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License to Drive is a 1988 teen adventure film written by Neil Tolkin and directed by Greg Beeman in his feature film directorial debut. It stars Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Heather Graham, Carol Kane, Richard Masur, Michael Manasseri and Nina Siemaszko.

License to Drive
License to drive poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGreg Beeman
Produced by
Written byNeil Tolkin
Music byJay Ferguson
CinematographyBruce Surtees
Edited byWendy Greene Bricmont
Stephen Semel
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 6, 1988 (1988-07-06)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$8 million
Box office$22.4 million (US)

The film was in production in late 1987. It was released on July 6, 1988 in the United States and grossed over $20 million at the North American box office. It was distributed by 20th Century Fox.



Les Anderson (Corey Haim) is a 16-year-old living in Southern California who tries to get his driver's license and falls in love with Mercedes Lane (Heather Graham).

After failing the knowledge portion of his driver's exam, Les inadvertently causes a computer surge. The Department of Motor Vehicles lets him pass the exam as his failing score was thought to be irretrievable, assuming as his twin sister had scored so highly, that twins could not be too different. He eventually also passes the road test, but when his test scores are finally retrieved, his new license is torn up and he is officially failed. Les conceals this, but his mother finds out the truth and he is grounded for two weeks because he lied. That night, having already made plans to use his new license, he sneaks out of the house with his grandfather's prized 1972 Cadillac Sedan de Ville for a night on the town with Mercedes. After showing him how Los Angeles looks from far away on a hill, she tells him that her father used to bring her to the hill. While Mercedes is getting drunk, she and Les cause the hood of the car to slightly cave in by dancing on it. Mercedes then passes out.

Les panics and goes to his best friend Dean's house, where Dean (Corey Feldman) fixes the dent in the car's hood. Dean persuades Les to go out for a joyride, along with their friend Charles (Michael Manasseri), who are both still unaware that Les does not have a license. The three, along with a blacked-out Mercedes (who they put in the trunk of the car), end up getting into all kinds of trouble and hilarity ensues as they cause even more damage to the Cadillac. Meanwhile, Les' extremely pregnant mother, late in the night, wakes up her husband, shouting that she is in labor.

The next day, Les drops off Charles and Dean. Mercedes finally comes to and believes the fragments of the night that she does recall were a dream. She and Les kiss after he drops her off at her house. Les later does get in trouble with his father after returning home with the Cadillac, which is by now seriously damaged. Luckily, Les is able to drive his father, his mother and little brother Rudy to the hospital — in reverse, because the Cadillac is so badly damaged it can no longer be put into drive. After they get there, and Les' mother is taken into the hospital, a crane fails and a falling steel girder crushes the Cadillac, much to the shock of Les and his father. The family prepares to explain the state of the Cadillac to Les' grandfather, expecting the worst, but Les' grandfather laughs it off when he reveals that he has severely damaged Les' father's own car, a BMW, in an accident.

Les' father tells Les that the BMW is all his now, and laughingly tells him to take good care of it. Although Les thanks his father, he has changed his mind about getting a BMW, saying he does not need it anymore. Mercedes pulls up in a white Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, while Les says "I already have a Mercedes". He then runs over and hops into the Cabriolet. Les drives off with Mercedes, without his license.



License to Drive grossed $22,433,275 in North America.[1]

Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave the film two and a half out of four stars and described the film as "more-than-passable summer entertainment, especially when it identifies with the yearnings of its young heroes to get behind the wheel." He said the first half of the film was "very funny" but the second half was "much more predictable".[2]

Box officeEdit

The movie was a box office success.[3] It earned $22,433,275 at the North American box office, against a production budget of $8 million.


Track listing
  1. "Drive My Car" by Breakfast Club – 3:13
  2. "Sweet Surrender" by Brenda K. Starr – 4:50
  3. "I Feel Free" (extended version) by Belinda Carlisle – 6:55
  4. "Time Starts Now" by Boys Club – 4:28
  5. "Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car" by Billy Ocean – 5:29
  6. "Crucial" by New Edition – 4:30
  7. "One More Dance" by Jonathan Butler – 4:32
  8. "Jazzy's in the House" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – 2:55
  9. "Touch and Go" by Femme Fatale – 3:57
  10. "Make Some Noise" by Slave Raider – 3:28
  11. "Mercedes Boy" by Pebbles – 3:54 (single remix)

Songs played in the film, but not on the soundtrack

  1. "Rush Hour" by Jane Wiedlin – 4:03
  2. "Strangers in the Night" by Frank Sinatra
  3. "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra
  4. "Waiting for the Big One" by Femme Fatale

Home mediaEdit

License to Drive was first released on VHS by CBS/Fox Video in late 1988. It was notable that some VHS versions of the film replaced the Nia Peeples song "Trouble" with "New Sensation" by INXS.

A special edition DVD was distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment in the United States on May 3, 2005. Special features included interviews with Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, audio commentary with Greg Beeman and Neil Tolkin, deleted scenes, TV spots, theatrical trailers, and the film's screenplay (DVD-ROM).

On January 17, 2012, Anchor Bay released the film on Blu-ray.

Sequel and trilogyEdit

In an interview on Larry King Live, on March 10, 2010, the day of Corey Haim's death, Corey Feldman revealed that he and Haim had been developing a sequel, titled License to Fly, an idea initiated by Haim. Feldman also stated that there were tentative plans for a trilogy, with a third installment called License to Dive.[4]


Fox and Davis are developing a female-driven reboot based on the film.[5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "License to Drive (1988)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 6, 1988). "License To Drive review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  3. ^ Easton, Nina (July 12, 1988). "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : Murphy Still Box Office King". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Wigler, Josh (March 10, 2010). "Corey Feldman Tells Larry King About Corey Haim's Final Days". MTV News. MTV. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  5. ^ Busch, Anita (August 15, 2017). "'License To Drive': Female-Driven Reboot Hits The Road With Fox And John Davis". Deadline.
  6. ^

External linksEdit