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To Live and Die in LA (Special Edition) [Import]

William Petersen , Willem Dafoe , William Friedkin    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
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Willem Dafoe, William L. Petersen, John Turturro, Dean Stockwell. A fast-paced thriller about a Secret Service agent who stops at nothing to apprehend a counterfeiter. Directed by William Friedkin. 1985/color/114 min/R/widescreen. Special Features: Deleted scene and alternate ending featurettes "Counterfeit World: The Making of To Live and Die in L.A." documentary Photo gallery "William Friedkin briefly revived his faltering career with this sleek, bleak thriller of a pair of secret service agents on the trail of a counterfeiter. William L. Peterson is the hotshot protégé of a career agent killed by the ruthless, almost feral counterfeiting genius Willem Dafoe (Platoon). Now Petersen, teamed with the smart but still green John Pankow (TV's Mad About You), is ready to twist arms, lean on criminals, steal, and even murder to exact his revenge. The harrowing chase through the streets of Los Angeles that climaxes on the freeway at rush hour, where Friedkin's brilliant twist sends them heading the wrong way, careening through a sea of cars coming straight at them, is still one of the most breathtaking car chases ever filmed. Friedkin's edgy crime thriller, stylishly shot in steely blues against hazy red and orange skies by Robby Muller (Paris, Texas), paints a very thin line between the good guys and the bad guys, and Wang Chung's techno soundtrack sets the proper mood--jumpy and alienated. It's a cynical and very brutal look into the world of law enforcement (adapted by Friedkin and former Secret Service man Gerald Petievich from his novel) and a cold portrayal of the power games between cops and feds, and cops and informants. John Turturro, Dean Stockwell, and Robert Downey Sr. are featured in supporting roles." --Sean Axmaker

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and gut wrenching cop thriller Jan. 31 2004
William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Hunted) directed this gritty, gut churner that fully displays that there is a very thin line between enforcing the law and breaking it. William Petersen (Manhunter, TV's CSI) stars as a hot shot special agent who, after his partner is killed, will go to any length and any means necessary to catch the killer who is a career counterfeiter played by Willem Dafoe in psycho mode. Soon, Petersen is teamed with an idealistic and green behind the ears agent (John Pankow) who reluctantly helps his new partner bend the law farther and farther in his quest for revenge. The acting is superb. Petersen, Dafoe, and Pankow are sights to behold, with Petersen and Dafoe coming close to brilliant. Friedkin's direction is also the best of his career since the classic French Connection, showcasing one of the most memorable and exciting car chases to ever be caught on film; a car chase that film makers would mimic for years to come in films such as Ronin and recently in The Matrix Reloaded. MGM finally had the good sense to release To Live and Die in L.A. on a generous Special Edition DVD which includes a commentary by Friedkin and an alternate ending which Friedkin wisely chose not to go with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living And Dying Again July 19 2004
Director William Friedkin, the man who brought us The French Connection and The Exorcist, fell into a bit of a slump after those box office successes. To Live And Die In L.A. was the shot in the arm he needed. And while the movie is not perfect, it's still very good, and worth your time.
When a notorious, highly sophisticated counterfeiter murders his partner, Secret Service agent Richard Chance (William Petersen) launches a furious vendetta to capture the man responsible. But master counterfeiter Rick Masters (Willem Dafoe) is always just one step ahead of Chance. Clashing with one bureaucratic road block after another, Chance is forced to break the rules in order to obtain enough cash for a sting operation, in the hope of bringing Masters down. The risks he takes soon spiral out of control though, leading to a wave of violence with moral reprecussions, taking Chance down to a morally ambiguous road from which there may be no return.
One of the things that makes To Live And Die In L.A. work is the fact that the hero isn't exactly a saint. In fact, he can be as "dastardly", as the villian of the film, doing things that are just as awful. Petersen goes to those darker places and gives a great perfomance. Based on Gerald Petievich's novel, the script, written by Friedkin and Petievich, allows for plenty of drama and action. As director and the "father" of the modern car chase, Friedkin almost tops the one he crafted for the aforementioned film, The French Connection...Almost.
For its DVD debut, MGM has put together a nice special edition, complete with some fine extras. The talky audio commentary from Friedkin is a good...but I wonder if it wouldn't have turned out better if Petersen sat in for it as well?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Having seen the movie To Live And Die In L.A. many times on VHS, I was very anxious to own a copy on DVD. Clearly the picture and sound quality have been improved.
However, what I did not expect was for the studio to cut out so many important and pivotal scenes that are essential to develop the story and its characters.
They have BUTCHERED this film when they re-produced it on DVD, and I feel like I have been ripped-off.
I sincerely hope the producer and distributors of this DVD are notified of this gross error in judgement and re-edit the film to include the key scenes that were omitted.
It is truely a shame that they have ruined such a terrific movie classic!
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5.0 out of 5 stars To Live and Die . . . . April 11 2004
One of the reviewers wrote about "To Live and Die in LA" along the lines of 'if you get it, you get it and if you don't, you don't.' That's it in a nutshell. I think this is an extraordinary crime film, competent sufficiently to stand on it's own 2 legs with Friedkin's other great effort, "The French Connection" and also the interesting and now rarely seen except for late at night "The Seven Ups."
That it was also near introductory roles for Will Petersen and Willem Dafoe almost adds to the rawness of the plot, actors and the roles they play really living on the edge, taking chances. The solitary confinement of 'the job,' the apocryphal manly humor, the viciousness of the bad guys . . . and the good guys, reminds me of McQueen's role in "Bullit," notwithstanding that Bullit's car chase (in that beautiful Mustang) is the only one that comes close to this car chase on the Long Beach Freeway. This one may be the better of the two.
The fine line between the good guys and the bad guys blurs and at times becomes indistinguishable. Also interesting to note is the osmosis whereby, albeit reluctantly, the character played by the confused partner, John Vukovitch (John Pankow) eventually transforms to the character played by Will Petersen (Richard Chance), much like the transformation of Jon Voight into Burt Reynold's character in "Deliverance."
The cinematography is superlative; the techno-rock soundtrack by Wang Chung almost a speaking part throughout the movie. One of the best. 5 stars. Larry Scantlebury
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Great sound track with Wang Chung, well acted fast moving story line...what is not to like!? I especially got a kick out of the alternate ending Bonus feature at the end.... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Zman
2.0 out of 5 stars to be bored to tears on my couch
i just don't see what all the fuss is about.many people have said this
a great movie,and a good friend of mine raved about it. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2008 by falcon
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great Friedkin movie
This is one of William Friedkins best movies in fact one his last good ones before he started going down in the 90s(though I liked Bug). Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2008 by Terence Tan Co
5.0 out of 5 stars YAY
I actually bought my dvd back in January, and it was a case of me walking by telling my friends about this movie (which they had never heard of) and lo and behold, there it was!!! Read more
Published on May 8 2004 by Ronica Hopkins
1.0 out of 5 stars A Movie So Bad That It's Terrible
In this film, you can clearly see William Peterson's how do you do for over three seconds, and that's definitely more William Peterson than I needed to see. Read more
Published on April 3 2004 by Keith Whitener
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
Just ordered my DVD. Can't wait. I've burned up my VHS over the years and this upgrade has been a long time coming. Those who "get" this movie just get it. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by Charles Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars Cops R Cops
This is the premiere example of how police officers, regardless of what level, be it municipal, state or federal, bond and build relationships that may be all that they have to... Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2004 by H Y Seo
5.0 out of 5 stars About time!!!
A movie that was well overdue for remastering and re-release, TLADIL was one of the best movies of it's day. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2004 by J. Collins
1.0 out of 5 stars stereotyping muslims in the opening scene
its typical of American Media to typecast muslims as they do in the opening scene as terrorists.
history of American Terrorism:
1. Native Indians
2. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2004 by Moiz Biviji
5.0 out of 5 stars Best car chase, EVER
I know, the classic is the Mustang vs Charger in Bullitt, but this one is very good. Awesome driving and music when the deal goes bad under the bridge. That Impala sounds good!
Published on Feb. 6 2004
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