To Live and Die in L.A. is one of these movies that is highly illustrative of the movie conventions in the 80′s and this is one of the better ones. Recently it has been getting a lot more of attention because director Nicholas Wending Refn stated he took a lot of inspiration from this movie for his latest acclaimed picture Drive. Especially the atmosphere present throughout To Live and Die in L.A. and some of its shocking violence was really well captured by Refn.
One of the most poignant aspects here and a true trademark of the 80′s are, besides the bright pink font titling, the tight fitted and short in length blue washed out Levi’s 501 jeans. William Petersen sports these all the time here, playing the Dirty Harry type of Secret Service agent, whilst the antagonist is played by nobody less than the still young and smooth-faced Willem Dafoe. Petersen’s character is this highly arrogant type that acts very tough with his aviator sunglasses, though his American military M65 field jacket is pretty nice. Dafoe’s character, who supplies the criminal circuit of L.A. as a counterfeiter, is really fond of black; a tight fitting black t-shirt, a black leather jacket and drives a black Ferrari 308 QV. Some last details include the white/eggplant coloured letterman jacket, the Red Wing moc toe’s and all the other tough looking guys.