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To Live and Die in L.A.

Friedkin’s sun-drenched neo-noir, shot by legendary cinematographer Robby Müller, is one of the great crime dramas of the 1980s. Richard Chance (perennial 80s action-hero William Petersen), a US Secret Service agent at the Los Angeles field office, is charged with investigating counterfeiters, foremost of which is the brooding, dispassionate Rick Masters (an especially creepy Willem Dafoe). Enter Chance’s new partner John Vukovich (John Pankow), the two going down a dangerous and winding path in their pursuit to bring Masters to justice, which he has eluded for years, flaunting his lawlessness. Featuring a classic soundtrack by Wang Chung, dripping in neon and grime, To Live and Die in L.A. “seems to know a lot about counterfeiting and also about the interior policies of the Secret Service. The film isn’t just about cops and robbers, but about two systems of doing business, and how one of the systems finds a way to change itself in order to defeat the other.”—Roger Ebert.

Genres: Crime, Drama, Action