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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 »
Reviews
Popularity
4,376 ( 474)

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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:

To Live and Die in L.A. 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

For the Castilian Spanish language dub version, Willem Dafoe's voice was dubbed by Ernesto Aura. See more »

Goofs

As Cody walks to the window to have his visit with Masters, his bottle of Pepto-Bismol is already sitting at the window. See more »

Quotes

Ruth Lanier: How much do I get for the information I gave you on Waxman?
Richard Chance: No arrest, no money.
Ruth Lanier: It's my fault he's dead? It took me six months to get next to him. I got expenses, you know.
Richard Chance: Guess what? Uncle Sam don't give a shit about your expenses. You want bread, fuck a baker.
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

Features Of Human Bondage (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

Dance Hall Days
Written by Darren Costin (uncredited), Nick Feldman (uncredited) and Jack Hues (uncredited)
Performed by Wang Chung
Produced by Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum (as Ross Collum)
Courtesy of Geffen Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Raw, brilliant crime thriller
21 January 2004 | by fertilecelluloidSee all my reviews

When Friedkin went "back on the streets" in 1985 to make TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., he made a classic that will endure and that perfectly captures its 80's milieu.

I don't understand these idiots who complain how a film is "dated" by its music. Of course a film is "dated" by its specific elements, but so what. This superb film, which has an amazingly kinetic Wang Cheung score, is about a time (the mid-eighties) and place (L.A.) that is now history, and it is a punishing document.

The film works on many levels. Yes, it is about counterfeiting and superficial (re: counterfeit) relationships. It is about greed, survival, justice and morality. It is also about human beings using and laying to waste other human beings.

These powerful ingredients weave their way through a police procedural/action thriller plot that never stops to catch its breath and is pure cinema.

Willem Dafoe is totally engrossing as the film's villain, while William Peterson delivers a highly focused, tough turn. Dean Stockwell is also a stand-out as a crook lawyer and real cop Jack Hoar is quietly spectacular as Dafoe's mule.

And the film boasts one unbelievable car chase that has not been equaled since.

But LIVE AND DIE is also a film that expertly marries the visual to the aural and depicts a part of Southern California that has not been so credibly depicted before.

Dynamite!


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