Licence To Kill


Many of the plot elements are taken from the Ian Fleming novel Live and Let Die (which were not used in the movie of that title). Some of these elements are: The partial dismemberment of Felix Leiter by sharks. The sign put on his nearly dead body which reads "He disagreed with something that ate him". The smuggling of illegal merchandise (drugs in the movie, pirate's booty in the novel) using the cover of exotic fish.

More Trivia from Licence To Kill
Officially stripped of his government power, James Bond encounters (and must overcome) his ultimate stumbling block... his own feelings.

After serving as best man at the wedding of his friend Felix Leiter, Bond becomes involved in a personal vendetta against a powerful and vicious drug lord.

Ruthless South American drug Czar, Franz Sanchez, (played by always excellent Davi) is arrested by the CIA's Felix Leiter (Hedison), with the help of James Bond (Dalton). Sanchez escapes custody by bribing DEA Agent Killifer (Everett McGill) with $2 million and returns to kill Leiter's new bride and throw Leiter to the drug lord's pet sharks, leaving Leiter maimed almost beyond recognition.

Bond kills Killifer, but is chastised by M for taking Sanchez's acts of vengeance so personally, resulting in Bond submitting his resignation from MI6. M refuses to accept Bond's resignation, but withdraws his licence to kill. Bond deserts Her Majesty's Secret Service and sets about his now-vigilante quest to disrupt Sanchez's drug smuggling outfit, fronted by legitimate marine supply merchant Milton Krest (Zerbe) and avenge Felix and his new bride.

Bond reviews Felix's contact list and happens upon CIA pilot Pam Bouvier (Lowell). Bond enlists Pam's more-than-capable assistance and together the pair feign off Sanchez's cronies and head to Isthmus City, Sanchez's South American lair. Bond and Bouvier establish themselves as a rich assassin looking for a job and his assistant, respectively and Bond makes contact with Sanchez.

Ingratiatingly taken into Sanchez's confidence, Bond discovers that Sanchez has obtained four missiles from the Contras and is threatening to shoot down an American airliner unless the DEA relent in their pursuit. Bond accompanies Sanchez to his drug-refining plant, cleverly concealed in a religious retreat, hosted by evangelist Professor Joe Butcher (played in cameo by Las Vegas legend Wayne Newton).

The constant telethon run from the compound is merely a front for drug auctions. One of Sanchez's henchmen spots Bond and 007 sets the plant ablaze, destroying it, although Sanchez escapes with tons of cocaine, a few million dollars and the missiles. Fueled by hatred, Bond systematically dismantles each of Sanchez's evil plans, present ...and future.


Although Timothy Dalton is usually viewed as the most uncharismatic James Bond in history, in this film he appeals to viewers through his rebellion and non-stop action, interspersed with real drama and some humor.

Always reliable Robert Davi is excellent as the South American drug cartel leader and one can already see Benecio Del Toro's star begin to shine in his minor part as Sanchez's henchman.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Non-stop action, compelling drama. Villains very believeable and entertaining.

Weaknesses? Timothy Dalton is a bit looser in his second outing as James Bond, but still suffers in comparison to Connery or Moore in the role.

Our rating: 9 out of 10

Review Written by Kimberley A. Wren:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Kimberley A. Wren
Licence To Kill