James Bond goes rogue and sets off to unleash vengeance on a drug lord who tortured his best friend, a C.I.A. agent, and left him for dead and murdered his bride after he helped capture him.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
2,937 ( 522)

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov.

Director: John Glen
Stars: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Jeroen Krabbé
Octopussy (1983)
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent's death lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.

Director: John Glen
Stars: Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An investigation of a horse-racing scam leads 007 to a mad industrialist who plans to create a worldwide microchip monopoly by destroying California's Silicon Valley.

Director: John Glen
Stars: Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

Director: John Glen
Stars: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads with the help of a KGB agent whose lover he killed.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curd Jürgens
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

007 is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour
Moonraker (1979)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

James Bond is led to believe that he is targeted by the world's most expensive assassin while he attempts to recover sensitive solar cell technology that is being sold to the highest bidder.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland
Certificate: GP Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an evil plot involving a rich business tycoon.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

James Bond heads to stop a media mogul's plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

James Bond uncovers a nuclear plot when he protects an oil heiress from her former kidnapper, an international terrorist who can't feel pain.

Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Q
...
President Hector Lopez (as Pedro Armendariz)
...
M
...
Edit

Storyline

James Bond is on possibly his most brutal mission yet. Bond's good friend, Felix Leiter, is left near death, by drug baron Franz Sanchez. Bond sets off on the hunt for Sanchez, but not everyone is happy. MI6 does not feel Sanchez is their problem and strips Bond of his license to kill making Bond more dangerous than ever. Bond gains the aid of one of Leiter's friends, known as Pam Bouvier and sneaks his way into the drug factories, which Sanchez owns. Will Bond be able to keep his identity secret, or will Sanchez see Bond's true intentions? Written by simon

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

James Bond 007 See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for action violence and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 July 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

License to Kill  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$34,667,015 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The project was originally entitled "Licence Revoked" and teaser artwork was produced with this title. Among the reasons for changing the title was to avoid confusion with the 1981 James Bond novel, "Licence Renewed," written by John Gardner (who ended up writing a novel based on this film as well). Licence Renewed means the exact opposite of Licence Revoked. Another reason for the change was that "license revoked" denotes losing one's driving privileges in the USA. Taglines for "Licenced Revoked" included "You're looking at the world's most wanted man" and "Dismissed. Disgraced. Dishonored. Deadly." In the movie, when M says to James Bond, "Your Licence to kill is revoked", both titles are referenced at the same time. After a minor controversy as to whether the British or American spelling ("licence" or "license") would be used in the title, the British spelling won out. See more »

Goofs

When the Sentinel is finished being loaded with cocaine from the plane, you can see that the CCTV periscope has already been smashed on the sub. This doesn't happen for another minute or so after Bond begins to cut through the bags. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
AWACS radar operator: We have a mid-course deviation. Target heading 036, 126 miles, bearing 062, Havana VOR.
Voice of DEA agent: He's landing at Cray Key. Advise Key West Drug Enforcement.
AWACS radar operator: Roger, sir. AWACS to Key West. Key West Drug Enforcement, please come in.
Voice of DEA agent: If they hurry, they just might be able to grab the bastard.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the tail end of the credits: "James Bond Will Return" See more »

Connections

Follows Diamonds Are Forever (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Wedding Party
Performed by Ivory
Produced by Jimmy Duncan and Phillip Brennan
Written by Jimmy Duncan and Phillip Brennan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A criminally underrated Bond picture
22 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Licence To Kill is one of the most underrated Bond movies since On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Slipping easily back into 007's shoes with style after his previous role as Bond, Timothy Dalton embodies the character. With a break away from the comic-book villains and fantastical locations, the filmmakers decide to focus instead on a very adult and contemporary story about drug smuggling and revenge. Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum's story is engaging and exciting, with a steadfast confidence in their leading man. This is a Bond movie that took risks -- it was the first 15-rated Bond film in the UK -- and surely deserves kudos for doing so. Make no mistake; this is not a family Bond picture. Its themes require a more mature perspective than its predecessors, and the violence is certainly stronger than anything that had come before. Unfortunately, these factors seem to be what critics of Licence To Kill call 'faults'. But why is change so bad, I ask? Casino Royale is getting major appreciation from critics for its grittiness and its darker edge. So why not Licence To Kill? After all, this is the movie that started the current trend, with Dalton's mature portrayal of Bond paving the way for Pierce Brosnan and, without doubt, Daniel Craig. It always amazes me that people do not give Dalton more respect for what he did with the character. This guy started the ball rolling. And boy did he give it a hard push.

The characters in Licence To Kill are one of it's major plus points. James Bond is the most human we have seen him in 20 years, as Dalton brings a real sense emotional depth to the character; a tortured man full of hurt and pain and vengeance, his determined and stony face almost cracking with the burning hatred that is barely contained inside of him. We also get a strong female lead with Carey Lowell, whose portrayal of Pam Bouvier is at once intelligent, sexy, and funny. On the flip side of the coin, we have a genuinely terrifying villain in the shape of Robert Davi, playing his role deadly straight with not a hint of camp. It's a rare scenario where you feel Bond has met someone of equal competence. The Sanchez character is a frightening presence, and an early role from Benicio Del Toro is just as effective; his chilling grin a fear-inducing sight.

Technically speaking, John Glen's direction is taught and assured, with the pace never really letting up for the 130+ minutes running time, save at the very end of the movie where the spectacular truck chase sequence perhaps drags just a little. The brilliant Michael Kamen also supplies us with an elegant, sensual and brooding score that is a vital player unto itself, complimenting the visuals excellently.

In spite of these pluses, there are some minor quibbles. As I said before, the truck finale is perhaps a bit long, even though the stunt work is amazing, but it does slow the pace a bit. Talisa Soto is indeed beautiful as Sanchez' girlfriend but, bless her, she isn't exactly the most talented actress on the planet. She plays her part well enough, but the role isn't exactly Oscar-worthy, and it's not helped by the fact that the script tends to relegate her to the sidelines. Everett McGill's cigar-chomping Killifer is rather too pantomime for me - he just doesn't stand up to the characters of Sanchez or Anthony Zerbe's Krest but he doesn't stick around long so doesn't get in the way too much.

With a striking leading man in Bond's shoes, Licence To Kill deserves a lot more credit than it gets. This is the film that broke the mould, opening the doors to a more adult, violent Bond world that continued briefly with some of the Brosnan films and certainly with Daniel Craig's portrayal of the character. In Timothy Dalton we have a brilliant actor in the starring role who brought us a more human and believable Bond, yet it is Daniel Craig who is currently getting the credit for these exact traits. Don't get me wrong, his characterisation is superb. But Dalton is the one who started it off, and it is a shame that he only made the two films.

John Glen says that from all of the Bond movies that he directed, Licence To Kill is the one he is most proud of. And rightly so. Not only do we get a more fleshed-out character in Bond than previous outings, we get a more believable and mature storyline, with great characters and competent direction. Definitely one of the most underrated Bond movies, this engaging film is a great piece of entertainment, and one that I hope will gather praise with time. See it.

4 stars.


95 of 120 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why Did People Not Accept the 'Angry Bond' in '89 ? mistermycroft
'He was married once...' starbond8
Surprised no one noticed... phultra
Was Felix high on painkillers... scarlet_symon
Poor Caroline Bliss genuis_of_the_year2002
Why did Bond attack the Secret Service agents? sanddragon939
Discuss Licence to Kill (1989) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page