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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.



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Chance (as William L. Petersen)
Ruth Lanier (as Darlanne Fleugel)
Thomas Bateman (as Robert Downey)
Jack Hoar ...
Judge Filo Cedillo (as Val DeVargas)


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 him 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, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

1 November 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vivir y morir en Los Ángeles  »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,551,761, 1 November 1985

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


One Hollywood legend holds that Michael Mann sued William Friedkin for plagiarism over 'To Live and Die in L.A.' He accused Friedkin of stealing the entire concept of Miami Vice (1984) and lost the lawsuit. However, William Friedkin himself has said, "Michael Mann and I have been good friends for 30 years.... nothing like this ever happened." See more »


The opening scene says December 20 at 1410 hours (2:10 p.m), which is about two hours before the shortest day of the year, yet the shadows and the sun's position makes it more like noon in the summertime. See more »


[Jim has been shot]
Jim Hart: Shitbag.
Eric 'Rick' Masters: Buddy, you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in TNA Wrestling: Bound for Glory (2006) See more »


Performed by Rank & File
Courtesy of Slash Records / Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

Strong film
19 December 2000 | by See all my reviews

This story is very 80's, and is heavily influenced by the TV show Miami Vice. The style, clothes, music, and characters reflect that time period exactly. The direction of this film gives a slick feel; where its action, style, and seedy underside all blend in well. The story could be very predictable, but with its plots twists, and the theme that follows the saying be careful when you go hunting for monster not to become one yourself gives it originality. It has some mind blowing stunts that create tension, and if you watch the film Ronin you see where they got the car chase idea from. In all this film gives a feeling of being involved in events that go too fast, too dangerous, and too twisted. Its shows what happens to the heart when the individual becomes obsessed with what he seeks. Watch this one and love it.

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