After capturing a drug lord, Felix Leiter is left for dead and his wife is murdered. James Bond goes rogue and seeks vengeance on those responsible, as he infiltrates an organisation posing as a hitman.

Director:

John Glen
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2,219 ( 184)
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
Everett McGill ... Killifer
Wayne Newton ... Professor Joe Butcher
Benicio Del Toro ... Dario
Anthony Starke ... Truman-Lodge
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... President Hector Lopez (as Pedro Armendariz)
Desmond Llewelyn ... Q
David Hedison ... Felix Leiter
Priscilla Barnes ... Della Churchill
Robert Brown ... M
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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:

Timothy Dalton is back as Bond...With A Vengeance! 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael G. Wilson said that the script was inspired by Yojimbo (1961). See more »

Goofs

Bond jumps from the plane to the top of the speeding tanker truck. Sanchez fires a burst of machine gun fire at him from a moving car, more than 10 feet below. As Bond stands upright, the bullets ricochet at his feet as they miss him. The bullets would have to rise and fall in a 90 degree arc to accomplish this. 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.
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Crazy Credits

At the tail end of the credits: "James Bond Will Return" See more »

Alternate Versions

On pan and scan VHS prints issued since 1990, the opening title credits have been slightly altered to fit the screen. Some credits that took one line in the widescreen version were altered to fit two lines in the pan and scan version. See more »


Soundtracks

Star Prizes
(uncredited)
Music by Tony Kinsey
KPM Music
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User Reviews

 
Might not be the no.1 Bond movie, but Dalton is my favourite Bond
16 November 2015 | by gregoridanuSee all my reviews

The Bond film series has been with us since the early sixties and for a character to stand the test of time, there requires a certain reinvention and reinvigoration for it to maintain longevity. Opinions are subjective as we all know, so make of this what you will.

'Licence to Kill' is one of the top five best Bond movies of all time along with it's powerhouse theme song. Up until this particular picture, we were introduced to Sean Connery's unique suave, set against an array of exotic backdrops and a strong supporting cast. George Lazenby, although criticised for being boring, offered us some great action sequences in his short time as the British spy. A sophisticated edge that was overpowered by it's comical tone throughout his run, Roger Moore took the reins during the 70's and early 80's. Then in 1987, Welsh actor Timothy Dalton donned the role of 007.

With 'The Living Daylights' establishing Dalton as James Bond, we were given fair warning on the tonal shift. Given this was the 80's, where a number of films were heavily inclusive of hard 'R' violence - 'Licence to Kill' adapted and not only brought us a visceral Bond film, but as many film historians have cited, one of the, if not the closest portrayals of Ian's Flemming's character.

For those giving current Bond actor, Daniel Craig the credit (or hate in some cases) for a cold and stoic interpretation of the character, I suggest you watch the Timothy Dalton Bond films, because this is where it started.

In 'Licence to Kill', Bond is essentially a one many army taking on a South American cocaine czar. This is a James Bond that up until this point was never seen like this on screen before. His best friends are maimed, he's stripped of his rank, his government and as it relates to the title - his licence to kill is revoked. He is left with almost nothing aside from his skills and weapons expert, Q.

Dalton plays Bond as a wounded wolf with a sensitivity and vulnerability visible in his eyes and the way he emotes. As opposed to his predecessors, Dalton plays the character with an introspective approach, where you can feel the torment and tension bubbling inside. Even when he smiles, there is pain, reminding us of what he has endured as a human being.

Bond's antagonist is played by Robert Davi - another underrated performer known mostly for his roles as a villain. He plays a drug king with a code, where loyalty seems to matter more than the money. We are immediately set with these two huge characters on a road to collision; the dark angel's raid on the reaper that claimed the lives and elements that held Bond together.

The whole film is non-stop and that also reflects the carnage and violence. The climactic chase is one of the best with the inclusion of trucks, jeeps and a plane against a beautiful Mexican mountain view.

As a huge proponent for Timothy Dalton's Bond, I advise any fans of the series to watch or re- watch his incarnations. Hopefully an appreciation will come about for how truly great and underrated he was.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

MGM [United States]

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 USA:

$8,774,776, 16 July 1989

Gross USA:

$34,667,015

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$156,167,015
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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