Licence To Kill

1989

Licence To Kill

Critics 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.

77%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 53

60%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 63,893
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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, Rovi

Cast

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 Lopez
David Hedison
as Felix Leiter
Priscilla Barnes
as Della Churchill
Caroline Bliss
as Miss Moneypenny
Don Stroud
as Heller
Jeff Moldovan
as Warehouse Guard
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
as President Hector Lopez
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 Operator
Juan Pelaez
as Casino Manager
Humberto Elizondo
as Hotel Assistant Manager
Fidel Carriga
as Sanchez's Driver
Edna Bolkán
as Barrelhead Waitress
Carl Ciarfalio
as Warehouse Guard
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News & Interviews for Licence To Kill

Critic Reviews for Licence To Kill

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (12)

  • 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.

    May 20, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    May 20, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    May 20, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    May 20, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 13, 2008 | Full Review…
  • The thrills-and-spills chases are superbly orchestrated as pic spins at breakneck speed through its South Florida and Central American locations.

    Oct 13, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Licence To Kill

  • Aug 16, 2018
    Benecio Del Toro! Also, some pretty atrocious acting by Talisa Soto.
    Ed K Super Reviewer
  • Feb 08, 2016
    Arming 007 with a rousing amount of darkness and edge, the first PG-13-rated Bond film finds Dalton in top form and the series getting down and dirty. Yes, Casino Royale shakes and stirs Bond into pitch blackness, but License to Kill tries it first and to mostly good effect. Featuring explosively thrilling action scenes and Benicio Del Toro in a breakout role, the film's worst offense (it still holds the record as the lowest earning Bond in the franchise) is debuting in a pre-9/11 world where Michael Keaton - not Christian Bale - assumes Batman's cowl. In this PG-13-rated spy thriller, James Bond (Dalton) goes rogue and sets off to unleash vengeance on a drug lord (Davi) who tortured his best friend, a C.I.A. agent, and left him for dead and murdered his bride after he helped capture him. The fact that the producers changed the title from License Revoked says everything about this middling attempt to make Bond go dark. Reportedly having little faith in the ability of American audiences to understand the meaning of the word "revoked," the Brits went with the much more marketable phrasing License to Kill. It demonstrates an unsureness that shows up in many aspects of this production. Dalton's 007s gets locked on intensity even more than his previous outing, which brings the tone down more than makes the character dirty. Still, the explosions and chases keep this off-the-grid caper intense in the right ways as well. If only the producers lightened up the character a bit and found the winning formula, Dalton's otherwise ace version of 007 might've booked passage to GoldenEye rather than just dying in development another day. Bottom line: Rogue Notion
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 20, 2015
    “License To Kill” is a very fast paced action film. “License To Kill” has great acting from “Timothy Dalton” and “Robert Davi”. The plot to this film is that “Felix Leiter” helped arrest a big drug dealer named “Sanchez”. Later “Sanchez” escapes prison and comes after “Felix Leiter”. When Bond finds out what has happened he goes on a personal vendetta. The characters in this film are okay none that are too annoying. There are some thrilling action scenes in this film. The soundtrack of this film is great it just makes the scenes more intense. I would recommend you watch this film if you like action films. And I give “License To Kill” a 8/10.
    Steve G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2015
    Licence to Kill marked the end up of a lot of things for Bond. It was the last for Dalton as 007, Robert Brown as M, Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny, and plenty more behind the scenes people as well. It also marked the first time a Bond film was absolutely not full of humor and tongue and cheek in tone. Some people say that was the downfall of the film from the beginning. I didn't have a problem with it. Yes, sometimes the deaths can be a little jarring in terms of Bond's history, but the dark tone was needed for the story they were trying to tell. We begin with an electrifying pre-credits sequence. One that closely resembles the opening scene of 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. I don't think it's a coincidence considering how big of a fan Christopher Nolan is of the franchise. His best friend Felix Leiter of the CIA, who he just helped take down a drug lord, was left for dead right after his own wedding. The drug lord, named Franz Sanchez, also murdered Leiter's wife after feeding Leiter to the sharks. After Bond finds out that Leiter is close to death and his wife's murder, he sets out on a path of revenge. It's a different take on the Bond story and one that Quantom of Solace somewhat follows years later. Bond goes Rogue from MI6 and goes undercover under Sanchez in hopes of taking his entire operation down. Although him leaving MI6 doesn't do much to help the story because he usually works by himself out in the field after getting a mission, the film felt different anyway. Plus, Q has a bigger role which is always warranted with Desmond Llewelyn. The action is fantastic for the most part including a seemingly Raiders of the Lost Ark inspired end chase sequence and not a single ski chase! Although there is one underwater action scene, but it's not as distracting as years past. I don't think Moore or Connery would have pulled off the Rogue Bond as well as Dalton, but they always pulled off the romances. That's the one complaint I have with Dalton, he never sold me on any of his relationships in either of his two films. Dalton is a rougher Bond than his predecessors and so are his two films. But it served as a welcomed change to the franchise. I really enjoyed both of his films and it's unfortunate he didn't get a chance to do more films. The over the top action and humor is not here and it gives the films the realness they deserve. On a side note, it was cool seeing Benicio Del Toro show up as one of the villains. +Dalton goes Rogue +Grounded +Real stakes +Action -Romances -Deaths can be jarring and graphic for the series 7.0/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer

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