The Living Daylights (1987)
A View to a Kill (1985)
See our full list of James Bond films.
After 57-year-old Roger Moore had done his seventh James Bond film with A View to a Kill in 1985, and thus become the oldest Bond in the franchise, a record that still stands, it was clear to almost everyone that the series needed a change. Eon's reply was to cast the stage-trained, 40-year-old Welsh actor Timothy Dalton (after first having offered the part to Pierce Brosnan, who turned out to be unavailable due to scheduling conflicts). Dalton's more serious, dramatic interpretation of Bond was an obvious step away from Moore's more lighthearted persona. Dalton is arguably also the most British-looking Bond. With his stern looks with his chin lowered, he at times looks more like The Black Adder than like Roger Moore. And when he goes in to woo the somewhat out of place Maryam d'Abo, he seems almost as uncomfortable as Moore did doing action sequences towards the end. Conversely, Dalton is good in those. And The Living Daylights is at its best when concentrating on small-scale action and spy elements. The script is clever; it actually pays a little respect to the repercussions of some of the conflicts depicted, something which makes the film more relatable and dramatically valid. Also the action is more realistic and gritty, even if the characters involved in it are still the same recognisably dichotomic Bond archetypes. Does this create a discrepancy? Well, yes, because in heart and form, this is still an entry in the 007 series, not The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. End note: The title song by Norwegian 80s pop sensation a-ha is one of the best of the series.