Licence to Kill

July 14th, 1989


Licence to Kill

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Still of Talisa Soto in Licence to KillStill of Carey Lowell in Licence to KillStill of Wayne Newton in Licence to KillStill of Timothy Dalton in Licence to KillLicence to KillStill of Carey Lowell, Talisa Soto and Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill

James Bond leaves Her Majesty's Secret Service to stop an evil drug lord and avenge his best friend, Felix Leiter.

Release Year: 1989

Rating: 6.5/10 (34,047 voted)

Director: John Glen

Stars: Timothy Dalton, Robert Davi, Carey Lowell

James Bond is on possibly his most brutal mission yet. Bond's good friend, Felix Leiter, is left near to 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. Bond is now more dangerous than ever. Bond gains the aide of one of Leiter 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?

Writers: Michael G. Wilson, Richard Maibaum

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

Taglines: James Bond is out on his own and out for revenge.


Official Website: MGM |

Release Date: 14 July 1989

Filming Locations: 707 South Street, Key West, Florida Keys, Florida, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: £287,578 (UK) (22 June 1989) (4 Screens)

Gross: $156,200,000 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Felix's bride Della's wedding dress was made of re-embroidered French Llace adorned with seed pearls and opal sequins. Two versions of the dress had to be made because the scenes where Della is attacked were filmed before the wedding sequence. Therefore, 17 meters of the material had to be located at $150 a meter. The Leiter's bridal car was a white Lincoln Limousine.

Factual errors: When the air hose on a truck's braking system is severed, the brakes lock on, they do not release as shown.

[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 Crab 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.

User Review

Fleming's Bond is Back


This is the most underrated film in the series. It's ironic that the first of the EON films not to draw its title directly from an Ian Fleming story is also the closest in spirit to Fleming since "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." Of course, the titles had long since become the ONLY connection between Fleming's original stories and the movies -- the film plots and Roger Moore's portrayal bore almost no resemblance to Fleming's Bond.

In "License to Kill" continues what he started in "The Living Daylights": he portrays a Bond that is still an ultra-suave superagent, but is also moody and reckless -- in other words, human.

Bond is driven to avenge the near murder of his friend Felix Leiter (and the murder of Leiter's wife) at the hands of drug lord Franz Sanchez. Sanchez is excellently played by Robert Davi. He ends up being assisted by CIA agent Pam Bouvier. Bouvier is played by Cary Lowell, in a performance that earns her automatic entry onto the list of top 5 all time Bond women.

Some elements of the story come from Fleming's short story "The Hildebrande Rarity." Sanchez's doomed henchmen Milton Krest is lifted directly from "The Hildebrand Rarity," and elements of the relationship between Sanchez and his girlfriend Lupe echo that of Krest and his wife Liz in the original story.

The other Fleming story drawn upon is "Live and Let Die" for the plot-driving scene in which Leiter is thrown to the sharks. (This marks the second time that Fleming's "Live and Let Die" was drawn upon for a key scene in a movie other than the film version of LALD. The other is the "dragged behind a speedboat over the reef" scene in "For Your Eyes Only." It kind of makes you wonder what the powers that be at EON were thinking when they couldn't find a place for these powerful, effective scenes in the pastiche that is LALD.)

"License to Kill" features a realistic, believable story. Add to it the equal ruthlessness of Bond and Sanchez in their respective portrayals by Dalton and Davi and you have a movie that will stand out over time as one of the best in the series.


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