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Léon: The Professional (1994)

Léon (original title)
Trailer
2:25 | Trailer
Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. An unusual relationship forms as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

Director:

Luc Besson

Writer:

Luc Besson
Popularity
208 ( 1)
Top Rated Movies #31 | 6 wins & 15 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 StansfieldMman
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, step-mother, step-sister and little brother are killed by her father's employers, the 12-year-old daughter of an abject drug dealer manages 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:

You can't stop what you can't see. 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luc Besson got the idea of doing this movie while working on his previous movie, Nikita (1990). In that film's third act, Victor the Cleaner appears to deal with the aftermath of Nikita's botched mission. Realizing the potential of the character was underused in that movie, Besson decided to create a story that focused on the activities of such a character. Both Victor and Leon appear dressed in a long wool coat, sunglasses and a knit cap. Both are played by Jean Reno. The film's working title was "The Cleaner". See more »

Goofs

Mathilda takes the Tram to Roosevelt Island and arrives at the Spencer School there. She is on the lawn planting her plant and the camera pans back and it is as if she is in NJ or Long Island, very distant from Manhattan. Roosevelt Island is in the middle of the East River about 200 feet from Manhattan. 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.
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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

All German versions until the Director's cut DVD by Kinowelt miss a small scene where Mathilda tells Leon how old she is. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Phoenix Nights: Ladies' Night (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

I Like Myself
from It's Always Fair Weather (1955)
Music by André Previn
Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Performed by Gene Kelly (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
Visceral and intelligent - Besson's masterpiece
19 January 2004 | by Twinsen61See all my reviews

Leon is one of the most emotionally intense movies ever made. French director Luc Besson uses everything: actors, music, camera angles, lighting to create an unique experience - "It's not realism, it's not naturalism - it's heightened reality" as Gary Oldman very well put it.

In "The making of The Professional" Besson says "If I imagine somebody in the street try to knock on my daughter, I kill the guy, in five seconds. I kill him, and I think "It's in me, I'm a beast!" On this part we can't forget that a part of us, the genetic things inside are much, much older than The Ten Commandments". He certainly uses visceral scenes to create very strong emotion in the movie - the blood running from Mathilda's nose or Stansfield's unforgettable "EVERYONE!" are just a couple of examples. The music and the sound are excellent and are used in a masterly fashion - you can hear Fatman's heart beating desperately or a low claustrophobic sound when Stansfield turns to look at Mathilda's father.

However Leon does not work only on this primary level, it also has an intelligent story. It may seem to be almost a fairy-tale, but don't be fooled - just like his character Besson is serious. This movie has a message: without love we are dead, even if we don't see it. Only true love give meaning to our lives: "everything else reminds me a big yogurt: warm and rancid" as Mathilda says in the original script, which is available on the net under the name Leon Version 1. Is this true in "real life"? I don't know but this movie can make you wonder.

Then of course there's the sensuality. It's hypocritical to deny it, the camera interacts with Mathilda in a mesmerising fashion. It's not sick and it's not degrading: it's art, subtle and beautiful.

Leon is not perfect but it has so many great moments that all its flaws can be forgiven. It's a movie that really should not be missed, unless you are concerned with its amorality. And don't be - Leon is less violent than many action movies and the unusual relationship between the main characters is handled mostly with genuine feeling and tact.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

France | USA

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:

$19,552,639
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut) | (International)

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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