Contract killing in popular culture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Fictional cases of contract killing or "hitmen"–murderers who are hired to kill an individual or group–are depicted in a range of popular fiction genres in the 20th and 21st century, including films, comic books and video games.


  • In the anime Darker than Black, the main character often performs contract killings for various organizations.
  • In the anime and manga Dragon Ball, a mercenary named Tao Pai Pai is hired by the Red Ribbon Army to kill Goku.
  • In the anime and novel Fate/Zero, the main character is a contract hitman, and skilled mercenary.
  • In the anime Gungrave, the main character is a hitman for the Mafia.
  • The anime Reborn! contains several hitmen, including Reborn, "Lambo" and others. Tsuna Sawada (the main character), along with his school friends, are trained by a hitman to succeed the previous Vongola Family.
  • In the anime Golgo 13, the main character, Duke Togo or "Golgo 13" is a reputed marksman and an unnatural quick draw. Golgo 13 prefers taking his targets with a heavily modified M-16.
  • In the manga X-kai, Kaito Yagami is a hitman by night and runs a flower shop during the day.
  • In the anime "Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom", the story is about a trained assassin, Zwei and his mentor Ein. They wish to escape from Inferno.
  • In the anime and manga Monster, one of the main antagonists, Roberto, is a professional hitman and the loyalist of Johan Liebert.

Comics and cartoons[edit]


Crime and action genres[edit]

Fictional contract killers or "hitmen" in crime films and action films:

Offbeat portrayals[edit]

"Offbeat" portrayals from the mid-1990s to the 2000s:

More rarely, romantic comedies have used light-hearted depictions of assassins:

Award-winning portrayals[edit]

Portrayals of hitmen that have earned major nominations or awards:

Tragic or solitary portrayal[edit]

In other countries the vision of the hitman is often one of a tragic individual with a solitary existence:

  • In the 1967 French film, Le Samouraï, Jef Costello is an example of this.
    • The film Ghost Dog takes inspiration from this "solitary" depiction.
  • In the French film 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.

Video games[edit]

  • The fictional 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 so 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 it isn't compulsory, the Hitman games encourage the player to use stealth and cunning maneuvers to eliminate targets, as opposed to making use of pure firepower. A film adaption which deviated widely from its source material was released in 2007. The fifth game, Hitman: Absolution was released on November 20, 2012.
  • In the Elder Scrolls game series, there is a group called the "Dark Brotherhood", which is a group of assassins that are like hitman. This group has appeared in all Elder Scrolls games since Daggerfall. Groups like the Morag Tong also perform contract killings in the series, and have been a playable faction in Morrowind. However, the nature of the Morag Tong is different from the Dark Brotherhood, since the Morag Tong is a legal assassination group in the province of Morrowind, and played a more justice-oriented role. Conversely, the Dark Brotherhood plays a role more similar to that of hired assassins.
  • In some videogames, such as the Grand Theft Auto series, the main character is given tasks akin to acting as a hitman. This is shown in Grand Theft Auto IV with Niko Bellic, who is frequently hired as a hitman.
  • In Cause of Death, several characters—most notably The Ghost (featured in Volumes 2, 8 and 13) -- are assassins (often also acting as bodyguards).
  • Two fictional assassins (Shelly De Killer and Ryoken Hoinbo) are featured in the Ace Attorney series, specifically in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All and Ace Attorney Investigations 2.
  • In Killer is Dead game, the main character Mondo Zappa works for Brian's Execution Firm and is hired to kill several strange targets.