Licence To Kill (1989)


Following the mutilation of Felix Leiter and the death of Della Leiter at the hands of drug czar Franz Sanchez, 007 disobeys orders and pursues Sanchez with a vengeance. Bond's obsession costs him his licence to kill - and nearly his life.

Release Data
UK: 13th June 1989 (15)
USA: 14th July 1989 (PG-13)
World Premiere: 13th June 1989 (Odeon Leicester Square, London, UK)
UK TV Premiere: 3rd January 1994, ITV
US TV Premiere: 24th February 1993, Fox

Running Time: 127 minutes
Classification: 15 (UK), PG-13 (US)
Budget: $36m
Worldwide Box Office: $156.2m
US Box Office: $34.67m
US Admissions: 8.7 million
UK Box Office: N/A

Cast & Characters
James Bond
Timothy Dalton
Pam Bouvier
Carey Lowell
Franz Sanchez
Robert Davi
Lupe Lamora
Talisa Soto
Benicio Del Toro
Felix Leiter
David Hedison
Frank McRae
Milton Krest
Anthony Zerbe
Don Stroud
Anthony Starke
Joe Butcher
Wayne Newton
Robert Brown
Miss Moneypenny
Caroline Bliss
Desmond Llewelyn

Producers: Albert R. Broccoli & Michael G. Wilson
Director: John Glen
Screenplay: Richard Maibaum & Michael G. Wilson
Composer: Michael Kamen

Key West, Florida, USA; fictional South American republic of Isthmus and Isthmus City; the Bimmi Islands; Olimpatec Meditation Institute; London, UK.

Pre-Credits Sequence
Felix Leiter is on his way to his wedding in the Florida Keys, accompanied by his best man James Bond. News breaks that the DEA's (who Leiter now works for) most wanted man Franz Sanchez has strayed in to US territory to retrieve his mistress.

Leiter and 007 - acting only as an "observer" - go after Sanchez, first on the ground and then in the air. 007 captures Sanchez's plane by attaching a line from their coast guard helicopter, just before the pair parachute down to the wedding.


The original title of the movie was to be "Licence Revoked", but results of a survey which showed that approximately 50% of American's did not understand the term "revoked" allegedly lead to the change. A fierce battle was fought for the title to be Americanized to "License To Kill" (with an "s"), but the British version won out. The title is referred to by M when 007 quits the secret service - "effective immediately, your licence to kill is revoked".


Cut Scenes
A scene where the CIA raided the Wavekrest warehouse and discover the body of the guard in the maggot tanks was shot but cut. Other numerous edits comprise of cuts made to the UK cinematic version to achieve the 15 certificate by reducing sadism: the whipping of Lupe, Sanchez enjoying revenge on Leiter, an underwater scene where Felix is being fed to the sharks and a shot of his stump (where his leg should be), Krest's head exploding in the decompression chamber, Dario's legs getting minced whist he is still alive, and the fiery death of Sanchez was trimmed down.

Best Line
A note on the mutilated Leiter's chest left by Sanchez: "He disagreed with something that ate him."

Best Mistake
Leaving Felix's wedding, Bond puts his airline tickets in his right pocket, but when he checks in he takes them out of his left.

Distinguishing Feature
Felix Leiter is played by the same actor who played him in Live and Let Die - the only time in the series the role has been reprised.

Vital Statistics
Conquests: 2
Martinis: 1
Kills: 12
"Bond, James Bond": 1

MI6 Rating

Fan Rating

As voted in MI6's Fan Verdict poll

"James Bond Will Return" [GoldenEye]

Image courtesy Amazon Associates