Movie Reviews

Close this search box.

Léon: The Professional (1994)

Léon: The Professional (1994)

French action-thriller Léon: The Professional, which was released in 1994 in English, was written and directed by Luc Besson. In the UK, it is known as Leon, whereas in the US, it was first known as The Professional. Natalie Portman makes her acting debut, and it also stars Gary Oldman and Jean Reno. The story revolves around Léon (Reno), a hitman who reluctantly adopts 12-year-old Mathilda Lando (Portman) after Norman Stansfield, a dishonest Drug Enforcement Administration agent, kills her family (Oldman). Mathilda and Leon develop a strange bond as she becomes his protege and picks up his hitman skills.


An Italian hitman (or “cleaner,” as he calls himself) named Léon Montana (Jean Reno) leads a solitary existence in Little Italy in New York City. His art is the product of Tony, a mafioso (Danny Aiello). Léon occupies his downtime with workouts, taking care of a houseplant, and watching classic movies. One day, 12-year-old Mathilda Lando (Natalie Portman), who is alone, is introduced to Léon. Mathilda no longer attends her school for problematic girls and now resides with her chaotic family in an apartment down the hall. Michael Badalucco, Mathilda’s aggressive father, comes under fire from dishonest DEA agents who have been paying him to hide cocaine in his apartment.

Agents from the DEA attack the building after learning that he had been cutting the cocaine to keep for himself, accompanied by the dapperly attired drug addict Norman Stansfield (Oldman). In the midst of the raid, Stansfield swiftly spirals out of control and kills Mathilda’s entire family while she is out grocery shopping. When Mathilda comes back, she is just in time to continue down the hall to Léon’s apartment, who reluctantly offers her sanctuary after realizing what has happened.

Mathilda packs a backpack with guns from Léon’s collection and heads off to assassinate Stansfield while Léon is away on the job. She poses as a delivery girl to trick her way into the DEA headquarters, but Stansfield ambushes her in a restroom. When one of his men comes, he is told that Léon killed Malky, a dishonest DEA agent, that morning in Chinatown. Léon rescues Mathilda after learning about her intentions through a note she left for him, killing two more of Stansfield’s men in the process. Tony is tortured while confronted by a furious Stansfield over Léon’s location.

Léon explains to Mathilda how he got into the hit business. Léon, who came from a low-income family, fell in love with a girl from a wealthy family when he was eighteen and living in Italy. The girl’s father found out about their elopement preparations and killed the girl out of rage. Leon murdered the father in retaliation before escaping to New York, where he met Tony and received hitman training.

As Léon had told her to do before he passed away, Mathilda goes to Tony. Tony reveals to Mathilda that Léon had asked him to deliver his money to her in the event of his death; he offers to hold it and give Mathilda the money as an allowance. When Mathilda returns to school, she runs into the headmistress, who readmits Mathilda after hearing what happened to her. She then enters a field close to the school to plant Léon’s houseplant, as she had instructed him to do to “give it roots.”

The film Léon: The Professional has an 8.3 out of 10 IMDb rating. You must watch this film if you enjoy action thrillers. I hope you like the film.