12 Best Movie Assassins

09 May 2017
M-Net Movies looks at twelve of the best assassins in cinema history.

Anna Kendrick lands herself a very interesting boyfriend in Mr. Right, your Sunday night movie this week at 20:30 on M-Net Movies Premiere. Not only is he an assassin, but he kills the people who hire him, instead of their targets.

In honour of this deadly profession, we thought we’d take a look back at ten (actually, twelve) of cinema’s greatest assassins.

  1. Anton Chigurh

With his nasty bob and horrid leer, Anton Chigurh would put us off even if he weren’t the cold-blooded killer that haunts No Country for Old Men. Based on the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, Chigurh is portrayed by Javier Bardem in a performance so darkly masterful it won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

  1. Hanna

Some parents teach their children how to ride bikes. Some encourage them to become doctors or lawyers. Some train them to be assassins. That’s the role Eric Bana’s Erik Heller plays to Hanna, in the movie of the same name. The title character is played to perfection by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, while the chilling Finnish setting and its eerie fairy tale motifs add a further dark note to this tale of a teen hitgirl.

  1. Ray

Who said assassination couldn’t be funny? Set in the charming Belgian town, In Bruges soon proves it can be. But when your comedy is centred on an Irish hitman who can’t seem to do anything (including assassinate) right, you can expect the humour to take a darker turn.

  1. John Wick

One of the things we love most about Keanu Reeves is that he doesn’t take himself seriously – and John Wick stands as testament. Fuelled by an absurd plot and action film archetypes, it’s worth watching for the brilliantly choreographed fight scenes and neo-noir tone.

  1. Léon and Mathilda

He may have the movie named after him, and Jean Reno is great as the title character in Léon: The Professional, but it’s his protégé Mathilda, played by a young Natalie Portman in her debut feature film, who steals the show. It also features a superb Gary Oldman and action scenes stylishly crafted by Luc Besson, giving us plenty of reason to add it to our list.

  1. Martin Blank

Another comedy on our list, Grosse Point Blank stars John Cusack being delightfully John Cusack. Like In Bruge’s Ray, Blank needs a bit of a break from the hitman-lifestyle. But instead of heading to a quaint town for a spot of sightseeing, he heads home for his high school reunion.

  1. Nikita

If you were faced with the grave or making assassination your life’s work, what would you choose? This is the choice Nikita is faced with and her decision leads to a hard-boiled existence as a hitgirl, in La Femme Nikita. The brainchild of Luc Besson (landing his second spot on our list) the character soon popped up again in a TV series, which was rebooted in 2010.

  1. The T-800

Not all assassins have to be human…or from the present. The T-800, an assassinating machine from the future, has one mission: kill Sarah Connor. Killingly embodied by Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, the Austrian Oak famously said he’d be back, and so he was – returning for three more movies – although switching sides and focusing his deadly abilities on the succeeding film’s antagonists.

  1. The Bride

Part of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volumes 1 and 2, The Bride (codename: Black Mamba) went on her own mission of assassination when her colleagues turned the tables and tried to kill her and her baby.

  1. Vincent and Jules

Another of Tarantino’s assassins makes it onto our list – or rather, two more. Pulp Fiction’s Vincent and Jules are played with deadly skill and dark humour by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson. We can’t imagine one without the other, but we have to admit we’re inclined to love Jules a little more, especially with his penchant for revelatory speeches.

Watch Sam Rockwell turn professional hitman in Mr. Right, your Sunday night movie on 14 May at 20:30 on M-Net Movies Premiere.

Assassins not your idea of Mr. (or Ms.) Right? We have two more Sunday night movie selections for you:

On M-Net at 20:05, celebrate Mother’s Day with Mother’s Day and read our article about M-Net’s TV moms here.

On M-Net at 22:35, mystery lovers can play detective with Danish film, The Keeper of Lost Causes.