38. The Professional
Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello
Historically speaking, The Professional (also known as Léon: The Professional) has remained in film circle discussions due to its previously unknown, at the time young star, Natalie Portman. Playing the enormously complicated and resilient Mathilda, Portman injected a 12-year-old character with the heart, soul, and toughness of a woman four times her age.
And while we totally cosign the future Academy Award winner's performance, The Professional's biggest hook, at least in our eyes, is writer-director Luc Besson's assured skills at staging livewire gun-fights and action set-pieces. Just as much of an art-house picture as it is a popcorn thrill ride, The Professional hits all of its targets head-on.