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Download Léon: The Professional 1994 Movie Legally
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
Luc Besson


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Jean Reno as Léon
Gary Oldman as Stansfield
Natalie Portman as Mathilda
Danny Aiello as Tony
Peter Appel as Malky
Willi One Blood as 1st Stansfield man
Don Creech as 2nd Stansfield man
Keith A. Glascoe as 3rd Stansfield man (Benny)
Randolph Scott as 4th Stansfield man
Michael Badalucco as Mathilda's Father
Ellen Greene as Mathilda's Mother
Elizabeth Regen as Mathilda's Sister
Carl J. Matusovich as Mathilda's Brother
Frank Senger as Fatman
Léon: The Professional Storyline: Mathilda, a twelve-year old New York girl, is living an undesirable life among her half-family. Her father stores drugs for two-faced cop Norman Stansfield. Only her little brother keeps Mathilda from breaking apart. One day, Stansfield and his team take cruel revenge on her father for stretching the drugs a little, thus killing the whole family. Only Mathilda, who was out shopping, survives by finding shelter in Léon's apartment in the moment of highest need. Soon, she finds out about the strange neighbour's unusual profession - killing - and desperately seeks his help in taking revenge for her little brother. Léon, who is completely unexperienced in fatherly tasks, and in friendships, does his best to keep Mathilda out of trouble - unsuccessfully. Now, the conflict between a killer, who slowly discovers his abilities to live, to feel, to love and a corrupt police officer...
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One of those movies that remain stuck to mind
I watched this film on DVD that I borrowed from my friend, who recommended it after I asked him for some refreshing thriller, but I ended up getting something more than that. It's just brilliant in every aspect - from casting to call, and from beginning to end, without a little distraction in between. Luc Besson has done a good job, and Gary Oldman! My god! Why didn't he win an Oscar for this role? Jean Reno did a terrific acting and so did the young Natalie.

What starts off as an introduction to the 'cleaner' takes a whole new direction as the girl meets our Hit-man. Then comes Norman, the bad-ass cop, for a drug related issue with the girl's father. A murderous scene that sets in so naturally that I felt I was in that room. The girl is fortunately safe and credit goes to her mother who sent her to the grocery and Leon who allows her inside after she seeks help witnessing the aftermath.

Later on I thought the story between Leon and Mathalda would go somewhat like Terminator-Judgement Day. But there was something even more special. Leon is losing his murderous instinct bit by bit as he grows into a 'Caretaker' and Mathalda loses her craze for killing and adulthood again a bit by bit. The way the climax has been written and presented, boy! 200 cops on one man, and still they struggle to take him out until he finally sacrifices his life to save the pretty girl. Every thing in the middle, that I've left out is something that I can only feel from the experience of watching this movie. Natalie Portman is now a huge star, and she deserves her stardom and acclaim after having acted like this in her very first film, and remember its no small film.

It's a type of movie that I get to watch on rare occasions. Something that remains stuck in my mind after days of watching!
Where are the accolades?
This movie is rated 63 on the imdb top 250 movie list, showing that people obviously like this movie, and with good reason. But why the hell didn;t this movie garner at least one single oscar or golden globe nomination??

natalie portman's performance was terrific as the emotionally ravaged matildha - best actress nomination for sure.

jean reno should have been nominated for a best actor nomination. the fact that the audience is led to feel sympathy and sorrow for a hitman speaks words enough about his performance.

gary oldman is fantastic as the corrupt and psychotic cop. his character is so repulsive and chilling, but at the same time so quirky and interesting to watch. best supporting actor nomination.

luc besson. when this man will get some kudos for his work i never know. the professional, in my opinion, is his greatest achievement as a director and, considering the fact he has helmed classic cult films such as nikita and the fifth element, the professional must rate highly as one of the best films of the 90's atleast! best film and best director nominations should have been given.

but no, it was all too easy to heap praise on the feel good movie forrest gump, and shun the movie that, through its intensity and tragedy, better highlights the value of life and love.
Very good movie!
This is a very good drama/action movie. It stars Jean Reno a great french actor who is very good in this movie. It also stars a young Natalie Portman who does an outstanding job opposite Jean.

This movie is about a hit-man (Reno) who lives down the hall from a young girl named Matilda (Portman). The young girls family is in some trouble with drug dealers . The drug dealers send people to kill them, Luckily Matilda is not home at the time. She sees the intruders in her apartment and passses right by to the apartment at the end of the hall Leons apartment (Reno). He opens the door lets her in and they start an unlikely friendship.

This movie was really good. It had a great story line really good acting and a lot of action mixed with drama. It is a great watch for pretty much anybody.
Characterised by 1 performance
It's a good movie, without doubt, yet I cant help but feel that the cult following that IMDb has garnered is the cause for it having such a high rating. I mean it shouldn't be in the top 40 (or so) films of all time list.

After watching Leon I felt rather hard done by, yes the review I've given is good and it's deserved but it can hardly be considered a masterpiece. To satisfy curiosity I suggest it's worth the watch, if only for another spellbinding turn by undoubtedly the greatest English actor of his generation. Not only has Gary Oldman set the benchmark for sociopathic villains, but his touch is so feather light that the eccentricities of each individual movement are as delightfully entrancing as they are wickedly sickening. Yes, admittedly my admiration for the man led me to write this review but only because I feel it important to tell others that this is one of his best performances to date and that it prevents this movie from being forgotten.

I watched the film after seeing a 'Top Ten Gary Oldman Performances' video on the old youtube thingymajigg ('watchmojo' is a very interesting channel, go on... check it out.) and this has led me to scouring the internet for different films involving this guy, and honestly, and fairly upsettingly, I can't think of a better way I could've spent my time. In my, not too sought after opinion, he is the greatest actor I've ever seen and I repeatedly tell my friends ( and I know I don't sound like a guy who has any, but I'm fairly certain that they can be counted as friends ( don't ask them in case I'm wrong )) to study the man in great detail. I mean, they hadn't even heard of him. Anyway, in all honesty, this review was supposed to be serious but I fear I'm losing my way. So on we go...

The performance of Reno is sturdy as is the support of the majority of the cast; obviously the use of a child acting doesn't fail to annoy, even though the girl in question went on to reach stardom (didn't see that coming). I'm not an expert in direction so I'm not in a place to comment on Besson's job, but he's created an enjoyable film that certainly breaches the norm, so top marks there. I don't know what to make of the French, this film points in their favour though.

I think this conclusion gives me an excuse to compliment G.O. so I will. All I'll say is that if you have the intention/hope/dream of going into acting, or simply just admire this strand of entertainment: this guy's the man to watch.

Sorry for going on, anyway I liked it... I suggest giving it a go.
What else can I add to the reviews? The music is great!
First of all, I emphasize once again that the long version not released theatrically in the United States, known as Leon (as opposed to The Professional) is a much stronger film.

Story with soul. Great chemistry between the leads. Characters you really care about. Style. Carefully crafted action. Artistic cinematography. Rhythmic editing.

Luc Besson and his crew really hit the sweet spot with this movie. 10/10

Anyways, most other reviewers have covered almost all the strengths of this wonderful movie, so there is really nothing I can add here except a reviewer-neglected element: the music.

There are two pieces, one by Bjork and another by Sting for the credits that are really really good. All other music is composed by Eric Serra as far as I know.

Eric Serra is known for collaborating with Luc Besson, and here for Leon he puts out one of his best scores. It is well written, and very well edited together into the film. Turn off the music, and you will see how much tension it serves up in scenes like the slaughter/"please open the door!" scene, e.g. when the slick hair goon turns toward Leon's apartment suspecting Mathilda just went in there, the music reflects his escalating threat. The soundtrack also features well crafted sound effects that go along very well with the footage -- it is not just music in the traditional sense.

The character themes, Mathilda's Tony's Leon's really fit the Wagnerian ideal of using music to define a character. Leon the cleaner's theme is especially moving, yearning frustration loneliness despair. This is one of the most memorable character themes, up there with classics such as Darth Vader's Imperial March. You see Leon the cleaner, you hear the music. You hear the music, you feel Leon the cleaner.

The music that is used during the montage scenes (e.g. the gum trick and hitting clients to rhythmic electronica) works great.

Enough reading my lame comments, if you have not done so, go and see this movie!
One of the Best Action Films Ever Made!
Luc Besson's "Leon" AKA "The Professional" ranks in my top ten action films of all time, along with his "La Femme Nikita". The difference between Besson's films and standard action films is what Besson does with the rest of the story. His films feature intense character development and satisfying human plots. In both films, Besson's heroes are ruthless professional killers. Sympathy for Nikita develops because of her tragic struggle against her own history and psychology, while Leon's latent sense of justice, brought on by his innocent love for a 12 year old girl, makes this professional hit man truly heroic. Besson's action is over-the-top, wild and unrealistic, what makes his films so believable and so compelling is PSYCHOLOGICAL REALISM - a much more engaging aspect of film than violence will ever be. Quentin Tarantino could learn much through a close study of Besson (though I am sure he has already done this)

Leon is played by Jean Reno. Reno is a charismatic, under-appreciated physical actor, and his performance is wonderful. Natalie Portman, in her early teens, gives an amazing performance as "Mathilda" the character around whom the entire story revolves. And Gary Oldman is masterful as the despicable Stansfield. Oldman has given us so many remarkable performances over the years, that it is difficult to identify his most profound parts, but this is certainly among his most memorable.

Mathilda is a troubled young girl whose family - who she is not very fond of - is about to get wiped out over a drug dispute. Leon is a professional killer who lives down the hall. When Mathilda's family is wiped out, Leon - and you get the feeling that this is the first time he has allowed himself to feel sympathy is many years - takes her in. Thus begins the love story, and the story of revenge that will drive the film's major themes and its plot.

The story is beautifully filmed and exquisitely paced - you will be unable to take your eyes from the screen. The soundtrack is also excellent and wholly unobtrusive. The action scenes are memorable, affective, and tastefully subordinate to the story (take note Quentin).

Directing A+ Script A+ Acting A+ Story A+ Cinematography A+ Sound/Music A+

Very highly recommended.
A French Cleaner with a difference...
On paper, the plot line for this film is an absolute nightmare – controversial and even sick if handled by the wrong director. And yet Luc Besson conjures up an intricate, touching and taught thriller which ranks as a landmark piece of cinema.

Leon is essentially a love story between a French hit-man (referred to as a 'cleaner') and a 12 year old girl whose family are brutally murdered by a monstrous DEA official come drug dealer (Gary Oldman).

Leon (Jean Reno) is a meticulous assassin carrying out $5000 hits for the Italian underworld. He never actually gets paid as his boss Tony looks after his money for him (safer than a bank) though the reality is that he is being fleeced. He is socially and emotionally like a child – his simple life consists of drinking milk, watching Gene Kelly films, caring for a plant and sleeping upright in a chair with a gun by his side. He can't read and lives a solitary existence.

His life changes when one day, a 12 year girl called Matilda (Natalie Portman) returns to the apartment building with some cartons of milk for him. As she walks past her own apartment to knock on Leon's door she sees that her family have been brutally murdered. In tears, she pleads with Leon to open the door, starting a relationship which ultimately ends in tragedy.

Leon reluctantly takes Matilda under his wing and teaches her the skills of the expert hit-man because it's all he knows and over time they form an unbreakable bond.

The film works for two simple reasons – Portman's pre-adolescent character means that she is too young to truly understand the implications of what she saying i.e. about love and sex. In Leon's case, he is in some ways even more of a child and therefore incapable of taking any sinister advantage of the situation. The result is a touching love story without any hint of perversity - their love is genuine but there is no hint of it crossing the lines of common decency. The controversial scene where Matilda asks to sleep with him was cut in the American screening and yet it is clear that Matilda doesn't really understand what she is saying nor does Leon have any intention of entertaining the prospect. The way in which they say goodbye to each other in what turns out to be the very last time is very much in the father daughter mould.

Besson came up with Leon's character from a bit part Reno played in a previous film, La Femme Nikita , and the way Reno portrays Leon quite rightly turned him into an international movie star. His understated performance in direct contrast to the brashness of Matilda, is perfectly judged and the empathy you feel for his character is almost immediate.

Gary Oldman's role is brutal, terrifying and wonderfully sinister. A glorious, over the top, drug fuelled nutcase with a passion for Beethoven.

But it is Portman who steals the film and quite rightly so. When Luc Besson casted for the part of Matilda, he wanted someone young – somebody who did not understand the meaning of love. In her screen test, Portman was told the scene – that she is walking towards Leon's apartment when she discovers that her family including her 4 year old brother have been brutally murdered. She started to cry immediately – Besson had found her Matilda.

It is amazing that Natalie Portman appeared in the awful Star Wars Prequels after a giving such a wonderful performance in Leon. There are very few child actors who could have delivered an acting master class like this – the only comparison I can think of is Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver. Even more remarkable, Portman had received little in actor training or experience before this film. During the making of the movie, the first time she had to be tearful, the crew used methanol to help her appear to be crying. She only used this once, as she was able to generate the emotion and tears by herself - quite a feat for an 11 year old girl.

Fortunately, Natalie had very good parents who had certain control over the way she was used in the film. You never see Matilda draw on a cigarette and she gives up smoking later in the film. A planned shower scene where Matilda prances around naked was thankfully scrapped.

Leon is a film of many complexities and one of the best thrillers I have seen personally. Whether you see it in the normal or Directors Cut version (the long version as Reno calls it), it's a must have. We must also hope that Besson writes a script for a new film, Matilda, so we can all see what happens to her character in the future. Portman has already stated she would do this at the drop of a hat, relishing the chance to work with Besson again – here's hoping.

It is a magnificent piece of cinema.
What makes it different from others?
I saw this film many years ago and as I remember I liked it, though it did seemed to me like anything special. It appeared to me like another action film about hit-man. I many times heard other people talking how great this film is and I couldn't understand how this movie is different from others. Now after few years I've watched it again, and now I realised it. Back then I was into action movies, so I've watched movies only to see some action, I didn't care much about a plot. This movie has some impressive action sequences, which were so beautifully filmed, that every minute of it was very enjoyable. But action isn't the most important thing about this film. What's important is an original story about unusual relationships between contract killer and a teenage girl. What else is good about this film is the colorfulness of it. Jean Reno was typical Jean Reno and that's good, he made a pretty original hit-man. Even more I liked Gary Oldman's performance, he always plays bad guys in movies so well, I think the movie would be much worse, if Stansfield was played by other guy.
Manolo, one glass of milk for my friend, Léon. .. OK, Make that Two.
This movie is a piece of Art. Truly unique in its genre. It successfully blends action, drama, thriller ( name it) together. It’s masterfully directed by Luc Besson which proves that you don’t need a big budget to make a really good movie. The shooting is awesome- Camera angles, close to face camera focus, scenes such as Mathilda’s face illuminating as the door opens and the white flash at the end is simply awesome! The Musical score and soundtrack such as Sting and Björk is again... Very well chosen and fits the movie completely! The movie contains some unforgettable dialogues & scenes too. The scene where there is a burst of laughter in the Restaurant or the toilet scene with Gary Oldman is just a treat to watch that guy act! From its explosive start to its brilliant ending, no any segments gets boring at any time, everything is relevant and you just want more!

The acting by the magical Trio Jean Reno-Nathalie Portman-Gary Oldman just smokes! ‘Nuff said. Probably one of the best I’ve ever seen in a movie. You could read everything just on their facial expressions and looks real. It’s really amazing…

About the controversial pedophile issue I think you guys are pushing this a little too far. The Bed scenes etc, it is not sex but platonic love as Besson said! It’s that “love in the air” that makes the movie even more gripping.

Timeless classic and among just the handful of movies you could watch indefinitely… No questions. I’m always happy. This is a straight 10. This is my favorite movie.
"I like these calm little moments before the storm..."
Many movies have characters in them who are hired assassins, or "hit men". They're the standard "badass" character that kills people in order to collect a reward. Most hit men in films have been portrayed as cold, heartless villains (Boba Fett of Star Wars, Vincent of Collateral). Léon, however, flips this cliché on its end, as the hit-man is the kind-hearted protagonist who learns how to love, thanks to a little girl who shows up on his doorstep.

Léon begins in a restaurant, with the assassin himself (Jean Reno) taking a contract from his boss Tony (Danny Aiello) to kill a man who's moving in on Tony's territory. The next 10 minutes become an enthralling cat and mouse game where Leon shows the viewers just why he is known as the cleaner: he is extremely good at this job. We also see Leon's human side, shown by his passion for milk, his affection for his plant (whom he calls his best friend) and when he becomes engrossed watching Singin' in the Rain. Leon seems quite content with this life, not seeming to want anything more. That is, until he is forced to take custody of a twelve-year-old girl (Natalie Portman) whose entire family was cruelly massacred by a corrupt DEA agent (Gary Oldman). This is where Leon is forced to change his lifestyle for the little girl, and when she wishes to get into contract killing to avenge her brother, Leon becomes her mentor and protector.

Luc Besson was both the director and screenwriter for Léon, and he proves with his sophomore effort that he is no one-hit wonder. Léon is a very fast paced movie, chronicling Leon's training of Mathilda, Mathilda's growing affection for contract killing (and for Leon himself), and the final standoff with Norman Stansfield. Despite all this, Léon also has time to throw in some slower scenes that develop Leon's and Mathilda's characters, expanding on their growing relationship and partnership.

Jean Reno does a very good job as Leon, portraying him both as an effective and frightening killing machine, and as a loving and caring father figure. There is almost a childlike innocence to Leon, with him being unable to read and not familiar with most American culture. Reno allows the audience to both sympathize with this character and respect him, an extremely challenging feat.

Natalie Portman's breakout role as Mathilda is one of the greatest acted child roles in a film, period. Portman is able to portray childlike innocence combined with an above average intelligence and awareness of the world around her. Although she is young, she becomes extremely interested in Leon and his job, wanting revenge for the gross acts committed upon her. Make no mistake, Mathilda is the true star of this film, and Portman completely shines in the role.

In comparison to Jean Reno's fairly subdued performance as Leon, apparently Luc Besson wanted a more exciting and over-the-top antagonist for the film: enter Gary Oldman. Gary Oldman completely overacts his character of the crooked DEA cop, and he does it so wonderfully that he steals every scene he is in. This is without a doubt the greatest performance of this underrated actor's career, as the fun Oldman has with this role practically oozes out of the screen and infects anyone who watches him. While some critics criticized Oldman for his performance, it was actually spot on considering that the character of Stansfield is a drug-addicted psychotic cop who has no problem with murdering an innocent family to get what he desires. The only nitpick I have with Stansfield is his screen time is fairly small compared with Leon and Mathilda; nevertheless he completely steals the show when he does appear.

The plot of Léon is fairly straightforward compared to most action flicks, as there are no particular plot twists or double crossings. However, the simple plot works because this is not a plot driven movie, it is a character driven one. That's not to say there is no action in this movie, there are a few great action sequences (especially the spectacular police shootout in the film's climax), but the film mainly revolves around the growing affection between Leon and Mathilda, and how they change each others' lives. Overall, Léon is an extremely well-made action/drama, and one of the best films of 1994.
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