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To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

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

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Cast

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

Working largely in cases of counterfeiting, LA based Secret Service agent Richie Chance exhibits reckless behavior which according to his longtime and now former partner Jimmy Hart will probably land him in the morgue before he's ready to retire. That need for the thrill manifests itself in his personal life by his love of base jumping. Professionally, it is demonstrated by the fact that he is sextorting a parolee named Ruth Lanier, who feeds him information in return for he not sending her back to prison for some trumped up parole violation. With his new partner John Vukovich, Chance is more determined than ever based on recent circumstances to nab known longtime counterfeiter Ric Masters, who is more than willing to use violence against and kill anyone who crosses him. Masters is well aware that the Secret Service is after him. Masters' operation is somewhat outwardly in disarray, with Chance being able to nab his mule, Carl Cody, in the course of moving some of the fake money, and ... Written by Huggo

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:

Vivir y morir en Los Ángeles  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$967,312 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Friedkin kept only 20% of the elements of the original book for the screenplay adaptation. See more »

Goofs

According to the title cards, the film begins in mid December and ends in late January. However, there is no mention whatsoever of Christmas or New Year's Day, and none of the sets has decorations of any kind for either holiday. See more »

Quotes

Ruth Lanier: I was reading about the stars. Talked about how the stars are the eyes of god. I think it's true, don't you?
Richard Chance: No, I don't.
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 Fletch (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Independent Intavensman
Performed by Linton Kwesi Johnson
Courtesy of Island Records
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User Reviews

 
To Live and Die in L.A. 20 years later, still fresh and authentic.
28 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw To Live and Die in L.A. during its original theatrical release in the summer of 1985. I thought then it had the potential to eventually become regarded as one of the best cop films ever. Recently I watched it again on DVD. It absolutely holds up in every respect to its original verity and impact, and it undeniably should be regarded as one of the top ten movies of its genre, and in my opinion, one of the top two or three. What is so remarkable about William Friedkin's film is the uniformly excellent level of the performances of his cast. There is not a single portrayal on screen that is not, from first scene to last, dead on target. William Petersen as Richard Chance, an ambitious adrenaline-charged treasury agent who becomes totally obsessed with avenging his partner's murder and Willem Dafoe as Rick Masters, a fabulously wealthy yet sleazy and violent counterfeiter form the nucleus around which the film unfolds. Both actors are superb in their roles, but no less impressive is John Pankow as the new partner who approaches emotional meltdown as he gets drawn deeper and deeper into a web of illegality and violence stemming from Chance's single-minded pursuit of Masters. Also Dean Stockwell as a cynical mob lawyer in his glass tower office and John Turturro as a lowlife ex-con, each in their own way a lackey to Masters, deliver taut finely-etched portrayals that linger in the mind with their subtle impact, all the more remarkable for the relatively brief time they appear on screen. And the same can be said about Debra Feuer and Steve James in even briefer roles, Feuer as Masters' longtime girlfriend and James as a ghetto crime lord totally dependent on a constant supply of counterfeit twenty dollar bills from Masters. The richly detailed location shots within which the film's action flows, from Masters' BelAir mansion to the barrios of East Los Angeles, from Hollywood Boulevard performance art theaters to federal prison exercise yards is unflinchingly authentic, but never intrusive. And as a bonus to all this is a car chase that at least equals if not surpasses the one Friedkin directed in 1971's Best Picture Oscar winner, The French Connection.


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