Daniel Craig turns 39 today, and by coincidence I've just re-watched Timothy Dalton's second and last Bond film. While I would say Goldfinger is the best Bond movie, Licence to Kill was my second favorite until last year's Casino Royale. Dalton brought the hard edge and gravitas everyone now likes in Craig's portrayal. The movie also had a high stakes, personal plot: Against M's orders, Bond goes after the drug lord who killed Felix Leiter's new bride and turned a shark loose on Leiter, leaving him for dead.
The supporting cast was strong, led by Robert Davi as the no-nonsense, sadistic Franz Sanchez, Carey Lowell as the independent and well-armed CIA pilot Pam Bouvier, Talisa Soto as Sanchez's woman looking to break away, a young Benicio Del Toro as Sanchez's protege, and least but not least, Desmond Llewelyn in an extended role as Q come to aid 007 off the books.
I was fourteen when the movie hit theaters, the first Bond I could fully appreciate. It seemed much of the audience didn't share my opinion at the time, allowing me to think of Licence to Kill as my Bond movie.