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Licence to Kill (1989)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure, Thriller  |  14 July 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 69,530 users  
Reviews: 306 user | 114 critic

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.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
President Hector Lopez (as Pedro Armendariz)


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


James Bond is out on his own and out for revenge. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

14 July 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

License to Kill  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)


$34,667,015 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vehicles featured included several Kenworth W900B tanker trucks; a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II; a Lincoln Continental Mark VII LSC, James Bond's hire car in Key West; Sanchez' silver metallic Maserati Biturbo; several Mopar Squads (Dodge Diplomat and St. Regis used by the Key West P.D. and the U.S. Marshals) a 4-seat high-wing single-engine Cessna 172 Skyhawk airplane, a Cessna 185 seaplane and a 2-seat tricycle Cessna 150 airplane; a Piper PA-18-150 "Super Cub" crop-duster float-plane and Piper J-3 "Cub" airplane; Aerospatiale 350B A-star and US Coast Guard Aerospatiale HH-65A Dauphin helicopters; a Harbour Pilot's boat; a black and yellow two-seater Shark Hunter submersible (mini wet submarine) as seen before in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); a Wavekrest remote-control Sentinel underwater exploratory submersible; Sharkey's fishing boat Pa Ja Ma; a Cigarette 1 Cafe Racer; the WaveKrest marine research vessel; and an electric golf-car at the Olimpatec Meditation Institute. See more »


When Bond is breaking into Krest's laboratory, a shark comes out under the steps, knocks a platform loose, and holds its position vertically with its head above water for several seconds. Not only is the shark obviously fake, this is atypical behavior for a shark, not to mention the fact that a shark lacks the muscle balance to hold its body in a vertical position with its head above water for any period of time. See more »


[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 »


Followed by Bond 25 See more »


Dirty Love
Performed by Tim Feehan
Produced by Tim Feehan and David White
Written by Steve Dubin and Jeffrey Pescetto (as Jeff Pescetto)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A different Bond, and a very good one!
20 December 2006 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

Goldfinger is the benchmark of great Bond films, and while this one doesn't come anywhere near that - you still can't really ask much more of a Bond film. Licence to Kill, the last of the eighties bond films, stands out because director John Glen seems keen to make it as little like the rest of the series as possible. Most Bond films feature the popular spy on a mission and answering to MI6 - but here he's acting out a personal vendetta, and we get to see a different side to Ian Flemings' character. The film opens with a rather over the top wedding sequence, in which James Bonds' friend and ally Felix Leighter gets married to a pretty blonde woman. However, just before this we watched Bond and Felix apprehend a drug dealer, and not taking to being caught very kindly - the dealer decides to use some of his cronies to maim Felix and kill his wife. Bond then decides to go after the drug dealer, much to the dismay of MI6 who promptly take away his licence to kill. This doesn't stop Bond, however, as along with a few allies - he sets out to get revenge on those responsible...

Many people say that Timothy Dalton was the worst of the Bonds, but I disagree. While he doesn't fit the role as well as Sean Connery, and isn't quite manly enough for my liking - his suave style goes brilliantly with the James Bond character, and he is perfect for exploring the darker side of the character in this film. The film has that eighties style that often seems tacky nowadays, but it's not laid on thick until the very end, and this doesn't hinder the film. The stunts are the best thing about Licence to Kill, as the director constantly succeeds at delivering memorable and exciting action scenes, the best of which is saved until the end. The fact that this film takes in the theme of 'the war on drugs' means it stands out from a lot of the rest of the series as world domination is never mentioned. Robert Davi gets to play the Bond villain, and for me is one of the best of the entire series. He manages to be evil without ever looking comical, and that can't be easy in a series known for being completely overblown. Overall, Licence to Kill is undoubtedly one of my favourite Bond films, and it therefore comes highly recommended!

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