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Léon: The Professional (1994)

Léon (original title)
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Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

Director:

Luc Besson

Writer:

Luc Besson
Popularity
257 ( 27)
Top Rated Movies #30 | 5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Reno ... Leon
Gary Oldman ... Stansfield
Natalie Portman ... Mathilda
Danny Aiello ... Tony
Peter Appel ... Malky
Willi One Blood ... 1st Stansfield Man (as Willie One Blood)
Don Creech ... 2nd Stansfield man
Keith A. Glascoe Keith A. Glascoe ... 3rd Stansfield man
Randolph Scott Randolph Scott ... 4th Stansfield man
Michael Badalucco ... Mathilda's Father
Ellen Greene ... Mathilda's Mother
Elizabeth Regen ... Mathilda's Sister
Carl J. Matusovich Carl J. Matusovich ... Mathilda's Brother
Frank Senger ... Fatman
Lucius Wyatt Cherokee ... Tonto (as Lucius Wyatt 'Cherokee')
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Storyline

After her father, mother, older sister and little brother are killed by her father's employers, the 12-year-old daughter of an abject drug dealer is forced to take refuge in the apartment of a professional hitman who at her request teaches her the methods of his job so she can take her revenge on the corrupt DEA agent who ruined her life by killing her beloved brother. Written by J. S. Golden

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If you want the job done right, hire a professional. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of strong graphic violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

English | Italian | French

Release Date:

18 November 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Léon: The Professional See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF115,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,306,558, 20 November 1994

Gross USA:

$19,501,238

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,501,238
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut) | (International)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)| Dolby | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Léon Gaumont was a French inventor developing cinematographic techniques in the late 19th century alongside with the Lumière brothers. Gaumont is the name of the production company that made this film. See more »

Goofs

When the taxicab pulls up to the DEA building, the rearview mirror is on the windshield. Immediately afterwards, the spot for it is evident, but the mirror is missing. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tony: Allora, come stai, Leone?
Léon: Bene.
[Tony puts out his cigarette in an ashtray]
Tony: OK. OK. Let's talk business.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Under the "SPECIAL THANKS" heading you will find: Chevalier KAMEN (Prince of the Mash Potatoes) Byblos Bill (King of Saint Tropez) Princess Trudy (Queen of Hearts) See more »

Alternate Versions

In the USA cable version, a flyover of Central Park in the beginning has been cut for no apparent reason, and the main titles moved to the first scene. See more »


Soundtracks

The Experience of Love
Written by Éric Serra
Performed by Éric Serra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Masterpiece of violent Characterisations and fast action-shooting
5 August 1999 | by psikoSee all my reviews

An interview with Anne Parillaud, in the Evening Standard, 24.8.90, it was said that the message of Nikita is not one of violence but the idea is that people who are full of despair and missing love are not alone.

This idea continues in Léon. Léon was Besson's first foray into international film production. The similarities, or parallels, between Nikita and Léon are undoubted. Both the central protagonists attempt to come to terms with their dysfunctionality, to society, against a background of violence, which they both continue to act upon as the agent of someone else. There is no clean difference (we may also include Le Dernier Combat for comparison.) The only difference is gender.

I always found that until obtaining the "Version Integral" there was a character hole in the plot. The original cut released for US audiences was felt, by Besson, had an "offending" scene cut which ruined later scenes. The American test audiences hated it, seeing it as perverse and paedophiliac. The film was still panned by US critics as quasi-child pornography on general release. What it to be understood about this film, and this is what infuriated Besson, is that the film is about pure love. Not sex, which is all the Americans, could see.

And so we have ascertained that the characters in Besson's films are, simply, great. Then there is the action which is all the grace and style of Nikita. Typical of Besson's style with fast action-shooting and violent characterisation. This has to be one of Jean Reno's and by far Natalie Portman's best screen performance. To me, Gary Oldman plays his part to the tee, said by some magazines to be the best screen bad guy - it is one of his best performances.

Stylisation and excess are hallmarks of Besson's work. Characters are larger than life. Décors are in excess of realism. Besson's characters lack psychological depth. "The sumptuous and the ornate cohabit with the violent or the vulgar." Besson's use of excess is also extremely playful mixing violence with humour. Besson's work appeals to the tastes of popular culture and may not please that of the elite - arguably a reason for the rejection of his work by many intellectual film journals.

I have yet to hear of a person putting a bad word against this film. There is nothing I can personally fault so I give this film 10/10, a score only two other somewhat different films hold in my IMDb list of 345 films - "The Wizard of Oz" and "La Cité des Enfants perdu". If you like French Cinema or consider yourself a cinephile you must see the latter.


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