In the movie Licence to Kill, James Bond breaks into Felix Leiter's house and gets a CD out from behind a picture. He then sticks a CD in an absolutely massive CD drive. It was about three times the width of the CD. This movie was released in 1989. I've never seen anything like that before. Did such CD drives actually exist?

Sorry, I don't have a picture.

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    What are you talking about? The standard width for hifi equipment is about 42 cm, i.e. 3.5 times the width of a CD.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 17:45
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    BTW, you might want to think about where the term "CD" comes from. I suppose it's just a matter of time until we see someone asking about "A mobile phone, except it's stationary", or "UAV with a pilot". Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 2:58
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    @Acccumulation that time is already here "why do old people say that a phone is ringing?" or "why do old people hold a thumb to their ear and a pinky finger to their mouth to pantomime a phone call?"
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 4:04
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    @Criggie - for me, the ultimate expression is the symbol above the "1" button on the software keyboard of a smartphone: it signifies digital voicemail by depicting a reel-to-reel tape recorder (not even a cassette!), something I doubt anyone born since the advent of the mobile phone boom would ever have seen in real life, let alone have used.
    – Spratty
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 9:43
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    @Spratty You underestimate how many of us watch Techmoan on YouTube!
    – Dai
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 10:39

2 Answers 2


As far as I remember, this wasn't a CD, but (supposed to be) a Laserdisc, and he was using a Philips player (the movie contained several Philips machines). Laserdiscs were available in different sizes between 12 cm, which is like a CD and up to 30 cm (LP size).

In a technical way, the movie screwed up, as Laserdisks were neither digital (they used an analogue format) nor writable. Except for the LV-ROM which could carry digital data as well - still not writable.

Looking at this picture from Starringthecomputer,

Enter image description here

it seems plausible that it is a Philips VP-415:

Enter image description here

(The same drive was used for the Acorn/BBC Domesday Project.)

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    @tofro I haven't seen the film, but couldn't "in technical way they screwed up" be about the role of that disk in the plot of the film?
    – Džuris
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 11:26
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    @tofro Erm (re-) watch the film. Story goes that Felix had stored (written) sensible data onto the disk, prior to his death, and Bond retrieves it later on, using the Philips setup. There is no dispute about copyright or alike involved. It has simply screwed up by using the wrong props - maybe in part because the CD-R was only finished a few month after filming had started.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 12:28
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    Might be worth mentioning there were writable Magneto-Optical discs that size in existence when this was filmed. The LV ROM player depicted is not that, and MO discs are generally contained inside a caddy, not a bare disc. But the concept of a big writable disc itself isn't far-fetched, they just got the details wrong.
    – mnem
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 16:04
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    @Raffzahn Yes, but only slightly.
    – tofro
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 20:18
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    Perhaps the spy gadget team had developed a writeable LaserDisc, using heat / light sensitive chemicals like CD-R. And that's what Felix Leiter used. Given the gadgets Q develops for Bond, that's a very plausible explanation. Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 22:35

That is a Philips VP415 LV-ROM player.

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