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Please don't bet that you'll ever escape me, once I get my sights on you...

M: This private vendetta of yours could easily compromise Her Majesty's government. You have an assignment, and I expect you to carry it out objectively and professionally.
Bond: Then you have my resignation, sir!
M: We're not a country club, 007!
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The one where Bond goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.

The sixteenth James Bond film, the fifth and last to be directed by John Glen and the second and last to star Timothy Dalton. It was released on July 14, 1989. Gladys Knight performed the Title Theme Tune.

When escaped drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) brutally attacks Bond's old friend Felix Leiter on his wedding night and murders Leiter's wife, Bond starts a personal vendetta against Sanchez that requires him to become a Rogue Agent in the process.

Dalton was signed to return as James Bond for a third time, but legal issues (a lawsuit concerning television licensing rights sold off cheap by the new MGM owners to finance the purchase of MGM, without approval of franchise co-owner, the Broccoli/Wilson family), coupled with reluctance, if not outright resistance, of the new MGM management in 1993 to see Dalton return once more, kept the series in a long-running hiatus (six years, the longest gap between two films in the franchise to this day) until Dalton resigned in April 1994. Pierce Brosnan was announced as the new James Bond in July 1994 and GoldenEye came out in November 1995.

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Also, the film is the first one not to be adapted from or even named after a Ian Fleming story.


This film contains examples of:

  • The '80s: Bond is a lone man-on-the-edge Cowboy Cop fighting a South American drug dealer who's bringing in wealthy Hong Kong businessmen to sell cocaine all over the world. Every car is boxy as hell, Pan-Am Airlines still exists, and Pam has trendy short '80s Hair and a background as an army pilot in South American warzones. Bond himself is perilously close to having a mullet, the series' gore has never been higher, and the ending song is a synthesizer-backed love ballad.
  • Action Dress Rip: Justified. Pam's evening dress zips off at the knee level.
  • Action Girl: Pam Bouvier is one of the best examples of the series. Other than the Bimini Bar Brawl (in which Bond really only provided the getaway vehicle), she never really needs to be saved by Bond. In fact, she saves him a few times.
  • Adaptation Distillation: An interesting one, because the movie isn't directly based on any Ian Fleming novel - instead, it's mainly constructed around plot elements that were dropped from earlier adaptations.
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    • The film lifts Felix Leiter's shark attack - down to the "He disagreed with something that ate him" note - from the novel Live and Let Die... the movie version of which starred David Hedison as Leiter.
    • Milton Krest and his boat, the Wavekrest are from "The Hildebrand Rarity", although the titular rarity — a fish — doesn't appear. Krest's wife-beating habits are transferred to Sanchez.
    • As for The Man with the Golden Gun, Sanchez himself shares many qualities with the novel's version of Francisco Scaramanga, both being crime lords in Central America, although he's more Faux Affably Evil. It also lifts the plot of Bond joining him as a "problem eliminator" to destroy his operation from within. Sanchez even looks a bit like Scaramanga and they even have some similarities in their names (Both are named '[variation of Frank] [surname that starts with S]').
  • Affably Evil: Professor Joe Butcher is a conman, but he's never anything but pleasant. Even when Pam pulls a gun on him, or steals back her "donation", he can only smile about the whole thing. It helps that it's not his money being stolen, and he did get to see her shapely leg. It's probably the reason he's the only villain (alongside Hector Lopez, who performs a Heel–Face Turn in the end of the film) in the film who survives Bond's wrath.
  • Agents Dating: Bond resolves the Love Triangle by choosing CIA agent Pam Bouvier. During the course of the film, she poses as his "Executive Secretary", with all the implications that come with that.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Lupe. Pam has shades of it, as well.
  • And Show It to You: Sanchez's threat of "cutting his heart out" wasn't a metaphor, and thankfully, we never see it.
  • And This Is for...:
    • When Bond's ally, Sharkey, is killed by one of Sanchez's goons, Bond makes sure to pay the guy back with a spear gun. "Compliments of Sharkey."
    • Bond shows Sanchez the engraved lighter that the Leiters gave him at their wedding so that Sanchez knows why Bond went to all the lengths he did to seek vengeance on him, before immolating him with it.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When M tells Bond that as a secret agent, Felix knew the risks, Bond retorts, "And his wife?"
  • Artistic License – Biology: The human-eating killer maggots (played here by a pile of white fishing lures). Maggots don't work that way! That said, the error is on Bond's part as he's just making a Bond One-Liner; the real thing incapacitating the Mook is being locked up in the maggots' incubation shelf.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety:
    • There is a point during Bond's assembly of the camera/sniper rifle where he ends up pointing the barrel at himself. This is even worse than it sounds, since he had loaded the gun just seconds before.
    • Q should also get a mention in this, for designing a gun in which loading the bullets is part of the assembly process rather than something you do after its been put together.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • It is completely impossible to catch up to something you are being towed by. As soon as you let go of the rope, you would immediately begin to fall behind (especially since Bond is water-skiing barefoot, and as such would have a lot more friction with the water). If the plane slowed down or turned, it might be allowable, but it is clearly accelerating, in order to take off.
    • And that's to say nothing of Bond balancing an eighteen-wheeler on just one side and maintaining his momentum for nearly a full minute without sending the truck tipping over.
  • Asshole Victim: Ed Killifer betrays and allows Leiter to be mauled by the shark. Then there's The Peeping Tom and incompetent Milton Krest, and the criminal accountant Truman-Lodge; the last one's main offence, however, is just pissing his boss off at the wrong time.
  • Authority in Name Only: Sanchez is the true dictator of Isthmus, and the guy who has the title of "El Presidente" is just a figurehead. Lampshaded when Sanchez reminds him, "You're only president for life".
  • Ax-Crazy: Dario is a handsome but monstrous young man who was so extreme that even The Contras kicked him out. He personally cut the heart out of the man Lupe was sleeping with, implied to have raped and murdered Della Leiter and who just loves to cause gruesome mayhem with a creepy giggle and a Slasher Smile.
  • Badass Bystander: A nameless, seemingly-ordinary truck driver manages to hold his against Bond himself when Bond attempts a High-Speed Hijack on his truck. He survives, and is thrown from his truck.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Bond would have been sent straight back to England after he was caught by the undercover narcotics agents if it weren't for Colonel Heller's timely intervention.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Bond kills Killifer by throwing his Briefcase Full of Money at him so he falls into a Shark Pool. Unusually it's Sharkey who gives the Bond One-Liner.
    "God, what a terrible waste. (Bond stares at him) Of money!"
  • Banana Republic: Isthmus City is an Expy for Panama. Sanchez even has a meeting with El Presidenté, where he informs the man that he is "replaceable".
    Sanchez: You're only President... For Life.
  • Bang Bang BANG: As an in-joke, there's a scene in the final chase where bullets ricochet off a tanker to the tune of the Bond theme.
  • Bar Brawl: Complete with Grievous Bottley Harm and Chairman of the Brawl.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Bond seems to desperately want Pam Bouvier. He vents his frustration by displaying vague hostility towards her.
  • Benevolent Boss: Sanchez starts off this way (as long as subordinates are very loyal to him). However, when James Bond becomes The Mole and manipulates him into paranoia, he becomes a Bad Boss who kills his subordinates.
  • Berserk Button: Franz Sanchez does not take being screwed over very well, a trait that Bond ends up taking advantage of.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Kwang tells this to his partner. She obliges by committing Suicide by Cop, by killing one of Colonel Heller's men, prompting Colonel Heller's men to shoot her.
  • Big Entrance: Leiter and Bond arrive at the wedding by skydiving from a helicopter that's dangling Sanchez's plane.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Probably the bloodiest and goriest Bond film to date. It's the first Bond film to be rated PG-13. In fact, it was originally slapped with an R rating by the MPAA, and had to have its gorier moments trimmed to get the lower, more marketable rating. As an amusing sign of how standards have changed over the years, when the Bond films were remastered in 2006, the original cut that got an R in 1989 was given a PG-13 this time.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • Oddly, by the villain.
    Sanchez: (when asked what to do about the blood-splattered money) Launder it.
    Sharkey: Oh, what a terrible waste. (Bond stares at him) Of money!
    • There's one in note form, "He disagreed with something that ate him.", which was lifted from the original novel of Live and Let Die. The film version also had David Hedison as Felix Leiter.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Almost averted, as Sanchez doesn't find out Bond's not on his side 'till very near the end, and when he does put Bond into his death trap he sticks around to watch until he's forced to leave because the place is on fire and about to explode, at which point he leaves his number two man in charge of finishing the job. Naturally, that goes poorly for him, but credit to Sanchez for getting so much closer to getting it right than most.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Bond attempts to take out Sanchez. He delivers the boom, but Kwang's agents thwart him on the critical shot.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Pam sports this, trimming it down from '80s Hair after an (offscreen) Expository Hairstyle Change.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Killifer gets a noticeably heavy suitcase with $2 million, in wads of $20s, as a reward for helping liberate Sanchez. Later becomes a case of Laser-Guided Karma when it's the item used to knock him into the shark pool. Played for Laughs when Bond arrives in Isthmus, goes to the bank manager's office, saying he wants to make a deposit. The manager politely asks why the tellers downstairs can't handle this, when the porter enters and puts down Bond's huge case with a loud thump. Cue immediate fawning from the manager, who, along with his assistant, start counting the money. Naturally, said manager is crestfallen when he realizes Bond intends to withdraw everything later.
  • Bullethole Door: Pam blasts an (excessively large) hole in the wall at the Bimini bar with a shotgun.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Dario manages to shoot Pam in the back as she and Bond escape from the bar. Luckily, her top was made of kevlar.
  • Call-Back:
    • Pam's "I haven't heard that one in a long time" quip about Bond mentioning their escape boat has run out of fuel is most likely a reference to Bond and Honey Rider's similar predicament at the end of Dr. No.
    • The opening chords to this movie's theme is similar to the one to Goldfinger.
    • The horrific end to Felix's marriage to Della echoes Bond's own tragic marriage to Tracy.
    • Sanchez's iguana wears a diamond collar similar to the one Blofeld's cat had in Diamonds Are Forever.
    • "Why don't you wait until you're asked?" "Why don't you ask me?"
  • Car Skiing: The climactic chase has Bond commandeering a tanker truck and somehow managing to dodge a Stinger missile with this maneuver.
  • The Cartel: Sanchez' cocaine business is described as an "invisible empire from Chile to Alaska".
  • Cartwright Curse: Felix's marriage to Della lasted twice, possibly three times as long as Bond's marriage to Teresa. This isn't saying much.
  • Casting Gag: Grand L. Bush plays a DEA agent tasked with apprehending Sanchez, played by Robert Davi. The two men appeared together as FBI Agent Johnson and Special Agent Johnson (no relation) respectively in Die Hard the year prior.
  • Central Theme: The concept of a license to kill.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: This is James Bond's only protection against someone's Shamu Fu in the Bar Brawl. It is notable for failing to block the top of the swordfish.
  • Chekhov's Gift: Della and Felix Leiter give Bond a cigarette lighter as a wedding present. It is later used to light an petrol/cocaine soaked Franz Sanchez on fire, sending him to his doom.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Partially averted. Some of the gadgets Q brings to Isthmus City (the exploding alarm clock and the laser/X-ray Polaroid camera) are never used (in the field). However, if Bond doesn't succeed to assassinate Sanchez with the gun, it only responds to Bond's handprint; this saves his life later when a ninja tries shooting him with it.
    • As a present to their Best Man, Felix and Della give James a lighter which overflares when he tries it out. Bond uses it to finish off Sanchez.
    • Also Felix has a flower tucked into his lapel for the wedding. Bond identifies Krest's Ocean Exotica warehouse as the place where Leiter was fed to the shark when Bond sees it among some of the garbage on the floor (that, and traces of dried blood).
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: See below, under "Not Enough to Bury".
  • Co-Dragons: Dario, Perez and Braun. Sanchez trusts each one implicitly and they all three seem to hold the same amount of authority in his organization.
  • Collapsing Lair: Bond throws a beaker of petrol at a Bunsen burner, which causes a chain reaction that ends up destroying Sanchez's operation. Justified in that they have loads of it to mix with the cocaine.
  • Cool Pet: Sanchez has a pet iguana who wears a diamond collar.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Eclipse Comics adapted the story as a standalone graphic novel.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Sanchez has a Right Hand Iguana with a diamond necklace.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Continuity Snarl: The novelization. In the foreword, John Gardner claims it's not meant to be in continuity with his continuing series. Nevertheless, he tries to fit it into the Bond literary continuity, which makes things more complicated, since quite a few scenes and characters from the movie are lifted directly from prior Fleming novels. Felix Leiter gets attacked by a shark in a chapter, "Lightning Strikes Twice", and the shark bites his prosthesis off, because apparently this Felix lost his leg to a shark in Live and Let Die. And yet Milton Krest (adapted from the story "The Hildebrand Rarity") appears again, meaning the novelization doesn't fit neatly into either the novel continuity or the film continuity.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: Bond is on a conveyor belt leading to a crusher crushing blocks of cocaine. It's where Dario meets his demise.
  • Cool Guns:
    • The FIM-92 Stinger is a key point of the plot, as well as the focus of a stunt involving an 18-wheeler going up on 9 wheels.
    • Pam Bouvier brings a Mosberg 500 Cruiser with her to meet James Bond at a bar. During the ensuing bar brawl, she fires the weapon to blow a hole in the wall for the two of them to escape.
    • Sanchez's gun of choice is the Micro-Uzi.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: The televangelist Professor Joe Butcher actually makes a profit from his preaching, even though it's only meant to be a cover for Franz Sanchez's drug operation. And a henchman working at a marine supply business gives himself away when he doesn't know what the Latin name for a Great White shark is.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Sanchez's escape, first bribing Killifer with a hefty sum and then having him drive the prison van off the road on the Key West Bridge, where his froggers are waiting.
    • Pam brings a shotgun and a kevlar vest to a Bad-Guy Bar to meet Bond. Naturally, she ends up needing both.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Happens to most of the villains. Killifer is devoured by a great white shark. Milton Krest is locked in a decompression chamber where the pressure is gradually and painfully increased. The pressure is then abruptly released, causing his head to explode. Dario is shredded feet-first through a cocaine grinder. Colonel Heller is impaled on a forklift truck which is then rammed through a wall. Perez and Braun are driving in a truck that gets completely engulfed in flames, which then sails over the side of a tall cliff. Finally, Sanchez himself, soaked in gasoline, is lit on fire and runs around screaming, before his tanker explodes and incinerates him.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Sanchez owns casinos and a cheesy New Age Televangelist racket fronted by Wayne Newton.
  • Cute Kitten: The Hemingway House where James Bond meets up with M has some kittens wandering about (used for a Mythology Gag — the mysterious figure stroking one of them turns out to be Bond's boss, not a Blofeld-like character with a Right-Hand Cat).
  • Cyanide Pill: Kwang, the Hong Kong narcotics agent, bites down on one before Sanchez can interrogate him.
  • Darker and Edgier: This remains the darkest Bond flick, to the effect that some audiences were turned off by the violence. Others thought it was more faithful to the books. In fact, some scenes had to be trimmed or removed to avoid an R-rating (They were later restored for the Ultimate Edition DVD/Blu-Ray). It did get a 15, roughly equivalent in terms of what's allowed, in the UK and is the only Bond film to date to have a theatrical release rated 15.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Q actually gets to be a supporting character in this one, rather than his usual one scene appearance to give Bond his gadgets.
  • Death by Materialism: The corrupt DEA Agent Killifer accepts a two million dollar bribe to help drug lord Franz Sanchez escape. Sanchez then abducts Bond's friend Felix Leiter and has him mutilated by a shark. When James Bond catches up with him, Killifer offers to split the two million with him. Bond tells him to keep it and throws the suitcase containing the money at Killifer, knocking him into the Shark Pool where he is devoured by the same shark that mauled Leiter.
  • Death Glare: Pam shoots Bond one when he introduces her as his "executive secretary"/
  • Deconstruction: Bond going rogue had been hinted in previous films (Goldfinger, and most notably On Her Majesty's Secret Service), but never really explored until now. Licence to Kill really doesn't show this in a flattering light, considering the number of innocent people who end up dead because of Bond's vendetta.
  • Desecrating the Dead: Sanchez captures Kwang who he believed tried to assassinate him (in fact, it was an unrelated plot by James Bond). The agent commits suicide by Cyanide Pill before he can be questioned, and Sanchez shoots his corpse several times to vent his anger.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Franz Sanchez is a big-time drug lord with "an invisible empire from Chile to Alaska" and the local dictator in his pocket.
  • Dirt Forcefield: One of the few movies where Bond doesn't have it. By the end of the final action sequence, he's covered in sweat, blood, dirt, and gasoline.
  • Dirty Cop: Ed Killifer is bribed by Sanchez into helping break him out.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Twice for Bond. The first time when Pam shows up at the bank, having gotten a new haircut and decent set of clothes. The second time when she strips down to her underwear as she and Bond load Sanchez's money on to the Wave Krest to frame Krest.
  • Disturbed Doves: Bond dislodges a few while rappelling to attach plastic explosives next to Sanchez's office window.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulu: Towards the end, it's safe to say that Franz Sanchez had a bad day. His drug refining facility has been destroyed, the religious cult cover has been exposed, and Bond has now destroyed two of the tankers with millions of dollars worth of petro-cocaine and managed to steal one. The last thing he needs at this point was his snot-nosed financial adviser berating him for messing up a lucrative business.
    Truman-Lodge: Brilliant! Well done, Franz! Another $80 million write-off!
    Sanchez: I guess it's time to start cutting overhead.
    Sanchez guns down Truman-Lodge
  • Driving a Desk: Scenes of Sanchez and his cronies pretend to drive through long stretches of Isthmus's highways.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: Bond is present "only as an observer" so doesn't get the credit for capturing Sanchez, who ends up retaliating against the wrong man.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Sanchez to Bond after he's exposed as a spy. When Bond refuses to say anything at all, Sanchez orders him put on the Conveyor Belt o' Doom.
  • Ending Theme: "If You Asked Me To" by Patti La Belle.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Sanchez's cartel is very multi-ethnic.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In Sanchez's first scene, as he finds his girlfriend Lupe in bed with another man, he has Dario, Perez and Braun kill the boyfriend by cutting out his heart, and he personally whips her with a stingray tail. This is all that's needed to tell us that Sanchez is a lot worse than your average Bond villain.
  • Every Man Has A Price: Sanchez is known for his "million dollar bribes". Killifer betrays Felix Leiter to help him escape at the beginning of the film for 2 million. Bond is not amused.
  • Evil Plan: Sanchez's scheme involves cocaine hidden in gasoline sold to Asian drug dealers, conducted via a televangelist, revolutionizing the drug smuggling business. He's also bought Stinger missiles from the Contras and is threatening to use them on American airliners if the DEA didn't back off. The story, however, is more about Bond's Roaring Rampage of Revenge for what Sanchez and his people did to Felix Leiter and his new wife.
  • Exploding Fish Tanks: Happens when a guard at the aquarium shoots at Bond, in a scene taken from the novel Live and Let Die.
  • Explosive Decompression: A "Byford Dolphin" style decompression involving Milton Krest, a decompression chamber and an axe. This one gets frequently trimmed by the local Media Watchdog.
  • Expy:
    • Sharkey appears to be one of the Quarrel family.
    • Regarding Franz Sanchez.
      • He seems to be one for both Pablo Escobar (a South American drug lord who liberally bribes and kills anyone who gets in his way, "Plata o plomo" ["Silver or lead"], the name of Escobar's "policy" being even directly referenced) and Manuel Noriega (another South American drug lord who was the de facto ruler of a Banana Republic in the '80s). Regarding the latter, both Noriega and Sanchez's actor, Robert Davi, have noticeable pockmark scarring on their faces, though that could be purely coincidential.
      • Sanchez also bears some resemblance to earlier Bond villain, Francisco Scaramanga. Both even have roughly similar-ish names (Both are the initials "F.S." and both start with a variation of "Frank").
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Both Killifer and Krest are nauseated by Sanchez dipping Leiter into the shark pool. Especially telling because when the scene is later mimicked with Bond throwing Killifer in the same pool, while Sharkey looks away in horror, Bond isn't disturbed at all and keeps watching.
    • Pam mentions that Dario "used to be with the Contras until they kicked him out".
    • One of Sanchez's drivers is shown rescuing his companion from the burning vehicle.
    • Heller doesn't particularly seem to mind being the head of security/paramilitary enforcer for a major international drug-lord in general terms, with all that implies. However, the fact that he makes a deal with the US Attorney General after Sanchez buys Stinger missiles and threatens to shoot down an American airliner if the DEA doesn't back off suggests that this is a shade too far for him.
    • Sanchez himself explains to Krest at one point that loyalty means more to him than money, explaining why he pays Killifer the money he promised him. So, brutish murderer and drug kingpin though he is, Sanchez clearly values the loyalty of his underlings and will reward it very well. But cross him and you're dead meat.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bond frames Krest for embezzlement so that Sanchez will kill him, but he is visibly shocked by the manner that Sanchez chooses to kill him.
  • Famous Last Words:
    • "There's two million dollars in that suitcase. I'll split it with you." Ed Killifer, before Bond knocks him into the shark tank.
    • "That's it. Pack her out and sink her." Clive, before Bond shoots him in the stomach with his harpoon gun.
    • "Don't let them take you alive." Kwang, to a fellow Hong Kong narcotics agent, as they lie dying.
    • "Please, Franz, no!" Milton Krest, before violently exploding in the pressure chamber.
    • "SANCHEZ!" Dario, before being crushed in the cocaine grinder.
    • "Of course." Ed Heller, later impaled by a forklift.
    • "Brilliant! Well done, Franz! Another eighty-million dollar write-off!" Truman-Lodge, before getting shot up by Sanchez's Micro Uzi.
    • "You could have had everything." Franz Sanchez, before Bond sets him on fire.
  • Fatal Flaw: Franz Sanchez and his obsession with personal loyalty. Throughout the film, 007 drops hints to Sanchez that his henchmen are plotting to betray him. And because Sanchez doesn’t truly understand loyalty (and the fact that it is a two-way street, essentially), he believes the lies. He thinks loyalty is only bottom-up, not top-down. And because he is not loyal to those around him, it is easy for Sanchez to believe the worst of them.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sanchez is a hospitable enough guy that you almost forget that in other scenes, he whips Lupe with a stingray tail, has a guy's heart literally cut out, had Della Leiter raped and killed, feeds Felix Leiter to a shark, and shoves Krest into a decompression chamber (after being tricked into thinking that Krest had betrayed him).
  • Fed to the Beast: Sanchez badly maims Felix Leiter by having him thrown into a Shark Pool in revenge for his role in his capture as the rest of his men murder Della, Felix's new wife. Bond starts his Roaring Rampage of Revenge by feeding Killifer, the bribed DEA agent who helped to spring Sanchez, to the shark in turn.
  • Fixing the Game: Bond is cleaning up the pit bosses while playing blackjack in Sanchez's casino. Sanchez sends Lupe in to replace the dealer. After Lupe expertly shuffles and cuts the deck, Bond asks if he is going to lose. Lupe replies yes, but not much. Bond quits the game. It's ambiguous if Lupe is actually fixing the game or is just better at playing it. It's a bit odd for a casino to rig one blackjack table since the House always wins.
  • Forklift Fu: Heller is impaled on a forklift by Braun.
  • A Friend in Need: Even after Bond becomes a Rogue Agent, Moneypenny arranges to send Q with a bagful of his handy gadgets.
  • The Generalissimo: Hector Lopez. He is portrayed as more Punch-Clock Villain than dictator, as his country is effectively a puppet of Sanchez.
  • Graceful Loser: Joe Butcher responds to Pam locking him in a room and later robbing him with a cheery, "Bless your heart!"
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: After seeing Pam flee a party heartbroken after seeing Lupe begin to flirt with him again, Bond jumps off a balcony into a swimming pool below in order to catch up with her.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: Carefully averted. The filmmakers weren't sure if the USSR was still going to be around by the time the movie was finished, so they purposely crafted the plot around something completely unrelated to Communism.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: During the Bar Brawl, a man attacks Bond with a swordfish. Pam saves him by smashing a bottle over the man's head.
  • Groin Attack: In the bar, before the Bar Brawl, Pam threatens Dario with this with her shotgun after Dario (who's oogling her like a horndog) tries to tempt her with "Talking out back" (so he could rape her and god knows what else). There's a very brief shot of the muzzle hitting his groin. Freeze-Frame Bonus shows that Dario's sporting an erection.
  • Ground by Gears: Dario attempts to drop Bond into an industrial pulverizer that is being used to crush cocaine. After a tough fight, Bond manages to yank Dario so he falls into the pulverizer and is turned into a fine pink mist.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Bond is searching a marine research warehouse and finds a tank full of maggots. Grimacing, he plunges his hands inside and finds it's used to hide packages of cocaine. Just then a guard comes up behind him. Bond asks if he can take his hands out, then throws maggots in the guard's face.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: It starts with Sanchez feeding Leiter to a shark (after raping and killing his new bride), followed by Bond resigning from MI-6, briefly going rogue, and killing every member of Sanchez's organization in increasingly graphic ways. For once, Bond is not following orders, and is acting out of a thirst for revenge.
  • Hero Antagonist: M becomes this as he tries to reign in Bond, who has gone rogue and is up to some increasingly reckless antics in his personal vendetta. There is also Fallon ("our man in Isthmus" according to M) and the Hong Kong narcotics agents (remember, Hong Kong was a British crown colony at the time), who capture Bond for possibly blowing their undercover operation against Sanchez.
  • Hero Harasses Helpers: Throughout most of the film, James Bond doesn't look highly upon CIA operative Pam Bouvier, that is, until the end.
  • High-Speed Hijack: Bond does this when he hijacks one of Sanchez's tankers in the climactic chase. He drops onto the back of the tanker from a light plane before climbing into the cab where he gets into a knife fight with the driver before finally forcing him out and taking control of the truck.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Sanchez would probably have been much more safe if he'd just returned straight to Isthmus after paying off Killifer. His decision to retaliate against Leiter is what costs him his entire drug empire and life in the end.
    • Killifer, Leiter's DEA partner, sells him and Della out for $2 million. Later, when Bond has him dangling over a shark pit containing the same shark that Leiter was fed to, Killifer desperately offers Bond the money, only for Bond to decide he should keep it... by throwing it, and the metal case it's in, right at him. This causes Killifer to lose his grip and fall right into the shark pit, and promptly get eaten. It was a terrible waste... of money.
  • Hollywood Density: Averted with the Briefcase Full of Money. The briefcase that Sanchez uses to pay Killifer for liberating him is noticeably heavy. So is the briefcase Bond takes to the Banco di Isthmus.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Because Sanchez believes that Bond saved him from a botched assassination attempt by Hong Kong narcotics (really, it was the other way around), he believes Bond's (false) suggestions that his henchmen are in fact, plotting against him, prompting Sanchez to go Bad Boss on his loyal employees.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After all the times Q has criticized Bond in previous movies for the mistreatment of his gadgets, seeing him casually toss aside a rake radio transmitter after using it to report Bond's whereabouts to Pam is almost too funny to bear.
  • I Gave My Word: Bond adopts (and even states) this mentality to Q and Pam in his quest to take down Franz Sanchez and his drug empire. Still, it's implied that he's going solo because he doesn't want their deaths on his hands, as the last person who tried to mess with Sanchez, he ended up brutally mauled and his wife killed.
  • I Work Alone: Bond adopts (and even states) this mentality to Q and Pam. It's implied that he's going solo because he doesn't want their deaths on his hands, given what happened to Leiter. Notably, every time he pulls this trope, he ends up either changing his mind and realising that he needs their help or getting into trouble that one of them (usually Pam) has to help extricate him from.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Attempted on Bond in the Bar Brawl with a swordfish. The look on Bond's face when the chair he uses barely deflects it is priceless.
    • Colonel Heller, with a forklift truck.
  • Implied Death Threat: Sanchez, who really runs Isthmus City, tells President Lopez, "Remember, you are only President... for Life".
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • During the Bar Brawl, a mook improvises a spear out of a swordfish.
    • During the climax, Pam saves Bond from several mooks by cropdusting them with her plane.
  • Infared X Ray Camera: A real one appears, which Pam Bouvier nearly shoots Bond and Q with. It prints out an infrared xray picture of their two skeletons dodging for cover.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Q issues Bond with a signature gun that will only fire when it verifies Bond's palm print on the stock. This saves Bond's life when a ninja snatches it off him and tries to fire it.
  • It's Personal: Sanchez, throws Felix Leiter to the sharks. Bond is naturally pissed, and subsequently blows up windows, laboratories and trailer trucks to get to Sanchez.
    • As bad as almost killing Felix by shark is, the real Moral Event Horizon was that the gang also raped and killed Felix's wife... on the night of their honeymoon!
  • Just Between You and Me: Inverted towards the end, with Bond revealing his reasons to Sanchez before killing him.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Killifer ends up dangling above the same Shark Pool Felix had been lowered into and desperately offers to split his payoff with Bond. Bond, however, answers "You earned it. You keep it, old buddy.", and throws it at him, making him fall in and get eaten.
    • A rare serious example is when Bond asks Sanchez, "Don't you want to know why?", showing him a silver lighter -the wedding gift that Leiter and his wife had given him, before Sanchez had her killed and Leiter maimed by a shark. Bond then sets the oil-soaked Sanchez on fire with their wedding present.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Sanchez's murder of Krest by putting him in a decompression airlock.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Pam Bouvier wear a slinky, rhinestone blue dress - but enough to have a nice little pistol in her garter.
  • Kill It with Fire: Bond sets Sanchez on fire using a lighter (though said he was covered in gasoline, so it's plausible).
  • Knight of Cerebus: Franz Sanchez, who beats his girlfriend with a whip and has her secret lover's heart ripped out. After being captured by Bond and Felix in the opening, he later escapes from jail, maims Felix and murders his wife, setting up Bond's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Throughout the movie, as Bond starts getting under Sanchez' skin, the villain starts killing his own henchmen in some rather gory methods like making one explode in a decompression chamber and impaling another on a forklift. Even compared to the Daniel Craig movies, this is arguably the darkest Bond flick of all.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: Ed Killifer is a DEA agent who accepts a $2 million bribe to spring drug lord Sanchez from federal custody.
  • Layman's Terms: Bond has to explain to the guard working at Krest's marine research warehouse that a Carcharodon carcharias is a Great White Shark. The guard failing to recognize the Latin term is the first clue that Bond has found the place where Leiter was fed to the shark.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The fact that Bond's waterskiing-plane hijacking stunt is so incredible and borderline ridiculous is actually a factor influencing Sanchez's judgment of Krest when he grills him about losing the money and the cocaine.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: Ed Killifer, a DEA agent who easily takes a $2 million dollar bribe to spring Sanchez from federal custody.
  • Literal Ass Kissing: Bond is trapped on a Conveyor Belt of Doom, and Franz Sanchez boasts that once Bond loses his feet to the grinder, he'll beg to kiss Sanchez's ass just to make the pain stop. Fortunately, Bond is rescued before this can happen.
  • Little Useless Gun: When they meet at the bar, Pam asks Bond if he's carrying. When he shows her his PPK, she tuts and shows him the Sawed-Off Shotgun she's brought with her and tells him to stay down if shooting starts. Later, she favours a .25 calibre pistol, because they're easy to conceal, especially in her thigh holster. She shoots Dario in the heart in the climax. Not only does a heartshot not finish him off, but the gun jams. It still injures him enough for Bond to throw him into the coke grinder.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Bond is issued a sniper rifle with fingerprint scanners on the handle, preventing anyone but him from firing it. It comes in handy when assassins try to use the gun against him.
  • Machete Mayhem: Sanchez's gasoline truck drivers are apparently armed with machetes, in case of hostile takeover. The man himself is also holding one when he confronts Bond in the climax.
  • Made of Explodium: Sanchez' mountain base explodes because of one little beaker of burning gasoline.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Bond himself basically become the Iago to Sanchez's Othello, except that this time Sanchez really, really deserves it.
  • Man on Fire: Sanchez starts out this way, followed by Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Market-Based Title: The original title was License Revoked. It was reportedly changed because US viewers were not expected to know what "revoked" means, and face it, License to Kill just sounds better. The Ultimate Edition DVD documentary Inside License to Kill explains that the reason for the change was that to Americans, the term "license revoked" denotes lost driving privileges.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The movie itself due to the excessive violence. Plus, at least six other blockbusters crowded this movie out of the market in the summer of 1989, making some believe it really was the licence to kill the franchise. At the very least, it prevented any future Bond films from being released in the summer. Later they almost did this with Quantum of Solace, though, although they may have been spooked by the prospect of running against an Indiana Jones and Batman film in the summer...again.
    • Pam Bouvier's name, and her alias 'Miss Kennedy' are a reference to JFK's wife, Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
    • In-universe acknowledgement: One of Krest's froggers comments on Sharkey's poor choice of nickname. Guess how he dies?
    • It probably shouldn't have come as too much of a surprise that Killifer ends up dead early on.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Felix Leiter gets injured while his wife gets killed → plot to smuggle cocaine dissolved in petrol into Asia and sell it disguised as fuel to drug lords.
  • The Mole: All over the place.
    • Ed Killifer helps Sanchez escape and sells Leiter out to him.
    • On the other side, Colonel Heller is trying to take Sanchez's Stinger missiles back to the Americans in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
    • Kwang infiltrates Sanchez's circle posing as a Chinese drug baron, and Lupe aids Bond in convincing Sanchez that Krest is a Mole (or at least a traitor), when in fact he is loyal.
    • Bond himself is sort-of this, and for a moment believes Pam is one when he sees her meeting with Heller through the lens of his sniper rifle.
  • More Dakka:
    • Realizing a lethal Bar Brawl is imminent, Bond shows Pam his holstered Walther PPK. She gives him a contemptuous look and shows she's holding a shotgun under the table.
    • Heller launches an assault on Kwang's hideout with a tank!
    • The trope backfires on Sanchez when he uses his precious Stingers on Bond and Pam, and at far too close a range to activate the explosive.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Carey Lowell, especially for those into Girls with Guns when she pulls a pistol from her sexy blue sequined dress, and Talisa Soto, who spends most of the movie either dressed in revealing clothes or just a Modesty Bedsheet.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He doesn't say it, but it's hinted by Bond's mild Heroic BSoD reaction after Pam tells him that Sanchez has acquired Stinger missiles and is threatening to shoot down a civilian airliner in retaliation for the DEA arresting him, and that Bond's assassination attempt has spooked The Mole they were hoping to use to bring him down into backing off. Notably, whereas up to that point his focus has pretty much been 'make Sanchez dead ASAP', his goals broaden to include dismantling Sanchez's entire operation while he's at it.
  • Mythology Gag: At the Hemingway House, Bond is led to a shadowy figure stroking a cat, à la Blofeld, but it turns out to be M. It does immediately foreshadow M's much more antagonistic role in this scene, though.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: As noted, Bond's quest for revenge ends up screwing up the actual plans other law enforcement agencies had in place, and gets a lot of them killed.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Sanchez and his minions maim Felix and leave him for dead after killing his wife in retaliation for his earlier arrest; indeed they accomplish what few villains have ever done and that is to royally piss off James Bond.
  • Ninja: Hong Kong Narcotics employs ninjas as special agents. (Given that the Special Duties Unit of the Hong Kong Police Force were trained by the SAS before the colony was handed back to China, this may not be as far fetched as it first seems.)
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The Republic of Isthmus and Isthmus City stand in for Panama and Panama City, respectively.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • Bond is trapped on a conveyor belt leading to a pair of toothed rollers. There is an emergency stop switch... on the far end of the conveyor. Then again, this may have been a deliberate Death Trap.
    • Krest suffers death by Explosive Decompression when a single hose on his hyperbaric chamber is cut by the Big Bad.
  • No Smoking: The smoking was kept - but, due to Product Placement, added a Surgeon General's Warning to the end credits.
  • Noble Demon: Sanchez thinks of himself as this. Ends up being a cheap thug at the conclusion.
  • Noodle Incident: In a deleted scene, Pam tells Bond that the Feds would love to get their hands on Col. Heller, but we never find out why.
  • Not Enough to Bury: Krest, who dies from Explosive Decompression, and Dario, who dies by going through a coke grinder.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: The "signature gun" will only fire when it registers Bond's palm print on the stock. This saves Bond's life when a ninja snatches it and tries to shoot Bond.
  • Nothing Personal: Sanchez says this to Felix right before he dips him into the shark pool.
    Sanchez: I want you to know this is nothing personal, is purely (pause) business.
  • Novelization: The film got a novelization from John Gardner, who was writing Bond novels at the time. Gardner had the interesting task of of reconciling the film continuity (such as it is) with that of the Fleming novels. For instance, in the film Felix Leiter gets his leg bitten off by a shark. But in the Fleming books, to which Gardner's novelization was meant to be a sequel, Leiter had already lost a leg to a shark (which happened in Live and Let Die). Gardner simply had the shark bite off Leiter's prosthetic, without the bad guys noticing.
  • Offing the Mouth: Truman Lodge, Sanchez's accountant. He's the helper that gets more and more snarky about the money loss that the typical Bond-brand Roaring Rampage of Revenge is giving them (Supervillain Lair-slash-drug lab blown up sky-high, Evil Minions killed, Stinger missiles that they were going to use to shoot down airliners wasted on trying to kill Bond, etc) as the movie goes on. Sanchez eventually gets enough during the final action sequence, and with a proper Pre-Mortem One-Liner shoots him dead with a Micro-Uzi.
    Sanchez: I guess it's time to start cutting overhead.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Bond gets a huge one at the drug labs when Dario turns up, having met Bond in a previous encounter. Bond's attempts to play it cool doesn't fool him though, forcing Bond to blow his cover.
    • Sanchez and Truman-Lodge as they watch one truck tanker full of their cocaine-laden gasoline careening down a hill into another one, right in front of their car.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Timothy Dalton. His Northern accent is more evident than before in this film, although such 'slippage' might have been intentional.
    • Dario has a bit of a "Latin"-accent in most of his scenes but when he reveals that Bond was The Mole to Sanchez near the end ('I know him! He's an informer!') he sounds American.
  • Only Mostly Dead: How Bond finds Felix in his house, as Sanchez had only meant to leave him horribly maimed to suffer the loss of his leg and his wife. Only Bond's arrival keeps Felix from expiring.
  • Only Serves for Life: Sanchez warns President Lopez that he's "only President for Life", reminding him who's really in charge of the country when the president gets too uppity.
  • Outside Ride: Bond and Sanchez cling to the outside of gasoline tanker trucks during the films climatic chase scene.
  • Overt Operative:
    • Justified — Bond is able to infiltrate Sanchez's operation as himself, having just been kicked out of MI6. Given Sanchez already has ex-CIA members like Colonel Heller working for him, this is nothing unusual and there's nothing there to make Sanchez be suspicious of Bond's background.
    • Averted when Sanchez is first captured; Bond isn't there officially (he's "just an observer") because it's Felix's jurisdiction. This means that Sanchez thinks that Felix caught him, and so he has no idea of Bond's existence until he turns up looking for work.
  • Overt Rendezvous: Bond meets Pam Bouvier at a seaside bar.
  • Pair the Spares: At the end James chooses Pam Bouvier over Lupe Lamora and suggests that she hook up with El Presidente instead of him. This basically comes out of nowhere, as Lupe and El Presidente have shared literally zero scenes beforehand.
  • Path of Inspiration:
    • Professor Joe Butcher, a New Age Scam Religion TV evangelist and head of the Olympatec Meditation Institute. Its main purpose is as a front for Sanchez's drug operation and donations invariably end up funding that, with "targets" in donations actually being drug dealer speak for agreeing new market prices for their product.
    • Truman-Lodge mentions to the Orientals that they started the Olympatec Meditation Institute strictly as a cover for the underground distribution center below it, but Butcher has found a way to make it profitable in and of itself.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Q, even more so than before. For the villain side, the soft-spoken Affably Evil Professor Joe Butcher qualifies as well.
  • Poor Communication Kills: M made a serious mistake dealing with Bond. He very well knew the CIA and Hong Kong agents had operations going on in Isthmus City, and that there were plans to take down Sanchez. However, even if he didn't want a hotheaded Bond to add himself to one of those operations if he knew about them, at the very least he could have refuted Bond's idea that the Americans were doing nothing. M should have said that there was a plan going on, instead of the old "they knew what they were getting into" line.
  • Pop the Tires: Bond is driving a stolen fuel tanker, but is sent off the road when the mooks shoot out the rear tires, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
  • Porn Stache: Q wears one when he's sneaking around Sanchez's estate with a radio-transmitting broom.
  • Post-Rape Taunt: Dario and his men taunt Felix Leiter with news of their murder of his new wife, among other things telling him, "We gave her a nice honeymoon," implying that they raped her before killing her. Then they feed Felix to a shark.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Sanchez promises money to whoever springs him. The greedy Killifer obliges. Once they're safely away from the authorities, Krest suggests "deep-sixing" Killifer, but Sanchez forbids it; he pays Killifer what he promised rather than killing him, chiding Krest, "Loyalty is more important to me than money."
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Bond gets one of these after his license to kill is revoked, and right before he leaves the scene with his weapon.
    I guess it's a farewell to arms.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Perhaps the most serious, heartfelt example in a Bond film.
      Franz Sanchez: You could have had everything.
      Bond: Don't you want to know why? [takes out the lighter Felix gave him, and sets Sanchez on fire with it]
    • Sanchez gets one himself.
      Truman-Lodge: Brilliant! Well done, Franz! Another eighty-million dollar write-off!
      Sanchez: Then I guess it's time to start cutting overhead. (shoots Truman-Lodge with a Uzi)
    • And Pam:
      Dario: You're dead!
      Pam: Took the words right out of my mouth! (shoots Dario)
    • There's also "Compliments of Sharkey!", right before Bond harpoons Krest's frogman and kicks off the water-skiing chase.
  • Precision F-Strike: Q tells Pam not to be upset at Bond spending the night with Lupe, as it's something often required by his job. Pam's response: "Bullshit!" Quite shocking given the lack of profanity in the series before then.
  • President for Life: Hector Lopez, the "president"note  of the Banana Republic of Isthmus. Sanchez uses this line as a threat that means — if he doesn't cooperate, "for life" means "until I no longer approve of you being the puppet president".
  • Pretty Boy: Dario. Apart from the fact that he tends to display creepy-as-hell "Jack Torrance" faces, he's actually a very boyishly attractive youth.
  • Product Placement:
    • The title sequence is literally a commercial for Olympus cameras. It shows the brand name several times and has a photography theme that doesn't correlate to anything in the movie. One of Bond's gadgets is disguised as a camera... and that's it. It's not even one that he uses; Pam does, but only because she mistook it for a real camera.
    • Both the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and Sanchez's private helicopter prominently display the logo of Aerospatiale, the French aircraft manufacturing company of both of the helicopter models shown.
    • A real-life Lark cigarettes package was used by Bond as a gadget (reportedly the company paid $350,000 for the privilege). When the film was released in the US it was considered enough of an ad that EON Productions was forced to include the Surgeon General's Warning on cigarette smoking in the closing credits of the film.
    • The Kenworth logo is visible several times during the tanker chase.
    • The signature gun is a Hasselblad camera.
    • Bond books a ticket on Pan American World Airways. Especially ironic as Pan Am folded two years later when it filed for bankruptcy.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: Bond pulls one of Krest's men into a tank full of maggots.
  • Psycho for Hire: Dario, who was kicked out of the Contras before becoming an enforcer in Franz Sanchez's drug empire.
  • Race for Your Love: Bond chases after Pam at the end of the film. The chase involves him jumping to a pool.
  • Rape as Drama: Della, Leiter's wife, was tortured and raped before being murdered, as evidenced by the line that Dario gave her "a nice honeymoooon".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Timothy Dalton revealed in a 2007 interview that his Bond was not allowed to have too much sex, because his films were released at the height of the AIDS epidemic. To this end, Bond only actually has sex with one woman in Licence, and it's entirely offscreen.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Krest essentially ends up having to be the unfortunate mook who has to explain to his unimpressed boss exactly what happened when James Bond performed one of his awesome-but-completely-unbelievable stunts that completely fouls up the Big Bad's operations. Sanchez throws him inside his boat's decompression chamber and begins raising the pressure of the chamber. Once the pressure reaches a critical point, Sanchez, taking an axe, hacks through the air-pressure vent. The rapid decompression causes Krest's head to rapidly expand, then explode.
    • Fearful that this might attract the attention of his bosses, M revokes Bond's licence to kill after admonishing Bond for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Franz Sanchez, who attacked Felix Leiter in retaliation for having him arrested for narcotics smuggling.
    • Truman-Lodge's angry ranting also showcases the fact that, yeah, all of that crap Bond blows up is expensive and very hard to bounce back from in a financial way. Same as Krest, he has the bad luck of pointing this out to his boss at a very bad time...
  • Red Right Hand: Dario has a metal tooth on his upper jaw.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • The manner in which Bond steals Sanchez's money from Krest is so ridiculous, it simply incriminates Krest in the eyes of Sanchez, something Bond takes advantage of by planting the money on the Wavekrest.
    • Bond casually admits to Sanchez that he's a former British agent, as it actually helps his cover as an assassin-for-hire (especially since he doesn't specify just how recently he'd been suspended). It also throws off any suspicions Sanchez had about him, even after he gets one of his men to profile Bond.
      Heller: You're not going to believe who this guy is.
      Sanchez: Former British agent.
      Heller: How'd you know that?
      Sanchez: Because I know things.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: Pam has a stovepipe malfunction, but it's subverted when in the time Pam could correct it Dario has already assured a nasty death by falling into a shredder.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: M does not take kindly Bond's desire to hunt down Franz Sanchez after said drug lord crippled Bond's friend and killed his wife. M could not fire Bond or allow him to resign - only revoke his license to kill.
    M: This private vendetta of yours could easily compromise Her Majesty's government. You have an assignment, and I expect you to carry it out objectively and professionally.
    Bond: Then you have my resignation, sir!
    M: We're not a country club, 007!
  • Revenge by Proxy: Sanchez gets revenge on Felix Leiter for getting him arrested. He doesn't simply off Leiter, he sends his goons to attack Leiter and his new wife on their wedding day, rape/kill the wife and have Mr. Leiter's leg chomped off by a shark. While Felix was indeed directly attacked, the fact that they went after his wife as well counts as this Trope.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Defied. After persuading DEA agent Ed Killifer to help him escape, Franz Sanchez still insists upon properly paying Killifer as promised. When Milton Krest asks why he would do this instead of killing him, Sanchez answers "Loyalty is more important to me than money." Killifer eventually dies facing a vengeful James Bond.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Sanchez is sometimes seen with an iguana. It even has a little diamond necklace, which might be a call back to the one Blofeld's cat had in Diamonds Are Forever.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The film was made when The War on Drugs was in full swing.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Unusually for a Bond film, basic premise is not Bond going on yet another mission for MI6, this time he goes rogue to avenge the Leiters, as Felix has lost his leg to a shark and Della has been raped and murdered.
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: Bond steals from Krest, uses the money to establish his credentials as a corrupt ex-MI-6 agent, then plants the remainder back on Krest so Sanchez will kill him in the depressurization tank.
  • Rogue Agent: Bond becomes one of these for most of the film for the sake of avenging Felix and his wife. He even accidentally disrupts another government operation when he tries to snipe Sanchez.
  • Role Reprisal: David Hedison reprises his role of Felix Leiter sixteen years after Live and Let Die. He is one of two actors to play the role more than once.
  • Romantic False Lead: The film leads the viewer into thinking Lupe will be Bond's romance in the film (nope, she's better off with El Presidente), while he ends up with Pam, who for the latter part of the film grumbles about Bond and Lupe, "What Does He See in Her?"
  • R-Rated Opening: The movie opens with Sanchez finding Lupe in bed with another man, having her lover's heart cut out, and personally beating her with a stingray tail whip, letting you know that Sanchez is a lot more menacing than any Bond villain you'll come across with the possible exception of Raoul Silva.
  • Safety in Muggles: After Bond "resigns" and escapes to the street, M stops a guard from shooting because they can't risk hitting a civilian.
  • Say My Name: Dario screams for Sanchez as he's going into the cocaine grinder.
  • Scam Religion: Professor Joe Butcher is a televangelist who operates the Olimpatec Meditation Institute; a front organization for drug lord Franz Sanchez's illicit operations. Originally started by Sanchez merely as a cover, he later notes that Professor Joe manages to turn a 'tidy profit' from it.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Invoked by Killifer, who makes a show of acting incredibly outraged after Sanchez offers a 2 million USD bribe for his release. He is later revealed to have organized Sanchez's escape.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Bond delivers an epic one to M when the latter reprimands him for going against orders to avenge the Leiters, and refuses to let Bond continue with his effort. Even with his fellow agents prepared to kill him should he resist, it doesn't faze him and he promptly makes a fast getaway.
    • Truman-Lodge and Heller both attempt this when Bond blows up the drug lab, the former being collected by Franz while the latter is murdered when he tries to make off with the Stingers.
  • Shamu Fu: Some random guy during a Bar Brawl tries to use a mounted swordfish to stab Bond, who attempts to block it with a chair, resulting in a broken chair but an otherwise unharmed Bond.
  • See You in Hell: Felix yells this at Sanchez when he gets dunked into the shark pool. As Sanchez only intends to mutilate him, it backfires:
  • Shark Pool: Sanchez feeds Felix Leiter to a shark in a marine research facility. He survives, but is badly mutilated. Bond is certainly NOT pleased when he finds out.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Pam Bouvier is insulted by the idea that she should play Bond's secretary, but when she shows up at the Bank in the dress she bought with the money Bond gave her, he's so stunned by how beautiful she looks that he does a Double Take.
  • She's Got Legs: Pam has quite a nice set of stems, and she wears several dresses with sky-high slits over the course of the film to show them off.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bond is taken to Hemingway House to turn in his licence and his weapon. He comments that it's "a farewell to arms". Subtle...
    • Pam's liking for .25 Berettas, Bond's Weapon of Choice in the novels before he was forced to change to the Walther PPK.
    • The climax features Bond climbing over, under, on top of and inside multiple moving trucks. Which other famous action hero could that be referencing?
  • Shut Up and Save Me!: Dario is holding Bond at the end of a Conveyor Belt o' Doom over a cocaine grinder. Pam turns up in time to shoot him (and he happens to drop into the grinder), but Bond is still attached to the machine. This leads to this classic exchange:
    Pam: Are you alright?
    Bond: SWITCH THE BLOODY MACHINE OFF!
  • Slasher Smile: Dario enjoys flashing one of these.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: The first Bond film to reach Level 5. Despite Bond's concerns, Pam frequently shows she can handle herself, in fact saving him a few times throughout the film.
  • Smart Gun: One of the gadgets Q brings to Isthmus is a Sniper Rifle disguised as camera parts. The grip has a fingerprint sensor that allows only Bond to fire it, as one of the ninjas assigned to take out Bond discovers.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Averted. The end credits sport a Surgeon General's Warning in reference to the use of tobacco products in the film
  • Sniper Rifle: Disguised as a camera. With a palm print reader programmed so that only Bond can fire it.
  • So Proud of You: Bond takes time to tell Q he makes a great field agent.
  • Something Completely Different: Part of why this film was poorly received (in the States) was how extremely atypical it was from previous Bond films. This time, Bond's not on a mission by MI-6, fighting for queen and country, he's on his own fighting for himself and his friends.
  • Sound-Only Death: When Lupa's lover has his heart cut out by Sanchez's men, we only hear his scream and briefly see his dead body later on.
  • Spotting the Thread: The first indication to Bond that Krest's Ocean Exotica facility is up to no good is when the guard at the door fails to recognize the words Carcharodon carcharias as Latin for a great white shark.
  • Spy Cam: An inversion: A laser gun is disguised as the flash on a Polaroid. Pam sees the camera and tries to take a picture with it, with hilariously disastrous results.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Pam Bouvier is 5'10, while Lupe Lamora is 5'8. Both women are gorgeous.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Bouvier is incensed that she has to play the part of Bond's "executive secretary" and not the other way around, and Bond has to remind her that they are operating south of the border, which has more of a "stay in the kitchen" culture than the United States has.
  • Stealth Insult: When Bond offers his services to Sanchez, Sanchez explains that in his territory one must have "certain talents" that most do not. Glancing over Sanchez's strongmen and associates, he simply chides that it "shouldn't be too difficult". Sanchez's men are visibly perturbed at what Bond is alluding to.
  • Stealth Pun: Felix's lighter. Get it? What's even funnier is that they had explicitly used that pun in Live and Let Die - the other film where David Hedison played Leiter.
  • Suicide by Cop: Kwang tells his partner it is Better to Die than Be Killed. She obliges by committing suicide by cop, by killing one of Colonel Heller's men, prompting Colonel Heller's men to shoot her.
  • Swordfish Sabre: During the bar brawl in Bimini, one of the mooks attempts to skewer Bond with a stuffed marlin head he grabs off the wall.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Given who Sanchez is, can you honestly blame Lupe for cheating on him twice? First with the unnamed man who gets his heart cut out for sleeping her, and then sleeping with Bond.
  • Take the Wheel: In a diversion to let Bond sneak onto the Wavekrest yacht, Pam Bouvier poses as a harbor pilot and starts pulling the ship into the dock. When the captain anxiously observes how fast she's going, she snaps back "You want to do the driving? Take the wheel!", throws the throttle on full, and sneaks off the bridge in the confusion as it crashes into the pier.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Bond, Sanchez and Dario all stand 6'2 and all men have strong sarcastic streaks.
  • A Taste of the Lash: After Sanchez catches Lupe in bed with another man, he whips her with a stingray tail.
  • Tautological Templar: M and MI-6, who acts as the Hero Antagonists towards Bond in contrast to their past and later appearances, operates by showing No Sympathy to Felix Leiter's tragedy (equivalent to acting as Ungrateful Bastards since Leiter has put his life on the line for Bond and them in the past), not caring if their American allies are useless despite Bond flat out telling them that they are not going to do anything to stop Sanchez and having agents to take Bond in for being a Rogue Agent dead or alive after all the past service Bond done for them. What's worse is that it crosses into negligence if M and MI6 knew about the Hong Kong narcotics agents' operation (remember, Hong Kong was a British colony at the time) and yet they didn't tell Bond that when he asks incredulously that they're doing nothing. However, Bond's reaction gave no time for a debriefing.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Sanchez fires some bullets at Bond and misses. The sound of the bullets ricocheting off the tanker is set to the Bond theme. This apparently was a Easter Egg on the part of the sound editor.
  • Technicolor Science: The chemicals in the lab towards the end have various bright colors.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Bond who had no qualms with dispatching enemies in the most violent way possible, culminating with sending Sanchez to Hell via an exploding tanker truck.
  • They Knew the Risks: M says this of Leiter when Bond is angry that M won't take action against Sanchez. Though Bond promptly retaliates that Leiter's wife certainly didn't, to which M can only change the subject.
  • Threatening Shark: Felix loses part of his left leg to a shark. Said shark also eats Killifer.
  • Title Drop:
    M: Your licence to kill is revoked.
  • To the Pain: As Sanchez puts Bond on an conveyor belt into a cocaine grinder.
    Sanchez: When you're up to your ankles, you're going to beg to tell me everything. When you're up to your knees, you'll kiss my ass to kill you!
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Robert Brown's M, the Hero Antagonist in his two scenes, who shows No Sympathy towards Bond's vendetta to avenge Felix and his late wife to the point he scoffs "Oh, spare me the sentimental rubbish," issues a man hunt on Bond when he goes rogue and sent out his agent Fallon, to arrest Bond, dead or alive. That's right, M is preventing Bond from going after Sanchez. What's even worse with M's actions are that he never tells Bond that there are several operations going on in Isthmus City, and that he has "a man" in town working on Sanchez, which causes Bond to unintentionally screw up the actual plans of the other law enforcement agencies had in place, and gets a lot of them killed. When Bond asks incredulously that they're doing nothing, he should have replied they did have something going on, and to cool his jets while they dealt with a delicate situation. One has to wonder that given the recasting of the role with Judi Dench starting in GoldenEye, and the fact M is a Legacy Character, if Brown's M was forced to step down from his position in between the Dalton and Brosnan films due to sinking to a new low by his somewhat heartless mishandling of this situation with Bond's pursuit of Sanchez.
    • Bond himself, who becomes more brooding to the point that in different scenes, he interrogates Lupe and Pam Bouvier like a police detective interrogating a criminal suspect due to their connections to Sanchez. It reaches the point that he seems ready to shoot Pam dead after thinking that she's in league with Sanchez, at which point she makes him have a realization about his vendetta.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Bond's lighter, a wedding gift from the Leiters. Becomes a Chekhov's Gun when he uses it to set Sanchez on fire.
  • Tranquil Fury: Sanchez spends much of the final act seemingly calm, but incredibly quick to start killing people at the slightest provocation.
  • Trap Door: Sanchez has a trap door in his fish warehouse over a shark enclosure that he sends Leiter through. Bond later sends Killifer down it.
  • Turbine Blender: Dario gets brutally killed by being dropped into a cocaine grinder. His screams of pain combined with the red dust and the music playing during this scene only make it worse.
  • Turn in Your Badge: The premise of the film is Bond resigning his License to Kill to go after Sanchez.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: After Bond destroys Sanchez's drug lab, he chases down the gasoline tanker trucks used to smuggle the cocaine.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: "We're Hong Kong Narcotics, you bastard!"
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Sanchez holds this in highest regard, though only if it's mutually beneficial.
    • Q uses his vacation time to help Bond, even though he's a rogue agent.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan: Bond is trying to assassinate Sanchez. However, he gets stopped by Hong Kong narcotics moles who were infiltrating Sanchez's syndicate. However, he gets Sanchez to believe that Krest was behind the attempt instead. Sanchez has Krest brutally executed and he gives Bond a place in his inner circle.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Bond, although he borders on Sociopathic Hero. As part of his Roaring Rampage of Revenge to take down drug lord Franz Sanchez and avenge Felix Leiter, he kills off quite a few bad guys in particularly terrible ways, like feeding Killifer to sharks and shoving Dario down a stone grinder.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Bond is equipped with a gun disguised as a camera, which has a fingerprint-recognition mechanism built into the pistol grip to prevent anyone else from firing it. This comes into play when a Chinese agent gets his hands on the gun and tries to fire it at Bond, with no success.
  • Vapor Trail: Bond opens the valve on Sanchez's tanker to let out the cocaine-filled fuel. Unsurprisingly, the trail of fuel catches fire.
  • Vapor Wear: It doesn't take much of a close look to see that Pam isn't wearing anything under the dress she has on during the climax.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Pam hides a Beretta .25 in a thigh holster, demonstrating that She's Got Legs on two separate occasions.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The film blurs the two tropes, mainly focusing on Sanchez who, unfortunately for him, unintentionally interrupts the wedding on Felix Leiter, which means Bond gets involved.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sanchez loses his sanity by the end of the film. He goes from treating his employees with trust and respect to impaling them on forklifts, gunning down Truman-Lodge, and swinging madly with a machete when he sees Bond, cutting the air brake on his oil tanker truck, which naturally leads to Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Villainous Rescue: Colonel Heller rescues Bond from the Hong Kong and British narcotics agents who kidnapped him to bring him back to the UK.
  • Visual Pun: Sanchez kills Krest in a decompression chamber also filled with his money. When he explodes over the money, Sanchez, when asked what about the money, says "launder it."
  • The Voiceless: Braun. He never says a word in the entire film.
  • Vulnerable Convoy: Killifer arranges for Sanchez to escape while being transported from Key West to Quantico.
  • Wham Line: "Then you have my resignation, sir!"
  • Wham Shot: Pam comes into view of Bond's sights of Sanchez' side office.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: Subverted when Sharkey has the memorable line: "What a terrible waste... of money." after Bond kills Killifer by tossing a briefcase containing two million dollars at him, knocking him and the money into a shark pool.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Bond gets one from M after he drops Killifer into the shark tank without the authority from the Americans or M, and Pam Bouvier later calls Bond out when she and Q catch up to him in Isthmus for letting his personal vendetta endanger a critical DEA plan to cripple Sanchez's operation. In Bond's defence, he didn't know about the operation: and the DEA couldn't know that something was happening because Kwang is a Hong Kong Narcotics agent, hence why the DEA picked up Sanchez at the start in the first place, and Kwang had managed to raise Sanchez's suspicions independently by asking all of the wrong questions. Pam herself is CIA: she's referring to Sanchez's owning Stinger missiles he was threatening to use to shoot down American passenger planes if the U.S. didn't stop harassing him. Her operation was trying to get the Stinger missiles back, but Bond's assassination attempt spooked her contact. This, combined with Bond realizing he blew Kwang's operation as well, makes him realize his Roaring Rampage of Revenge wasn't that clean and simple, so he broadens his goals to include dismantling Sanchez's entire operation while he's at it. It would've been awesome, except a lot of good agents and people were killed by his fuck ups.
  • Widowed at the Wedding: Felix Leiter's wife is raped and killed on the day of their wedding and Leiter is tortured within an inch of his own life, prompting Leiter's best friend Bond to go rogue on a vendetta.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Bond's assassination attempt against Franz Sanchez fails, but he manages to convince Sanchez to think one of his associates did the job, and Sanchez has him brutally executed, getting Bond a place inside his circle.
  • You Haveoutlived Your Usefulness: Averted. When Krest asks why they don't just kill Killifer, Sanchez insists that loyalty is important to him, and pays up the bribe as promised. The guy does die, but at Bond's hands.
    • But later in the film, when being chided by Truman-Lodge about the cost of losing two tanker trucks full of heroin dissolved in gasoline to Bond's actions, Sanchez declares that "...it's time to start cutting overhead", and guns him down with an Uzi. However he's clearly undergoing a Villainous Breakdown by this stage.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Krest trying to explain to Sanchez how Bond stole his money then made an escape by diving off the boat, and hijacking a plane mid-flight. "Would I make up a story like that?"
  • Your Head A-Splode: Poor Krest. You almost feel sorry for him that he had to die by the decompression chamber.

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