Timothy Dalton: most underrated actor of all time?

Dalton – dashing then as Bond & now at 65

Inspired by a recent similar post by Caz from Let’s go to the movies, and the fact that award season looms upon us, I thought I’d bring forward the one actor that I thought deserve far more recognition than he currently gets.

Perhaps the title of this post could be construed as a bit of a hyperbole. But I make no apologies that I think Timothy Dalton is a fantastic actor, and for the life of me I cannot fathom why he isn’t as big a star as other equally talented thespians like Daniel Day-Lewis or Michael Caine.

Like most people, I first saw Dalton in his debut as Bond in The Living Daylights. The film itself is entertaining, albeit far from perfect. But the best part of the movie is Dalton, no question about it. Though I grew up with Roger Moore as Bond, seeing Dalton bring out the darker and tougher side of the British spy is so refreshing and captivating to watch. Ok, I’m a woman so naturally I expect Bond to be somewhat of an eye candy too, and Dalton — who at 6’2″ is the tallest Bond ever — is both devastatingly handsome and sexy in that dark & dangerous kind of way. Not to mention that irresistible deep and raspy voice — I could read this guy read a phone book all night long! But looks alone doesn’t make an actor, and Dalton is definitely one whose talent and acting tenacity transcend even that impossibly chiseled looks.

Dalton_LTKI’m not the only one who share that sentiment in regard to his Bond role. In the September ’09 issue of Total Film, journalist ‘ Richard Matthews wrote Is it just me?… or is Timothy Dalton the best Bond as he reassessed both The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989) in light of their recent DVD re-release. In that article, Matthews said that Dalton conformed to Ian Fleming’s blueprint for James Bond perfectly: “black hair falling down over the right eyebrow… something cruel in the mouth and the eyes cold”. And in both TLD in 1987 and LTK in 1989, according to Matthews, Dalton “brought Fleming’s fractured, damaged psychology back to Bond”. Even this National Lampoon writer defied the “commonly agreed-upon” Bond ranking in his Apology to Dalton article.

This UK’s Guardian blogger back in 2006 definitely took the words straight out of my mouth:

Ironically, the very characteristics that got Dalton slammed are the very same things that the Bond producers are praising Daniel Craig for. On and on, they have said they want Bond to be closer to the original Ian Fleming character. They want him to be grittier, darker and less jokey. What they really want, it seems, is to have Dalton back.

Some people in various Bond forums argue that Craig lack the sophistication of a British spy, instead behaved more like a thug-ish action star. That’s another topic for another post but I’m definitely in the camp that both Craig and Dalton epitomized that merciless grit and ruthlessness like no other Bond before them. Yet Dalton was clearly way ahead of his time as Craig took all the credit for doing what he had started.

Dalton as Rochester

But Dalton is more than just a James Bond actor. Just a few years ago I came across the 1983 BBC version of Jane Eyre where Dalton played Charlotte Brontë’s ultimate Byronic hero Mr. Rochester. I totally fell in love with his brooding and enigmatic performance, and he makes the poorly-made production of the miniseries entirely worthwhile. He continued to impress me in a variety of things I’ve watched him in: The Lion in Winter (his debut alongside Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn), Framed (a fascinating crime thriller with David Morrissey), as Julius Caesar in Cleopatra, and another Brontë’s adaptation Wuthering Heights. Any one of which warrants some kind of award nomination.

The thing is with Dalton, he’s great at playing both hero and villain, as displayed in his scene-stealing turn in Flash Gordon, The Rocketeer and the Simon Pegg comedy Hot Fuzz. Heck, he even played a comic-strip character believably as Basil St. John in Brenda Starr. He even dared to venture into one of Hollywood’s all-time classic roles of Rhett Butler, in the Gone with the Wind‘s ill-conceived follow-up Scarlett and [gasp!] even silly rom-com in The Beautician & The Beast. Sure, those two are definitely poor role choices, but I don’t think it undermines his talent as an actor.

Dalton_Rocketeer
Dalton as Neville Sinclair in ‘Rocketeer’

The classically-trained thespian is perhaps most comfortable on stage, having toured with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Prospect Theater Company in England. He’s also keeping busy doing voice work for various audio books, so perhaps the lack of movie roles is his own choosing. Based on this UK’s Metro interview, he strikes me as someone who’s entirely at peace with his career and is unapologetic about his choices, even his decision not to do his third Bond role. Still, I can’t help but wonder why he’s not offered the roles that actors of his stature keep getting? Think Anthony Hopkins (who had his debut in the same film The Lion in Winter), Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and the other two I’ve mentioned above. As I told Marc on his The Rocketeer post, it’d be nice to see Dalton in The Wolfman in Tony Hopkins role, or in Clash of the Titans as Zeus instead of Liam Neeson, or something like Michael Caine’s Is Anybody There?. We all know he has the chops and at sixty-five is still far more dashing — and Botox-free — than even actors ten or fifteen years younger.

Instead, all I can look forward to is his voice-over part in Toy Story 3 as Mr. Pricklepants, a hedgehog toy with thespian tendencies. Ha! For all of you Dr. Who fans, he’s also been reported to guest star in David Tennant’s finale as the titular character. Tennant was quoted praising Dalton to Radio Times, “He was lovely. He had the panache and the skill of a movie star, without any of the alarming eccentricities or peculiar demands.”

I don’t expect anything less from this classy actor. Here’s hoping a starring role, or even a pivotal part in an ensemble flick, pops up in the horizon soon.

P.S. If you haven’t already, check out my fantasy movie pitch Hearts Want, a romantic thriller starring Dalton as a retired MI-5 agent.


So folks, do you have your own analysis of an underrated thespian? If so, let’s hear it.

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76 thoughts on “Timothy Dalton: most underrated actor of all time?

  1. Dalton was hugely underrated as Bond, the two films he did took the character closer to the character that appeared in the original novels. As for his height, I’m not sure if there is any conclusive height chart out there but I don’t think there is much to choose between him Connery and Lazenby with Moore and Brosnan a little shorter. Daniel Craig is obviously much shorter.

    I recommendation as an underrated actor my come as a bit of a surprise as he is a big name. Danny Glover, destined to play a sidekick in the 80’s and 90’s and a character actor in more recent years he is always convincing.

    1. Hi Fandango, I guess Dalton will always be a ‘cult favorite’ of sort when it comes to his Bond portrayal. Yeah, the height thing is always amusing to me, but Dalton looks like he could be 6’2″ like IMDb says, especially when I saw him in Hot Fuzz recently. On a couple of the party scenes, he just towered over everybody else. Plus, Carey Lowell is 5’10” and he appeared much taller than her in LTK. Anyhoo, tallest or not, he’s a fabulous Bond to me.

      As for Danny Glover, yeah he’s a good actor. I’m surprised that with the success of Lethal Weapon he’s not more well-known.

    2. TSNinja

      Absolutely Danny Glover. I think the problem with him is while he is reliable, he’s not flashy. Even in the Lethal Weapons, whose success is all about his chemistry with Mel Gibson, by the end of the series that’s obscured with add-on characters and weird plots and Joe Pesci… I can’t even remember what his subplot is supposed to be in the third one. He has too much restraint for “big” movies, he gets lost. However, for competance and subtlety, he’s tops. I watched Honeydripper for the music, but ended up stunned by his performance. Good choice.

  2. rockerdad

    I’m with you on Dalton being an excellent Bond –– I cringed when Pierce Remington Steele replaced him. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get to star in a genuine Ian Fleming story. Craig was lucky in that he was cast for Casino Royale which helped the public’s opinion of him. It takes a good, well-written film to produce a well balanced performance. But oh well…

    1. I know, Pierce struck me as someone who’ve longed to be Bond and relished in it any chance he got once he’s got it. I mean the tie-straightening and the whole smugness about him, he’s having way too much fun whilst Bond should be rather conflicted given his extreme job. There are a couple of good movies he did though, so he’s not entirely horrible. I just think people gave him more credit that should’ve gone to Dalton. Every time I saw Casino Royale, I can’t help thinking how cool would it be to have Dalton do it… I think the third Bond outing he’s supposed to star in (before the MGM/UA legal fiasco) was called The Property of a Lady, oh I even liked the sound of that!

      1. “The Property of a Lady” was the title of a short story that was used published in one of the later Bond books, I forget which one. The main plot had already been used in Octopussy so they would only have used the title as they did with Quantum of Solace. This has lead to suggestions of using The Property of a Lady as the title for Bond 23.

  3. vony

    The funny thing is, Tom and I just talked about it the other day, when we watched all day long maraton of James Bond movie.. Completely agree, he was and still is one the best Bond ever.

    1. Oh I wish I had cable, I kind of miss those Bond marathons! I guess I’d just have to pop in my TLD and TLK dvds one of these days, it never gets old watching Dalton! 🙂

  4. Finally! I’ve never personally met anyone who thought Timothy Dalton was actually a decent Bond. So, it’s awesome to at least read about it.

    I saw The Living Daylights when i was 7 or 8 years and License to Kill is one of my favorite Bond movies. I totally agree with the comparison between Dalton and Craig. I never did like Brosnan very much as 007, although Goldeneye is pretty freakin’ awesome.

    Timothy’s portrayal of the character was ahead of its time, and definitely not what the audience was accustomed to. Even Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace would have epically failed if released over 20 years ago. After movies like Batman Begins, suddenly everybody and their grandma wanted to get on the “gritty and realistic” bandwagon. I’m glad 007 was one of them, ’cause after Goldeneye, the British Commander became a silly cartoon.

    Take care and salutations from a new reader and blogging newbie 🙂

    1. Hi Siegfried, glad you shared my sentiment about Dalton. It’s cool how passionate we Dalton fans are, we may be in the minority in regards to thinking he’s the best Bond, but we ain’t gonna settle without a fight 🙂

      I quite like Goldeneye, too, even parts of Tomorrow Never Dies, but Pierce’s other Bond movies were like you said, silly cartoons.

      I agree with your ‘gritty bandwagon’ assessment, but Dalton didn’t do the darker Bond to be popular, he just thought it was the right thing to do. I guess timing is everything in movies, a lot of the times unfairly so.

      Thanks again for your comment and good luck with your blog!

  5. mattahula

    I’ve loved Timothy Dalton since I saw “Hawks” back in the late eighties, a film criminally unavailable on DVD and one of the two video tapes I still own amongst the sea of discs. Highly recommended if you can nab a copy anywhere. It sounds like its about time I revisited him as Bond. Flash Gordon is a great film as well and has been sitting on my shelf for a while now – time for a dust down methinks!

    1. I know! I’ve always wanted to see that one, too, along with The Informant which is about the NRA. I’m surprised Hollywood hasn’t planned on doing a Flash Gordon remake. Wouldn’t it be fun to see him do a cameo?

    1. Thanks Fandango. I’m so humbled and honored they featured one of mine again… yeah it is cool to see the stat shoots up. When I look at the last 6 months stats, my chart looks like a roller coaster! 🙂

  6. Timfan

    Thanks for mentioning Dalton’s excellent turn as Mr Rochester in my favourite version of Jane Eyre. While the film quality’s not great, I don’t agree that it’s “poorly made”. It sticks pretty closely to the book, takes its time to develop the characters and Zelah Clarke makes a delightfully feisty Jane. And the scene where she teases the blind Rochester at the end before they’re finally reunited is delightful!

    1. What I mean by ‘poorly made’ is the production quality: the Jane costumes, lighting, sound, etc. but the script/dialog and acting is superb. I mean I tolerated all 6-hr plus of watching this because of those two reasons, and well watching Timothy in ANY production is always a plus. I do agree that last scene is so heart-wrenchingly beautiful and so rewarding.

  7. Maggie

    It would seem that I am one of the older readers here.
    I first saw Dalton on the big screen in Mary Queen of Scots and was impressed, even thought I was only 6.
    He made a movie called Hawks, which was sweet and sad and danced on the edge of maudlin without plunging over.
    My 10 year old daughter has had a bit of a crush on him since Looney Tunes, and loves his two Bond movies.
    I was an Ian Flemming fan, and my father took me to every Bond movie that came out in my life time.
    I do like Craig, but I think that Dalton was the closest in looks as well as in action to Flemming’s vision.

  8. Great article! I’ve never yet gotten to see Mr. Dalton onstage, tho’ I’d like to, but i have seen some of his film and television work, and listened to an audio book (drop-dead gorgeous his voice is) and I’m looking forward to the “Doctor Who” episodes. Of his television work I am partial to “Jane Eyre,” in part because he played the character who had the line that inspired the topic of my dissertation (not that I told my profs!!! :)).

    1. I LOVE him as Rochester. I must’ve watched JE ten times over even though I loathed the production quality. But his — and Zelah Clarke’s — acting and dialog saved the movie for me, I just wished the costume, lighting, etc. were better.

  9. Cindy

    I first saw him as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. I was 10, watching the late movie with my big sister. I suddenly understood what all the fuss was about between the sexes. He is still on of the handsomest men I have ever seen!

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  11. tc

    Just adding to the comparisons drawn between Dalton’s Bond and Craig’s Bond; Timothy Dalton played Lord Asriel in the National Theatre’s production of the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman, the role later played by Daniel Craig in the movie version.

    1. Thanks for the insight. Yes I actually read about this quite a while a go and the coincidence is quite amusing, given how different these two men look 🙂 I haven’t seen the stage version of Timothy but I bet you a million bucks Craig’s got far more recognition for his Asriel performance [sigh]

  12. jo

    Fandango,

    I concur that Timothy Dalton is the strongest actor to ever play Bond. I think the reaction to his Bond film outings had little, if anything, to do with him or his acting, frankly.

    The whole Bond genre is deeply entangled with two phenomena: first, the cold war, and second, a very 1950s view of the “battle of the sexes”.

    By the time Dalton was making his Bond films ( late 1980s ), the cold war was starting to wind down ( in fact, the whole Soviet Union fell apart just a year or two after Dalton’s last Bond film ) and the culture had gone through nearly 30 years of transformation — gender roles, feminism, the sexual revolution …

    I think the Bond producers/writers have been struggling for a *very* long time trying to figure out how to reinvent the character and keep him “relevant”. They tried outer space, in the wake of Star Wars. They tried going “back to their roots”. They tried making action comedies. Now they’re trying straight action films. Surprisingly, in the 10 years since the 9/11 attacks, they haven’t tried to plant the character in the middle of the “war on terror.”

    But I digress. The point I was trying to make is, Dalton’s two bond films came at the point where the writers/producers were absolutely floundering at solving the “how do we keep Bond relevant” problem, and the poor guy got saddled with two of the weakest Bond scripts ever written. God, the second Dalton film was basically a high-budget Miami Vice episode, and Dalton was the only thing that kept it from being a complete waste of celluloid.

    Cheers,

    J.

  13. Alamgir

    It’s great to read and hear that the criminally underrated Timothy Dalton has so many closet admirers. He was definitely one of the finest Bonds to grace the silver screen and both his outings as the super spy were steeped in gritty realism and charming menace. I would have loved to see him do a few more renditions before throwing in the towel on Bond.

    Dalton is a searing screen presence and I always look forward to seeing him pop up on the large and small screen and just work his magic. For those looking for some vintage Dalton scenery chewing, go out and grab a dvd copy of ‘made men’ a made for cable action flick where Dalton overshadows the proceedings as a leery, corrupt small town redneck sheriff. Watching him chew tobacco as he charmingly and comically terrorizes James Belushi ( another criminally under appreciated actor) always manages to bring back fond memories of this very fine actor who deserves a whole cannon of more meaningful roles. Bless your heart Timothy Dalton and I look forward to some more vintage perfromances from you.

  14. jaguar007

    Grat article, I ran across it on IMDB. I’m glad to see Dalton get some kudos. I have been a huge Bond fan since the late 70s and Dalton’s The Living Daylights has always been in my top 5 favorite Bond films.

    I agree that Dalton is the closest to Fleming’s Bond (especially close to Fleming’s later novels). While I agree that Dalton may have been 20 years ahead of his time, I think Craig’s popularity over Dalton is more than just that the world is now ready for a darker Bond. While Craig does embody many aspects of Dalton’s Bond, he also has the macho swagger of a young Connery. That swagger is something that every actor had lacked since Connery vacated the role. I think Craig is the best Bond, while Connery is still my favorite. Dalton however is right behind them in line.

    1. Hey thanks for sending this, I’ll definitely check it out. I think that’s the same writer as Possessed, right? And he’s reunited with Whalley again who’s in “Scarlett” with him I believe. Thanks again!

      1. Patrick

        That’s right. Steven de Souza wrote & directed Unknown Sender, and they previously worked together on Possessed in the same capacity. de Souza also wrote the first two Die Hard movies, 48 Hours, Commando, and many other Hollywood blockbusters. Dalton is really funny in this because he plays it so straight, and the physical comedy with the wheelchair is priceless.

        There’s also some new video interviews with TD on the site as well – under the iQ&A tab.

  15. Marc

    Ruth,
    As always your writing, opinions and content is spot-on and just expertly crafted. Well done!!

    Secondly, I guess what makes a screen hero a screen hero is the age you first saw him/her. So many camps cry out “Connery’s the best Bond” and they usually say it because he was the first, but Bond to me will always be Dalton because seeing him in License to Kill on HBO as a kid was one of the coolest things ever. His acting is just simply top-notch and was the wesome.

    LTK was such an improvement over TLD (although the opening sequence to TLD is one for the books for sure). Had he done one more, I bet it would have been a game changer for the series and shot him into super super stardom, putting him well ahead of Moore and neck and neck with Connery…ahh we can dream right?

    1. Why thanks Marc, that means a lot coming from you! The thing is with Timothy, though I didn’t grow up watching him as Bond, I was totally blown away by his performance. He’s such a contrast to the more mischievous Moore yet his Bond is without humor. I love the car chase scene in TLD when he ‘lasered’ the police car and Kara asked her what happened, he simply said ‘salt corrosion.’ People say he lacked one-liners, but it’s definitely quality over quantity as the few he uttered were brilliant! I think all his fans dream he’d done a third Bond, but I doubt super stardom is what Dalton craved anyway, it’s more the fans who want it for him 🙂

  16. tfkjr

    It’s so ironic that what the suits are praising Daniel Craig for now is exactly what Timothy Dalton was criticized for when he was doing Bond, i e the tough, brooding, no-nonsense side of the man. Dalton brought a very interesting package of qualities to 007, and it’s a shame that he never went beyond two films. I read one reason was that during all the legal catfighting in the 90s he turned fifty, and felt he was too old, but he would have brought even more gravitas to the role at that age. After all, the Bond movie where Roger Moore finally “acted his age” was when he was 54, and many (myself included) consider it to be his best. Timothy Dalton was an excellent but underappreciated Bond, and I put my emphasis on the former. Well and nobly done, sir.

  17. Swanlady

    Although I first saw Dalton in “A Lion in Winter,” I actually fell in LOVE with him back in 1986 when he wrung my heart for seven fabulous hours in the mini-series “Sins.” As Edmund Junot, (Joan Collins brother), Timothy showed phenomenal acting ability, as his character develops from a catatonic Holocaust survivor to a dashing multi-millionaire businessman, with all of the emotional ups and downs we can expect from these romantic epics. Dalton’s performance gives the entire series reality and pathos it would never have achieved otherwise, and makes it one of my all-time favorites. An BOY, is he DREAMY in it! James Farentino, the other male heroic lead, can’t hold a candle to him! A MUST SEE for any true Dalton fan!
    Never being much of a Bond fan, I actually went to see TLD in the theater because of him, and he certainly got my attention! And he is wonderful in Jane Eyre, making it well worth watching.

    1. A fellow Dalton fan was kind enough to send me tapes of that miniseries. Yes, I absolutely agree with you that Tim is both gorgeous and phenomenally brilliant in his role as Edmund. This is how underrated he is, it is impossible to find his old stuff on DVD. I’ve been wanting to see his movie ‘The Informant’ with Cary Elwes and they only have it in VHS! If anybody know how to get the DVD, please let me know!

  18. Marie-Claire Scott

    I’ve loved Timothy Dalton since “Lion in Winter”, although his performance – and sheer gorgeousness – in “Flash Gordon” turned that admiration into a full-fledged crush. I agree that he’s almost insanely underrated and can’t help but wonder why.

    1. He..he… yes Timothy does make for a lot of ‘yowza!’ moments every time I watch him. One commenter I read once said about his performance of Bond, “you can argue all you want about who the best Bond is, but Dalton is the only one that made my heart go pit-a-pat!” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  19. colin bruce anthes

    Thank you so much for giving a bit more credit to an actor who will likely never get enough! Dalton captured the Bond character more fully than any other actor, and constantly is the best part of every film he’s in. I hope producers realize his potential value, adding not only creativity and skill to a project, but a touch of class as well.

    Sincerely,

    Colin Bruce Anthes

    1. Hear, hear. Thanks for your comment, Colin. I just want to give the credit where it’s due, as it’s a shame someone with his talent go unrecognized. I mean, he’s never even been nominated for a Golden Globe, let alone Oscar, and I can think of several of his performances that deserve that nod.

  20. Whitewraithe

    I’ve loved Dalton ever since seeing him in Wuthering Heights in 1971. My high school class went to the theater to see the film.

  21. chris

    Unlike many Americans, I loved Dalton as Bond. I think the reason he only did two was probably because Americans didn’t embrace him as Bond. Look at the American grosses of his Bond films vs. the rest of the World. It seems that everybody but Americans loved him. Although, I did have a conversation with a Connery fan here who recently re-watched the Dalton Bonds and thought he was pretty good-this after years of downplaying him.

  22. LG

    To be honest, I enjoyed Timothy Dalton’s turns at playing the super spy James Bond.

    He was a stronger, darker, angrier and more flawed character. I think that the switch from Roger Moore’s take was so abrupt that it took audiences off-guard. Even if The Living Daylights was written for Moore, Dalton definitely played it his own way.

    I am also a fan of Daniel Craig’s Bond. I might light up the place by saying that I prefer him to Brosnan’s version, but I have to say it.

    Bond was skillful, a rogue and a wild card. Full of anger and contempt. Dalton and Craig truly brought this out in their films.

    1. Yeah, I guess most Bond fans weren’t prepared by the abrupt change, but I don’t think Dalton would sign on as Bond if he can’t be true to Flemming’s vision. He’s been offered the role more times than other actors, so it’s obvious the Broccolis believed in him. I definitely prefer Craig than Brosnan, even though I didn’t like Quantum of Solace at all. It’s a pity they can’t do a decent follow up to the sublime Casino Royale. I think QoS is worse than Licence to Kill, I mean, dark is one thing but thuggish is quite another. Dalton was a rogue in LTK but he didn’t lose his sophisticated style.

  23. conanthepunctual

    Love Dalton. Love “The Living Daylights”.

    Best straight dramatic film I’ve ever seen him in is “The King’s Whore”. I don’t think it was ever released on DVD. If you like Dalton, find it if you can.

  24. Lee

    TD…
    Favorite actor – yes
    Most beautiful actor – yes
    Favorite Bond – yes
    Inconsistent performances – yes
    Worst fake accents – yes

  25. Paulus Teguh

    Pardon my grammar but all I can remember in the License to Kill an The Rocketeer are both the girl that being chase or ‘wanted’ by Timothy Dalton, names Talisa Soto and young and valupous Jenifer Connely…..but yes Daniel Craig and Timothy Dalton hmm hard choices as Mr.Bond……

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for your comment bro! He..he.. yes both Talisa Soto and the young Jennifer Connelly were sexy, no doubt that’s all you remember 🙂

  26. teganx7

    I will join you in the camp that feels Mr. Dalton is grossly underrated. I actually saw him first in “Flash Gordon”, and then in “The Lion in Winter”. I will also agree that while Mr. Connery may have been a greater screen presence with his lighthearted wit, and suave sex appeal with women, I think Mr. Dalton’s performance with a darker edge (especially in “The Living Daylights”) makes him in some ways the closest to the Fleming Bond that we have ever seen on screen. I also see the connection with Mr. Dalton and Mr. Craig: both are a reaction to their predecessors … as Mr. Moore and Mr. Brosnan saw their films become more and more dominated by gadgets and less about the Bond character, Mr. Dalton and Mr. Craig both saw their films go the other way.

    1. Dalton’s ooozes so much sexuality as Bond, but it’s more subtle, he’s not y’know, prancing around ‘acting’ sexy, he just is. The second he dropped out of the sky on that girl’s boat, man, he’s got such screen presence before he even opened his mouth. Once he said ‘make that two…’ I was a goner 🙂

      There’s also the moment he suddenly showed up at Kara’s apt holding her cello when my heart skipped a beat. Yet all that sexiness never undermines his tough, bad ass-ness. And like you said, with Dalton & Craig, it’s about the spy, NOT the gadgets. Well-said.

  27. Sophal

    Used to watch Living Daylights as a child. I thought he was the only James Bond. I was surprised he was called the worst Bond. He looked refined and also quick. His fights were very believable. Daniel Craig looked too thuggish. Unlike Dalton. Dalton can switch from a gentleman to a fighter. Craig always looks rough.

  28. Hector Sadler

    Well he had been seen recently in the Last Daivd Tennant DR Who as villian. He sometime play villian not as nasty some. He was might had been not a worst Bond but he would had done better if Bond 17 had been done in 1990 or 1991. Somewhere in another Web saying he would had played the 5th Doctor to replace Tom Baker but some said he didn’t have the quailties & said glad Peter Daivison took over from Tom Baker but some say he would & last from 1982 to 1985 where Roger Moore played Bond for the final time & easy got the Bond Role. That would been good what someone said. Peter Daivison & Colin Baker were the 2 underated Dr.Whos. But Timothy I was glad he play The 4th 007 & could had done a few more afte Licnce to Kill.

  29. Daniel

    You gotta to be kidding…Dalton the most underrated acor of all time?? There’s a UNIVERSE of infinity better and more underrated actors!

    JAMES WOODS
    HARVEY KEITEL
    JAMES RUSSO
    BRAD DOURIF
    DEAN WINTERS
    JON SEDA
    JOE PESCI
    JAMES CAAN

    aND ETC, ETC, ETC…

    AND OTHER TIMOTHY MUCH BETTER THEN DALTON: TIMOTHY HUTTON!

    1. It’s called an opinion, Daniel, everyone is entitled to one. I respect yours, though I don’t consider some of the actors you mention in the same league as Dalton. Hutton won an Oscar, I think that’s the highest recognition an actor could have. What he does with it afterwards is a different story. Lots of Oscar winners made poor choices (read: squandered such an honorable accolade). I’m not saying Hutton is one of them, I’m just sayin’ a lot of them do.

  30. Margo

    I agree. Timothy Dalton deserves enormous praise for his ability to make all characters that he plays come alive. He is so real in every role that he plays. As mentioned previous, Dalton played Bond by the book and foreshadowed Craig. Dalton was ahead of his time with his dark Bond and Craig got all the credit. The people who criticize Dalton’s Bond do not recognize great acting. Dalton was the best actor to play Bond. He should be constantly working because of his depth in character portrayal and passion. However, Hollywood power brokers do not have any taste.

  31. I’ve been a fan of Timothy Dalton since I saw him in Wuthering Heights. He was the ONLY interesting thing in Flash Gordon. I always thought he’d make a great swashbuckler so I modeled my comic strip space opera pirate captain after him.
    A recent great, ignored, performance of Dalton’s is in the movie American Outlaws. He plays the historical personage Alan Pinkerton, to Colin Farrell’s Jesse James. It’s a fun movie and Dalton, per usual, is the best thing in it.
    My wife remembers that I was wishing that Broccoli would pick Timothy to play the next Bond, and not long after that it was announced that he had!
    It’s interesting that Dalton should come up now because I’ve recently pulled an old comic book idea of mine ( a SteamPunk swashbuckler) off of the back burner. and its star is, of course, Timothy Dalton.

  32. Mike

    GREAT ARTICLE!!!! Many Dalton fans think they are alone due to the love affair the media has with Pierce Brosnan (the only Bond I have a hard time fully enjoying).

    If Dalton received the film budget/marketing support that Brosnan and Craig received, he would be a legend like Connery and Moore.

    This guy is a true artist and should be an A-lister.

    PS:
    Another under-appreciated actor – the late Roy Scheider

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  35. Elaina

    To tell the truth, Dalton take acting too seriously, and this show in his films which makes him boring. Although I love the guy, but sometimes I don’t like the way he acts … not all the time :). If he really cares for his career he should run away from the Shakspearian way he learned 10,000 years ago .. and relax a little in order for him and his fans to enjoy him more 🙂

    1. Point taken, Elaina, I don’t think boring is the word I use but he does take his craft a bit too seriously at times. He relish his comedic side in Beautician & The Beast and Hot Fuzz though, looks like he had fun making them.

  36. Pingback: James Bond January – ‘License To Kill’ | GO, SEE, TALK!

  37. Hana

    What a great article!I definitely agree that Timothy is so underrated actor. I fall in love with him after watching him in Scarlett,but my the most favourite are his comic performances in Hot Fuzz and Beautician and the Beast. He is really big talent and moreover very sexy guy,too!
    Thank you so much for this article!
    With regards Hana
    Sorry for English 🙂

    1. Hi Hana, welcome to FC! Glad you agree about Dalton. Oh I actually haven’t seen Scarlet as it’s not available on Netflix anymore, but I LOVE Rhett Butler and Dalton is surely great in that role. Yes, he is indeed sexy, no argument there 😉

      Oh, your English is fine by the way.

  38. Pingback: Spotlight on My Favorite Bond –Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill |

  39. I thought Mr. Dalton had some great potential. I was actually aware of him before he did Bond. I would have loved to have seen him do “The Shadow”, as his features and hawklike eyes definitely were well suited to the role. Also, I had always wondered how he would play an elf. His capability for haughtiness, ans the glittering green eyes with fine bones and high cheekbones always had me intrigued with the thought.

  40. Pingback: 5 Fave Roger Moore Bond Scenes – You will be missed Sir Roger! – FlixChatter Film Blog

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