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Licence to Kill (1989) Poster

Trivia

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In an interview during filming in September 1988, Timothy Dalton denied media claims that his Bond was not allowed to have as much sex, due to the A.I.D.S. epidemic at the time. However, in a 2007 interview, he admitted that this was true.
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It is widely and incorrectly rumored that this was Timothy Dalton's last James Bond film due it being financially disappointing. In reality, Dalton was to star in a third James Bond film after this one, titled "Property of a Lady", written by Michael G. Wilson and Alfonse Ruggiero and set to start shooting in 1990, with pre-production work having begun in May of that year. However legal issues with MGM beginning that year created long delays which eventually led Dalton to announce his retirement from the role in 1994, a year after his initial contract expired, paving the way for Pierce Brosnan's casting in GoldenEye (1995). Had the film been made, it would have been set in Scotland, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and would have involved nanotechnology. While no director was ever officially attached, John Landis, Ted Kotcheff and John Byrum were all under consideration.
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Of all of the Bond films, this one has the largest role for Desmond Llewelyn as Q.
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Throughout the franchise, Q is constantly reprimanding Bond for damaging or losing his equipment. Here, as a touch of irony, after he uses his rake/radio, he blithely tosses it in the bushes and walks away. This was Desmond Llewelyn's idea.
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Desmond Llewelyn later noted that this was the first time that he'd made any real money out of the Bond films.
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The scene where Bond resigns from the MI6 was shot at Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West. That's why when M (Robert Brown) informs 007 that his licence to kill is revoked, he replies, "I guess this is a farewell to arms," a nod to one of Hemingway's most famous novels.
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Despite being one of the least commercially successful Bond movies in the United States, it was considered by director John Glen to be his best "007". This opinion is shared by some fans and critics, who praise the realism of this movie.
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At twenty-one-years-old, Benicio Del Toro is the youngest actor to play a villain in a James Bond film.
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According to the DVD commentary, Timothy Dalton was unavailable for Talisa Soto's screentest, so Robert Davi filled the role of Bond, and proved to be rather good in the part.
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Robert Davi was taken by several thugs, while on vacation in South America, to an actual drug lord. The man enjoyed his portrayal of a drug lord.
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Budget restraints were imposed, as the producers were still paying interest on the overspending of "Moonraker (1979)."
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Timothy Dalton stated in an interview about why his Bond was a much darker, grittier incarnation. It was because he wanted to go back to the Ian Fleming novels, and capture the essence and the spirit of the character Ian Fleming created.
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Last James Bond film for six years. In August 1990, after the box-office failure of this film in the United States, Director John Glen left EON Productions. Thirteen-time Bond Screenwriter Richard Maibaum died on January 4, 1991. Some called this a "bloodless coup". Legal wrangling over the ownership of the James Bond character, coupled by these departures, delayed the release of the next film. In the interim, Producer Albert R. Broccoli retired, and Timothy Dalton decided not to play the role a third time.
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When Truman-Lodge (Anthony Starke) says that the set-up cost them thirty-two million dollars, that is an inside joke, a reference to the film's thirty-two million dollar budget.
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According to Michael G. Wilson, that really was Timothy Dalton running from the exploding tanker, and not a stunt double.
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Bond's controversial betrayal of M was, in part, a way to sidestep the fact that the British have no jurisdiction over a Latin American drug cartel.
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According to Robert Davi, he wrote his line "Loyalty is more important to me than money."
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Long-time James Bond franchise Producer Albert R. Broccoli fell sick during the production of this movie. The thinness of the air in Mexico affected his lungs and breathing, and he left the location accompanied by wife Dana, and daughter Barbara. He was unable to return, and this was the last James Bond movie in which he was on the set.
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Making their final appearances with the James Bond franchise: Richard Maibaum (Writer), John Glen (Director), Maurice Binder (Title Design), Robert Brown as M, Caroline Bliss as Miss Moneypenny, and Timothy Dalton as James Bond.
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The Broccolis (Albert and his daughter Barbara) arranged for a medical team to fly down from Washington with the sole purpose of attending to the crew, a lot of whom were having trouble adjusting to the pollution and high altitude of Mexico City.
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The last film of the franchise produced and released during the Cold War. At that time, Soviet Communism was already being viewed as less of a threat, and any new possible foreign adversaries were not yet clearly recognized. Producers felt that a Central American Dictator and drug lord, would give the movie a topical story line.
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Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) is the first Bond Girl to ever drink one of Bond's signature vodka-martini cocktails.
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Bond makes a quip when introducing Q to Pam. "Pam, this is Q, my uncle. This is Pam, my cousin." In the real-life S.I.S., "cousins" is a term for the C.I.A.
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Pam Bouvier's alias as Ms. Kennedy is a reference to Jacqueline Kennedy, whose maiden name was Bouvier. Her weapon was a .25 caliber Beretta 950 automatic.
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Sanchez is from Isthmus City, a reference to the country of Panama, which lies on an isthmus, and the corrupt dictator Manuel Noriega, whom the C.I.A. were working very hard to oust at the time. He was eventually deposed by U.S. troops in the same year this film was released. Sanchez seems to be an on-screen representation of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, who was terrorizing his country with bomb attacks and selective killing of Presidential candidates at the time of the movie's release.
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During one of the takes of Bond and Leiter's parachute jump, a malfunction of the harness equipment caused David Hedison to fall on the pavement. The injury made him limp for the remainder of filming.
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The note Bond finds, says, "He disagreed with something that ate him", is from the novel Live and Let Die.
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Wayne Newton got the role of Professor Joe Butcher after sending a letter to the producers expressing interest in a cameo, because he always wanted to be in a Bond film.
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Last Bond movie directed by John Glen.
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Gladys Knight's title song is the longest of all the Bond songs. In the UK, it peaked at the number six position on the charts. As a Christian soul singer, Knight apparently objected to having to sing a song with the word "kill" in it, but eventually, she conceded. The song is apparently based on the "horn line" from the Goldfinger (1964) title song and consequently royalty payments were allegedly made to relevant personnel. The music video of this song was directed by Daniel Kleinman, who succeeded Maurice Binder as title designer on GoldenEye (1995).
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In AMC's Bond Girls Are Forever (2002), Carey Lowell said that she shut her eyes and flinched every time she fired the gun, and had to be trained to fire with her eyes open, because a C.I.A. operative would not flinch. However, she still winces a bit whenever she fires the handgun.
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While on the set of "Scarlett (1994)," Timothy Dalton officially announced his resignation from the role of James Bond on April 11, 1994.
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Due to the Writers' Guild of America strike in 1988, long-time James Bond Screenwriter Richard Maibaum was unable to continue working on the screenplay. A long time member of the Guild, Maibaum felt he could not betray his membership and ghost-write the script. Co-Writer Michael G. Wilson had to complete the screenplay on his own. This was to be the fifth and final pairing for the Maibaum-Wilson writing team, which had started with For Your Eyes Only (1981).
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This is the third James Bond movie to use story elements from Ian Fleming's James Bond novel "Live And Let Die" (1954), the others being "Live and Let Die (1973)" and "For Your Eyes Only (1981)."
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In 2018, Timothy Dalton admitted that after thinking of not doing a third Bond movie, he finally decided that he wanted to do a final one, until Albert R. Broccoli told him that after the five year gap it would not be possible to do just one. Dalton then quit, since he had no intention to play Bond "for the rest of his life".
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Timothy Dalton got homesick while filming in Mexico. He said that he really missed a good pint of bitter.
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Marked the last filmed appearance of Felix Leiter until "Casino Royale (2006)."David Hedison remains the only actor to play Felix Leiter opposite two different Bonds, Timothy Dalton in "Licence to Kill (1989)," and Sir Roger Moore in "Live and Let Die (1973)."
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The closing credits song "If You Asked Me To", sung by Patti LaBelle, was featured on the B-side of the main title song's 45 rpm single, and became an unexpected minor hit. The LaBelle song charted in a Rhythm and Blues Top Ten, and was later sung in a cover version by Céline Dion, where it became an even bigger hit.
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The film was originally to be set in China, but production difficulties became insurmountable. Screenwriters Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson wrote two treatments set around drugs in the Golden Triangle, with the villain being a drug warlord of the region. Ideas for the film included a motorcycle chase along the Great Wall of China, and a fight sequence in the recently discovered museum of ancient terracotta statues at Xian. When the Chinese government made several restrictive demands, such as veto rights over the script, the viability of the location fell through. Also, John Glen felt that The Last Emperor (1987) had removed some of the novelty from filming in China.
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First James Bond movie to include tobacco warnings in its closing credits. This was in the form of a United States Surgeon General warning. Smoking of tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars occurs in numerous Bond movies, and this is the only one of them to include a health warning. The film featured product placement of the Philip Morris Company's Lark cigarettes.
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This is the last film to date in which James Bond wears a Rolex, here identified by researchers as the "Leiter Wedding Rolex". It is a Submariner Date model, either number 16800 or 168000 or 16610 (virtually identical to the casual buyer). Two decades after the release of this film, the Rolex Submariner Date 16610 is still in production and virtually identical to the watch featured in this film - except that its case lugs no longer have holes. The only watch brand Ian Fleming ever specified by name for his James Bond character was "Rolex", although his literary 007 wore an Explorer 1016 model.
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While Carey Lowell wore a wig for the scenes set in the United States, a scene where Bouvier cuts her hair was added so Lowell's natural short hair could be used.
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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.
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Milton Krest's death used a prostethic head, which was created by John Richardson's team, based on a mold of Anthony Zerbe's face. The result was so gruesome, that it was shortened and toned down, to avoid censorship problems.
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Director John Glen said the production had a tough time pulling off the action, stunts and huge set-pieces, because the budgets of the Bond films had not changed since Octopussy (1983). This was mostly due to MGM's constant financial woes.
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First EON franchise James Bond film not to take its title from an Ian Fleming James Bond novel or short story, even though there were still some usable titles available such as "Property of a Lady", "Quantum of Solace", "007 In New York", "Risico", and "The Hildebrand Rarity". "Licence to Kill" is a phrase commonly used in the books. The story takes the loss of Felix Leiter's arm (here a leg) from the novel "Live and Let Die". "The Hildebrand Rarity" (a short story based on a never filmed television script) provided the scene where Sanchez beats his mistress with a whip made from the tail of a stingray. In the story, it was Milton Krest who beats his wife with a similar implement.
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This film marked the retirement of John Barry from composing scores and songs for the franchise. Michael Kamen took over composing duties on the film, as John Barry was undergoing throat surgery at the time. Creative differences with the band A-ha on The Living Daylights (1987) allegedly also contributed.
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Extras during the wedding scene include Doug Redenius, a postman from Chicago, Illinois, who owns one of the largest collections of Bond memorabilia, Sandi Sentell, a gym teacher from Atlanta, Georgia, who won an MTV/VH1 competition to appear in the film (in the film, a bystander is seen wearing a VH1 t-shirt with the late 1980s logo design), and Still Photographer Keith Hamshere, as the wedding photographer.
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While in production, various newspapers reported that this would be the most violent Bond film yet, and would trying to keep up with the mega violence of such recent, popular action fare as "Lethal Weapon (1987)" and "Die Hard (1988)." This was the first Bond film to score a PG-13 rating, due to its violent content.
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The first James Bond film to receive a PG-13 rating in the U.S.
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This is the only James Bond film not to mention the name of the song or its artist in the opening credits sequence.
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A good portion of Bond's plan to get close to Sanchez comes from the novel "Goldfinger", when Bond recounts to himself his exploits in breaking up a Central American drug ring.
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The "maggots" at Krest's lab in Key West were in reality white plastic fishing grubs.
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The Banco de Isthmus was filmed at Mexico's main post office, an old elaborate building of European styling. A real bank in Mexico, called "Bancomer", denied permission to shoot there, because it was felt that the image of the bank in the movie would be affected by the fictional money laundering story elements.
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In 1985, the Films Act was passed, removing the Eady Levy, resulting in foreign artists being taxed more heavily. The associated rising costs to Eon Productions meant no part of the movie was filmed in the UK, the first Bond film not to do so. Pinewood Studios, used in every previous Bond film, housed only the post-production and sound re-recording.
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The aquatic battle between Bond and the henchmen required two separate units, a surface one led by Arthur Wooster, which used Timothy Dalton, and an underwater one, which involved experienced divers.
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All the instrumental score tracks on the movie's soundtrack album are amalgams (or suites) of various sequences from the film, and none are singular, isolated cues of the film's original score.
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John Glen was reluctant to cast sixty-one-year-old David Hedison, since the role had a scene parachuting.
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Robert Davi had to learn to scuba dive, for the scene where he escapes from an armored car underwater on the Florida Keys.
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To emphasize the topical nature of the film, promotional material described Sanchez as a villain taken straight from the newspaper headlines and reports of the day.
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John Rhys-Davies was offered a cameo role as General Pushkin, but declined the offer, as he was filming Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
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To portray Sanchez, Robert Davi researched on the Colombian drug cartels, and how to do a Colombian accent, and since he was method acting, he would stay in character off-set. After Davi read "Casino Royale" for preparation, he decided to turn Sanchez into a "mirror image" of James Bond, based on Ian Fleming's descriptions of Le Chiffre.
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Eric Clapton and Vic Flick were asked to write and perform the title song, along with Michael Kamen. Apparently, they re-recorded and made a video of a new version of the James Bond theme, with the guitar riff played by Flick. However, the theme was rejected by the producers.
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Former Playboy Playmate Diane Hsu played Hong Kong Narcotics Agent Loti. She also appeared in the opening titles.
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First EON Productions James Bond movie to receive a "15" Rating by the British Board of Film Classification. The highest rating in all previous entries in the series had been a "PG" level rating.
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Final Bond film in which Richard Maibaum had a part in writing the screenplay. He died in 1991. This was also the final Bond film on which long-time Title Sequence Designer Maurice Binder worked. He also died in 1991.
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Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. played President Hector Lopez, named after Héctor López, Production Supervisor in Mexico. Armendariz's father, Pedro Armendáriz, Sr., played Kerim Bay in From Russia with Love (1963).
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Carey Lowell had described becoming a Bond girl as "huge shoes to fill", as she did not see herself as a "glamor girl", even coming to audition in jeans and a leather jacket.
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Re-united Robert Davi and Grand L. Bush, one year after they played F.B.I. Agents Big Johnson and Little Johnson, respectively, in Die Hard (1988). As well as for Composer Michael Kamen, who scored Die Hard (1988) and this movie.
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Bond poses as someone looking to buy a Great White Shark, presumably for an aquarium. In fact no aquarium has ever been able to keep a Great White. Marine biologists believe that because aquariums are unable to create a suitable artificial environment for great whites in captivity causes them to become depressed. They aren't at all happy with their new environment. A common behavior among great whites in captivity is to ram their heads into the walls of their tanks.
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The screenplay was not ready by the time casting had begun, with Carey Lowell being auditioned with lines from A View to a Kill (1985).
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The project was originally titled "Licence Revoked", and teaser artwork was produced with this title. Among the reasons for changing the title was to avoid confusion with the 1981 James Bond novel, "Licence Renewed", written by John Gardner (who ended up writing a novel based on this film as well). Licence Renewed means the opposite of Licence Revoked. Another reason for the change was that "license revoked" denotes losing one's driving privileges in the U.S. Taglines for "Licence Revoked" included "You're looking at the world's most wanted man" and "Dismissed. Disgraced. Dishonored. Deadly." In the movie, when M says to James Bond, "Your Licence to kill is revoked", both titles are referenced at the same time. After a minor controversy as to whether the British or American spelling ("licence" or "license") would be used in the title, the British spelling won out.
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Martini & Rossi ran a tie-in promotion, featuring a new martini drink, and when you purchased a "Shaken, not stirred" drink, it came in a martini glass with "007 License to Kill Shaken, not stirred", etched into the martini glass.
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In Italy, the title was "007 - Vendetta privata" ("007- Private revenge"), not following the translation, because the first Bond film (Dr. No (1962)) was titled "Agente 007 - Licenza di uccidere", meaning "Agent 007 - Licence to kill"). Sweden had the same problem: Dr. No (1962) had been titled "Agent 007 med rätt att döda" ("Agent 007 with a license to kill"), so "Tid för hämnd" ("Time for revenge") was used for this movie. Other countries used "Personal Revenge" (France); "The Cancelled Licence" (Japan); "With A Right To Kill" (Norway); "Permission to Kill" (Brazil). Finland, Croatia, Portugal, and Spain simply translated the actual title.
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David Hedison became the first actor to play the role of Felix Leiter for a second time, having previously played the part in Live and Let Die (1973). Jeffrey Wright made multiple appearances as Felix in the Daniel Craig James Bond movies.
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Carey Lowell reprised her role, as Pam Bouvier, in the video game, 007 Legends (2012).
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Many reviews and articles have compared the dark, violent tone to the action films of Producer Joel Silver. Several actors in the cast were frequently cast in Silver's films from the era, including Robert Davi, Grand L. Bush, Frank McRae, and Wayne Newton. Composer Michael Kamen also worked with Silver several times, spanning the Lethal Weapon and Die Hard franchises, Road House (1989), Hudson Hawk (1991), and The Last Boy Scout (1991).
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Pam's pistol of choice is a .25 caliber Beretta. This was James Bond's favored gun in the books, until "Doctor No", where it's replaced with the Walther PPK. In Dr. No (1962), his Beretta was criticized as a lady's gun.
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Carey Lowell and Talisa Soto refused to pose for Playboy.
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The first Bond movie to be rated PG-13.
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The MI6/Universal Exports building exterior, used in this film, Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill (1985), and The Living Daylights (1987), is the old War Offices near Westminster. It is close to other Bond filming locations, including the College of Arms (used in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)), Westminster tube station exit (used in Skyfall (2012)), and Westminster Bridge (used in The World Is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002), and Spectre (2015)).
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The barefoot waterskiing was done by David Reinhart, with some close-ups, using Timothy Dalton on a special rig.
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The second James Bond film in which he takes on a drug lord. The first was Live and Let Die (1973), in which Bond went up against crime kingpin Dr. Kananga, who smuggled drugs into the United States.
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The Royal World Charity Premiere of this movie was held on Tuesday, June 13, 1989, at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square, London, and was attended by Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the last Bond launch they attended together. The Gala Charity Premiere Benefit was held in aid of the charity, The Prince's Trust. The U.S. Premiere was held in New York City on Tuesday, July 11, 1989, at Lowes Astor Plaza theatre, near Times Square.
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Franz Sanchez's name is a nod to Frank Sinatra. Sinatra was not only a friend of Albert R. Broccoli and Robert Davi, but also a Bond fan, who wanted to play a villain in the franchise.
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Florida Governor Bob Martinez presented Albert R. Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, and head of marketing, Charles Juroe, each with the Great Seal of the State of Florida during a month's filming in Key West. The Governor also won a walk-on part in the film as a customs officer at the Key West airport.
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The plot is very similar to the novel "The Man with the Golden Gun". In the book, Bond infiltrates the villain's organization, and destroys it from within.
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The role of Lupe Lamora was initially offered to Maria Conchita Alonso.
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John Glen said he picked Michael Kamen as composer, because he felt that he could give "the closest thing to John Barry."
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Timothy Dalton is the only Bond to share the screen with Felix in both of his movies.
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Some sources said that this was the least commercially successful, or unsuccessful James Bond movie. This isn't true, as this movie made over one hundred seventy-five million dollars against a thirty-two million dollar production budget. They called it the least successful, as the profits made by this movie didn't reach the expectations of the producers, or the studio. The producers wanted this movie to earn at least two hundred ten million dollars, in order to become the highest grossing Bond movie at that time. The producers also expected that this movie should have earned at least sixty-five million dollars from the U.S. box-office market, due to the fact that most parts of this movie were filmed in the U.S., as all the Bond movies filmed in the U.S. made good profits in the U.S. box-office market, before the release of this movie. This didn't happen, due to other blockbusters in the U.S. box-office market, like Batman (1989), Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), The Abyss (1989), Ghostbusters II (1989), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) (along with previous Bond actor Sir Sean Connery, and other actors appeared in Bond movies), and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989). But still, this movie managed to make decent profits at the U.S. box-office, as the earnings of this movie was forty million dollars, making it successful, but the least one in the U.S. market. It made good profits in other North American countries, European, and Asian box-office markets. It made good profits from VHS sales in the U.S. and other countries. It also earned a PG-13 rating, and it was the most violent James Bond movie ever. Despite this, it was met with highly positive reviews from critics and audiences, and has developed a cult following among fans. Some sources also said that On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) was also the least commercially successful, or unsuccessful James Bond movie, but this isn't true either, as it also made good profits in its box-office run against its production budget of eight million dollars, and has also developed a cult following amongst Bond fans. Actually, the least commercially successful James Bond movie is The Man With The Golden Gun (1974). No James Bond movie has been commercially unsuccessful in its box-office run to date.
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Felix's bride Della's wedding dress was made of re-embroidered French lace adorned with seed pearls and opal sequins. Two versions of the dress had to be made, because the scene where Della is attacked, was filmed before the wedding sequence. Therefore, seventeen meters of the material had to be located, at one hundred fifty dollars a meter. The Leiter's bridal car was a white Lincoln limousine.
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First James Bond film movie to be released as a novelization since Moonraker (1979).
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Richard Maibaum suggested Robert Davi to play the part of Franz Sanchez, after seeing him in Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami (1988).
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According to the book "The Making of Licence to Kill" by Sally Hibbin (published 1989), Carey Lowell handled herself so well during her fight scenes that members of the stunt team gave her the nickname "Pambo".
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Gene Simmons of KISS was allegedly offered a role, but due to commitments to the band, he declined.
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Product placements, brand integrations, promotional tie-ins, and sponsorships for this movie include: Anheuser-Busch beers; Carlsberg beer; Philip Morris Company's Lark cigarettes; Kenworth trucks; Cutty Shark Scotch whiskey; Armorlite; Bollinger champagne; Rolex watches, particularly the Rolex Submariner 16800/168000 watch; Aerospatial helicopters; Stolichnaya vodka; Philips Electronics; and Domark's spin-off video games, 007: Licence to Kill (1989) and James Bond 007: The Duel (1993).
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Michael G. Wilson said that the script was inspired by Yojimbo (1961).
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According to John Glen, he had an argument with Timothy Dalton at the end of shooting. Glen wondered if this was why Dalton dropped out of Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992).
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This was Robert Brown's final film before his death on November 11, 2003, at the age of eighty-two.
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The casting of Carey Lowell raised a few eyebrows, as her most recent film had been the oddball comedy Me and Him (1988) about a talking penis, and Bond's distributor, MGM/UA, was unsure about the wisdom of casting someone who had appeared in such a film.
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Benicio Del Toro was the third actor or actress to win an Academy Award after appearing in a James Bond movie. Dame Judi Dench was the second, and Sir Sean Connery was the first. Del Toro is the fourth actor or actress to appear in a James Bond movie, who has won an Oscar, the first was Christopher Walken, who won one before he appeared in a Bond movie, a feat repeated by Halle Berry, Javier Bardem, Christoph Waltz, and Rami Malek. He is the first Bond henchman to win an Oscar, and the fourth Bond villain to do so.
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Milton Krest appeared in the short story "The Hildebrand Rarity". Also, it was he who hit his wife with a stingray tail as Sanchez does in the film.
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During the wedding celebrations, "Jamaica Jump Up" plays. It was also in Dr. No and, until Skyfall, was the only song from a Bond film to be #1 in the UK.
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The film was due to be shown on ITV on March 13, 1996, but it was cancelled as a result of the Dunblane school massacre.
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Vehicles featured include: several Kenworth W900B tanker trucks; a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II; a Lincoln Continental Mark VII LSC, James Bond's hire car in Key West; Sanchez's silver metallic Maserati Biturbo; several Mopar squad cars (Dodge Diplomat and St. Regis used by the Key West Police Department, and the U.S. Marshals) a four-seat high-wing single-engine Cessna 172 Skyhawk airplane, a Cessna 185 seaplane, and a two-seat tricycle Cessna 150 airplane; a Piper PA-18-150 "Super Cub" crop duster floatplane, and Piper J-3 "Cub" airplane; Aerospatiale 350B A-star and U.S. Coast Guard Aerospatiale HH-65A Dauphin helicopters; a Harbor Pilot's boat; a black and yellow two-seater Shark Hunter submersible (mini wet submarine, as seen in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)); a Wavekrest remote controlled Sentinel underwater exploratory submersible; Sharkey's fishing boat Pa Ja Ma; a Cigarette 1 Café Racer; the WaveKrest marine research vessel; and an electric golf cart at the Olimpatec Meditation Institute.
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Franz Sanchez is a combination of two villains from the novels - Le Chiffre from "Casino Royale" and Francisco Scaramanga from "The Man with the Golden Gun".
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The production office in Key West was located on 422 Fleming Street. Ian Fleming was the creator of James Bond.
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The mini sub seen in this film is an updated version of the one used in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), called the Shark Hunter II.
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For the climactic chase scene, three identical Kenworth trucks were modified to perform a specific stunt each. The crew dubbed them Pamela 1, 2 and 2, after Carey Lowell's character Pam Bouvier.
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According to Robert Davi, the tearaway dress that Carey Lowell wears in the casino scene was inspired by a similar dress that Talisa Soto wore during her audition.
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All the extras used in the Barrelhead Bar scene were hired locally in Mexico, except for the stripper (Jeannine Bisignano), who was flown in from Los Angeles.
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David Hedison claimed the reprise of his Felix Leiter role was a complete fluke. Prior to the film's casting, he had bumped into Albert R. Broccoli in a restaurant and though they did not speak in conversation about making another Bond together, Hedison got the call shortly after and always assumed their chance meeting put the idea into Broccoli's head of inviting him back.
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The movie was plagued with issues near the end of filming of the infamous tanker chase creating the following 'Licence to Kill Urban Legends' 1) Timothy Dalton apparently almost died performing a stunt on the movie during the chase and vowed to never do dangerous stunts again 2) A behind the scenes photo shows the instant when the tanker explodes, a flaming hand emerging from it. Despite reviewing the movie frame by frame the director and the editor have stated they cannot see this. Even more eerie is that the hand points to a location previously where bus full of nuns that went off the cliff and died causing the location to be eventually shut down permanently 3) A prop missile missed it's target and travelled 2 miles, hitting a crew member on a pole 4) Dead apparitions apparently appeared on set during the shooting of the film of security guards wandering and then disappearing 5) A truck for no reason started on its own and traveled 2 feet and then stopped
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Apart from a spin-off video game, 007: Licence to Kill (1989), the film's title lent its name to a card game in 1967. Produced by Golden Wonder, the packaging boasted the tagline: "An Exciting New James Bond Game". There are fifty-two playing cards, which include four "Licence to Kill" cards, forty-eight "Enemy Agent" cards, and twelve "Assignment Cards". The cover of the manual for the card game read: "O.H.M.S. - TOP SECRET - OO AGENTS ONLY".
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Dario's handgun, which he pointed at Bond at the fortress, was a Walther P5, which was used by Bond in Octopussy (1983) and Never Say Never Again (1983).
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Pam's "I haven't heard that one in a long time" quip about Bond mentioning their escape boat has run out of fuel is most likely a reference to Bond and Honey Rider's similar predicament at the end of Dr. No (1962).
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Taglines on early posters for the film, when it was known as "Licenced Revoked", include: "You're looking at the world's most wanted man" and "Dismissed. Disgraced. Dishonored. Deadly."
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Everett McGill later appeared on Twin Peaks (1990), in which a character is shot by a Walther PPK, which, it is pointed out, is James Bond's weapon.
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With the subsequent death of Screenwriter Richard Maibaum, and various lawsuits, it would be another six years before the next Bond film.
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The telephone number for Professor Joe Butcher's show is 555-LOVE.
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This film would have been the first of two movies with Timothy Dalton and Frank McRae had Dalton been kept on as Benedict in Last Action Hero (1993). However, the role went to Charles Dance.
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The exotic location used for Professor Joe Butcher's compound filmed at the Otomi site at Toluca was made to look even more impressive by the use of two foreground models. The most prominent model was the opening hatch that made it appear as if the ground was opening up for the helicopter to land in an hidden underground lair. in reality, the hatch was a model and the helicopter landed on the ground far behind it. The second model was used to create a tunnel for vehicles to access the same fictional underground section.
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The bank scene in the movie was filmed in a post office, an old elaborate building of European styling. Real casinos were illegal in Mexico at the time of filming.
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In some South American media, Lupe Lamora was incorrectly attributed to Rudy Rodriguez, a Venezuelan ex-beauty Queen, who was a very popular soap opera actress, and sex symbol at the time, and who has a close resemblance to Talisa Soto. So, for several years, it was usual to see Rodriguez introduced as a "bond Girl" in some show business programs, because she appeared as one of the hostesses at the pool in the Moroccan palace in The Living Daylights (1987).
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The name of the vessel that played Milton Krest's research vessel was the "J.W. Powell".
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Sanchez's first scene, in which he orders his men to cut out the heart of the man in bed with Lupe, and whipping Lupe, was written to establish his brutality.
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Talisa Soto, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and Grand L. Bush went on to appear in video game based films. Soto and Tagawa appeared in Mortal Kombat (1995), as Kitana and Shang Tsung, respectively, while Soto reprised her role as Kitana in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997). Grand L. Bush appeared in Street Fighter (1994) as Balrog.
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The United States Coast Guard helicopter seen in the film is an HH-65 rescue helicopter.
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Professor Joe Butcher (Wayne Newton) is heard to give his blessing, ("Bless your heart/hearts") five times: three times during his television broadcast, and twice, in person, to Miss Bouvier (Cary Lowell) - once in his inner sanctum, and again when she snatches back the cash from the fleeing ersatz holy man.
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After Carey Lowell was chosen to play Pam Bouvier, she watched many of the films in the franchise for inspiration.
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The film was given the "15" rating in the United Kingdom, due to the sequence in which Felix Leiter is tortured.
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According to Director Albert Pyun, Carey Lowell was cast after producers saw her performances in Dangerously Close (1986) and Down Twisted (1987).
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The outside of the Barrelhead Bar, supposedly set on Bahamian island Bimini , was filmed at the Honky Conch Cafe aka the Harbour Lights Bar in Key West. The owners kept the giant neon sign on it's front wall for years and for a short while even considered changing the name of the bar to reflect the sign. However, sometime between 2016 and 2019, after the place had become a Thai restaurant, it was finally taken down.
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"The Philip Morris deal on 'License to Kill' [1989] launched Bond-themed ad campaigns that opened the Japanese tobacco market to the company's world brands. When news broke of the payoff, US film distributor MGM/United Artists added a tobacco warning to the film's closing credits, quoting the US Surgeon General", according to the 'Smoke Free Movies' website.
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The only time to date that James Bond orders a Budweiser (with a lime, at the Barrelhead)
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Though David Hedison admitted this was a darker and more engaging Bond film, he had preferred the experience of making Live and Let Die (1973) to this as he had had more fun with the role.
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Bond introduces Agent Bouvier to Q as his "cousin," a reference to her involvement in MI6's American counterpart, CIA. In Casino Royale, CIA Agent Felix Leiter; in his first appearance since this film; introduces himself to Bond as "your cousin from Langely."
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The only James Bond film in the UK to get the "15" certificate. Due to the film's drug content and the aforementioned torture of Felix Leiter.
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In Robert Davi's earlier film, The Goonies (1985), Data (Jonathan Ke Quan) had "007" inscribed on his belt.
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Carey Lowell is the only Law and Order alumnus to appear in a Bond film.
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Live and Let Die (1973) was the first James Bond movie to feature the word "die", or a variation of it, in the movie's title. Later films in the official film franchise would be called Die Another Day (2002) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). The theme song for Quantum of Solace (2008), by Alicia Keys and Jack White, was called "Another Way To Die", and Licence to Kill (1989) referenced death, as did Ian Fleming's short story "From a View to a Kill" (1960). Many of the post-Fleming James Bond novels have had titles that have referenced fatality. These include "Win, Lose, or Die" (1989), "High Time to Kill" (1999), "The Facts of Death" (1998), "Trigger Mortis" (2015), "Nobody Lives for Ever" (1986), and "Never Dream of Dying" (2001). Moreover, "Double or Die" (2007) and "A Hard Man to Kill" (2009) are the names of a Young James Bond novel and short story, respectively.
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The flaming pickup truck that flies off the cliff (almost hitting Miss Bouvier's plane) is a 1988 Dodge D100. The full-sized 2-wheel drive short-bed truck correctly exhibits the characteristics of a vehicle made for export to Mexico or South America, as the front and rear bumpers are painted, not chromed. (This was a usual cost-cutting measure meant to lower the selling price, and rarely found on trucks made for American consumers, but sometimes seen on fleet orders, such as for military or park service.)
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Anthony Zerbe, Everett McGill, and Robert Davi have all worked with Clint Eastwood. Zerbe in True Crime (1999) as a Judge, McGill as a Marine in Heartbreak Ridge (1986), and Davi as a Mobster in City Heat (1984).
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The set for Paradise Hotel (US Reality Show) is the same location used for Sanchez's house.
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At the beginning of the film, a Coast Guard chopper is seen grabbing Sanchez' plane and carrying it, which is an obvious impossibility. The chopper is a HH-65 'Dolphin', which entered Coast Guard service in 1980 (the film was from 1989), a military variation of the French 'Dauphin' helicopter. When the chopper brings Sanchez' plane into the military base, a ship at dock is clearly identified as the 'Dauntless', which is a 210' 'Reliance' class cutter that was commissioned in 1968 and homeported in Miami. Since then, the 'Dauntless' was moved to Galveston in 1993, and then in 2018 she was moved to NAS (Naval Air Station) Pensacola. The 'Dauntless' is the first Coast Guard cutter to seize over $100 million in marijuana, and to date she has made over 85 drug busts.
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When the film was released on VHS in the UK in 1990. On the videotape, just before the film started. Chris Tarrant advertised a James Bond competition set up by Kentucky Fried Chicken, which the winner's prize was to become James Bond for a day, and runners-up won a James Bond t-shirt. In the competition, owners of the videotape were asked questions about the Bond films and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
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"$350,000 was paid to have Lark cigarettes appear in the James Bond movie 'Licence to Kill' [1989]" according to the MI6 James Bond website. The 24th August 2006 article was entitled by running with the following headline: "Lark paid $350,000 to feature their cigarettes in 'Licence To Kill' [1989]".
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Timothy Dalton shot a Lark Super Lights cigarettes James Bond style television commercial for broadcast only in Japan shortly after completing filming on 'Licence to Kill' (1989).
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According to 'Thea O'Connor in a 24th August 2006 article published in 'The Sydney Monring Herald'and entitled 'Teens get sucked in', "James Bond and the actors who play him have long been linked to tobacco promotion. Example?. 'License to Kill' (1989) carried a product placement deal worth more than $670,000 in today's dollars. For that film, the producers gave Bond (Timothy Dalton) a Lark cigarette pack rigged to trigger a remote bomb."
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Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa would later appear with sir Sean Connery in Rising Sun(1993) Cary Tagawa would later appear in The art of war (2000) with Wesley snipes who also was in Rising Sun(1993)
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According to the unauthorized fansite 'Timothy Dalton Info', "Timothy Dalton made an advert for the Ligget & Myers' Lark cigarettes shortly after 'Licence To Kill', where smoking featured heavily in the film. It was destined for the Japanese market only, where it was aired until the early 90s."
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David Hedison who was in The Naked Face(1985) starred Roger Moore who played James Bond 7 times
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Cameo 

Wayne Newton: The Las Vegas performer played a small part, in a credited performance as a televangelist called Professor Joe Butcher. His character was a dig at televangelists at the time (including Jim Bakker) who had been exposed during the mid 1980s as being involved in extra-marital affairs and/or general promiscuity. Being in a Bond movie fulfilled Wayne Newton's dream.
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Michael G. Wilson: Voice of a D.E.A. Agent.
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Director Trademark 

John Glen: [pigeon] When Bond lands on the balcony outside Sanchez's office at the casino, he's startled by a flock of pigeons flying in his face.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Based on the events of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and this film, James Bond and Felix Leiter now share the unfortunate bond of losing their wife on their wedding day.
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During the scene where James Bond is hanging by a hook over the cocaine grinder, Benicio Del Toro's character is cutting him loose. During filming, he accidentally cut Timothy Dalton's hand, and the scene had to be stopped so he could be stitched up.
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According to the documentary Inside 'Licence to Kill' (2000), several mishaps and strange occurrences took place while filming the final climatic tanker chase. The sequence was filmed on the dangerous La Rumorosa Road, which had been closed down at the time of filming, because of the fatal accidents occurring on the snake-like twists and turns. Among the mishaps, involved the dummy rocket Sanchez (Robert Davi) used to bring down Pam's (Carey Lowell) plane. The rocket travelled two and a half miles, striking and injuring a telephone worker. Upon investigation, it was determined that the stretch of road, on which they were filming, was where a van with five nuns crashed and were killed. Bizarre incidents continued. Timothy Dalton was nearly added to the list of tragedies while filming the scene after James Bond releases the tanker to blow up the tanker trucks at the bottom of the hill, and jumps into the semi. All vehicles were cleared from the area, but when Dalton came around the curve, a vehicle was in his path, and he narrowly missed driving over the edge. If he had, Dalton likely would have been seriously injured, and possibly killed, due to the height of the hill the truck was on. John Glen and others stated that human figures would be seen standing around the fleet of Kenworth semis being used for filming. When challenged by security guards, they would simply disappear. Two semis caught fire for no apparent reason, and one started up and drove by itself a short distance before coming to a stop. However, the biggest creepy surprise occurred while filming the final tanker explosion, in which Bond sets Sanchez on fire, and his flaming body ignites the tanker truck into a huge explosion. The scene went off without a hitch, with the still photographer shooting photos while the scene took place. Upon reviewing the photos, the still photographer found one that contained what looked like a flaming hand (which you can see by doing a simple web search) coming out of the flames. Four cameras were set up to record the final explosion, but after reviewing the footage, the only glimpse of the hand was found on the still photograph. According to John Glen, a copy was made for him, but his wife refused to allow it in the house.
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In the final chase sequence, just after 007 lands on the tanker, Sanchez fired at Bond hitting the truck's fuel tanks. The sound of the bullets ricocheting off the tanks plays the start of the James Bond theme.
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The previous Special Edition DVD restored some of the original 1989 BBFC and MPAA cuts, but some footage was still missing. This included: A shot of Felix's severed leg in the water. Loti being shot in each breast. Krest's head exploding against the glass. Dario's legs being diced as he falls into the mincer. Sanchez's burning. All of these shots were restored in the 2006 Ultimate Edition.
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007 finds Felix Leiter barely alive with a piece of paper in his mouth which reads, "He disagreed with something that ate him". This was in the book "Live and Let Die". David Hedison also played Leiter in that film, making it is ironic that he would get out to play the memorable sequence from the book 16 years later.
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Franz Sanchez has a pet iguana sitting on his right shoulder with diamonds around its collar, which mirrored Blofeld, who had a pet white Persian cat, also with diamonds around its collar.
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For the climactic tanker chase, the producers used a section of a highway near Mexicali, Mexico, which had been closed for safety reasons. Sixteen eighteen-wheeler tankers were used, some with modifications made by Kenworth at the request of Driving Stunt Coordinator Rémy Julienne. Most were given improvements to their engines to run faster, while one model had an extra steering wheel on the back of the cabin, so a hidden stuntman could drive, while Carey Lowell was in the front, and another received extra suspension on its back, so it could lift its front wheels. Although a rig was constructed to help a rig tilt onto its side, it was not necessary, as Julienne was able to pull off the stunt without the aid of camera trickery.
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In a scene where James Bond leaves his C I.A. friend's wedding with a little sadness, Felix Leiter tells his wife Della, "He was married once, and it was a long time ago." That occurred in the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). That part had to be told, due to this film being released on the 20th anniversary year of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), as well as this film being ten films after it.
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Unusual for a Bond film, out of all of people working for the main villain in the climax of the film; there are only seven confirmed deaths of Sanchez's men; Dario, three tanker drivers, Truman-Lodge, and two people driving in the pick up truck off the cliff. Heller is also killed, but he was working to get the Stingers back.
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Felix Leiter being caught by sharks is an element originally from the novel "Live and Let Die". In the John Gardner novelization of this film, the original shark attack is referenced, and Leiter is described using a prosthetic arm. Also, after learning of Sanchez's escape, Bond's worries about his friend are reflected as "lightning strikes twice", which is also the name of the chapter in which Bond finds Leiter's remains in the couch.
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In Live and Let Die (1973), Bond communicated with Leiter through a phone in a car cigarette lighter (a "Felix Lighter"). In this film, Leiter gives Bond a lighter as a gift, that he uses to kill Sanchez.
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The scene where Sanchez's plane is hijacked, was filmed on-location in Florida, with Stuntman Jake Lombard jumping from a helicopter to a plane, and Timothy Dalton being filmed atop the aircraft. The plane, towed by the helicopter, was a life-sized model created by Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson. After filming wide shots of David Hedison and Dalton parachuting, closer shots were made near the church location.
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