Twitch in Bondage: Why Timothy Dalton Was The Best Bond

Timothy Dalton was the best Bond.

There, I said it. I'm not ashamed. Although I suppose I'll have to back that statement up with a pretty compelling argument. 

So why do I think Timothy Dalton was the best Bond? Because when The Living Daylights came out in 1987, it was a revelation for 10 year-old me - a revelation bordering on sexual awakening.

Compelling enough for you? Don't worry, it's not as weird as it sounds.

I was raised on Bond. I can't remember which film I saw first, but it was probably an old Connery one on TV, perhaps Goldfinger or Dr. No. I wasn't allowed to watch R-rated movies at the time, so I had to get my fill of sex and violence from pre-PG13 PG films. And for a 10 year-old, the Bond films were an excellent source. Somehow, they were titillating yet family friendly at the same time. There was an excitement to them, but you didn't get that flush of embarrassment while watching them with your parents. (It helped that I really didn't grasp the subversiveness of calling a film Octopussy at the time.)

Even though my first Bond was a Connery, I remember my formative favorite incarnation of the spy being Roger Moore. His films felt more realistic to me than the classic Bonds, despite their tendency towards broad humor and cartoonishness. (Hey, what did I know? I was just a stupid kid.) And I have to say, when they retired his elderly ass, I was highly skeptical that anyone could fill his orthopedic shoes.

Enter Timothy Dalton. Dalton had originally screen-tested for the role back in 1968, when he was being considered as a replacement for Sean Connery. But the 22 year-old actor felt he was too young to play Bond, and turned it down. He was approached again in 1980, to star in For Your Eyes Only, but there wasn't a script and he didn't want to appear in another 'silly' Bond flick, like Moonraker. Third time's the charm: 5 years later, Dalton turned down the role yet again, because of prior commitments (AKA: the abysmal Brenda Starr). But the Broccolis weren't having it. They rearranged the shooting schedule to accommodate Dalton, and the rest is (a very short) history.

People made such a big deal about Daniel Craig's gritty, more realistic portrayal of the spy who loved me in Casino Royale, but those people forget - Timothy Dalton did it first. Dalton's Bond, at the time, was considered the most similar to Ian Fleming's creation, and thankfully moved the series away from the high camp of the Moore films. This was something that wasn't lost on 10 year-old me. To give you a frame of reference, this was post Temple of Doom, which I was too frightened to see when it was released, and pre-Terminator 2, which was one of the first R-rated films I saw outside of the safety of network TV. For me, The Living Daylights was a jolt of adrenaline; it made me appreciate film as a visceral thrill. This was a more adult Bond, and it made me feel like a grownup movie-watcher. It was also the beginning of a life-long fascination with Russian Cellists.

Daylights wasn't so much a re-imagining of the series as it was a re-writing. It had all the hallmarks of a classic Bond film: amazing stunts (Skydiving! Skiing!), a tricked out Aston Martin, cool gadgets, an over-the-top villain (but not TOO over-the-top), and a creepy henchman who doesn't say much. It also managed to incorporate an element of humor without crossing over into parody (although, in retrospect, the cello case sled scene is pretty silly). But these elements felt fresh when combined with a more serious tone and an infusion of Dalton blood. After the geriatric antics of A View To A Kill, it brought some respect back to Bond.

Then the series upped the ante. If The Living Daylights was my sexual awakening, License To Kill put hair on my balls. It was the first PG13 Bond, thanks to some grizzly shark attacks, a Scanners-esque head explosion, and an amoral Bond out for revenge. It gave me a taste for blood. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but were those actual nipples in Maurice Binder's titillating credit sequence? Not just the shadowy suggestion of nipples? Maybe I only noticed it during my recent rewatch because of the glorious Blu-ray transfer. Still, I remember an extra sexual charge in the air when watching it as a child. This was accentuated by my father's wry grin...and my mother's consternation. License To Kill was Binder's final Bond film, and it was his crowning achievement. He went out Onatopp.    

And to those who decry Dalton's second outing as a bad Bond film - you're wrong. It's one of the best. It's the adequate John Glen's most assured directorial effort in the series (he directed a total of 5, including some of the campier Moore stuff), and is probably still the darkest Bond to date. It may have had a more straightforward plot than it's predecessors, but it featured a more emotionally complex version of the character. It was ahead of its time. Unfortunately, people weren't ready for it, as evidenced by the return to a lighter tone with successive films. Dalton was replaced by that Remington Steele guy, and we wouldn't see another hard-edged Bond until Daniel Craig in 2006.

Sure, there are better Bond movies, but Dalton is the best Bond. He wasn't as lecherous as Connery, as smug as Moore, or as lethargic as Lazenby. He made the character relatable as a person, elevating him above a persona, a fantasy aspired to by boys (and, to be honest, a lot of men as well). His charm was less of an affectation, less of a put-on. He was the most human. Even at 10 years-old, I could sense this. And that's why nobody does it better.

For those of you who feel Dalton is just a slightly larger blip on the Bond radar than George Lazenby, have I convinced you to give him another shot? Or was I just exposed to these films at a critical time in my cinematic development, and therefore biased? Having watched both films for the first time in years, I can unequivocally say that they stand up for me, at least as well as any of the pre-blond Bond films. If you look past the late 80s trappings, you're left with two very strong entries in the Bond canon, as well as the most successful onscreen portrayal of the character ever. 

Who's with me?

Header inspiration: The Incredible Suit 

Joshua Chaplinsky is the Managing Editor for LitReactor.com. He also writes for ChuckPalahniuk.net. He was a guitarist in the band SpeedSpeedSpeed, and is the poison pen behind thejamminjabber, although he's not so sure he should admit it.


Around the Internet:
  • PLL

    Agree. Timothy Dalton is right behind Connery and Craig on my list, and TLD is in my top 7 Bond films. The producers wanted him to continue but there were problems with the franchise in the early 90s unrelated to Dalton. Those who put him and this film at the bottom of the franchise ratings are missing the boat...badly.

    I grew up in the 70s and 80s so Roger Moore was all I knew. After seeing TLD and Dalton as a college student, I went back and watched Dr. No through Diamonds, and I realized that other than Live and Let Die, Roger Moore's films were cartoonish and not what Ian Fleming had in mind.

    People who read Flemings' Bond novels will recognize Dalton as the Bond most like what the author intended. Rent The Living Daylights...you won't regret it.

    My rankings:
    1. Goldfinger
    2. Skyfall
    3. From Russia With Love
    4. Casino Royale
    5. Live and Let Die
    6. The Living Daylights
    7. Goldeneye
    8. Thunderball

  • chclttrffls

    Agree!!!! The two scripts he got were not worthy of his talent.

  • Jorge Peredo

    Totalley agree.. I saw License to kill when I was a child and it made me cry because of the head explosion scene and the sharks, but anyway I love it... My parents rented it in video and tought that I could see it, because well is Bond... But anyways yeah, I allways believed exactly what you said...

  • Rashan

    Hehe - I gotta confess, though my fav Bond is Sean Connery's. Even though he a bit different from the book character, he translated the character well for film. One thing I've really disliked about the two latest Bonds is that he suddenly turned from a spy to Rambo. In the older the movies, Bond would often struggle against one guy, but suddenly when Pierce Brosnan appeared, Bond could clear out a room of baddies like Jet Li. Daniel Craig upped the bar even further into ridiculousness, except for "Skyfall", which I found to be a refreshing change.
    So, getting back to Dalton, based on this, you could say he was also the last of the fairly realistic (if that's even possible in bond), rather than ridiculously overpowered Bonds; EDaniel Craig, Duke Nuke 'Em would be proud.

  • Rashan

    If you read the description of Bond that Ian Fleming gave, Dalton probably looks more the part of the Book character too, but Mads Mikkelson (yes, the villian from Casino Royale), is probably the best look alike in the movies, even though he didn't actually play Bond.

    In Moonraker (the book), Bond is described as; "certainly good-looking ... Rather like Hoagy Carmichael in a way. That black hair falling down over the right eyebrow. Much the same bones. But there was something a bit cruel in the mouth, and the eyes were cold."

    So out of the actual Bonds, Timothy Dalton looks very close to Ian Fleming's picture of him; check it out on the Wiki:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

  • Daisy T.

    Absolutely - License to Kill is my favorite Bond film ever - well said.

  • Big George

    Dalton is my favorite Bond too. Wish he had played Bond a few more times.

  • Movie-Man Smith

    As someone who is a tad older than you, but only by a year, let me say that I love Daton, but at times in the films, he does come off as generaly flat. I think thay could have crafted the movies around him better. in villians in TLD ara bit weak and too realistic. However, I think if you take Dalton's first outing as Bond, and then put him in LTK, you'd have one of the best bond's ever made.

    But he stil bow's to Conery, I'm sorry.
    Great article though. Hit me up on Faccebook sometime and let's talk shop.

  • John Sebastian Snowden

    Not to mention The Living Daylights' incredible score composed by the master: John Barry. It was the last Bond OST he did, and I also loved A-Ha's contribution to the score. Easily the sexiest Bond theme ever! :D

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Kirk Mailloux

    Who are you kidding? The Best Bond is Sean Connery, the original.

  • You are all right. Dalton rules (as J.B.007) forever and ever! The best to M.I. (Mariano Iglesias, Argentina)

  • Dalton, come back to service!!! England needs you... Down with Craig saga!

  • Tim Dalton deserves a third Bond film yet... I miss that!

  • Bozo_Tyrannus

    Dalton was the best. That's all there is to it. Kudos to you for this article!

  • Paul Clarke

    I'm with you. He is the actor I visualize when I read the Fleming books.

    BTW, that should be "GRISLY shark attacks." I presume that a bear wasn't in the water.

  • Jeff Mackey

    I always enjoyed all of the Bonds in their own little way (except for Lazenby who was so bad, he only lasted one movie).

  • thomax

    I totally agree. Dalton has always been my favorite Bond. Ever since yelling "We have nothing to declare!" to the border guards and running a jeep in reverse out the back of a plane.

  • Peter Robertson

    Agreed.

  • ChrisFawkes

    "I had to get my fill of sex and violence from pre-PG13 PG films. And for a 10 year-old, the Bond films were an excellent source. "

    That's creepy.

  • hellolance

    "If you look past the late 80s trappings, you're left with two very strong entries in the Bond canon, as well as the most successful onscreen portrayal of the character ever"

    and you will have an overlooking crique in your neck the size of a pregnant turtle!

    Revisiting Dalton's films - compare those two not to ancient Roger Moore or conservative reboot Brosnan (who definitely has twice the resume of Dalton outside of Bond)

    but compare them to Donaldsons NO WAY OUT

    Alan Parker's Angel Heart

    To Live and Die in LA
    Someone to Watch Over Me
    Blade Runner

    because Casino Royale
    To Live and Let Die
    Diamonds Are Forever

    are comparable films...

    The Living Daylights is not!

    no

  • hellolance

    WOW I'm surprised at the amount of agreement... All I can really say is that Timothy Dalton's films were terrible! None of his Bonds are top 10 films so the argument that despite that he was the best character is not completely invalid but highly unlikely...

    Bottom line, He had chases with 18 wheelrers and some other very lame devices , many retread scenes on ski lifts with supporting actors wearing polyester like Wayne Newton, Robert Davi and no no name soap opera actresses...

    ummm, NO!

    now fastforward to Daniel Craig and the writing is soooooooo much better it's like comparing Larry Czonka to Ray Rice... where yeah Larry Czonka was probably more idolized, more herralded but OBVIOUSLY not even in the same ball park as the modern athlete- Ray Rice... almost not even playing the same sport.

    Casino Royale was so much better than either License to Kill or Living Daylights that it gives me alzheimers even trying to tease out variables to compare the two actors.. Daniel Craig was in a great film. Timothy Dalton was not...

    Diamonds are Forever, To Live and Let die, Goldfinger, Casino Royale, You Only Live Twice, Thunderball, Quantam of Solace, Goldeneye, Dr. No, Die Another Day

    No Timothy Dalton!

    and as far as Brosnan is concerned... Thomas Crown, Tailor n Panama, The Matador and After the Sunset were his real Bond films ????

    Timothy Dalton was in Flash Gordon... that's about the best he's ever had...

  • palinhb

    another virgin fag

  • Devin

    Disagree. Sean was the best. Remember James bond was a Scot. Sean is Scottish. Sean is James Bond. 1. Sean 2. Pierce 3. Craig 4. Lazenby 5. Roger Moore

  • Jared Peirce

    I disagree, and think Dalton was the worst Bond. While it might be the fault of a bad director, I don't think Bond should get angry. Ever. Especially not to yell at the hottest Bond girl ever because she's a little flustered trying to escape Afghanistan. Craig can get away with it because he is a younger Bond, and presumably later in his career he calms his temper as well as stops running like a poofter.

  • palinhb

    virgin fag

  • Steven

    Totally agree: Dalton was a brutal bond - if the others were all shiny and glossy, his was a mat-black. I actually wrote my own article on this midway through last year: "Why Dalton is the best bond", tho I didn't really have your boyhood experiences to fall back on, it was just me liking the harder edged version of a beloved character.

    http://stevenbenjamin.weebly.c... (if that doesn't work then try this http://stevenbenjamin.weebly.c...

  • killjoykiller

    I strongly agree with you. I too saw Living Daylights at 10 years old. I've been a fan of Bond ever since. Dalton's Bond is the closest to Fleming's version and easily the darkest Bond to date.

  • Adrian Chamberlin

    Excellent post, and I fully agree. Living Daylights is still my favourite Bond movie, because it marked a back-to-basics Bond with ruthlessness and a complex plot - no silly save-the-world-from-a-volcano-dwelling-bald-madman here.
    Sadly, it seems many prefer the tongue-in-cheek humour and crap in jokes after a reboot; look at how well the abysmal Skyfall did after such a promising start with Casino Royale.
    I'm going to dig out my DVD of Living Daylights now and reminisce...

  • Meh, Sean Connery was the best bond, in my opinion.

  • darthstuey

    Utterly agree- I have said this for years!

  • captainjack

    I loved Living Daylights when it came out, and was in my twenties. I thought at the time they finally gave Bond a believable and serious ring. (For Your Eyes Only did much the same with Moore, finally.) So yes, I've always been a Dalton/Bond fan because of this film, but License to Kill I barely remember. I'll have to give it another go. Anyway, it has David Hedison as well.

  • Eric

    Agreed. Always loved Dalton. I just wish his scripts were better suited to him. With the exception of a great opening sequence and a botched assassination attempt straight out of the Fleming short story of the same name, LIVING DAYLIGHTS feels like the producers had Roger Moore in mind.

    LICENCE TO KILL is far superior and is certainly one of the best the series has to offer but it to occasionally dips into silliness. It seemed that after every heavy hitting, nasty, violent scene there was one bit devoted to ridiculous gadgetry to negate what came before. Nonetheless, the film is an overlooked gem in the Bond canon.

    GOLDENEYE would've have been fucking awesome with Dalton.
    That Brosnan character is probably the worst Bond to date. He had four films and never quite convinced me whereas Dalton made the character his own in just two.

  • Jonny

    Bang on the money. Dalton IS the best Bond. Watched both Dalton films this weekend and bought tears to my eyes (OK, maybe not). I could never take Brosnan seriously, he sounds like someone's just kneed him. Too many people are overly nostalgic with Connery and are too scared to think for themselves and Roger Moore's films had too much tom foolery in them (even though I grew up on them). Dalton brings a seriously that people are starting to appreciate now with Daniel Craig - and I'd rate Daniel Craig's Bond higher, but he's almost like a thug in a suit, Dalton's Bond had tons of class.

  • Sean

    The Living Daylights was always my favorite bond film as a kid as well, and I find that most people my age (mid 20s) I've mentioned it to have never even heard of it. Also after reading this I now know why I was never fully able to enjoy the other Bond movies after I had seen Daylights.

  • Movieman85

    I've read the comments of some of the other posters. I think everybody agrees in that Timothy Dalton WAS GREAT AS BOND!!!! Also underrated. Pierce Brosan was cool, but those movies brought back the camp that Roger Moore's movies had. Dalton was tough. Serious. He was suave like bond is but you felt like this man is a trained dangerous person. He was the first Bond I remember, (I was born in '85) and he is still my favorite. Craig is the man too though. He is very much in the same vein as Dalton.

  • Dave Melges

    I've always said Dalton was the "cheated" Bond. He was perfect, the movies he was in, however, sucked. And by sucked, I mean I've watched them each twice, and I have close to zero interest in ever seeing them again. Compare that to any Connery Bond that I've seen 6 times each, or Live and Let Die/Man with the Golden Gun which I watch almost yearly, or Casino Royale which is clearly and obviously the best MOVIE if not the best Bond Movie in the series.

    Take it from someone that read all the books 40 years ago, Dalton was the perfect Bond....but the two flicks they gave him STUNK.

    And I'm sorry to the author....leading with admitting this theory is based on the effect the movies had on a TEN YEAR OLD instantly disqualifies the entire argument, even if it had been ACCIDENTALLY valid.

    If you want the most MATURE Bond, the darkest, grittiest, edgiest, most realistic Bond, the last person you're going to ask is a 10 year old.

  • Paul C.

    I agree that he is underrated in the role. In fact, I wrote an article comparing Dalton's portrayal to the Ian Fleming books: http://www.hmss.com/films/memo...

  • Kal Tourette

    we can hate on brosnan all we want, but Golden Eye was Brilliant!!!!!! In my top three Bonds. Dalton would most likely have been the best Bond easily if that was a script for him

  • Megster

    Golden Eye was written for Dalton. Too bad he already left before the movie commenced its shooting

  • Kal Tourette

    On her Majesty is one of my top 5 bond movies. As a film its brilliant. Dalton, Craig, and Connery are my fav bonds. I like connery's delivery of lines the best of the series. the arrogance easily goes to him, and his treatment of women lol. He was very aggressive and it was acceptable lol. Craig is the best physical Bond as far as the action scenes and physical prowess. Dalton was the coldest as far as that straight faced, rarely laughing Bond. His movies are in the top 10, but not top 5 since he was great but the stories and things around were OK. I grew to appreciate him more as i grew older. I did hate him at first, but think of seeing one actor play the role 5 times and then a new face...of course it's challenging for the crew and fans.

    Craig's first and previous movie are some of the best as far as delivery of the chaos and the directing. Dalton was gritty, but Craig just looks better doing it. I will give Dalton his props tho. I'd have LOVED more out of him as a Bond as far as more movies. They really needed one more with a POWERFUL script.

  • All of you who think dalton was the best, or wasnt the worst are delirious fools and morons.

  • DrNope

    Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond, but Dalton is definitely my second favorite.

  • Zipgow

    Timothy Dalton is definitely better than Daniel Craig at playing the "dark" Bond, but the problem with comparing Bonds is that you can't objectively judge them, because they're really just five different characters. Dalton and Craig both played the same "gritty" character, and Dalton played it better because he still had some charm.
    Connery played the "lecherous" 60's chauvinist. He was great at it, because that's basically who he is.
    Roger Moore played a kid-friendly, harmless Bond that transitioned the character into a generation in which women have opinions--he was good for what he was. In fact, he was my favorite when I was little, and still is--thanks to the magic of nostalgia--just because his films were the first I saw that starred a Bond that gave half a damn. Two of his movies are good, the rest are campy. All of them are fun.
    Lazenby played Bond most similar to Moore. He was more sensitive, but while they made Moore's character so fun that his films became campy, they didn't make Lazenby's character fun enough. Still, "On His Majesty's Secret Service" has Diana Rigg as one the best Bond girls, a good script, and Lazenby's performance is adequate enough to carry the material. People would probably find they enjoyed it if they stopped comparing him to Connery.
    Brosnan played Remington Steele with a license to kill. It could have been a good run, but unfortunately, he only had one half-decent script.

    But yeah, long story short, Dalton was the best at portraying a Flemming-esque character. He would have been great in Casino Royale.

  • Dave

    I have defended Dalton's portrayal for ages. For me, the defining moment is when he's winning Olivia D'Abo the stuffed animal (or whatever it was) at the fair. You put a gun in Bond's hands, and he transformed. It didn't matter what the mission was: a bullseye at a carnival or the assassination of a foreign agent. It was all the same. I loved it. It was a signature Bond moment.

    I liked License to Kill, but unfortunately the ending was mired in some silly moments. And I always thought that Dalton was a casualty of the films themselves not changing with the times. He was a man slut cold warrior in the age of AIDS and Perestroika.

    But it wasn't Dalton's fault. He was a damn good Bond.

  • Rob

    I think Sean Connery represents pretty much everything you've highlighted here. His Bond was one of the few to commit actual, cold blooded murder, i.e "You've had your six..." I'm not saying that's a good thing, but there was definitely grittiness, and films like Dr No and From Russia With Love did have moments of realism, however brief. Also it's Sean Connery. SEAN CONNERY! I know he's an advocate for slapping women but still...I think he's the best. The original. The template. All the Bonds that came after took a little piece of what he bought to the role.

  • Tinwoods

    Finally. I agree. Dalton was the best -- I just thought he got stuck in poorly written and directed films. About seven years ago, he was in my dentist's office here in LA, right before me, telling our dentist he was going to campaign to have another shot at playing Bond. And then came Craig.

  • Trebonianvs

    I absolutely agree. Dalton was a great Bond and those two films are epic!

  • BinaryChaos

    I totally disagree...Sean Connery is by far the more superior Bond with Daniel Craig coming 2nd on my list. Sean Connery exuded suave and sophistication to the point you have to wonder why he is in the spy game. He handled every situation with a calm and strategic way. Dalton on the other hand just looked like he was always ready to blow someone's heads off and on top of that he wasn't a snappy dresser. He portrayed in my opinion a lazier Bond with emotional problems. In Sean Connery's version of Bond he did have a rough edge to him with little patience for those that tried to challenge him but you don't see those sides to Bond unless it was completely necessary. In all honesty if I was running a spy agency I would hire Sean Connery any day over Dalton because he is level headed, knows how to socialize and appeals to those he speaks with and carries a calm persona that lighten the atmosphere as oppose to Dalton that just walks around like he is always constipated. Connery for hire!

  • I agree with Binary... Dalton was too emotional to be Bond. He even yelled at his female leads. Bond has to be charming and calm on the outside, but ruthless on the inside... I actually think Craig pulls that off well... but like Binary said... not as well as Connery.

  • Nem

    Dalton as best bond? I have to agree with that. Connery was a 60s man and played bond as an extension of himself. Lazenby only did 1 (and was a very good 1) movie but quit without us being able to see how he would pan out. Moore started out good but it went downhill after Spy who loved me. Pierce was the worst and his only really good bond was Goldeneye. And you know why it was his only good one, because it was written for Dalton.

    Dalton played the Bond who was down to earth and generally fed up. In the book Bond was barely above being a thug in a suite who was one mission away from snapping or retiring. You could tell Dalton was close to what Flemming wanted with the "Tell M I said thank you." line when he was threatened with being sacked in Living Daylights.

  • urapalefaceddweeb

    connery actualy nailed a chick in bed while filming and it made it to screen. game over.

  • I don't agree that Dalton is the best Bond (I'm a Roger Moore fan!), but I do agree that Licence To Kill is one of the best Bond films!

  • rosie1843

    I actually wrote an article about Dalton's impact on both the Bond franchise and how spies have been portrayed in movies during the past 15 to 20 years. If you want to read it, let me know.

  • Wolf

    I prefer Craig to Dalton, but I agree that Dalton is vastly superior to Moore, and takes no backseat to Connery. The Dalton films are always re-watchable. Moore's films are not always so. As for Craig... he plays Bond as Hamlet... half anti-hero. He's a fascinating character in the hands of Craig. Marvelous casting.

  • i agree also. Dalton's Bond wasn't a stuntman like Brosnan, a guy who had NOTHING else like Moore, or a one and done like Lazenby. His movies brought actual character change before Craig's Casino Royale.

  • Steve

    Totally agree, I've thought the same since I was little kid. Especially if you actually read the books, Dalton is spot on as Bond. Love both of his 007 movies, they're by far the best in the whole series up until Casino Royale (which I loved).

  • Data1001

    I quite liked Dalton as Bond. Probably even more so when I've revisited those films years later. But I also think that George Lazenby deserves to be more than a punch line -- his Bond was quite brilliant (and completely unique). And On Her Majesty's Secret Service still holds up well today -- even Roger Moore has called it "one of the better Bonds."

  • Loved the Lazenby Bond! My favorite! Moore was too comedy, Dalton was too lethargic. Connery I loved "You only live twice". Brosnan not interesting, Craig great!

  • To be fair, I don't dislike the Lazenby Bond. Majesty is a good flick.

  • GuyOnTheHigh

    i was the biggest dalton fan, til they got craig. dalton's movies are probably my favorite ones. props on the article!

  • Completely agree. When I saw License to Kill i was 16 years old and i was blown away by it. Dalton was really great at the role and it is a shame he didn't do a couple of more. Also a really young Benicio del Toro as one of the bad guys and 2 of the most beautiful bond girls ever was a real plus.

  • Miek

    Dalton was a total wolf in the role. He exuded ferocity. You believed his Bond was a killer, a truly dangerous man. Which, you know, is the point. His performance was a complete trailblazer and it's why it works for Craig in a similar portrayal today with modern audiences. The old Bonds worked for their times, but it's evolve or die,

  • Emile Leopold Locque

    Timothy Dalton blazed the trail for Daniel Craig, and should get more recognition than he does for a Bond that was much closer to Fleming's books. The trouble is he should have debuted as Bond two years earlier than he did, in a grittier, harder-edged ' A View to a Kill' than the version that ended up onscreen. Then by the time 'Licence To Kill' came along in 1989, audiences would have been more comfortable with Dalton's darker and more ruthless Bond, and Dalton himself would have settled into the role by that point. Dalton just became Bond at a difficult time in the franchise's history, got the short end of the stick, but at least 'The Living Daylights' remains one of the best Bond films to date...

  • slap

    so so so ever so completely and utterly totally utterly wrong. You have no clue what you're talking about and those agreeing with you don't either. Sean Connery always was and will be the best bond ever. end of story. No argument. No need to back it up, his performance, charm and swagger outweigh any arguments you may have in regards to Dalton. Sorry, you lose.

  • R

    Bond is supposed to have charm and swagger, but more importantly he is supposed to have an edge as well. He's supposed to be a dangerous guy, he's killed hundreds of people, that darkness needs to be a part of his character. No one had that except for Dalton. Dalton had the best of both world, that darkness and the charm & swagger. Connery and Moore had only that goofy look in their eyes. You never felt like either of them were ever capable of killing anyone. You could believe Dalton was a killer. Likewise for Daniel Craig, you can believe he's a killer but he lacks the other qualities, because his character is more like a thug.

  • Steve

    Connery was nothing like the Bond in the books though, which pissed me off when I read them all after watching the movies. He was cool, but since the books are about a billion times better than the movies you can imagine a lot of people were/are disappointed with Connery's Bond.

  • Sorry, guys, no more open discourse. Ross has shut the discussion down. It was fun while it lasted.

  • Totally agree, I too am same age. I had a 'man crush' on Dalton, he was the perfect Bond.

  • mstradford

    I appreciated Dalton largely because he wasn't Roger Moore. It's true he did gritty and weighty Bond before Craig, but the big difference is that he had no style or charisma as Bond, crucial elements in a great 007 film. It's a mystery to me, because in other roles, Dalton is more charming and engaging than he ever was as James Bond.

  • PsychoX

    "Why Timothy Dalton WAS the best Bond"

    Well I am certainly glad he's not anymore.

  • Nepenthe

    Yes! I always really liked License To Kill. It wasn't until a couple of years ago when I read something like "The Top Five Best and Top Five Worst Bond Films" that I heard all the complaints about LTK. I think it holds up quite well.

  • RawBeard

    Dalton is my favourite Bond as well.

  • Guest

    Dalton was quite good in The Living Daylights, though he was still a little raw in certain scenes.

    License to Kill is laughably bad, and not because it's a supposed "dark" Bond film. It really isn't. It's a lukewarm B movie whose revenge plot is totally undermined by some truly silly and amateurish directing, a step backwards for Dalton in terms of performance, and Wayne freakin' Newton. It's also interesting in being one of the few films to make Bond look like a total bumbling idiot.

  • Nick

    "It's also interesting in being one of the few films to make Bond look like a total bumbling idiot." Uh....When does Dalton look like a total bumbling idiot. Granted, he gets his arse kicked by ninjas, but, you know, they're ninjas. The reason he doesn't know about Sanchez' plans to blow up an airliner (And thus find out he's not the only one out to get Sanchez) is because Pam doesn't tell him. He basically creates an entire lie about the dead agents and Milton Krest betraying Sanchez in the two minutes it takes for Lupe to tell him Krest is coming and for Sanchez to sit down and start asking him questions. Even when Sanchez is prepping to grind his @ss to powder, he's STILL getting into the guy's head, turning him against Heller and Truman-Lodge. And let's not forget he kills Sanchez, two of Sanchez' loyal henchmen, destroys an entire drug operation and four tankers of cocaine-enriched gasoline with nothing but a beaker of flaming gasoline, a tanker truck, a cropduster, Pam, and a lighter. Sanchez' death in "LTK" is absolutely brilliant, and the best villain death in the franchise (Goldfinger gets sucked out a window for God's sake). I love the fact that after we first see the engraved lighter in the opening, we never focus on it again until Bond takes it out of his pocket. I completely forgot about it, and it's the perfect weapon against Sanchez. Even Sanchez' hesitation to kill Bond is perfectly written. No drawn out speech, no leaving Bond dangling over a tank of sharks or dragging him over coral. The 15 second window of opportunity for Bond to kill Sanchez is absolutely the only way he could get it, because he knew Sanchez ultimately had to know "Why?"

  • I don't know how you can say Kill is 'laughably bad' when you've got Octopussy, A View To A Kill, and Pierce Brosnan running around out there. John Glen might not be the best director, but the script is solid. I love Newton and the whole drug dealing via televangelism bit. As for making Bond look like a bumbling idiot, come on... Roger Moore is king of the goofballs.

  • I personally like George Lazenby best. I like that he's this guy that seemed kinda bored with the whole thing. Like he's done all this a 1000 times before. That's how i'd imagine i'd feel after globetrotting and dispatching so many nameless villains.

  • Steve

    I liked the film he was in, it was the one old Bond movie that actually stuck almost perfectly to the book it was based on. Lazenby was pretty good, but there was just something missing. Not quite sure what, but I actually wished they would have given him another shot since he had a promising start.

  • Giles Linnear

    It would have been better still if Connery had been there for OHMSS. Can you imagine?

  • nameless

    I agree. You wrote: "His charm was less of an affectation, less of a put-on. He was the most human." You captured the appeal of Dalton as Bond right there. Dalton brought character to the role rather than bring the actor to the character.... Great article....

  • I'm the same age, so I had similar feelings about Bond: I knew about Connery, but Bond, to me, was essentially Roger Moore. And Roger Moore was kind of silly. Dalton was serious, and awesome - he was, like Daniel Craig, the guy you sent to do your dirty work.

    Needless to say, I hated Pierce Brosnan almost immediately.

blog comments powered by Disqus
​​