The Living Daylights is the 15th official James Bond movie. A defective KGB agent warns MI6 about a plan to eliminate secret agents, but there is a more complex conspiracy under the surface that Bond must unravel.
This was originally proposed as a prequel to restart the Bond series, but the idea was dropped. It was taken up again with Casino Royale in 2006.
The Living Daylights is the fifteenth film in the James Bond saga and the first one to star Timothy Dalton. It was based on the Ian Fleming short story of the same name from the book Octopussy and The Living Daylights.
It’s also the fourth Bond film to be directed by John Glen.
Bond realizes something is wrong during the training mission.
In the Pre-title sequence, agents 002, 004 and 007 are sent to a training mission in Gibraltar, consisting of infiltrating a radar station. 002 lost the test while 004 is killed by a fake 00. The murderer flees and when 007 (Timothy Dalton) finds the body he notices a tag attached to 004’s body that reads “SMERt' SHpionam”, Russian for “Death to Spies”. Bond pursues the murderer in a truck until they fall off a cliff. Bond is saved by his parachute and lands on a yatch where a young girl is on vacation, before reporting what happened to M he decides to spend a romantic moment with the girl.
Bond and Saunders
In Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, during a classical music concert, Bond’s partner Saunders (Thomas Wheatley) monitors a high officer of the KGB: General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé), who’s trying to defect from the organization, while Bond observes the beautiful cellist Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo). Then they both go to an adjacent building to help Koskov desert. He notices a sniper trying to assassinate Koskov, who turns out to be the cellist he liked so much. Suspecting that she is not an actual assassin, he shoots her sniper rifle out of her hands.
Later in the MI6, Q looks for the KGB assassin but none matches the one he saw in Bratislava. He asks for Moneypenny’s (Caroline Bliss) help to investigate the cellist. Then Bond arrives in a small mansion where he meets M, the defense minister Sir Frederick Gray (Geoffrey Keen) and Koskov who the person responsible for his desertion is his superior, General Leonid Pushkin, General Gogol’s successor. Koskov shows a paper with an order from Pushkin: Smiert spionam (Death to Spies) with a list of western agents who would be killed. Bond and his superiors leave the house without knowing that a murderer named Necros (Andreas Wisniewski) has infiltrated and disguised as a milkman and then a doctor, kills several employees and takes Koskov in a helicopter.
Upon learning of the attack on the mansion, M sends Bond to eliminate Pushkin but Bond is not sure if everything said by Koskov is true so M threatens to send to 008 to kill Pushkin instead, Bond still accepts his mission. After Bond arrives to Q’s laboratory of he is given a set of gadgets for use in his mission: a Philips Keychain which includes a magnetic device that is activated when 007 whistles the first notes of 'Rule Britannia” and ejects a gas that can stun an opponent for 30 seconds, It also includes a highly concentrated plastic explosive that detonates with a certain whistle and also comes with the ability to open 90% of the world’s locks. Meanwhile Moneypenny finds the information of the cellist and her name: Kara Milovy.
Bond threatening Pushkin
Before going to Tanger to kill Pushkin, Bond travels back to Bratislava to meet Milovy and follows her to a tram where he sees how KGB agents lead her to a car where Pushkin (John Rhys- Davies) is waiting for her. Bond arrives at the tram station where he sees the inside of Milovy’s cello case which she forgot in the tram, it’s the rifle used by her to kill Koskov, however he notices that the bullets are blanks and also discovers her direction. Milovy returns home the next day and finds Bond who suspecting that Koskov staged his "defection” disguises himself as Koskov’s friend and discovers that Milovy is actually Koskov's girlfriend. He tells her that he is safe and asks her to flee with him to meet with her boyfriend in Tanger.
Bond's new car
Both escape to Vienna in Bond’s Aston Martin, using car’s gadgets against police and soldiers during a chase through the border that culminates with both using the Cello case to sled down the mountain to the Austrian Border.
Meanwhile Puskin visits mercenary Brad Withaker (Joe Don Baker) to cancel an arms deal with him. Withaker is a megalomaniac war fanatic with replicas of Adolf Hitler, Attila and other war leaders as well as prototype weapons to sell.
Bond and Kara
Bond arrives in Vienna safe and sound with Kara, both go to a hotel to stay, and attend an opera. During the course of their stay there Bond and Kara fall in love. On the other hand Withaker who’s hiding Koskov and Necros in his home informs them of Pushkin’s move and Koskov expects Bond to eliminate Pushkin. To speed up the process, Koskov sends Necros to Vienna to kill another agent.
At the Vienna Opera House, Bond tells Saunders that Koskov’s defection of a lie to mislead MI6 into killing Pushkin. They then go to a fair, While Kara enters a gift shop at the fair, 007 goes to a small restaurant to meet with Saunders, who tells him that Withaker is behind the plot Bond thanks him and as Saunders leaves, Necros disguised as a balloon salesman activates a bomb killin Saunders and sends one balloon with the Smiert spionam message.
In Tangier, Bond goes to Pushkin for answers. After discovering that what Koskov told MI6 was indeed a lie and he escaped from the KGB because he would be arrested for embezzlement, Bond and the head of the KGB agree to fake Pushkin’s assassination. With this plan Bond aims to attract Koskov to him. The plan is carried out with Necros as a witness. Upon returning to the hotel in Tangiers, Bond confesses to to Kara the truth: that he is an agent and not a friend of Koskov and then falls into a trap and is captured along with Kara by Koskov and Necros.
The Rebels fighting
The couple is taken to Afghanistan, where there is a secret illegal drug smuggling. They escape from prison, thanks to the keychain that Q had given him and meet with the Afghan resistance, led by Kamran Shah (Art Malik). Bond asks for help to stop Koskov and his accomplices, but the Afghan leader refuses to sacrifice more men, who were occupied by the war they had against the Russians. During the morning, Bond, disguised as Afghan guerrilla discovers that Koskov is behind the diamond smuggling and trafficking of Opium. And large sums of the money earned are used to purchase advanced weapons from Whitaker, which in turn would be used against the British and the Afghans. Kara decides to help him, while Kamran, who was saved by Bond during his stay in prison, decides to help too.
Fighting on the plane
While entering a Colossus plane, Bond hides a bomb inside a bag of opium. When he was discovered by a soldier and Koskov, Bond hits the soldier and grabs his gun, which fires non-stop to keep the Russians at bay while he takes the plane. Then the resistance finally comes to attack Koskov’s men, destroying the Soviet base. Kara gets into a jeep and manages to enter the plane to meet with 007. While Kara takes control of the plane, Bond is going to defuse the bomb, but he’s stopped by Necros, who had also managed to enter the plane. After a strong and tense fight, Bond finally gets rid of him by making him fall from the aircraft. Bond throws the bomb into a bridge, where Russian troops were pursuing the Mujahideen, saving them.
Happily ever after
Kara and Bond get to a small village in Pakistan to stay after managing to escape from the plane which crashed after running out of. During an overnight operation in the mansion, Bond helped by Leiter, kills Whitaker using the key chain given to him by. Seconds before being gunned down by one of Whitaker’s henchmen, Pushkin appears and saves the lives of 007. After completing the mission, Pushkin arrests Koskov.
Months later, Kara is playing for the Vienna Conservatory. After the concert she meets Bond in her dressing room and they both spend a romantic moment.
Timothy Dalton as James Bond
After the critical disappointment that was A View to a Kill and feeling too old for the part at 58, Roger Moore decided to retire from his role as Bond during pre-production for The Living Daylights, as a result the producers were left with a script suited for the more comedic style of Moore but with no Bond to fill the role.
The casting began and the actors that auditioned for the role included Timothy Dalton, Sam Neil, Pierce Brosnan and Lewis Collin. Ultimately Dalton was chosen but had to drop out due schedule problems with another film, then the role was given to Brosnan but he also had to drop out to commitments to the NBC series Remington Steele. After the Brosnan debacle Dalton was suddenly free again so he was offered the role again, which he accepted. Dalton had previously been considered to play the role after Sean Connery left in 1968 but declined because he felt he was too young to play an experienced spy.
Dalton and director John Glen
Once Dalton was cast, a decision was made to adapt the script to his edgier, more realistic style and at one point it was considered to make this a prequel, an idea used 19 years later for Casino Royale. This idea was quickly dropped however and many of the jokes intended for Moore were left in the final script.
After Dalton was chosen, Maryam d'Abo, who had previously auditioned for a role in A View to a Kill, was cast as his love interest: the Czech cellist Kara Milovy. Joe Don Baker and Jeroen Krabbe as the main villains Brad Whitaker and Georgi Koskov respectively, John Rhys-Davies as Soviet general Leonid Pushkin and Andreas Wisniewski as henchman Nero completed the cast.
the cut magic carpet ride
Filming began on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios in 1986 and then moved to Weissensee, Austria. The pre-title sequence was shot in Gibraltar and Bechy Heach, UK. Dalton did most of his own stunts except for the more risky aerial stunts of the aircraft in flight during the fight between Bond and Necros at the climax of the film. Other locations included Vienna and Afghanistan.
The Living Daylights was the last Bond film to be scored by John Barry. The title song of the film, "The Living Daylights", was made by Norwegian pop-music group a-ha. It was originally intended that The Pretenders performed the title song. However, the producers felt that a-ha would do better in the music charts. In the end however, The Pretenders contributed two songs for the soundtrack: “If There Was A Man" and “Where has Everybody Gone”
The living Daylights received positive reception from critics and fans alike. Most people praised Dalton’s performance and the film for bringing back the realism lost during the Moore era. However, Roger Ebert criticised Dalton’s lack of humor
The Living Daylights was a success in the box office, grossing $191.2 million worldwide.