The Living Daylights represents the first appearance by Timothy Dalton as "Bond...James Bond." Based loosely on an obscure Ian Fleming short story, the film finds Bond assigned to aid in the defection of KGB agent Jeroen Krabbe. 007 must prevent an unknown sniper from killing Krabbe before he can reach the West. The mysterious assailant turns out to be the luscious Maryam d'Abo, who, as it turns out, is not all that she seems. The plot wends its way through a scheme to trade several million dollars' worth of diamonds for weapons, which will be shipped off to mercenaries worldwide. The climax takes place high above the clouds in a cargo plane loaded with opium. Dalton would play Bond one more time in License to Kill (1989) before handing the franchise over to Pierce Brosnan, who was slated to star in Daylights but ended up being held back by a TV contract with Remington Steele.~Hal Erickson
Ever since 1987's "The Living Daylights" was first made available on home video after its original theatrical release, I have always had a copy of it in every video format: from a Betamax Videocassette to VHS to VCD and, most recently, to DVD, which had only the film's two theatrical trailers as "Special Features." Finally, I got myself a Blu-Ray copy, for only about $12, containing loads of fascinating extras, apart from a high-definition, crystal clear resolution of the actual movie.
Having grown-up in the 1960s-1970s, my template for the ideal James Bond had always been (Sir) Sean Connery, even as he visibly aged considerably towards his final official EON film "Diamonds Are Forever" in 1971, as a one-time comeback of sorts after George Lazenby portrayed 007 in 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."
While I still closely followed the Bond films during (Sir) Roger Moore's 12-year tenure as Bond from 1973 to 1985, I never really took him seriously as a credible government assassin, but more of an elegant, almost foppish, lady-killer. Don't get me wrong -- I've liked Moore as Simon "The Saint" Templar and briefly as Lord Brett Sinclair in "The Persuaders" and in a number of his other roles and appearances. In addition, the gags, in-jokes, tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Bond, the incredulous plots, outlandish production design and a nearly-geriatric 007 (Moore was 57 in his final film "A View To A Kill") were wearing really thin and long in the tooth.
Thus, Moore's replacement, Timothy Dalton, a classically-trained Shakesperean actor with a natural flair for action roles, was a welcome change. His more realistic approach, intense portrayal and grittier action (by performing most of his stunts), while still remaining suave and debonair, were truly a joy to see. It is rather unfortunate, though, that many audiences were not yet ready for this new style, having been accustomed to the more "fun" Moore films. Happily, the present Bond, Daniel Craig, has revived this approach in his four movies to date, to great public acclaim. Times have changed indeed.
Of ALL the actors (this includes SC and DC, both whom I love in their portrayals) Timothy Dalton was the closest to Ian Fleming's vision for the character. He fell victim to bad scripts and mannequin Bond girls that couldn't act their way out of a bag. I remember how I looked forward to him taking the reigns from RM who had become little more than a butler in the role.
Timothy Dalton is a highly underrated Bond, he brought a much darker tone to the character and played him more true to the source than any of the actors to take the part before him. If you are a fan of Daniel Craig you need to check out Dalton's Bond films. They still have the humour but as I mentioned they are much darker and Craigs Bond drew influences from his films.
I think that "The Living Daylights" was once again one of the greatest James Bond films of all-time and it was also one of my many favorite James Bond films of all-time. I've been a fan of the entire James Bond film series and I also think that "The Living Daylights" had a lot of entertaining and enjoyable action, drama, mystery and suspense including a really great and amazing cast and storylines as well.