I really like Live and Let Die. When I watched it the first time, I had it really low on my list. Like, #17 low. But then when I watched it this time, it was a huge breath of fresh air. This movie was so much fun for me the second time. Because it’s so grounded in the 70s. Easily Roger Moore’s least ridiculous film. It’s also one of the least ‘Bond’ Bond movies there is, which is saying something.
Roger Moore has an interesting arc as Bond — his last three movies, we can all agree, are not great (though I enjoy A View to a Kill for various Walken-related reasons), but his first three (in reverse order) — there’s The Spy Who Loved Me, which is clearly his best. And there’s Man with the Golden Gun, which is pretty great, on the whole, and is a very different plot for Bond, in that it’s mostly about his showdown with Scaramanga. That’s the focus of everything. It doesn’t have the same pacing as a regular Bond movie. And then there’s this. The whole thing practically takes place in New York and Jamaica, has a (mostly) believable plot, and most importantly — it has flavor.
This movie has flavor. That’s what separates it for me. That’s the reason why I rank this as highly as I do. Everything about this movie just feels rich with flavor. It’s like a thick gravy compared to For Your Eyes Only‘s thin broth. I can’t make an absolute claim that it’s actually any better than the two films I have ranked directly below this, but for me, I enjoy this one more, at least in my mind, because it has those elements in it (New York, Solitaire, things like that) that I really like. So while I’m aware I’m probably overrating this a bit — I enjoy what I enjoy. And I enjoy this movie.