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To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  1 November 1985 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 16,668 users  
Reviews: 208 user | 81 critic

A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Richard Chance (as William L. Petersen)
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...
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...
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Thomas Bateman (as Robert Downey)
Michael Greene ...
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Jack Hoar ...
Valentin de Vargas ...
Judge Filo Cedillo (as Val DeVargas)
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Michael Chong ...
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Storyline

Two cops in Los Angeles try to track down the vicious criminal Eric Masters. Then, one of them is killed by Masters and the other one swears revenge no matter what the cost. After that, the hunt becomes an ob- session and the law he once swore to uphold becomes meaningless to him. Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The director of "The French Connection" is on the streets again! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

1 November 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

To Live and Die in L.A.  »

Box Office

Gross:

$967,312 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First cinema role of Gary Cole. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene between Masters and Vukovich in the warehouse, after all the rounds have been fired, Vukovich keeps pulling the trigger. You also hear the sound of the pistol's hammer striking, but the cylinder of the revolver is not rotating. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
John Vukovich: [to Ruth] You're working for me now.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Right at the end, after the credits, there is a shot of William Petersen's face See more »

Connections

Referenced in Video Violence (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Cold Day in Hell
Performed by Otis Rush
Courtesy of Delmark Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A Gritty, Anti-Buddy Police Thriller With A Welcome Mean Streak
10 October 2002 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Another critic discussing this film accurately mentioned "being shamefully ignored" as an injustice this 1985 William-Friedkin masterpiece suffered upon its release. And it was not only the critics who failed to notice its worth. For some reason, the public stayed away in droves as well, this as myself and my friend were practically organizing tours to the theater, introducing people to the film who, weened on "48 Hours", "Miami Vice" and yet to experience the Abbott & Costello hijinks of the "Lethal Weapon" series, had little concept of what a below-the-belt, impeccably crafted cop movie could be. Or would turn into.

Those who've seen Friedkin's earlier genre entry "The French Connection" shouldn't be caught off guard by his often ruthless tactics here, as he's back in the familiar territory of cops and criminals. Nor should those who survived his muscular "Sorcerer"--another unsung hero of an action piece--be unprepared for the director's inability to hide the more challenging (and dreadful) sides of male conflict. Even the disturbing "Cruising", where no attempts were made by the film to explain its ugly corkscrew of a story, all the while summoning an atmosphere thick with dread, still suspenseful, but full of plot holes conveniently filled with leather jackets and the scariest Village-People-on-PCP-soundtrack to date, is just another Friedkin descent into Hell. The details always more than part of a whole.

It may show the surface of a genre flick, but beneath the pulsing Wang Chung soundtrack and 80s-reflective duds (no Members Only jackets appear, luckily) there is as lean and mean and taut a suspense thriller as even Don Siegel could deliver in his prime. And with an outstanding, hyper-realistic cast of then unknowns--including Chicago theater alumni William Pederson, pre-"CSI" and with even more cock to his walk, swaggering through his pursuit of a damaged counterfeiter, Willem Dafoe--the screws tighten with each and every action sequence, climaxing the building mayhem with a cathartic, freeway massacre of automotive chaos on the same scale as a "Mad Max" movie.

The characters ar caustic, the betrayals extremely violent, the music pounding, the ending, in particular, is a departure from the Gerald Petievich novel, the author, himself, a retired U.S. Treasury agent writing an even bleaker resolution to the problem of two unstable detectives at odds with each other, losing their sanity, and finding no comfort in their escalating criminal misbehavior. "To Live And Die In LA" marks a significant and welcome departure within such an oversaturated genre, the buddy cop movie. It refuses to soften its blows or coddle its audience, showing instead dangerous, volatile situations being taken serious. Brutally serious.

Nonetheless, for all its nihilistic tone, captured in parched images of a city populated by thugs, thieves, and sociopathic criminals, "To Live And Die In LA" is like a breath of fresh smog.


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