Long before the Bond producers lost the plot and turned 007 into James Bland, we had the real thing. Roger Moore and Sean Connery were both excellent Bond's, but as for providing a faithful version of Fleming's masterspy it was only Timothy Dalton who ever truly came close.
With the humourless Casino Royale, the the producers stated they that were taking Bond back to Fleming, toughening him up. And they did indeed toughen things up, made them brutal in fact but in doing so they lost the essence of what made James Bond unique.
Earlier in the series, Timothy Dalton provided a tougher Bond and his two movies in the role, The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill are among the best the series can offer. They are tough without being brutal and still manage, even in the most harrowing sequences, to keep the general fun of the series intact. The latter point is something the current production team would do well to remember.
It's a pity that the film series went through troubled times and that Dalton didn't want to return after a seven year break from the character, because Dalton had it in his performance to become the best Bond of all.