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Nikita (La Femme Nikita) (1990)


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 55,297



Movie Info

The serpentine plotline of Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita begins its 117-minute slither when punkish, psychotic, and drug-ridden Nikita (Anne Parillaud) fires her gun into a cop's face following the stick-up of a drug store, and is promptly imprisoned. She is thrown into a dank cell, then injected with a substance and told it is a lethal toxin. Instead of dying, however, the comes to in an all-white interrogation room, where French intelligence officer Bob (Tchéky Karyo), informs her that an … More

R (violence)
Drama , Action & Adventure , Romance , Art House & International , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jul 1, 2003
Samuel Goldwyn Films



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Critic Reviews for Nikita (La Femme Nikita)

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (5) | DVD (28)

Begins with the materials of a violent thriller but transcends them with the story of the heroine's transformation.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

[Besson] seems to like playing off the generic, though he probably thinks of it as working with the mythic, the classic.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

If Luc Besson's latest goes into absurd overdrive, it does so with entertaining finesse.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

A cool sensory indulgence, but irksomely lightweight.

Full Review… | January 15, 2012
Projection Booth

[VIDEO] Before it spawned a cornucopia of television series knock-offs, writer/director Luc Besson's stylized 1990 French crime thriller set a new standard for the girl-with-a-gun movie trope.

Full Review… | October 11, 2011

Beware Nikita. Not for kids.

Full Review… | January 1, 2011
Common Sense Media

A spy version of Pygmalion, complete with perverse romance, Nikita was well ahead of the curve when it came to women warriors as modern shoot-'em-up stars [Blu-ray].

Full Review… | January 9, 2009
Groucho Reviews

This Besson thriller sparked many a wannabes, but it's clear this film stands on its own two feet, and kicks you in the head.

July 16, 2007
Film Threat

Very stylish and wicked, but it's the magnetic title performance that makes it a classic.

April 13, 2006
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Superb thriller scored to Eurotrash synth pop, La Femme Nikita sets out a whole world of espionage and violence, and engages with a wild yet sympathetic lead.

February 4, 2005

Waaaay overrated by most, but still fun.

November 28, 2003
New Times

What makes the movie so captivating is Anne Parillaud's wild performance.

Full Review… | July 22, 2003

Just another action movie, with the usual tenuous-at-best grip on reality.

Full Review… | July 6, 2003

With a good cast, slick production values, and gritty action, it passes an enjoyable two hours.

Full Review… | June 29, 2003
Movie Metropolis

Stylish and stunning, a real trend-setter

April 30, 2003
Kalamazoo Gazette

Besson's Parisian thriller is taut and terrific, turning the tables on stereotypes.

February 12, 2003
Sunday Times (Australia)

A crisp, delightful reworking of the spy genre.

November 28, 2002

Excessively violent, empty-headed, contrived and full of gaping plot holes.

Full Review… | January 9, 2002

My attention never fails to drift from Besson's first international smash when his film detours into James Bond mediocrity...but [the picture] ends strongly.

Full Review… | November 24, 2001
Film Freak Central

A tightly wound, explosive film that delivers more than is required.

Full Review… | February 27, 2001
Q Network Film Desk

An exciting and entertaining actioner that tests the plausibility of its story with an unreality check.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Nikita (La Femme Nikita)

I have only just seen this Besson original, I saw the remake yonks ago when I was but a teen and quite liked it to be honest. Upon seeing this I can see how glossy the US remake was but its still better in a few ways...but not many. The original is much better due to the character driven cast which at the time were almost unknown (except in France maybe), it gives the film a much more realistic feel that big name Hollywood stars can't deliver. The action is slicker, harder and has a nice graphic novel vibe about it with great cam angles and gun POV's. Its all pure Besson and if you've seen his other action flicks you will like this for sure.

The US remake does have Keitel in it which gives it a few extra points. I also prefer Fonda for sex appeal but Parillaud is a much better actress and looked a lot better with a gun, more professional looking. But then this version has the brilliant Reno as the anti 'Leon' cleaner 'Victor', just wish he had a bigger part, question is was he better than Keitel? hmmm tricky.

This is similar to 'The Terminator' in the fact its more gritty, seedier, darker and realistic than the second 'T2', or in this films case the US remake. Again the smaller budget actually works better for the outcome, more money tends to encourage directors to get carried away when they don't have to. More is less and this film certainly feels like more of a sweaty thriller than the Hollywood offering.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer


Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita is his undisputed masterpiece, along with The Professional; Besson has delivered a stunning work that is riveting, filled with action, great performances and a well crafted story. The script here is solid, and this is exactly the type of film that action fans will find appealing. Mixed into the action is a plot that is smartly layered, intriguing that is elevated by a great cast of actors. The film's mood is dark and ominous, and it gives it a sense of style that only enhances the film's style. Besson has yet to top La Femme Nikita, and as far as action films in general are concerned, this is a near perfect example of a film that successfully combines action and a great storyline. Luc Besson's script is near perfection, and fans of the genre, owe it to themselves to check this film out. La Femme Nikita hits the right notes, and moves at a fast pace under the direction of Besson, who has yet to make a film that matches the scope of this. This is pure action and thrills, and if you love the genre, then this is a film that will definitely satisfy your need for effective, memorable action sequences. Lead actress Anne Parillaud delivers a powerful performance in the lead role, and actor Tchéky Karyo is equally as good. Both actors command the screen, and they have great chemistry on-screen. Besson has made a standout film that manages to redefine action cinema, and since its initial release back in 1990, has elevated the standards of action cinema.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

It's brilliant, riveting, fast-paced and original. An relentlessly entertaining action-packed thriller. A smart and intriguing thrill-ride that's entertainment in fine form. A sexy, stylish, dangerous and excellent piece of work. Director, Luc Besson's triumph. One wickedly cool adrenaline-rush from start to finish. It has the action, suspense, emotion and character development that a fine film of it's kind should. A real classic. The performances are fantastic. Anne Parillaud is a revelation. Jean-Hugues is terrific Tcheky Karyo is excellent. Jean Reno plays a cool and slick character. It's magnetic and wickedly entertaining.

Al S

Super Reviewer

A lot diffrent than the Hollywood standards. And that's good. Good acting. Good Directing. I don't know how Luc Besson does it. But he got a very chill way of directing. You feel very relaxed while you'r watching. And it was nice to see the origin of Léon. Sick of the french right?...Sick of the french!

Martin Sahlin

Super Reviewer

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