The Living Daylights (1987)

living daylights poster 1987 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Dalton is an entertaining Bond

Weaker script doesn't fit Dalton's character

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Living Daylights

Studio:  Eon Productions

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  June 29, 1987

MPAA Rating:  PG


Just call me Bond of Arabia!

James Bond (Timothy Dalton) is out to aid a defector named General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe). When Koskov is kidnapped back from the British agents, Bond tracks down his girlfriend Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo). Posing as Koskov’s ally, Bond uncovers that Koskov is working as a double agent and planning to secretly rob the Russians with the help of a weapons supplier named Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker). Bond sets out to stop the deal and might need the Russians help.

Directed by John Glen, The Living Daylights is the 15th Bond film and introduced Timothy Dalton as James Bond. It took the title from the Ian Fleming story of the same title from the book Octopussy and The Living Daylights published in 1966. The movie followed A View to a Kill in 1985 and featured the title song sung by a-ha frontman Paul Waaktaar-Savoy. The movie also marked the last appearance of Walter Gotell as General Gogol It was well received and a big money maker.


I picked the wrong time to take up music

The path to The Living Daylights was a bit of a strange one. A View to a Kill had been a commercial failure, and Broccoli was looking to replace Roger Moore as James Bond. There are conflicting reports if Moore quit (his claim) or if he was fired (Broccoli’s claim), but the end result was the need for a new Bond. The selected Bond was Pierce Brosnan who was starring in Remington Steele which was slated for cancellation. When it was announced Brosnan was going to be Bond, Remington Steele’s ratings climbed and the studio decided to continue making the show. Broccoli didn’t want a TV star playing Bond and dropped Bronson…leading to Remington Steele’s rating slump and only five episodes more episodes before cancellation. Brosnan was picked to play Bond in 1995’s GoldenEye.


It wouldn’t be James Bond if stuff didn’t blow up

Dalton allegedly didn’t want to even play Bond. He’s often considered one of the worst Bonds, but I feel that is a little unfair. In this outing, he’s quite entertaining and no-nonsense after Roger Moore’s rather humorous take on the character. He will crack a joke occasionally, but it is about as dry as a martini. It is this attitude and play which gave him the “Dark Bond” title.

The problem with a Dark Bond in a film like this is that the technology is too funny for a dark character. Dalton just doesn’t seem right with a car trapped in a shed and skates on it. He can barely pull off the whistle control seriously. He isn’t bad, but I would have liked to have seen him with some better script like the relaunch Casino Royale or GoldenEye.


Could we do this inside the plane?

Despite some unnecessary goofiness, this is a pretty good film with a great ending fight. The whole plane battle is good and still looks good over twenty years later. The movie is filled with a lot of great fights and that isn’t always true of James Bond films…they try to outdo each other and this one succeeds.

The Living Daylights is a fun Bond entry and it is a shame that Dalton doesn’t get more credit as a Bond. The movie was a good bounce back from A View to a Kill, but the bounce didn’t appear help Dalton’s next outing as Bond in License to Kill in 1989 which ended Dalton’s run as Bond.

Preceded By:

A View to a Kill (1985)

Followed By:

License to Kill (1989)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response