Assassin/Hitmen movies have been a source of entertainment in the film industry for almost as long as the medium has been around. For some reason, people are fascinated with the political intrigue, moral complications and spectacle of contract killing. I will happily admit that I am one of those people. I adore any kind of hitman flick I can get my eyes on, whether that’s Tarantino’s classic Kill Bill series or Keanu Reeve’s neon-doused John Wick. In light of the recent release of Netflix’s Gunpowder Milkshake, a female-led assassin flick, I’ve decided to put together a hand-curated list of where to watch the best assassin movies.
Check ’em out:
The Boondock Saints
Troy Duffy’s The Boondock Saints is a film that endured a troubled production process. The vigilante thriller was originally acquired by Miramax, only to be dropped from production. Finally, Franchise Pictures stepped in and funded what would become a cult-hit, despite an abysmal box office performance. The Boondock Saints follows two brothers, played by Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus, who go on a killing spree of Boston’s crime syndicate. In terms of hitmen movies, there’s plenty to love in this one. While Reedus and Flanery are well cast, it’s Willem Dafoe‘s Paul Smecker, an FBI agent assigned to the mob killings, who really steals the show. Check out The Boondock Saints on Prime Video, Kanopy or Hoopla with a subscription.
Liam Neeson stars in Cold Pursuit, a 2019 flick that follows a snowplow driver hellbent on revenge after the murder of his son. This American remake is reminiscent of European crime movies such as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It makes sense, considering that Cold Pursuit is a remake of a Norwegian film called In Order of Disappearance. This one is just plain fun. The beauty of Cold Pursuit is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, venturing into the black comedy territory at times, while still featuring plenty of hitman goodness. Watch Liam Neeson take on a crime syndicate with his snowplow in Cold Pursuit, which is streaming on fuboTV and Peacock right now.
Kill Bill: Vol 1 & 2
What’s a good assassin list without Quentin Tarantino’s iconic Kill Bill series? Although it’s technically two movies, I’ve lumped them into one category because they move from service to service in tandem, like a pair of ultra-violent twins. Kill Bill follows The Bride, played by Uma Thurman, as she tracks down her boss, Bill, and the rest of her former assassination squad. This series is arguably the most iconic assassin flick on the list, so if you haven’t checked them out yet, I highly recommend it. Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are both streaming on HBOMax right now.
Some might say the first John Wick movie re-launched Keanu Reeves‘ career. The 2014 action-flick reminded audiences across the world that Reeves can still kick ass. And boy, oh boy, does he kick some ass in John Wick. After Wick’s puppy is killed he goes on a vigilante spree across New York City in an attempt to get revenge on those who wronged him. John Wick went on to spawn an entire franchise, with John Wick 4 currently in production. There’s even a TV spin-off in the works to boot. Check out the flick that started it all by watching John Wick on fuboTV, where it’s streaming right now.
Chicago nobody Wesley Gibson, played by James McAvoy, is a preverbal doormat. He’s walked all over by his girlfriend, best friend and boss. One day, his life completely changes when he’s thrown into the wild world of an assassin fraternity. Wanted features stylish combat, an all-star cast and edge-of-your-seat action. All you really need to know going into this is that the assassins in Wanted can curve their bullets like an MLB pitcher. It’s awesome, trust me. Watch James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and more in Wanted, which is streaming on Peacock right now.
Lucky Number Slevin
Lucky Number Slevin opens in a similar manner as Wanted. An unsuspecting protagonist, in this case Slevin (played by Josh Hartnett), is thrown into the middle of a gang war. Slevin is constantly surveilled and must figure out how to survive while outwitting an infamous assassin. The cast is stacked here as well, with Lucy Liu, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman attached. Check out Lucky Number Slevin on Hulu or Starz, where it’s streaming right now.
Léon: The Professional
Luc Besson directed one of the greatest assassin movies of all time with Léon: The Professional. This 1994 flick stars Jean Reno as Léon Montana, a top hitman in New York. When Léon’s next door neighbors are killed he forms an unlikely bond with 12-year-old Mathilda, played by Natalie Portman. Eventually the pair embark on a path of revenge against the DEA agent who killed Mathilda’s family. Watch Natalie Portman, Jean Reno and Gary Oldman in Léon: The Professional, which is streaming on STARZ.
Despite the subject material, some consider In Bruges to be a comedy. This European crime thriller has an absolutely stacked cast, including Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. In Bruges follows two hitmen (Farrell and Gleeson) as they hide out on Bruges, Belgium while awaiting orders for their next mission. Farrell’s character, Ray, begins to question his profession and the pair’s previous mission. It’s hilarious, in a depressing, extremely bleak sort of way. Check it out In Bruges for yourself anywhere you can rent movies, including Google Play, iTunes and Prime Video.
The Bourne Identity
Jesus Christ, that’s Jason Bourne! Matt Damon plays an amnesiac with an impressive toolkit of physical and mental capabilities. The only issue? He can’t figure out why everyone wants him dead. The Bourne Identity is based on a series of novels from author Robert Ludlum. The 2002 film sparked a franchise for Damon, with a total of five theatrical installments as of today. Head down the rabbit hole with Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity, which is now streaming on fuboTV and Peacock.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more famous assassin than Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s Terminator. First introduced in James Cameron‘s 1984 hit The Terminator, this time-traveling assassin became a pop culture icon. He’s got it all, sweet leather duds, badass weaponry and some of the most iconic movie quotes of all time. Watch The Terminator take on Sarah Connor on Hulu, fuboTV or Paramount+, where it’s streaming right now.
Although these are a few of my favorite assassin movie, it’s be no means a complete list. Be sure to check out the entire hand-curated list of assassin movies over at Reelgood. Have a favorite we didn’t get to? Drop a comment and let us know.