007 and the Cellist

The Living Daylights takes Bond a lot more seriously. It’s the fifteenth film in the long running franchise, and it’s based on one of the short stories featured in Ian Fleming’s book Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Since it was obvious Roger Moore was too old to play James Bond, a younger actor needed to fill the role posthaste. Many actors were being considered to play 007. Including Sam Neill and Pierce Brosnan (more on him later), but the fourth actor to portray Bond became British stage actor Timothy Dalton. Upon earning the role, Dalton chose to distance himself from Moore’s portrayal as much as possible. Going for a more serious and reluctant Bond closer to the book’s description of the character. A younger Miss Moneypenny was chosen as well, portrayed by Caroline Bliss.

The Mission: Assist in defection of KGB officer and investigate a connected arms deal in Afghanistan

Gadgets & Vehicles: Aston Martin V8 (equipped with missiles, lasers, heads-up display, outrigger, tire spikes, rocket motor, radio scanner, reinforced chassis, and self-destruct), Whistling Keychain, Miniature Binoculars

Bond Girls: Kara Milovy

Bond Villains: General Koskov, Brad Whitaker, Necros, Colonel Feydor, Sergeant Stagg

Analysis: The Living Daylights ditches the campy tone of past Bond films, in favor of a grittier tone. Considering the 80’s contained many darker movies. The Timothy Dalton Bond films were always a point of intrigue for me. Although they were both fairly well received, my parents always told me they never bought him as Bond. I can certainly understand why after watching them. He’s a brilliant thespian of the theatrical arts, but his thinner frame made him less physically intimidating. I understand taking Bond seriously, but Dalton’s lack of a sense of humor just feels so cold. Like all Bond actors, he’s required to say “Bond, James Bond.” His reading didn’t do much to convince me. Then again, I do still find The Living Daylights to be one of the better Bond ventures. It’s possible Timothy Dalton’s portrayal was just misunderstood or ahead of its time. His Bond’s biggest strength is stunts. As the movie opens with a skydiving sequence followed by the watery opening credits sequence. The upbeat theme is performed by A-Ha. While on a mission, 007 comes across a female cellist attempting to assassinate a defecting KGB officer. After scaring the living daylights out of her, Bond tries to get answers out of her. Kara Milovy is a cellist and the only notable Bond girl in the movie. Apart from a large woman who assists in the Soviet defection. In order to keep things edgy, the main villain, General Koskov, is an oafish American arms dealer. His henchman, Necros, stands out for being an imposing master of disguise. Despite Dalton’s more ruthless take on 007, he continues to say one-liners and there are still plenty of wacky gadgets. Q supplies Bond with an all new gadget equipped Aston Martin and even an explosive keychain activated by whistling. His one-liners are said with complete seriousness. The most memorable action scenes take place on a cargo plane and on a snowy mountain side. Where Bond and Milovy ride her cello case like a sled. The crazy situations don’t always match the tone, but The Living Daylights is still a serviceable Bond outing.

15. The Living Daylights

James Bond takes aim

James Bond will return in License to Kill

007 on a Bridge too Far

A View to a Kill is the most poorly received of any official Bond film. It’s the fourteenth film in the long running franchise, and it’s based on one of the short stories featured in Ian Fleming’s book For Your Eyes Only. The title was changed from “From a View to a Kill” to A View to a Kill. The most criticized part of the movie is easily Roger Moore’s advancing age. Let’s put it this way, he was older than his love interest’s mother. Moore himself knew he was getting way too old for the role. So A View to a Kill ended up being Roger Moore’s final time playing 007. In a similar fashion, Lois Maxwell also makes her final appearance as Miss Moneypenny due to age. She’s the best actress to play the unrequited love of Bond’s life. After having played her in every single Bond film to date.

The Mission: Recover Soviet Union microchip and prevent the destruction of Silicon Valley

Gadgets & Vehicles: Polarizing Sunglasses, Camera Ring, Billfold/Checkbook, Credit card Lock-pick

Bond Girls: Stacy Sutton, May Day, Pola Ivanova, Kimberly Jones

Bond Villains: Max Zorin, Scarpine, Dr. Mortner, Bob Conley, Jenny Flex, Pan Ho

Analysis: Roger Moore was 57 years old when he filmed A View to a Kill. Making him the oldest actor to play 007. Sean Connery wasn’t even that old when he did Never Say Never Again. You can tell Moore is less able to convincingly perform the action required. Less so for his multiple romantic endeavors. Of which there are four (the most of any official Bond film). Bond first sleeps with Kimberly Jones. A fellow agent who assists 007 in the pre-credits scene. The opening credits sequence is full of naked neon women. Accompanied by the title theme performed by 80’s pop band Duran Duran. Most recognized by the lyric “dance into the fire.” The song was so catchy that it became the only Bond theme to top Billboard charts. The main Bond villain is Max Zorin played by Christopher Walken. What can I say, Walken was born to play a Bond villain. Moore just wasn’t a fan of how malicious Zorin could be. His plot involves the destruction of Silicon Valley, and the name of the game is landmarks. As two of the biggest set pieces take place on the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge. After Q supplies 007 with his gadgets, Bond gets information from a KGB agent named Pola Ivanova. Whom he shares a hot tub with. The main Bond girl is Stacy Sutton. The granddaughter of an oil tycoon. Played by a very young Tanya Roberts (of Charlie’s Angels fame). Moore resisted the urge to criticize her performance, but she was nominated for a Razzie. The most stand out character in the entire movie is Bond girl/henchwoman May Day. Played by famous black diva Grace Jones. Her style, ferocity, brute strength, and choice to switch sides make her a must watch. Everyone was a fan of her except for Moore. Let’s just say she was a bit too rough when it got to their bedroom scene. Roger Moore played James Bond in more Eon films than any other actor. Sadly he was also the first Bond actor to pass away. His movies may have been campy, but they were always a lot of fun to watch. A View to a Kill proves to be an unceremonious end to the Roger Moore Bond era.

14. A View To A Kill

James Bond climbs the Eiffel Tower

James Bond will return in The Living Daylights

Old Man Bond

Never Say Never Again is not an official Bond film. No matter how often people mistake it for one. It wasn’t distributed by Eon Productions. That’s why it doesn’t use trademarks like a gun barrel or opening credits sequence. Or why M, Q, and Moneypenny are played by different actors. It can all be traced back to Thunderball. The trivial legal dispute allowed Kevin McClory to make another adaptation of the story. Essentially making it a remake. After Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery vowed never to play James Bond again. Until his wife told him to never say never again. Despite being in his 50’s at the time, Connery returned to the role of 007 one last time. Never Say Never Again once again follows a plot involving warheads and water. Perpetrated by Maximillian Largo. SPECTRE and Blofeld return, because it’s now legal for them to. Bond has gotten a bit rusty in his old age, but since he’s the best actor to play the British spy, Connery is just as capable as ever. The movie still contains an original song (by Lani Hall) and the usual gratuitous amount of sex and violence. Fatima Blush fills in the role of femme fatal and Domino Petachi fills in the role of Bond girl. Kim Basinger delivers a breakout performance as Domino. Her most memorable scene is of Bond giving her a steamy massage. The gadgets are also back and just as useful as ever. Due to its unofficial status, I watched the film long after finishing the official films, but I can see the value in it. Never Say Never Again came out the same year as Octopussy, and I think it’s clear which one was the bigger success.

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James Bond and Domino swim together

007 the Clown

Octopussy has the most overtly sexual Bond title of all time. How they got away with that I’ll never know. Despite being the thirteenth film in the long running franchise, Octopussy is actually based on the 14th and final book written by Ian Fleming. Which was a collection of 2 short stories titled Octopussy and The Living Daylights. The title bares a completely different meaning than it does in the book. In the book, Octopussy is a pet octopus. In the movie, Octopussy is a Bond girl. Making it the only Bond film named after one. Roger Moore once again considered retiring, but since a rival Bond film was being made at the same time, they convinced him to stay on board. After a brief absence in For Your Eyes Only, M was recast with actor Robert Brown.

The Mission: Investigate theft of priceless relics and prevent the destruction of West Germany U.S. Air Force Base

Gadgets & Vehicles: Acrostar Jet, Tracker Wristwatch, Mont Blanc Fountain Pen, TV Wristwatch

Bond Girls: Octopussy, Magda

Bond Villains: Kamal Khan, General Orlov, Gobinda, Mufti, Mischka & Grischka, Yo-yo Buzzsaw Killer, Colonel Toro, Major Dexter Smythe

Analysis: Octopussy seems to be hell-bent on humiliating James Bond as much as possible. Bond boards a plane concealed within a mechanical horse’s ass, points a spy camera at a woman’s cleavage, swings through the jungle hollering like Tarzan, uses a crocodile sub, puts on a gorilla suit, and dresses up like a circus clown. It’s arguably one of the worst in the franchise. My main curiosity for the film was the title. A title I’m sometimes too embarrassed to say out loud. It’s probably why the title isn’t used in the main theme. Instead the song is “All Time High” performed by Rita Coolidge. An underappreciated song, but a difficult one to remember in context. As the movie’s title suggests, the opening credits sequence features more women than ever before. They’re meant to represent the Octopus Cult. A band of bikini and spandex clad women working for jewel smuggler Octopussy. They disguise themselves as a circus in order to appear legitimate. Octopussy is an antagonist, but the real Bond villain is Kamal Khan. An exiled Prince with the usual plot for nuclear domination. Octopussy stands out for being a strong leader, but it’s hard to call her one of the best. When the plot can get really confusing at times. Bond is directed to Octopussy by Magda. Who gracefully leaps out a window after Bond sees a tattoo of an octopus on her back. Octopussy is notably the first Bond film set in India. There’s tigers, sword swallowers, snakes in baskets, and one henchmen with a buzzsaw yo-yo. An Indian actress was intended to play Octopussy, but Maud Adams was cast instead due to the limited choices at the time. Adams is the only actress to play two separate Bond girls (after previously playing Andrea Anders in The Man with the Golden Gun). Bond’s ally Vijay is the only major Indian in the movie. This is also the first time Q gets to work in the field with 007. He shows up to rescue Bond in a hot air balloon. Only to be thanked by a bevy of beautiful ladies. Save for a strong location and good action, Octopussy is just embarrassing.

13. Octopussy

James Bond dresses up like a clown

James Bond will return in A View to a Kill

007 Hits the Slopes

For Your Eyes Only dials things way back. After going up to space, Bond needed to be grounded again. It was the best time to do so, because gritty was what the 80’s were all about. Despite being the twelfth film in the long running franchise, For Your Eyes Only is actually based on the 8th book written by Ian Fleming. Which was actually a collection of 5 short stories. Along with the title short, “Risico” was the other short it was based on. For Your Eyes Only was released after Moonraker. Even though The Spy Who Loved Me promised it would come next. A point of confusion for me at the time. Roger Moore was very nearly replaced due to a completed contract (and his advancing age), but he managed to stick it out once more. M wasn’t recast out of respect for Bernard Lee. The role was instead filled by MI6 Chief of Staff Bill Tanner.

The Mission: Locate Polaris submarine missile command system and recover device from Russian forces

Gadgets & Vehicles: Identigraph Machine, Communication Wristwatch

Bond Girls: Melina Havelock, Bibi Dahl, Countess Lisl

Bond Villains: Aristotle Kristatos, Emile Leopold Locque, Erich Kriegler, Apotis, Hector Gonzales, Claus

Analysis: Despite being highly regarded by some fans of the franchise, I found For Your Eyes Only to be one of the more forgettable Bond films. Even though it has some excellent stunts, action scenes, and humor in retrospect. The poster with a shot of James Bond between a woman’s legs is pretty iconic too. The most interestingly out of place part of For Your Eyes Only happens at the very beginning. Bond visits the grave of his deceased wife Tracy Bond. From all the way back in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Bond then boards a helicopter that gets controlled by an unseen man stroking a cat. They couldn’t call him Blofeld because of the Thunderball legal incident, but you know it’s him. After 007 regains control of the copter (and his cat runs away), Bond proceeds to drop his wheelchair bound archenemy into a factory chimney. As Blofeld begs for mercy. It’s the goofiest thing in the movie, but at least it’s memorable. It might surprise you to know, I actually consider the title song by Sheena Easton to be my personal favorite Bond theme. I find it to be one of the best love songs released in the 80’s. Easton is notably the only singer to physically appear in an opening credits sequence. Plenty of Q’s gadgets are seen, but 007 hardly uses any of them. Bond’s mission is on land, air, and sea. The snowy mountain chase for land, the opening helicopter scene for air, and the watery climax for sea. Aristotle Kristatos is notably the first Bond villain to appear as an ally before being revealed as the enemy. Primary Bond girl Melina Havelock swears revenge on Kristatos after he hires a hitman to kill her parents. It’s such a big part of her character that she hardly has any time for a romance with Bond. At least until she name drops the title and skinny dips with him at the end. He does bed a Countess named Lisl von Schlaf, but thankfully not ice skating prodigy Bibi Dahl (despite her attempts to seduce him). Her young age would have just made it way too creepy. For Your Eyes Only is a divisive transitional period to say the least.

12. For Your Eyes Only

James Bond speaks with Melina

James Bond will return in Octopussy

007 in SPACE!

Moonraker boldly goes where no Bond has gone before. And the result is out of this world! Despite being the eleventh film in the long running franchise, Moonraker is actually based on the 3rd book written by Ian Fleming. The last full length Fleming story to get adapted. It was one of the few he always intended to be a film. Although The Spy Who Loved Me promised James Bond would return in For Your Eyes Only, Star Wars was really popular at the time. So the science fiction themed Moonraker was fast tracked instead. Becoming the most big budget Bond film at the time. Despite being marketed as a grand space adventure, only the third act is set in space, and the plot is almost exactly the same as The Spy Who Loved Me (right down to the return of Jaws). This would also sadly turn out to be Bernard Lee’s final appearance as M.

The Mission: Investigate missing space shuttle and stop plot to form a master race by wiping out all life on Earth

Gadgets & Vehicles: Wrist-mounted Dart Gun, Safe-cracking Device, Miniature Camera, Explosive Wristwatch, Laser Rifle

Bond Girls: Holly Goodhead, Corinne Dufour

Bond Villains: Hugo Drax, Jaws, Chang, Blonde Beauty

Analysis: On paper the idea of a James Bond movie set in outer space sounds like jumping the shark. Yet they somehow found a way to make it work within the context of the franchise. In a lot of ways, Moonraker was the Bond film that peaked my interest more than any other. The result turned out to be complete false advertising. The first two acts are perfect for a regular Bond film, but I was expecting so much more sci-fi than I got. In keeping with the theme, the opening credits sequence contains the moon (and nude silhouettes). Shirley Bassey performs her third and final Bond theme. It’s not a bad song per se, but the slower pace makes it less memorable by comparison. Hugo Drax is the owner of Drax Industries. His Nazi-esque plan is to form a master race out in space and repopulate the Earth when all life is wiped out. Like Stromberg’s plan only in space instead of underwater. Bond is taken to Drax’s complex by lovely pilot Corinne Dufour. Who directs 007 to the main Bond girl Dr. Holly Goodhead. A CIA agent and astronaut who joins Bond out in space. She’s generally more modest, but her very suggestive name might say otherwise. She memorably shares a zero gravity love scene with Bond, followed by a cringy double entendre from Q. Q’s main gadget for 007 is a concealed wrist gun, but we do see several other western themed gadgets. There’s also a laser gun that comes in handy at the end during a big space battle. The effects are surprisingly impressive and so are the other action scenes. After making such a big impact, gentle giant Richard Kiel returns as Jaws. Becoming the first Bond henchmen to do so. Along with the skydiving intro and cable car fight, Jaws’ character is changed completely. His recurring appearances are played more for laughs, he gets a nerdy girlfriend named Dolly, he switches sides, and survives in the end. All because a young fan wanted him to be a good guy. In true Roger Moore 007 fashion, Moonraker might fly too close to the sun, but there’s no denying it’s a fun space romp.

11. Moonraker

James Bond boards Moonraker 5

James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only

007 and the KGB

The Spy Who Loved Me is easily the best of the Roger Moore Bond films. As it was the one that finally found the right balance of action and humor. Despite being the tenth film in the long running franchise, The Spy Who Loved Me is actually based on the 9th book written by Ian Fleming. Well the title is the same at least, because the movie doesn’t use any of the book’s original plot. In a way, it was the most original Bond film made at the time. Due to the legal trouble surrounding Thunderball, they still couldn’t use SPECTRE or Blofeld without being sued. So they instead created new villains exclusively for the film. The Spy Who Loved Me also faced the loss of one of its original producers, trouble finding a director, and script problems. It’s lucky the final product turned out so well.

The Mission: Work alongside KGB to recover microfilm and stop plot to start an underwater civilization using nuclear weapons

Gadgets & Vehicles: Lotus Esprit S1 (equipped with submarine conversion, cement sprayer, surface-to-air missile, black dye slick, mines, and torpedoes), Teletype Wristwatch, Ski Pole Rifle, Wet Bike

Bond Girls: Anya Amasova, Naomi

Bond Villains: Karl Stromberg, Jaws, Sandor, Sergei Barsov

Analysis: The Spy Who Loved Me features the most well shot locations, the best Bond henchman, the second best spy car, and one of the best Bond girls to date. While the early 70’s lead Bond girls were more beautiful than capable, Anya Amasova proved a major turnaround. A Russian agent that was sexy, smart, and deadly all at the same time. Finally giving James Bond a true equal to fight alongside. When both agents are tasked with the same mission, MI6 and KGB call a truce. Forcing Agent 007 and Agent Triple X to work together. They don’t always see eye to eye, but the romance they eventually form is one of the best in the franchise. Ending with a rather awkward discovery of the two by their commanding officers. The opening credits sequence depicts the relationship. Along with the most unobscured naked women at the time. The main theme is notable for having a different title than the movie it was made for. “Nobody Does it Better” by Carly Simon (although the title is still present in the song). Karl Stromberg is the main Bond villain. Making a return to megalomaniacal schemes, Stromberg plans to destroy the world and start a new civilization under the sea. His obsession with water is evident by his underwater Atlantis lair. So Q gifts 007 with a snazzy new spy car. It’s the second best because it can turn into a submarine. The best Bond henchmen ever created is easily Jaws. He was the main reason I was excited to see this installment. Jaws is 7ft tall, nearly indestructible, and has a set of metal teeth. He follows Bond and Amasova from Egypt to Italy, until he ironically winds up in the “jaws” of a shark. Sexy pilot Naomi also works for Stromberg. The Spy Who Loved Me has no shortage of awesome action scenes. The opening ski jump where Bond wears a yellow snow suit, the Jaws train fight, or the submarine climax. The humor and one-liners have also gotten better. Since Roger Moore finally makes the role his own. Embracing his British roots (hence why Bond’s parachute is a Union Jack). Like the song states, nobody does it better than The Spy Who Loved Me.

10. The Spy Who Loved Me

James Bond works alongside Anya Amasova

James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only Moonraker

007 Goes Kung Fu Crazy

The Man with the Golden Gun fully embraces the kung fu craze that defined the 70’s at the time. Hence why just about every character in the movie knows martial arts (including Bond himself). Despite being the ninth film in the long running franchise, The Man with the Golden Gun is actually based on the 12th book written by Ian Fleming. Considering it took place around the same time, the primary focus is on the 1973 energy crisis. With solar power being a key component to the story. The Man with the Golden Gun was considered to be the lowest point in the franchise at the time. Even though it finally gave us a Bond villain that was on equal footing with Bond himself.

The Mission: Track down deadly assassin and retrieve Solex Agitator with destructive power to harness the sun

Gadgets & Vehicles: Golden Gun

Bond Girls: Mary Goodnight, Andrea Anders

Bond Villains: Francisco Scaramanga, Nick Nack, Hai Fat, Lazar, Kra

Analysis: Although many consider The Man with the Golden Gun to be one of the weaker Bond films, I would argue that it’s a bit underrated. Sure it can get really ridiculous at times, and Roger Moore isn’t a comedian, but the villain is one of the most underappreciated in the entire franchise. Being the first Bond villain actor I was familiar with beforehand, the late great Christopher Lee plays Francisco Scaramanga. So Lee’s played Dracula, a dark sorcerer, a Sith Lord, and a Bond villain. The man knew villains. Scaramanga stands out for being the titular “Man with the Golden Gun.” Although Desmond Llewelyn does return as Q, 007 doesn’t really have any notable gadgets in the movie. The Golden Gun is really the only one. Not that it isn’t a cool gadget. Made up of found objects cast in gold. Scaramanga is a freelance assassin and therefore able to match Bond physically. He’s almost like the Anti-Bond. His only embarrassing attribute is the superfluous third nipple he posses. His henchman is also notable. Nick Nack, played by famous little person Hervé Villechaize. Meaning Nick Nack is a carbon copy of Tattoo from his show Fantasy Island. I mean Scaramanga does own his own island. The kung fu caze is exemplified by the primary location being China. Bond fights several martial arts masters in a dojo, but it really gets silly when 2 school girls join in. Even sillier is the return of the possibly racist Sheriff J.W. He briefly joins Bond in a car chase where he performs an impressive loop jump. The film just might feature the most nudity to date. Along with the psychedelic naked women in the opening credits sequence. Accompanied by the insanely catchy Lulu theme. Andrea Anders has a very revealing steamy shower scene. This would be the first of two Bond girls Maud Adams would play in the franchise. Mary Goodnight looks great in a bikini, but she’s one of the more clueless primary Bond girls. There’s also a skinny dipper aptly named Chew Mee. The Man with the Golden Gun can’t help but embrace the over-the-top nature of the spy series.

9. The Man With the Golden Gun

James Bond duels Scaramanga

James Bond will return in The Spy Who Loved Me

007 Meets Blaxploitation

Live and Let Die fully embraces the blaxploitation era that defined the 70’s at the time. Hence why the cast is predominantly African American. Although they wanted Sean Connery to continue playing 007. They couldn’t keep him on forever. So the search for a new Bond commenced. For some reason, they had their heart set on Adam West or Burt Reynolds, but they both knew a British icon like James Bond shouldn’t be played by an American. So the third actor to portray Bond became British actor Roger Moore. Despite being the eighth film in the long running franchise, Live and Let Die is actually based on the 2nd book written by Ian Fleming. It marks a notable shift in tone for the franchise. With more realistic villains, more gadgets, more humor, and so much Moore.

The Mission: Investigate the murder of fellow agents and prevent the global distribution of heroine

Gadgets & Vehicles: Magnetic/Buzzsaw Wristwatch, Bug Detector, CO2 Pistol, Brush Transmitter, Flamethrower Spray Can, Cigarette Lighter Radio

Bond Girls: Solitaire, Rosie Carver, Miss Caruso

Bond Villains: Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big, Tee Hee Johnson, Baron Samedi, Whisper, Adam, Dambala

Analysis: In the spirit of blaxploitation, Live and Let Die is full of big afros, jive talk, locations like Harlem, New Orleans, voodoo, and plenty of groovy soul brothers & sisters. Although it’s only the villains that are played by African Americans. Something they did to be edgy, considering the groups that were active at the time. There’s also a possibly racist Sheriff named J.W. (that might be seen again). The change in lead and tone was a big draw for me. The humorous spin they put on Roger Moore may be a turn off for some, but I believe he’s the second best actor to play 007. Despite being taller and having brown hair, his delivery of “My name is Bond, James Bond,” was enough to convince me. The opening credits sequence is full of fire and silhouettes. The title song performed by Paul McCartney and Wings is perhaps the most widely recognized outside of the franchise. I sure didn’t realize it was a Bond theme at first. Since SPECTRE is no more, villains like Kananga are free to dabble in less megalomaniacal affairs. His plan is simply to control the heroine market (since drug use was big in the 70’s). His henchmen are all very memorable. Like Tee Hee, who has a metal claw or Baron Samedi, who’s an immortal voodoo master. Despite the increase in gadgets, Desmond Llewelyn actually doesn’t appear as Q for the only time in the series. Instead M and Moneypenny drop by while Bond is in the middle of courting Miss Caruso. Whom he promptly unzips the dress of using a magnetic watch. The most notable minor Bond girl is the afro sporting Rosie Carver. While Thumper was technically the first black Bond girl, Carver is the first to get romantic with James Bond. The beautiful Solitaire is a tutor card reader who Bond seduces out of Kananga’s grip. She remains white like in the book, but they did consider making her black. It gets really wacky with scenes like the motorboat chase, but it’s really the villain’s death that’s the most ridiculous. Where kananga is blown up like a balloon. Live and Let Die is all soul and no subtlety.

8. Live And Let Die

James Bond and Solitaire are tied up

James Bond will return in The Man with the Golden Gun

007 in Vegas

Diamonds Are Forever is the grooviest Bond film yet. Although he was serious about his retirement from the character, the only thing that could get Sean Connery back was money. Over £1.25 million to be exact. Since George Lazenby quit after only one film. His agent figured spy movies wouldn’t be popular anymore after the 60’s ended. Luckily for the franchise, the 70’s accepted James Bond with open arms. Although by this point, Connery stopped trying to cover his Scottish accent. Despite being the seventh film in the long running franchise, Diamonds Are Forever is actually based on the 4th book written by Ian Fleming. It’s most notably the last official use of SPECTRE and Blofeld for over 44 years. Due to the ever growing Thunderball related legal trouble over the use of those names. Diamonds Are Forever is also the last official EON Production to star Connery as 007. For real this time.

The Mission: Infiltrate Las Vegas diamond smuggling ring and uncover plot to destroy Washington with a laser

Gadgets & Vehicles: Grappling Suspenders & Piton Pistol, Fake Fingerprint, Pocket Snap Trap

Bond Girls: Tiffany Case, Plenty O’Toole

Bond Villains: Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd, Bambi & Thumper, Bert Saxby, Professor Dr. Metz

Analysis: In true 70’s fashion, Diamonds Are Forever embraces a much campier tone. More one-liners, more gadgets, and more overblown action scenes. Most of the supporting characters tend to stray in the campy direction as well. Much like Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever makes great use of its central theme. Diamonds, and since they’re a girl’s best friend, that’s what the opening credits sequence features. Mostly naked women wearing diamonds (and Blofeld’s cat running around). Also like Goldfinger, Shirley Bassey returns to sing the main theme. Since she’s arguably the best vocalist the series has ever had. Making the song another one of the all time best. James Bond once again faces Blofeld (now played by Charles Gray) who now has look-alikes created from plastic surgery. His newest plot is to activate a giant laser powered by diamonds. Most of the action takes place in Las Vegas (since that’s where the diamonds are). The flashy excess of the city brings out most of the campier moments. Like Bond escaping a remote facility in a moon buggy. However, the scene of Bond driving a Mustang on two wheels is pretty impressive. Even Q’s latest gadget, which rigs slot machines, is campy. Really the biggest draw from me was the henchmen and Bond girls. Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd are a henchmen duo that are clearly gay, but like From Russia with Love, it’s only implied. Bambi & Thumper are a swimsuit clad duo that seem innocent at first, but end up beating the crap out of Bond with deadly gymnastics. One of the most stand out scenes in the movie, even if it is silly. Red curly haired Tiffany Case is the main Bond girl. She looks good, she’s witty, but she’s a complete airhead. One of the more helpless Bond girls. My personal favorite minor Bond girl is Plenty O’Toole, because I love her name and introduction. In the end, Bond (and by extension, Sean Connery) faces off against Blofeld for what would turn out to be the final time. It’s shiny, it’s beautiful, but Diamonds Are Forever might be too light hearted for some.

7. Diamonds Are Forever

James Bond meets Plenty O’Toole

James Bond will return in Live and Let Die