La Femme Nikita (1990)

By EW Staff
Updated August 09, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: La Femme Nikita: Everett Collection

Anne Parillaud made our list of favorite movie hitmen

PLAYED BY Anne Parillaud

THE LOWDOWN Homicidal junkie punk Nikita is transformed by government agents into a sleek, chic assassin. Unfortunately, her makeover into a lethal Eliza Doolittle also saddles her with a conscience and a sweet, unwitting boyfriend, Marco (Jean-Hugues Anglade). She quickly loses her stomach for the work, but her job comes with no early retirement plan, only potential early termination by agency cleaner Victor (Jean Reno).

WEAPONS OF CHOICE Nikita is multitalented, adept with handguns, rifles, and explosives.

REDEEMING VIRTUE Nikita seems ill-suited to a cheerful domestic life with dippy supermarket clerk Marco, but her affection for him is genuine, and her growing revulsion over her increasingly violent life makes you root for her to escape to suburbia.

WHY SHE MADE OUR LIST Filmmaker Luc Besson’s creation is the template for virtually every contract-killer-with-a-soul who followed. Unlike too-cute Bridget Fonda (in the Hollywood remake, ”Point of No Return”) or wry Peta Wilson (in the cable-series version of ”Nikita”), Parillaud is pouty, feral, and existentially angst-ridden in a way that only French actresses can pull off.


La Femme Nikita

  • Movie
  • R
  • 115 minutes
  • Luc Besson