The Living Daylights (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Living Daylights (1987)



Critic Consensus: Newcomer Timothy Dalton plays James Bond with more seriousness than preceding installments, and the result is exciting and colorful but occasionally humorless.

Movie Info

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.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Richard Maibaum, Michael G. Wilson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 17, 2000
MGM Home Entertainment


Timothy Dalton
as James Bond
Maryam d'Abo
as Kara Milovy
Jeroen Krabbé
as Gen. Georgi Koskov
Joe Don Baker
as Brad Whitaker
John Rhys-Davies
as Gen. Leonid Pushkin
Art Malik
as Kamran Shah
Walter Gotell
as Gen. Anatol Gogol
Caroline Bliss
as Miss Moneypenny
John Terry
as Felix Leiter
John Bowe
as Colonel Feyador
Geoffrey Keen
as Minister of Defence
Julie T. Wallace
as Rosika Miklos
Virginia Hey
as Rubavitch
Nadim Sawalha
as Tangier Chief of Sec...
Alan Talbot
as Koskov's KGB Minder
Carl Rigg
as Imposter
Tony Cyrus
as Chief of Snow Leopar...
Sumar Khan
as Kamran's Man
Peter Porteous
as Gasworks Supervisor
Antony Carrick
as Male Secretary, Bla...
Derek Hoxby
as Sergeant Stagg
Bill Weston
as Butler, Blayden
Richard Cubison
as Trade Centre Toastma...
Leslie French
as Lavatory Attendant
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Living Daylights

Critic Reviews for The Living Daylights

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (14)

I feel just rotten about this, but I'm afraid I've outgrown James.

Full Review… | October 20, 2015
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

In The Living Daylights, Dalton establishes his claim to the role; in the films that will follow, he'll have the chance to dig deeper.

Full Review… | October 20, 2015
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Dalton shows a serious side that's been missing from the role since Sean Connery's earliest 007 days. And as a whole, the new picture is less of a special-effects affair than most of Roger Moore's Bond films.

Full Review… | October 20, 2015
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

As with other Bond movies, the locations in The Living Daylights are more remarkable than its plot.

Full Review… | October 20, 2015
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The result is a film that is not so much bad as mechanical and uptight.

Full Review… | October 20, 2015
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Expect the expected.

Full Review… | October 13, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Living Daylights


Despite Timothy Dalton's welcome change as a more serious Bond after the cartoonish Roger Moore era, The Living Daylight's is one of the least satisfying productions of the entire series. It's just run of the mill across the board. It lacks energy, wit, and charm. There's only a couple of decent action sequences and for Bond, that is not going to cut it. Part of the problem is with the script, but also that Dalton isn't given anything to liven up all the dullness, therefore making his performance also part of the problem because there's no personality. There's also no good villains, a lack of Bond girls, and the plot is outright boring. The filmmakers tried to go as straight as possible after the relatively bombastic Moore installments, but it was clear that they were not ready for such an undertaking and it would mean that Dalton got the short end of the stick because audiences hated this version of Bond. It's really too bad because I think Dalton could have done something with the character in the vein of what Daniel Craig is doing now. We'll see how things change in his second and final performance in Licence to Kill, before Bond had to take a 6 year hiatus due to lack of interest from paying audiences.

Josh Lewis

Super Reviewer

After 7 films, it was clear that Moore was done, and the series needed to be refreshed. Cut then, to this: Timothy Dalton making his 007 debut, and the series making a return to a more grounded and less ridiculous approach to the spy thriller.

Dalton gets dumped on, but I rather like his brief era, but maybe that's because I'm a fan of a more realistic and dark approach. That's also why I dig Daniel Craig. I will concede that each Bond has their good and bad points though. And Dalton is fine here. He was criticized for being humorless. Well, he's not entirely, but he is really dry with his quips.

Okay, the plot. Well, it's immense: Bond is signed on to aid in the defection of a Soviet, only to find himself stuck in the middle of a complex plot that also involves tons of Cold War intrigue, lies, deception, arms smuggling, the opium trade, and the Soviet war in Afghanistan (later revisited in Rambo III). Yeah, it's a lot, but it's all handled surprisingly well, and during its 131 minute run-time the film moves along at a pretty brisk pace. For the most part that is. It does start to drag some and get real drawn out during the final act, but it does conclude quite satisfactorily.

Like I said, Dalton is good, but you can tell it's his first film, as he is a bit stiff at times. Again though, I like him. Maryam d'Abo isn't the worst Bond girl, but she struck me as really wooden and rather blah. She's nice looking though. The film fares better with the supporting cast, with top honors going to Joe Don Baker, Jeroen Krabbe, and John Phys-Davies.

The stunts and action are staged and executed fairly well, the direction is fairly assured, and overall, this is a really enjoyable, sadly underrated romp. Give it a go.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

"The Living Daylights" is Timothy Dalton's first(of two) turn as Bond, James Bond. He does a decent job, but comes off as too serious for the role. The plot is pretty much in line with the rest of the Bond films, and features some of the better action sequences up to this point in the franchise. The finale on the plane is pretty awesome. I would say this movie is better than most of the Moore movies, but Moore was a better Bond(well, some of the time).

Everett Johnson
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

The Living Daylights Quotes

– Submitted by Joakim A (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Joakim A (2 years ago)

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