Licence to Kill
LTK poster

Directed by

John Glen


Timothy Dalton
Carey Lowell
Robert Davi
Talisa Soto

Music by

Michael Kamen

Preceeded by

The Living Daylights

Followed by


Licence to Kill is a 1989 spy film and the sixteenth official installment in the James Bond film series. Directed by John Glen, it is the second and last film to star Timothy Dalton as James Bond and was also the final Bond film for Caroline Bliss as Miss Moneypenny, appearing for the second time, and Robert Brown as M, having played the part four times. The film also features Robert Davi as the villain Franz Sanchez, Carey Lowell as the Bond girl Pam Bouvier, and most notably a young Benicio del Toro as Dario, Sanchez's henchman. 


Timothy Dalton as James Bond, British MI6 agent 007.

Carey Lowell as Pam Bouvier, an ex-Army pilot and CIA informant. She is Bond's main love interest.

Robert Davi as Franz Sanchez, the most powerful drug lord in South America who plans to create an international drug cartel and main antagonist of the film.

Talisa Soto as Lupe Lamora, Sanchez's abused girlfriend.

Benicio del Toro as Dario, Sanchez's loyal henchman.

Guy De Saint Cyr as Braun, one of Sanchez's enforcers.

Alejandro Bracho as Perez, one of Sanchez's enforcers.

Don Stroud as Colonel Heller, Sanchez's head of security.

Anthony Zerbe as Milton Krest, Sanchez's henchman who operates Wavekrest Marine Research, a front for Sanchez's smuggling operations.

Anthony Starke as Truman-Lodge, financial advisor to Sanchez.

Everett McGill as Ed Killifer, a corrupt DEA agent who frees Sanchez.

Frank McRae as Sharkey, Bond's ally, a fisherman who helps him investigate Sanchez.

David Hedison as Felix Leiter, Bond's close friend from the CIA (now a member of the DEA) who is maimed by Sanchez on his wedding day. The attack on him is the catalyst for the story.

Priscilla Barnes as Della Churchill/Leiter, Felix's bride who is raped and murdered by Dario.

Wayne Newton as Professor Joe Butcher, a televangelist secretly in league with Sanchez.

Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. as President Hector Lopez, the president of Isthmus.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Kwang, a Hong Kong Police Narcotics agent sent to infiltrate Sanchez's operation.

Dianna Lee-Hsu as Loti, a female Narcotics agent working alongside Kwang.

Christopher Neame as Fallon, an MI6 agent sent to retrieve Bond.

Grand L. Bush as Hawkins, a DEA agent who opposes Bond's vendetta.

Robert Brown as M, the head of MI6 and Bond's superior.

Desmond Llewelyn as Q, the MI6 quartermaster.

Caroline Bliss as Miss Moneypenny, M's secretary.


The title of the film was originally intended to be Licence Revoked. However in America this is a commonly used phrase to describe the withdrawal of a driver's licence so the title was scrapped and replaced with Licence to Kill. This may have been a contributing factor to the film's failure as the majority of the promotional material created for the film could no longer be used as it had featured the Licence Revoked title.


See also: Licence to Kill (soundtrack) and Licence to Kill (song)

The theme song for Licence to Kill was performed by "Empress of Soul" Gladys Knight. The longest of all the Bond themes, Licence to Kill was based on the "horn line" from Goldfinger and, as such, royalties had to paid to the original writers of that song.

The score for the film was composed by Michael Kamen, known for scoring several action films of the 1980s, such as Lethal Weapon and Die Hard. Glen said that he picked Kamen because he could give "the closest thing to John Barry."


Licence to Kill is possibly the most divisive of all the James Bond movies. Supporters of the movie point to the strengths in the performances of Timothy Dalton and Robert Davi, the return of David Hedison as Felix Leiter, and the fact that the producers tried to do something different with Bond. Others, however, see this as detrimental, complaining that Licence to Kill "just doesn't feel like a Bond movie."