[[caption-width-right:300: The ''[[AwesomeMusic real]]'' stars of the movie.]]

''To Live and Die in L.A.'' is a 1985 American action/crime thriller film, based on the novel of the same name by Gerald Petievich and directed by Creator/WilliamFriedkin (''Film/TheExorcist'', ''Film/TheFrenchConnection'').

The film stars Creator/WilliamPetersen as Secret Service agent Richard Chance, a maverick type determined to take down Rick Masters (Creator/WillemDafoe), the counterfeiter who [[DeadSidekick shot Chance's partner]]. It also features an exceptionally '80s soundtrack by Wang Chung.

Now has a character sheet in progress.

!!This Movie Contains Examples Of:

* AmoralAttorney: Bob Grimes (Dean Stockwell) doesn't particularly care that Masters is a criminal and argues that he's just doing the job someone else would; when he helps the cops later on, he's solely looking out for his own neck and his own wallet. [[spoiler: Until it's revealed that he was trying to manipulate Vukovich on Masters' behalf the whole time.]]
* ArrestedForHeroism: Almost happens to Chance in the airport.
* AxCrazy: Chance has his moments.
* BadCopIncompetentCop: The federal agents in ''To Live and Die in LA'' are a much greater danger to the public, themselves, and each other than the criminals they pursue.
* BatmanColdOpen: The film opens with Jimmy Hart and Richard Chance working the Presidential Protection detail at the Beverly Hilton hotel where Reagan is giving a speech. When leaving the presidential suite to begin his part of the shift rotation, he notices a hotel porter with a room service tray crossing the end of the hall before the sound of him entering the stairwell is heard. On a whim, Chance goes to the entrance of the stairwell where he sees the tray sitting on the ground. Upon removing the lid on the plate and seeing it empty, he calls in the suspicious character and head heads after him, with Jimmy overhearing him on his earpiece. Chance heads for the roof where he finds an unconscious or dead L.A.P.D. officer before seeing the porter attaching a rappel line to some pipe jutting out of the roof and wearing a suicide vest with intention of assassinating President Reagan. Chance confronts the man who then puts his hands on the detonator cord and begins stating his willingness to die and cursing Israel and the U.S. Chance attempts to talk the terrorist down to no avail but while the terrorist rants he notices that Jimmy has somehow managed to get just below the terrorist on the edge of the roof. Jimmy pulls the man off the roof just as he pulls the cord and he explodes after falling a short distance off the roof. Shortly after, Chance and Jimmy sit on the roof tired and weary before Chance states, "Let's get out of here Jimmy. Go play some cards, get drunk." Clutching his shoulder and heavily panting, the elder Secret Service agent tiredly remarks, "I'm gettin' too old for this shit."
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Have fun figuring out who's gray.
* BoomHeadshot: Every other death in the movie is given this treatment; you'd be surprised at the amount of times someone is shot in the face in particular.
* BreakTheBadass: Vukovich. As the movie progresses, Chance's behavior takes an increasing toll on the poor guy, leading to several meltdowns and a HeroicBSOD.
* ByTheBookCop: Quite literally Chance's superior, Bateman, who is able to cite regulations chapter and verse, and actually has "the book" to hand.
* BurnBabyBurn: One of Masters' first scenes has him burning one of his paintings.
* ChaseScene: One of the most celebrated in cinema.
* CollidingCriminalConspiracies: Inverted [[spoiler: when Chance and Vukovich's robbery for buy money ends up wrecking an unrelated FBI sting operation.]]
%%* CounterfeitCash
* CrapsackWorld: Let's just say Friedkin's Los Angeles is not a sunny one despite the slick 80s visual aesthetic.
* DeadSidekick: Jimmy Hart (Michael Green), embodies this trope; because he's getting too old for this, he decides to [[{{Retirony}} retire]] to spend more time fishing; two days before retirement, he bites the bullet.
* DownerEnding: '''''And''''' '''HOW.''' [[spoiler:Chance dies during the sting, causing Vukovich to have a mental breakdown and kill Masters, but not before the latter destroyed all the evidence of his crimes by torching his downtown warehouse. Not only that, Vukovich essentially becomes the new Chance, and makes Ruth his bitch]]. If you enjoyed how the ending of the film turns out, go seek psychiatric help, ''now''.
* DownLADrain: The car chase includes a section where Chance and Vukovich are pursued through the L.A. storm drains.
* DepravedBisexual: Serena, [[spoiler:Bianca at the end]], and quite possibly Masters himself.
* TheDragon: Jack, to Masters.
* TheEighties: Ronald Reagan, Wang Chung, fantastic big hair, and truly retro credits fonts.
* EvilVersusEvil: Chance or Masters... who is worse?
* FriendOrFoe: [[spoiler:Thomas Ling, the undercover FBI man is actually shot by his fellow agents. They've parked their vehicle on an overpass and are shooting at the robbers with an Armalite rifle when another vehicle crashes into theirs. A startled agent clutches at the rifleman's shoulder and the weapon discharges, with the bullet killing Ling himself.]]
* Groin Attack: Done multiple times, by multiple characters to multiple characters.
* GuiltRiddenAccomplice: Vukovich.
* HeroicBSOD: Vukovich, [[spoiler:after the robbery of the FBI agent goes bad.]]
* HollywoodPoliceDrivingAcademy: Avoided: Chance pulls off the LA equivalent of [[Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack flying the Millennium Falcon into an asteroid field]] with flying colors.
* IndecisiveDeconstruction: The whole point about someone being a police maverick eventually gets deconstructed, as Chance's rule-breaking has serious, negative consequences: His withholding of information from his superiors makes them unwilling to help him; the convict he manages to bully the DA into releasing beats him up and escapes, and his plan to get the buy money for the sting goes horribly, horribly wrong. On the other hand, Chance ''does'' recapture Cody, and [[spoiler:the sting does go down; furthermore, the movie ends with Vukovich becoming the new maverick cop, to triumphant Wang Chung music.]]
%%* TheInfiltration
* TheInformant: Bianca, Ruth.
* InvisiblePresident: Chance and Jimmy are part of the Secret Service detail protecting Ronald Reagan, who is heard delivering a speech.
* {{Jerkass}}: Chance is a '''dick'''.
** Also, Judge Cirillo and Thomas Bateman.
** Pretty much '''ANY''' named character who isn't Jimmy Hart, Ruth, or John Vukovich [[spoiler: At least until the end of the film where he becomes essentially the reincarnation of Chance. Driven home when upon telling Ruth, "You're workin' for me now" at the end, she has flashbacks to her trysts with Chance. Driven (in this case literally) even further where after that scene, there's a short sequence that shows a later point where Vukovich is now even driving Chance's truck and parks at Ruth's house before the freeze frame and cut to credits.]]
* LeeroyJenkins: Chance. He dives headfirst into any kind of dangerous situation, both on and off the job. According to his first partner, he should learn to take it easy every now and then, otherwise he won't live to see retirement. [[spoiler:And... he doesn't in the end.]]
* MaleFrontalNudity: During one of Chance's "visits" with Ruth, his girlfriend/informant.
* MeaningfulEcho: When Chance delivers the down payment money, Masters checks one of the bills for authenticity, then purrs "You're beautiful." Later, when Chance and Vukovich meet with Masters to pick up the actual funny money, Chance repeats both the bill-check and Masters' line - before initiating the arrest.
* MeaningfulName: Richard Chance, Rick Masters.
* MutualKill: [[spoiler:Masters' henchman, Jack and Chance himself at the film's near end]].
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Pretty much every one of Chance's actions during the investigation results in this, especially when [[spoiler:he accidentally gets an undercover FBI agent killed while sticking him up to get the money for his sting operation.]]
%%* NotSoDifferent
* NothingPersonal: Masters' sentiment as he shoots Chance's partner.
--> '''Masters:''' Buddy, you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.
* OffOnATechnicality: Grimes mentions that he got someone off because he argued that a search warrant which imprecisely described the color of a house was invalid.
* RabidCop: Chance is a violent cop who's brash with authority figures, doesn't like it when the rules get in the way of his plans, takes evidence without following protocol and, oh yes, uses blackmail and armed robbery to further his investigation. All in the name of justice, mind you.
--> '''Chance:''' I'm gonna bag Masters, and [[NotHyperbole I don't give a shit how I do it.]]
* ReassignedToAntarctica: In the alternate ending Chance is reassigned to Alaska.
* {{Retirony}}: Jimmy Hart himself ends up getting killed by Jack and Masters, while investigating their warehouse.
* RevengeBeforeReason: This is what eventually defines Chance.
%%* ShootTheShaggyDog
* SirSwearsALot: Both Chance and Vukovich.
* SociopathicHero: By the mid-point Chance has been established as one, [[spoiler:engineering a robbery to get the money Masters asked]], but even before that, he casually mistreats his girlfriend/informant Ruth, and he says he'd ''immediately'' get her back in jail should she ever stop being his CI.
* SpiritualSuccessor:
** The film looked and felt enough like ''Series/MiamiVice'' that Creator/MichaelMann tried to sue for plagiarism. He wasn't successful. Ironically, William Petersen's performance in the film is what convinced Mann to cast him in ''{{Film/Manhunter}}''.
** Well, maybe. William Friedkin has said that "Michael Mann and I have been good friends for 30 years".
** If you watch a double-bill of this and ''Film/RepoMan'', you'll notice that both films feature (a) cinematography by Robby Müller and (b) car chases in the LA storm drains.
* ATragedyOfImpulsiveness: One of the scenes in the second half of the movie is this. [[spoiler:One of the two fellow agents who were trying to rescue Ling, was shooting at Chance and Vukovich, the robbers, only for him to get startled when another vehicle crashes into theirs. The rifleman's weapon then discharges, killing the victim of the robbery himself.]]
* {{Understatement}}: The car chase ends with a radio report stating that there's a "minor tie-up" on the freeway.
* VillainProtagonist: Chance happens to be this as a result of his extreme actions in the name of justice and/or revenge.