The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) - REVIEWS ONLY

DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
edited December 2022 in Reviews Posts: 23,347
Please write your fan reviews of TSWLM here.


  • edited February 2013 Posts: 12,828
    This one hasn't gotten a review yet? Well I watched it again today so eh, no harm in trying.

    Spy is thought of generally (by the public) as a classic. And for good reason. Jaws, the ski BASE jump, Atlantis, the Lotus, etc. EON really pulled out all the stops to make Moore's 3rd film a hit and we ende up with a fun, bombastic adventure. Not the most original flick of the series but it was imo, the first film to really perfect the formula GF invented and it was in this film that Moore solidified himself as Bond.

    TSWLM starts with a bang. We zoom out of the gunbarrel and a British submarine is being captured. Soviet submarines have been captured too, and the British and Russians call for their best agents. MI6 call for 007 and the KGB call for XXX. This is where Spy gets intresting, Anya is basically the female equivalent of Bond.

    It's a shame then, that the film doesn't do more with this idea. Anya is played well by Barbara Bach. She's really hot but she's not a dumb Bond girl and she has a personality. However, despite all this equal stuff she still ends up as a typical damsel in distress that Bond has to save and shag.

    Anyway, Bond is called in and we get the most iconic PTS of all time. Definetly one of the best. Bond skiis down the mountain armed with a gun in his ski pole and eventually escapes by skiing of a cliff and pulling a union jack parachute. It's brilliant. I'm not really a patriot, I'm always bitching about something or other to do with the UK but this does make me proud to be British.

    The story involves Stromberg trying to start a nuclear war using the submarines he's stolen. It's not the most original idea, but it works, with a microfilm being used as th Mcguffin early on. Stromberg is a good, menacing, disturbing villian. He's obsessed with the sea, wanting to start a new civilisation underwater. Pretty insane. What's more intresting though, is the subplot between Bond and Anya.

    See, in the PTS, Bond actually shoots Anya's boyfriend with his ski pole gun. It's intresting because it shows that for every random henchman Bond kills, there are consequences. For Bond it might just be one kill out of many to protect his country but for somebody else, it's losing a boyfriend, a brother, a father, etc. I think it's a brilliant idea showing this and I think it's sad that Austin Powers has done it more than Bond. Anya is initially pissed off at Bond and promises to kill him but of course they end up together in the end, which is fine. Spy isn't trying to drastically change the formula, a nice happy ending of Bond shagging the girl works.

    Musically TSWLM is great. The 70s score fits in well, it especially kicks in during the action. The theme song, Nobody Does It Better, is brilliant. It's a big, sweeping song that really sums up Bond.

    The cinematography in this film is very good. There are some amazing shots and the locations, spanning from Austria to Egypt to Sardina, are all used perfectly. Moore gets a nice ammount of travelling to do in this one, and unlike Moonraker, it never feels like it's leaping from place to place too quickly.

    Moneypenny is in the film although only breifly, Q's back as usual played by the brilliant Desmond Lleweleyn. Gadget wise there isn't that much but Bond does get a "wet bike" This is what's now known as a jet ski. Yep, on top of everything else, TSWLM invented the Jet Ski. However, even though that would inspire a popular real life invention, the wet bike isn't the star of the show gadget wise. No, that would be the car.

    The car. The beautiful, sexy, wonderful car. The Lotus Esprit s1. My favourite Bond car, I've wanted one of these beauties since I was 5 years old. The white really suits it. It comes with all the usual gadgets, missiles, etc. But what's really special and what makes the car so iconic is that it GOES UNDERWATER! Blew me away as a kid and it's still fantastic now. I love the whole chase sequence, going on land, to under the sea, and finally ending with the car pulling out onto a crowded beach. Bond dropping the fish out of the window was classic Rog too.

    Moore. He's brilliant in this. In his first two and FYEO he was more serious and people on here seem to prefer that just because it's serious. But I think he was always more comfortable cracking one liners and making his way through the film with a grin on his face. This is the film where Moore really came into his own as Bond and you can't help but enjoy him. He's just so f***ing cool. The bloke helps to make AVTAK watchable so when you put him in a great film like this he really shines.

    So, does TSWLM deserve the classic status it's been given? I think it does. It's a brilliant film that I think is easily Moore's best. It's a shame then, that on this site, it seems to go unloved. I don't see it in many top 10s and most people seem to think FYEO is Moore's best.

    So that's TSWLM. It's regarded as a classic normally but on this site, it's an underrated gem.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,414
    The Spy Who Loved Me

    The Man With The Golden Gun did not live up to the usual high, box-office standards of the Bond films. Although $98 million was considered a sizeable hit in 1974, Golden Gun did represent a steep downturn in box-office receipts.

    For example, From Russia With Love made a quite splendid $78.9 million in 1963, Goldfinger totaled up at $125 million, whilst Thunderball grossed the incredible amount of $141 million, over $1 billion in today's money. Into the 70's, both Diamonds Are Forever and Live And Let Die generated $116 and $161 million respectively. Golden Gun only made $21 million in America.

    However that was not the only problem facing Cubby Broccoli. Harry Saltzman was a restless man, and sought out other lucrative investments, besides the Bond films. Despite his many qualities, Harry was not a businessman, and the other projects he was involved in, proved costly.

    By the mid 70's, the banks were getting impatient with Harry, and they saw his share of EON (the company he founded with Cubby back in 1961), as his biggest asset.

    The world, it seemed, was ganging up on Harry; not only was he in a financial quandary, his beloved wife, Jacqui, had breast cancer.

    Harry was forced to sell his half of EON. Cubby offered to buy it, but Harry was uneasy about that, so he approached other major film studios. Untied Artists thought that was unacceptable, thus U.A bought out Harry's share of EON, in December 1975. Cubby was now the sole producer of the Bond series.

    Before this, the producers and Guy Hamilton began work on The Spy Who Loved Me, in the Spring of 1975. Despite Golden Gun's lukewarm reception, there was never any doubt of doing a new adventure for Mr. Bond.

    However, the legal miasma that would decide the future of the Bond franchise, caused delays in pre-production, delays that saw Hamilton leave the project, in order to work on Superman.

    The delays were in fact a blessing in disguise for Cubby, now at the helm, alone. It allowed him to sculpt the screenplay, that had a difficult gestation, and get on board a new director, with fresh eyes, in Lewis Gilbert. Cubby knew that, after the checks to pre-production, and the disappointment that was Golden Gun, Spy was his chance to put Bond back on track.

    Cubby, gambler that he was, decided to go for broke, by going big – Cubby's first solo mission was to be the biggest, most fantastical Bond film yet, recalling the scope of the early Bond films. U.A backed him unhesitatingly, setting the budget at $13.5 million.

    Still, Cubby was not happy with the screenplay. Several high profile writers, including Anthony Burgess and John Landis, all produced drafts of the screenplay, but none of them sat easy with Cubby.

    In the proposed screenplays, the writers often went too dark, such as having airliners explode, or too cynical and angsty – Watergate was only a year old at that time, and repercussions were still being felt. Both of these topics were in the news, but not in the realm of Bond films, felt Cubby. He wanted a more fantastical idea for Spy, to alleviate some of the tension and economic hardships that were prevalent in the 70's.

    Cubby turned to Tom Mankiewicz and Richard Maibaum. In a stroke of genius, Maibaum had SPECTRE usurped by real life terrorist groups. Cubby felt that this was too political – Bond films prided themselves on being apolitical.

    Gilbert thought that the screenplay would benefit from Christopher Wood's input, a writer whom Gilbert was impressed.

    It was vital for Cubby to have a solid script, as he had no choice but to jettison Ian Fleming's novel, The Spy Who Loved Me. Pursuant to Fleming's screen deal, only the title was allowed to be used, and not the actual storyline.

    In the novel, told by by a woman, Bond only enters the narrative in the final third. It was a bold decision by Fleming, to write a first person tale, from a stand point of a woman. Fleming took a courageous risk, forcing him, as a writer, to step outside his comfort zone. As a piece of fiction, The Spy Who Loved Me, is an underrated book, and Fleming does quite well, in giving voice to a woman, certainly for a thriller writer in the 60's anyway.

    The Spy Who Loved Me was published in the spring of 1962, and, unfortunately, the critics were rather dismissive of Fleming's attempt to break out of the rut. Naturally Fleming was deeply hurt by this, thus he expressly forbade the film-makers to use anything from his novel.

    In early '76, Kevin McClory announced that he was about to commence on a new, rival, Bond film, featuring a script by spy novelist Len Deighton and Sean Connery. When McClory approached Cubby and Harry on making Thunderball, jointly, back in 1965, he agreed not to pursue his rights to film a Bond picture, based on his screen treatment, which he won in his legal case for the disputed novel Thunderball, for 10 years.
    When McClory was made aware of the screenplay for Spy, he filed an injunction, claiming that Spy was using ideas stolen from him, namely the organization, SPECTRE, and the character of Blofeld.

    Cubby, wary of another protracted court case, ordered Wood to remove Blofeld and SPECTRE from the screenplay, and instead create a new villain, Karl Stromberg, head of a mighty shipping empire.

    While the tenth Bond film went through it's lengthy production schedule, a new wave of Bond fans were emerging, either children of the original Bond fans or younger siblings. The Bond films had entered the Zeitgeist.

    In the spring of 1972, Goldfinger made it's début on American T.V, playing to packed homes across the land. In a time before cable, pay per view and such, films on T.V were a big deal. Most of the audience were seeing Goldfinger for the first time since it was in the cinemas. In 1974, ITV started showing the Bond films in the U.K. On both sides of the Atlantic, classic Bond movies were very popular.

    In February 1976, On Her Majesty's Secret Service made it's début on ABC. However, it was chopped up, re-edited and had a new voice over, that was meant to be Bond, in a noir type of style, and it was to be shown over two nights. Understandably, the fans were outraged, and they unfairly blamed Cubby – it was his film, so why didn't he stop it from being butchered?

    The Bond fans were most upset, firstly by the malaise of The Man With The Golden Gun, and now the rehashed T.V airing of Majesty's, which was meant to be a blessed relief to the overt humour of the early '70's Bond films. It was with great relish, then, that the fans heard about McClory's Bond film. Perhaps he could recapture the mystique of the early Bond pictures.

    Over in the worlds of T.V and film, the spy genre had waned considerably, given rise to detective style shows. Even Flint and Helm jumped on board. The only successful spy shows and films, were in the bland dystopic trend, post Watergate.

    Still, Cubby could see that the original Bond films were very popular. He knew that the essence of the early Bond movies had to be kept in Spy, only updated, being bigger, more epic and more fantastical, and in Spy's storyline, recalling the grandeur of You Only Live Twice and Majesty's. The screenplay would reflect that, and it was credited to both Richard Maibaum and Christopher Wood.

    With Lewis Gilbert as director, and Ken Adam making his long awaited return to Bondage as Production Designer, Spy is a deliberate attempt to hark back to the early days of the Bond phenomenon. Some critics point this out, and indeed for all the time spent on honing the script for Spy, it does have a superficial resemblance to You Only Live Twice. Both TWICE and Spy feature a craft that devours other vehicles, namely a supertanker consuming nuclear submarines in Spy, and a spaceship swallowing other rockets in TWICE. Moreover, the climaxes of both movies are spectacular battles in massive sets. But Spy has a different style and energy to it, the dynamics of the narrative are completely contrary as well. Not to mention the sub-plot between Bond and Anya, a rejuvenated Bond girl, which allows Spy to have hidden depth.

    Cubby saw what was popular in such classics as Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice, and transmuted them into Spy. By this time the Bond films were a genre upon themselves, and Spy rejoiced in being a Bond film. Spy has an ineffable vivacity to it, born out of it feeling like a Bond film; Spy is the first Bond picture, of the '70's, to embrace being a Bond movie, and it's all the better for it.

    For Cubby, it was imperative to redefine the role of the Bond girl for Spy. In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Tracy, played superbly by Diana Rigg, was a three dimensional character, but the movie failed to live up to the usual box-office standards for the Bond films. As with so much that was great about Majesty's, the film-makers went in the opposite direction with Diamonds Are Forever and it's follow ups; gone were the days of Bond's girls being feisty and independent, and instead the Bond girls of the early '70's were simpering and vacuous, despite some game performances by the likes of Jill St. John (Tiffany Case, Diamonds Are Forever), and Britt Ekland (Mary Goodnight, The Man With The Golden Gun).

    Great attention, therefore, was made on crafting Anya Amasova, a skilled agent for the KGB. For the part, the film-makers chose Barbara Bach. Undeniably stunning, Bach fails to live up to the potential of the script for Anya.

    Notwithstanding, Bach shares a genuine chemistry with Roger Moore, and some of the films best moments, is in Bond and Anya's games of one-upmanship. The romance that blossoms between her and Bond is quite believable and quite touching.

    Moore himself is on fine form in The Spy Who Loved Me, and possibly his best performance as 007. Moore refined his version of Bond with Lewis Gilbert, a man whom Moore found to be great company. He worked well with Gilbert, in a similar vein to Terence Young and Sean Connery. Like Young and Connery, Moore found he and Gilbert to share the same sense of humour.

    Instead of Moore's 007 aping Connery's 007, Gilbert encouraged Moore to express himself, the result being a supremely composed and understated, authoritative performance. Moore subtly commands the screen, with great panache and grace. It is to Gilbert's credit that he was able to coax the performance of out Moore. Moore defined, and cemented, not only his role as Bond, but also his status as leading man.

    Moore also, displays a more sombre side to 007, in two fantastic scenes. The first is when Bond and Anya encounter each other in a Cairo bar, the first of their games of one-upmanship. Playfully trading blows to see who knows more about each other, things take an unexpected serious turn, when Anya mentions Tracy, the first time that she has been mentioned since Majesty's. The brief shadow that falls across Moore's face is a superb, yet subtle, piece of acting.

    The second happens when Anya discovers that it was Bond who killed her lover, in the PTS; the sub-plot between her and Bond. This gives the audience an increasingly rare moment of introspection, in which the film-makers try to humanize Bond, which counterpoints well with the more fantastical storyline of Spy.

    Richard Maibaum and Christopher Wood's screenplay is a joy to behold – together they include just the right amounts of action, refined violence, danger and suspense, gorgeous locations, gadgetry, humour, spectacle and entertaining fantasy, all with the added bonus of a little romance, in the way of Bond and Anya's relationship. Not only is Spy one of the most perfectly balanced screenplays in the Bondian canon, it is also one of the most romantic.

    The plot, which features a supertanker gobbling up nuclear submarines, is about the most fantastical plot, that one could get away with Bond, but Spy presents it with such verve and inventiveness, that one overlooks it, and it is well poised with said crucial introspections, anyway.

    Raising the fantasy levels up, as per Cubby's wishes, are two of the most iconic Bondian elements, namely the successor to the Aston Martin DB5, the Lotus Esprit, and the henchman, Jaws; at over seven foot tall, this implacable giant is played with subtle humour and dogged determination by the late Richard Kiel.

    The Lotus Esprit was nicknamed “Wet Nellie” by the crew, after the autogyro in You Only Live Twice. On land, the Esprit was quick and maneuverable to outfox Bond's enemies, but the car's pièce de résistance is the fact that, after a flick of a switch, it can transform into a highly capable, and highly armed, submarine. The Lotus Esprit features in an extremely enjoyable chase scene in Sardinia.

    Rounding out the main cast is Karl Stromberg, a shady shipping magnate, whose dream is to induce a global nuclear war, in order to live in his underwater city, Atlantis. Stromberg views the terrestrial population as “decadent and corrupt”. Stromberg's scheme is in the spirit of the latter Connery films, giving Spy an expansive sense of scale.

    Stromberg himself is played by Curt Jürgens, who brings an understated menace to the part. He also has one of the great villainous lines;

    “Witness, Mr. Bond, the instruments of Armageddon.”

    After their disgruntled appearances in The Man With The Golden Gun, the MI6 regulars are on song in Spy, with M, Moneypenny and Q back to their usual selves, seeming to delight in the re-found confidence that the film has.

    Two notable cast members to make their debuts in Spy, are the KGB's General Gogol, and the Minister of Defense, Fredrick Gray, portrayed respectively by Walter Gotell, who appeared as Morzeny in From Russia With Love, and Geoffrey Keen. They would reprise their roles until The Living Daylights. Gotell, especially, is a very fine actor, being a staunch ally, or lovable rouge, depending on the plot situations.

    For the start of the movie, the film-makers wanted something grand, to say “Bond was back”. They found an interesting, and daring, advertising campaign, in which a skier, launched off a precarious cliff, and parachuted to safety. The advert was fake, but the stunt performer, Rik Sylvester, assured them it could be done.

    Second unit director, and editor, John Glen, who worked with Peter Hunt on Majesty's, went with his unit, and Sylvester, to Baffin Island, Canada. Despite the weather problems, Sylvester managed to do the legendary stunt, creating one of the most iconic sequences in all of cinema.

    And so culminated the greatest PTS in all of Bondom, which segues brilliantly into the incomparable main title theme song, “Nobody Does It Better”, sung by Carly Simon, and arranged by Marvin Hamlisch. To top it all off, the main titles themselves, created by Maurice Binder, is one of his finest works. The one-two of Binder and Simon is just irresistible.

    Hamlisch's score is thoroughly entertaining, if not a little dated. Hamlisch provides sweeping melodies, touching romantic cues and frenetic action motifs, all flavored with a hint of exoticism, be it Cairo’s hectic, string dance halls or the rustic charm of Sardinia.

    The cinematography gives the film a sense of scale and sophistication, absent for the past three films, and it is framed magnificently by Claude Renoir.

    Ken Adams returns as Production Designer, giving free rein to let his imagination run wild. From the curved beauty of his Atlantis set, to the sheer bravado of his supertanker set, Adam is a tour de force, creating breathtaking, gargantuan designs.

    Adam could not find a sound-stage big enough to house his mammoth sets. The answer from Cubby was quite simple: “then build it”. Adam learnt from his previous work on You Only Live Twice and constructed both the sound-stage and the sets all at the same time, thus avoiding the ugly exterior to his famed volcano set. The impressive 007 sound-stage was born.

    Both the production design and the cinematography gives The Spy Who Loved Me a sense of glamour and scale, sorely missing since On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

    As director, Lewis Gilbert delivers a film loaded with his trademark pace and eye for a shot. Moreover, it was at his suggestion, that Bond killed Anya's lover, providing some gist for the story. It is thanks to Gilbert too, that one has the definitive Roger Moore performance.

    One particular moment that stands out, regarding Gilbert's artistry, is when Bond is silhouetted against a minaret in downtown Cairo, which contrasts superbly with the shocking, brilliant blue of the desert sky. Hamlisch provides an eerie cue. Elements from the crew, Gilbert, Renoir and Hamlisch, all combine impeccably for one masterful shot, which lasted for but a moment.

    The Spy Who Loved Me is a triumphant return to form, an artistic and commercial success, featuring some of the most iconic sequences ever to appear in a Bond film. Spy also has one of the most memorable casts in the franchises history. With winning contributions from the crew and cast, and a supremely composed performance by Roger Moore, Cubby knew that he had a winner, in his first movie as solo producer.

    Released on the 7th of June, 1977, Spy was an enormous hit, posting $184.4 million, and at $47 million in the U.S alone, it doubled the business that Golden Gun managed. Bond was back.

  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,566

    Cubby Brocolli was not a man to rest on his laurels. The Man With The Golden Gun released at the end of 1974 was a lacklustre affair. A film trading itself off as a James Bond film without ever really living up to the name. Bond was dying. So what to do?

    Well the smart alec Bond of old returns. A man who can identify the Latin name for a random butterfly is now up to speed on his exotic fish. In a fast paced globe hopping adventure Bond has little chance to show off his knowledge of..well..everything I suppose, but we see a man able to handle a car, a wetbike and a camel with equal efficiency.

    Roger Moore ditches the ever so slightly edgy Bond from TMWTGG and returns to tried and tested Saint territory. He smirks and teases his way through two hours of globe hopping fun, but occasionally he attempts to add an extra dimension to the character. And for the last 20 minutes when Bond has to lead a small army to defeat Stromberg, Moore raises his game and shows how, when he really tries, he can convince us that he's an International man of action.

    Anya (or Agent XXX) is Russia’s finest agent which is odd considering the clumsy unprofessional manner she goes about her business. Bond beds a lovely blonde early on (and naturally she turns out to be on the other side), and Naomi, Stromberg’s henchwoman who parades around in a bikini, ogles at Bond, flirts with Bond, winks knowingly at Bond until she finally gets blown up…by Bond.

    Bond girls in the 60s were exotic, shapely, glamorous and all together better than the girls in the 70s. This film offers a group of beautiful yet empty bed vessels. Even the Hi Karate girl turns up to gaze longingly into Bond’s eyes.

    Barbara Bach retired early from acting..thank the Lord. Anyone who cringes at the idea of Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist must practically give up the will to live trying to understand how this young lady is the best Russia has to offer. The karate stance she assumes to defend herself against a gun is probably the finest unintentional laugh out loud moment of the whole series.

    Stromberg and his fanciful plan to return man to his roots ie the bottom of the ocean (!!). He inherits Dr No’s distaste for human contact. His henchmen are Sandor the baldy hulk and steel toothed Jaws. These two are more like it. They are just the sort of thing a big budget film like this needs. Of course they fight like Laurel & Hardy when it comes to but they look great. And Naomi, as mentioned above.
    With hind sight we can be dismissive of the film’s villains, but the impact Jaws made at the time was immense. He joined OddJob in the ranks of Bond’s most flamboyant and iconic nemeses.

    The film has plenty of laughs, with sight gags (the Lotus, Jaws continuing failure to bump off Bond), and a few iffy but acceptable one liners from Bond., especially in Q’s lab.
    The Union flag parachute had them laughing and cheering in the isles back in 1977.
    And a final line that inspired a discussion forum.

    The opening ski jump is rightly praised, and does not make the mistake of TMWTGG by demeaning the stunt with unwanted sound effects.
    The car chase is equally wonderful, and with plenty of fights and chases around stunning locations, TSWLM delivers the goodies.

    Marvellous use of the Alps, Egypt and Sardinia. Ken Adams manages to equal his volcano with a submarine interior that is simply spectacular.

    M is now starting to become a parody of the original M, Q is there for laughs, Moneypenny does what Moneypenny does.
    We have new characters like General Gogol and Frederick Grey, but in time these characters would start to make the series a little bit too chummy. But SPY offers quite an interesting and diverse cast of characters when we thow in the likes of Kalba and Fekkesh

    When I saw TSWLM at the cinema I was part thrilled and part worried. The latter was to do with the light, frothy nature of the film. More cartoonish than ever, and more reliant on action to fill the gaps, it bore little relation to early Bonds, despite having so much in common with YOLT.
    But the other part of me enjoyed the roller coaster ride, the sheer scale of the film and the outrageous characters. The Bond films had been stripped down and rebuilt for a new generation, and there really was no going back, so I chose to climb aboard for another thirty odd years.

  • M16_CartM16_Cart Craig fanboy?
    edited November 2021 Posts: 538
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    edited August 2017 Posts: 9,020
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,347
    Great stuff, friend. But please keep in mind that we have little rule about using any MGM/UA/Sony/EON... Bond material in such a direct fashion. Links to those images are fine though. Can you please fix this here and in your previous reviews? Thank you. :)
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    edited August 2017 Posts: 9,020
    A XXX review for the fans

    The Spy Who Loved Me is rightfully one of the most important films in the series. It's impact on the franchise is probably only rivalled by GoldenEye ever since.

    Roger Moore unlike his successors doesn't have a definite "best film". While TLD, GE and CR certainly are viewed as the best of each of its actor's era, The Spy Who Loved Me may be Sir Rog's definite Bond film. But is it? For Your Eyes Only certainly has probably as much fans as TSWLM, maybe even OP could be a contender for Roger's best film. It's all a matter of taste naturally.

    One thing is for sure though, Roger's third film changed the face of the franchise and made sure it will go on for many more decades.
    There are two other third films that made quite a splash with the public. Goldfinger and Skyfall.

    TSWLM has an almost infinite number of iconic images, lines spoken and scenes, maybe even more than Goldfinger. Those two go hand in hand when it comes to being ICONIC overall.

    The PTS of TSWLM certainly must be the most iconic in the series to use that word again. The idea of the parachute with the British flag is a stroke of genius. Not to mention that stunt work.
    I wonder what audience reactions must have been to seeing Bond going off the cliff and open that parachute. I wish I could have been there at the time. Probably the most awesome thing ever to see on the big screen for the first time.

    Roger has but three lines in that PTS and already we know what Rog's Bond is about.
    FUN, HUMOUR, ENTERTAINMENT in the best Bondian way possible.

    "Oh, James. I cannot find the words."
    "Let me try and enlarge your vocabulary."

    "What happened? Where are you going?"
    "Sorry. Something came up."

    "But, James, I need you."
    "So does England."

    But TSWLM certainly doesn't stop at being great at the PTS. Roger Moore's third James Bond film sees him getting his image of Bond perfected to the last eyebrow movement.

    Marvin Hamlisch is a part of what makes TSWLM so great in my opinion. I love his score and Bond77 is the best piece of music since the OHMSS theme. Nobody Does It Better, if cheesy, is probably the best known and loved Bond theme after Bassey's Goldfinger, it's easy listening yes, but highly enjoyable and it mirrors the romantic tone of the film very well. And who will not love Carly Simon.

    Personally Tiffany Case will always be my favourite Bond girl, but Barbara Bach's Major Anya Amasova comes a close second. Agent XXX is a (guilty) pleasure to watch. I often hear that Barbara Bach doesn't act well. I disagree. What she does comes across as being composed in most scenes which fit her Major character well.
    And do I even need to mention how incredibly beautiful and sexy she is.....

    A personal favourite moment in the film, when Anya and Bond are having a drink.
    "Commander James Bond, recruited to the British Secret Service from the Royal Navy. Licensed to kill, and has done so on numerous occasions. Many lady friends, but married only once. - Wife killed..."
    "All right, you've made your point."
    "You're sensitive, Mr Bond."

    There are many moments of note in TSWLM, too many to mention all. Just take Jaws for instance. He must be, to this day, the most famous of all the henchmen. Even more than Oddjob I would say.
    When he appears first in the film in Stromberg's fantastic dining room, he "smiles" and you see those metallic silver teeth. Quite frightening actually and I think back then in 1977 it must have felt quite that way seeing him for the first time.

    Jaws is treated a tad unfairly when we remember him I think. He didn't go silly only with Moonraker, but it started very early in TSWLM in Egypt. Dropping the big block of rock on his foot. I think from that moment we know what Jaws is about and why would anyone want it any other way.
    Having him back in Moonraker is such a treat and I love the whole character arc he goes through. He still remains a ruthless killer, something that of course gets buried a bit in all the (silly) humour.

    Many images are combined with score and sound that make them unforgettable.
    I wonder if it is TSWLM who does such things best of all the films. Quite possible. Bond as a silhouette surrounded by buildings shown from afar plus the haunting, surprising score that sets never gets old.

    Curd Jürgens makes for a good villain, there may be more memorable and better villains than Karl Stromberg, that came before and after him, but not too many I would say.
    I love his introduction scene in his dining room that evokes the SPECTRE meetings. We even get the usual "death" treatment, the variation is there are not people sitting at the table but Stromberg's secretary meets a gruesome death, and Stromberg's two business partners are boarding the helicopter with the knowledge they are filthy rich now, well...BOOOM!

    The Spy Who Loved Me belongs to the many Bond films that are entirely a fun romp, entertaining and still have great, original action and a fantastic story. A megalomaniac villain is something that will always make a Bond film a bit better in my opinion.

    Ken Adam has created some truly memorable and wonderful sets, again. As if it was ever any different but it's still worth a mention.

    Roger Moore engages in heavy action at the end battle in the wonderful Atlantis set, action previously only similarly seen in YOLT.

    What makes TSWLM such an easy watch as well are the different beautiful locations. Egypt gets treated very well and the atmosphere in Cairo and especially in the Pyramid sequence is absolutely breathtaking. One of the best lighting, editing and directing jobs in the series.
    This film really has one memorable sequence after the other. Sardinia makes for a wonderful contrast to Egypt where brown colours dominated, in Sardinia we get treated with a lot of white and strong colours. Not to mention Caroline Munro!!! BOOOM! ...again!
    A Gif for you:
    "What a handsome craft. Such lovely lines."

    I also immensely enjoy seeing regulars Robert Brown, Bernhard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn and Geoffrey Keen's Sir Frederick Gray having screen time together, especially with Bond in his Navy suit.

    TSWLM is a film I can go to regularly, it never seizes to entertain me and there are the elements that I love most in Bond films:
    The humour, the silly stuff, an actor that oozes Bond in every split second of screen time, the suaveness and the determination, the action that is allowed to go to OTT levels at times, the lines, the witty dialogue and always everything with a good bit of self-irony. That is how I define the cinematic Bond.
  • Posts: 11,425

    Central London screening this coming weekend. Caroline Munro doing a Q and A.
  • Daniel316Daniel316 United States
    Posts: 210
    That was The Spy Who Loved Me. Final Thoughts? Great all things considered

    So let's get all that good stuff out of the way first. For starters another amazing performance by Sir Roger Moore as Bond here and it certainly wouldn't be his last. We have some really nice action scenes and fight scenes here, with some of my favorites being the liparuis shootout and Bond vs Jaws on the train just to name a few. Speaking of Jaws, he's a really good and entertaining henchmen that is silent, Menacing and goofy all at the same time and it's pulled off very wonderfully by Richard Kiel.

    This movie also has really nice set designs and locations, mostly notably the atlantis base (so good it was made a Multiplayer Map in Nightfire). I'd also say the film worked really well with it's serious tone but it also made sure to not go to far with it's serious tone and still kept it balanced between wacky and serious. This film also introduces one of my favorite ever Bond cars: the Lotus Esprit, the car is just..awesome. And last but not least, this film is decently paced for the most part

    Now unfortunately there are some problems with this film in my eyes. For starters I feel the first 30 minutes or so aren't very exciting to watch and it almost makes me fall asleep. While I do like the musical score, I feel it just isn't that great of a bond score and imo feels out of place. Stromberg is a plain awful villain that's so generic and has no real redeeming qualities, it sure doesn't help that he's a stand-in for Blofeld. I also really do not like Major Anya, I feel she's quite bland, wooden and dull almost all the time and her voice dubbing is just freaking awful, apart from her looks (which aren't even that great to begin with) she really isn't anything special.

    But as a whole this is a great Bond film and Moore pretty much solidified that he knew what he was doing and that he had Bond down perfectly at this point, and imo the next film would be the truly perfect Roger Moore Bond film.

    My final rating is an 8/10
  • LocqueLocque Escaped from a Namur prison
    Posts: 262
    Undoubtedly the best Bond-movie from the Roger Moore era.
    After two awkward attempts to pigeonhole Moore into a Connery-type tough guy, the creators figured out a way to write to Moore's strengths - and avoid some of his weaknesses. Moore really becomes his own Bond in this film, a suaver, more sophisticated character, with a detached sense of humour.
    Aside from being a great globe-trotting adventure movie, it strikes the right balance between silliness and suspense, never veering into self-parody no matter how preposterous it gets.
    This movie would become the template for many future instalments, trying to catch lightning in a bottle again, but never quite succeeding as well as here.
  • M16_CartM16_Cart Craig fanboy?
    edited November 2021 Posts: 538
    The Good
    • Theme song
    • Pre-title sequence
    • Jaws
    • Perfect balance of serious moments and Moore's humor/one-liners.
    • Does most of the Bond tropes well (lair, locales, gadgets)
    • Beautiful locales and gadgets
    • Bond/XXX romance symbolizes detente era

    The Mixed
    • This film is a return to form, and established Moore into the role, for any Connery fans that were skeptical. At the same time, this film pushes no new ground either.

    The Bad
    • Formulaic plot
    • Bond sleeping with a sex slave.
    • Stromberg is boring (and his death was trivial)

    This film could be judged by 2 separate standards. As a Bond film, for Bond standards, it's great: a pivotal moment in the franchise's history and delivered just about everything fans expect. But as an action/spy film in general, it's good refined entertaining film, but not super unique or game-changing.

    Rating: 7/10. (but could be 8 by bond standards)
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    edited November 2021 Posts: 642
    'Spy' is the definitive Roger Moore Bond, for better and for worse. It's a grand, elegant epic that trades spectacle for plot. More than ever before, James Bond is a caricature in this movie, not so much a hunter as he is an international playboy stumbling into traps and action sequences from scene to scene , almost like Inspector Clouseau.

    I always felt that Moore got upstaged in both this and MR with his somewhat aloof performances, similar to Connery's in YOLT. I chalk this up to Lewis Gilbert's direction. He knew how to make a Bond movie but he didn't seem all that interested in Bond himself.

    Other than that, 'Spy' did a good job of putting Bond back on top of the action hero hierarchy again. Although I would much rather watch LALD, TMWTGG, or even OP, this one is definitely the most polished of the Moore entries. With a bit more animation from him, a better musical score, and a stronger villain- basically the stuff that makes YOLT a top 10'er in my opinion- I'd rank it higher, but it's a decent one overall.
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