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Licence to Kill (1989)

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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:

John Glen
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1,738 ( 1,023)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Dalton ... James Bond
Carey Lowell ... Pam Bouvier
Robert Davi ... Franz Sanchez
Talisa Soto ... Lupe Lamora
Anthony Zerbe ... Milton Krest
Frank McRae ... Sharkey
David Hedison ... Felix Leiter
Wayne Newton ... Professor Joe Butcher
Benicio Del Toro ... Dario
Anthony Starke ... Truman-Lodge
Everett McGill ... Ed Killifer
Desmond Llewelyn ... Q
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... President Hector Lopez (as Pedro Armendariz)
Robert Brown ... M
Priscilla Barnes ... Della Churchill Leiter
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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:

Out for revenge. Glimpse behind the cool facade of 007. And see how sweet revenge can really be. [USA poster] See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

UK | Mexico | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

14 July 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

License to Kill See more »

Filming Locations:

Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£287,578 (United Kingdom), 22 June 1989, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,774,776, 16 July 1989, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$34,667,015

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$156,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sea-Air Service, a sea plane company located in Louisiana, leased their sea plane for the scene where Bond takes over the plane full of cash. When the plane was returned to Louisiana, an employee from the sea plane company still found loose movie cash in the back when cleaning the cabin upon return from filming. See more »

Goofs

In one scene, the federal agents are talking to Bond in front of the Key West Sponge Market. They start walking, and in the next scene they are in front of Hemingway House. The two locations are actually about a mile apart. 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

The Surgeon General's warning appears at the end credits, due to the characters' use of tobacco products. See more »

Alternate Versions

To receive a 15 certificate, the original UK cinema release was cut by the BBFC with edits to the opening whipping of Lupe, the shark attack on Leiter, a brief shot of Krest's exploding head, blood spurts from the shooting of Loti, Dario's bloody death in the grinder, Sanchez on fire, and sound effect levels of blows in certain scenes. This same print was released on VHS. For the 2000 Special Edition DVD, some cuts were waived, with the PG-13 version being passed 15 without further cuts (despite the film playing fully uncut on ITV). The BBFC waived all the cuts for the Ultimate Edition DVD release, which restored the cuts made for the PG-13 in the US and all of the original BBFC cuts. See more »

Connections

Featured in The James Bond Story (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

James Bond Theme
Music by Monty Norman
Arrangement by John Barry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Hard-edged Bond film. Not a great commercial success, but it has interesting points.
10 October 2003 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Timothy Dalton only played Bond twice, but he tried to base his interpretation of the character on the descriptions provided by Ian Fleming in the original novels. Therefore, his Bond is quite ruthless and embittered, and always ready to stick two fingers up at the establishment if he feels they've got it wrong.

Bond is vacationing in Florida, acting as best-man at his friend Felix Leiter's wedding, when the unthinkable happens. Leiter and his wife are assaulted by some Central American thugs; the wife is murdered and Leiter is crippled by sharks. Bond is obviously deeply unhappy about this, but his bosses instruct him to let the matter drop and get on with another assignment. 007 knows who is responsible for the injuries to his friend, so he revokes his licence to kill and becomes a rogue agent, tracking down the villainous drug lord Sanchez (Robert Davi) to his Latin America headquarters. Here, aided by Sanchez's unfaithful mistress Lupe (Talisa Soto) and CIA agent Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), Bond attempts to wipe out their enormous clandestine drug operation single-handedly.

There's definitely an uneasy, hard edge to the film which makes it unique among the Bond series. Whether or not this improves the film depends on your personal taste: if you like safe, humorous Roger Moore escapades, you'll probably find this too jarring, whereas if you prefer espionage stories with a bit of grit and sweat, this may be just what you're after. The action sequences are still outrageous in the tried-and-trusted Bond style, with memorable episodes featuring a daring helicopter .vs. airplane pursuit; a barefoot water-skiing sequence; and a truck chase down the side of a mountain. Some of the language, though not out-and-out "foul", is a bit stronger and more believable than in other Bond entries. The theme tune from Gladys Knight and the Pips is one of the better 007-tracks.

Licence to Kill is a new twist on the Bond theme. It isn't the best, and some of its new ideas don't fit with the usual routine (which may or may not be a good thing), but it is certainly interesting.


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