Léon: The Professional

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Overview

As visually stylish as it is graphically violent, this thriller directed by Luc Besson concerns Mathilda Natalie Portman, a 12-year-old girl living in New York City who has been exposed to the sordid side of life from an early age: her family lives in a slum and her abusive father works for drug dealers, cutting and storing dope. Mathilda doesn't much care for her parents, but she has a close bond with her four-year-old brother. One day, she returns from running an errand to discover that most of her family, ...
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Michael Badalucco, Randolph Scott, Keith A. Glascoe, Don Creech, Willi One Blood, Peter Appel, Danny Aiello, Natalie Portman,... 01/11/2005 DVD 1994 Run time: 133. BRAND NEW ... Amazing low price. Read more Show Less

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Overview

As visually stylish as it is graphically violent, this thriller directed by Luc Besson concerns Mathilda Natalie Portman, a 12-year-old girl living in New York City who has been exposed to the sordid side of life from an early age: her family lives in a slum and her abusive father works for drug dealers, cutting and storing dope. Mathilda doesn't much care for her parents, but she has a close bond with her four-year-old brother. One day, she returns from running an errand to discover that most of her family, including her brother, have been killed in a raid by corrupt DEA agents, led by the psychotic Stansfield Gary Oldman. Mathilda takes refuge in the apartment of her secretive neighbor, Leon Jean Reno, who takes her in with a certain reluctance. She discovers that Leon is a professional assassin, working for Tony Danny Aiello, a mob kingpin based in Little Italy. Wanting to avenge the death of her brother, Mathilda makes a deal with Leon to become his protégée in exchange for work as a domestic servant, hoping to learn the hitman's trade and take out the men who took her brother's life. However, an affection develops between Leon and Mathilda that changes his outlook on his life and career. Besson's first American film boasted a strong performance from Jean Reno, a striking debut by Natalie Portman, and a love-it-or-hate-it, over-the-top turn by Gary Oldman. Léon was originally released in the U.S. in 1994 as The Professional, with 26 minutes cut in response to audience preview tests. Those 26 minutes were restored in the director's preferred cut, released in 1996 in France as Léon: Version Intégrale and in the U.S. on DVD as Léon: The Professional in 2000.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Ten-year retrospective; "Jean Reno: The Road to Léon"; "Natalie Portman: Starting Young"; Fact track; Bonus previews
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
Bolstering director Luc Besson's and actor Jean Réno's already substantial American followings, The Professional balances its stylish action with a strong, character-driven story. Réno is León, the quiet, expert killer a.k.a. "cleaner" who takes 12-year-old Mathilda Natalie Portman in a breakthrough performance under his wing when her family is slaughtered by a crooked DEA agent Gary Oldman. The plot involves Mathilda's intense desire to learn the "cleaning" business and exact revenge, but the real story is the developing relationship between the illiterate, socially inept surrogate father in León and the emotionally precocious Mathilda. Changing the familiar Lolita setup so that Mathilda is the aggressor, The Professional becomes a sexless story about a tender, impossible love set against a backdrop of explosions and highly kinetic shoot-outs. Oldman is at his creepiest as the Beethoven-loving villain whose depravity is greatly contrasted by León's emotional innocence. The European cut, recently made available on DVD and titled León: The Professional, includes 24 minutes of deleted footage originally deemed "too explicit" for American audiences. Mostly, however, the restored scenes explore León's past, adding a complexity to his character that is absent from the American release.
All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
With his breakthrough, La Femme Nikita, director Luc Besson injected operatic, Die Hard-style Hollywood action into a European-style storyline; in his first Hollywood feature, Léon (retitled The Professional for U.S. release), he did the opposite, creating a cross between a placid, neorealist fable and a pyrotechnics-laden action movie. Jean Reno is convincing as the quiet, stealthy New York City hitman who reluctantly takes in a rough-hewn, 12-year-old apprentice killer (Natalie Portman, in her first screen role). Their scenes together are sweeter than they are shocking, and Besson keeps their relationship just within the realm of believability. Many critics found the Portman character exploitative, but the actress' preternaturally confident screen presence prevents her from being used as a victim. The only sore spot is Gary Oldman's histrionic performance as a corrupt DEA agent; Besson lets his scenes run for what seems like an eternity.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/11/2005
  • UPC: 043396098589
  • Original Release: 1994
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / DTS
  • Sound: DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:13:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jean Reno Leon
Natalie Portman Mathilda
Gary Oldman Stansfield
Danny Aiello Tony
Peter Appel Malky
Michael Badalucco Mathilda's Father
Ellen Greene Mathilda's Mother
Elizabeth Regen Mathilda's Sister
Carl J. Matusovich Mathilda's Brother
Randolph Scott
Marc Andréoni SWAT Team
Jean-Hugues Anglade
Geoffrey Bateman SWAT
Kent Broadhurst Policeman
Jernard Burks Stansfield's Man
David W. Butler Important Jogger
Tommy Hollis Policeman
Jessie Keosian Old Lady
Robert La Sardo Client #1
Peter Linari Security Man
Joseph Malerba Stairway Swat
George Martin Receptionist
Betty Miller Orphanage Headmistress
Michel Montanary SWAT Team
Samy Naceri SWAT Team
Randy Pearlstein Security Guard
Stuart Rudin Leon's Taxi Driver
Frank Senger Fatman
Abdul Hassan Sharif Mathilda's Taxi Driver
Mario Todisco Tony's Barber
Technical Credits
Luc Besson Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Nick Allder Special Effects
Thierry Arbogast Cinematographer
Francoise Benoit-Fresco Set Decoration/Design
Claude Besson Executive Producer
Carolyn Cartwright Set Decoration/Design
Pascal Chaumeil Asst. Director
Nathalie Cheron Casting
Gerard Drolon Art Director
Pierre Excoffier Musical Direction/Supervision
Al Griswold Special Effects
Francois Groult Sound/Sound Designer
Magali Guidasci Costumes/Costume Designer
Gerard Lamps Sound/Sound Designer
Sylvie Landra Editor
Patrice Ledoux Producer
Carol Nast Art Director
Eric Serra Score Composer
Bruno Tarriere Musical Direction/Supervision
Todd Thaler Casting
Dan Weil Production Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Disc 1
1. Start
2. Léon & Mathilda
3. Léon's Apartment
4. Morning
5. Before the Storm
6. Search & Destroy
7. "Please Open the Door."
8. Getting Better Acquainted
9. Training Begins
10. Hotel National
11. Room 410
12. Rifle Practice
13. Training Continues
14. Water Fight
15. Back to Work
16. The Receptionist
17. Going for a Walk
18. Exactly What Happened
19. Léon Returns
20. Evicted
21. Tailing Stansfield
22. Men's Room
23. A Pro Hit
24. DEA Building
25. Alpha Team Removal
26. Window Warning
27. Checking Out
28. "This Is From Mathilda."
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Menu

Side #1 -- Disc 1
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Languages
      Audio Set Up: English 5.1
      Audio Set Up: English DTS
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: French/Français
      Subtitles: Spanish/Español
      Subtitles: Portuguese/Português
      Subtitles: Subtitles Off
   Fact Track
      On
      Off
Side #2 -- Disc 2
   10 Year Retrospective
   Jean Reno: The Road to Léon
   Natalie Portman: Starting Young
   Subtitles
      Spanish/Español
      Portuguese/Português
      Subtitles Off
   Previews
      The Fifth Element Ultimate Edition
      Monster Special Edition
      The Grudge
      Renegade
      House of Flying Daggers
      Dead Birds
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(3)

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Best

    To Octavius: If you watch the special features Jeno Reno wanted Leons character to be a little slow, to show before he meets mathilda the only thing he is good at is being the perfect killing machine. Thus, where mathilda comes in and teachs him that their are more things in life than being a lone wolf, and a killer. I highly recommend this movie, but get the extended version because you can really see the characters grow throughout the movie, and it sheds light on where Leon came from, and why he is a hitman.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Greatest movie of all time!

    My friend introduced me to this movie and when I first saw it I fell in love with it. Everything about it is perfect. Its more than a movie to me its a work of art. I recommend it to anyone but you have to look beyond the action in the movie and connect with the romantic side of the characters. I love action movies but this isn't the average hitman flick. In fact I love it so much if a sequel came out I wouldn't see it because the story is already perfect and I feel if anything were added to it, it would probably let me down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Greatest Movie Ever!!!!!

    This movie was so beautifully made. The first time I saw this movie it left me mesmerized i couldn't look away. The music the mood and the actors... wow. Oh and the meaning behind the story. It's not just an action film it's a love story and a tragic one at that. This is my favorite movie of all time and i would recommend this movie to anyone. Trust me you'll fall in love with it like I have.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I wonder if a sequel will ever be made?

    Luc Besson directs a tense and emotional film about an Italian assassin (Jean Reno) who takes in an orphan named Matilda (Natalie Portman) whose family was slaughtered at the hands of a corrupt DEA Agent (Gary Oldman). Matilda is set on avenging her family, especially her baby brother and asks Leon to train her to become an assassin. Leon reluctantly trains her and it awakens an emotional side of himself that he never knew he had. He begins to care for Matilda as he would a daughter and takes the quest of revenge upon himself when Matilda fails forcing him to rescue her in broad daylight from the DEA building where she is being kept. Although the language is rough (I don’t like 12 year old girls saying the F-Word), the action and drama are high rate and very exciting. This edition contains an extra half hour of footage not seen in American theaters. R- Graphic Violence, Strong Language

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME

    This movie was wonderfully crafted and expertly shot by director Luc Besson. Reno's performance as the cold hitman Leon was one worth remebering. Natalie Portman's performance has earned her the title of a grade A actress. The chemistry between Reno and Portman are so believable, it is almost tangible. Fantastic, action-packed movie!! A must see!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Surreal and Perverse

    Luc Besson's film on the relationship between a professional hitman (Jean Reno) and an orphaned girl(Natalie Portman) who seeks protection from the murderous rampage of a corrupt DEA agent(Gary Oldman.) There are several problems with both the plot and theme of this movie which, taken together, make the film both unrealistic and perverse. First of all, there is nothing professional about the supposed professional hitman played by Jean Reno. As portrayed, Leon seems to suffer from retardation and ineptitude. He can barely utter a cogent sentence or find his way around town. The relationship between Portman and Reno also has strong sexual overtones which Besson presents as normal and acceptable. The movie therefore presents pedophilic sentiments as normal and legitimate. The best performance in the film is by Gary Oldman who plays the corrupt agent. Altogether a pretentious film whose perverted theme deprives it of any redeeming value. The plot itself is too absurd to be credible. Rent if if you must but I wouldn't buy it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A ''Professional'' film

    A magnificent (if somewhat violent) film that you will find yourself watching over and over again. This is an amazing movie that I wholeheartedly reccomend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A true gem that not many people see

    The original release lacks much of the story that gives this movie it's true power. Fortunately, the DVD does contain all of the previously un-released (in North America) footage. Natalie Portman is often viewed as a so-so actress, many opinions due to the new Star Wars episodes. Don't be fooled - she IS in fact an excellent actress, and I was completely blown away by her performance in this movie. Jean Reno also does an excellent job in creating a convincing character, and combined with these characters so real you could touch them, the story unfolds to an experience you'll never forget. The only bad thing I have to say about this movie, is the beginning has actors that really suck. Of course, given the nature of this film they are quickly expelled from the story... Still, once you get past the flaky beginning, it is one of the best movie acheivements of all time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    one of my favorites

    excellent movie, one of my favorite all time movies, well directed, well acted, 10 + a must see, one of the finest movies ive ever seen

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Beautiful

    Absolutely brilliant! One of the most Phenominal movies ever. Possibly the best drama-action movie ever made. Jean Reno plays Leon, the hard cold hitman, living a joyless life, living as a machine. Entil the family next door gets brutily murderd and he is obligated to let Matilda (Natalie Portman) in. Though the movie they develop one of the greatest on-screen chemistrys of any movie before or sence. Leon teaches Matilda the art of the kill and Matilda teaches Leon, the joy in life. With fight sceans theat will blow your mind and a drama story that will grip your heart, Leon: The Professional is one of the most brilliant moves of our time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GREATEST MOVIE EVER!!! (this is NOT A JOKE!)

    You may think im joking but im not... This story is one of the most compelling stories ever told the drama & action set in this movie, really take your breath away, it hits the heart, and makes you feel what they are feeling, Luc Besson genius is flawless on the presentation of this Uncut International Version of Leon: The Professional. A highly respected movie, that made tremors throughout the world with its message and purpose, I very Highly recommend this, more than any other movie and i am not joking, this movie is worth every penny it is bought at.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    No Women No Kids!

    That is what Leon (Jean Reno) tells his young protoge' Matilda played by pre-teen Natalie Portman when showing her how to be a cleaner aka Hitman. This movie by French director Luc Besson is another gem in the French man's crown. Gary Oldman's performance of a currupt DEA agent in excellent! Danny Aiello's portrayal of Leon's handler is very good also! This is a great movie with a good soundtrack throughout the film.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    ...the best movie ever..?

    ...possibly the best movie ever made in terms of balanced story and action. Natalie Portman gives the most convincing performance I've ever seen a child actress give. Jean Reno is also giving a very well-rounded performance for an actor not known especially for his acting ability. Gary Oldman is just good, when is he not? And Danny Aiello tops his superb perfomance from Hudson Hawk (I thought that movie rocked, maybe I'm wrong). For an action movie this had whole lot of drama; or for a drama, this had a lot of action in it...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An action story that makes your heart bleed

    This movie will almost leave you speechless. The tragedy of Matilda and her relationship with Leon will grip you and the action scenes will keep you on the edge of the seat. This movie is so heartwrenching, it'll leave a tear in your eye and a sigh on your breath as it ends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    BETTER THAN SCARFACE!!!

    I have seen this movie many times, and also have seen Scarface many times. Both in my mind are the two greatest actions movies ever. Leno (Jean Reno) is a heartless hitman who kills with no mercy. But when his neighbor Matilda's (Natalie Portman) family gets killed by ruthless bogus cop Gary Oldman and Matilda comes to Leon for help. He faces a dilemma and lets her in, she discovers his job as a ''cleaner'' and begs him to train her to help kill Gary Oldman and his thug group. The ending scene will leave you crying and the middle action scenes will leave you speechless.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Classic

    The Professional builds up great characters in a twisted dark humor way. The action is full and the story is great. Natalie Portman is ahead of her time, her best picture. Gary Oldman plays the villain perfectly. Jean Reno's acting is superb too. This is the best movie of all time getting better

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews