Licence to Kill Cast
Robert Davi as Franz Sanchez
Carey Lowell as Pam Bouvier
Talisa Soto as Lupe Lamora
Anthony Zerbe as Milton Krest
Benicio del Toro as Dario
Frank McRae as Sharkey
Everett McGill as Ed Killifer
Desmond Llewelyn as Q
Robert Brown as M
Caroline Bliss as Miss Moneypenny
The Licence to Kill cast produced one of the most memorable Bond films through the franchise’s history. It wasn’t as much a box office smash as the previous Dalton film, but this was more down to the 15 licence it received and due to late changes in the title for US audiences.
The film sees Timothy Dalton as Bond for the second and final time, out on a personal vendetta to get revenge for the rape and murder of his friend Felix Leiter’s new wife.
Dalton is as grounded and serious as we got used to in The Living Daylights, and his portrayal of Bond is up there with the very best movies. As a reluctant agent, Bond quits MI6 and goes rogue to make sure murderer Sanchez meets his requital.
Timothy Dalton impresses with his stunt work, enhancing the excitement of the action scenes. The film also delves into Bond’s dynamic with DEA informant Pam Bouvier and showcases a sometimes stubborn and even petulant Bond.
Timothy Dalton’s portrayal of Bond was distinct from prior versions, and at the time, received criticism for adding a heightened level of intensity and emotional complexity to the character. However, these qualities have since been praised in Daniel Craig‘s portrayal of Bond, indicating that perhaps Timothy Dalton was ahead of his time as Bond.
Die Hard actor Robert Davi was Bond villain in the Licence to Kill cast as Bond’s arch-nemesis Franz Sanchez, a ruthless Latin American murdering drug lord.
Davi’s portrayal of Sanchez was incredibly powerful and menacing, thanks to his no-nonsense approach to the character. He effortlessly embodied the role of a gangland boss, contributing greatly to the movie’s success.
Carey Lowell played Pam Bouvier, a CIA pilot who helps Bond on his mission. Unlike many other Bond girls before her, Lowell brought a no-nonsense attitude to her performance and proved to be a more-than-capable ally for Bond.
The film revolves around the relationship between the characters and their portrayal of a jealous couple adds a touch of both humour and humility to the story.
Former model Talisa Soto was cast as Lupe Lamora, Sanchez’s girlfriend. The stunning Latin American brought a sense of seduction and danger to her role, and she became part of a love triangle between the on-off couple Bond and Bouvier.
Anthony Zerbe played the sleazy arms dealer Milton Krest, and his portrayal was both humorous and menacing. He’s one of Sanchez’ business partners, and portrays the dodgy gangster perfectly.
Anthony Zerbe’s Krest meets one of the most gruesome deaths ever seen in a Bond movie. After being set up by Bond, Sanchez looks him in a decompression chamber and cuts of the oxygen supply. Krest slowly inflates and bursts into pieces, similar to the way Yaphet Kotto’s Bond villain Mr Big character in Live and Let Die, but with almost 20 years advanced technology, the death looked much more horrific.
The Licence to Kill cast also included a very young Benicio del Toro as Dario, one of Sanchez’s henchmen in what was only his second feature film. A very young looking del Toro didn’t look as menacing as previous henchmen, and played a lesser role than some, but his performance was good and of course it led to many bigger roles.
Former Chicago Bears footballer Frank McRae was cast as Sharkey, a friend and confidant of Felix Leiter, who helped Bond in a very similar role to Quarrel, played by John Kitzmiller in the first Bond movie Dr No.
Everett McGill played corrupt DEA Agent Ed Killifer, and his performance was both smooth and deadly. He’s bribed by Sanchez to let him go, which leads to the brutal maiming of Felix Leiter and his wife’s murder. McGill plays the role perfectly and effortlessly portrays a paranoid crooked cop. He meets his death when Bond drops him into a shark tank.
Watch a Timothy Dalton interview discussing Licence to Kill
Desmond Llewelyn returns as the beloved Q, with the actor playing one of his most prominent roles as the gadget expert. Bond has gone rogue so he goes out to help Bond in the field offering an array of new gadgets, and disguises himself in a few roles to help Bond get Sanchez.
Llewellyn plays Q perfectly of course and his raised eyebrow reaction to Bond’s womanizing brings light hearted humour to what is a serious film.
Robert Brown reprised his role as M, boss of MI6, and as always he brought a sense of authority to the role. Bond goes rogue after turning down M’s demand to start a new case in Istanbul, and Brown’s reaction was typical of a stout M, but we even saw an affectionate side towards Bond, with M allowing officialdom to go and ultimately help Bond even though he had quit the Secret Service.
Caroline Bliss was back as Miss Moneypenny for the second and final time. As with her first role, it was relatively small, compared with many Lois Maxwell roles, but she offered a bit of cheeky humility as always. And helped a Bond in need by going rogue and organising Q’s travel and business to get out on the field.
The cast of Licence to Kill was a key element of the film, and each actor brought their own unique strengths to their role. From the villains to the allies, the actors brought a sense of depth and dimension to their characters that made the film a standout success in the James Bond franchise.
From Timothy Dalton’s intense performance as Bond, to the villainous turn by Robert Davi as Sanchez, the film was a showcase for the skills of its actors.
Watch the official trailer for Licence to Kill
Other members of the Licence to Kill Cast and Crew
Anthony Starke as Truman-Lodge
Grand L. Bush as Hawkins
Alejandro Bracho as Perez
Guy De Saint Cyr as Braun
Diana Lee-Hsu as Loti
Rafer Johnson as Mullens
David Hedison as Felix Leiter
Don Stroud as Colonel Heller
Priscilla Barnes as Della Churchill
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Kwang
Pedro Armendariz as President Hector Lopez
Wayne Newton as Professor Joe Butcher
Directed by John Glen
Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson
Written by Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum
Based on James Bond novel by Ian Fleming
Cinematography Alec Mills
Edited by John Grover
Music by Michael Kamen
Bond theme by Licence to Kill by Gladys Knight
Production companies: Eon Productions and United Artists
Distributed by MGM/UA Communications Co. (USA), United International Pictures (International)
Release dates: 13 June 1989 (World Premiere), 10 July 1989 (UK), 14 July 1989 (USA)
Budget $32 million
Box office $156.1 million