacie
Vincent Skimenti Vincent Skimenti ... Flic pharmacie
Roland Blanche Roland Blanche ... Flic interrogatoire
Joseph Teruel Joseph Teruel ... Stagiaire flic
Jacques Disses Jacques Disses ... Avocat
Stéphane Fey Stéphane Fey ... Président tribunal (as Stephane Fey)
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Storyline

An urgent life-or-death dilemma befalls Nikita--the feral street girl and violent drug addict--after killing a police officer at point blank. Hopeless, Nikita is given a new lease of life, when she reluctantly exchanges her doomed fate for a secret government program that promises to mould her into a cold-blooded assassin under the wing of her sadistic mentor, Bob. Now--with a new set of skills, a new identity, and lethally sophisticated looks--Nikita is the ultimate weapon and the perfect puppet for doing the government's dirty work; however, what happens if this trained killer chooses love over death? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sie tötet. Um zu leben. (She murders. So she can live.) See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French | Italian | English

Release Date:

April 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La Femme Nikita See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 50,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,017,971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luc Besson had Anne Parillaud train extensively with guns so that she would be completely at ease with them. Parillaud took to practicing loading and unloading a fake gun in her car which led to her being pulled over by the police and having their guns drawn on her in traffic one day as they thought her weapon was real. See more »

Goofs

When Nikita ambushes Bob with the metal chair, Bob anticipates the stunt by bracing himself, looking away, and closing his eyes before the chair hits him. See more »

Quotes

Nikita: Why ain't my mother here?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The English dubbed version featured John Tremaine as the voice of Tchéky Karyo's character Bob. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.78 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Dark Side of Time
(uncredited)
Performed by Éric Serra
Words by Luc Besson
Backing vocals by Yvonne Jones & Slim Batteux
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Accept no substitutes
9 July 2000 | by DeeNine-2See all my reviews

This, the French La Femme Nikita, directed by Luc Besson, is one of the strangest, most bizarre, yet psychologically truest movies ever made. The story on the surface is absurd and something you'd expect from a grade 'B' international intrigue thriller. Anne Parillaud plays Nikita, a bitter, drug-dependent, unsocialized child of the streets who is faster than a kung fu fighter and packs more punch than a Mike Tyson bite. She's killed some people and is given a choice between death and becoming an assassin for the French government.

This premise should lead to the usual action/adventure yarn, with lots of fists flying, guns going off, people jumping off of buildings, roaring through the streets in souped up vehicles, spraying bullets, etc., as blood flows and bones shatter. And something like that does happen. However there is a second level in which Nitika becomes the embodiment of something beyond an action adventure heroine. She is coerced and managed by society. Her individuality is beaten out of her so that she can be molded into what the society demands. She comes out of her 'training' with her individuality compromised, her free and natural spirit cowed, but undefeated and alive, and she sets out to do what she has been taught to do. And then she falls in love. And she notices, somewhere along the way, amid the murder and the mayhem, that there is something better than and more important than, and closer to her soul in this world than killing and being killed. She finds that she prefers love to hate, tenderness to brutality. She sees herself and who she is for the first time, but it is too late. She cannot escape. Or can she?

Parillaud brings a wild animal persona tinged with beauty and unself-conscious grace to the role of Nikita. Marc Duret plays Rico, the tender man she loves, and Tchéky Karyo is her mentor, Bob, whom she also loves. Jeanne Moreau, the legend, has a small part as Amande, who teaches Nikita lipstick application and how to be attractive.

Now compare this to the US remake called Point of No Return (1993), starring Bridget Fonda. (Please, do not even consider the vapid TV Nikita.) What's the difference? Well, Fonda's flashier, I suppose, but nowhere is there anything like the psychological depth and raw animal magnetism found in the original. The Fonda vehicle is simply a one-dimensional action flick stylishly done in a predictable manner. Besson's Nikita is a work of art that explores the human predicament and even suggests something close to salvation.

As always with a French film, get the subtitled version. The dubbing is always atrocious, and anyway there's really not that much dialogue.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


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