Licence to Kill (1989)

PG-13 | 133 mins | Drama | 14 July 1989

Director:

John Glen

Cinematographer:

Alec Mills

Editor:

John Grover

Production Designer:

Peter Lamont

Production Company:

Danjaq S.A.
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HISTORY

A 13 Mar 1988 LAT item announced that John Glen would direct Licence Revoked, the sixteenth installment in the Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli-produced James Bond series of feature films. A 15 Apr 1988 LAT item confirmed that Timothy Dalton, who played “James Bond” in the latest film, The Living Daylights (1987, see entry), would reprise the role. Filming was set to begin in mid-Jul 1988. The title was eventually changed to Licence to Kill. According to a 9 Jul 1989 LAT article, the phrase referred to text from one of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, in which Fleming references a “James Bond Dossier” stating that the MI6 agent “holds a Secret Service number with the 00 prefix – giving him the licence to kill.”
       Although some publicity materials claimed entertainer Wayne Newton made his feature film debut in Licence To Kill, a 17 Feb 1989 LAHExam item cited Newton’s previous appearance in the 1969 feature film, 80 Steps to Jonah (see entry).
       A “James Bond Girl” contest was co-sponsored by United Artists and the music television network VH1, according to the 31 Jul 1988 LAT. Sandy Sentell, a twenty-four-year-old dance teacher from Knoxville, TN, won the contest, and received the prize of a walk-on part to be shot on Key West, FL, as stated in the 28 Aug 1988 LAHExam. However, Sentell did not receive onscreen credit. Likewise, a 23 Aug 1988 LAT item stated that Florida Governor Robert "Bob" Martinez played a guard in a scene shot on Key West, but Martinez is not ... More Less

A 13 Mar 1988 LAT item announced that John Glen would direct Licence Revoked, the sixteenth installment in the Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli-produced James Bond series of feature films. A 15 Apr 1988 LAT item confirmed that Timothy Dalton, who played “James Bond” in the latest film, The Living Daylights (1987, see entry), would reprise the role. Filming was set to begin in mid-Jul 1988. The title was eventually changed to Licence to Kill. According to a 9 Jul 1989 LAT article, the phrase referred to text from one of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, in which Fleming references a “James Bond Dossier” stating that the MI6 agent “holds a Secret Service number with the 00 prefix – giving him the licence to kill.”
       Although some publicity materials claimed entertainer Wayne Newton made his feature film debut in Licence To Kill, a 17 Feb 1989 LAHExam item cited Newton’s previous appearance in the 1969 feature film, 80 Steps to Jonah (see entry).
       A “James Bond Girl” contest was co-sponsored by United Artists and the music television network VH1, according to the 31 Jul 1988 LAT. Sandy Sentell, a twenty-four-year-old dance teacher from Knoxville, TN, won the contest, and received the prize of a walk-on part to be shot on Key West, FL, as stated in the 28 Aug 1988 LAHExam. However, Sentell did not receive onscreen credit. Likewise, a 23 Aug 1988 LAT item stated that Florida Governor Robert "Bob" Martinez played a guard in a scene shot on Key West, but Martinez is not credited onscreen.
       A 14 Apr 1988 HR item noted Licence To Kill would be the second Cubby Broccoli-produced James Bond film, after Moonraker (1979, see entry), to stray from shooting at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. After scouting locations in China, including film studios in Beijing and Shanghai, as noted in the 13 Dec 1987 LAT, Broccoli decided to base the shoot in Mexico, for a savings of $5 million.
       The 13 Jul 1988 Var production chart stated principal photography began 18 Jul 1988. As noted in a 16 Aug 1988 HR brief, four of the eight soundstages at Churubusco Studios in Mexico City, Mexico, were used to shoot interiors. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that the following Mexico City locations were used: Casino Espagnol, a social club that doubled for parts of “Franz Sanchez’s” casino; Teatro de la Ciudad; Oficina de Correos Mayor, in El Centro; and Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico. Outside Mexico City, the Otomi Ceremonial Center stood in for the “Olympatec Meditation Institute”; a beachside residence in Acapulco doubled as the home of Franz Sanchez; and, underwater sequences were filmed on Isla Mujeres near Cancun. After Mexico, four weeks of filming took place on Key West, where locations included: Mallory Square; Garrison Bite Marina; Key West Airport; the Hemingway House, where Bond encounters “M”; St. Mary’s Catholic Church; the Seven Mile Bridge; and Sugarloaf Key Airport.
       In the climactic chase sequence involving gasoline tankers, ten Kenworth trucks costing $100,000 each were destroyed, according to a 17 Jul 1989 HR “Hollywood Report” column. The sequence was shot in La Rumurosa, on a jagged stretch of road in Baja California, Mexico, and required a second unit to be stationed there for six weeks. Only one week of filming involved first-unit cast and crew.
       A Dec 1988 HR item stated that systematic robbery of costumes and stage props took place during the ninety-eight days of production in Mexico. Legal action was being considered, but had not yet been taken for fear of causing a negative impact on future production there.
       Post-production was completed at Pinewood Studios.
       According to an article in the 28 Jul 1989 DV, promotional tie-ins included: a Kansas Lottery scratch-off contest; a Sterling automobile giveaway sponsored by USA Today, the newspaper’s first such entertainment promotion; limited-edition “007” Kenworth tractor-trailors with 007 emblems, satin sheets, and tuxedos for buyers; and an Acapulco getaway cross-promoted by Pepsi, Polaroid, and Univision. Producer Michael G. Wilson would not reveal marketing costs, but lamented that the promotional budget nearly equaled the $34.5 million production budget.
       The film debuted in England, where a 13 Jun 1989 royal charity premiere at London’s Odeon Cinema was attended by the Prince and Princess of Wales. Proceeds from the event went to the Prince’s Trust. A 13 Jun 1989 DV item noted that Licence to Kill marked the first time the British Board of Film Classification had rated a James Bond film “15,” meaning children younger than that age would not be permitted into theaters. To avoid such a rating, filmmakers cut thirty-eight seconds of violence, but the board deemed it insufficient. In the U.S., the film received a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
       The 10 Jul 1989 Los Angeles, CA, premiere was hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) at the Directors Guild Theater, as noted in the 16 May 1989 DV. An after-party at the Bel Age Hotel honored Cubby Broccoli’s career, and proceeds from the event went to BAFTA-LA and the Motion Picture & Television Fund. On 14 Jul 1989, the U.S. theatrical release took place on 1,575 screens. A 22 Aug 1989 HR item reported that Licence to Kill had grossed $31.5 million domestically, and the film was “doing roaring business” overseas. According to the 6 Mar 1998 HR, the cumulative worldwide box-office amounted to $156.7 million, which fell short of the $191.2 million worldwide gross for the previous Bond film, The Living Daylights.
       A 12-18 Aug 1989 Screen International item noted that in the wake of the film’s release, MGM/UA made an agreement to “continue and enhance” the studio’s relationship with Cubby Broccoli, for all future Bond films.
       End credits include the following statement: “As tobacco products are used in this film, the Producers wish to remind the audience of the Surgeon General’s Warning: ‘Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy.’” As noted in the 28 Jul 1989 DV, the warning was the first of its kind to be included in a major motion picture. Partly due to the “Luken bill,” a measure before Congress proposing a ban on youth-oriented cigarette advertising, and other “American watchdog organizations,” as noted in the 21 Mar 1989 and 9 Jul 1989 LAT, filmmakers came under pressure for accepting $350,000 from Philip Morris Cos. to feature Lark Cigarettes. Only three such paid instances between cigarette companies and feature films had been documented. The other two, according to the 8 Mar 1989 LAT, were Superman II (1981, see entry) and Supergirl (1984, see entry).
       End credits also state: “The Producers gratefully acknowledge the co-operation of: The officials and people of the Lower Keys, Florida; The Florida Film Bureau; The Key West Chamber of Commerce; United States Coast Guard; John H. Perry Inc. and Submersible Systems Technology Inc.; Cigarette Racing Team Inc.; Pan American World Airways; Aerospatiale; Kenworth Truck Company; Philips Electronics; Furuno U.S.A. Inc.; Dacor Corporation; Mappin & Webb; Bollinger Champagne; Baron Enrico Di Portanova; and the people and government of Mexico”; “Made by Danjaq S.A. at Churubusco Studios, Mexico City, and on location in Mexico and Florida, U.S.A.”; and, “James Bond will return.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 May 1989.
---
Daily Variety
13 Jun 1989.
---
Daily Variety
28 Jul 1989
p. 16, 23.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 1988
p. 1, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
Dec 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 1989
p. 4, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 1989
p. 1, 133.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1998.
---
LAHExam
28 Aug 1988.
---
LAHExam
17 Feb 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Dec 1987
p. 120.
Los Angeles Times
13 Mar 1988
p. 29.
Los Angeles Times
15 Apr 1988
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
8 Jul 1988
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jul 1988
p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
23 Aug 1988
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
8 Mar 1989
Section E, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
21 Mar 1989
Section E, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
11 Jun 1989
p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
9 Jul 1989
p. 29.
Los Angeles Times
9 Jul 1989
p. 38.
Los Angeles Times
12 Jul 1989
Section D, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
14 Jul 1989
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
18 Jul 1989.
---
New York Times
14 Jul 1989
p. 8.
Screen International
12-18 Aug 1989.
---
Variety
13 Jul 1988.
---
Variety
14 Jun 1989
p. 7.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Albert R. Broccoli presents
From United Artists, An MGM/UA Communications company
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Underwater scenes dir
Prod mgr
Asst dir
Asst dir
2d unit dir
Prod mgr
Prod mgr (Mexico)
2d asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Underwater scenes photog
Cam op
Elec supv
2d unit photog
Cam, The aerial team
Cam asst, The underwater team
Cam focus
2d cam (Mexico)
2d cam (Mexico)
Cam grip
Stills photog
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam focus, 2d unit
Cam grip, 2d unit
Stills photog, 2d unit
2d cam, Florida
Elec supv, Florida
Key grip, Florida
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Sketch artist
Graphics
Art dir, Florida
FILM EDITORS
Assembly ed
Ed (Mexico)
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const mgr
Sculptor
Scenic artist
Prod buyer
Prop master
Stand-by propman
Armourer
Armourer
Stand-by propman, 2d unit
Set dec, Florida
Set dec, Florida
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Ward master (Mexico)
Cost supv, Florida
Jewellery by
MUSIC
Orig score comp and cond by
Mus ed
Mus mixer
Mus programming
Mus rec at
Mus consultant
SOUND
Sd rec
Sd ed
Addl sd eff
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Boom op
Sd re-rec by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main title des by
Spec visual eff
Spec eff, The underwater team
Spec eff supv (Mexico)
Spec eff supv (Mexico)
Spec eff (1st unit)
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff supv, 2d unit
Spec eff tech, 2d unit
Spec eff tech, 2d unit
Spec eff coord, Florida
Title opticals by
MAKEUP
Make-up supv
Make-up supv
Hairdressing supv
Make-up
Make-up/Hair, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod accountant
Dir of marketing
Prod supv Mexico
Unit mgr
Casting
Cam helicopter, The aerial team
Helicopter pilot, The aerial team
U.S. Coast Guard tech adv, The aerial team
U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilot, The aerial team
U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilot, The aerial team
U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilot, The aerial team
Coord, The underwater team
Loc mgr, The underwater team
Loc mgr, The underwater team
Diver, The underwater team
Diver, The underwater team
Diver, The underwater team
Diver, The underwater team
Diver, The underwater team
Spec consultant to the prods
Spec consultant to the prods
Loc mgr (Mexico)
Prod coord
Prod coord (Mexico)
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod secy
Casting (Mexico)
Accountant
Accountant
Asst accountant
Dir of pub
Transport mgr
Transport capt (Mexico)
London contact
Los Angeles contact
Cont, 2d unit
Prod supv, Florida
Prod co-ord, Florida
Loc mgr, Florida
Loc accountant, Florida
Marine co-ord, Florida
Transport co-ord, Florida
Transport
Freight
Medical services
Gun holsters by
Animals supplied by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Driving stunts arr
Aerial stunt supv
Supv, The stunt team
Supv, The stunt team
Supv, The stunt team
The stunt team
The stunt team
The stunt team
The stunt team
The stunt team
The stunt team
The stunt team
The stunt team
The stunt team
The driving team
The driving team
The driving team
The driving team
The driving team
Parachute stunt co-ord, The aerial team
COLOR PERSONNEL
Film stock
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Ian Fleming.
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Licence To Kill," performed by Gladys Knight, produced and arranged by Narada Michael Walden in association with Walter Afanasieff, written by Narada Michael Walden, Jeffrey Cohen and Walter Afanasieff
"Wedding Party," performed by Ivory, produced by Jimmy Duncan and Phillip Brennan, written by Jimmy Duncan and Phillip Brennan
"Dirty Love," performed by Tim Feehan, produced by Tim Feehan and David White, written by Steve Dubin and Jeff Pescetto
+
SONGS
"Licence To Kill," performed by Gladys Knight, produced and arranged by Narada Michael Walden in association with Walter Afanasieff, written by Narada Michael Walden, Jeffrey Cohen and Walter Afanasieff
"Wedding Party," performed by Ivory, produced by Jimmy Duncan and Phillip Brennan, written by Jimmy Duncan and Phillip Brennan
"Dirty Love," performed by Tim Feehan, produced by Tim Feehan and David White, written by Steve Dubin and Jeff Pescetto
"If You Asked Me To," performed by Patti LaBelle, produced by Stewart Levine, arranged by Aaron Zigman, written by Diane Warren
the James Bond theme written by Monty Norman.
+
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
007: Licence to Kill
Licence Revoked
Release Date:
14 July 1989
Premiere Information:
London premiere: 13 June 1989
Los Angeles premiere: 10 July 1989
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 July 1989
Production Date:
18 July--December 1988
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo SR in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
133
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29739
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

British espionage agent James Bond, otherwise known as “007,” and Felix Leiter, his friend who works for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), are on their way to Felix’s wedding in Key West, Florida, when they are stopped by DEA agents in need of Felix’s help. Bond joins Felix as he and the other agents chase and capture Latin American drug lord Franz Sanchez. Afterward, Bond and Felix race to Felix’s wedding in small plane, parachuting to the church just in time. Sanchez bribes DEA agent Ed Killifer, who facilitates the drug lord’s underwater escape. Meanwhile, at Felix’s wedding reception, he and his new wife, Della, give Bond an engraved cigarette lighter as a thank-you gift. Later that night, the newlyweds are attacked by Franz Sanchez’s henchmen. Felix is taken to an aquatic warehouse owned by Sanchez cohort, Milton Krest, and lowered into a shark tank. The next day, at Felix’s house, Bond finds Della shot dead, and Felix, barely alive, in a body bag. “M,” Bond’s superior at the British MI6 agency, forbids Bond from going after Sanchez and insists he return to his assignment in Istanbul, Turkey. Instead, Bond resigns from the MI6, and M revokes his license to kill. Bond teams with Felix’s friend, “Sharky,” to infiltrate Milton Krest’s marine research vessel, the Wavekrest. Onboard, he finds Lupe Lamora, Sanchez’s disillusioned girl friend, who reveals that Sanchez is not aboard. Bond glances through a porthole and discovers Sharky has been killed. He shoots the killer, steals his SCUBA gear, and swims to a seaplane filled with drug money owed to Sanchez. Bond commandeers the seaplane and flies to Bimini in the Bahamas. At a seaside ... +


British espionage agent James Bond, otherwise known as “007,” and Felix Leiter, his friend who works for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), are on their way to Felix’s wedding in Key West, Florida, when they are stopped by DEA agents in need of Felix’s help. Bond joins Felix as he and the other agents chase and capture Latin American drug lord Franz Sanchez. Afterward, Bond and Felix race to Felix’s wedding in small plane, parachuting to the church just in time. Sanchez bribes DEA agent Ed Killifer, who facilitates the drug lord’s underwater escape. Meanwhile, at Felix’s wedding reception, he and his new wife, Della, give Bond an engraved cigarette lighter as a thank-you gift. Later that night, the newlyweds are attacked by Franz Sanchez’s henchmen. Felix is taken to an aquatic warehouse owned by Sanchez cohort, Milton Krest, and lowered into a shark tank. The next day, at Felix’s house, Bond finds Della shot dead, and Felix, barely alive, in a body bag. “M,” Bond’s superior at the British MI6 agency, forbids Bond from going after Sanchez and insists he return to his assignment in Istanbul, Turkey. Instead, Bond resigns from the MI6, and M revokes his license to kill. Bond teams with Felix’s friend, “Sharky,” to infiltrate Milton Krest’s marine research vessel, the Wavekrest. Onboard, he finds Lupe Lamora, Sanchez’s disillusioned girl friend, who reveals that Sanchez is not aboard. Bond glances through a porthole and discovers Sharky has been killed. He shoots the killer, steals his SCUBA gear, and swims to a seaplane filled with drug money owed to Sanchez. Bond commandeers the seaplane and flies to Bimini in the Bahamas. At a seaside bar, he seeks out Pam Bouvier, a pilot who does contract work for Felix Leiter. Pam is awaiting Franz Sanchez’s lead henchman, Dario, but Bond insults Dario when he arrives, inciting a chaotic bar brawl that allows Bond and Pam to flee in a small boat. Bond enlists Pam’s help in tracking down Sanchez at his headquarters in Isthmus City. She negotiates a $75,000 fee, and they kiss. Arriving in Isthmus City with the millions he stole from the seaplane, Bond poses as a wealthy assassin, and Pam as his “executive assistant.” At a bank owned by Sanchez, Bond makes a deposit of $5 million. Later, he gets noticed as a “high roller” at Sanchez’s casino, and is called to the drug lord’s office. There, Bond offers his services as an assassin. Back in his hotel room, Bond receives an unexpected visit from “Q,” an MI6 colleague who delivers several high-tech gadgets designed to help Bond assassinate Sanchez. However, Bond’s plan is foiled by two Hong Kong narcotics agents who attack him in an abandoned building across from the casino. They take him captive and deliver him to an abandoned house, where an MI6 agent awaits. Planning to smuggle Bond back to England, the agent sedates him. Sanchez’s men interrupt. Believing Bond is on their side, they shoot the others and bring the rogue agent to Sanchez’s compound. Bond tells Sanchez that his attackers were a “freelance hit team” out to kill Sanchez, and the assassins were expecting a large delivery of cash the following night. At a loading dock, Bond frames Milton Krest by planting five million dollars in stolen cash on the Wavekrest. Sanchez finds the money in Krest’s boat, and retaliates by trapping Krest in a hyperbaric chamber and manipulating the pressure until Krest explodes. Sanchez rewards Bond for the tip, and insists he remain at his compound, where Lupe Lamora, Sanchez’s girl friend, sneaks into the guest bedroom and seduces Bond. The next day, Lupe finds Pam Bouvier and Q in Bond’s hotel room, and warns them that Bond is in danger. Pam is jealous when she discovers Lupe spent the night with Bond, but intends to help him anyway. Bond is taken to the Olympatec Meditation Institute, a religious compound established by televangelist Professor Joe Butcher, as a “drug front” for Sanchez’s cocaine laboratory. Pam infiltrates by posing as a religious zealot who has come to deliver a large amount of cash to Joe Butcher. Meanwhile, Bond attends a demonstration with several Asian investors, in which a scientist shows them his latest technological breakthrough: Sanchez’s cocaine is now blended with gasoline so that it can be shipped anywhere, then reconstituted to cocaine through a filtration system. Dario recognizes Bond from Bimini, and Bond attacks. A fire erupts in the lab and the Asian investors flee. In Joe Butcher’s private quarters, Pam draws a gun on the televangelist, steals his keys, and escapes, disguised in a monk’s robe. Sanchez and his men force Bond onto a conveyor belt that leads to a large shredder. As the fire spreads, gasoline tankers filled with cocaine-infused gasoline drive away from the compound. Dario stays behind to make sure Bond drops into the shredder, but Pam arrives, shoots Dario, and rescues Bond. She leads him to a small plane, and they fly after the convoy of gasoline tankers. Bond drops onto one of the tankers and commandeers it. In a chase through the desert, he runs a tanker off the road, then jettisons his own tank, causing it to roll down a cliff and crash into another tanker in a fiery explosion. Bond abandons his truck and jumps onto a tanker in which Sanchez is riding. Eventually, the tanker crashes over a cliff. Sanchez goes after Bond with a machete. However, Bond produces the cigarette lighter Felix and Della gave him at the wedding, and uses it to light the gasoline-drenched Sanchez on fire. As the last tanker blows up, Pam retrieves Bond. They celebrate at a party hosted by Lupe Lamora. Pam spies Lupe kissing Bond and retreats to a pool to sulk. Bond finds her there, lures her into the pool, and kisses her. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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