Léon: The Professional

Léon: The Professional, titled Leon in the United Kingdom (and originally titled The Professional in the United States), is a 1994 English-language French action-thriller film written and directed by Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno and Gary Oldman, and features the film debut of Natalie Portman. The plot centers on Léon (Reno), a professional hitman who reluctantly takes in twelve-year-old Mathilda Lando (Portman) after her family is murdered by corrupt Drug Enforcement Administration agent Norman Stansfield (Oldman). Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the hitman's trade.


Léon is an Italian hitman (or "cleaner", as he refers to himself) in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York City working for a mafioso named "Old Tony". One day, Léon meets Mathilda Lando, a lonely twelve-year-old who lives with her dysfunctional family in an apartment down the hall from Léon, and has stopped attending class at her school for troubled girls. Mathilda's abusive father attracts the ire of corrupt DEA agents, who have been paying him to stash cocaine in his apartment. After they discover that he has been stealing the cocaine, DEAagents storm the building, led by their boss, the sharply dressed drug-addict Norman Stansfield. During the raid, Stansfield murders Mathilda's family while she is out shopping for groceries. When she returns, Mathilda realizes what has happened just in time to continue down the hall to Léon's apartment; he hesitantly gives her shelter.