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Norman Stansfield (billed as Stansfield) is the primary antagonist of Luc Besson‘s 1994 film Léon: The Professional.

Portrayed by Gary Oldman, the corrupt and mentally unhinged Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent has been named as one of cinema’s greatest villains. In recognition of its influence, MSN Movies described the Stansfield character as “the role that launched a thousand villains”.

Gary Oldman as Norman Stansfield and Natalie Portman as Mathilda
Stansfield is noted for Oldman’s over-the-top portrayal of the character. Given the austere manner of the film’s title character, actor Jean Reno had “no room to play”, according to director Luc Besson, and Stansfield was devised as a contrasting character with whom “anything was possible. Anything.” Although the antagonist of the film, Stansfield was intended to offer a measure of comic relief.
Oldman said of Besson’s direction: “You share ideas, and if you come up with an idea that he likes, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’ll go in the movie. I liked working with Luc so much that if I actually never worked with another director again, it wouldn’t worry me.” In a later interview, however, Oldman alluded to some conflict with Besson on-set.
Stansfield has been paying Mathilda‘s father, played by Michael Badalucco, to store cocaine in his residence, but suspects that he has been stealing some of the drugs for himself. The sniffing and invasion of Badalucco’s personal space was improvised by Oldman, resulting in the genuine expression of unease on Badalucco’s face during the scene. Oldman also improvised verbally on set.
Norman Stansfield

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Corrupt, impatient, foul-tempered, peculiar and extremely violent, Stansfield has not only managed to mastermind a major criminal operation despite being a DEA agent subject to the oversight of his superiors, but is also a habitual drug user and addict – often seen downing pills before committing murders, suffering violent spasms as a result. Rumpled, unshaven and sweaty, his addiction clearly shows in his appearance long before it shows in his unusual behavior.

Norman Stansfield getting angry and leaving Mathilda's family apartment

Stansfield’s behavior grows increasingly deranged: when Mathilda’s father manages to shoot him in the shoulder – doing more damage to his suit than the man himself – Stansfield not only guns him down, but upon seeing the bullet hole in his jacket, proceeds to follow the mortally-wounded drug holder through the apartment, shooting him in the back until he runs out of bullets.

Norman Stansfield shooting Mathilda's mother in bathtub
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Leon by Luc Besson

Norman Stansfield

Norman Stansfield is a nihilistic villain, showing little concern for his own safety or self-respect – casually wandering into his gang’s field of fire at one point – and even less for the lives of others, casually firing loaded weapons at passers-by and wiping out entire families without any kind of emotional response (though he is still afected when learning the death of Malky); as he later confesses to Mathilda, he actively enjoys killing, though only if his victim fears for their life and honestly doesn’t want to die. He doesn’t even respect his colleagues, casually leaving Willie Blood on the scene of the apartment massacre to face police interrogation.

Cinema, short for cinematography, is often used to refer to the industry of films and filmmaking or to the art of filmmaking itself. The contemporary definition of cinema is the art of simulating experiences to communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty or atmosphere.

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