It’s an age old question…who was the best actor to portray James Bond? Spanning fifty years and a gazillion movies, each generation has it’s own opinion. I’d like to offer an objective analysis of why Timothy Dalton is the best actor to take up the mantle of Bond.
I would submit that Dalton was the best Bond because he was, for want of a better word, completely realistic. Dalton wasn’t a pretty boy, like Brosnan; he didn’t ham it up for the jokes like Moore; he didn’t spend the whole movie sleeping with anything that had a pulse like Connery (as iconic as his portrayal was); I won’t even dignify Lazenby with a response. Hell, Timothy Dalton had a receding hairline! He was dark, gritty, and serious. In other words, totally real. He brought humanity to James Bond, taking him from some near-caricature of the character Fleming envisioned to someone viewers could identify with.
Dalton’s first movie, “The Living Daylights,” out-grossed the previous film, Moore’s “A View to a Kill” at the box office. Off to a good start. However, when MGM chose to release “License To Kill” against Tim Burton’s “Batman” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” it was all but destined to fail, which it did. But that’s poor planning on the studio’s part, not because of Dalton’s portrayal. Dalton was contracted for a third movie, but for various reasons the movie kept being pushed back until finally his contract expired and he dropped out.
I believe that if Dalton had made that third movie, he wouldn’t have faded into Bond obscurity. The only actor who even comes close to Dalton’s portrayal, in my opinion, is Craig. He has that same sort of grittiness to him– he’s not so impossibly good looking, debonaire, or filled with lame sex puns that he induces eye rolls.