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The Professional Details


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. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:September 14, 1994


Awarded by
French Academy of Cinema Luc Besson Best Director 1994 Nominee
French Academy of Cinema Luc Besson Best Picture 1994 Nominee
French Academy of Cinema Jean Reno Best Actor 1994 Nominee


Jean Reno
as Leon
Natalie Portman
as Mathilda
Gary Oldman
as Stansfield
Danny Aiello
as Tony
Peter Appel
as Malky
Michael Badalucco
as Mathilda's Father
Ellen Greene
as Mathilda's Mother
Elizabeth Regen
as Mathilda's Sister
Jessie Keosian
as Old Lady
David W. Butler
as Important Jogger
Jernard Burks
as Stansfield's Man
Robert La Sardo
as Client #1
Samy Naceri
as SWAT Team
Frank Senger
as Fatman
Joseph Malerba
as Stairway Swat
Geoffrey Bateman
Michel Montanary
as SWAT Team
Peter Linari
as Security Man
Randy Pearlstein
as Security Guard
Mario Todisco
as Tony's Barber
Kent Broadhurst
as Policeman
Betty Miller
as Orphanage Headmistress
Stuart Rudin
as Leon's Taxi Driver
Marc Andréoni
as SWAT Team
Jean-Hugues Anglade
George Martin
as Receptionist
Tommy Hollis
as Policeman


Luc Besson
Luc Besson
Patrice Ledoux
Luc Besson
Thierry Arbogast
Pierre Excoffier
Musical Direction/Supervision
Bruno Tarriere
Musical Direction/Supervision
Eric Serra
Composer (Music Score)
Sylvie Landra
Dan Weil
Production Designer
Carol Nast
Art Director
Gerard Drolon
Art Director
Claude Besson
Executive Producer
Carolyn Cartwright
Set Designer
Francoise Benoit-Fresco
Set Designer
Magali Guidasci
Costume Designer
Gerard Lamps
Sound/Sound Designer
Nick Allder
Special Effects
Al Griswold
Special Effects
Pascal Chaumeil
First Assistant Director
Todd Thaler