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The Living Daylights (1987)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 9

In The Living Daylights, newcomer Timothy Dalton plays James Bond with more debonair seriousness than preceding installments, and the result, is energetic, exciting, and occasionally weighty.


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 3

In The Living Daylights, newcomer Timothy Dalton plays James Bond with more debonair seriousness than preceding installments, and the result, is energetic, exciting, and occasionally weighty.



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Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 52,822

My Rating

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


Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure

Oct 17, 2000

MGM Home Entertainment

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (9) | DVD (17)

Expect the expected.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Timothy Dalton, the fourth Bond, registers beautifully on all key counts of charm, machismo, sensitivity and technique.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This Bond is as fast on his feet as with his wits; an ironic scowl creases his face; he's battle ready yet war-weary.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Confused plot and digressive globe trotting notwithstanding, the best Bond in years.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Dalton, the latest successor to the role of James Bond, is well equipped for his new responsibilities. He has enough presence, the right debonair looks and the kind of energy that the Bond series has lately been lacking.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dalton, with his athletic sort of Brit-yuppie work ethic and romantic streak, comes out all right.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Finally, a James Bond movie that Ian Fleming can be proud of. Dalton is a lean, mean and bold Bond. Full of great action and featuring a romantic sub-plot that elevates this above most other 007 adventures."

October 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Geek Central
Film Geek Central

Dalton is a dapper, dashing and dangerous Bond. And although "Casino Royale's" sophisticated blend of thrills and personal turmoil slightly eludes "Daylights," it's a sign that the producers then had the right instincts if not the full initiative.

October 14, 2012 Full Review Source:

Dalton gets a chance to demonstrate a fascinating, if slightly too actorly take on [James Bond].

September 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

It was somehow more entertaining than how it sounds.

February 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...ultimately comes off as one of the most ineffective and flat-out dull entries within the ongoing series.

October 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (4)
Reel Film Reviews

After the fizzle of the later Roger Moore Bonds, The Living Daylights brings in a new 007 in Timothy Dalton, who manages the Connery trick of seeming suave and tough at the same time.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

With its weak plotting and distinterested performances, this is a misfire on nearly every level.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Dalton is an engaging Bond, d'Abo is coolly alluring, and Krabbe is the epitome of the double-dealing spy master.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A very weak entry

February 10, 2008

The casting of Timothy Dalton as James Bond in this 15th entry into the adventures of 007 is widely considered a classic mistake: Dalton isn't suave like Sean Connery or even Roger Moore.

February 13, 2007 Full Review Source:

I'm one of the few people who really liked Timothy Dalton as James Bond.

October 8, 2005 | Comments (2)
Fantastica Daily

Typical Bond action but it's one of the spy's worst.

September 23, 2004 | Comments (2)

Hasn't aged well -- but it was once a refreshing change of pace.

April 15, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Dalton is a solid, serious, but a bit colorless as Bond. Still, the action is good.

February 14, 2003
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Sadly underrated Bond entry with an absolutely classic theme tune by A-ha.

February 3, 2003 | Comments (2)
New Times

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.
February 23, 2013

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.
December 21, 2012
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).
December 1, 2012
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

A tremendously entertaining action-packed adventure. A sharp, stylish, and wickedly entertaining thrill-ride that delivers the goods. Timothy Dalton is a Bond that would make Ian Fleming proud, he`s charming, lean, mean, swift, cool and tough as nails. Dalton is a much more darker and edgier Bond that gives fans what they want from this cool assassin. Dalton is dazzling and effective. It deliver some very searing action scenes and compelling romance to its plot. Just a good time for Bond fans all around
November 11, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Kara Malovy: Knowing you only two days and all I can think of is how we would be together.
    2. James Bond: Don't think. Just let it happen.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (12 months ago)
    1. James Bond: Just taking the Aston Martin out for a spin, Q.
    2. Q: Be careful, 007. It just had a new coat of paint!
    – Submitted by Joakim A (12 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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