The Professional (1981 film)

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The Professional
Le Professionnel.jpg
Film poster
Directed byGeorges Lautner
Produced byAlain Belmondo
Written byMichel Audiard
Georges Lautner
Jacques Audiard
Patrick Alexander (novel)
StarringJean-Paul Belmondo
Jean Desailly
Robert Hossein
Music byEnnio Morricone
CinematographyHenri Decaë
Edited byMichelle David
Distributed byGaumont
Release date
21 October 1981
Running time
109 minutes
Budget$3.5 million[1]
Box office$63.4 million[1]

The Professional (original title: Le Professionnel; French pronunciation: ​[lə pʁɔfɛsjɔˈnɛl]) is a 1981 French action film directed by French director Georges Lautner, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Desailly and Robert Hossein, based on the award-winning 1976 novel Death of a Thin-Skinned Animal by Patrick Alexander.

The film was a wide commercial success upon its theatrical release, with 5,243,559 tickets sold, making it the fourth most watched feature film in France in 1981 behind La Chèvre, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Fox and the Hound.[2]

The music was composed by Ennio Morricone and the theme music "Chi Mai".


French secret agent Josselin Beaumont is sent to kill Colonel Njala, the dictator of Malagawi, a fictional African country. However, before he manages to accomplish his mission, the political situation changes drastically and the French secret service resorts to handing over Beaumont to the Malagawian authorities. After a long, unfair trial, during which Beaumont is injected with drugs, he is sentenced to long-term penal servitude at a "re-education camp".

Following a daring escape with one of the other inmates, he returns to France and informs the French secret service of his presence, promising that he will kill Njala, who is in France for an official visit, thus getting his revenge on the people who betrayed him. The secret service responds by setting other agents on Beaumont's trail. However, he manages to remain one step ahead, humiliating and killing some of his major betrayers, including Rosen, the sadistic chief of the secret police. After Rosen falls in a gunfight, Beaumont takes Rosen's identity card and puts his dogtags on his body, spreading confusion within the secret service and temporarily reducing Njala's guard. Beaumont eventually tricks a secret service agent into shooting the dictator. While government officials confer with higher authorities, he slowly walks towards Njala's helicopter, but is shot dead by government agents, who have received the order to do so.


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