Parents' Guide to

The Living Daylights

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

More serious, tougher version of Bond has plenty of violence

Movie PG 1987 131 minutes
The Living Daylights Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

A lot of screaming over Bond

I remember liking this film when I first saw it when it was released and I was about 11/12 years old. But on a re-watch as an adult it does not have the same impact as it did (rightfully so). The films biggest drawback is that it handles D'abo very poorly, putting her in almost every scene, but not expanding her character in any substantive way. Dalton although an apt Bond with a great flash of debonair comes off a bit gruff and the bananas script does not help. It is a shame, because D'abo and Dalton seem to work well together and D'abo is always appropriately dressed for the adventure, but she is relegated to screaming and worrying over Bond that one wonders what else is she supposed to do?
age 14+

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, Timothy Dalton, already proposed for the role as early as in 1968, finally, was perhaps still too young to play James Bond. But still they decided to keep Bond at then, on the present day. Timothy Dalton did it, well. His interpretation of the role was much closer to Ian Fleming's creation, darker James Bond than Roger Moore ever did. In the film, Bond is serious, but the film still has some minor jokes around it. But I believe that the main purpose for the Bond-films has never been the comedy, but seriousness, just like present in Daniel Craig's films. So, Timothy Dalton put Bond to the right track. Composer and arranger, John Barry, did a wonderful score for the film and collaborated with Norwegian band a-ha for the title song. If the title song is not the very best, the music is overally probably the among the very best ever in a Bond-film. Barry's arranged strings sounds fresh and striking. The film includes many of the finest hardcore classical pieces in it, too. The cellist, portrayed by Maryam d'Abo, the female lead, played well with Dalton. Other actors were from good to great, too. Desmond Llewelyn, like always, simply sparkling. John Glen did a great job with directing: the scenes were well paced and the film contained very beautiful scenes showing desert when the sun is low, Ferris wheel in the evening, river at the moonlight... Ah, all so beautiful! The story was well written, but not one of the very, very finest ones in Bond-films. The spirit of the cold war was touchable, the characters had some personality, and along the jokes, the film was fitted with some references to the popular culture, too, like minor references to the episodes of Knight Rider. The film had some sexual innuendo and normal Bond-style gunfights. The language was not extremely harsh. Actually, Bond says "a*s"-word once. The most disturbing scene was where a pounding animal heart was shown twice along the diamonds. It didn't look very bad in the end: there was no extra blood and the heart had solid red color. This is something that adults must warn younger kids before watching the film. Usually, and in my opinion, Bond-films are suitable for 12-year-old kids, and a few for even younger, but because of that heart, I rised the bar a bit for this one. In the end, The Living Daylights is one of the finest Bond-films ever created, and it will only lose to the glorious Bond-films of the sixties, and going pretty much tied along the best Bond-films starring Roger Moore as 007, like The Spy Who Loved Me.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (17):

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.

Movie Details

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