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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
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364 ( 2)
Top Rated Movies #29 | 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:

He moves without sound. Kills without emotion. Disappears without trace. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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:

FRF 115,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,306,558, 20 November 1994, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,501,238

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$45,501,238
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

Keith A. Glascoe, who played the enormous Benny, or 3rd Stansfield Man, later became a member of the New York Fire Department, Ladder Company 21 in Hells Kitchen. Courageously he died in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. See more »

Goofs

Stansfield repeatedly pops a drug capsule into his mouth and reacts instantly, as if he had ingested raw powder through his mouth or nasal passage. In reality, under normal circumstances a gel capsule could not have dissolved instantly in his mouth to allow immediate ingestion of the drug powder contained inside the capsule. It would have had to be swallowed, and even then several minutes would pass before the gel capsule could dissolve enough for the drug inside it to take effect.

However, if you watch closely (and listen) Stansfield is actually biting the capsules. You can see his jaw move and hear a distinctive *crack* sound. This would instantly release the powder into his mouth. For many drug users, part of the "high" is an endorphin rush when their body realizes that they are about to receive a dose. The mere taste of it is enough for the early stages of euphoria to kick in.

In other words, his reaction is partially psychosomatic, like a smoker reacting with a sigh to the first hit of a cigarette before any of the nicotine has any time to have an actual physical effect. Or how a heroin addict's withdrawal symptoms begin to disappear when they start preparing their shot. In that case, not only has the drug not had enough time to act but it's also not even in the body yet. And it can still cause a physical reaction.

You can see that the entire act is almost like a ritual for Stansfield, beginning with his shaking the container to listen to the pills rattle around. 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 »

Connections

Spoofed in Community: Analysis of Cork-Based Networking (2014) 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)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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