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To Live and Die in LA (Special Edition)

59 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer, John Turturro
  • Directors: William Friedkin
  • Writers: William Friedkin, Gerald Petievich
  • Producers: Bud S. Smith, Irving H. Levin, Samuel Schulman
  • Format: NTSC, Widescreen, Subtitled, Color, Dolby
  • Language: English, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • Release Date: Dec 2 2003
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLJW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,781 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Durham on Jan. 31 2004
Format: DVD
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 By T. Lobascio on July 19 2004
Format: DVD
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 By Mason W. Smith on May 20 2004
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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