Website last updated: 17-7-2024

30th Anniversary of Licence To Kill starring Timothy Dalton

By: Anders Frejdh
Licence to Kill 30th Anniversary jubileum
On this day in Bond history, 30 years ago, the film Licence to Kill premiered at cinemas. (LTK was first released in the UK on 13th June 1989, in Sweden on 7th July, and in USA on 14th July.)

Drugs baron Franz Sánchez has Bond's DEA agent friend Felix Leiter widowed on his wedding night and fed to a shark. Bond, ordered to leave the matter for the Americans to sort out, resigns his licence to kill and sets out on his own to settle the score personally against Sánchez. Posing as a gun-for-hire, Bond is employed by Sánchez, whereupon he sets about destroying the villain's drugs empire.

Production notes on Licence to Kill

(Source: MGM / Eon Productions)
• 19 July 1988: John Glen directed the scene where Bond discovers Felix Leiter (David Hedison) maimed by a shark
• 21 July 1988: John Glen directed the scene where Bond mistakenly attacks Q
• 27 July 1988: Shooting began on Bond and Pam Bouvier’s bar fight against Sanchez’s men
• 4 August 1988: Desmond Llewelyn (Q) shot his part helping 007 sneak aboard the Wavecrest
• 19 August 1988: Shooting took place on the scenes of Bond & Leiter pursuing Franz Sanchez in a helicopter
• 23 August 1988: John Glen shot Bond’s first scene in the film, riding with Felix Leiter to Leiter’s wedding
• 26 August 1988: Robert Brown & Caroline Bliss had their final day on the Bond series, as M & Moneypenny
• 9 September 1988: John Glen directed the scene where Sanchez explodes Krest in the decompression chamber
• 12 September 1988: John Glen shot the scene in which Leiter is attacked by a shark
• 21 September 1988: Shooting began on casino scenes in Isthmus City Casino, Mexico
• 10 October 1988: Wayne Newton shot his cameo as Joe Butcher
• 19 October 1988: John Glen shot the scene in which Sanchez reveals his master plan
• 10 November 1988: John Glen shot the scene in which Franz Sanchez interrogates a chained up Bond
• 19 November 1988: Shooting was completed, marking Timothy Dalton’s final day as James Bond

Legendary Bond director John Glen remembers working on the film:

"For financial reasons it was decided to film the entire movie in Mexico. Little did we realise what a lawless and corrupt country it was at that time. Mexico City was recovering from a major earthquake, buildings were leaning crazily against each other. Our first explosion at Churubusco Studios caused the roof panels to fall like leaves in autumn. I had spent several months devising the truck sequence, the major action scene in the film. We obtained 10 second hand Kenwood tanker trucks at a cost of almost £1,000,000. We were fortunate that the Kenwood plant was situated in Mexicali, within half an hour of our location on the mountain at Rumarosa. Remy Julienne, who I had first met on “The Italian Job” and had performed car stunts on all my films, had modifications made to certain vehicles that included beefed up engine power, weights added to the prime mover to allow it to do sit ups, wheelies and a dual controlled vehicle to allow Carey Lowell to appear to drive the truck.

For the 10-wheel wheelie for Bond to avoid the missile Remy sent for a specialist French stunt driver. Apparently the specialist met a girl on the plane and disappeared for several days. John Richardson quickly improvised a stabiliser for a standby truck but fortunately Remy’s man turned up at the last moment and achieved the wheelie in one take.

Story boarding played a huge part in the planning and execution of this scene which was mainly a second unit operation. I spent a week working with the second unit and the principal actors. Tim Dalton and Robert Davi showed incredible courage performing on those unforgiving trucks. Of the ten trucks only three remained at the end of shooting. One of Remy’s drivers was sleeping in one of the trucks parked on the mountain. He awoke to find the truck was moving and it crashed down the mountain. The sleeping compartment saved him. That was one of many mysteries that happened on that mountain. The locals insisted it was haunted after there had been a horrific accident involved five nuns and their dog being killed when they went over the edge. Paul Weston bravely performed the villain on fire although sadly the British censor cut most of it."

A selection of filming locations for "Licence to Kill": (Source: On the Tracks of 007)
• LEITER’S MARRIAGE - St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Key West, FL, USA
• LEITER’S HOUSE / WEDDING PARTY - 707 South Street, Key West, FL, USA
• KILLIFER HELPS SANCHEZ ESCAPE - (Old) 7 Mile Bridge, Marathon, FL, USA
• ALL UNDERWATER SCENES - Isla de Mujeres, near Cancun, Mexico
• MI6 HEADOFFICE EXTERIOR - The War Office, Whitehall, London, England
• WAREHOUSE FIGHT / SHARK BITE - The Conch Republic Seafood Company 631 Greene Street, Key West, FL, USA
• MEETING D.E.A. AGENT HAWKINS - Mallory Square, Key West, FL, USA
• A ‘FAREWELL TO ARMS’: BOND AND M - Hemingway House, 907 Whitehead Street, Key West, FL, USA
• MEETING SHARKEY - Charterboat Row, Palm Avenue, Key West, FL, USA
• KRESTWAVE MARINA SCENES - Garrison Bight Marina, Key West, FL, USA
• PAM AND BOND AT THE BARRELHEAD BAR - Harbour Lights Raw Bar, Key West, FL, USA
• SANCHEZ’ MANSION - Villa Arabesque, Acapulco, Mexico
• BANCO DE ISTHMUS - Main Post Office builing, Mexico City, Mexico
• BOND’s HOTEL ‘El Presidente’ INTERIOR - Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
• BOND’s HOTEL ‘El Presidente’ EXTERIOR - Bibliotheca de la Banco de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
• SANCHEZ’ OFFICE BUILDING EXTERIOR - El Teatro de la Cuidad, Mexico City, Mexico
• ISTHMUS CASINO - Casino Espagnol, Mexico City, Mexico
• MEDITATION CENTRE / DRUG LAB - Centro Ceremonial Otomi, Temoaya, Mexico
• TANKER-TRUCK CHASE - Rumurosa Road, near Mexicali, Mexico

STUDIO USED FOR INTERIORS, CLOSE-UP SHOTS ETC - Churubusco Studios, Atletas 2, Country Club, Coyoacán, 04220, Mexico

Vehicles used during the filming: (Source: BMT 216A: The James Bond Vehicle Library)
• Aerospatiale HH-64A Dauphin
• Cessna 172P Sky hawk
• Cessna 185 Sky wagon Seaplane
• Cigarette 1 Cafe Racer
• Electric golf car
• Harbour Pilot's boat
• Kenworth W900B truck
• Lincoln Mark VII LSC
• Maserati Biturbo
• Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub
• Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II
• Rolls Royce Silver Shadow
• Wavechrest

Over the years, FSWL has been fortunate to meet, and written articles about some of the cast and crew on LTK, below is a list with some of them:

>Albert R. Broccoli (Producer)
>Alec Mills (Director of Photography)
>Arthur Wooster
>Barbara Broccoli (Associate producer)
>Caroline Bliss
>Chris Corbould (Special effects supervisor: second unit)
>David Hedison
>Desmond Llewelyn
>John Glen (Director)
>John Grover
>Keith Hamshere
>Lars Lundgren (Stuntman)
>Michael G. Wilson (Screenwriter, Executive producer)
>Monty Norman (Composer of 'The James Bond theme')
>Nick Wilkinson (Assistant to Paul Weston)
>Paul Weston (Stunt coordinator, stunt double for Robert Davi)
>Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
>Peter Lamont
>Priscilla Barnes
>Remy Julienne (Stunt car arranger)
>Richard Maibaum (Screenwriter)
>Robert Brown
>Robert Davi
>Rocky Taylor (Stuntman)
>Talisa Soto
>Timothy Dalton
>Vernon Messenger (Sound editor)

Official theatrical trailer for Licence to Kill:

Photo above:
The original Swedish film poster for Licence to Kill (1989) from the FSWL collection.

Read more about the film Licence to Kill on MGM's official website.



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