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14. La Femme Nikita (Nikita, UK)

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A slick, psycho-romantic thriller.

Nikita (Anne Parillaudis) is young and pretty, but has already gone to the bad. During a hold up of a pharmacy (drug store) with her drug-crazed criminal gang, she deliberately kills a policemen, coldly shooting him in the face at point blank range .

She is condemned to prison for life, but the French secret services, looking for cold blooded killers, have identified the potential in her. They offer her an alternative future. If she proves herself, she could become a secret agent herself. She accepts and starts a hard apprenticeship.

Her death is faked. She finds herself part of a secret government program that takes no-hopers like her, and turns them into professional assassins. She learns not only to kill - not so difficult for her - but also to think and behave like a lady.

Trained by Bob, she becomes a different person. After three years, she is ready to leave the training facility and live an apparently ordinary life until the government needs her.

By the time her first real test arrives, we are pretty much on her side, as she is now leading a normal life and has fallen in love with a gentle humorous man.

This is one of the best transformation movies ever - the ultimate in character development. Anne Parillaudis brilliantly portrays feral hostility in the early scenes, and her transformation into a new person is entirely credible. It is a joy watching an immoral street wretch gradually awaken to become an attractive accomplished woman.

It isalso a surprisingly touching movie - one of the best of Besson's films. It is finely paced and beautifully shot, with some of the best acting and writing of the genre. The script too is exellent.

If you like some substance to your action movies, this comes very highly recommended.

Predictably, there has been a weak American remake (Point of No Return). There is also a spin-off television series, also called La Femme Nikita, which shares with the original very little except a title.


Genre: Thriller, Action, Crime, Drama, Romance
115 min
Directed by Luc Besson
Writing credits Luc Besson
Produced by
Patrice Ledoux — producer
Claude Besson — executive producer
Luc Besson — co-producer
Mario Cecchi Gori — co-producer
Vittorio Cecchi Gori — co-producer

Country: France & Italy
Original Music
by Eric Serra
Cinematography by Thierry Arbogast
Colour: Eastmancolor
Sound Mix: Dolby SR

Anne Parillaud —Nikita
Marc Duret — Rico
Patrick Fontana — Coyotte
Alain Lathière — Zap
Laura Chéron — La punk
Jacques Boudet — Le pharmacien
Helene Aligier — La pharmacienne
Pierre-Alain de Garrigues — Flic pharmacie
Patrick Pérez — Flic pharmacie
Bruno Randon — Flic pharmacie
Vincent Skimenti — Flic pharmacie
Roland Blanche — Flic interrogatoire
Joseph Teruel — Stagiaire flic
Jacques Disses — Avocat
Stéphane Fey — President tribunal
Philippe Dehesdin — 1er magistrat
Michel Brunot — 2ème magistrat
Rodolph Freytt — 1er infirmier
Pavel Slaby — 2ème infirmier
Tchéky Karyo — Bob
Jean-Luc Caron — Professeur d'informatique
Rénos Mandis — Professeur de tir
Jean-Marc Merchet — Professeur de judo
Jeanne Moreau — Amande
Philippe Leroy Beaulieu — Grossman
Patrick Serrière — Chauffeur Bob
Iska Khan — Homme restaurant
Heike Fisher — Femme restaurant
Patrick Buiquangda — 1er garde du corps
Eddie Gaydu — 2ème garde du corps
Jose Steinmann — 3ème garde du corps
Philippe Hernando — 4ème garde du corps
Gérard Touratier — Gardien porte blindée
Jean Bedin — Armurier
Edith Perret — Dame agence
Jean-Hugues Anglade — Marco
Jean-Pierre Pauty — Homme bar hôtel
Michel Campa — Homme ècoute
Murray Gronwall — Responsable hôtel
Pierrick Charpentier — Flic hôtel
Rafael Sultan — Flic hôtel
Hubert Gillet — Flic hôtel
Fausto Costantino — Garde du corps
Roberto Talanno — Serveur hôtel Venise
Pétronille Moss — Serveuse salon de thé
Eric Prat — Agent immobilier
Mia Frye — Femme pressée
Olivier Hémon — Homme en retard
Philippe Du Janerand — Ambassadeur - Jules
Christian Gazio — Garde ambassadeur
Jérôme Chalou — Chauffeur ambassadeur
Jean Reno — Victor nettoyeur
Jean-Claude Bolle-Reddat — Gardien ambassade
Jean Bouise — L'attaché ambassade
Patrick Chauveau — Gardien ambassade
Maurice Antoni — Gardien ambassade
Mathieu Archer — Flic Bob
Alexis Dupuy — Flic Bob
Michèle Amiel — Femme police
Guy Van Riet — Flic paternel

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The titles (in the US) of the best French films, sorted by title

  Title Year
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Fantasy Drama, Romance
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Birds Of A Feather1978
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Bitter Moon1992
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10 Cyrano de Bergerac1990
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11 Delicatessen1991
Sci-Fi Comedy
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12 Diva1981
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Jean-Jacques Beineix
13 French Twist1995
Josiane Balasko
14 Hidden2005
Michael Haneke
15 Hiroshima, Mon Amour1959
Romance, Drama
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16 Jean de Florette1986
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17 Jesus of Montreal1989
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18 Jules et Jim1961
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19 La Controverse de Valladolid1992
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20 La Femme Nikita1990
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Luc Besson
21 Manon of the Spring1986
Drama, Romance, modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
22 Monsieur Hire1989
Crime Thriller, Romance, Drama
Patrice Leconte
23 My Life in Pink1997
Comedy Drama
Alain Berliner
24 One Swallow Brought Spring2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
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25 Queen Margot1994
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, History, Romance
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27 Swimming Pool2003
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28 The 400 Blows1959
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29 The Big Blue1988
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30 The City of Lost Children1995
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31 The Closet2001
Comedy Drama
Francis Veber
32 The Discrete Charm of the Bougoisie1972
Surreal Black Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Luis Buñuel
33 The Dominici Affair1973
Crime Drama Mystery
Claude Bernard-Aubert
34 The Double Life of Veronique1991
Music, Fantasy, Romance, Psychological Drama
Krzysztof Kieslowski
35 The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain2001
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36 The Girl On The Bridge1999
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37 The Hate1995
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38 The Last Metro1980
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39 The Piano Teacher2001
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40 The Reader1988
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41 The Return of Martin Guerre1982
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42 The Visitors1993
Fantasy, Comedy
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43 Three Colors: Blue1993
Drama, Music, Mystery, Romance
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44 Three Colors: Red1994
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45 Three Colors: White1994
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