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As with George Lazenby, the brevity of Timothy Dalton's tenure as Bond - due to years of legal problems and lawsuits between EON and MGM/UA - has led to history merrily being rewritten by the press that once hailed him. Dalton, not the lawyers, was lined up as the fall guy with Pierce Brosnan the man who saved the series from disaster (even though Dalton's first Bond saw a massive increase in takings over Moore's last film). Those who are quick to dismiss him would do well to check out The Living Daylights.

Much of the scapegoating of Dalton seemed to come from the confusion of actor and role. At the time Dalton's Bond was the closest to Fleming's creation - more so than Connery, even - and given the right script he proved outstanding in the role. After Roger Moore's 12-year, seven-film tenure as Bond finally came to an ignominious end with A View to a Kill, as with OHMSS, Live and Let Die and Casino Royale, the producers broke in their new Bond with a more low-key, low-gadget approach, resulting in the best Bond since the Sixties, with Dalton initially looking the first Bond to seriously rival Connery. Where Connery had the danger and Moore the class, Dalton managed to combine both, with Bond's self-assurance that verges on the arrogant down pat, reclaiming the character from the increasingly comic-strip approach of too many of the later Moore films.

The film isn't without its faults - Caroline Bliss isn't up to much as Moneypenny, Maryam D'Abo's a bit of a wet leading lady while Jeroen Krabbe lacks the menace he brought to No Mercy - but it looks and feels like a classic Bond film, has little truck with gadgets and is less in thrall to silly jokes. Best of all, it's got a plot (involving a dubious defection, Mujahadin opium smuggling in Afghanistan and a re-activated Stalinist spy assassination programme). The political background may have dated - this was filmed when the Communists still held the USSR together and when the Mujahadin were the good guys - but it still comes up remarkably fresh. This is Bond with all the stops pulled out but without the overkill. The production values are superb and visually it's a treat, especially in widescreen, with John Barry making his final Bond score his best in years. The action scenes are often outstandingly good, with a return to the kind of good old vicious punchups that vanished in the latter Moore years and as well as some amazing stunt work involving a Russian troop plane and it has one of the series' best pre-title sequences, with a security exercise in Gibraltar turning into the real thing. The makers even have the confidence to remove Bond from one of the key setpieces - a superbly staged kidnapping from a safehouse, which runs nearly a full reel. John Glen's direction is so spot-on here it's hard to see why it would go so horribly wrong on Licence To Kill.

The extras package is excellent, including audio commentary, an extended scene and the infamous deleted `magic carpet' sequence, a bad idea that feels like a holdover from the Roger Moore era that was thankfully dropped due to the stunt looking distinctly unimpressive. There are enough new features on the two-disc Ultimate edition to make an upgrade worthwhile for the more ardent Bond fans - several promo featurettes from the original release, a press conference held in Vienna and 47-minute TV special `Happy Anniversary 007.' All the features from the original DVD release have also been included.
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on 31 March 2005
This was Timothy Dalton's first film as James Bond and after watching it the first thing that came to my mind is why do people criticise him so much. I feel he did a fantastic job of playing 007 and he is easily the best actor to have played Bond.
The film is action packed from beginning to end and Bond has to travel all over the world from England to Afghanistan. This movie has some very good scenes specially the car scene and the cello scene. The plot is a bit confusing but it is understandable and the other actors are good as well. The bond girl is different for a change and is innocent compared to previous bond girls. Koskov is cunning and manipulative. The villians are ruthless and efficient(Necros).
As for Dalton there are a few scenes where we see what a truly great actor he is.There is scene where Bond goes to kill General Puskin in his hotel room and although we know he is not going to Dalton makes you feel that he would.
I would suggest people to buy this movie if you want proper entertainment with excellent acting.
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1987. Roger Moore had finally hung up his Walther PPK and tuxedo after `A View To A Kill', and a replacement Bond was needed for this the fifteenth big screen outing for the superspy. This is Timothy Dalton's first film in role, and he acquits himself well.

I have always enjoyed Dalton's portrayal of Bnd. Not quite as suave and sophisticate as Moore and with less of a predilection for corny one liners, his was a harder character - utterly ruthless in his determination to get the job done but not without his compassionate side. It was a portrayal (and I await the critics to shoot me down for this comment) that strongly echoed Sean Connery's early take on the character. I feel strongly that it was just what the series needed.

In this entertaining romp, Bond helps a Russian General to defect. Pretty soon the defector is snatched by a third party, and Bond is off on a hunt across Eastern Europe and Afghanistan to track him down and foil a plot involving a drugs trade and huge arms deal. It starts off feeling like another cold war drama then slowly morphs into a more sophisticated story about attempts to make huge amounts of money. It's a well constructed script, and pacily directed, jumping from one situation to the next and dishing out the thrills and spills on a regular basis. For sheer entertainment value it has to be one of the best in the series.

This digitally restored edition really is the best version of the film I have owned. The picture has been lovingly restored and cleaned up, and looks amazing. Really, I am not just saying that. It looks superb. The sound has been similarly treated and there is an option to listen to it in 5.1 DTS surround, which is truly exceptional.
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on 20 November 2000
Everytime I watch this film I can't help but feel that Bond fans lost out in not having TImothy Dalton in the lead for more than two films. The Living Daylights is a cracker and features the best action sequences (performed largely by Dalton) of any Bond movie. Dalton is by far the best Bond since Connery. He seems to epitomise everything that a British agent should be. A WARNING: This is not the cosy, tongue-in-cheek humour that we had become used to with Roger, this is a tight thriller/action film that at times is quite violent. Not for the little ones.
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on 1 April 2005
This film is quite simply the best amoung the 'modern' James Bond movies. Dalton's true-to-Fleming-007 is dead on, and after years of smug sillyness from (bless him) 'ol Roger Moore, 'The Living Daylights' comes across as being almost a masterpiece amoungst Bond films.
Almost. Although I am a great endorser of this picture, as the objective reviewer I consider myself to be, a few weaknesses must be pointed out, weaknesses that cause the film to miss out on being the ultimate 007 screen experience.
The presence of a real plot in TLD is a great relief after the previous two films' haphazardous scheming, though it has to be said that slightly less might have been more in this case.
The villains plan to get 007 to eliminate a top-level KGB general so as to facilitate a large-scale diamonds-for-opium scheme is in places dangerously close to losing the viewer's interest due to the sheer elaborateness of the plot.
However, even if you don't quite follow from the start the film allows for plenty of time to appreciate the thrilling skul-duggery 007 embarks upon set against beautiful scenery of Austria, Morocco and the Middle-Eastern desert.
Maryam d'Abo provides Bond with the most memorable female foil since Diana Rigg's doomed Tracy from 'OHMSS', and it is pure delight to watch her opposite Dalton. I haven't seen this much chemistry between the two leads in any other 007 flick.
It is Dalton though who truly brings this adventure to life, and he portrays the reluctant super-spy with understated charm and class. The one liners seem to come a litte too unnaturally for such a talented actor, but Dalton makes the role completely his own within the half-hour.
The villains are weak compared to the rest of the cast, Andreas Winiewski's ruthlessly efficient henchman 'Necros' being the big exception, his mid-air fight with Bond whilst both dangling off the rear of a freight plane over Afghanistan ranks as perhaps the best stunt of the entire series.
Most of the action is inventive and full of panache, a gas-pipeline being used to transport a KGB defector across the Iron curtain, the classic Aston Martin makes a brilliant gadget-laden return on the ice and snow of the Slovak-Austrian border and all the scenes involving the Hercules freight-plane involve top notch action sequences.
And the great performance from Dalton coupled with competent direction from John Glen string all these things together to make a rip roaring thriller of a film.
John Barry composed his last and most masterful 007 score here, it fits so perfectly with the mood on screen, depicting each thril with a soundtrack-and-film match made in heaven.
All-in-all, 'The Living Daylights' delivers on a scale previously unseen in the James Bond franchise, and I defy anyone who says that it's strenghts don't utterly outweigh it's weaknesses.
- J.J
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on 10 June 2008
After a lamentable descent into self-parody that started with "Diamonds Are Forever", 1987's "The Living Daylights" re-established Bond as a credible film franchise. The inspired casting (third time lucky for producer Cubby Broccoli) of talented actor Timothy Dalton pays off from the start. He establishes himself as Bond with a single look in the teasing pre-title sequence and, unlike his predecessors, is never anything other than wholly believable in the part.

Dalton's Bond ventures into the world of the grubby villains - motivated by greed rather than megalomania. Arms dealers and drug barons become the foils to Dalton's sometimes morally ambiguous Bond, which gives his films a more "real" edge. In "The Living Daylights", Joe Don Baker and Jeroen Krabbe are wonderfully entertaining as the baddies, and Dalton's assured central performance, with plenty of spectacle, makes for the best Bond movie in years, and one of the very best of all time.

Dalton's Bond has a wry, dry humour of his own, and thankfully for the most part eschews the superficially clever one-liners his predecessors were saddled with and the oft-parodied gadgetry that were used as "get out of jail free" cards by the screenwriters. This Bond relies on his wits to succeed. Such as shame Dalton only made two, but he gets off to a cracking start.
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on 10 September 2003
This movie is absolutly amazing. Timothy Dalton IS Bond, he was born to play the role!
Althogh he only played in two films, these two were the highlights of the entire series. The living daylights being the slightly better of his two. The film is a non-stop ride of action and humour from the very start, right up to the very very very end. The theme song is quite simply brilliant and the score is possibly THE best peice of film music I have ever heard in my life. I cannot say enough good things about this film and the way that Dalton plays the 007 character. The film has the famous cello chase, the car on the ice, the afghan army base action and of course the Gibralter rock stunts at the very beginning.
If you want any more information about this film the only thing I can say is BUY IT, you will not be dissapointed!!!
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VINE VOICEon 18 August 2006
Death To Spies are the words to set the tone for this, the first Timothy Dalton James Bond movie. This 007 is darker, grittier and more to the true incarnation of Ian Fleming, and Dalton does a perfect job in becoming the super spy.

After the near-perfect defection of KGB General Koskov (Jerone Krabbe), 007 finds himself in a web of deciet and international arms dealing when all is not what it was thought to be. The beautiful, strong minded but naive Kara Milovy (Maryam D'Abo) proves to be one of the toughest Bond Girls of the 80's and plays just as much a factor in the story as Bond to help unravel the danger.

The selection of villains, like delusioned arms-dealer Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker) and the brilliant assassin Necros (Andreas Wisniewski) add more tension and a real life sense of danger to this adventure story, and give the whole movie more espionage qualities like Fleming originally wrote about.

A great number of fantastic action sequences and stunts like the final plane confrontation and airbase assault and the icey lake Aston Martin battle, mixed with stunning locals like Afghanistan, Vienna and the borders of Russia and Czechoslovakia give another thumbs up to the start of the short but sweet Timothy Dalton era and a new style for James Bond!
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on 4 November 2016
Clearly the best Bond film of all time! Dalton was ahead of his time and its a great shame that The Living Daylights is often overlooked.

- Bond actually thinks, and the audience is left to figure out the complexities of motives and ideas. I can't think of another Bond film where the intelligence of the audience is respected. For example - when Bond first meets Kara, and Kara explains that Koscov had her help cover his defection as a pretend assassin. In that moment, Bond realises two things - that Koscov had wanted her to die at Bond's sharp shooting, and also that Kara has no idea that he has far less affection for her than she does for him. None of this is explained - but if you've been paying attention, and are thinking, then you can realise these two things at the same time as Bond does - and Dalton acts it brilliantly. I also love how Bond thinks at the country house meeting, being suspicious of Koscovs motives, and at later points in the film where he's trying to suss out what's going on.

- This is a rare Bond film where its actually Bond who is figuring out the mystery and motives rather than being told to investigate someone or some plot. Some criticise the story for not having high enough stakes, but for me its a relief to trade a "take over the world" plot for a thinking man's mystery spy thriller.

- The relationship with the girl is complex. Its very ambiguous in places whether Bond actually likes her, or is just pretending to to get the answers he needs and to keep her close for information. Her irritation is purposeful - she genuinely winds him up - and watching this tension play against him also finding her attractive is fun. Even after they kiss for the first time (the fairground scene - where his intentions are still ambiguous) he still shows contempt and impatience.

- The music - brilliant score, my favourite for any Bond film. The three themes (the a-Ha and two Pretenders songs) weaving into the soundtrack score is great. Its so much better than the already horribly dated, cold Eric Serra score that followed later in Goldeneye. John Barry did a fantastic job, and cameos at the end as the conductor.

- Necros - awesome villain, and contributes to one of the best action scenes in a Bond film with his one-man take down of the country house to rescue Koscov. Any other scene like this in an earlier Bond was laden with fake wooden planks, sugar glass, hammy henchman acting - but here it plays gritty and real. He burns a mans face before whacking him out cold with a frying pan - years before the brutality of Bourne films or Craig's Bond. Interestingly, the actor (who also played the "they have rules for policemen" terrorist in Die Hard, and the guy on the bench holding the match in Mission Impossible), is now a yoga instructor.

- Genuine spy stuff: Other Bond films seem to rely on naff action or CGI/gimmicky stuff to please the audience. Here we get rare scenes that play like a good spy thriller. The defection - the moody late night hotel scene with the night-vision and sniper rifle. The conversations in the car driving to the defection point. Getting Kara out of her apartment in view of the guys watching. The scene in Pushkins apartment, and then his staged assassination. The fairground scene, getting information from Saunders, and Bond's subsequent anger at his death. If it weren't for the Moore-esque one-liners and shoe-horned action scenes (the car stuff), the film would play like a genuine spy thriller and would have probably been much better received and remembered.

- The best action scene for any Bond film! The moment the opium bags fall out of the plane, I feel a genuine lurch of panic every time I see it. Such an awesome set-piece.

The bluray is of course excellent, with loads of extras, commentaries, trailers etc. The making of film is actually a good one, with decent anecdotes and stories of filming it - not just talking heads gushing about it in a PR way like you normally get these days.

"Whoever she was, it must have scared the living daylights out of her".
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on 31 May 2003
The Living Daylights is by far the best James Bond film to date.
As Daltons' debut he brings a new and exciting roll to Bond: Also with Marianne d'abo as the Bond Girl, Kara Milovy she also brings a new and "sweet" Character to the endless Bond Girl Rolls.
This Film offers The usual "Q" scene but much longer than in previous films. And not to mention The Cello scene down the mountain side. Lots of explosive sequenses and a Song by A-ha to Die for - truly the best!
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