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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
245 ( 17)
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:

A perfect assassin. An innocent girl. They have nothing left to lose except each other. He moves without sound. Kills without emotion. Disappears without trace. Only a 12 year old girl... knows his weakness. 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

In 2012 British indie rock band Alt-J released 'Matilda', a song inspired by this movie. See more »

Goofs

Léon gives Mathilda a revolver, which she fires six times out the window. Later on (in the International version) she plays Russian Roulette with the same revolver, and we see her place three bullets into the cylinder, although the audio indicates she loads four. However when she spins the cylinder and before snapping it closed it can be seen that three out of five chambers are loaded. It would be impossible to fire the gun six times without reloading. 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

An extended cut, retitled 'Leon: version integrale' was released in French cinemas on June 26, 1996. This version is 26 minutes longer than the previously released version and includes, amongst others, one sequence that was removed from the film after the disastrous tests with L.A. preview audiences. This version of the film is available on various DVDs, and is usually called the 'International Cut'. New scenes found in the International Cut include:
  • Mathilda asking Leon to have sex with her and Leon refusing;
  • Leon explaining why he had to leave Italy and go to New York when he was 19 years old;
  • Mathilda and Leon sleeping together in a bed;
  • Mathilda threatening to shoot herself playing Russian roulette.
  • Leon and Mathilda hitting the home of a tattooed drug dealer, and setting fire to his supply of drugs;
  • New training missions where Mathilda learns the ropes of becoming an assassin.
  • Leon and Matilda going to a restaurant to celebrate her first hit
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Troublesome Night (1997) 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

 
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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