1. 'The Living Daylights' Celebrates 20 Years

    By Devin Zydel on 2007-08-02

    The New James Bond… Living On The Edge.
    20 Years Of ‘The Living Daylights’

    31 July 2007 marked the 20th anniversary of the US theatrical debut of The Living Daylights. Introducing Timothy Dalton as the new ‘most dangerous’ James Bond, the film proved to be a successful opener for the new 007 and has remained a favourite with many Bond fans over the years.

    Taking into account the 20th anniversary of the film, CBn asked forum members to recall their first time seeing The Living Daylights

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – Turn

    Except for the last couple of years with Casino Royale, probably the most exciting time in Bond history for me was 20 years ago when Timothy Dalton made his Bond debut in The Living Daylights.

    While the Moore years were fun, there seemed like something missing and The Living Daylights really brought that feeling back. From the first scene I saw of him in action in late ’86 to seeing his first “Bond James Bond on New Years Day ’87, I knew Dalton would be a great Bond.

    The hype leading up to the film was different since it had been 14 years since Moore’s debut and I was just a little kid at that time. I saw the film with three of my best friends at the time at a cinema in my home town that’s no longer in business. After the film, I celebrated with my first vodka martini, shaken not stirred and kept the glass. Funny thing that happened when I went to that pub was I was asked for my ID, I whipped out my wallet and the bouncer said something like “Wow, like James Bond or something.” I can’t recall Bond having to present an ID or anything like that in any of the films, but It was a cool compliment.

    The Living Daylights and the hype leading up to it is one of the great memories of that time of my life. Happy anniversary The Living Daylights.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – clublos

    This is where it began for me. My first Bond experience was opening day. I was 9 years old and my dad wanted to take me to a movie.

    To say I knew about Bond was a stretch. I was familiar with some movies that began with some weird circular shot of a guy walking on the screen and shooting at the camera. I knew my dad liked those movies. I even remember him watching one at home one day (A View To A Kill) and my thinking I’d be bored with it because it was an adult movie. (In fact, this was just after we’d bought our first VCR and was probably the first movie he rented for himself.) A year later I recall my mom renting Moonraker for him and trying to entice me by saying the movies always have an exciting opening. But the time wasn’t right.

    Then, one Friday morning, my dad says he wants to take me to a movie that he knows I’d like (funny how much parents know about their children when the children are young). But I wanted to see something else. For some strange reason (and this is incredibly embarrassing) I was enthralled with the character of Pee Wee Herman and he was to make an appearance in some cheesy movie called Back to the Beach. I told my dad I wanted to see that movie, but he somehow knew what I really wanted. It’s funny looking back on it, how I remember it, that he just smiled and knew what he was doing. He said to trust him and that I would enjoy this.

    I remember sitting in the largest theater in the multiplex waiting for it to start. My dad had gone to get some drinks and popcorn, and the movie began. He came back just after the gunbarrel and asked what happened. I remember saying something to the effect of, “He just walked across the screen and shot at us.”

    The rest, as they say… well, let’s just say that I never had the urge to watch another movie with Paul Rubens again.

    I think I grew up that day in terms of my film enjoyment. I no longer had any need for kid movies. I knew exactly what I needed. I was a James Bond fan and there was no stopping me. I bought a Starlog magazine that featured The Living Daylights, I rented a Bond movie every weekend. Some even repeatedly. I bought soundtracks. I bought books. I was obsessed.

    Nine years old. What a trip it’s been, and I owe it all to my dad.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – yolt13

    Saw it on cable in its initial run on the premium movie channels.

    I loved it the first time, though I had a fair amount of difficulty adjusting to Dalton as Bond. Of course, at the time I had only read a few 007 novels and had more experience with the films, so the stark differences between Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore/Sean Connery were even more apparent. Still, it was exciting and well-acted, and carried with it hope for the cinematic 007 franchise A.M. – After Moore. I remember defending the film to a few people who were not sold on Dalton and actually winning them over once we were able to watch it together on home video.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – MarcAngeDraco

    20 years ago… Wow!… In fact it may be 20 years ago exactly today… 7/31/87…

    The Living Daylights came out the summer before my senior year in high school and I was still sixteen, which made it the first Bond film that I could drive to. So on opening day, I drove to my best friend’s house (also a huge Bond fan), picked him up, and we drove to the nearest theater. We arrived just as the theater was opening and got tickets for the very first show.

    I can still remember being the first ones to walk into the theater and having our choice of seats. The Living Daylights was definitely the first Bond film that I got to see on opening day and so began a tradition that still stands.

    I recall liking the film and really liking Dalton as Bond. However, I think at the time I was a little underwhelmed by the villains (No world domination plot, etc… C’mon I was only 16…) It would take a few more viewings before I really warmed up to it as one of my favorites.

    Later that weekend I would organize my very first Bond ‘event’. While impromtu in nature and small in scale, it was still memorable. A small group of friends going out to eat and then to see the new Bond film. For a 16-year old Bond fan, it was the highlight of the summer.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – lazenbyland

    I saw this in Southampton on its initial release. Up to this point there had only been two Bonds in the public’s mind. Connery and Moore. Lazenby was still carrying the load of the one-off Bond.

    After A View To A Kill, it was clear that we would never have a ‘serious’ Bond film until Moore left the role. Dalton was in all the newspapers and it as clear that he was to be a very different Bond to Moore.

    For me, seeing the headbutt in the Landrover told me we were in for a grittier Bond something Roger would never have done.

    The music was fantastic and I walked out of the cinema, ‘walking tall’ as Honor Blackman would say.

    Still love the film today.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – TheSaint

    During the summer of 1987 I was working as a bike messenger for a company that had accounts like Universal. I did a few deliveries for the production office of The Equalizer, which is how I found out that Roger was rumored to guest star in an upcoming episode. Robert Mitchum ended up cast in the guest star role, but I digress.

    While waiting for the new Bond film, and new Bond, to debut, I was spending my down time catching the previous 16 films at the Museum of Modern Art, which was presenting a 25th anniversary 007 film festival. I was able to go for free with my School of Visual Arts student ID. Nice bonus that.

    I was also making a nuisance of myself at the Tower Records in Lincoln Center. I was going there weekly looking for the TLD soundtrack. I think that release took longer than the film. The cashier in the soundtrack department probably grew to hate me.

    Finally, the film came out. Caught it opening day after work. I’m probably one of the few people that enjoyed A View To A Kill but I think Dalton did a great job in his first film. I don’t remember how many times I saw it in the theater but, it was more than once. I was also able to finally get the soundtrack, though I don’t remember when it finally showed at Tower.

    I was able to get the video when it came out at a discount via the video store I frequented. The owner was a friend of my mother’s so, she charged me what they paid, not retail. Unfortunately, and Doublenought can attest to this, that copy must’ve been from a bad one as it degraded faster than the rest of my CBS/FOX Bond videotapes. In fact, it’s the only video in my CBS/FOX Bond tape collection that has degraded.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – doublenoughtspy

    The summer of 1987. I had just graduated from the boarding school of my forbearers (5 generations so far) and been accepted at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

    I had followed the Bond casting with interest, and was intrigued that so little was known about Dalton.

    The 25th anniversary of Bond on the silver screen brought out a ton of coverage in magazines, tv, and books, and I devoured them all. Premiere, Starlog, and Bondage had all given a little glimpse and I wanted more.

    Thankfully “Happy Anniversary 007” aired in May and I loved it. Here was Roger, hosting great moments from the series, reminding me why I was a fan, and in a way he was passing the torch to Dalton.

    I watched the pre-title sequence dozens of times; I practically wore out the VCR.

    My brother was home from college and he shared my excitement.

    We went to the first showing in the afternoon and loved it, but we were slightly confused by some of the plot points. So we went to see it again and got a better handle on the double crosses.

    Then we went to Maine and saw it with my cousin, and my appreciation grew even more.

    Then it was off to Scotland, and when it came to the small theatre in St Andrews I gathered a bunch of friends to spread the good word of 007.

    During spring break, a group of us went to Greece, and we saw it in a theatre there, with subtitles. Later that night a friend hopped a fence and snagged a Greek The Living Daylights window card for me.

    Back at St Andrews I joined the British Fan Club and the Collector’s Club.

    Years later I can point to Daylights as the film/event that took me from fan to super fan.

    When I helped archive Fleming’s papers and manuscripts, putting pages in mylar sleeves, I snagged the paperclip that held the pages of the The Living Daylights short story together.

    Excited by a vintage paper clip? I suppose I need to get a life.

    Other TLD pieces I’ve acquired over the years, like Bond’s leather jacket that ACE covets, and the black assault suit Bond wore in the pre-credits, aren’t quite so mundane.

    The Living Daylights was a milestone in the James Bond series and in my life.

    Watching the pre-credit sequence can instantly lift my mood.

    Listening to the Barry score can instantly get my blood pumping.

    I’m also so proud that pictures of my collection are used during the Fleming documentary on the TLD DVD.

    I love The Living Daylights more with each viewing.

    Dalton stepped off the page and into a masterpiece.

    Happy Anniversary 007!

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – Milovy

    I was 19 and a sophomore in college and I had only ever seen one Bond film in the theater (For Your Eyes Only) and I was very excited over there being a new James Bond. I knew who Timothy Dalton was from Flash Gordon and dimly remembered him from Jane Eyre. Most vividly I remember the Rolling Stone magazine story about him in the run-up to the film’s release. There was a black and white photo of him and he just looked so rugged and so NOT like Roger Moore, I think I must have read that story (and looked at that photo) a hundred times. I think he was smoking in the photo too, he just looked so hardbitten and COOL. (Maybe he wasn’t, I can’t rightly remember) None of my friends cared about James Bond at all so I was freaking out because I didn’t know who I was going to see this movie with! (I wound up going with my sister)

    Wow, how can I describe “THE MOMENT” when Dalton turned around on the Rock of Gibraltar? Well, I can’t, so I won’t even try.

    I do remember finding it weird/hard to get used to a new actor as James Bond though, it wasn’t until he went back to Bratislava to find Kara (and get her out of the country) that I thought, “Yeah, he really is James Bond.” Especially loved the moment where they are arguing in the car about her going back for the cello and he goes “No WAY!” and the next instant he’s sweating it out waiting for her. Too funny. That got a laugh in the theater.

    I wanted to see it again but knew I wouldn’t have a chance to, and so I never did see it again until it came out on video. (And it usually took over a year for that to happen back in those days, if not longer — no “out on DVD” within 3 months!)

    Sigh… to be 19 again and in love with 007…

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – David_M

    I saw The Living Daylights on Aug.1, 1987, which I’ll always remember because it’s also the day my future wife moved into town.

    I’d been a rabid Roger fan but even I knew the jig was up by the time the credits rolled on Octopussy, and A View To A Kill had been a snoozefest of the first order. Like a lot of folks I was disappointed over the whole Brosnan situation, having assumed he’d continue on in the Moore mold. What I’d read about Dalton was vaguely encouraging but as yet I didn’t know what to think (I still remember an interview where he said he’d like to become known as “the Thinking Man’s Bond”).

    The thing I always remember about watching The Living Daylights the first time is that there was a father and his son seated behind me, and the kid kept asking “is THAT James Bond?” A guy folding up his parachute. “Is that him?” Another guy climbing a rock face. “Is THAT him?” A nefarious looking fellow with binoculars. “Is THAT him?” The funny part is the Dad’s answers were along the lines of, “I don’t think so.” Great job marketing your new Bond, EON!

    I loved the film as a nice balance of Moore-era epic romp and more serious, retro spy thriller. Dalton was all-around great, even in the comedy bits (for which he gets too little credit) but I never did find him good-looking, even in a “rough-hewn” kind of way. Barry’s score was one of his best — little did I know it’d be his last — and the action was first-rate. When Bond held the gun on Pushkin and the next scene began with a “Bang!” I wasn’t the only one who jumped. We were all convinced, if only for a second, that James Bond had murdered an unarmed semi-ally in cold blood; Roger could never have pulled THAT one off! Never mind the pre-credits, etc…for me, that scene in Pushkin’s hotel room was when the new James Bond really arrived.

    I ended up seeing the movie about four more times in the theater, a tradition for me back then but it ended with this film. I had high hopes for the franchise in 1987. Sometimes it’s better that we can’t know the future.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – ACE

    30th June 1987.
    The OdEon, Leicester Square, London

    After the previous day spent in James Bond Square (as it had been redubbed, complete with new street signs, for the Royal World Charity premiere) – which was a wonderful adventure in itself – if I’d been asked if I was eager to see the movie, I’d have responded: “Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?”.

    Free for summer holidays, my pal Barry and I spent the day up town, browsing movie shops (Forbidden Planet 1 and 2, Fred Zentner’s Cinema Bookshop, 58 Dean St Records, Flashback postershop – all crumbled now in the sands of time, corporate progress and eBay). Having bought our tickets for the Royal Circle first afternoon show in the morning (Baz kept both unseparated tickets safe in his wallet), I was fizzing with excitement, like a shaken bottle of Coca-Cola, counting the minutes until TLD-Day.

    Dalton had been reticent in the press – I couldn’t really get a handle on the guy. After years of being weaned on Roger Moore, this was my first change in Bond – and despite TV viewings of Rog’s predecessors, this was my first cinema experience of “the other fellow”. I just could not imagine another Bond. I had been quite bored by A View To A Kill and thought Dalton was one of those bland AmerEnglish TV movie actors. Sure, I’d read the press and seen the interviews and loved the teaser image (I still really want that dangerous leather jacket) but how different was this gonna be, huh? Fleming’s name was constantly being invoked it recently hadn’t lived better than it read. I was at an age when I was on the verge of growing up and out of all this Bond nonsense. If The Living Daylights didn’t work, I would pack up and put away childish things…

    After whiling away time on Charing Cross Road and environs, we began to saunter over to the cinema. I casually requested Baz to check where we were seated. He reached for the tickets – and nothing – he had lost his wallet (and probably the closest he’d gotten to losing his life)! We had ten minutes to go (“if we’re lucky”). I thought it was a sick joke from Baz but he was as mortified as I was. Frantically, we searched our minds. KERCHING! Baz had bought something at Foyles (probably a Philip K Dick novel), and he may have left his wallet there. We ran to the Pan’s labyrinth that was the paperback section in the arcane book shop, found the counter and YES! There was the wallet. And the tickets. (Nowadays, I always separate tickets on purchase and keep mine: as I tell my companions, “At least if you get run over or mugged, I can see the film/play/concert in peace…”)

    June 1987 was very, very warm and we had to sprint to get to the cinema. Luckily, we aimed to get there for the programme starting (not the film) – the vital cinema-goers’ decompression period should induce a reverse-bends: the mundanity of everyday life should be slowly eased: you want to get bubbles (of excitement) in the bloodstream.

    The lights went out, the British Board of Censorfication certificate went up, the United Artists logo and…

    …when the film finished, I had a headache. Maybe the heat, the final dash to the cinema, the excitement. I could not compute, immediately what I had just seen.

    I knew I liked it.
    No, I knew I loved it.
    But don’t ask me why or what or how.
    It was like an ice-cream headache – some things can be too good.
    (I had exactly the same feeling about Casino Royale when I first saw it).

    I wasn’t elated or punching the sky. I do remember the entire packed audience sucked in one collective breath when that cargo net slides out! I needed time to take it the enormity of what I’d just seen. I loved the film and Dalton but have complex feelings about it now.

    Summer 1987 was important in many, many ways…

    The new James Bond….living on the edge.
    A renewed James Bond fan …. retaking the pledge.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – byline

    I saw it long after it had left the theatres. My husband and I were staying overnight someplace; I’m thinking it might have been Syracuse. My husband was channel-flipping in our hotel room, and we happened upon The Living Daylights and started watching. My husband, the lifelong Bond fan, had already seen it (multiple times, as Timothy Dalton was his favorite Bond actor). I, on the other hand, hadn’t seen it. I don’t know why. I was never too keen on Connery’s coldness, Moore’s campiness. But as I started watching Dalton, I thought, “Hello, where have you been?” This was an entirely different James Bond from what I’d seen, and I adored him. Which probably goes a long way toward explaining why both my husband and I enjoy Craig’s take on Bond so much. It’s very reminiscent of what Dalton did with the role.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – Taro Todoroki

    July 1987… seems like yesterday. After A View To A Kill and Octopussy Roger Moore was looking a bit too old for the role. Although I loved Roger as Bond I thought it was time to usher in a new Bond. Back in those days info on Bond movies was sometimes scarce so when I saw a teaser poster showing Timothy Dalton as Bond with the subtitle “The Most Dangerous Bond” I believe, I was really looking forward to TLD.

    I remember at the theater the PTS and being totally impressed with Tim. The mood was more serious and the action more physical. Although I thought the movie dragged a bit over the last 45 minutes, I was extremely impressed with Tim and was happy he was chosen as Roger’s replacement.

    I always thought it was a terrible shame we only got two movies from Tim.

    ‘The Living Daylights’ – jaguar007

    In 1987 I was 19 years old and had recently purchased my first Jaguar (a 1974 XJ 12 that basically ran on 9 cylinders). I had seen every Bond movie on opening weekend for the past 10 years and was certainly an avid Bond fan. Originally a little disapointed that Brosnan was not cast a year before, I had since rented several movies with Dalton to gt more of a take on the actor (I know him only from Flash Gordon). I had high hopes for the film because he really looked like the character I pictured in the books.

    July 31st 1987 – 1st showing early evening. I had a friend go get tickets and wait in line. I pulled up front in my puke green Jaguar wearing a white dinner jacket with a nice blonde Bond Girl in the passenger seat. We got out of the car and my friend pulled out a fake gun and we did a little staged fight in front of the line.

    The Living Daylights was the last Bond movie I walked out of (until Casino Royale) totally excited and not at all a little disapointed. To this day the opening scence in Czechoslovakia is still one of the best scenes in the entire series.

    Keep watching CBn for all the latest James Bond 007 news and coverage.

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