From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
In organized crime
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.
- Glennon Engleman, American dentist who moonlighted as a hitman.
- Christopher Dale Flannery, reputed Australian hitman
- Igor the Assassin, ex-KGB operative turned hitman who is suspected of having killed over 40 targets internationally.
- Charles Harrelson, American hitman, father of actor Woody Harrelson
- Richard Kuklinski, American contract killer, linked to the murders of over 33 men and rumored to have murdered over 250 men
- Marinko Magda, Serbian hitman convicted for 11 murders, including a Hungarian family
- Alexander Solonik, Russian hitman who killed more than 30 Russian mafia bosses, and who was known for shooting with both hands
- Li Fuguo, a Tang Dynasty Eunuch killed by a hitman hired by Emperor Tang Daizong
- Shiori Ino, 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.
- Grady Stiles, freak show performer whose family hired a hitman to kill him because of his abusiveness
- Ji Yunqing, a Chinese Shanghai Triad boss affiliated with Wang Jingwei's puppet regime in the late 1930s murdered by BIS hitman Zhan Seng.
- Nicole Doucette Ryan attempted to hire an undercover Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer to kill her husband. After ruling she could not use the defense of duress, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered she not be retried.
- Silas Jayne, Chicago-area stable owner, was convicted in 1973 of hiring hitmen to murder his half-brother George.
- Mike Danton, former NHL player, hired an undercover federal agent to kill his sports agent.
- Wanda Holloway: The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom is based on Holloway's hiring a hitman to kill the mother of a girl competing with her daughter at cheerleading.
- Lawrence Horn, record producer whose hiring of a hitman led to the case Rice v. Paladin Press
- Charlotte Karin Lindström, Swedish waitress/model who attempted to hire a hitman to kill persons testifying against her boyfriend in a drug trial in Australia
- Pamela Smart of Derry, New Hampshire, who made national headlines in 1991 for hiring teenage lover Billy Flynn and his friends to murder her husband Gregory Smart
- Wallace Souza, Brazilian television presenter who was accused of hiring hitmen to murder at least five people in 2009 to increase his programme's ratings.
- 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 and women. 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.
Comics and cartoons
- In Adventure Time, the Ice King hires a Hitman thinking that a Hitman only "hits" people and doesn't kill them. Throughout that episode, the Ice King prevents the Hitman from killing Finn and Jake (who think that the Ice King was the one trying to kill them.)
- 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 DemonTemplate:Disambiguation needed Annual No. 2 and then received his own series by Ennis and McCrea lasting 60 issues.
- 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.
- In the South Park episode Follow that Egg!, Mrs. Garrison hires a hitman to "kill" an egg because she fears it will led the governor to legalize same-sex marriage in the state after being rejected by his ex-lover following a sex-change operation.
Hitmen have, at times, been a notable part of crime films.
- A rise in such characters began in 1970s due to "Mafia films" like The Godfather.
- Charles Bronson plays a hitman in the 1972 film The Mechanic.
- Henry Silva plays a hitman in the 1981 film Sharky's Machine.
- Lee Marvin plays a hitman in the 1964 film The Killers.
- A notable example from the 1980s is the final scene of Scarface, in which a hit-men squad is sent to kill the protagonist, Tony Montana.
- One of the two central storylines in the 1989 film Crimes and Misdemeanors is about the moral dilemma of a successful ophthalmologist who hires a hitman to kill his mistress because she is threatening to expose his double life.
- In the early 1990s, Jean Reno gained some attention as a hitman in Léon: The Professional.
- Abbot and Morley in the 1990 film Nuns on the Run
The James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun, features Francisco Scaramanga. Scaramanga is a high-priced hit man, supposedly the best in the world, charging one million dollars per kill. He's best known for being "The man with the golden gun", because he only uses bullets made of gold in a fictitious, 4.2 mm cartridge. All of Scaramanga's dealings go through his henchman Nick Nack, which allows Scaramanga to be anonymous.
In the mid-1990s to the 2000s, 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 a hitman influenced by Bushidō in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
- In addition Jude Law, in Road to Perdition, played a hitman 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 France, 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.
In the 2005 black comedy The Matador, Pierce Brosnan portrays the fictional hitman Julian Noble, an experienced hitman who suffers a mental breakdown, causing him to freeze during the last seconds of the job.
- Timothy Olyphant's 2007 movie, Hitman, is based on the eponymous game.
- The 2011 remake of The Mechanic, starring Jason Statham.
- The film Killer Elite starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro is based on a group of hitmen with Statham and De Niro portraying the main hitmen.
- 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.
- Crabbe and Goyle act as hitmen in the Harry Potter films
Romantic comedy has included assassins
- Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt star as assassins in the 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
- Ashton Kutcher plays one in the 2010 film Killers.
A few portrayals of hitmen 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 named Anton Chigurh in search of a lost cache of money in the Coen Brothers' 2008 Academy Award-winning film, No Country for Old Men.
- In 1994, both John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson were nominated for Academy Awards for Best actor and Best Actor in a Supporting Role respectively for their portrayals of two hitmen in the award winning film Pulp Fiction.
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.
- 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.
- 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 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 20th 2012.
- In the Elder Scrolls series, there is a group called the Dark Brotherhood, which is a group of assassins that are akin to the nature of being a 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 (till it was defunct) and played a more justice-oriented role, and 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 most obviously shown in Grand Theft Auto IV with Niko Bellic, who is frequently hired as a hitman in the game.
- Button man
- Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
- Contract killing
- Hit and run tactics
- List of controversies involving the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Murder Inc
- Organized crime
- Private military company
- Sniper Rifle