As the November release of NO TIME TO DIE is getting ever closer, we are taking a look at the James Bond movie posters. This time, we look at the artwork for the Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan years. Click on the titles for our retrospective reviews of each film.
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987)
Designer: Brian Bysouth
For the new eighties Bond, the poster goes back to the reliable “Bond surrounded by the action” design, which works well. Dalton is at the centre of the gun barrel in an action pose, rather than holding the gun at his chin, a feature of the Moore posters. The action around the gun barrel has lots of colour and excitement, gadgets, cars, explosions, all the main locations and villains.
Only one female is visible, which is fitting as in this film, Bond is a one-woman guy. The rifle next to her seems oddly placed, but as a montage of events from the film, it does the trick. This poster is notable as it was the last hand-painted Bond movie poster. The next one would see the arrival of computer aided design.
LICENCE TO KILL (1989)
Designer: Brian Bysouth, Stephen Laws, Robin Behling
Film On Paper
This poster is at first glance quite different from The Living Daylights, yet it has some similarities. Bond is on the left of the page again, but this time he is running towards us, brandishing his gun. He doesn’t wear his tux (only this and Moonraker avoids the tux or suit). This suits the story as Bond is on a revenge mission unsanctioned by MI6. The black shirt and his deadly stare are very striking.
This contrasts well with the blue of the background of “Isthmus City” where the bulk of the story takes place. Both main female roles are represented, as is the villain, although only one major action sequence is shown. All these differences perhaps reflect how EON tried to update Bond again for the tougher eighties (Lethal Weapon, Die Hard), for this looks like a tougher action film. LTK was the first Bond film to get a 15 rating in the UK, PG-13 in the US,
For some, that was a mistake for many find LTK was missing some of the more extravagant and humorous elements of “Bond”.
Designers: Terry O’Neill, Keith Hamshere and George Whitear
Interestingly, the poster for GoldenEye has many similarities to that of Licence to Kill. Darker background, Bond staring out at us, the two female leads, and a little action. Wisely, Pierce Brosnan is huge in the poster, making sure audiences knew that the new Bond was here. The gun is back at the chin in the classic pose too.
The action isn’t entirely clear, but Bond, Onatopp and Natalya are well presented, and leave you wondering about those characters.
Brosnan still has the name before the title, but in this design, everything is small print except the red 007 logo and the film’s title. The poster gets straight to the point with no distractions.
TOMORROW NEVER DIES (1997)
Art Director: Randi Braun
This poster is much busier than GoldenEye, but retains the larger Bond image with the gun, and a good look at the female leads. The background reflects the topic of news and media and is a clever way of continuing to surround Bond with images from the action scenes in the film.
The black background returns, with all the cool, mysterious, dangerous connotations that it delivers. Michelle Yeoh has a gun across her chest near her chin to suggest that she is an agent too.
Like the previous film, Brosnan is credited before the title in the small print, but the title and logo for the film are dominant on the poster.
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999)
This poster is reminiscent of some of the Moore posters, with the images on the left and words on the right.
The focus is Bond staring out at us, but unusually he isn’t holding the gun up. Instead, the gun points down, with Sophie Marceau’s hand seemingly keeping it down.
Bond is flanked by the two main female leads and encircled by a what looks like a graphic of a map or design from a computer display. Perhaps this represents the world around Bond – violence, action, women. Again the action is contained in this globe with loads of photographs from the film. It is also notable that there are multiple images of Bond on the poster, which doesn’t often happen.
Brosnan’s name is now located above the title graphic although again, the film title is given much more prominence.
DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)
Designer: Diane Reynolds-Nash
The DAD posters moved in a different direction again. This one retains Bond in a tux, with a gun, surrounded by the action scenes. In this one though the ice dominates the poster, suitable for a film that revolves around diamonds and an ice palace.
The biggest change though is that Bond is aiming and looking off to our left and is standing shoulder to shoulder with Halle Berry’s Jinx. This is a dynamic pose and of course is intended to boost Jinx as an agent like Bond. Indeed, there were initial plans to give Jinx her own film franchise. The action is difficult to see in the ice, but you can clearly see the main cast.
Interestingly, Brosnan’s name is above the title twice, and by using the vivid red against the ice, his name, the film title, and release date really pop.
This final poster is very different to all previous Bond films, and to the darker posters for Brosnan’s first three films. It was also the franchise’s 40th Anniversary, which itself was somewhat of a departure.
It’s a shame that Brosnan’s coolest poster (pun intended) was to be his last as 007.
Next time, we look at Daniel Craig’s Bond films, which not only reinvented Bond, but presented another different style of design.
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