The sixteenth James Bond film in the series franchise; Licence to Kill is the first film not to use an Ian Fleming title but did incorporate certain elements from the short story, "The Hildebrand Rarity" and the novel "Live and Let Die" that had been dropped from the earlier film of the same name but much of the plot is entirely original as well.
License to Kill was Timothy Dalton's second and ultimately his last James Bond's appearance. Legal problems revolving around the character emerged after this film which resulted in an extended hiatus of the franchise after which time, Dalton was uninterested in continuing as 007.
When one of James Bond's best friends, Felix Leiter is getting married; he asks Bond to be his best man. It's an honor that Agent 007 can't refuse. But Leiter won't be going to his honeymoon because the ruthless and sadistic drug lord Franz Sanchez is out for revenge for Felix sending him to prison and has his wife murdered and Felix horrifically maimed.
With Felix hanging on a thread in the hospital, Bond is outraged when he learns that MI-6 feels Sanchez isn't their problem and feels Bond is too personally compromised anyways. When Bond refuses to drop the matter, he resigns his commission and his license to kill is revoked.
This is James Bond's most dangerous mission yet. Unsanctioned and unapproved. Without allies. Without support. And more unstoppable than ever before. Because this time ... it's not just a job. This time ... it's personal.
- Timothy Dalton as James Bond
- Carey Lowell as Pam Bouvier
- Robert Davi as Franz Sanchez
- Talisa Soto as Lupe Lamora
- Anthony Zerbe as Milton Krest
- Frank McRae as Sharkey
- Everett McGill as Ed Killifer
- Wayne Newton as Joe Butcher
- Benicio del Toro as Dario
- Anthony Starke as Truman-Lodge
- Pedro Armendariz, Jr. as President Hector Lopez
- Desmond Llewelyn as Q
- David Hedison as Felix Leiter
- Priscilla Barnes as Della Churchill
- Robert Brown as M
- Caroline Bliss as Miss Moneypenny
- Don Stroud as Colonel Heller
- Grand L. Bush as Hawkins
- Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Kwang
- Christopher Neame as Fallon
- Diana Lee Hsu as Loti
- Unofficially, this film became known as the 'bloodless coup' of the James Bond franchise owing to the fact that afterwards, the series underwent a total revamp in its production company, Eon Productions. Albert R. Broccoli, long time producer of the series retired as did long time film director, John Glen decided that this was his final James Bond film and chose to pursue other projects. Both Richard Maibaum, screenwriter and Maurice Binder, title designer passed away shortly after License to Kill was released. Legal issues arose afterwards over control over the James Bond franchise and when it was decided to start production of the new James Bond film several years later by this time Timothy Dalton was no longer interested in portraying the titular role. It was further decided to totally reboot the franchise with a new James Bond as well as a new M and Moneypenny with only Desmond Llewelyn (Q) surviving the culling.