Skip to main content

50 Greatest Movie Assassins

Pulp Fiction (1994)

The Assassins: Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta), sharp-suited representatives of gangster Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames).

Weapon Of Choice: Lulling their adversaries into a false sense of security with idle chit-chat. Specialist subject? Food, mostly.

Coolest Element: Jules' fire-and-brimstone recital of Ezekiel 25:17, especially when it looks as if Divine intervention has saved the killers from being Swiss-cheesed.

Goldfinger (1964)

The Assassin: Auric Goldfinger's mute henchman Oddjob (Harold Sakata).

Weapon Of Choice: Everybody remembers the razor-tipped bowler hat, but Oddjob shows comparable creative flair with a can of gold spray paint or a car crusher.

Coolest Element: He's also a loyal, hard-working butler. Every home should have one.

The Terminator (1984)

The Assassin: A Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a cyborg killer sent back in time by Skynet to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), mother of future revolutionary leader John.

Weapon Of Choice: The best a Los Angeles gun shop can offer. Failing that, its metallic endoskeleton is a formidable combat chassis.

Coolest Element: It absolutely will not stop.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

The Assassin: Martin Blank (John Cusack), the Grosse Pointe high school dropout who 'hit' the big time.

Weapon Of Choice: Whatever works, although he's most notable for killing the president of Paraguay with a fork.

Coolest Element: He might be a conscience-stricken killer in the throes of a mid-life crisis, he hasn't forgotten the 'airplane ride' move he used to do with teenage sweetheart Debi Newberry (Minnie Driver).

Le Samoura (1967)

The Assassin: Ascetic lone gunman Jef Costello (Alain Delon), who practices his hitman duties based on Bushido principles.

Weapon Of Choice: Anonymity. Once he is identified, his effectiveness is at an end.

Coolest Element: Delon's pared-down combo of raincoat and hat - he's easily cinema's most stylish assassin.

Lon (1994)

The Assassins: French hitman Léon (Jean Reno) and his wannabe protégé, twelve-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman).

Weapon Of Choice: Léon favours Berettas with silencers, but he gives smaller guns to Mathilda.

Coolest Element: Léon's childlike obsession with drinking milk, highlighting his affinity for Mathilda over the sick villainy of big bad Stansfield.

Kill Bill (2003-4)

The Assassins: Beatrix 'Black Mamba' Kiddo (Uma Thurman) and her roaring rampage of revenge against her former colleagues in the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.

Weapon Of Choice: Complementary expertise, as various members specialise in different methods (knives, firearms, poisons) - but really it's all about Kiddo and her Hattori Hanz samurai sword.

Coolest Element: The fact that the Vipers are still so deadly it takes Kiddo two films to get through them all.

The Day Of The Jackal (1973)

The Assassin: Looking to assassinate Charles de Gaulle? You'd best get in touch with the professional known only as The Jackal (Edward Fox).

Weapon Of Choice: A custom-built sniper rifle that can be converted into a pair of crutches so that the Jackal can smuggle it past security.

Coolest Element: The Jackal's chameleonic ability to become whatever he needs to be - English or Danish, straight or gay, chalk or cheese.

No Country For Old Men (2007)

The Assassin: Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), an angel of death with a bowl cut.

Weapon Of Choice: A captive bolt pistol normally used to kill cows - it's silent, accurate and also handy for blowing out motel room locks.

Coolest Element: Anybody who stands in his way gets a 50/50 choice - live or die on the toss of a coin. Call it, friendo.

The Bourne trilogy (2002-2007)

The Assassin: He was born David Webb but, after Operation Treadstone got their hands on him, he became Jason Bourne. Whichever name, he's also Matt Damon.

Weapon Of Choice: A specialist in hand-to-hand combat, using whatever comes to hand - be it a pen, a magazine or a towel.

Coolest Element: Bourne is a deadly fighter, an ace driver and a specialist at going 'off-grid.' Not bad considering he's also suffering from amnesia.