7.3/10
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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.

Director:

William Friedkin

Writers:

Gerald Petievich (novel), William Friedkin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Petersen ... Richard Chance (as William L. Petersen)
Willem Dafoe ... Eric Masters
John Pankow ... John Vukovich
Debra Feuer ... Bianca Torres
John Turturro ... Carl Cody
Darlanne Fluegel ... Ruth Lanier (as Darlanne Fleugel)
Dean Stockwell ... Bob Grimes
Steve James ... Jeff Rice
Robert Downey Sr. ... Thomas Bateman (as Robert Downey)
Michael Greene ... Jim Hart
Christopher Allport ... Max Waxman
Jack Hoar Jack Hoar ... Jack
Valentin de Vargas ... Judge Filo Cedillo (as Val DeVargas)
Dwier Brown ... Doctor
Michael Chong ... Thomas Ling
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Storyline

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

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic | Spanish

Release Date:

1 November 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vivir y morir en Los Ángeles See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,551,761, 1 November 1985

Gross USA:

$17,307,019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Since the element of "fire" is playing an important role in the film, it's especially funny to point to the fact that Debra Feuer's last name "Feuer" is the German expression for "fire". See more »

Goofs

When Masters is visiting Cody in jail, they are talking on phones on either side of what is presumably a clear soundproof wall. Yet after hanging up the phones, Cody says "don't forget about me" to Masters, and Masters answers him as if he heard what he said through the wall. See more »

Quotes

Richard Chance: We're *on* with Masters tonight!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

German theatrical and VHS versions were cut by 25 seconds to secure a "Not under 16" rating. DVD release is uncut with the same rating. See more »

Connections

Referenced in L.A. Law: To Live and Diet in L.A. (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Lullaby
Performed by Wang Chung
Produced by Wang Chung
Courtesy of Geffen Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shamefully misunderstood by the critics
29 April 1999 | by SMK-4See all my reviews

One of the very best films of the 1980s this was shamefully neglected and misunderstood by the critics. The problem is: on the surface it's just like an ordinary action crime thriller (and thus won't appeal to the arthouse crowd), except that it makes it difficult to identify yourself with any of the characters. In other words: it violates its genre rules. But this very fact makes it so unpredictable and thrilling, and a proper movie as opposed to a mere genre clone.

The good guys are flawed. This isn't really new, since the mid 1960s there were plenty of flawed heroes in Westerns or police thrillers. The difference is that not only their characters are flawed, they are vulnerable, destructible, they make mistakes. And they pay for their mistakes. Similarly the villains: yes, they are formidable and glamorous, but they are not in the league of the Blofelds or Sentenzas of moviedom. They make mistakes too. And they pay too.

A surprising asset is the film music by Wang Chung, a one-hit-wonder pop obscurity of the era. Their sound perfectly melts with the cinematography, especially in the stylish opening sequence.


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