The Living Daylights

From Academic Kids

For the original short story collection that inspired the film, see Octopussy and The Living Daylights.

Template:BondInfo The Living Daylights is a James Bond short story written by Ian Fleming, first published in the first color magazine supplement of the Sunday Times newspaper, on February 4, 1962, and later reprinted in Argosy magazine, under the title "Berlin Escape". In 1966 it was the second story in the short story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights, published two years after Fleming's death.

The story inspired an eponymous film, released in 1987. It featured Timothy Dalton in the first of two portrayals as British secret service agent James Bond. The Living Daylights is the fifteenth film in the EON Productions series. It was produced by Albert R. Broccoli, his stepson Michael G. Wilson, and Broccoli's daughter Barbara Broccoli. This was the last film to make use of an Ian Fleming story title until the announcement of production of Casino Royale, scheduled for release in 2006.


Plot summary

In the prologue, three double-oh agents parachute onto Gibraltar, testing its defences. One is captured, almost immediately, by the Royal Marines, while James Bond and the other agent start scaling the cliffs to the base. As they ascend, another agent appears, and sends a tag reading Smiert Spionom down the rope before cutting it. Bond witnesses that, and gives chase, ending in an explosives-laden truck careering down Gibraltar's narrow roads, and then into the air. Bond escapes with his reserve parachute, while the assassin explodes in mid-air.

The early part of the film has much of the original short story's plot dealing with Bond assisting in the defection to the West, of a KGB General, Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé), covering his intermission escape from a concert hall in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. Bond notices that the sniper protecting Koskov is a beautiful cellist from the orchestra, Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo). Suspecting she is not an assassin, he shoots the rifle out of her hands, sparing her life, while facilitating Koskov's escape from the hall.

In England, Koskov informs MI6 that the KGB is being run by power-hungry General Leonid Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies). According to Koskov, because Pushkin has revived the old policy of Smiert Spionom — literally, Death to Spies, a programme of Western spy assassinations — he needs to be eliminated. This story is credible, given the recent murder of Bond's partner in the Gibraltar training exercise. Shortly afterwards, the KGB, led by the assassin Necros, raid the safe-house where British Intelligence have Koskov, and snatch him back East.

Bond leaves to kill General Pushkin; Q supplies him with a new Aston Martin and an electric key-finder able to both release stun gas or explode. Bond discovers that Kara Milovy is in fact General Koskov's girlfriend, and begins suspecting that Koskov's defection and recapture were staged. He returns to Bratislava, posing to Milovy as Koskov's friend; the pair flee to Vienna, Austria, in the Aston Martin. They are pursued by KGB, but Bond and Milovy escape using the Aston Martin's weapons. Bond, however, is forced to destroy the car, so he and Milovy sled down a snow-covered hill in the girl's cello case.

At the opera, in Vienna, Bond excuses himself from Milovy, to meet Saunders, his MI6 contact, in a café. Saunders has investigated Koskov's story, and discovered a tenuous link between him and an American arms dealer, "General" Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker). The Stradivarius cello Milovy owns, though bought by Koskov, was funded by Brad Whitaker. Whitaker has arranged to supply the KGB with Western high-technology weapons through Koskov, and Koskov is attempting to deliver the down payment in diamonds. Pushkin is, in fact, investigating Koskov, and so Koskov wants him dead. They can't use Necros because the Russians are too familar with him and would only jepordize their plans, so Koskov intends to deal with Pushkin by having the British kill him, first. After Whitaker learns about Koskov's plan, he agrees to it but wants Necros to ensure that Pushkin is dead.

Saunders leaves the café, to be killed by Necros, who detonates a bomb slamming the sliding front door of the café on to Saunders. Necros leaves behind a balloon with the words Smyert Shipionam on it—unaware that Bond already suspects the true motives behind the trail of clues lain for him. Bond returns to Milovy, and they immediately leave for Tangier, Morocco.

Bond and Pushkin meet; Pushkin says KGB abandoned Smyert Shipionam decades earlier, confirming Bond's suspicions a third party is behind the plot. Bond and Pushkin decide to fake Pushkin's assassination, forcing Whitaker and Koskov to progress with their scheme; Bond "kills" Pushkin as he speaks to a trade convention in Tangier. Ironically, Bond saves Pushkin; Necros was about to kill Pushkin before Bond appeared and shot him first. Bond escapes from the police and is picked up by Felix Leiter (again, the CIA man is a different actor; first-time viewers of The Living Daylights are tricked into, at first, thinking he is an enemy!).

Thinking Pushkin dead, Koskov contacts Milovy, convincing her that Bond is KGB looking to kill him. She assists in capturing Bond for him, grasping too late that Koskov has fooled her, and had intended killing her in his defection. After being captured by Koskov, Bond and Milovy are flown to a Soviet air base in Afghanistan, at the height of Soviet occupation. They escape, helped by Bond's key-finder, and free a prisoner to be hanged the next day. The prisoner is Kamran Shah, leader of the local Mujahideen. Bond discovers that Whitaker and Koskov are paying diamonds for a large shipment of opium, which would turn a profit within days of distribution in the streets of the US, and so continue supplying the Soviets with arms.

The Mujahideen help Bond and Milovy infiltrate the air base. Bond plants a bomb in the back of the cargo airplane transporting the drugs, but, Koskov recognises him. Bond hijacks the airplane, while the Mujahideen attack the airbase. Milovy, at the last minute, joins Bond in the airplane take off and assumes the controls while Bond leaves to defuse his bomb. Necros, however, has stowed away on board, and attacks Bond. Milovy accidentally opens the cargo door, and Bond and Necros are sucked out, on the cargo net holding the opium; Necros and Bond fight. Necros is left hanging from Bond's boot. As he pleads for mercy, Bond cuts his bootlaces, dropping Necros to his death.

Bond barely defuses the bomb, and Milovy flies over Kamran Shah's Mujahideen, who are being pursued by Soviet soldiers across a bridge; Bond drops his bomb onto the bridge, killing the Soviets, helping the Mujahideen win their battle.

In the final confrontation with "General" Whitaker, Bond's key-finder saves him, again, when toppling a bust of Wellington onto Whitaker (an appropriate death for a man who styled himself in wax as Napoleon!). The KGB save Bond's life when agents, led by General Pushkin burst in and kill the Whitaker guard who had cornered Bond. General Koskov is there, too, and, while not killed, he is to be flown back to Moscow "in the diplomatic bag", per Pushkin's order.

Cast & characters



Missing image
Original The Living Daylights soundtrack cover

The title song of the film, "The Living Daylights," was recorded by pop group a-ha. It is also the final Bond film (to date) scored by John Barry.

Track listing

  1. The Living Daylights, - A-ha
  2. Necros Attacks
  3. The Sniper Was A Woman
  4. Ice Chase
  5. Kara Meets Bond
  6. Koskov Escapes
  7. Where Has Everybody Gone - The Pretenders
  8. Into Vienna
  9. Hercules Takes Off
  10. Mujahadin And Opium
  11. Inflight Fight
  12. If There Was A Man - The Pretenders
  13. Exercise At Gibralter
  14. Approaching Kara
  15. Murder At The Fair
  16. "Assassin" and Drugged
  17. Airbase Jailbreak
  18. Afghanistan Plan
  19. Air Bond
  20. Final Confrontation
  21. Alternate End Titles

Vehicles & gadgets

  • Aston Martin V8. Equipped with the usual weapons, including side skis, spiked tires, missiles, lasers, rocket propulsion, a self-destruct device and a modified radio to tune in to police/military bands.
  • Keychain - Bond's keychain, designed by Q-Branch, also is an explosive triggered by a wolf whistle. It also could deploy stun gas (when the user whistles "Rule Britannia"), and contains lockpicks capable of opening ninety per cent of the world's locks.
  • Ghetto Blaster - Never used by James Bond; it is seen tested in Q-Branch. The ghetto blaster is an '80s–style rocket-firing, stereophonic, cassette tapedeck.
  • Scouring Pig - Used to initially to clean and check the natural gas pipeline from USSR to West Europe. Its converted here specially to smuggle a man out of the Eastern block, With Koskov being the first!
  • Harrier- This V/STOL aircraft evacuates Koskov after his defection to the west.

See also


Film locations

Shooting locations


  • Timothy Dalton had originally been considered for the role of James Bond as a replacement for Sean Connery, but had ruled himself out as being too young.
  • Both Sam Neill and Pierce Brosnan were screen-tested for the role of James Bond in The Living Daylights. Brosnan was successfully signed for the role, but his contract to the television programme Remington Steele forced him to withdraw; he would wait seven years for his second chance, in GoldenEye. Maryam d'Abo, however, earned her Kara Milovy role with her screen test with Brosnan; she was not in the running for a role in the film, but had been hired to act opposite the 007 contenders; impressed, the producers gave her the part.
  • Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson wrote a first draft of a script portraying James Bond's first field mission; Cubby Broccoli rejected the idea.
  • This film marked Caroline Bliss's first of two appearances as Miss Moneypenny.
  • Originally, the KGB general set up by Koskov was to be General Gogol, however, actor Walter Gotell was sick, unable to handle the major role; the character of Leonid Pushkin replaced Gogol, who appears briefly at the end of the film, having transferred to the Soviet diplomatic service. This is Gogol's final appearance in a James Bond film (Gotell died a few years later). The similarity between Pushkin and Gogol is emphasized by the fact that Pushkin is seen accompanied by a beautiful blonde, much as Gogol was in his early appearances.
  • This is the final James Bond film, to date, scored by John Barry.
  • In a cameo role, series composer John Barry conducts the orchestra in Vienna at the end of the film. Producer Michael G. Wilson also continues his string of Bond film cameo appearances; he can be seen as a member of the opera house audience.
  • The principal artwork for this film: a woman in a sheer white dress, holding a pistol as James Bond stands in the gunbarrel pose, was controversial in some parts of the world, with complaints raised that it glorified violence against women (though no such action occurs in the film). A student newspaper, at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, was nearly shut down, sparking debate about censorship and images of violence against women, after it refused to run the advert when the film was scheduled to play at the university's student cinema.
  • The use of the Russian phrase "Smyert Shipionam" ("Death to Spies") is a reference to SMERSH, the Russian spy agency James Bond combated in the early Ian Fleming novels. It was mentioned in only one previous Bond film, From Russia With Love.

External links


de:Der Hauch des Todes

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