The casting of Frederick Warder and Glyn Baker as 004 and 002 was intentional, due to their resemblance to George Lazenby and Sir Roger Moore, respectively. For the movie's opening scene, the writers wanted to toy with the audience's expectations of which of the 00 agents was Bond.
Timothy Dalton was originally unavailable to play Bond, and Pierce Brosnan was then chosen to play 007 in 1986, and was given the script to this movie. Although he was contracted to Remington Steele (1982) for seven seasons, NBC decided to cancel the show at the end of the fourth season, which meant that Brosnan was free to play James Bond in this movie, the following year. However, shortly after the end of the fourth season, NBC had second thoughts about cancelling Remington Steele (1982), and subsequently approached the Bond producers directly, in an attempt to strike a deal that would allow Brosnan to play James Bond and Remington Steele the following year. NBC also offered to completely reschedule the shooting of Remington Steele to ensure that there were no scheduling conflicts. But eventually, Albert R. Broccoli famously told NBC that "James Bond will not be Remington Steele, and Remington Steele will not be James Bond." Accordingly, Brosnan would only play Bond if the show remained cancelled. NBC had a sixty day deadline to revoke their decision to cancel the series, and at 6:30 p.m. on the sixtieth day of the deadline, Brosnan learned that NBC decided to make a fifth season. The Bond producers subsequently prevented Brosnan from becoming the next James Bond. Subsequently, the role went to Timothy Dalton, who was now finally available. NBC went on to make only six episodes of the fifth season of Remington Steele (1982) before finally cancelling the show for good.
A stuntman was originally going to play the role of The Impostor, the Russian assassin in Gibraltar at the beginning, but after watching rushes, Director John Glen decided that they needed a real actor for the part, and it was given to Carl Rigg. At the time, Rigg was out of work and staying home, taking care of his baby, while his wife was away on business. Upon getting the call, Rigg left the baby with a neighbor, left his wife a note telling her he'd gone to be in a James Bond movie, and caught the next plane to Gibraltar to start filming.
This was the first official James Bond film not to feature Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny. Consequently, it is the first Bond film in the franchise to feature another actress, Caroline Bliss, in this role. In Warner Brothers' Never Say Never Again (1983), Pamela Salem officially became the first actress, other than Maxwell, to play Miss Moneypenny in a straight Bond movie, though Barbara Bouchet played her in the Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967).
The name of the gas pipeline which crossed from Czechslovakia to Austria was the Trans Siberian Pipeline. The gas pipeline vehicle used for Koskov's defection escape is an actual piece of equipment known as a Scouring Pig. It is used to check and clean the natural gas pipeline between Western Europe and Russia. The apparatus was adapted though for the movie so as to be able to carry a person.
The rocket fired from the "ghetto blaster" in Q's lab was an effect activated off-screen by Prince Charles, who was touring the studio at the time of filming. The effects crew offered to allow Prince Charles to activate the rocket that was used in the final cut of the film. The Royal visit also instigated the famous footage and photograph of Princess Diana hitting her husband over the head with a breakaway bottle (apparently instigated by Jeroen Krabbé).
The agents seen during the opening sequence were 002, 004, and 007. Timothy Dalton performed the opening sequence on top of a fast moving Land Rover going down the side of the Rock of Gibraltar himself.
This film marked the final occasion (to date) in which M's office is relocated to an unusual location, in this case, an airplane. The gag dates back to You Only Live Twice (1967) but has not reappeared in any of the Bond films made since 1987, though The World Is Not Enough (1999) comes close (The Eilean Donan Castle, located near the Isle of Skye, West Scotland).
Contrary to popular belief, the film was never written with Sir Roger Moore in mind. At first, Screenwriters Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson wrote several treatments, in which a twenty-something James Bond teams up with a senior Agent named Burton Trevor on a mission to infiltrate the jungle compound of a Chinese warlord named Kwang. Trevor would die helping Bond escape, Bond would hunt down and kill Kwang, and subsequently be promoted to the Double-0 section, taking Trevor's old number "007". After two full-length treatments, Producer Albert R. Broccoli vetoed the idea, arguing that audiences were more interested in who James Bond is, rather than who he was. The Bond origin idea was (partially) resurrected for Casino Royale (2006), in which Bond is shown shortly after being promoted to Double-0.
Brad Whitaker's personal war museum included busts and statues of himself dressed up as the following leaders of military history: Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Adolf Hitler, Napoléon Bonaparte, the Duke of Wellington, and Gaio Giulio Cesare.
This was the first Bond film to feature a different song over the closing credits. It was called "If There Was a Man" and was performed by The Pretenders who sang two songs for the movie, the other being "Where Has Everybody Gone?". The group were originally considered for the title song but, following the huge success of Duran Duran's song "A View to a Kill (1985)", it was decided to go with a "trendier" group. Chrissie Hynde of the The Pretenders also has sung a cover version of the Bond song "Live and Let Die (1973)" which can be heard on the David Arnold Bond song compilation album, "Shaken and Stirred: the David Arnold James Bond Project".
The Cello Case Chase sequence down the snow took three days to shoot. The cello was specially made of fibreglass, and fitted with control handles on the sides and skis underneath. Firecrackers were set in the snow to simulate gunfire, and during filming, the case would tend to topple over as Timothy Dalton was heavier than Maryam d'Abo. The exciting sequence was the brainchild of John Glen who had to convince doubting colleagues Richard Maibaum, Michael G. Wilson, and Albert R. Broccoli. He did this by hopping into an actual orchestral cello case himself.
Features the only deliberate nude scenes in the James Bond film franchise, outside of opening titles. They are when two men escape from a bombed building, and when Pushkin's girlfriend's top is torn off in a hotel room.
Morten Harket, the lead singer of pop group A-ha (who performed the title song), was offered a small role as a bad guy in the movie. He turned down the offer, due to extensive touring in Japan. He also felt that they wanted to cast him, due to his popularity, rather than his acting.
The medevac helicopter, a Bell UH-1 Huey (registration G-HUEY), was originally used by the Argentine Army. It was captured by the British during the Falkland Islands War, and used as a support aircraft until being sold to the private sector.
During World War II, S.M.E.R.S.H. (Smiert Spionam, death to spies) was a branch of the N.K.V.D. (later K.G.B.), the Soviet Secret Police. The Bond movies, seeking to improve Anglo-Russian relations, eliminate all references to S.M.E.R.S.H., except for a one-liner in From Russia with Love (1963), and the subplot of this movie. An absurd S.M.E.R.S.H. (an independent, non-Soviet criminal entity) appeared in the Bond parody Casino Royale (1967).
This was the first appearance of Felix Leiter in the EON Productions official franchise since Live and Let Die (1973). In the interim, he appeared in the unofficial Bond film, Never Say Never Again (1983), in which he was played by Bernie Casey.
The four-engine Lockheed Hercules C-130 plane, was played by the smaller two-engine C-123 Provider plane. This was because it was more cost efficient to rent the smaller plane. A model of the C-130 was used by Special Effects Expert John Richardson for flying shots, while close-ups of actors, such as the net fight, utilized the C-123, where one can actually see that it had two engines, and not four.
The woman, who appeared in a white negligee in one of the movie's main posters, was American model Kathy Karges (at the time known as Kathy Stangel). She was allegedly paid six hundred dollars for this modelling job. This poster caused some controversy, because it seemed to evoke violence against women, as the poster girl appeared at the end of a gun barrel. The Canadian University of Saskatchewan student newspaper actually refused to run the ad for the movie when the movie was going to play on campus, and the paper was apparently nearly closed down. However, the poster did not generate as much controversy as the one from For Your Eyes Only (1981).
Was released in the 25th anniversary year of the James Bond films. To mark the occasion, a television special Happy Anniversary 007: 25 Years of James Bond (1987) was produced as part of the promotional campaign for this film.
A Hercules is unable to taxi with its ramp lowered to the ground. During the escape scene in Afganistan, the production team built the rear end of a Hercules on the back of a large furniture truck, hence the different ramp design, and narrower fuselage when Kara drives in. It was not a C-123 in these scenes, as previously suspected.
Timothy Dalton was the first James Bond never to have served in the military. Sir Sean Connery served in the Royal Navy, Sir Roger Moore was a British Army Officer, and George Lazenby served as a physical training instructor in the Australian Army, teaching unarmed combat to the S.A.S.
Was the first James Bond film since Moonraker (1979) not to have its title announced during the closing end credits of the previous film. That was A View to a Kill (1985) and no Bond film has done so since.
"The Living Daylights" short story, the third short story in Ian Fleming's "Octopussy" (a.k.a. "Octopussy and the Living Daylights") collection is briefly referenced at the start of Octopussy (1983). This is when a British Agent is seen trying to escape from East to West Germany. This is where the original "Living Daylights" short story is set. The equivalent sequence in this movie, is not set in East and West Germany, but set in Czechoslovakia and Austria.
Naturally, with a movie that features orchestras and cellos, this Bond film features numerous pieces of classical music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 40th Symphony in G minor (1st movement) is heard being played at the Bratislava Conservatoire during the defection sequence. Aleksandr Borodin's String Quartet No. 2 in D major (3rd movement) is heard the second time James Bond is in the audience hearing Kara perform at the Bratislava Conservatoire. When Bond and Kara arrive in Vienna, they hear Johann Strauss's Wine, Women, and Song Waltz. The opera they hear in Vienna is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Il Nozze di Figaro (act 2). Kara practices Antonín Dvorák's Cello Concerto as Bond returns to the hotel room. At the film's end, Kara is playing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations. These pieces of music were not included on the movie's soundtrack, because they were only excerpted for the film.
The gourmet food contained in the picnic basket, brought by James Bond to General Georgi Koskov, at the Blayden safe house, included Bollinger RD champagne, caviar, and foie gras. The contents mentioned are pretty much the same as what James Bond has in his suitcase at the Shrublands Health Clinic in Never Say Never Again (1983) and Thunderball (1965).
The Red Cross organization in the U.S., UK, and Canada protested against the use of the Red Cross emblem and symbol in the movie. It can be seen on a helicopter during the escape from the Blayden House siege, and later in the film on sacks containing opium. They maintained that its use in the film was inappropriate, and unauthorized. Interestingly, helicopters showing a Red Cross logo can be seen in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
Timothy Dalton was originally chosen to play Bond, but had to pass on the role, because he was committed to film Brenda Starr (1989). When Pierce Brosnan was forced to pull out, the resulting delay in filming allowed Dalton to finish his work on Brenda Starr (1989), and take on the new James Bond role.
For a brief time, when it was presumed Sir Roger Moore would return for one more film, one of the main ideas floated around by the Screenwriters, was to have Bond battle an evil villainess, to be played by Bette Davis. This idea was quickly scrapped, when the Screenwriters learned Moore would not return for another Bond film.
The first line of the Ian Fleming short story read: "James Bond lay at the five hundred yard firing point of the famous Century range at Bisley." The last lines read: "James Bond said wearily, 'Okay. With any luck it'll cost me my Double-O number. But tell Head of Station not to worry. That girl won't do any more sniping. Probably lost her left hand. Certainly broke her nerve for that kind of work. Scared the living daylights out of her. In my book, that was enough. Let's go'."
This is the last Bond film to be set amidst the Cold War, and prominently involving the Soviet Union before the nation dissolved in 1991. Although Licence to Kill (1989) was made before the end of the Cold War, the conflict played no role in that film, and was not even mentioned. GoldenEye (1995) would feature the U.S.S.R. in its prologue, but the remainder of the film emphasized the post-Cold War political climate, as background for the plot.
In the opening scene in Gibraltar, real military installations were used. These included a Ministry of Defence road not open to the public. The machine gun nest on the airstrip was not authentic, which is a moot point, since this is a fictional story.
A-ha and John Barry did not collaborate well, resulting in two versions of the theme song. Barry's film mix is heard on the soundtrack (and on A-ha's later greatest hits album Headlines and Deadlines). The version preferred by the band can be heard on the 1988 A-ha album Stay on These Roads. However, in 2006, A-ha complimented Barry's contributions: "I loved the stuff he added to the track, I mean it gave it this really cool string arrangement. That's when, for me, it started to sound like a Bond thing."
While there was a slew of bikini-clad women at Whitiker's abode, Bond becomes a one-woman man for the first time in the franchise. Except for On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), where he married Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg).
There are three parallels in the film to For Your Eyes Only (1981). These occur during the beginning of the film. Koskov is being detained and debriefed during lunch, he mentions Gogol's dislike for the new policy of détente. At the end of For Your Eyes Only (1981), Bond throws the A.T.A.C. off of the mountain, and tells Gogol "That's détente General. You don't have it, I don't have it". In the kitchen of the same building, is a parrot that has a striking resemblance to Max, the Havelocks' parrot from For Your Eyes Only (1981) (the James Bond encyclopedia by John Cork and Collin Stutz confirms it is the same bird). During the lunch, Koskov says of Pushkin, "We were once like brothers". In For Your Eyes Only (1981), Kristatos also uses the same line when speaking about Columbo.
The literal translations of some of this film's foreign language titles include: Spies Die At Dawn (Denmark); Danger Zone (Italy); 007: High Tension (Spain and Portugal); Death Is Not A Game / To Kill Is Not To Play (France); 007 And The Danger Zone (Finland); Icecold Mission (Sweden); Facing Death (Poland); His Name Is Danger (Chile); The Touch Of Death / The Breeze Of Death (West Germany); 007 In The Dangerous Zone (Israel/Hebrew); 007 Marked to Die (Brazil); In The Line Of Fire (Norway) and Breath of Death (Croatia).
Some unedited footage was stolen, and videos were sold, as if they were the completed movie. Albert R. Broccoli, and the other producers, then released a poster explaining that this copy of the movie was unfinished, and had no soundtrack, or special effects at all, saying that the only way to see the real movie was going to the cinema.
Robert Bathurst auditioned for the role of James Bond, after being persuaded by a Casting Director. He later admitted in an interview, that his "ludicrous audition" was an "arm-twisting exercise", as the Producers still wanted Timothy Dalton.
The character of Pushkin was originally to have been General Gogol, a recurring character from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Pushkin is chief of the K.G.B., the same position Gogol held in previous appearances. A new character was created after Walter Gotell fell ill, and Albert R. Broccoli could not get him insured. Gotell has said Broccoli even offered to pay an extensive sum personally, but still could not get coverage. Pushkin's girlfriend was likewise supposed to be the secretary seen romancing Gogol in several films. Gotell was able to film a cameo as Gogol (now a member of the Soviet foreign office), for the end of the movie, marking that character's final appearance.
A coming next summer teaser poster issued a year before the movie was released portrayed a 1950s or 1960s sports car, fitted with a license plate with "007", and a tagline stating "Licensed to thrill."
Aerial Stuntmen B.J. Worth and Jake Lombard performed the pre-credits parachute jump. The terrain and wind were unfavorable. Consideration was given to the stunt being done using cranes, but Worth stuck to skydiving, and completed the scenes in a day.
Eight years before he was cast as Bond, Timothy Dalton played a millionaire playboy named Damien Roth in Charlie's Angels (1976), season four, episode five, "Fallen Angel". His character was described by John Bosley (David Doyle) as being "almost James Bond-ian."
Product placements, brand integrations, and promotional tie-ins for this movie include Aston Martin Lagonda, Audi AG, Carlsberg beer, Harrod's, Bollinger champagne, Cartier, Phillips Electronics, J&B rare Scotch, Rolex watches (Rolex Submariner 16800/168000), and the Domark video game, The Living Daylights (1987).
Vehicles featured include: a gun-metal-gray-colored 1986 or 1987 5.3 liter Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante Series 2, seen in both coupé hard top and convertible soft-top editions; a Series III MOD British Army short-wheel base Land Rover; an Audi 100 Avant for 007 driving in Tangier, and a stone-gray-metallic Audi 200 Quattro as a defection getaway car; General Pushkin's two Mercedes-Benz Pullmann limousines; Army utility vehicles and trucks, including a Soviet Army UAZ-469 utility vehicle; a GMC Vandura Red Crescent Ambulance; various Lada models used as Slovakian Police cars: VAZ 2101, VAZ 2102, VAZ 2103, VAZ 2106; VAZ 2105 (vehicle in which a K.G.B. spy waits, when Kara and Bond flee away from her apartment); a GAZ 3102 Volga (car in which Kara is taken away after picked from tram); a Lockheed Hercules C-130 cargo airplane; a British Aerospace Harrier T10 V/STOL; a Transport Allianz C-160 Transall aircraft; two Panhard AML 245 armored cars; a Land Rover escape vehicle; a Vienna Tram; a Chevrolet Impala convertible; an Airporttractor with staircase; Iveco Ford Cargo truck; a VAB (Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé - Armored Vanguard Vehicle) AFV (Armored Fighting Vehicle); a gas pipeline Scouring Pig for fast defections; a combo cello-cello case two-seater ski rig; a Bell UH-1H Huey helicopter with dummy Red Cross markings; and a Moonmaiden II Yacht for Bond dropping in during the opening sequence.
An earlier draft of the script featured several scenes and developments that failed to make it to the finished film: Bond and Kara were originally going to escape from Kara's apartment by stealing the car belonging to one of the K.G.B. Agents supposedly keeping an eye on her. The K.G.B. Agents give chase, and Bond writes the car off on the ice of a frozen lake, the couple continuing their flight aboard a hijacked ice schooner. On escaping from the air base in Afghanistan, Bond and Kara were to have been taken to Landi- Kotal by Ranjit Khan (who later became Kamran Shah) where they witness a massive arms bazaar. They are pursued by jailers from the air base, and Bond disposes of one of them by pitching him into a pit full of yarn dye. He eludes his other pursuers by using his exploding key ring to set off the contents of a Chinese fireworks warehouse. The arms bazaar sequence would eventually turn up in the teaser to Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Originally, Bond and Kara did not escape from Koskov's Hercules in a utility vehicle, but actually flew with the aircraft to a U.S. aircraft carrier, which Bond was going to attempt a landing on, despite the U.S. Navy's attempts to shoot them down. When M and Moneypenny step in to confirm the identity of the pilot, the carrier Captain was to have allowed Bond to make his landing, but the oversized aircraft careers off the end of the deck, and Bond and Kara survive only by clinging to a cargo net.
Gadgets included on the Aston Martin Volante, featured in this movie, included a laser beam cutter, lower front firing automatic missiles, studded tires, skis that protrude from under the doors, plane cockpit style heads-up display, a special radio with multi-transmission accessibility, hinged license plates, bullet-proof glass, a rocket jet propulsion unit, and self-destruct button.
Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo) is suggested by the golden-haired cellist sniper, known as "Trigger" in the original Ian Fleming short story "The Living Daylights". Ian Fleming is said to have based this character in the original short story on Amaryllis Fleming, his cellist half-sister. The sniper sequence in this movie, is a fairly faithful adaptation of the short story. The original story read: "There was something almost indecent in the idea of that bulbous, ungainly instrument between her splayed thighs. Of course Suggia had managed to look elegant, and so did that girl Amaryllis somebody." Bond's assistant sniper Captain Paul Sender becomes Saunders in the film.
"Octopussy and The Living Daylights" was the fourteenth and final Ian Fleming James Bond book published in 1966. Sometimes released as just "Octopussy", it was the second posthumous book in the series after "The Man With The Golden Gun". Before he died, Fleming had intended to produce a second book of James Bond short stories like the "For Your Eyes Only" collection. "The Living Daylights" short story was first published in The London Sunday Times color supplement on February 4, 1962. Its working title was "Trigger Finger".
Although it had been rebuilt for the previous film, A View to a Kill (1985), no part of this film was shot on the 007 Stage. The music video for the title song was shot on an empty 007 Stage, when it wasn't being used. James Bond would return to the 007 Stage for Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and every Bond movie after that.
Trial runs of the stunt with the Land Rover, during which Bond escapes by parachute from the tumbling vehicle, were filmed in the Mojave Desert, although the final cut of the film uses a shot achieved using a dummy.
The MI6 and Universal Exports building exterior, used in this film, Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill (1985), and Licence to Kill (1989), is the old War Offices near Westminster. It is close to other Bond filming locations, including the College of Arms (used in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)), Westminster tube station exit (used in Skyfall (2012)), and Westminster Bridge (used in The World Is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002), and Spectre (2015)).
Although it is often assumed that James Bond wears a Rolex in this film, because he does so subsequently in Licence to Kill (1989), no such watch can be identified here. Only the bracelet on 007's "Tangier Rooftop Watch" can be seen (briefly), and his other timekeeper, the "Gibraltar Watch", shows in close-up as clearly having a black case, black bracelet, and off-white dial: definitely not a Rolex in that one.
The second James Bond movie to employ the service of a Synth-pop band to sing the opening main theme for the movie. Also, the second film to have a Synth-pop flavored theme song, after A View to a Kill (1985).
Director Chris Columbus is a big James Bond fan, and he was crushed when Pierce Brosnan didn't get cast when he was offered the part during the making of Remington Steele (1982), but they wouldn't release him from his contract. Columbus thought Brosnan a phenomenal actor. When the two worked together on Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Columbus told Brosnan he'd make a great James Bond, but Brosnan thought that ship had sailed. In 1995, MGM called Columbus, telling him they're looking for the next James Bond, rather than cast Timothy Dalton again, and Brosnan was one of the choices, so Columbus recommended him. His little contribution to the James Bond saga.
Although marked as a Royal Air Force aircraft, the plane in some shots belonged to the Spanish Air Force, and was used again later in the film, for the Afghanistan sequences. This time with Russian markings.
Although the pre-credits sequence shows a hijacked Land Rover careening down various sections of road for several minutes before bursting through a wall towards the sea, the location mostly used the same short stretch of road at the very top of the Rock, shot from different angles.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Contrary to popular belief, the strange looking rifle Bond used to shoot Kara (Maryam d'Abo), is an actual rifle, and not some prop designed for the movie. The rifle is a WA2000 sniper rifle, perfect for Bond, since it's designed by Walther Firearms, maker of his classic PPK.
In the finished movie, Bond's escape from the Tangier Police, following the assassination of Pushkin, ends with him jumping over rooftops and heading towards the town center. The scene originally ended with Bond sliding down a rug on top of telegraph wires (a "magic carpet") and landing on the back of a tradesman's motorcycle (a role played by Stuntrider Eddie Kidd). The scene was removed, due to the Producers believing the comic element to be out of touch with the rest of the film, though it can be seen as a deleted scene on the DVD.
The sniper-duel scene is a reasonably straight adaptation of the short story. The rest of the film is a new creation. The tale of General Georgi Koskov was inspired by 1985's true-life defection of K.G.B. Agent Vitaly Yurchenko, who soon shortly thereafter, re-defected back to the Soviet Union. The war in Afghanistan, and Soviet politics also contributed to the movie's storyline.
The film seemed to reuse a lot of the elements of Octopussy (1983). The plot moves along through the use of two 00-Agents (both of whom are eliminated at some point). Both are set at one point in Eastern Europe, then Austria for this film, Germany for that. Both involve a villain who is a rogue Russian General, and use another villain to further his ultimate goals. Both films have the reasonable head of the K.G.B. (Gogol and Pushkin) trying to preserve the status quo against these rogue elements. Smuggling is an activity conducted or mentioned in both films. Both films have henchmen, played as K.G.B. Agents who murder Bond's ally. (In this film, Saunders gets chopped up by a glass door, in the other, Vijay gets chopped up by the Saw Yo-Yo. Both films wind up in or near Afghanistan, and both films end with a climactic air battle with Bond disposing of the henchman from an airplane. Bond and the heroine escape from the aforementioned plane at the last moment before it crashes in both films. Interestingly, the title of both films was taken from the title of the same book, a collection of short stories, among them: Octopussy and The Living Daylights.