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1,045 Ratings

To Live and Die in L.A.

Directed by William Friedkin
United States, 1985
Action, Crime, Thriller


A risk-taking amoral U.S. Treasury agent seeks revenge against a sleek counterfeiter who murdered a fellow agent, going rogue in an obsessive pursuit that swiftly spirals out of control.

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To Live and Die in L.A. Directed by William Friedkin
It marked a return to the energetic, stylistically thrilling crime genre filmmaking that first made the director’s name. While its expansive, sunlit, West Coast take on shadowy, claustrophic film noir – soundtracked by the lush, pulsing pop music of Wang Chung – refuses many readymade clichés, the film retains striking, sometimes unexpected connections to the cinematic past.
October 04, 2017
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The fashions and music and attitudes on display might have been interpreted at the time as opportunistic stabs at au courant stylization, but the film is nevertheless overpowering and otherworldly rather than quaint or kitschy. It feels like a transmission from a different planet. To Live and Die in L.A. is so of its time that you can only be captivated by it.
June 14, 2017
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The film cannily blends quasi-documentary procedural realism with an unpredictable modernist sensibility. The story is succinct in its pulpy purity… To Live and Die in L.A. exhibits a remarkable degree of kineticism, evident in several memorable chase sequences, the film’s headlong momentum abetted by Wang Chung’s dynamic score.
December 15, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film To Live and Die in L.A.

    A tip of the hat to Thom Anderson's Los Angeles Plays Itself, for getting me to to watch an 80's Action Film that I never would have considered otherwise. The inspired photography of industrial parts of L.A. is enough for me to forgive some bad supporting actors or preposterous story. The ever present smog adds a certain toxicity to the barrenness of an endless city in a country where everyone, ultimately, is alone.

  • Sam DiSalle's rating of the film To Live and Die in L.A.

    the soundtrack is...uneven. william petersen is dynamite. willem dafoe is beautiful and vicious. robert downey sr. is always a treat to see on the screen. darlanne fluegel is great, and was a discovery for me. i think it's about toxic masculinity? i don't know why john pankow ends up in a figurative hellscape and turns into his partner. but it's definitely about something, and it kicks ass

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film To Live and Die in L.A.

    The first hour-ish of this film isn't as strong as Friedkin's other tough, yet more vigorous, cop films, being more often than not a standard 'cop with a personal vendetta chasing after a criminal' film. Then it morphs into a beast of creative adrenaline, and superior twists, with probably the best car chase that I have ever seen, even topping the later Ronin. The last 45 minutes of screen time are phenomenal.

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film To Live and Die in L.A.

    Jib without the swagger. A superbly sharp edged work with propellant camera choreography, crisp sound cuts and use of location. Characterisation is largely negligible but with Friedkin’s expected tropes - the intercutting, satiric flourishes (memorably the ol’ red, white and blue colour pallet) and pervasive balls deep masculinity - it’s the surface detail of broken glass that gives this leopard its spots.

  • Palmat's rating of the film To Live and Die in L.A.

    Solid slice of 80´s crime noir with Friedkin delivering the goods. Everything about the movie works well but somewhere along the line film loses the urgency and drive it needs to soar. So despite fine acting and all that jazz, I think it is the plot that lets the whole thing down since we've seen this type of story a million times before. So all in all a good movie, but not great.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film To Live and Die in L.A.

    Incontestablement, un bienvenu chef-d'oeuvre de "sang et de feu", du thriller américain où se conjuguent et se complètent avec une efficacité rare, action, suspense, violence et mortel fatum. Une réussite évidente pour un excellent film "noir" américain.

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film To Live and Die in L.A.

    CANNES Film Festival 2016 CLASSIC: 18th film viewed. Dick Chance, is a borderline FBI cop obsessed with forger Rick Masters. Dick & Rick engage in a deadly chase. Femmes fatales, breathtaking poursuits, a supercharged thriller. === Dick Chance, policier borderline est obsédé par Rick Masters, faussaire. Dick & Rick se livrent à une poursuite mortelle. Femmes fatales, courses à couper le souffle, un polar survitaminé.

  • Scorpio Velvet's rating of the film To Live and Die in L.A.

    Pure '80s action crime-drama from Friedkin. Couldn't go wrong with the soundtrack along with Müller's cinematography and its action-packed moments. The performances from the cast were pretty good, the storyline had some twists & turns but didn't failed to be this styled & entertaining - even though, it does have that same feel THE FRENCH CONNECTON had. A must-watch for any '80s crime thriller fans out there! 5/5

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