Le Professionnel (French pronunciation: [lə pʁɔfɛsjɔˈnɛl], 'The Professional') is a 1981 French action thriller 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 French secret agent Josselin Beaumont is sent to Malagawi, a fictional African country, to kill the ruling dictator, the colonel Njala. However, before he manages 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 and unfair trial, during which Beaumont is injected drugs, he is sentenced to long-term penal servitude at a "re-education camp". After a daring escape with one of the 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 the major betrayers, including the sadistic chief of the secret police Rosen.
After Rosen, the police chief, falls in a gunfight, Beaumont switches their identity cards, spreading confusion within the secret service and temporarily reducing Njala's guard. Beaumont eventually gets Njala killed, by tricking the secret service agents into mistakenly shooting the dictator. As he finally tries to leave the scene, while government officials postulate what to do by conferring with higher authorities, he slowly walks towards the helicopter of the presidential whore, and is shot dead by the French government agents, who in the meantime, have received the order to do so.
- Jean-Paul Belmondo as Josselin Beaumont, called “Joss”
- Jean Desailly as le ministre
- Cyrielle Clair as Alice Ancelin
- Marie-Christine Descouard as Doris Frederiksen
- Elisabeth Margoni as Jeanne Baumont
- Jean-Louis Richard as le colonel Martin
- Michel Beaune as le capitaine Valeras
- Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu as l'inspecteur Farges
- Pierre Saintons as le président N'Jala
- Gérard Darrieu as l'instructeur Picard
- Sidiki Bakaba as le prisonnier évadé
- Robert Hossein as le commissaire Rosen
- Dany Kogan as sergent Gruber
- Marc Lamole as le serveur d'hôtel