To Live and Die in L.A.

November 1st, 1985


more trailers To Live and Die in L.A.

Still of William Petersen in To Live and Die in L.A.Still of John Pankow and William Petersen in To Live and Die in L.A.Still of John Pankow and William Petersen in To Live and Die in L.A.Still of Darlanne Fluegel and William Petersen in To Live and Die in L.A.Still of William Petersen in To Live and Die in L.A.Still of Willem Dafoe and Debra Feuer in To Live and Die in L.A.

A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.

Release Year: 1985

Rating: 7.1/10 (11,767 voted)

Director: William Friedkin

Stars: William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow

Two cops in Los Angeles try to track down the vicious criminal Eric Masters. Then, one of them is killed by Masters and the other one swears revenge no matter what the cost. After that, the hunt becomes an ob- session and the law he once swore to uphold becomes meaningless to him.

Writers: Gerald Petievich, William Friedkin

William Petersen - Richard Chance (as William L. Petersen)
Willem Dafoe - Eric Masters
John Pankow - John Vukovich
Debra Feuer - Bianca Torres
John Turturro - Carl Cody
Darlanne Fluegel - Ruth Lanier
Dean Stockwell - Bob Grimes
Steve James - Jeff Rice
Robert Downey Sr. - Thomas Bateman (as Robert Downey)
Michael Greene - Jim Hart
Christopher Allport - Max Waxman
Jack Hoar - Jack
Valentin de Vargas - Judge Filo Cedillo (as Val DeVargas)
Dwier Brown - Doctor
Michael Chong - Thomas Ling

Taglines: The director of "The French Connection" is on the streets again!

Release Date: 1 November 1985

Filming Locations: 444 S. Flower Street, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA

Opening Weekend: $3,551,761 (USA) (1 November 1985)

Gross: $17,307,019 (USA)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Germany: (TV version)

Did You Know?

1980s band Wang Chung provided much of the soundtrack for this movie. When Chance enters the topless bar for the first time, Wang Chung's first hit song, "Dance Hall Days", is playing in the background.

Crew or equipment visible: When the truck jackknifes during the chase, you can see a tow truck in the left of the frame pulling the back of the trailer.

Richard Chance: Remember me? Football game at the airport?

User Review

Raw, brilliant crime thriller


When Friedkin went "back on the streets" in 1985 to make TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., he made a classic that will endure and that perfectly captures its 80's milieu.

I don't understand these idiots who complain how a film is "dated" by its music. Of course a film is "dated" by its specific elements, but so what. This superb film, which has an amazingly kinetic Wang Cheung score, is about a time (the mid-eighties) and place (L.A.) that is now history, and it is a punishing document.

The film works on many levels. Yes, it is about counterfeiting and superficial (re: counterfeit) relationships. It is about greed, survival, justice and morality. It is also about human beings using and laying to waste other human beings.

These powerful ingredients weave their way through a police procedural/action thriller plot that never stops to catch its breath and is pure cinema.

Willem Dafoe is totally engrossing as the film's villain, while William Peterson delivers a highly focused, tough turn. Dean Stockwell is also a stand-out as a crook lawyer and real cop Jack Hoar is quietly spectacular as Dafoe's mule.

And the film boasts one unbelievable car chase that has not been equaled since.

But LIVE AND DIE is also a film that expertly marries the visual to the aural and depicts a part of Southern California that has not been so credibly depicted before.