7.3/10
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Licensed to Kill (1997)

Winner of both the Directors and Filmmakers Trophy awards at the Sundance Film Festival, "Licensed to Kill" goes behind the media headlines of recent high-profile anti-gay murders to ... See full summary »

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5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Donald Aldrich ...
Killer
Corey Burley ...
Killer
Raymond Childs ...
Killer
William Cross ...
Killer
Kenneth French ...
Killer
Jay Johnson ...
Killer
Jeffrey Swinford ...
Killer
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Storyline

Winner of both the Directors and Filmmakers Trophy awards at the Sundance Film Festival, "Licensed to Kill" goes behind the media headlines of recent high-profile anti-gay murders to investigate their causes. Attacked by gay bashers in 1977, filmmaker Arthur Dong probes the hearts and minds of murderers convicted of killing gay men he faces them in one-on-one cell block interviews and asks them directly: "Why did you do it?" Probing on-camera interviews with seven convicted killers behind bars propel the narrative drive of "Licensed To Kill." These inmates include a wide range of distinct profiles: a young man who claims he justifiably killed as protection from his victim's sexual advances - a defense known as "homosexual panic"; a self-loathing, religious gay man who killed because of his own homosexual tendencies; a victim of child abuse who feared losing his manhood; an army sergeant angry over the gays in the military debate; and a self-described homeboy looking for easy prey. Written by Anonymous

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January 1997 (USA)  »

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Referenced in Becoming Bond (2017) See more »

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Licensed to Kill a Great Educational Resource
21 April 2006 | by See all my reviews

The movie contains some fascinating interviews with men convicted of sexual orientation based hate crime murders. The director details the nature of their offenses and probes the motivations for their crimes. While some of the descriptions of the crimes are horrific, and the lack of remorse for their actions and lack of empathy for their victims expressed by some of the perpetrators is disturbing, the movie is engaging and revealing. The central theme of the movie as expressed in it title "Licensed to Kill" is well-developed throughout the course of the film as various individuals express their rationale as to why they believed it was "okay" to kill gay men. The film provides interesting insights into the motivations for sexual orientation bias crimes, and would be particularly useful for educational activities and classroom study.


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