"Licence To Kill" is about to be released uncut for the first time on the forthcoming Ultimate Edition DVD. MI6 takes an indepth look at the cuts restored...

Licence To Kill Uncut
16th May 2006

The BBFC updated their entry for the 1989 James Bond film "Licence To Kill" on 4th July 2005 with an important decision - to waive all cuts made to the film. Back at the time of release, several cuts were made to the film in order to achieve the 15 certificate. These included an underwater scene where Felix is being fed to the sharks and a shot of his stump (where his leg should be) was cut, a shot of Krest's head exploding, Lupe's whipping, Dario's legs getting minced whist he is still alive, and the fiery death of Sanchez was trimmed down.

The first video transfer submitted to the BBFC back on 12th February 1990, which ran for 126m 50s, was unchanged from the 15 certificate cut theatrical release. The 2005 "uncut" version runs at 127m 44s, adding 54 seconds back to the film and will be used on the Ultimate Edition DVD release.

Order (Amazon UK)

Cuts Restored

The volume of the punch to Lupe's lover's gut in the pre-titles sequence is reduced to its original level.

When Killifer smacks the guard in the face with the butt of his shotgun during the van ride, the sound effect has been restored completely to the soundtrack, when before it was missing.

During the scene where Felix is abducted, the dull thud when he is hit on the back of the head by Dario has been restored to its original volume.


Felix’s "death" is now complete. We now see an underwater shot of the bloody remains of his leg bobbing in the water. Felix's final screams and cries just after this have also been restored as Sanchez signals for Felix to be brought back up.


In the sequence where Bond is raking in the crate of maggots, the sound effect of the blow to the guard’s gut has been increased to its original volume.

When Bond escapes from the Wave Krest, a heavy kick to one of the bad guys underwater has been restored back to it's original volume.

During the bar room fight when Bond first meets Bouvier, the sound effects of the heavy kicks and blows in this sequence have been restored to their original volumes.

After Bond’s failed assassination attempt at Sanchez, he gets into a fight with ninjas from the Hong Kong narcotics team. The sound effect of the rifle butt smacking into his head has been restored to its original volume.

Just after this, as Sanchez’s men raid the building, we now see the two bloody bullet impacts in each breast of Loti, the female Asian agent who is shot. All we see in the cut prints are the aftermath, with the wounds already present as she falls.

When Krest is killed in the depressurization, we now see his head explode in a bloody mess against the glass pane.


As Dario slowly slides into the rock crusher, some of his screaming and pleading has been restored, along with the full-length shot of his legs being mashed through the metal cutters, complete with gore falling onto the camera.


When Bond fights the truck driver, the sound effects of the heavy blows in the fight have been restored.

Sanchez’s death is also restored to its full form. Footage of Bond watching him burn before he starts to run away is restored, as well as Sanchez flailing and falling to his knees in agony. This was replaced in the cut versions with new footage of Bond running away in an alternate shot.

BBFC Advice For Consumers
Concise: Contains moderate violence
Language: Infrequent, mild
Sex/Nudity: Infrequent mild references
Violence: Frequent, moderate
Other: Some mild drugs references

Alternate Versions History

The initial UK Warner Home Video releases were the original edited cinema versions (cut by 37 seconds). The UK MGM video release in 2000 restored 26 seconds of cuts (mainly to the opening whipping scene, Leiter being attacked by the shark and Dario's death in the mincer) but was still missing some brief cuts (despite the fully uncut version having been shown on British television). When the film was submitted for video/DVD re-release in 2005, the BBFC waived all cuts for the movie but an error by MGM resulted in the edited version being released by mistake.

When the film was submitted to the BBFC in 1989, some scenes had to be trimmed down for a "15" rating. In 2000, the film was rated "15" again, but this time some cuts were waived due to changed guidelines in the BBFC. In 2005, the film was rated "15" and all previous cuts were waived.

The MPAA reportedly trimmed a few scenes to avoid an R rating. The uncut version was submitted internationally.

The UK DVD is still slightly cut in places for violence. These cuts may have been made by the BBFC or by the distributor. When Felix is tortured by Sanchez, an underwater shot of the bloody water and the stump where Felix's leg used to be is still missing. In the scene where Krest is killed, the shot of his head actually exploding is replaced by a shot of Heller squirming. The fiery death of Sanchez has been trimmed.

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.

There is a mild dialogue alteration in the 5.1 mix for the new Special Edition. The "What are you waiting for? Get in!/Yes, sir." exchange has been moved to the next shot of Bond nodding and approaching the tanker, after Pam stops it. Originally, she said it right after stopping the tanker. The fact that Timothy Dalton's lips can only slightly be seen to move when he says his line confirms this alteration.

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Licence To Kill Movie Coverage
Ultimate Edition DVD Project

Many thanks to Gavin S from GnC Films.