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.
James Bond will return in Octopussy