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The Living Daylights

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Living Daylights Movie Poster Image
More serious, tougher version of Bond has plenty of violence
  • PG
  • 1987
  • 131 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Bond is a little more well-behaved in this entry, seducing only one woman in the line of duty, though other women are treated as objects. His license to kill gives him freedom to cause all kinds of destruction without consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

As always Bond is a good guy, highly trained, skilled, and very cool, but his behavior is questionable and not something to emulate.

Violence

Plenty of fighting, chasing, shooting, explosions, and deaths, with some blood shown. Kitchen fight with knives, mildly burning faces. Strangling with headphone cord. Some dangerous stunts. A war "museum" with a Hitler statue.

Sex

Bond rips a woman's top off, briefly revealing the side of her naked breast. Plenty of women in bikinis. A woman distracts a man by shoving his face into her cleavage. Two briefly shown naked male bottoms. Some kissing and iffy sexual situations.

Language

A very brief middle-finger gesture.

Consumerism

Philips electronics are shown more than once: a car stereo, a keychain, and so on.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Part of the plot involves opium smuggling. Bond is shown smoking a cigarette and drinking whiskey. A martini is drugged. Some other brief, background drinking/smoking, reference to champagne.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Living Daylights is the 15th adventure in the James Bond series and the first to star Timothy Dalton. Made in the 1980s, it featured a concession to the AIDS era and showed Bond seducing only one woman in the line of duty, though other women are still treated as sexual objects. The PG-rated violence features heavy fighting, chasing, explosions, shooting, and killing, with only a little blood shown; the violence is not particularly realistic. Language is not an issue, except for a brief middle-finger gesture, and drinking and smoking are kept to the background, although Bond smokes a cigarette and drinks a whiskey. Opium smuggling is a part of the criminal plot. All in all, this is one of the less iffy Bond films and perhaps a good place for fans to begin. (The next film in the series, Licence to Kill, was an attempt to showcase a much darker Bond.)

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byflunky December 29, 2016

Bond had aged well

Bond, James Bond (born between 1920 - 1921) was in his sixties at 1986, the year portraying the story of The Living Daylights (1987). Hiring a new actor, Timoth... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJimmy Brew July 17, 2015
Kid, 8 years old July 18, 2015

What's the story?

Agent 007, James Bond (Timothy Dalton), is assigned to help with the defection of a Russian officer, General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe); his job is to spot any snipers and take them out. He suspects something's up when he sees the beautiful Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo), a cellist, not a sniper, at the end of a rifle. His suspicions are confirmed when Koskov is snatched away from the British government shortly thereafter. Bond befriends Kara and tries to learn Koskov's secret plan. Step by step, he stumbles upon an arms dealer and a plan to smuggle diamonds, but everything leads up to something even more unexpected, something evil.

Is it any good?

The movie smacks of its era, from its ripped-from-the-headline stories of a defecting Russian officer and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to its synthesizer-based theme music. But the fine cast adds dashes of color: the Dutch-born Jeroen Krabbe as the Russian general, Joe Don Baker as a redneck arms dealer, and John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark) as the head of the KGB. Caroline Bliss is a brand-new Moneypenny, while Desmond Llewelyn once again plays Q.

The James Bond films underwent another reboot with THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, the 15th in the series. Timothy Dalton brought some younger blood to the role; he was meant to be a bit tougher but also to focus on only one Bond girl (rather than the usual two) as a concession to the AIDS era. Director John Glen, who had helmed the previous dud, A View to a Kill, was kept on board, but he maintains an even pace and turns in a sturdy movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. How intense is it? How many characters have to die so Bond can save the world? Are there any consequences?

  • Bond is definitely a good guy, but his methods and behavior are questionable. What is appealing about him? Is he a role model? Does he seem "cool"? Is he someone to emulate? Why, or why not?

  • How are the women in this movie treated? Why are they attracted to Bond? Would any of them be interesting in a movie of their own?

  • How does Bond's supposed monogamy reflect the time in which the movie was made? How is it related to AIDS? How does it affect the character or the series?

  • What does it mean for a Russian citizen to "defect"? How was this relevant at the time?

Movie details

For kids who love adventure

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