The protagonist. A former soldier of the elite special forces unit of the Federated Army, now a divorced cab driver. After meeting Leeloo, he has to go on a mission to save the world.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: Leeloo brings it out in him.
- The Comically Serious: At least in comparison to Ruby Rhod.
- Composite Character: Inspired by the futuristic taxi drivers S'Traks from Valérian and Harry Canyon from Heavy Metal.
- Deadpan Snarker: In true action movie hero fashion.
- Majorly Awesome: He held the rank of Major in the Federated Army's Elite Special Forces.
- Men Are Uncultured: Subverted, he's utterly awestruck at the Opera. This is also a case of Enforced Method Acting. Bruce Willis never saw this performance before it was filmed and was naturally moved by it.
- One Riot, One Ranger: Korben is the government's choice to go retrieve the stones "discreetly," instead of sending an entire team.
- Retired Badass: Has recently left the army.
- Sexy Backless Outfit: In an uncommon male example, one of Korben's T-shirts has a cut-out at the back.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: At times wears an orange or grey sleeveless shirt (perfectly expected).
- Sole Survivor: Apparently the only member of his highly-elite special forces unit that's still alive, which is the final reason why he's being offered the mission by General Munro.
- The Taxi: He drives one, after retiring from the military six months ago. We find him very close to losing that job; finding Leeloo pushes him over that edge.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Instead of, say, "Corben".
The titular Fifth Element, the supreme being who is needed to save the Earth from destruction.
- Action Girl: When she gets into a fight, you'd better pray she doesn't close the distance. The only time she loses a fight is when she goes up against Zorg wielding the ZF-1, who doesn't let up on the firepower.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: As the Fifth Element, she is essentially life personified.
- Badass Adorable: Leeloo is cute, innocent, has No Social Skills and no nudity taboo and is perfectly capable of breaking every bone in your body without breaking a sweat. Which she will do if you cross her, and especially come damn close to doing if you kiss her "without her permission."
- The Beautiful Elite: Fittingly of course, the most perfect life form in the Universe would be the most perfect beauty as well.David: (after witnessing strip in front of him) Wow, they really did make her...
Cornelius: Perfect, yes I know.
- Big Eater: Likely a byproduct of the regeneration process, but holy HELL, Leeloo was hungry! She polishes off an instant roast chicken, dumps the bones in the trash, and immediately goes back for another.
- Birthmark of Destiny: Leeloo carries the symbols of the four elements as a marking on her wrist most identify as a tattoo.
- Break the Cutie: The moment she learns about human's history and propensity for war.
- Clone Jesus: Though she isn't really cloned per se.
- Cosmic Keystone: She is one part of it, along with the four-set stones.
- Element #5: A personified version.
- Expy: Was based on Laureline from Valérian.
- From a Single Cell: Leeloo is regenerated from a hand in a glove with a few living cells remaining.
- Glass Cannon: As described by the Diva, Leeloo is more fragile than she seems; she can fight, but she can be hurt, and her heart is even more vulnerable than her body.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: No qualms on stripping and changing clothes in front of men.
- Instant Expert: Learns English in the space of about a day, by speed-reading the 23rd century equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
- Klaatu Barada Nikto: She says "Klaatu Barata Nikto" shortly after getting into Korben's cab in the novelization.
- Martial Pacifist: She's horrified as she learns what humanity has done historically, but she knows how to kick ass when necessary.
- Motor Mouth: Most of her lines in the Ancient Language.
- Ms. Fanservice: In her iconic thermal bandages costume mostly, but she tends to provide Fanservice in her other costumes.
- Mysterious Waif: She is just some girl who falls into Korben's cab while running away from government experiment.
- Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: Her full name translates to "Precious Stone of the Earth, Defender of Light and Life, the Honorable".
- Naked on Arrival: Justified, since her whole body was regenerated From a Single Cell and she had to be naked on arrival.
- Offhand Backhand: Caps off her fight scene with the Mangalores at Fhloston Paradise.
- Older Than They Look: Granted Leeloo's current body looks to be in its mid 20's or so. But her spirit has been around a long time if she's fighting evil every 5,000 years.
- Overly Long Name: Her full name, on top of being in an alien language, is more of a phrase than an actual name so Korben just narrows it down to Leeloo.
- Phlebotinum Girl: Leeloo is the titular "Fifth Element" that can provide the power to stop Shadow.
- Readings Are Off the Scale: Leeloo's DNA has over 200,000 "memostrands," as opposed to a normal human's 40.
- Samus Is a Girl: Everyone who has knowledge of the supreme being assumes that she is male until they meet her.
- Sci-Fi Bob Haircut: A bright orange one.
- Shout-Out: Her red hair is one to Laureline, the co-protagonist of Valérian.
- Stripperiffic: The "thermal bandages" outfit.
- Waif-Fu: She wipes out an entire group of Mangalores with nothing but martial arts moves.
The Corrupt Corporate Executive in charge of the Mega-Corp that seems to already control much of Earth, Zorg aids Mr. Shadow in finding the stones to destroy the Earth, selling out his race in return for a massive payment.
- Bad Boss: He neglects to tell the Mangalores who failed him what the red button on the ZF-1 does, leading to their death, and later kills an employee for failing to get on board the ship to Fhloston.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Zorg gets some pretty wonky scenes, including one where he nearly chokes to death on a cherry while giving a big villain speech, but shows time and time again that there's no low he won't stoop to if there's a profit in it, from laying off a million taxi drivers, to murdering his Mangalore soldiers who fail him, to even trying to help Shadow destroy the Earth for a payday.
- Card-Carrying Villain:Vito Cornelius: You're a monster, Zorg.
Zorg: I know.
- Character Death: He is killed when he returns to Phloston Paradise to resume his search for the elemental stones. After defusing the bomb he'd set earlier, one of the Mangalores uses their dying breath to trigger the dead-man switch on their own bomb..
- Cry Laughing: Brilliantly done when he opens the chest that he thought contained the alien elemental stones and it's empty.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He owns a huge Mega-Corp that has holdings in everything from weapons manufacturing to starships to taxi companies. In fact, the Supreme Council comes to him directly and asks him to fire half a million employees in order to help the economy.
- Deep South: At least, his accent seems to imply that he's from the region.
- The Dragon: He reports directly to Mr. Shadow, who has assigned him to gather the stones so that Shadow can destroy the Earth. Despite being a subordinate to the Eldritch Abomination, Zorg is The Heavy of the film, with his boss having next to no screen time.
- Dragon with an Agenda: It's painfully obvious Zorg sees Shadow as nothing but another payday, without any real loyalty to his boss. While Shadow sees the destruction of Earth and ending life as some sort of purpose he must fulfill, Zorg just intends to profit off the mass death and destruction, knowing his boss will pay handsomely for his assistance.
- Evil Cripple: He's got a distinct limp. It doesn't seem to slow him down much, though.
- Evil Virtues: When Vito saves his life, Zorg doesn't have the man executed for either his berating speech or unhelpful behavior. He lets the man go.
- Faux Affably Evil: His southern charm and politeness only serves to enhance his cruelty.
- Handicapped Badass: While he has a distinct limp, he's an impressive gunfighter. Zorg even managed to critically injure Leeloo in the final third of the movie.
- The Heavy: The villain who drives the action of the film, with "Mr. Shadow" as the actual Big Bad.
- Ironic Name: All other factors aside, his given names (Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel) are incredibly inappropriate for an insane weapons magnate with a fetish for "creative destruction".
- Large Ham: Gary Oldman is in rare form in this one.
- Laughably Evil: Yes, he's a nasty and cruel scumbag, but also a funny one.
- Little "No": Zorg's reaction when he spots the Mangalores' bomb.
- Missing Steps Plan: Plans to make money cleaning up after the universe is destroyed and doesn't seem to realize he'll be destroyed with it. Even if it is only Earth being threatened as he seems to believe, it's questionable how the return could possibly exceed his losses given that he owns a significant percentage of the planet's economy.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: He's a Large Ham who fills part of the movie with comical sketches...and he's also a deranged money obsessed man willing to sacrifice his entire homeland for a quick buck. He also almost kills Leeloo, the only chance the World has to survive.
- Oh, Crap!: He gets this when one of the Mangalores activates the self-destruct countdown on the bomb.
- Pet the Dog: When a captive Vito stops him from choking to death, Zorg at least has the courtesy to have him released in payment, saying that he won't kill him on this occasion.
- Powerful and Helpless: For a brief moment, all of Zorg's wealth and power and influence counts for nothing when he chokes on a cherry and there's nobody to save him but his enemy.
- Rummage Sale Reject: From the plastic thing that covers half his head to his colorful clothes, Zorg's just not hard to notice.
- Sissy Villain: For a man who commands fear he really isn't much of a physical threat to anyone.
- The Sociopath: He's willing to let the Earth and all the people who inhabit here to be destroyed by a supernatural malignant force simply for profit and power. Even his men are not safe from him.
- Southern-Fried Genius: A villainous variation.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the novelization, he survives the hotel exploding by creating a forcefield around himself. He lands on an iceberg on an uncharted part of the planet, then his phone battery dies as he's calling for help.
- The Unfettered: In order to fulfill his greedy scheme he has no qualms in making a deal with The Ultimate Evil in order to destroy all life on Earth in exchange for a high price or disposing of his men when they're not more useful to him or they fail him.
- Unflinching Walk: Though he actually stops just prior to the explosion, Zorg qualifies when he tricks the Mangalores into blowing themselves up. He doesn't even flinch at the big boom in the tunnels, while his assistant freaks out.
- Villain Ball: He helps bring on the end of the universe, intending for his Mega-Corp to make money cleaning up the damage despite the fact that he and anyone who could pay him would be destroyed with it.
- A Villain Named "Z__rg": Made more unusual by his more conventional first and middle name.
- Villainous Breakdown: Zorg has one surprisingly early when the Mangalores fail to deliver the stones. He then has an even bigger one when he himself fails, though this is justified as he knows what will happen if he fails Mr. Shadow.
The priest who studied the prophecy of The Fifth Element.
- Badass Preacher: Barely fights, but has shades of this.
- Legacy Character: The priest seen at the beginning of the movie promises those taking away the stones that he would pass down the information so Earth would be ready for their return. Presumably, Vito is of that line of priests and apprentices.
- Nervous Wreck: Not as bad as David, but he is extremely twitchy when he tries to hold Korben at gunpoint and demand his tickets.
- The Smart Guy: He's the resident expert on the Shadow, the Stones, and the Fifth Element. That said, there are things he doesn't know (particularly in regards to more current events) which Leeloo needs to reveal.
The popular, highly flamboyant D.J. who's hosting the Fhloston Paradise competition.
- Adaptation Name Change: His first name is "Loc" in the novelization, based on an early script.
- Alliterative Name: RR.
- Ambiguously Bi: He's clearly, if not exclusively, interested in women, but is otherwise about as campy, shrill, and effeminate as a movie character can possibly be. He Screams Like a Little Girl, he dresses like a Star Trek-themed drag queen, and oh yeah, his hair is shaped like a penis.
- Camp Straight: He has the mannerisms and appearance of a stereotypical Camp Gay. He's also definitely into women, being shown having sex with a stewardess on the flight to Fhloston. Though he also describes Korben in very flattering sexual terms on his radio show, he's probably playing up to his (apparently mostly female) audience.
- Catchphrase: "Are we green?" and "BZZZZZZZZ!" (while flapping his hands at someone he wants to go away - lit. "Buzz Off").
- Incoming Ham: From his very introduction.Ruby: KORBEEEEEEEEN DALLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!
- Large Ham: Both as a radio host and in person.
- The Load: When assisting Korben he does little more than flail and scream.
- Motor Mouth: Every single line of dialogue.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's meant to be a futuristic parody of the musician Prince. The real person was originally considered to play the character.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Usually when explosions are going off. At one point he accidentally shoots a Mangalore and scares himself.
- Uncle Tomfoolery: A black comic relief character, who is goofy, loud, annoying, fearful...
- Bad Liar: Granted, we don't see much of future airport security, but frankly, it's a miracle he was able to get as far as the departure gate.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: After Korben boards the flight, David swipes Cornelius' whiskey at the spaceport bar and asks for another.
- Nervous Wreck: To an even bigger extent than Cornelius. It's something of a Running Gag that every.single.scene where he appears has him getting suddenly startled by someone, or something. His default setting seems to be trembling constantly, looking sideways at all times, and flinching uncontrollably when touched or called.
The Opera singer and keeper of the stones.
- Alien Blood: It's blue.
- At the Opera Tonight: A literal Space Opera singer.
- Character Death: She gets fatally shot by the Mangalores in search of the stones.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Well, "blue" in this case.
- Future Music: Her solo mixes classical opera with techno.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The novelization says she is a genetically-engineered hybrid of humanity and every alien species in the galaxy except the mangalores.
- Horned Humanoid: According to the novelization, the top part of her head is a horn.
- I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Hands over the stones to Korben after she is shot.
- Treasure Chest Cavity: Stores the stones inside her own body; the fancy box in her room is just a decoy.
President of the Federated Territories.
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: He's the leader of Earth and its territory.
- Deadpan Snarker: While hearing Korben's mission going south live on the radio, he asks Munro "is that your idea of a 'discreet operation'?" Also, this gem:
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Cornelius is able to slowly convince him that the Great Evil is beyond the military's capabilities, to the point where he has doubts just before General Staedert fires on the Dark Planet. Afterwards, he listens intently to Cornelius.
- Red Right Hand: He's visibly blind in one eye.
Korben's former commanding officer, who enlists him to save the world.
- Armchair Military: He spends the film at the President's command center while Staedart and Tudor fire on and blockade the Dark Planet respectively.
- Made of Iron: Leeloo breaks his nose and he is frozen in Korben's refrigerator, yet is no worse for wear.
- Old Retainer: Inverted. He recruits Korben because he is literally the best man for the job.
A Federation general who is the first on the scene when the Dark Planet forms.
- Character Death: He dies when the Evil attacks his ship.
- General Ripper: "My philosophy, Mr. President, is to shoot first and ask questions after. I don't like uninvited guests."
- Oh, Crap!: When the Dark Planet absorbs his attack, and learns there's no bigger missile on board.
- Sacrificial Lamb: The first victim of the Evil.
Chief scientist at the Manhattan Nucleological Center.
A Thai restauranteur that Korben orders lunch from.
- Cool Boat: His flying restaurant resembles a Chinese junk.
- Large Ham: "You are FIRED!"
- The Pollyanna: He's quite cheerful and assures Korben that, after his string of bad luck, he must now have good news. He's wrong, but at least Korben won lunch.
- Tempting Fate: He bets Korben's lunch that his mail brought good news. Upon opening it, he finds it's actually a pink slip.
The leader of the Mangalores, a mercenary race hired by Zorg to find the sacred stones.
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: His human guise is bald and dark-skinned, and he is the Mangalore leader.
- Boom, Headshot!: Shot by Korben after demanding that someone enter to negotiate.
- Keystone Army: According to Korben, Mangalores give up without a leader. Aknot's death leads the group to surrender.
- Made of Iron: He was caught in the very same explosion that presumably killed quite a few of his fellow Mangalores, but escaped alive if injured. Even then, he's not so hurt that he can't take part in the battle on the cruise ship.
- Old Soldier: He's considerably older and more scarred than the other Mangalores.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Mangalores were recently in a conflict with the Federation and were effectively scattered into the wind. They're working for Zorg in exchange for weapons to continue their fight. Zorg can barely hide his disgust.
- You Are in Command Now: He assigns his second-in-command, Akanit, to infiltrate the cruise ship. When they fail to take Korben's identity, Aknot reassumes command to seize the ship by force.
"Evil" or, as it refers to itself, "Mr. Shadow", is a sapient moon-sized star-like entity, bent on the destruction of all life everywhere.
- Anti Matter: The novelization says he's made from it.
- Big Bad: The main antagonist of the film that has bribed Zorg in assisting it with the destruction of Earth. Although it hinges on being a Greater-Scope Villain with how little screen time it receives, Shadow is very much the mastermind of the threat to all life.
- Black Speech: Just it's voice is enough to make Zorg sweat black fluid from his pores.
- Character Death: Leeloo uses her powers to kill it and render it as a moon.
- Eldritch Abomination: A sentient planet-like entity bent on the destruction of all life.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Oh yes, especially when it's the evil.
- Faux Affably Evil: Politely asks Zorg if he is disturbing him.
- It Can Think: The government and military originally assume it's just some strange planet-like mass that just up and appeared, even when Father Cornelius warns the President. However, as the military ship prepares to fire missiles at it, the entire surface suddenly solidifies as if in preparation to tank the attack, which several scientists note would imply some form of intelligence. And that's before it grows bigger and moves to destroy the ship after being shot.
- Knight of Cerebus: Even Zorg gets in on some of the comedy but when the Evil is onscreen, the comedy grinds to a stop. Even its jokingly asking Zorg if it's disturbing him comes across as more of an intimidation than a joke and Shadow being around means the film is dealing with the world-threatening consequences of his very presence.
- The Man Behind the Man: While Zorg appears as a callous, greedy businessman and the Evil a separate threat, it's revealed part way through the film Zorg is seeking the stones to aid Shadow in the destruction of Earth in return for a massive payment. Even after Zorg is killed, the Evil moves forth on its plans alone and becomes the final threat by itself.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Shadow sees his purpose as being ending life and intends to destroy the planet Earth, killing off all of humanity to this end.
- Ultimate Evil