Examining Dalton's Two Films

Has any other Bond actor had entries which were so different to each other?

Both, in my humble view, are great films. The Living Daylights is a Cold War espionage thriller, with a highly complex plot threaded with a love story, while Licence to Kill is a revenge-based action film with plenty of machine guns. You only have to point to the differences in Bond’s clothes to see how starkly these two films contrast.

Perhaps only Connery had two such opposing films with From Russia With Love and Diamonds Are Forever, but that was eight years and a world apart, and didn’t go into production a single year later like LTD.


Both involve drugs, opium and cocaine, and aren’t grand scale extravaganzas like YOLT or TSWLM. Bond’s portrayal in LTK is consistent and feels like an extension of what we saw previously - “stuff my orders. Go ahead, tell M what you want. If he fires me I’ll thank him for it.” I believe someone like Dalton would go to war for his friend given his brooding and extremely loyal personality.


You’re right on all counts, and I didn’t notice the drug thing.

It must have been amazing to see those two films as a fan at the time. LTD is like a harbinger for the entire Craig era.

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FRWL to Goldfinger was also a pretty big tonal shift as well. One was a more serious spy thriller while the other was much more of a caper. Or the outer space shenanigans of Moonraker to the more grounded feel of FYEO.
It’s quite interesting to look at John Glen’s influence on the films (FYEO to LTK). He always wanted to do darker and more serious Bond so was probably better matched with Dalton, although I’d argue that he got one of the best performances out of Moore.

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Definitely, FRWL to GF is a major shift, and one which many Fleming fans regret (though I’m not one of them).

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I’ll say it again. Craig owes a lot to Dalton. Dalton’s portrayal/attempt to go back to the literary Bond 007 was ahead of it’s time. With regret the average Bond 007 fan is a movie fan,not a literary fan.
The average fan wasn’t ready for a “dark” portrayal. Although PB does have his "dark’ moments. Both hotel scenes inTND and his best the final confrontation with Electra in TWINE. “I never miss” BANG!


Jason Bourne is much more to blame for the tonal difference between the Brosnan era 7 the Craig era, the re-imagining of the Bourne books in the cinema was gutsy and interesting, QoS was actually more of a Bourne movie with several key personnel from that franchise attached to the Bond movie, so it should not come as a surprise.
Dalton is a strange beastie with TLD which feels more like Moore or Brosnan vehicle in tone, and then we get LTK which was compromise in what the producer originally wanted an adventure in the Orient and instead a Miami Vice light movie.
I personally feel like Dalton never got his own groove due to circumstances for me he is the Bond that never has his own voice was still looking. perhaps he would with not unlike Moore with his third have found his personal footing,

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It’s curious that you feel TLD is a Moore film because, aside from the cello case scene (which is fairly resourceful of Bond, to be fair), it’s a straight, realistic spy film.

You’re certainly right about Bourne, though. In the 2000s, the character was treated as though he were modern and edgy, whereas he was over twenty years old by that point.

I always felt TLD to be a more generic 007 movie but the style fitted a Moore/Brosnan far better iin my humble opinion.

I don’t think the film was a compromise in that sense. The producers looked into filming in China because they thought the locations could be used in some action sequences, realized it wouldn’t work, and produced a different outline and story. The film doesn’t feel as if it suffered from abandoning the “adventure in the orient” idea (which dates back to the pre-TLD young Bond reboot). LTK is compromised in the sense that Maibaum couldn’t work on the script because of the writer’s strike (though he had devised the story with Wilson) and the film’s budget was less than TLD’s.

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I also feel Craig succeeded due to having a greater screen presence and thus audience connection by tapping in more heavily to the Connery swagger. Dalton has his fans, and by no means is he unattractive, but I find Craig more believable in terms of being a womaniser and an object of desire. Craig was aware of the past Bond actor performances, but I think he was confident enough to do his own thing, which made Casino Royale especially so refreshing.

And the story really was a Miami Vice style story which had been to death in those years, which would certainly with an Oriental setting would have had a different feeling than what they ended up with.
Miami Vice even did it better for my feeling, having recently re-watched some episodes I found that this show was far darker than I remembered.
LTK suffered greatly because of the popularity of Miami Vice and certainly the US dis/interest in the actor Dalton proved his undoing.

Craig succeeded due to the CR storyline and the great workmans director they employed once again, the next three movies suffered from Bourne key personel and Mendes who really did not want to make a actioner and it showed in SP he suffered even more from action scene lack of excitement.

Dalton had at least some directors who were good in what they did and TLD was an great 007 movie, and even LTK showed more Fleming than indeed any of the last three Craig movies had, Lets hope he gets the swansong even Brosnan should have gotten.

Funny, but I have a great deal of difficulty in seeing Craig as attractive in any way. He looks like a cross between Vladimir Putin and Sid James: a permanent pout, stick-out ears, lifeless eyes and craggy features. He also looks more Russian or German than English, and he can’t wear a suit without looking like a bouncer. I only mention this while we’re on the topic, of course, and I mean nothing against him personally. In real life, he does commendable work for many charities, and I’m thrilled whenever a working class actor meets with success.

But then this sort of brooding masculinity is fashionable, so it works for the times. A ‘prettier’ type like Aiden Turner, for example, wouldn’t work today. Personally, I think suavity is important to Bond’s character, as it contrasts so starkly with the death and danger side, and the first five Bonds certainly had this.


There has always been something I really never gelled with when it came to Licence to Kill. I just never really cared for seeing James Bond basically hunt down a Tony Montana rip-off.


I rewatched the film for the first time in full in awhile last night, and I must say, I have a renewed appreciation for the openness of the film. There is nothing stuffy about LTK, no long briefing sequences, no over-extended Q-Branch walkthrough, no flashy Aston Martin chase scenes, heck, 007 is rarely put together in physical appearance!

It’s a refreshing departure of what a regular Bond film is. The tried and true formula is quite meddled with, which originally kept me away. I always saw this as a weakness of the film, rather than a strength.

This most recent watchthrough has changed my mind on that, as it really sets it apart from the rest.

Dalton is fantastic, per usual, and he and Davi really mesh together well on screen. Both characters match in ruthlessness in regards to their drive to see their own separate agendas through all the way to the bitter end. No matter the hurdles that tell them to stop or turn back.

Yet, the one thing I still can’t convince myself of is the forced, very rushed romances throughout the film between Pam and Bond.

…But I still hate Milton Krest. And that his head explodes.


Dalton storming into the bedroom and interrogating Pam, looking like a wild man, is absolutely ‘the most dangerous Bond ever’. I’m struggling to think of another time a James Bond actor was that aggressive. A nice contrast to the cold and calculating ambush of Pushkin in TLD.

The hero/villain relationships in LTK and GE are fascinating: the infiltration and manipulation of Sanchez’s gang, and the dark mirror/emotional gut punch of 006. They’re both strong concepts but I give the edge to LTK given the intelligence required to pull off that charm offensive.


Sean Connery with Tatiana Romanova on the train after he encounters the Russian agent. He even slaps her (the 60s). In Goldfinger, he basically forces himself on Honour Blackman to win her over to the good side. She is named Pussy Galore. But that tactic doesn’t work with Fiona Volpe in Thunderball. Interestingly, Fatima Blush reverses that dynamic with Connery’s Bond in the remake, NSNA.

Roger Moore with Andrea Anders pressing for information. “I’ll break it if I have to,” when she complains about him hurting her arm. Then he basically date rapes her. It’s disturbing to watch with a #metoo lense. It was 1974. It’s creepy. None of that would fly today.

Dalton pushes Carey Lowell onto the bed and threatens her with a gun, but doesn’t hit her, slap her, or sleep with her after. (Does he ever? It’s implied at the end in the pool, but … )

Lazenby also slaps Theresa in the hotel in OHMSS. The women in the films seem to accept that this is just part of dealing with men in those times.

Bond doesn’t treat all the women that way, even in those same films. It’s usually when he distrusts them and in the world of spies, that’s true of any person an agent encounters.

Craig’s Bond evolved with the times but still exhibits those same character treats. He respects Camille and never initiates sex with her, nor does she ask. Strawberry Fields and Solange both consent to being seduced. Severine invites Bond to her boat and he invites himself into her shower, but neither seem to mind. I wouldn’t say Craig’s treatment of Monica Bellucci’s character is great. He does save her life though. And he doesn’t take advantage of Madeline when she’s obviously drunk. But it all goes back to Vesper. I think Bond looks suspiciously at all the subsequent women he meets, guarding against getting betrayed again. This is why Tracy’s death is so heartbreaking, especially in the book as it’s one of his last missions and he finally has his trust restored.

Dalton hints at that mistrust with Kara after Saunders is killed and he’s not sure he can trust her. His subtext in that scene is great. But also his warmth shown to her on the plane once she realizes Georgie has betrayed her. The Living Daylights is a great date movie, as far as Bond films go.

Bond’s treatment of Severine and Lucia are two of the most shameful episodes in the franchise. It’s made even more disappointing than some of the other atrocious moments (Pussy Galore in the barn, Solitaire, Andrea Anders, etc.) because the franchise should be better than that at this point in time. Forcing himself on a former child slave and then forcibly “seducing” a woman immediately after her husband’s funeral are things that should be beyond Bond at this point in time. If the goal in both instances was to make members of the audience feel uncomfortable, then EON can definitely put up a “Mission Accomplished” banner in their offices, because they certainly nailed it with those two moments.

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I’m aware of all those other scenes. In this one I’m more referring to aggression of performance. Dalton is seething and looks like he’s about to lose complete control. When he cools down it’s a traumatic moment of despair for them both. I’m still struggling to see another Bond matching that type of rage, at least from what has already been filmed in the franchise.


I don’t think he forced himself on Severine at all: their meeting in the casino bristled with mutual flirtation and chemistry. When she was told that her yacht was leaving the dock, her disappointment at Bond’s no show was palpable. His arrival in the shower seemed like a rather pleasant surprise to her.

Lucia made it very clear that she had no feelings for her late husband. She made a choice to kiss Bond without him forcing himself on her. She had given up on her life and Bond gave her hope of survival and then ensured her safety by getting her out of Italy.

Both of these women show strength in desperate situations, something that I think should be applauded rather than bundled in with the MeToo movement. I think this is what a Phoebe Waller Bridge means when she talks about developing strong female characters but allowing Bond to stay true to his nature.

I can’t see how either of these encounters can be considered worse than the full on rape of Pussy Galore just because that was then and this now.

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