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SYNOPSIS | REVIEW | PRODUCTION NOTES | TRIVIA | PRESS | QUOTES | KIM NEWMAN ARCHIVE | MEDIA

Le cinquième élément (1997)

Country of Origin: France/USA
Year of Production: 1997
Running Times: 121 mins (UK) 126 mins (Australia; Canada; Germany; Sweden; USA) 127 mins (France)
Format: Technicolor 25mm
Ratio: 2.35:1
Sound: Dolby SR SDDS 2.0 Surround 5.1 (DVD)

DIRECTION

Director: Luc Besson

SELECTED CREDITS

(full credits)

PRODUCTION
Production Company: Gaumont
Producer: Patrice Ledoux
Co-Producer: Iain Smith
Associate Producer: John Alan Amicarella

SCRIPT
Script: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Story: Luc Besson

PHOTOGRAPHY
Supervising Director Of Photography: Bill Neil
Director of Photography: Thierry Arbogast
2nd Unit Director of Photography: Nick Tebbet

EDITING AND POST-PRODUCTION
Editor: Sylvie Landra

MUSIC
Music / Conductor / Arranger / Musician: Eric Serra
Additional Music: Gaetano Donizetti (from Lucia di Lammermoor)
Incidental Music: Cliff Martinez, Mark Mangini

SOUND
Sound Supervisor: Mark A. Mangini
Sound Designers: John Paul Fasal, Mark A. Mangini, John Pospisal

COSTUMES AND MAKE-UP
Make Up Artists: Pauline Heys, Melissa Lackersteen
Hair: Sarah Love, Sue Love, Lisa Tomblin
Costume Designer: Jean-Paul Gaultier

SPECIAL EFFECTS
Special Effects: Vision Crew Unlimited
Special Visual Effects: Digital Domain

DESIGN AND SET CONSTRUCTION
Production Designer: Dan Weil
Designers: Jean 'Moebius' Giraud. Hélène Giraud, Humbert Chabuel, Jacques Rey, Jean-Claude Mézières, Kamel Tazit, Michel Gibrat, Patrice Garcia, Pierre-Alain Chartier, Sean Hargreaves, Sylvain Despretz

LOCATIONS
Locations: London, England, UK; Mauritania; The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, England, UK; Vatnajokull, Iceland
Studio: Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK

STUNTS
Stunt Co-Ordinator: Marc Boyle
Stunt Double For Willis: Terry Jackson
Stunt Double For Jovovich: Mirjam Montandon
Stunts: Marc Cass, Lee Sheward
Stunts (Cop in Car): James Gulperin

CASTING
Casting: Lucinda Syson
Casting (USA): Francine Maisler

CAST

Bruce Willis (Korben Dallas)
Gary Oldman (Zorg)
Ian Holm (Cornelius)
Milla Jovovich (Leeloo)
Chris Tucker (Ruby Rhod)
Luke Perry (Billy)
Brion James (General Munro)
Tommy 'Tiny' Lister Jr (President Lindberg)
Lee Evans (Fog)
Charlie Creed Miles (David)
Tricky (Right Arm)
John Neville (General Staedert)
John Bluthal (Professor Pacoli)
Mathieu Kassovitz (mugger)
Christopher Fairbank (Mactilburgh)
Kim Chan (Thai)
Richard Leaf (neighbour)
Julie T. Wallace (Major Iceborg)
Al Matthews (General Tudor)
Maïwenn Le Besco (diva)
John Bennett (priest)
Ivan Heng (Left Arm)
Sonita Henry (President's aide)
Tim McMullan (scientist's aide)
Hon Ping Tang (Munro's captain)
George Khan (head scientist)
John Hughes (head of military)
Roberto Bryce (Omar)
Said Talidi (Aziz)
Clifton Lloyd Bryan (Mondoshawan / Mangalore Aknot / airport guard)
Justin Lee Burrows, Richard Ashton, Jerome Blake (Mondoshawans)
Kevin Molloy (Mondoshawan / ground crew)
Bill Reimbold (Mactilburgh's assistant)
Colin Brooks (Staedert's captain)
Anthony Chinn (Mactilburgh's technician)
Sam Douglas (chief NY cop)
Derek Ezenagu (NY cop)
David Kennedy, David Barrass, Mac McDonald, Mark Seaton, Jean-Luc Caron, Riz Meedin, Jerry Ezekiel (flying cops)
Roger Monk (flying cop / military technician)
Indra Ove, Nicole Merry, Stacey McKenzie (VIP stewardesses)
Rachel Willis, Genevieve Maylam, Josie Perez, Natasha Brice (stewardesses)
Sophia Goth (check-in attendant)
Martin McDougall (warship captain)
Peter Dunwell (diva's manager)
Paul Priestley, Jason Salkey (cops)
Stewart Harvey-Wilson, Dave Fishley, Carlton Chance (Ruby Rhod assistants)
Gin Clarke (diva's assistant)
Vladimir McCrary (Human Aknot)
Aron Paramor (Mangalore Akanit)
Alan Ruscoe (Mangalore Kino)
Christopher Adamson (airport cop)
Ève Salvail (tawdry girl)
Kaleem Janjua (shuttle pilot)
Tyrone Tyrell (shuttle co-pilot)
Kevin Brewerton (shuttle mechanic)
Vincenzo Pellegrino (ground crew)
Ian Beckett (Baby Ray)
Sonny Caldinez (Emperor Kodar Japhet)
Zeta Graff (Princess Achen)
Eddie Ellwood (Roy von Bacon)
Yui, Laura De Palma (Fhloston hostesses)
Michael Culkin (hefty man)
Lenny McLean (police chief)
Robert Oates (Fhloston commander)
John Sharian (Fhloston captain)
Fred Williams (hotel manager)
Sarah Carrington, Grant James, Ali Yassine, Sean Buckley (scientists)
Sibyl Buck (Zorg's secretary)
Dane Messam, Nathan Hamlett, Cecil Cheng (military technicians)
Scott Woods, Leon Dekker (lab guards)
David Garvey, Stanley Kowalski, Omar Hibbert Williams (Staedert's technician)
Robert Clapperton (robot barman)
Robert Alexander (warship technician)
Mia Frye (TV stewardess)
Leo Williams, Keith Martin (power operators)
J.D. Dawodu, Patrick Nicholls, Shaun Davis, Roy Garcia, Alex Georgijev (Zorg's men)
Marie Guillard, Renee Montemayor, Stina Richardson (burger assistants)

PLOT SUMMARY

250 years from now, former soldier Corben Dallas is struggling to make a living as a cab driver. His life is turned upside down when life on Earth is threatened with obliteration by the forces of Evil and the only thing that stands in its way, the fifth element, takes the form of the humanoid Leeloo who literally falls into his cab. As Evil, assisted by the mercenary armies of the eccentric and psychotic Mr Zorg, close in, Dallas and Leeloo take up with a bizarre group of allies.

CAPSULE REVIEW

Not well liked by the fans, The Fifth Element is a completely bonkers futuristic romp played strictly for laughs. Willis and Jovovich are great in their respective roles though quite what Oldman thought he was doing is anyone's guess. And the less said about Chris Tucker the better. Visually stunning, it's incoherent fun that - a few dodgy performances aside - is a lot more enjoyable than its reputation suggests.

AVAILABILITY

France
Theatrical Distributors: Gaumont Buena Vista International

Germany
Theatrical Distributors: Tobis Filmkunst
Video Distributors: BMG Video

Japan
Theatrical Distributors: Herald Film Company

Portugal
Theatrical Distributors: Lusomundo

Spain
Theatrical Distributors: Columbia TriStar Films de España, S.A.

UK
Theatrical Distributors: Pathé

USA
Theatrical Distributors: Columbia TriStar / Sony Pictures Entertainment
Video Distributors: Columbia TriStar Home Video
DVD Distributor: Columbia/Tristar (82405); Columbia/Tristar (82409)

CENSORSHIP HISTORY

Australia
Rating: PG

Belgium
Rating: KT

Chile
Rating: 14

Finland
Rating: K-12

France
Rating: U

Germany
Rating: 12

Ireland
Rating: 12

Netherlands
Rating: 12

Norway
Rating: 11

Portugal
Rating: M/12

Spain
Rating: 7

Sweden
Rating: 11

UK
Rating: PG

USA
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sci-fi violence, some sexuality and brief nudity)

AWARDS

1997
Bogey Awards, Germany
Bogey Award in Silver - winner

European Film Awards
Best Film (Patrice Ledoux - producer) - nomination

Golden Screen, Germany
Golden Screen - winner

1998
Academy Awards, USA
Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (Mark A. Mangini) - nomination

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
Favorite Female Newcomer (Milla Jovovich) - nomination

British Academy Awards
BAFTA Film Award: Best Special Effects (Nick Allder, Neil Corbould, Nick Dudman, Karen E. Goulekas, Mark Stetson) - winner

César Awards, France
Meilleure photographie (Thierry Arbogast) - winner
Meilleur réalisateur (Luc Besson) - winner
Meilleurs décors (Dan Weil) - winner
Meilleurs costumes (Jean-Paul Gaultier) - nomination
Meilleur montage (Sylvie Landra) - nomination
Meilleur film (Luc Besson) - nomination
Meilleure musique (Eric Serra) - nomination
Meilleur son (Daniel Brisseau) - nomination

Golden Satellite Awards
Outstanding Visual Effects (Mark Stetson) - nomination

Hugo Awards
Best Dramatic Presentation - nomination

MTV Movie Awards
Best Fight (Milla Jovovich - For the fight between Milla Jovovich and aliens) - nomination

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA
Golden Reel Award: Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects & Foley - nomination

Razzie Awards
Worst New Star (Chris Tucker also for his performance in Money Talks (1997)) - nomination
Worst Supporting Actress (Milla Jovovich) - nomination

TIMELINE

1997
May

7: France - premiere at Cannes Film Festival
8: Belgium - theatrical release
8: Switzerland - theatrical release in French speaking region
9: Luxembourg - theatrical release
9: USA - theatrical release
14: New Zealand - theatrical release
15: Australia - theatrical release
15: Singapore - theatrical release
16: Brazil - theatrical premiere
16: Panama - theatrical release
22: Argentina - theatrical release
22: Hong Kong - theatrical release
23: Mexico - theatrical release
29: Netherlands - theatrical release
30: Spain - theatrical release

June
6: Finland - theatrical release
6: UK - theatrical release
13: Iceland - theatrical release
13: Ireland - theatrical release

July
2: Kuwait - theatrical release
10: Israel - theatrical release
17: South Korea - theatrical release

August
1: Denmark - theatrical release
8: Norway - theatrical release
22: Sweden - theatrical release
28: Germany - theatrical release
28: Switzerland - theatrical release in German speaking region
29: Portugal - theatrical release

September
11: Czech Republic - theatrical release
13: Japan - theatrical release
25: Russia - theatrical release
25: Slovenia - theatrical release

October
16: Hungary - theatrical release
17: Poland - theatrical release
30: Italy - theatrical release

December
9: USA - DVD release

1998
January

9: Estonia - theatrical release

2002
February

10: UK - television broadcast (on Channel 4)

POSTER TAGS

There is no future without it.

It must be found.

250 years in the future, all will be lost unless the fifth element is found.

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

The 5th Element
Fifth Element, The
- UK/US title
Fünfte Element, Das - German title
Quinto elemento, Il - Italian title

LINKS

SEE ALSO
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Blade Runner (1982)
Brazil (1985)
Casino Royale (1967)
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Heavy Metal (1981)
Lola rennt (1998)
The Magic Christian (1969)
Metropolis (1927)
Pinocchio (1940)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
RoboCop (1987)
Species (1995)
Stargate (1994)
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Twelve Monkeys (1995)

FOOTAGE INCLUDED IN
Especial Cannes: 50 Anos de Festival (1997)

REFERENCES

PERIODICALS

American Cinematographer vol.78 no.5 (May 1997) pp.34; 42 (USA)
article (Astral Grandeur by Andrew O. Thompson); article (Fantasic Voyage by Ron Magid)

Avant-Premiere May 1997 pp.19-21 (Switzerland)
illustrated interview with Luc Besson (by David E. Williams)

Empire July 1997 p.30 (UK)
review (by Adam Smith)

Entertainment Weekly vol.1 no.379 (16 May 1997) pp.84-86 (USA)
review (Space Camp (B-) by Owen Gleiberman)

Film Review July 1997 p.15 (UK)
review (by James Cameron-Wilson)

Imágenes July / August 1997 p.128 (Spain)
review (by Ángel Sala)

Première June 1997 p.35 (France)
review (by Jacques-André Bondy)

SFX no.15 (August 1996) p.7 (UK)
illustrated news item (Secret element by MJ Simpson)

Studio June 1997 p.12 (France)
review (by Denis Parent)

Total Film July 1997 p.92 (UK)
review (by Matt Bielby)

Vox Magazin April 1998 pp.41-42 (Hungary)
review (by Csanád and Cheese Szalai)

NEWSPAPERS

A Capital, Guia TV 27 March 1998 (Portugal)
review (by Rui Brazuna)

Diário de Notícias 28 August 1997 (Portugal)
review (by Eurico De Barros)

Diário de Notícias 6 June 1999 p.63 (Portugal)
review

Diário de Notícias, DNmais 23 January 1999 (Portugal)
review (José De Matos-Cruz)

Diário de Notícias, Programas 29 August 1997 (Portugal)
review (by João Antunes)

Expresso, Cartaz 30 August 1997 (Portugal)
review (by Jorge Leitão Ramos)

Svenska Dagbladet 22 August 1997 (Sweden)
review (Räddas av ironi och ett gott humör by Carl-Johan Malmberg)

KEYWORDS

flame throwers; space travel; other planets; the future; spacecraft; djs; guns; space shuttles; taxi drivers; deserts; end of the world; new york; messiahs; archaeology; genetic engineering; television; opera; aliens; cats; egyptology; priests; prophecies


Last Updated: 6 February, 2010

 


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