Léon (also known as The Professional and Léon: The Professional) is a 1994 French thriller film written and directed by Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno as a mob hitman, Gary Oldman as a corrupt DEA agent, a young Natalie Portman, in her feature film debut, as a 12-year-old girl who is taken in by the hitman after her family is murdered, and Danny Aiello as the mobster who gives the hitman his assignments.

Directed by - Luc Besson
Produced by - Patrice Ledoux
Written by - Luc Besson
Starring - Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello
Music by - Éric Serra
Release date - 14 September 1994 (France), 18 November 1994 (United States)
Box office - $45,284,974


Leone "Léon" Montana (Jean Reno) is a hitman (or "cleaner," as he refers to himself) living a solitary life in New York City's Little Italy. His work comes from a mafioso named Tony (Danny Aiello), who operates from the "Supreme Macaroni Company" restaurant. Léon spends his idle time engaging in calisthenics, nurturing a houseplant that early on he describes as his "best friend,"[3] and (in one scene) watching old Gene Kelly musicals.

On a particular day, he meets Mathilda Lando (Natalie Portman), a twelve-year-old girl with a black eye and smoking a cigarette, living with her dysfunctional family in an apartment down the hallway. Her abusive father and self-absorbed stepmother have not even noticed that Mathilda has stopped attending class at her school for troubled girls. Mathilda's father (Michael Badalucco) attracts the ire of corrupt DEA agents, who have been paying him to store cocaine in his residence, after they discover that he has been stealing some of the drugs for himself. A cadre of DEA agents storm the building, led by a sharp-suited and drug-addicted Norman "Stan" Stansfield (Gary Oldman), who murders Mathilda's entire family, missing her only because she was out shopping when they arrived. When she returns and notices the carnage, she calmly continues down the hallway and receives sanctuary from a reluctant Léon.

Mathilda discovers that Léon is a hitman. She begs him to become her caretaker and to teach her his skills as a "cleaner;" she wants to avenge the murder of her four-year-old brother, claiming that he was the only member of her family she loved, though she clearly regrets the deaths of her other family members. Léon shows her how to use firearms, including a scoped rifle. In return, she offers her services as a maid and teacher, remedying Léon's illiteracy. Mathilda tells Léon several times that she is falling in love with him, but he says nothing back. After increasing her experience with firearms, Mathilda fills a shopping bag with guns from Léon's collection and sets out to kill Stansfield. She bluffs her way into the DEA office by posing as a delivery person, only to be ambushed by Stansfield in a bathroom. Mathilda learns from Stansfield and one of his men that Léon has killed one of the corrupt DEA agents in Chinatown. Léon, after discovering her intentions in a note left for him, rushes to rescue Mathilda, shooting two more of Stansfield's men in the process.

Stansfield is enraged the "Italian hitman" has gone rogue. He beats Tony, forcing him to surrender Léon's whereabouts. As soon as Mathilda returns home from grocery shopping, an NYPD ESU team, sent by Stansfield, takes her hostage and attempts to infiltrate Léon's apartment. Léon ambushes the ESU team and frees Mathilda. In the apartment, Léon creates a quick escape for Mathilda by chopping a hole in a slender air shaft. He reassures her and tells her that he loves her and that she has given him "a taste for life", moments before the police come for him. In the chaos that follows, Léon sneaks out of the apartment building disguised as a wounded ESU officer. He is unnoticed save for Stansfield, who recognizes the hitman and shoots him. Léon then places an object in Stansfield's hands, which he explains is "from Mathilda," and dies. Opening his hands, Stansfield finds the pin from a grenade. He rips open Léon's vest to discover several active grenades on his chest right before a massive explosion kills him as well.

Mathilda heads to Tony's place as she was instructed to do by Léon. Tony will not give Mathilda more than a small amount of the fortune Léon had amassed, which Tony was holding for him. He offers a monthly allowance and says school should be her priority for now. Mathilda asks Tony to give her a job, insisting that she can "clean" as Léon had. Tony sternly informs her that he "ain't got no work for a 12-year-old kid!" Having nowhere else to go, Mathilda makes her way to New Jersey in an attempt to return to school. After telling her and Léon's story to the headmistress, and seemingly being readmitted, Mathilda walks into a field near the school with Léon's houseplant in hand. She digs a hole and plants it, as she had told Léon he should, to give it roots.