Trivia - Licence To Kill

The film was originally to be set in China but production difficulties became insurmountable. Scriptwriters Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson wrote two treatments set around drugs in the Golden Triangle with the villain being a Drug Warlord of the region. Ideas for the film included a motor cycle chase along the Great Wall of China and a fight sequence in the recently discovered museum of ancient terracotta statues at Xian. When the Chinese Government made a number restrictive demands such as veto rights over the script, the viability of the location fell through.

With the abolition of the Eady levy in 1985 (a British tax subsidy for the film industry), film production in the UK was badly hit as it had become prohibitively expensive. It was estimated that if shooting had continued in the UK, the budget would have increased 10%.

The project was originally entitled "Licence Revoked" and teaser artwork was produced with this title. Among the reasons for changing the title was to avoid confusion with the 1981 James Bond novel, "Licence Renewed", written by John Gardner (who ended up writing a novel based on this film as well). It has also been widely reported that a survey revealed that fewer than 50% of Americans questioned knew what "revoked" meant.

Taglines on early posters for the film when it was known as "Licenced Revoked" included "You're looking at the world's most wanted man" and "Dismissed. Disgraced. Dishonored. Deadly."

There was a minor controversy when the film was being made as to whether the British or American spelling ("licence" or "license") would be used in the title. The British spelling won out.

The screenplay for the movie was inspired by the Akira Kurosawa classic Yojimbo (1961).

In Italy the title was "Vendetta Privata" (personal revenge), not following the translation, because the first Bond film Dr. No (1962) was titled "Licenza di Uccidere", the translation of this title film.

Just like in the Italian release, the movie had a title not correctly translated in Sweden: It was called "Tid för hämnd" (Time for revenge), because Dr. No (1962) had been translated as "Agent 007 med rätt att döda" (Agent 007 with a license to kill).

The literal translations of some of the movie's foreign language titles include Personal Revenge (France); The Cancelled Licence (Japan); Time For Revenge (Sweden); With A Right To Kill (Norway); Private Revenge (Italy) and 007 Licence To Kill (Brazil, Finland, Portugal and Spain).

It was the first Bond film to receive an American rating higher than PG. Some scenes had to be trimmed to reduce an R rating to a PG-13. The following scenes deleted are: - A shot of Felix' severed leg in the water. - The oriental woman Loti being shot in each breast. - Krest's head exploding against the glass. - Dario's legs being diced as he falls into the mincer. - Sanchez' burning. All of these shots were restored in the 2006 DVD release, Ultimate Edition.

The role of Lupe Lamora was initially offered to Maria Conchita Alonso.

Richard Maibaum suggested Robert Davi to play the part of Franz Sanchez after seeing him in the TV movie "Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami" (1988).

Former Playboy Playmate Diana Lee Hsu plays Hong Kong narcotics agent Loti. She also appears in the opening titles.

Gladys Knight's title song is the longest of all the Bond songs. In the UK, it peaked at the No. #6 position on the UK Charts. As a Christian soul singer, Knight apparently objected to having to sing a song with the word "kill" in it, but eventually she conceded. The song is apparently based on the "horn line" from the Goldfinger (1964) title song and consequently royalty payments were allegedly made to relevant personnel. The music video of this song was directed by Daniel Kleinman, who succeeded Maurice Binder as title designer on GoldenEye (1995).

Eric Clapton and Vic Flick were asked to write and perform the title song along with composer Michael Kamen. Apparently, they re-recorded and made a video of a new version of the James Bond theme with the guitar riff played by Flick. However, the theme was rejected by the producers and not used.

This film marked the retirement of Barry from composing scores and songs for the series. Michael Kamen took over composing duties on the film as John Barry was undergoing throat surgery at the time. Creative differences with the band A-Ha on the The Living Daylights (1987) allegedly also contributed.

This is the only James Bond film not to mention the name of the song or its artist in the opening credits sequence.

First James Bond film movie to be released as a novelization since Moonraker (1979).

The second James Bond film to openly feature the word "shit", the first being Live and Let Die (1973).

James Bond's weapon (on loan from the U.S. Coast Guard) during the opening pre-credits sequence was a 9 mm 16 round Beretta 92F (at the time of filming, Beretta 92F pistols were issued to U.S. civilian law enforcement agencies and the U.S. military). This marks the first time that Bond is seen with a Beretta in decades (in Dr. No (1962), M ordered that Bond carry a different pistol, his signature Walther PPK as a replacement).

CIA Agent Pam Bouvier's weapon which was kept in a gun holster at the top of her black lace left leg garter was a .25 caliber Beretta 950 automatic.

In the opening sequence, Sanchez beats his mistress with a whip made from the tail of a stingray. This appears in the Fleming short story "The Hildebrand Rarity," when yacht owner Milton Krest beats his wife with a similar implement. Krest is also one of Sanchez's henchmen, played by Anthony Zerbe.

Still photographer and series veteran Keith Hamshere can be seen as the wedding photographer.

Felix's bride Della's wedding dress was made of re-embroidered French lace 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.

John Rhys-Davies was offered a cameo role as General Pushkin but declined the offer.

David Hedison returns as Felix Leiter, the first actor to portray the character twice (his debut was in Live and Let Die (1973)). The character has appeared in nine Eon/Bond films, and has been played by seven different actors.

Apart from a spin-off video-game, the film's title previously lent its name to a card game twenty-two years earlier in 1967. Produced by Golden Wonder, the packaging boasts the tagline: "An Exciting New James Bond Game". There are 52 playing cards which include four "Licence to Kill" cards, 48 "Enemy Agent" cards and there are twelve "Assignment Cards". The cover of the manual for the card game read: "O.H.M.S. - TOP SECRET - OO AGENTS ONLY".

This is the last film to date in which James Bond wears a Rolex, here identified by researchers as the "Leiter Wedding Rolex". It is a Submariner Date model, either number 16800 or 168000 or 16610 (virtually identical to the casual buyer). Two decades after the release of this film, the Rolex Submariner Date 16610 is still in production and virtually identical to the watch featured in this film - except that its case lugs no longer have holes. The only watch brand Ian Fleming ever specified by name for his James Bond character was "Rolex", although his literary 007 wore an Explorer 1016 model.

First Bond film not to take its title from an Ian Fleming James Bond novel or short story, even though there were still several usable titles available such as "Property of a Lady" and "Quantum of Solace" (EON would not secure the rights to "Casino Royale" for 15 years). The story, however, is not completely original, as it takes significant elements from the novel "Live and Let Die" and the short story "The Hildebrand Rarity".

The Ian Fleming short story "The Hildebrand Rarity", upon which part of this film was based, originated as a script for a never-produced James Bond TV series in the 1950s.

A good portion of Bond's plan to get close to Sanchez comes from the novel "Goldfinger", when Bond recounts to himself his exploits in breaking up a Central American drug ring.

The phone number to ring Joe Butcher's telethon was 555 LOVE.

Product placements, brand integrations, promotional tie-ins and sponsorships for this movie include Budweiser / Busch Beer; Carlsberg Beer; the Philip Morris Company's Lark Cigarettes; Kenworth Trucks; Michelob Light; Cutty Sark scotch whiskey; Armorlite; Bollinger Champagne; Rolex Watches, particularly the Rolex Submariner 16800/168000 watch; Aerospatial Helicopters; Stolichnaya Vodka; Philips Electronics; and Domark's spin-off video-games, 007: Licence to Kill and later with Tengen, James Bond: The Duel.

The scene where Bond resigns from the MI6 was shot at Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West. That's why when M (Robert Brown) informs 007 that his licence to kill is revoked, he replies, "I guess this is a farewell to arms," a nod to one of Hemingway's most famous novels.

Franz Sanchez' daily surplus of drug money profits was $10 million. The buy-in amount to his drug cartel for the Asian businessmen was $100 million per territory. That equated to $20 million per metric ton. Each of Sanchez' trucks at the end of the movie contained a 31,600 pound mixture of cocaine & gasoline worth $40+ million. The names of the Asian anti-drug intelligence agents were Kwang and Loti. Their organization was Hong Kong Narcotics.

Pedro Armendariz Jr appears as President Hector Lopez. His father, Pedro Armendáriz, played Kerim Bay in From Russia with Love (1963).

According to Robert Davi, he wrote his line "Loyalty is more important to me than money."

The character of President Hector Lopez (played by 'Pedro Armendariz, Jr.') was named after Héctor López, who was the production supervisor of the shoot in Mexico.

The movie featured several Kenworth W900B trucks. Three were specifically modified, one so as to be able to do back-wheelies, one with dual-steering and one with a high supercharge engine. They were named Pamela One, Pamela Two and Pamela Three, after the character Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) in the movie. The high supercharge modified Kenworth W900B truck had increased horsepower by fitting new turbo charges and injectors. The back-wheelie modified Kenworth W900B truck required new suspension be applied to the rear fault axle as well as a new front axle and fitted with steering brakes. Its horsepower was increased to 1000 hp, two to three times the normal capacity. Truckweld co-ordinated the modification. The driver-less or dual-steering modified Kenworth W900B truck was the largest and most detailed modification of all the trucks for the film Licence to Kill (1989). Apparently, it had not been done before and the process involved electronic engines and two throttle steer peddles being able to operate independently of one another.

Vehicles featured included several Kenworth W900B tanker trucks; a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II; a Lincoln Continental Mark VII LSC, James Bond's hire car in Key West; Sanchez' silver metallic Maserati Biturbo; a 4-seat high-wing single-engine Cessna 172 Skyhawk airplane, a Cessna 185 seaplane and a 2-seat tricycle Cessna 150 airplane; a Piper PA-18-150 "Super Cub" crop-duster float-plane and Piper J-3 "Cub" airplane; Aerospatiale 350B A-star and US Coast Guard Aerospatiale HH-65A Dauphin helicopters; a Harbour Pilot's boat; a black and yellow two-seater Shark Hunter submersible (mini wet submarine) as seen before in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); a Wavekrest remote-control Sentinel underwater exploratory submersible; Sharkey's fishing boat Pa Ja Ma; a Cigarette 1 Cafe Racer; the WaveKrest marine research vessel; and an electric golf-car at the Olimpatec Meditation Institute.

The production office in Key West was located on 422 Fleming Street.

The gadgets in Q's old traveling case included an alarm clock; Dentonite toothpaste; a laser camera and a signature gun with optical palm reader.

The title of Professor Joe Butcher's book that he holds in his hand whilst giving his sermon was "Secrets of Cone Power Revealed"

The name of the US Coast Guard vessel moored at the DEA base in Florida was Dauntless. The motor-boat that Lupe supposedly went shopping in was named Pirata. The name of the vessel that played Milton Krest's research vessel was the "J.W. Powell". Sharkey's fishing boat was named Pa Ja Ma.

The license plate number of Franz Sanchez' getaway car in Isthmus City is GLD 376. The license plate number of the white limousine that transports groom Felix Leiter and bride Della Churchill to their wedding was reception was ZLY 621. The license plate number of the Rolls Royce car that Q (Desmond Llewelyn) drives in the fictional Isthmus City was RSD 522.

The cocaine drug stash captured by James Bond was valued at $4.9 million.

When Truman-Lodge (Anthony Starke) says that the set up cost them $32 million dollars, that is an inside joke, a reference to the film's $32 million dollar budget.

Budget restraints were imposed as the producers were still paying interest on the overspending of Moonraker (1979).

The card game played at the casino was Blackjack. The name of the casino was the Casino de Isthmus City.

When they check into their hotel, Bond refers to Pam Bouvier as Mrs. Kennedy, a reference to Jacqueline Kennedy, whose maiden name was Bouvier. Pam Bouvier's alias in Isthmus City was actually Miss Kennedy, James Bond's executive secretary. Q's alias in Isthmus City was as James Bond's uncle.

The CIA's CD-ROM contained information about Franz Sanchez which included his Swiss Bank accounts, investments, warrants, indictments and informants. Of the latter there were nine of whom eight were deceased. These included: Henry Steiner, James Murphy, Jose Pico, H. Keen and Jeffrey Giggins. The one active alive informant was Pam Bouvier.

Governor Bob Martinez of the state of Florida presented Albert R. Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson and head of marketing Charles Juroe each with the Great Seal of the State of Florida during a month's filming at Key West. The Governor also won a walk-on part in the film as a customs officer at the Key West airport.

Robert Davi had to learn to scuba dive for the scene where he escapes from an armored car underwater on the Florida Keys.

Although a rig was constructed to help the 8 wheeler truck tilt onto its side, it wasn't necessary as the stunt driver was able to pull off the stunt without the aid of camera trickery.

The handgun that Dario used to threaten Bond with at the climax was a Walther P5; which was used by Bond himself in Octopussy (1983) and unofficial 007 film released on the same year, Never Say Never Again (1983).

The number of felony counts faced by Franz Sanchez in Florida amounted to 139. These added up to a total sentence of 936 prison years.

The set for the Fox TV show "Paradise Island" (1977) is the same location used for Sanchez's house.

When Bond lands on the balcony outside Sanchez's office at the casino, he's startled by a flock of pigeons flying in his face - this is John Glen's director trademark.

The "Bank" scene in the movie is actually Mexico's main post office, an old elaborate building of European styling. Real casinos were illegal in Mexico at the time of filming.

Bond's controversial betrayal of M was, in part, a way to sidestep the fact that the British would have no jurisdiction in a Latin American drug cartel.

The "maggots" at Krest's lab in Key West were in reality white plastic fishing grubs.

Sanchez is from Isthmus City, a reference to the country of Panama which lies on an isthmus and the corrupt dictator Manuel Noriega, who the CIA were working very hard to oust, at the time.

Making their final appearances with the James Bond series: Richard Maibaum (writer), Maurice Binder (title design), Robert Brown (I) as M and Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny. Not to mention Timothy Dalton as James Bond.

For the first time, a Bond film was not made in Britain. Due to high production costs, it was decided to film much of the movie in Mexico.

During the scene where James Bond is hanging by a hook over the cocaine grinder, Benicio Del Toro's character is cutting him loose. During filming he actually cut Timothy Dalton's hand and the scene had to be stopped so he could be stitched up.

In Bond Girls Are Forever (2002) (TV), Carey Lowell said that she shut her eyes and flinched every time she fired the gun and had to be trained to fire with her eyes open because a CIA op would not flinch. However, she still winces a bit whenever she fires the handgun.

The climactic truck sequence in Licence to Kill (1989) took several weeks to film. It was produced by current Bond producer Barbara Broccoli.

This was the last Bond film to be produced by Albert R. Broccoli. He died less than a year after the release of the next Bond film, GoldenEye (1995).

In the final chase sequence just after 007 lands on the tanker, Sanchez fires at Bond hitting the truck's fuel tanks. The sound of the bullets ricocheting off the tanks plays the start of the James Bond theme.

The message engraved on the back of the gold cigarette lighter given to James Bond by groom Felix Leiter and bride Della Churchill says: "JAMES, LOVE ALWAYS. DELLA & FELIX".

The closing credits song "If You Asked Me To" sung by Patti LaBelle was featured on the B-side of the main title song's 45 rpm single and became an unexpected minor hit. The LaBelle song charted in a Rhythm and Blues Top Ten and was later sung in a cover version by Céline Dion where it became an even bigger hit.

Last James Bond film for six years. Legal wrangling over the ownership of the franchise, coupled by the death of longtime screenwriter Richard Maibaum and the decision by Timothy Dalton not to play the role a third time, delayed the release of the next film.

First James Bond movie to include tobacco warnings in its closing credits. This was in the form of a United States Surgeon General warning. Smoking of tobacco, cigarettes, cigars occurs in a number of Bond movies and this is the only one of them to include a health warning. The film featured product placement of the Philip Morris Company's Lark Cigarettes. Timothy Dalton starring in a commercial for the tobacco brand in Japan.

Whilst on the set of "Scarlett" (1994), Timothy Dalton officially announced his resignation from the role of James Bond on 11 April 1994.