To Live and Die in L. A.

Leben und Sterben in L.A.
Artistically inclined criminal Eric Masters has given up painting in favour of making counterfeit money. When he and his cohort murder a Secret Service agent who is on their trail, the agent’s partner and friend Richard Chance swears to take Masters down at all costs. After capturing one of the forger’s mules fails to provide leverage, he poses as a potential buyer of the fake currency. In order to meet Masters’ price, Chance himself sets out to commit a robbery … In this action-packed thriller, Willem Dafoe is a kind of Mick Jagger of the local gangster milieu. His character has a sense of fashion reflected in his clothing and the decoration of his apartment, and a sexual ambivalence that he acts out in a liaison with his lesbian accomplice; he counters the machismo of the federal agent with sardonic charm. Director William Friedkin, who set the standard for four-wheeled pursuit sequences with The French Connection (1971), added an innovative car chase to the mix. With a production design fully in keeping with the 1980s zeitgeist, the film remains well worth seeing today.
by William Friedkin
with William L. Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Michael Green, Steve James, Robert Downey
USA 1985 English 116’ Colour Rating R16


  • William L. Petersen
  • Willem Dafoe
  • John Pankow
  • Debra Feuer
  • John Turturro
  • Darlanne Fluegel
  • Dean Stockwell
  • Michael Green
  • Steve James
  • Robert Downey


Director William Friedkin
Screenplay William Friedkin, Gerald Petievich based on the novel “To Live and Die in L.A.” (1984) by Gerald Petievich
Cinematography Robby Müller
Editing Bud Smith, Scott Smith
Music Wang Chung
Sound Jean-Louis Ducarme
Production Design Lilly Kilvert
Art Director Buddy Cone
Costumes Linda Bass
Make-Up Jefferson Dawn
Producer Irving H. Levin

Produced by

New Century Productions, Ltd. / SLM, Inc. für/for United Artists Corp.