Licence to Kill
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FAQ Contents

A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Licence to Kill can be found here.

What Bond movie is this?

Licence to Kill is the 16th film in the EON Bond franchise and the second and last to feature Timothy Dalton as James Bond, 007.

All of the James Bond movies from 1962 until 1990, and again from 2006 onward, are based, in some part, upon novels or stories by British author Ian Fleming [1908-1964]. Although Licence to Kill is the first Bond film not to take its title or overall storyline from an original James Bond story, there are some elements of Fleming's works in the movie. The scenes with Felix Leiter (David Hedison) being fed to a shark, Bond's revenge against the man most directly responsible for maiming Felix, and Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) and his minions hiding smuggled drugs inside fish tanks were taken from the original novel of Live And Let Die (1954). In the book, however, Leiter loses his arm as well as parts of his leg, and in subsequent books, he has a prosthesis. Also, in the original novel, the villain (an Afro-Caribbean spymaster working for the Russians) is smuggling recovered pirate treasure instead of drugs. The character of Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe) and his yacht the Wavekrest was featured in "The Hildebrand Rarity", a short story in For Your Eyes Only (1960), a collection of five James Bond short stories. Krest's weapon of choice - a stingray tail used as a whip - was given to the film's villain, Sanchez. The remainder of the film is from an original screenplay crafted by American screenwriters Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum. The screenplay was subsequently novelized by John Gardner.

Who sings the title song?

The title song, Licence to Kill, is performed by American soul singer Gladys Knight. The song that plays during the closing credits is If You Asked Me To, performed by American R&B singer Patti LaBelle.

The movie starts with Bond, Felix Leiter, and Sharkey (Frank McRae) driving across Hwy 1 from the Florida mainland to the West Keys where Bond is going to be best man at Felix's wedding to Della Churchill (Priscilla Barnes). After Felix is severely wounded by drug runner Franz Sanchez, Bond vows to avenge him. His vendetta takes him to the Bahamas, first to Cay Sal Bank where he boards the Wavekrest looking for Sanchez, then to the Barrelhead Bar on the island of Bimini where he links up with Felix's informant Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell). From there, Bond and Pam travel to the fictitious Isthmus City (said to be patterned after Panama) where they wreck havoc on Sanchez's drug trade.

Earlier in the movie, during the wedding scenes, Felix asks Bond to hand him Della's framed photo. As Bond watches, Felix slips the disk behind it.

Bond and Sharkey visit every shipping firm in the Keys. At the firm run by Milton Krest, he notices the flowers from Felix' wedding boutonniere on the floor. It's certainly not enough evidence to implicate anyone but Bond knows it belonged to his friend. Additionally, one of the employees at the Ocean Exotica fails to recognize the Latin term for a great white shark.

At the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Bond married Tracy Di Vincenzo (Diana Rigg), but she was shot by Blofeld as they were stopped along the highway on their way to their honeymoon. (Many fans have noted that if Bond's Aston-Martin, supplied to him by Q, had included a bulletproof windscreen (windshield), Tracy would have been protected and lived.) As it stands, Bond feels tremendous guilt for Tracy's death. See the pre-title teaser of For Your Eyes Only for another reference to Tracy.

Sanchez increases the pressure inside the chamber to perhaps nine times normal air pressure. The human body can take that pressure - and has to when deep diving, which is why the Wavekrest has such a device onboard. However, under such circumstances, the body breathes in air which is strongly compressed (containing substantially more oxygen and nitrogen molecules than air under normal pressure). When Sanchez cuts the pipe with an axe, the sudden release of air pressure - the sudden drop from nine atmospheres to one - causes all the gasses that have been taken in the lungs and the blood to start expanding violently. This results in the body exploding from its own internal pressure.

What is the DEA?

Felix Leiter, who once worked for the CIA, now works for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a component of the US Department of Justice.

What does OMI stand for?

The Olympatec Meditation Institute (OMI), a cover for Sanchez's cocaine manufacturing plant.

How does the movie end?

James Bond (Timothy Dalton) and Pam Bovier (Carey Lowell) escape from the burning OMI and use Pam's plane to catch up with Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) and the four gas tankers transporting the cocaine. With Sanchez shooting at him, Bond drops from the plane onto one of the tankers and kicks the driver from the cab. Sanchez tells the driver ahead of Bond to keep Bond from passing, then tells Perez to meet him at "Passo El Diablo". They meet, and Sanchez gives Perez a launcher and one of the Stinger missiles, then keeps going. The driver of the truck keeps Bond at bay for awhile, and nearly gets Bond into an accident with a truck coming from the opposite direction. However, Bond manages to get beside the other truck and after a bit of contact, he runs the other truck off the road. Perez fires off one of his Stinger missiles, but Bond tips his truck to run on the left tires only, and the missile passes under him, blowing up the truck that he just ran off the road. With bullets flying everywhere, some of them hit the tires on Bond's truck, causing it to slide over the edge of a cliff. Bond takes cover from the gunfire from Perez and his men, and Pam comes to his aid by releasing a cloud of crop dust over them. Bond releases his tanker from the cab, and his tanker slides down the hill and rams into another tanker, causing a huge explosion. He then resumes the chase. Truman-Lodge (Anthony Starke) starts complaining about the money they are losing, so Sanchez decides to start cutting overhead and shoots Truman-Lodge. With Sanchez's henchmen hot on his heels and the two burning tankers ahead of him, Bond does a wheelie with his cab and makes it through the fire. The henchmen's pickup follows, its tires aflame. Bond drives his cab right up behind the tanker in which Sanchez is riding, places the cab in cruise, and climbs onto Sanchez's truck just as the pickup truck carrying Braun and Perez comes up behind him and start shooting. Bond releases the tanker's load of gasoline, which spills all over the road, and the pickup catches fire and goes over a cliff, narrowly missing Pam's plane. He closes the flow to keep the now lit gasoline from coming back to the tanker and blowing it up, then starts releasing gas again when they've traveled a safe distance from the fire. Sanchez loads up his other Stinger, fires it at Bond, but hits the tail fin on Pam's plane instead. The driver stops the truck, throwing Bond in between the tanker and the cab. Sanchez gets out to look for him, and Bond narrowly gets away as Sanchez swings a machete at him, While he misses Bond, he accidentally cuts the brake lines. He jumps to the back to stop the gasoline flow, and Bond and Sanchez battle it out on the tanker, now rolling out of control. The driver bails out of the truck and it runs off the road and rolls down a hillside, injuring both Bond and seemingly killing Sanchez, who lies bleeding and motionless under a stream of spilling gasoline. Bond crawls away from the truck, but Sanchez suddenly appears, still alive, soaked in gasoline, and stops him, holding the machete to Bond's face. Sanchez hauls Bond up against some rocks, and Bond slips the engraved cigarette lighter presented to him by Felix and Della on their wedding day out of his suit pocket and into his hand, unnoticed by Sanchez. As Sanchez is about to swing the machete, Bond asks, "Don't you want to know why?" Sanchez pauses mid-swing, and Bond and shows him the lighter, and the engraving. He flicks the lighter toward Sanchez, and the flame ignites Sanchez's gasoline-soaked clothes. Bond gets clear as the screaming and burning Sanchez stumbles into the wrecked truck, blowing both it and Sanchez up. Meanwhile, Pam has landed her plane and found Bond's abandoned cab, which had come to a rolling stop. She drives by and picks up Bond. Days later, Bond, Q (Desmond Llewelyn), and Pam are in attendance at a party being thrown by Lupe Lamora (Talisa Soto), Sanchez's ex-girlfriend. Bond is seen in a phone conversation with Felix Leiter (David Hedison), who tells him he's soon to be discharged from the hospital and informs Bond that M called, saying he may have a job for Bond (Hinting that M (Robert Brown) has forgiven him for the resignation and wants to return him to 00 status.) Bond hangs up and talks with Lupe. Lupe thanks Bond for what he's done. They kiss briefly, then Lupe pulls him in and kisses him more deeply. Pam, with Q, sees this, and runs off crying. Lupe tells Bond that he could stay with her, but Bond looks over a railing at Pam below, and tells Lupe that she and el presidente de Isthmus would make a perfect couple. He climbs over the rail and jumps into the swimming pool below, and pulls Pam in after him. Lupe and el presidente walk away together, and Q follows, shaking his head at Bond below. Bond kisses Pam, who says, "Why don't you wait until you're asked?" (Echoing what he said in their first encounter after the fight at the Barrelhead Bar) Bond replies with what she said, "Well why don't you ask me?" They kiss again as the credits roll.

To obtain a PG-13 rating some scenes of Licence to Kill had been altered. This version was later on published on VHS as well and you couldn't find an uncensored version of this movie. Even the first DVD editions were cut and for years, only some LaserDisc releases were completely uncensored. With the Ultimate Edition reissues on DVD the uncut version finally made its way to DVD as well. A detailed comparison between both versions can be found here.

Page last updated by dmcreif, 4 weeks ago
Top 5 Contributors: !!!deleted!!! (2721437), hankeegle, beauclerc, Mr_Blonde3, GurningChimpII


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