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50 Greatest Movie Assassins

From Russia With Love (1963)

The Assassin: SPECTRE agent Red Grant (Robert Shaw), ordered to bump off James Bond as part of an elaborate plot to discredit MI6.

Weapon Of Choice: Infiltration - Grant has the suave good manners of a British gentleman. Just try to remember which wine goes with fish, though, good chap.

Coolest Element: His training - Grant gets to practice by sneaking up on hapless goons wearing Sean Connery face masks.

Road To Perdition (2002)

The Assassins: With once-reliable Mob enforcer Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) now a loose cannon, it's up to seedy Harlen Maguire (Jude Law) to track Sullivan down.

Weapon Of Choice: Sullivan's a typical Thompson submachine gun fan, but Maguire favours a Winchester shotgun.

Coolest Element: Maguire's cover is that of a press photographer, meaning he can make an extra buck selling snaps of his own crime scenes.

Nikita (1990)

The Assassin: Nikita (Anna Parillaud), a teenage junkie retrained as a weapon of mass destruction.

Weapon Of Choice: Female sexuality. She looks well slinky in a cocktail dress.

Coolest Element: She's even hard enough to take on the notorious Cleaner (Jean Reno) and win.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

The Assassin: Captain Willard (Martin Sheen), sent upriver during the Vietnam War to terminate ("with extreme prejudice") rogue Colonel Kurtz.

Weapon Of Choice: Willard's machete murder of Kurtz is timed to coincide with the ceremonial slaughter of a buffalo. It's, like, symbolic.

Coolest Element: The journey - a phantasmagorical voyage through all kinds of weird, wired wartime shenanigans.

The Killer (1989)

The Assassin: Triad hitman and unexpectedly nice guy Ah Jong (Chow Yun Fat).

Weapon Of Choice: A gun in each hand, best fired from a diving position.

Coolest Element: Ah Jong comes out of retirement for one last job, simply to fund an eye operation for a girl he accidentally blinded.

Mr & Mrs Smith (2005)

The Assassins: John and Jane Smith (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), unhappily married largely because neither knows that the other is a professional killer.

Weapon Of Choice: Neither is fussy; their home has two distinct and well-stocked secret armouries.

Coolest Element: Working out their marital issues using skills from their day job, i.e. a marathon fight-turned-shag.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Assassin: Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), a Korean War veteran brainwashed to murder a Presidential candidate.

Weapon Of Choice: Plausible denial. Shaw is programmed to kill under auto-suggestion and then forget everything he did.

Coolest Element: Shaw's blatantly untrue character testimonial, conditioned into his platoon: "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life."

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

The Assassin: Suburban housewife Samantha Caine (Geena Davis), in reality amnesiac CIA killer Charly Baltimore.

Weapon Of Choice: A simple rabbit punch will suffice when all else fails.

Coolest Element: She's also in the goddamn P.T.A.

Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai (1999)

The Assassin: Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker), a modern-life samurai who conducts his hits for the Mafia to pay off a life-debt.

Weapon Of Choice: A laser-sighted Astra-100, compact enough even when firing up a drain pipe.

Coolest Element: Ghost Dog is truly off the grid; he only communicates by homing pigeon.

Collateral (2004)

The Assassin: Vincent (Tom Cruise), a cold-hearted killer hired to bump off five targets in a single night.

Weapon Of Choice: Speed. Vincent's brisk itinerary is made possible by hiring a taxi cab driven by Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) for the night.

Coolest Element: Balls of steel, as Vincent forces Max - who now knows the truth about his fare - to follow his nightly routine and visit his mother.