Roger Moore was my first Bond. I loved his portrayal - but I wasn´t sad when he left. I was excited for a new Bond.
Back then, with no internet, only the usual movie magazines and newspapers, the chatter about candidates for Moore´s successor was, of course, much more quiet. I remember Lewis Collins, fresh from his hit TV show "The Professionals", being one of them, and since I liked him a lot I was looking forward to him.
Then, this Timothy Dalton was chosen, and on the picture in that newspaper I thought he looked a bit smug. (Which he wasn´t at all.)
But when I saw the film - I just could not catch any movie during that time that featured the preview of "The Living Daylights" - I was immediately hooked and delighted. Dalton was tough, serious but still light-hearted enough. And the film, capitalizing on the Cold War, worked extremely well for me. It was a modern take on Bond films with just the right amount of fresh ingredients, and it offered the kind of adventure that made me forget everything else for two hours.
The film became one of my favorite Bond films and remained that over the years. Re-watching it now I´m not surprised - I still love it. So far, it is my favorite John Glen-Bond, and the final 30 minutes with the battle on the airfield and the fight outside the plane are IMO one of the greatest action sequences of any Bond film, just gripping and tension-filled, perfectly realized.
Of course, John Barry´s last Bond score is a marvel that elevates the film even more.