Licence To Kill (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Licence To Kill (1989)



Critic Consensus: License to Kill is darker than many of the other Bond entries, with Timothy Dalton playing the character with intensity, but it still has some solid chases and fight scenes.

Licence To Kill Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

For his second outing as James Bond, Timothy Dalton is working on his own rather than on behalf of the British Secret Service in this follow-up to The Living Daylights). When his American friend Felix Leiter ({$David Hedison), an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, is seriously injured by drug dealer Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi), 007 is out for blood. There is precious little time for the usual Bondian quippery and campiness, resulting in a marked increase in bloodletting (including the "implosion" of secondary villain Anthony Zerbe). A climactic highway chase involving an oil tanker and a helicopter is the highlight, as well as Benecio Del Toro in an early role as the psychotic henchman Dario. Licence to Kill's intensified taste for violence lessened Bond's box-office value, and helped keep 007 off the screen for another six years before Pierce Brosnan took up the mantle. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Michael G. Wilson, Richard Maibaum
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 22, 2002
United Artists


Timothy Dalton
as James Bond
Carey Lowell
as Pam Bouvier
Robert Davi
as Franz Sanchez
Talisa Soto
as Lupe Lamora
Anthony Zerbe
as Milton Krest
Frank McRae
as Sharkey
Everett McGill
as Ed Killifer
Wayne Newton
as Joe Butcher
Anthony Starke
as Truman-Lodge
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
as President Hector Lop...
David Hedison
as Felix Leiter
Priscilla Barnes
as Della Churchill
Caroline Bliss
as Miss Moneypenny
Don Stroud
as Heller
Jeff Moldovan
as Warehouse Guard
Claudio Brook
as Montelongo
Enrique Novi
as Rasmussen
Osami Kawawo
as Oriental
Roger Cudney
as Wavekrest Captain
Honorato Magaloni
as Chief Chemist
Jorge Russek
as Pit Boss
Jose Abdala
as Tanker Driver
Teresa Blake
as Ticket Agent
Juan Peleaz
as Casino Manager
Mark Kelty
as Coast Guard Radio Op...
Juan Pelaez
as Casino Manager
Humberto Elizondo
as Hotel Assistant Mana...
Fidel Carriga
as Sanchez's Driver
Edna Bolkán
as Barrelhead Waitress
Carl Ciarfalio
as Warehouse Guard
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Licence To Kill

Critic Reviews for Licence To Kill

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (13)

Every once in a while, [the Bond series] pulls in its stomach, pops the gun from its cummerbund, arches its eyebrow and gets off another bull's-eye. The newest, Licence to Kill, is probably one of the five or six best of Bond.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

If the series is ever going to return to its Connery-era glory, it definitely needs some new writers, ones who know how to streamline a story and keep the dialogue tight.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Dalton revives the cool, ironic detachment of the Connery years, but he also allows a touch of obsession to show through Bond`s surface aplomb.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

With Dalton straightening out Bond for the second time, Licence to Kill continues the salvage operation begun in The Living Daylights and rescues a series that was in danger of shooting itself in the foot. With a Walther PPK, of course.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The Bond women are pallid mannequins, and so is the misused Dalton -- a moving target in a Savile Row suit. For every plausible reason, he looks as bored in his second Bond film as Sean Connery did in his sixth.

Full Review… | October 13, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The thrills-and-spills chases are superbly orchestrated as pic spins at breakneck speed through its South Florida and Central American locations.

Full Review… | October 13, 2008
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Licence To Kill

In Timothy Dalton's second and final film as James Bond, we get the best in the series since "For Your Eyes Only" and one of the most unique and interesting entries. This movie is as far from the Bond formula as the Daniel Craig films, but the difference is that audiences apparently weren't ready to give up the cheesy one-liners and bombastic thrills the series had become known for up to this point, leaving this picture with the worst attendance in the series history by a wide margin. It's unfortunate because I feel like audiences would appreciate this film more today, but the toxic word of mouth the movie received upon release has become its legacy. This is a revenge thriller that sees Bond going rogue in order to purse a personal vendetta against a drug lord that seriously injures a friend and kills his friend's wife. Timothy Dalton is better here than he was in The Living Daylight's, and although Bond doesn't have the dashing personality anymore, he has never been more ruthless. It makes the movie a little bit of a downer compared to the rest, but also one of the most driven. It's compelling from beginning to end, despite a few dry spots. The same cannot be said for the last couple of entries. Q's added role in this film is also a pleasure for fans of the series. Overall, it's one of the stronger entries in the series and seems to be a clear influence on the current Bond films.

Josh Lewis

Super Reviewer


This is a pretty good Bond film. It's edgy, violent, and the first to be Rated PG-13. Dalton gives a good performance, so it sucks that this was his final of two films in the role. At least he went out on a high note.

Not until Daniel Craig came around did the film get as serious as it does here. That's why I like it so much, because Bond gets almost ruthless. Granted, it's still an 80s era film, so the cheese and camp aren't 100% gone, but even then, this film gets dark, and there's an increase in the bloodletting.

Bond is on a quest for revenge, and goes off the books in order to get things done. The target is a ruthless drug lord who has seriously maimed Bond's friend American DEA Agent Felix Leiter. Robert Davi is great as the antagonist, and you really believe that he's a chilling and ruthless fellow. Benicio del Toro gets his career off to a start as a henchman, which is cool, and, despite the campiness of it, I do kinda dig seeing Wayne Newton as a huckster type of character. Carey Lowell is the primary Bond Girl, and I like her a lot, She's got this quality about her that I just really like, even if I can't properly articulate why. It's too bad she has basically gone under the radar for the most part since then.

All in all, a really fine film.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Timothy Dalton's second turn as Bond would also be his last, and I think that's probably a good thing. He does a decent job as Bond, but really makes the character humorless, and a borderline bore. Her he sets out avenge a friend by going after a Latin Drug dealer. The movie has great action, and look closely for a young Benecio Del Tore as a psychotic henchman(has an awesome death scene by the way). It's a more violent take on Bond than the Moore movies, and that's fine, but just keep the humor and womanizing with it. Also, I didn't care that movie ends with a cheezy love song like "If You Ask me To". Not the worst Bond, but probably towards the bottom of them. Still a must watch for all Bond fans.

Everett Johnson
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

Licence To Kill Quotes

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– Submitted by Joakim A (2 years ago)

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