"No women, no kids: that's the rules."
Anyone who knows hitmen knows Léon: The Professional (1994). Being known as 'the professional' gives an idea of how reliable a "cleaner" Leone 'Léon' Montana is for the New York City mob. True to his title, Léon does little else besides take out targets. That's not a recipe for an incredibly interesting character, but all that changes when the man of few words receives an apprentice.
Taking an orphaned Matilda (Natalie Portman) under his wing, Jean Reno and a then-twelve year old Portman made a quirky, funny, and deeply troubling relationship work. The story of a friendless hitman teaching a young girl to follow in his footsteps is a hard sell for even modern audiences, but the film won over many skeptics by oozing style and featuring one of the greatest villains in movie history.
Director Luc Besson is synonymous with compelling action built around highly-trained killers, but as the passing years have proved, there is only one Léon. And paired with Portman - who our readers named as their favorite child performance ever - there's nothing better.