“Leon” (also known as “The Professional”) is a remarkable and powerful film that showcases the talent of writer-director Luc Besson and the exceptional performances of its cast. Released in 1994, this French thriller captivates audiences with its intense action sequences, nuanced characters, and a thought-provoking exploration of the blurred lines between good and evil. With its compelling storytelling, memorable performances, and emotional depth, “Leon” has established itself as a timeless classic.

The film follows the story of Leon, a professional hitman played by Jean Reno, who leads a solitary and controlled life in the underbelly of New York City. His world is disrupted when he crosses paths with Mathilda, a young girl played by Natalie Portman, whose family is brutally murdered by corrupt DEA agents. Mathilda seeks refuge with Leon and develops an unexpected bond with him, leading to a unique and complex relationship.

One of the film’s greatest strengths is its ability to navigate between moments of extreme violence and moments of tender vulnerability. Luc Besson masterfully balances the action-packed sequences with quiet, intimate moments that delve into the emotional depth of the characters. This contrast adds layers to the storytelling and invites the audience to question their own perceptions of right and wrong.

Jean Reno delivers a standout performance as Leon, effortlessly portraying the character’s stoicism, professionalism, and underlying sense of humanity. Reno brings a sense of empathy to Leon, despite his morally ambiguous occupation. His physicality and subtlety in portraying Leon’s internal struggle make him a captivating and sympathetic protagonist.

Natalie Portman, in her breakthrough role as Mathilda, delivers a truly remarkable performance that defies her young age. Portman’s portrayal of a vulnerable yet resilient young girl seeking justice is nothing short of extraordinary. Her ability to convey a range of emotions, from fear and grief to determination and strength, adds depth to Mathilda’s character and makes her a compelling force in the story.

The chemistry between Reno and Portman is electric, forming the emotional core of the film. Their scenes together are tender, poignant, and often underscored by a sense of innocence lost. The complex dynamics between the two characters, straddling the line between surrogate father-daughter relationship and something more ambiguous, create a sense of tension and emotional depth that drives the narrative forward.

The supporting cast also delivers outstanding performances. Gary Oldman portrays the corrupt and unhinged DEA agent, Norman Stansfield, with a chilling intensity that makes him a memorable antagonist. Oldman’s portrayal of Stansfield’s unpredictable and sadistic behavior creates a palpable sense of danger and heightens the suspense of the film.

The film’s technical elements, including its cinematography and sound design, contribute to its overall impact. Thierry Arbogast’s cinematography captures the gritty and atmospheric nature of New York City, juxtaposing the bright lights with the dark underbelly where Leon operates. The action sequences are expertly choreographed, showcasing Besson’s visual storytelling skills.

The film’s soundtrack, composed by Éric Serra, further enhances the cinematic experience. From haunting melodies to adrenaline-fueled tracks, the music complements the narrative and amplifies the emotional impact of the scenes. The score perfectly captures the film’s themes of innocence, loss, and redemption.

“Leon” is a thought-provoking exploration of morality, redemption, and the human capacity for empathy. It challenges traditional notions of heroism and villainy, presenting complex characters who exist in shades of gray. Luc Besson’s direction is both stylish and emotionally resonant, with the film’s visual and narrative choices serving a deeper purpose.

In conclusion, “Leon” is a masterpiece of filmmaking that stands the test of time. With its compelling storytelling, standout performances, and exploration of complex themes such as love, loss, and the blurred lines between good and evil, “Leon” remains a captivating and thought-provoking film that leaves a lasting impression on its viewers.

The film’s success can be attributed to its ability to engage the audience on multiple levels. On the surface, it is a gripping action thriller with well-executed sequences that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The intense and meticulously choreographed action scenes, combined with the film’s gritty visual style, create a palpable sense of tension and excitement.

However, “Leon” goes beyond being a mere action film. It delves into the complexities of human emotions and the consequences of choices made in a morally ambiguous world. It explores themes of loneliness, redemption, and the capacity for change. The relationship between Leon and Mathilda becomes the heart of the story, showcasing the transformative power of love and the innate need for human connection.

The film’s success can also be attributed to Luc Besson’s masterful storytelling and direction. Besson’s script is filled with poignant and memorable dialogue that adds depth to the characters and emphasizes their emotional journey. His direction strikes a delicate balance between the action-oriented sequences and the quieter, more introspective moments, creating a seamless flow that keeps the audience engaged throughout.

Another notable aspect of the film’s success lies in its ability to elicit powerful performances from its cast. Jean Reno delivers a nuanced and compelling portrayal of Leon, capturing the character’s vulnerability and suppressed emotions beneath his tough exterior. Reno’s restrained performance allows the audience to empathize with Leon, despite his violent profession.

Natalie Portman’s breakthrough performance as Mathilda remains one of the film’s highlights. At a young age, Portman displays remarkable maturity and depth in her portrayal of a traumatized girl seeking both vengeance and a sense of belonging. Her chemistry with Reno is palpable, and their scenes together are filled with a mix of tenderness, tension, and mutual understanding.

Gary Oldman’s portrayal of the unhinged DEA agent Norman Stansfield is truly chilling. Oldman fully immerses himself in the role, bringing a captivating intensity to the screen. Stansfield’s unpredictability and menacing presence make him a formidable adversary for Leon and Mathilda, adding an additional layer of suspense to the narrative.

The critical acclaim and success of “Leon” can be attributed to its ability to transcend genre conventions and deliver a compelling and emotionally resonant story. The film’s exploration of complex characters, moral dilemmas, and the redemptive power of love elevates it above typical action-thrillers. Its themes resonate with audiences, touching on universal emotions and the search for meaning in a world filled with violence and despair.

Furthermore, “Leon” has garnered a strong cult following over the years, cementing its status as a modern classic. Its impact on popular culture is evident through references and homages in subsequent films and television shows. The film’s enduring popularity speaks to its ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level and leave a lasting impression.

In conclusion, “Leon” is a cinematic gem that combines gripping action, powerful performances, and thought-provoking themes to create a truly memorable film experience. Luc Besson’s direction, along with the exceptional performances of Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, and Gary Oldman, elevates the film beyond its genre trappings. Its exploration of love, morality, and the human condition continues to resonate with audiences, solidifying its place as a timeless and influential piece of cinema.

“Leon,” also known as “The Professional,” is a critically acclaimed French thriller film directed by Luc Besson. Released in 1994, the movie tells the story of a hitman named Leon, played by Jean Reno, who forms an unlikely relationship with a young girl named Mathilda, portrayed by Natalie Portman in her breakout role. The film features a talented cast and crew who contributed to its success and enduring popularity.

At the forefront of the film is Jean Reno, a French actor who brings depth and sensitivity to the character of Leon. Reno’s portrayal of the hitman is remarkable, showcasing both his professional expertise and a compassionate side that emerges as he forms a bond with Mathilda. Reno’s performance captures the complexity and vulnerability of Leon, making him a compelling and memorable protagonist.

Natalie Portman, in her debut film role, delivers an astonishing performance as Mathilda, a twelve-year-old girl who experiences unimaginable tragedy and finds solace in her connection with Leon. Portman’s portrayal is mature beyond her years, displaying a remarkable range of emotions as she navigates the challenging role of a young girl thrust into a world of violence and danger. Her chemistry with Reno is palpable, providing the heart and emotional core of the film.

Gary Oldman, a seasoned actor known for his intense and dynamic performances, takes on the role of Stansfield, a corrupt and unhinged DEA agent. Oldman’s portrayal is electrifying, capturing the volatile and unpredictable nature of the character. His performance as Stansfield is chilling and unforgettable, creating a formidable antagonist for Leon and Mathilda.

Luc Besson, the visionary director behind “Leon,” also contributed to the film’s screenplay. Besson’s direction is masterful, creating a dark and gritty atmosphere that immerses the audience in the world of the film. His skillful storytelling and precise pacing keep the tension high throughout, blending action, suspense, and moments of emotional depth.

The film’s supporting cast includes Danny Aiello as Tony, Leon’s mentor and employer. Aiello brings a warmth and paternal presence to the character, providing a contrast to the harshness of Leon’s profession. Other notable actors in the cast include Peter Appel as Malky, Willi One Blood as 1st Stansfield Man, and Don Creech as 2nd Stansfield Man, who each contribute to the film’s overall sense of realism and tension.

The crew behind “Leon” played an integral role in bringing the film to life. Eric Serra composed the film’s haunting and evocative score, which perfectly complements the on-screen action and emotions. Thierry Arbogast’s cinematography captures the gritty atmosphere of the film, using a mix of close-ups, wide shots, and dynamic camera movements to enhance the storytelling. The film’s editing, by Sylvie Landra, maintains a tight pace while allowing moments of reflection and emotional resonance to shine through.

“Leon” garnered critical acclaim for its compelling story, outstanding performances, and stylish direction. It remains a beloved and influential film in the thriller genre, known for its exploration of themes such as morality, redemption, and the human capacity for compassion.

In conclusion, “Leon” features a talented cast led by Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, and Gary Oldman, who deliver outstanding performances under the skillful direction of Luc Besson. The film’s success is also attributed to the contributions of the crew, including Eric Serra’s atmospheric score, Thierry Arbogast’s cinematography, and Sylvie Landra’s editing. Together, they created a gripping and emotionally resonant thriller that continues to captivate audiences to this day.

Commercial And Critical Acclaim

“Leon” (1994), also known as “The Professional,” achieved significant success both critically and commercially. The film resonated with audiences around the world, cementing its place as a beloved and influential thriller. Here are some details about its success:

1. Critical Acclaim: “Leon” received widespread critical acclaim upon its release. Critics praised its compelling story, exceptional performances, and stylish direction. The film holds an impressive 74% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics commending its emotional depth, intense action sequences, and the chemistry between the lead actors.

2. Box Office Success: Despite its dark and mature themes, “Leon” performed well at the box office. It grossed over $45 million worldwide, surpassing its modest budget. Its success can be attributed to strong word-of-mouth and positive critical reception, drawing audiences who were captivated by its unique blend of action and drama.

3. International Recognition: “Leon” gained international recognition, further enhancing its success. The film resonated with audiences beyond its French origins and garnered attention in various countries. It was particularly well-received in the United States, where it found a dedicated fan base and helped establish Luc Besson as a notable filmmaker in Hollywood.

4. Cult Following: Over the years, “Leon” has developed a dedicated cult following. Its popularity has endured, and the film continues to be celebrated and referenced in popular culture. Fans appreciate its nuanced storytelling, memorable characters, and its exploration of complex themes. “Leon” has become a benchmark for the assassin genre, inspiring subsequent films and TV shows.

5. Breakout Performances: “Leon” launched the careers of several actors. Natalie Portman, in her film debut, received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Mathilda, earning recognition for her talent and maturity at a young age. The film showcased her immense potential, leading to a successful acting career. Similarly, the film highlighted Jean Reno’s talent, solidifying his position as a respected actor on the international stage.

6. Lasting Impact: “Leon” has left a lasting impact on the film industry. Its distinct blend of action, drama, and emotional depth influenced subsequent films and filmmakers. Luc Besson’s stylish direction, coupled with the compelling performances, continues to inspire filmmakers and has shaped the modern thriller genre.

7. Awards and Nominations: While “Leon” did not receive major awards recognition during its initial release, it did receive nominations and accolades from various film festivals. Notably, Jean Reno and Natalie Portman received César Award nominations for their performances, solidifying their talent and the film’s impact.

In summary, “Leon” achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success. Its gripping story, exceptional performances, and stylish direction resonated with audiences worldwide. The film’s enduring popularity and cult following are a testament to its impact and influence on the thriller genre.

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes of “Leon” (1994), also known as “The Professional,” there are several interesting aspects and anecdotes worth mentioning. Here are some notable behind-the-scenes details:

1. Natalie Portman’s Audition: Natalie Portman was only 11 years old when she auditioned for the role of Mathilda. She reportedly impressed director Luc Besson with her maturity, intelligence, and ability to convey a wide range of emotions. Her audition tape, which showcased her talent and potential, played a crucial role in her landing the role.

2. Jean Reno’s Physical Transformation: To portray the skilled and physically capable hitman Leon, Jean Reno underwent intense physical training. He worked with a personal trainer and learned specific combat techniques to make his character’s actions appear authentic. Reno’s commitment to the role added to the realism of his portrayal.

3. Portman’s Emotional Preparation: Given the dark and mature themes of the film, Natalie Portman sought guidance from child psychologists to help her understand and cope with the emotional challenges of her character’s journey. This preparation allowed Portman to deliver a nuanced and powerful performance.

4. Collaboration and Improvisation: Luc Besson encouraged collaboration and improvisation on set, allowing the actors to bring their own ideas and interpretations to their roles. This collaborative atmosphere fostered a sense of creativity and authenticity, enhancing the chemistry and dynamics between the characters.

5. Gary Oldman’s Eccentricities: Gary Oldman, known for his immersive approach to acting, brought unique quirks and mannerisms to his portrayal of the villainous Stansfield. Oldman’s decision to incorporate unusual gestures and exaggerated behaviors added depth and unpredictability to his character, making Stansfield a memorable and menacing antagonist.

6. The Original Ending: The original ending of the film was different from what was ultimately released. In the original version, Mathilda, devastated by Leon’s death, detonates a bomb in the middle of a restaurant, killing herself and Stansfield. This ending was considered too dark and was changed to the more ambiguous and emotionally resonant conclusion seen in the final cut.

7. International Editing Differences: The film’s international versions experienced some differences in editing. In the United States, certain scenes were trimmed and altered to reduce the on-screen violence and maintain a more favorable rating. However, the director’s cut and international versions contain the original, more intense and graphic scenes, providing a different viewing experience.

These behind-the-scenes details highlight the dedication, creativity, and collaborative nature of the cast and crew of “Leon.” The commitment of the actors, the director’s vision, and the collaborative atmosphere contributed to the film’s success and the memorable performances that continue to captivate audiences today.

Some highlights

“Leon” (1994), also known as “The Professional,” features notable music, unforgettable scenes, and memorable dialogue that have become iconic elements of the film. Here are some highlights:

1. Hit Music:

   – “Shape of My Heart” by Sting: The haunting and melancholic song “Shape of My Heart” serves as the film’s main theme. Sting’s poignant lyrics and melodic composition perfectly capture the emotional depth of the story.

2. Unforgettable Scenes:

   – Opening Hit: The film starts with a powerful and intense scene in which Leon assassinates a target. This gripping opening sequence immediately establishes the tone and sets the stage for the rest of the film.

   – The Milk Scene: One of the most memorable and touching scenes involves Leon and Mathilda sitting together, drinking milk. This scene showcases the delicate bond between the two characters and the tenderness that develops between them.

   – Mathilda’s Training: As Leon teaches Mathilda the art of assassination and self-defense, several training sequences take place, demonstrating their unique dynamic and the growth of Mathilda’s skills.

   – The SWAT Team Battle: Towards the climax of the film, Leon faces off against a SWAT team sent to apprehend him. This thrilling and action-packed sequence showcases Leon’s expertise and determination.

   – The Final Scene: The film concludes with a heartbreaking and unforgettable scene that beautifully captures the essence of Leon and Mathilda’s relationship. It is a poignant and bittersweet ending that leaves a lasting impact on the audience.

3. Memorable Dialogues:

   – “I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven.” – Leon

   – “The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use because it lets you keep your distance from the client. The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is the last thing you learn.” – Leon

   – “Is life always this hard, or is it just when you’re a kid?” – Mathilda

   – “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but families are in fashion lately.” – Stansfield

   – “Okay. Let me explain something to you. We’re always here for you. And I’m not your lover.” – Leon

These iconic scenes and dialogues have contributed to the enduring popularity of “Leon.” They capture the film’s emotional depth, its exploration of complex relationships, and the clash between innocence and violence. Combined with the evocative music, they enhance the overall impact and resonance of the film.


The conclusion of “Leon” (1994), also known as “The Professional,” is a poignant and emotionally charged sequence that leaves a lasting impact on the audience. It brings together the central characters and explores the themes of sacrifice, redemption, and the blurred lines between good and evil. Here is a deep-detailed description of the movie’s conclusion:

As the film reaches its climax, Mathilda, a young girl caught in the world of violence and vengeance, finds herself in a dangerous situation. Seeking revenge for the murder of her family, she discovers the identity of the corrupt DEA agent responsible, Norman Stansfield. With the help of her mentor and friend, Leon, a professional hitman, Mathilda devises a plan to eliminate Stansfield and seek justice.

Mathilda’s determination and fearlessness drive her actions. She confronts Stansfield in his office, demanding the truth and revenge. The tension rises as Stansfield’s sadistic nature and violent tendencies are unleashed. He reveals his indifference to human life, threatening Mathilda and dismissing her pleas for justice.

In a desperate attempt to save herself and bring Stansfield to justice, Mathilda activates a hidden grenade, causing chaos and panic. Stansfield’s henchmen scramble to locate the source of the threat while Mathilda, filled with a mix of anger, despair, and determination, confronts Stansfield face-to-face.

Meanwhile, Leon, who has grown to care deeply for Mathilda, arrives at the scene. The intensity of the moment is palpable as Leon navigates through the chaos, gun in hand, ready to protect Mathilda at any cost. His loyalty and love for her have transformed him, softening the edges of his profession and giving him a newfound purpose.

Mathilda, fueled by her grief and need for justice, reveals a detonator she has concealed, intending to take both herself and Stansfield down. In this moment, the boundaries between good and evil, life and death, become blurred. It is a tragic convergence of characters driven by different motivations and shaped by their circumstances.

As Leon arrives, he sees Mathilda’s desperation and realizes the gravity of the situation. The deep bond they have formed compels him to make an agonizing choice. He snatches the detonator from Mathilda’s hand, sparing her life, but sacrificing his own in the process. In this act of selflessness, Leon accepts his destiny as a professional hitman and chooses to protect Mathilda at all costs.

The scene unfolds in slow motion as Leon, wounded but resolute, faces the wrath of Stansfield and his henchmen. With remarkable skill and precision, he engages in a fierce battle, unleashing his deadly expertise against overwhelming odds. The fight is a brutal and visceral ballet of violence, showcasing Leon’s mastery and determination.

As the dust settles, Leon emerges victorious, but mortally wounded. His body bears the marks of the battle, reflecting the toll that his life as an assassin has taken on him. With his last ounce of strength, he reunites with Mathilda, who is devastated by the loss she is about to face. Their connection is palpable as they share a tender moment, expressing their love and gratitude for each other.

In the final moments, Leon succumbs to his injuries, slipping away from Mathilda’s grasp. As Mathilda holds him, she experiences a profound loss and a bittersweet realization of the impact he had on her life. The camera lingers on her tear-stained face, capturing the depth of her grief and the weight of the sacrifices made.

The conclusion of “Leon” is a powerful exploration of love, sacrifice, and the complexities of morality. It leaves the audience with a profound sense of loss, grappling with the blurred lines between good and evil, and the consequences of one’s choices. The film’s conclusion is a testament to the deep emotional connection between Leon and Mathilda, forged amidst a world of violence and darkness.

The final scenes of the film also highlight Mathilda’s growth and resilience. She is left to face the harsh reality of a world without Leon, her only source of guidance and protection. As the weight of her loss settles upon her young shoulders, she must find the strength to carry on and navigate her own path.

The cinematography accentuates the somber tone of the conclusion, employing muted colors and lingering shots to capture the emotional intensity of the moment. The haunting score by Eric Serra adds another layer of depth, evoking a sense of melancholy and reflection.

In the aftermath of Leon’s sacrifice, the film leaves the audience with lingering questions and moral ambiguity. It raises profound inquiries about the nature of justice, the price of vengeance, and the blurred boundaries between right and wrong. Leon’s character embodies this complexity, with his profession as a hitman existing in stark contrast to his capacity for compassion and love.

The conclusion of “Leon” is not a conventional happy ending, but rather a poignant and thought-provoking finale that resonates long after the credits roll. It invites the audience to reflect on the profound impact one life can have on another and the choices we make in the face of adversity.

Ultimately, the film’s conclusion leaves us with a sense of loss, but also a glimmer of hope. Mathilda’s resilience and the bond she shared with Leon are a testament to the power of human connection and the potential for redemption even in the darkest of circumstances.

“Leon” remains a cinematic masterpiece not only for its thrilling action sequences and powerful performances but also for its exploration of complex themes and its ability to leave a lasting emotional impact. The conclusion serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the enduring power of love and sacrifice.

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