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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)
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 (Willem Dafoe). 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:

A federal agent is dead. A killer is loose. And the City of Angels is about to explode. 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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Friedkin, in his memoir "The Friedkin Connection," says that the fake money they made was so good that, after some of it left the set, he eventually heard from the Secret Service and a US Attorney. After he avoided a confrontation with them, Friedkin states, "When the film came out, there were news stories about people trying to make counterfeit money after seeing the step-by-step process in our film. I took some of the twenties, those printed on both sides of course, put them in my wallet, and spent them, in restaurants, shoe-shine parlors, and elsewhere. The money was that good." See more »

Goofs

When Masters is carving the plates to make the counterfeit $20 bills, the plates are not reversed. The plates he made would print mirror image bills. See more »

Quotes

Eric 'Rick' Masters: You have my word you won't have to do the whole nickel.
Carl Cody: What does that mean?
Eric 'Rick' Masters: Grimes is the best lawyer in the state. It'll either be an appeal bond or a sentence reduction.
Carl Cody: And the check is in the mail, and I love you, and I promise not to come in your mouth...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

Red Rose
Performed by The Blasters
Courtesy of Slash Records / Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
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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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