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A hitman usually is an assassin who is hired to assassinate a target via contract killing.

Hitmen in organized crime

Hitmen are largely linked to the world of organized crime. Hitmen are hired people, usually males who kill people for money. For notable examples see Murder, Inc. and Mafia hitmen.

Other cases involving hitmen

These are non-mafia killings, or attempted killings, that involved a hitman. In some of these cases the "hitman" was not necessarily a "professional" hitman, but a paid amateur.


Notable victims of hitmen

  • Shiori Ino was a 21-year-old University student killed by hitman Yoshifumi Kubota, who served 18 years in prison for the killing. He was paid by her ex-boyfriend and his brother; the case gained some notoriety in Japan.

Notable cases of hiring a hitman

Hitmen in fiction


Hitmen have been at times been a notable part of crime film. A rise in such characters began in 1970s due to "mafia films" like The Godfather. A notable example from the 1980s is the final scene of Scarface, in which an assassination squad is sent to kill the protagonist, Tony Montana. In the early 1990s Jean Reno gained some attention as a hitman in Léon: The Professional.

In the mid-1990s to the 20s several "offbeat" portrayals of hitmen arose. John Cusack plays a hitman named Martin Blank who attends his high school reunion in the comedy film Grosse Pointe Blank. Forest Whitaker portrayed an African American hitman influenced by Bushidō in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. In addition Jude Law, in Road to Perdition, played a hit man with a strong interest in photography. Chuck Norris made an appearance in the 1991 movie The Hitman. Loosely based on actual events, Edward Fox methodically plans a hit on Charles de Gaulle, President of Francemarker, in the 1973 film The Day of the Jackal. In a similarly named 1997 film, Bruce Willis also portrays an assassin using the codename The Jackal. The most recent movie portraying a Hitman is probably Timothy Olyphant's Hitman based on the game.

A few portrayals of hit man have earned nominations or awards. In 1985 Jack Nicholson was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for playing a hitman named Charley Partanna in Prizzi's Honor. Javier Bardem played a ruthless assassin in search of a lost cache of money in the Coen Brothers' 2008 Academy Award-winning film No Country for Old Men.

In the film Collateral, actor Tom Cruise takes his turn as a hitman named Vincent who takes a cabbie (Jamie Foxx) hostage and is taken to five stops to assassinate five witnesses going to trial for a man who hired Vincent.

In other countries the vision of the hitman is often one of tragic, individual with a solitary existence. The 1967 French film Le Samouraï's Jef Costello is an example of this. Furthermore, the film Ghost Dog takes inspiration from it. In the aforementioned Léon: The Professional his existence outside of hits revolves around his houseplant and watching old films. In the 1989 film The Killer the main character, Ah Jong, attempts to perform one last hit as a means of setting right an injustice that he had previously caused.

In The Spongebob Squarepants Movie Sheldon J. Plankton hires a Hitman named Dennis to kill Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star to stop them from retrieving the crown of King Neptune.


Hitman (Tommy Monaghan) is a fictional character, a super powered hitman in the DC Comics Universe. The character was created by Garth Ennis and John McCrea and first appeared in The Demon Annual #2 and then received his own series by Ennis and McCrea lasting 60 issues.


In the anime Reborn!, there are several hitmen and women. Tsuna Sawada, the main character, along with his school friends also train to become a hitmen.

In the anime Gungrave, the main character is a hitman for the Mafia.

Video games

The main character of the video game series Hitman was genetically engineered by a man called Dr. Ort-Meyer in an insane asylum in Romania. He is known only as Agent 47. 47 is highly regarded in the criminal underworld, so much that many consider him to be a myth. The gameplay revolves around infiltrating an area, executing a target (or targets), and escaping without apprehension. Although not compulsory, the Hitman games encourage the player to use stealth and cunning maneuvers to eliminate targets, as opposed to firepower. A film adaption was released in 2007, which deviated widely from its source material, and as such, was negatively received by fans. It was also confirmed that a fifth game would be in production.

In the video game series Grand Theft Auto, the main character is often assigned missions in which he must take a hit out on someone or protect someone from a hitman.

See also


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