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Reinventing 007: Bond Films of the 1980s

In terms of cinematic impact, few decades in history can boast the artistic success and nostalgic longevity of the 1980s. Responsible for a golden age of cinema that many film-lovers look back on fondly today, the 1980s were rife with original scripts and groundbreaking special effects.

The decade produced some of the greatest movies ever made, from sci-fi classics like Blade Runner, Aliens and The Terminator to family adventures like E.T., Back to the Future and the Indiana Jones series.

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The 1980s also saw a period of transition for James Bond, with the role shared between veteran 007 actor Roger Moore and series newcomer Timothy Dalton over the course of the decade. The result saw the 007 franchise once again thrive, igniting a reinvigorated enthusiasm for Britain’s favourite secret agent as the franchise returned for its third decade on the big screen.

The bulk of the eighties saw the beloved Brit played by the man who helped relaunch the franchise in the 1970s, Roger Moore. The iconic actor provided a comforting constant to the franchise as it transitioned into the 1980s, serving up more of the same witty, tongue-in-cheek humour fans had grown to love the decade prior. Moore’s return saw 007 explode into the new decade with fan-favourite For Your Eyes Only, a film that remains popular to this day.

Moore’s return as 007 in the 1980s provided fans with a level of familiarity that made each film a certain hit. Octopussy provided another box office hit that performed well globally. Nevertheless, after A View To A Kill in 1985, the iconic British actor bowed out gracefully in quintessential Bond fashion at the close of the film, ending with a shower scene in which he cheekily foils Q’s attempt to determine his whereabouts. Starring in three Bond movies between 1981 and 1985, adding to the four he had amassed in the 1970s, Moore achieved the impressive feat of playing Bond in more 007 films than any other actor in history – a record that still stands to this day.

The next big screen appearance of Bond in 1987 saw Timothy Dalton make the role his own when his performance reinvented the 007 character as a far more realistic representation of a secret agent. Dalton’s presentation of Bond as a serious, no-nonsense 00 has made him a favourite of many and his contributions to the series are highly rated amongst the Bond community, with many deeming his impact on the series and time in the role as a high point in the franchise.

What’s more, both The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill are frequently ranked amongst some of the best Bond films of all time for this ‘back-to-basics’ approach, offering something wholly different in terms of action and narrative. In fact, The Living Daylights was the second-highest grossing Bond film of the decade and Timothy Dalton’s appointment inarguably reignited interest in the franchise.

With a lofty legacy that rivals any other decade of 007, the Bond films of the 1980s remain a nostalgic source of cinema for many fans of the franchise, providing a blend of laughs, action and thrills unlike any other decade in the series’ history. These films offer a unique cocktail of entertainment that remains unmatched – a cocktail that is served, of course, shaken not stirred.

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