Nikita (La Femme Nikita) (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

Nikita (La Femme Nikita) (1990)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Nikita (La Femme Nikita) Trailers & Photos

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 alternate to execution exists: she can receive covert government training as an assassin. She accepts the bid, is rigorously trained, and later returns to society as a seemingly normal and gentle civilian, but falls in love with a drugstore employee while she's waiting for that first government assignment. The paradoxical concept of a young woman blossoming socially while carrying out cold-blooded murders was downplayed when La Femme Nikita was remade in America as the silly and disappointing Point of No Return, directed by John Badham with Bridget Fonda in the lead. A far less sociopathic TV-series version of La Femme Nikita surfaced on the USA cable network in early 1997.more
Rating: R (violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Romance, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Luc Besson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 1, 2003
Samuel Goldwyn Films


Jean Reno
as Victor
Philippe Leroy-Beaul...
as Commander Grosmann
Jacques Boudet
as Pharmacist
Rodolphe Freytt
as 1st Male Nurse
Alexander Koumpan
as Ambassador's Servant
Laurent Lesdema
as Dance Instructor
Jean-Marie Merchet
as Judo Instructor
Jean-Pierre Pauty
as Man-George V Bar
J. Claude Bolle Redd...
as Guard-Control Statio...
Guy VanRiet
as Paternal Detective
Helene Aligier
as Pharmacist
Pierre-Alain DeGarri...
as Police Pharmacist
Bruno Randon
as Police Pharmacist
Vincent Skimenti
as Police Pharmacist
Joseph Teruel
as Police Trainee
Philippe Dehesdin
as 1st Magistrate
Michel Brunot
as 2nd Magistrate
Pavel Slaby
as 2nd Male Nurse
Jean-Luc Caron
as Computer Instructor
Rénos Mandis
as Firearms Instructor
Patrick Serriere
as Bob, Chauffeur
Iska Khan
as Man in the Restauran...
Heike Fisher
as Woman in Restaurant
Patrick Buiquangda
as 3rd Restaurant Bodyg...
Eddie Gaydu
as 2nd Bodyguard
Jose Steinmann
as Restaurant Bodyguard
Philippe Hernando
as Barracks Orderly
Jean Bedin
as Storekeeper - Gunsmi...
Edith Perret
as Woman - Real Estate ...
Michel Campa
as Eavesdropper
Murray Grunwall
as Office Manager
Pierrick Charpentier
as 1st Office Detective
Rafael Sultan
as 2nd Office Detective
Hubert Gillet
as Office Detective
Eric Prat
as agent immobilier
Mia Frye
as Newspaper Woman
Christian Gazio
as Ambassador's Bodygua...
Maurice Antoni
as Ambassador's Bodygua...
Michele Amiel
as Police Officer
Jean Bouise
as l'attache ambassade
Gerard Touratier
as Guard - Armoured Ent...
Patrick Perez
as Police Pharmacist
Stephane Fey
as Presiding Judge
Olivier Hemon
as Tardy Man
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Nikita (La Femme Nikita)

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (11)

[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

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

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
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

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.

Alex roy

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

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