Bond had been through a testing period, but came back stronger than ever. The Spy Who Loved Me was massive. Moonraker was even bigger. How do you top Bond in space? The answer is that you don’t. James Bond would undergo another of its periodical creative resets as we return to a tighter, leaner espionage tale. Bond comes back down to Earth in For Your Eyes Only.
For Your Eyes Only – Behind The Scenes
Following the lead of Star Wars, Moonraker put Bond in space, and its success was astronomical. The movie took in $210 million at the box office, which was a record for a Bond movie all the way to 1995 when Goldeneye finally broke that mark. How does one possibly follow up on that?
Broccoli’s stepson, Michael G. Wilson, began to take on a bigger role in the production of the Bond films. He felt that trying to top Moonraker would lead to Bond getting more and more outlandish. He believed going back to the basics was the solution. For Your Eyes Only was an attempt to retreat from the excesses of The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.
Broccoli agreed. He wanted to bring the budgets down and have Bond rely more on his wits than gadgets.
This desire for a harder-edged Bond meant that the original script, which had been prepared by Tom Mankiewicz and Christopher Wood for shooting following The Spy Who Loved Me, was tossed. Producers turned back to veteran Bond screenwriter Richard Maibaum.
At Maibaum’s suggestion, Wilson collaborated. They used Fleming short stories as their inspiration. For Your Eyes Only’s tale of murder and the consequences of revenge was weaved together with Risico and its Greek Island-setting tale of smugglers. A scene from the novel Live and Let Die also made it into the story, in the form of Bond being dragged behind a boat.
This time John Glen would get his turn in the director’s chair. Glen worked the second unit on three previous Bond films. He was also determined to move away from the huge battle scenes in giant arenas that his predecessor, Lewis Gilbert, preferred. Glen was fully on board with the attempt to take Bond back to basics and tap into unused parts of his mythology. He said:
“We had gone as far as we could into space. We needed a change of some sort, back to the grass roots of Bond. We wanted to make the new film more of a thriller than a romp, without losing sight of what made Bond famous—its humour.”
Glen decided to symbolically represent this with a scene where Bond’s Lotus blows itself up and forces Bond to make his escape in Melina’s standard Citroën 2CV. The Lotus’s “anti-theft” device was reportedly a big hit with audiences in cities where car thefts were a problem.
Ken Adam was unavailable this go around, working on Pennies From Heaven, so Peter Lamont stepped up in Adam’s absence. Lamont had worked on the previous nine Bond movies. While Adam was extravagant and modern in his designs, Lamont had a much more grounded, realistic take on set design. All of this was baked into the leaner approach for the film.
At this stage, they didn’t even have a 007. Roger Moore had a three-picture deal that expired with The Spy Who Loved Me. He negotiated a one-picture deal for Moonraker. Moore was two years older than Connery, and by this time some said his age started to show. He was also slow to firmly commit to returning.
As a result, producers investigated other actors for the role. Lewis Collins was considered, known for his role as Bodie in the UK TV series The Professionals. Ian Ogilvy, known for his role as Simon Templar in Return of the Saint was in the running. Michael Billington, who previously appeared in The Spy Who Loved Me as Agent XXX’s lover, Sergei Barzov, would test for the role, as well. This was one of his five screen tests, at various times, for the role of 007.
Timothy Dalton was said to be Cubby’s favorite. Dalton had already been talked to for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He declined, as he felt he was too young back then. This time, thinking the producers were not seriously looking, he declined again.
When Moore discovered that Broccoli screen-tested actors without his knowledge, he was furious. He announced to the British press that he would not play Bond again. Cubby called his bluff, saying if Moore was that upset, then he still clearly cared about the role. Broccoli was right, and Moore negotiated yet another single-picture deal to return as James Bond just two weeks later.
With their reliable Bond back in the saddle, it was time to cast the other roles.
Italian actress Ornella Muti (Flash Gordon) was considered for the role of Melina. She demanded her costume designer, Wayne Finkelman, also be hired by the production. Clearly not understanding that you never placed conditions on Cubby Broccoli, her terms were unacceptable.
French actress Carole Bouquet was recommended by Eon’s VP of marketing, Charles Juroe. Once she came in for testing, Glen immediately saw her as the type of woman who could be a crossbow-wielding assassin, driven to revenge.
Julian Glover was picked for the villain. Glover had worked with Moore previously on The Saint. At one time, Glover had even been considered for Bond, but he was too young. When Connery quit the second time, Glover was considered too old. Getting to be a Bond villain is not a bad consolation prize, however. Throw in the fact that Glover also got to be the bad guy in an Indiana Jones movie, and he is in rarified air.
Meanwhile, Topol got cast by being in the right place at the right time. He was at a party attended by Broccoli and his wife, Dana. Dana looked at Topol and told Broccoli the man would be perfect for the Milos Columbo character.
Lynn-Holly Johnson was brought in as Bibi. Originally she was to have a romantic relationship with 007. Moore had his doubts, however. He was cognizant enough about his age to know that viewers probably wouldn’t buy him with such a young girl, so the character was re-written to have something of an unrequited crush on Bond.
After filming Moonraker, Bernard Lee was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He sadly passed away in January 1981. Shooting had already begun on For Your Eyes Only, but Lee was unable to film any scenes as M. Out of respect, Broccoli refused to have the role recast. Instead, the script was re-written so that the character is said to be on leave, with Chief of Staff Bill Tanner taking over the role as acting head of MI6, delivering the mission briefing to Bond alongside the Minister of Defense.
Cassandra Harris was cast as Columbo’s mistress. Her husband came to visit her on set. Harris’s husband just happened to be Pierce Brosnan. Apparently one of the women on set, so taken with Brosnan’s dashing good looks, asked “Who is that?” To which Cubby replied:
“Whoever he is, if he can act, then he could be the next James Bond!”.
Another interesting casting note is that one of the assembled ladies around Gonzales’ swimming pool, Caroline Cossey (who went by the professional name of Tula) was once a he! Cossey had a variation of XXXY Syndrome, which led to the transition.
Michael Gothard was cast as Locque, the henchman and assassin. Gothard would parlay this casting into what is perhaps the ultimate achievement, starring in Lifeforce. The character of Locque led to some friction between Moore, Wilson, and Glen. Moore was a little uncomfortable with the harder-edged and more ruthless Bond required for this story. He balked at 007 killing Locque in cold blood. Moore preferred to toss him the dove pin and have that overbalance the car.
Wilson disagreed. He wanted a Bond as a killer in that scene. Eventually, Glen entered the discussion, as well. He sided with Wilson more so than Moore, and the scene now features Bond kicking Locque, in his car, to his doom.
Disagreements among the cast were not the only sticking points the filmmakers encountered. When the crew showed up in the Greek location of Meteora to film the climax, the monks who lived in the monasteries on top of the rocks caused problems. Apparently, the filmmakers thought they had a deal with the local bishop. The monks disagreed. To interfere with filming, the monks covered the roofs of their buildings with sheets and other items. The problem eventually went to court, and locals considered taking the law into their own hands by scaling the mountains and kicking the monks out. Glen sidestepped much of the drama by simply building a location on an unused peak.
Once filming recommenced, Moore had to contend with his fear of heights. He reportedly got through his work at the location with valium and warm beer.
For the fall off the mountain, the production returned to Rick Sylvester, who did the ski jump in The Spy Who Loved Me. Sylvester’s main concern was the sudden jerk when he ran out of rope. To solve this problem, special effects and miniature wizard Derek Meddings stepped up to the plate. He devised a system of sandbags in a trough to dampen the sudden deceleration Sylvester would encounter. The hardest part for Sylvester ended up being letting go of the rope because all of his training was to never let go of the rope.
Another Greek location, Corfu, would stand in for Spain for the scenes set at Gonzalez Spanish villa, and the subsequent chase.
Alongside these Greek locations, Bond returned home. The previous film had been forced to be shot almost entirely outside of the United Kingdom due to the left-wing Labour government’s punishing tax regime. Following an election, the new Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was pushing through dramatic tax cuts, so the shoot returned to Britain and was based, once again, at Pinewood studios. Almost all interiors were shot in Pinewood Studios, as well as the explosion of the spy ship St Georges. which was done with a miniature in Pinewood’s tank on the huge 007 Stage.
During shooting, Glen put his stamp all over the film. He choreographed many of the action scenes and even developed his own signature. All Glen-directed Bond films contain pigeons bursting out unexpectedly and frightening Bond. Perhaps, this is where John Woo got his idea to use doves.
It was also Glen’s idea to have Bond visit Tracey’s grave in the beginning of the film. This sequence was originally designed to introduce the new actor in the role of 007, as Moore was not signing on. The idea was that the new actor would be immediately established as the same Bond, through reference to his deceased wife. Thus continuity would be established.
Another callback was the return of somebody that, for legal reasons, cannot be referred to in any way as Blofeld. The constant, ongoing legal disputes between Eon Productions and Thunderball co-writer Kevin McClory meant that McClory held the rights to Blofeld and SPECTRE on the big screen.
The character of Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me was originally supposed to have been Blofeld, but lawyers forced the change. Broccoli grew weary of these ongoing battles. Also, rumors were swirling that McClory was once again close to getting a rival Bond production off the ground. As a result, the legally un-named character with the bald head, untrustworthy foreign accent, and white cat was unceremoniously disposed of by Bond before the opening credits. A blunt, and public “Fuck You!” to McClory.
John Hollis plays this bald villain in the wheelchair, voiced by Peter Marinker. The character is named and the actors are uncredited. There is no reference made to the character at all in the credits.
Director John Glen got the idea for the remote control helicopter while walking in the studio one day. He saw one of the tech’s children playing with a remote control car.
To get the helicopter to fly into the building was the work of Derek Meddings. Production found buildings big enough to use a helicopter inside, but they couldn’t find buildings with an opening big enough to fly a helicopter through. Meddings decided to create the illusion of it happening with a foreground miniature. A full-size helicopter was then mounted on a track system within the building for filming of that part of the sequence.
From up in the sky to under the sea, For Your Eyes Only runs the full gamut of locations. When it came to the underwater scenes, filmmakers ran into a problem, however. Bouquet could not dive due to sinus problems. This was solved by simulating being underwater using slow motion, wind machines, and super-imposed bubbles. Once again, it was Meddings with the solution. He is really the unsung hero of For Your Eyes Only.
When it came to the car chases, this was famed French stunt driver Remy Julienne’s first foray into Bond, which resulted in him and his sons working on six Bond films. Julienne and his sons also rode the motorcycles in the ski sequences.
Another famous Bond stunt alumni got a cameo in the film. The unlucky henchman who blows up when Bond’s Lotus self-destructs was none other than Bob Simmons. Simmons is famous in Bond circles as the man who first portrayed Bond in the gun barrel openings of the first three movies. He also appeared as SPECTRE agent Colonel Jacques Bouvar in Thunderball.
Willie Bogner from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me was also back to do the ski stunts. The challenge was to top his previous work. It was his idea to ski down the bobsled run. Glen didn’t think it would work because the bobsled would go so much faster than Bogner. Glen’s solution? He asked Bogner if he would be willing to be tied to the bobsled while it rocketed down the run…
“Great idea!” Bogner said.
In the same scene Victor Tourjansky, the assistant director, has his third cameo as the drinking tourist. Charles Dance makes an appearance as the right-hand man to East German assassin and bi-athlete Eric Kriegler.
The final scene features a comical cameo from Prime Minister Thatcher and her husband, portrayed by Janet Brown and John Wells. They were famously mimicking the duo on British television at the time.
All of the work paid off. For Your Eyes Only was an instant smash. It also further cemented James Bond’s place as a truly critic-proof franchise. The same critics who had been sniffy about Bond’s over-the-top antics recently were also critical of this movie and its move towards a more serious tone, proving you can’t keep them happy so should never try.
Audiences didn’t care. They flocked to see it. It would set an opening day record for ticket sales in British cinema. It brought in $195 million on a $28 million budget. For Your Eyes Only set the course for Bond into the 1980s.
Do You Expect Us To Talk?
Stark: We have reached that point in Bond movies where they actually hit cinemas, VHS rental, and TV when we were alive and having our first forays into the world of 007 as young whippersnappers. This means we will now be able to bore our fellow Outposters once again with anecdotes about seeing these movies for the first time.
Wrenage: Your wish is my command! I remember seeing For Your Eyes Only in the theater. I recall staring at the poster while waiting in line at the ticket counter. The poster promised great things: helicopters, planes, skiing, a diving-suit monster, and the possibility of Bond battling a giant woman with a crossbow. Alas, the giant woman didn’t appear, but I was thoroughly entertained regardless. I recall riding in the back of the car on the way home from the theater with total clarity. It was one of those long June nights, and the sky was still orange after 9:30 p.m. Olivia Newton-John’s Magic played on the radio. Good times.
Stark: I didn’t catch this one in the theater for some reason. My story around this one revolves around my grandparents being the proud owners of a new VCR. I went to stay with them for a week in the summer at about 11 years old. Once the initial joy at having me around had worn off, they realized they had no idea how to keep me entertained.
The local video store came to the rescue, and I ended up renting and watching about three movies a day. My Grandmother turned out to be a Bond fan, and we watched a lot of them together. For Your Eyes Only had just dropped on VHS and off we went to get it. My grandma took one look at that cover and declared it wasn’t suitable for an 11-year-old boy.
She wasn’t alone. The buttock-revealing effect was achieved by having the model wear a pair of bikini bottoms backward, so the part seen over her backside is actually the front.
The UK may have been having a moral panic over “Video Nasties” at the time, but the puritan and chaste US was having a flap all of its own with this poster. The Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times considered the poster so unsuitable they edited out everything over the knee. The Pittsburgh Press went even further, painting on a pair of shorts!
Either way, a couple of days later I went back with my grandfather who had no such qualms. For Your Eyes Only was rented, and I discovered what remains, to this day, one of my favorite Roger Moore outings.
Wrenage: Now that I know the giant woman is wearing her bathing suit backwards, I can’t unsee it. I may add this move to my wardrobe repertoire. It should be an effective attention-getter. As for For Your Eyes Only, it is an effective melding of a Connery-style Bond with a Moore-style Bond. It even has a bit of the Lazenby Bond thrown in, as well.
Despite the fact For Your Eyes Only was to be a scaled-back Bond after the spectacles of The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, it is still packed to the gills. One moment you are in the warm climes of Greece, the next you are on the snowy ski slopes. Blink and you are underwater. Blink again and you are on a mountaintop. The viewer gets whiplash from all of the places For Your Eyes Only takes them.
Stark: It certainly does. It’s like a “who’s who” of required Bond locations – in the air, under the sea, on a beach, on a ski slope… Something else that sticks firmly in my mind is the excellent Marvel comics adaption that I owned as an eleven-year-old but then threw away like a teenage idiot not long after. It was in the same weekly edition that had an adaption of Blade Runner in it. Good times.
Ranking And Rating
Let’s get to the ratings and rankings. Wrenage and Stark will give their opinions on the Bondian elements found in Moonraker and come up with a score and ranking to place this appropriately in our league table of all things Bond.
Stark: I appreciate Moore’s portrayal in this one. This might be my second favorite of Moore’s outings as 007. The Spy Who Loved Me edges it for sheer spectacle, but as a fan of Fleming and the harder-edged, darker Bond I find a lot here to like. Despite his misgivings over certain scenes, I think this is one of Moore’s stronger performances.
Wrenage: Moore turns in a solid performance for sure. Revisiting these films again and paying attention to the goofy aspects of them makes me realize Moore is not that egregiously goofy. His humor is usually an arch expression combined with a bemused line. For Your Eyes Only even gives Moore an opportunity to stretch a bit. The Bond here is somewhat cerebral as he unravels the plot. Plus, Moore gets to do Bond in a casino, Connery-style.
Stark: You know, I have only just realized that this was Moore’s first time as Bond in a casino. I agree re: Moore’s Bond in general. He isn’t “silly”, the situations around him sometimes are. He can also go hard when needed.
Wrenage: For Your Eyes Only also contains one of my favorite Bond moments — when he kicks Loque’s car off the side of a mountain. Pity, Moore balked at this scene. I don’t know what he was thinking, honestly. It is already pretty firmly established that Bond kills in cold blood and should have no issue with assisting an assassin in taking a long, hard fall.
Stark: Moore’s Bond was pretty ruthless to both Stromberg and Drax, as well.
Wrenage: Melina has more motivation than the average Bond girl. Usually, Bond girls are experts in a field. Bond comes across them and takes them along for the ride, or they are villainesses that he must defeat. In this case, Melina’s parents were killed, and she is out for revenge. She’s actually kind of psycho for a good Bond girl.
Bouqet is solid in the role. Modern action femmes could take note of it. Melina is strong, but she is not in a constant state of self-consciousness about it. She even allows Bond to help her at times.
Meanwhile, Lynn-Holly Johnson is fun as a bratty, over-sexed figure skater. Seeing Bond brush a girl off is a bit of a shock, but it is a good thing they did. Moore’s instincts on that were right. Too much of an age difference. It would have been weird. Plus, Johnson is so vivacious that she seems perpetually twenty years younger than her real age even at this stage in life.
Stark: Bouqet is certainly stunning to look at. A striking woman. To me, I think she suffers a bit from both Bibi and Lisl being more interesting characters. So Melina just gets to stand around looking moody and beautiful a lot of the time. This must be why they hired a French woman.
Stark: I enjoyed the ambiguity set up around Kristatos and Columbo. It matches the whole themes of betrayal and revenge. I liked that Columbo in the movie is like Columbo from the Risico short story. They even lifted that warehouse raid scene directly from the book. That said, when Kristatos is fully revealed as the villain, he then doesn’t really go anywhere else as a character.
Wrenage: Kristatos is a weak villain. Plus, every time he is onscreen, I wonder, “How did Lenin get in this movie?” Glover and his goatee make one want to go out and get their communist card. After Katanga, Scaramanga, Stromberg, and Drax, Kristatos is merely there. He has some story value in the fact that you think he is Bond’s ally initially, but he is still pretty milquetoast at the end of the day. Loque is a better foil as an evil assassin. Unfortunately, he is underused. Logue is mostly a presence rather than a force. Does he even have lines? At the end of the day, John Wyman as Kreigler is probably the most effective villain in the film. He is an actual threat to Bond when onscreen.
Stark: Kristatos ultimately suffers from the fact that he is, in effect, just a gopher. He’s the middle man tasked with getting the MacGuffin to the real bad guys, Gogol and the KGB.
Wrenage: I do like Walter Gotell as Gogol. His good-natured acceptance of Bond’s solution to the whole ATAC problem is a great character moment.
Stark: I would like to see more returning roles like Gogol in whatever they do next with Bond. Small roles that can really add a sense of a familiar world.
Stark: Considering it’s all about just getting your hands on what looks like a 1980s children’s microcomputer, a hell of a lot happens in For Your Eyes Only. The more I think back over this movie, the more I remember is crammed into it. The pacing is exceptional. It is a tightly wound espionage thriller wrapped up in Bond pomp and circumstance.
Wrenage: For Your Eyes Only borrows from From Russia With Love, in that a decoder device is the MacGuffin, and that’s fine. The ATAC gives the characters something to coalesce around, and Maibaum and Wilson squeeze every last drop out of that scenario. The sheer amount of events that pile up as the movie chugs along almost gets fatiguing. By the time Bond comes up for air after the diving sequence, I start getting glassy-eyed. Maybe it is because there is no strong villain with an evil plan. For Your Eyes Only is a sequence of, admittedly, cool events that don’t connect like they should.
Stark: I disagree here. There seems to be an easy-to-follow, direct line through the whole thing. It’s like a mystery and a treasure hunt wrapped into one. Replace the ATAC with a historical artifact, and it is basically an Indiana Jones movie. It certainly doesn’t drag, despite the total lack of submarine-swallowing supertankers or space laser battles.
Wrenage: Plus, who am I to complain about too much information? I once wrote a 16-page review of The Children (1980)! Too bad it got lost in the great LMO Implosion of 2022. I do have it saved somewhere, though. I could resubmit it and have you curse my existence by having to reformat it, hunt up images for it, edit it and repost it. Then again, I’m not sure even Drax would be that evil…
Stark: On this subject, I lost both the definitive overview of Quantum Of Solace, and the full background to the 1980s Battle Of The Bonds, and now I am sad.
Wrenage: For Your Eyes Only is sneaky on the action in the same way Live and Let Die is sneaky on the action. For a scaled-back Bond, it contains a ton of activity. Its car chase is a lot of fun, and the ski sequence is a banger, as well. Motorcycles with spikes on the tires, chasing Bond on skis is a capital idea. I especially liked the part when the motorcyclists yelled, “I want my two dollars!”
Wait…wrong movie. Sorry.
I am surprised to hear myself say it, but all of this action is maybe what makes the movie bloated for me. For example, the ski jump sequence breaks the ski chase into three parts. In a vacuum, the ski jump is fine, fun, in fact. Yet, it is excessive. If the ski jump was not in the movie, we wouldn’t miss it. We’d be happy with the motorcycles vs. skier sequence.
Stark: Yeah. We are entering that era where they seemingly had a checklist – “What hasn’t Bond done yet?” Well… he hasn’t done a ski jump. “Excellent, put one in!”
Wrenage: Likewise, the hockey fight — it’s cool; it’s fun. But if it didn’t exist, we wouldn’t even blink that an action scene didn’t happen there within the story. Same with the submarine fight. It’s there. It’s a wonderful idea on paper, but it is fat within the story that could probably be trimmed to make things flow better.
Stark: Oh Christ, there’s a bloody submarine fight as well! I had forgotten about that.
Stark: As I mentioned above, the pre-title was meant to introduce a new 007 and simultaneously give Kevin McClory the middle finger. I respect that.
Wrenage: For Your Eyes Only is where the pre-titles start to truly scale up. Still, I’m still pretty happy with this sequence. Bond visiting Tracey’s grave is great. The priest giving Bond the sign of the cross as he gets on the helicopter is great. The helicopter swooping around an industrial complex is great (and such scenes wouldn’t be topped until Blue Thunder). Seeing Blofeld again is great. Bond taking control the helicopter, turning the tails on Blofeld and dropping him down a chimney is great. Great sound design, too. I like how the sound cuts out when the helicopter flies into the building, cuts to Blofeld, and when the movie cuts back to Bond in the helicopter again, there is that blast of engine/rotor noise. Not sure why the helicopter has a dive-bomber siren on it, though…
Stark: For legal reasons can we just point out that it is most definitely not Blofeld! That industrial area is the deserted Becton Gas Works on the Thames. It is the same place Kubrick would use for Full Metal Jacket. I think it’s probably long since gone and had apartments built on it now.
Wrenage: Let’s call him “Fauxfeld” then. I greatly enjoyed seeing “Fauxfeld” again. But what is with his dialogue?
“I’ll buy you a delicatessen…in stainless steel!”
Is that a British reference that I am too American to understand?
Stark: Oh shit, this is where you are going to really force me to demonstrate my Bond nerdiness, isn’t it! It’s actually an Americanism. Or a badly translated attempt at one…
The line was specifically added by Broccoli himself. He was born in Queens and came of age in the 1930s, and so the reference is to an Italian Mafia practice at the time, which was to bribe people with delicatessens, which were often used by the Mafia as business fronts for their illicit activities. The best delicatessens were those that had stainless steel counters so that you could cut the meat and wipe it clean easily as opposed to a wooden cutting board.
Wrenage: Just put down the James Bond Omnibus for a minute, Stark. We love you, and we are here to help you. You don’t have to know everything about James Bond. You can develop other interests. It’s okay. It’s not your fault…
Stark: I own the latest edition of this, and I am not even sorry…
Stark: Debbie Harry was signed on for this, to sing a song that was written by Micheal Leeson and Bill Conti. She wanted it canned, and for Blondie to write and record a whole new track. The producers said no, so Debbie walked, and they hired Sheena Easton. Titles designer Maurice Binder put her in the titles as he fancied her.
Wrenage: Is this the first time the singer is featured in the opening credits? If so, smart marketing move by Sheena Easton. The song itself is perfectly fine, but as I said in the Moonraker article, it feels like the songs are blurring together at this stage. They are all slow, romantic and full of lady caterwauling.
Stark: It is the first, and as far as I know, only time the singer appears in the title sequence. I will say this though, the titles are very, very short. They just fly by! Barely over two and a half minutes long.
Wrenage: Meanwhile, Bill Conti, of Rocky fame, did the score for the film, as well. Conti hearkens back to the disco soundtrack of The Spy Who Loved Me, rather than the more jazzy stylings of John Barry, giving the film a more modern sound. It works pretty well to my ear and adds energy to the proceedings.
Stark: I am not keen on the score in general. Bill Conti putting in dance and funk. No thank you! Get me Barry, and up that brass!
Stark: Q as a Greek Orthodox priest, and the Lotus is back… twice! A Thatcher cameo. It’s surprising that for a supposedly stripped-back, leaner Bond, it is actually chock full of Bondiness, now that I think about it.
Wrenage: The visit to Tracey’s grave is one of my favorite Bond callbacks. Wine Guy returns for his final appearance. A young Charles Dance shows up as a henchman. And John Wells, the actor who played Margaret Thatcher’s husband, Denis, deserves some sort of award. The way he comes into frame with that dumb smile on his face while he reaches for food and gets his hand slapped is next level. I salute Wells for this brilliant portrayal.
Stark: I think I like this movie even more after talking about it in all this detail.
Wrenage: Another close score, but that makes sense. For Your Eyes Only is simply a solid Bond movie. Yeah, it is a bit bloated for me as a whole, but since it is getting graded on the sum of its parts, it still comes out okay. I really only dinged it hard on the villain and X-Factor.
Stark: It’s spooky how close some of our scored
Last time Moonraker set up another shift between tiers as Diamonds Are Forever is pushed down and becomes the first entry into a third tier. Let’s see where For Your Eyes Only slots in now.
From Russia With Love (61.5)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (61)
The Spy Who Loved Me (59.5)
Live and Let Die (53)
You Only Live Twice (51.5)
For Your Eyes Only (51.5)
Dr. No (49.5)
The Man With The Golden Gun (38.5)
Diamonds Are Forever (34.5)
That’s A Wrap
Stark: So it ties with You Only Live Twice and pushes The Man With The Golden Gun down to join Diamonds Are Forever in that new-ish third tier. This seems harsh, but fair. I am still absolutely staggered about Dr. No and would probably demand a recount, except for the fact that I was there when it was done originally and was as responsible as anyone. It still makes no sense to my Bond-loving brain. But that’s the rules. Anyway, Sir Rog is in control and Bond is into the 80s.
Wrenage: If I had my druthers, I would probably leave You Only Live Twice above For Your Eyes Only, but it is close. For every reason I think that You Only Live Twice is superior, I think of a reason that For Your Eyes Only is maybe better. I will let the Outposters decide. This is a very consistent era of James Bond films. Cubby has his formula down. The movies aren’t hitting the genre-defining, classy elements of the Connery films, but they are bringing the fun by the buckets.
NEXT TIME… James Bond goes deeper into the 80s and heads East, as we very much enter Moore’s final laps as 007 in Octopussy…or is that Never Say Never Again? Things could get ugly.
Meanwhile, check out the rest of our Bond On series as we take a walk through all the Bond movies in order: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.
Check back every day for movie news and reviews at the Last Movie Outpost