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Why Timothy Dalton was the best Bond

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Why Timothy Dalton was the best Bond 

Who’s your favourite Bond? It is a question that has been asked time and again, and we can be certain it will get a whole new airing when Daniel Craig’s tenure comes to an end later this year. Answers generally come in three categories. The first is the traditionalists. Sean Connery was Bond, he will always be Bond and anyone else is a poor imitation. The second is the Generation X-ers. To them, Bond is about driving a Lotus underwater, wrestling in space with Jaws and – ahem – attempting re-entry with Lois Chiles, and Roger Moore is their man. Finally, there are those who are not afraid to move with the times, and think the modern day production values mean the films of the Craig era are on a superior level than all that has come before. These are all reasonable enough views, but they leave out one important fact. The best Bond of them all appeared in just two films in the late 80s. Here’s why Timothy Dalton deserves to be recognised at the best Bond of them all.

He wasn’t Roger Moore 
That might sound cruel, but the fact is that the Moore era took Bond in a direction that was ever further from Ian Fleming’s original vision. Taken at face value, there’s nothing wrong with that, but Dalton snapped Bond back into place. He was every inch the ruthless assassin, and what little backstory was glimpsed revealed a troubled and tormented soul. No “eyebrow acting” or pithy one liners here – just the gritty reality of what the life of a secret agent really does to a man.

But he got the girls
Despite losing the charm and social skills, Dalton nevertheless revived the glamour of the Connery days, and the old tagline of “women want him, men want to be him,” came back into sharp focus. These movies came out when the AIDS epidemic was at its height, so there was less of the bed-hopping, but that just made the interactions with leading ladies Maryam D’Abo, Carey Lowell and Talisa Soto all the more intense and memorable.



The best casino scene 
 Bond and casinos, it’s a match made in heaven and has formed the backdrop to many of the top scenes across the years. But arguably, Licence to Kill has the best one of them all. Blackjack is a game anyone can understand, so we never feel a step behind as we might when the game is Baccarat or poker. The tension is palpable as Dalton sits alongside Carey Lowell and has Talisa Soto turn the cards, while drug lord Franz Sanchez, played by Robert Davi, sees his money gradually disappearing.
 
We were left begging for more 
Sean Connery made a couple of ill-advised returns, most notably in the almost self-parodying outing that was Never Say Never Again. Roger Moore was nudging 60 when he filmed A View to a Kill, and he looked it. But legal problems meant that there was a six year gap after License to Kill, and we never saw Timothy Dalton in the tuxedo again. Always leave them begging for more, they say. In this case, it is more a case of wondering what might have been.

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The Movie Bit: Why Timothy Dalton was the best Bond
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