Filmmaker in 5: William Friedkin

To Live and Die in L.A.

William FriedkinUSA115 minutes1985RColourEnglish

Jul 12
  • Press & Industry screenings and events are only for accredited passes.

    Friedkin sought to repeat (and top) the success of his Oscar-winning classic The French Connection with this slick, skeezy, and unrepentantly nasty thriller. Future CSI star William L. Petersen plays Richard Chance (yes, that's his name), a reckless, hard-living Secret Service agent who vows to take down ace counterfeiter Rick Masters (Willem Dafoe) after the cunning criminal guns down his partner. Going undercover with his pal's reluctant replacement (John Pankow), Chance becomes almost indistinguishable from his quarry as he resorts to ever more devious and dirty methods to get the job done — including a rip-off of a crooked bagman which leads to a high-velocity, wrong-way pursuit down the Los Angeles freeway, one of the most stunning car chases in film history. "First-rate.... This is [Friedkin's] comeback, showing the depth and skill of [his] early pictures" (Roger Ebert); "Like an episode of Miami Vice directed by Helmut Newton.... the general affectlessness of the proceedings is punctuated by rhapsodic images of male power and destructiveness" (Dave Kehr).