Ranking the Bond Movies: #7 – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Before I get into the film, I’d like to say — when I started watching the films for these articles, I didn’t do them in any particular order at first. This just happened to be the first film I watched. The problem with that was — I didn’t yet have my system down for getting screenshots. So this synopsis, and the screenshots, are much lighter than they were in most of the other articles. The first four films I watched for these articles were this, Tomorrow Never Dies, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. Which is why those articles, in that order, are lighter on the screneshots and don’t have the — shall we say — in depth synopses that the other films have. You can see me slowly working towards them. But I didn’t want to go back and get more shots because that would have been more work. So we’ll just deal with what this is.
Now — The Spy Who Loved Me. Roger Moore had a weird tenure as Bond. Live and Let Die is a good film, but has some issues. But it was a solid enough start, taking over for Connery. Then The Man with the Golden Gun is good, but not great. But it was just as good, if not better, than Live and Let Die. But then here — he really hit it out of the park. It was as if he were building toward the perfect Roger Moore Bond film, and hit it after his third try. And then, for some reason, after this, it was all downhill. Moonraker was good, but it also has problems, but could have been okay if his fifth film were good, but the fifth film was For Your Eyes Only. And then Octopussy and A View to a Kill… his tenure didn’t end well. Granted, he’d only intended to do five, but still… it’s weird that he hit his peak in the middle of his tenure. (Then again… Connery kind of did as well. So maybe it makes perfect sense. Then again, Brosnan and Craig started off strong, so…)
Anyway, this is clearly the best of the Roger Moore entries, and is a really solid Bond film overall. I’m sure some people might want to rank it lower because it is Moore, but honestly, this is a top ten film for me. I really like this one.
I assume that when you say “some people,” you mean me. But it’s still a solid top ten film for me too, don’t worry. My hatred for Roger Moore can’t stop me from liking this movie, and even him in it.
(Mike Note: Actually I just meant some people in general. I feel like generally, people would automatically rank all of the Connery films over all of the Moore films by default. And then, nowadays, you’ll have people put Quantum in the top five just because it came out recently. Or the people that are calling Adele’s Skyfall theme one of the top five the franchise has ever done. I know you don’t like Moore as Bond, but I also know you really like this movie. I’m talking about the extremists. I feel like there’s a nice percentage of people who wouldn’t put this above #9, maybe not even above #10.)
Oh. I want to hang out with your people, then. Cause most middle aged people now grew up during the Roger Moore years. I’m finding that whenever I talk about Bond, they’re immediately on the defensive about Roger, and attacking everyone else for not being funny enough. And almost nobody I’ve spoken to has had anything nice to say about Quantum of Solace.
(Mike Note: The key is just to not to speak to people. People are stupid. Only listen to the people who’s opinions you know and/or trust. Because at least if someone says they hated it, and you know their taste in movies is pretentious, then at least you know where your opinion stands next to theirs. But randoms? Never listen to randoms. Randoms have an agenda. Or they’re going along with other people.)
The cold open happens in a British submarine underwater. Not just any submarine. A nuclear submarine. It is captured, though (though we don’t see it happen). We also find out this happened to the Russians too. The Russians put their best agent – XXX (Note: Not Vin Diesel) – on it, and the British put their best man on it, too. Bond. James Bond.
We then cut to MI6, where M asks Moneypenny where Bond is. He’s in Austria. M tells her to have him “pull out. Immediately.”
I always found this amusing. It’s the pinnacle of technology, and he’s got a stupid, thick, plastic tape to read messages on a DIGITAL watch? Is something a little cleverer too much to ask? Cause in two years you’re going to ask us to just accept space Marines attacking an enormous space station that has a radar jamming device.
“But James, I need you.”
“So does England.”
How many times is Bond actually saving England? Like, twice?
(Mike Note: Or so it seems.)
Naturally the chick he’s sleeping with is a spy, and this leads to a great ski chase own the Alps. (One of the more famous Bond chases, which is pretty much where the entire third act set piece of Inception came from.)
Nice handheld camerawork here. It’s also funny how someone can avoid a bullet while on skis that successfully. Oh, and Bond kills XXX’s boyfriend.
And that naturally leads to the credit sequence, set to one of the best three or four Bond songs of all time, “Nobody Does It Better” by Carly Simon.
Sadly, most of the credits play over the sequence. So it’s not as great for screenshots like some of the others are.
Yeah! Gogol’s office again! We see this place a few times, and it’s pretty awesome.
MI6 finds out that someone has hold of a submarine tracking system, and that the plans for such are out on the black market in Egypt. (And that whoever got hold of the submarines also now has in their possession twelve nuclear warheads.)
We then meet Karl Stromberg, who lives in a pineapple under the sea an underwater base called Atlantis. It’s pretty badass.
Stromberg, I’m lukewarm on. On one hand, he’s got a very simple goal and an interesting way of carrying it out. But he’s also one in a line of ridiculous villains that I can’t really get on board with (yeah, nautical puns!) because they’re a little too out there. He wants to wipe out life on earth so that he can rule an underwater kingdom? What?
This matches up perfectly with Drax from Moonraker, who wants to wipe out the human race and start a space colony to breed a master race for the world’s repopulation. You’re a nutcase.
Blofeld was always about the money or the power. These guys are destroying the WORLD. Oh, you like Dom Perignon ’52, Mr. Stromberg? News flash: there ain’t no champagne underwater. This is clearly not a Flemming villain, nor is Drax — the novel’s Drax is just a former Nazi trying to nuke London. Yet again, deviation from the novels and too much creative control from just one producer made this a weaker film than it could have been. If Stromberg had a more realistic goal, a less ridiculous base and a better backstory, this would be a properly fantastic Bond film. Instead, it’s merely great in spite of its shortcomings.
He exposits that he’s the one who had the tracking system created, and that it’s all part of a larger plan. Obviously. Bond villains always need to spell it out; “I did it. But I’ve got bigger plans than that.” I feel like it’s a compulsion they all have. Like washing their hands all the time or necrophilia.
He also has his wife or girlfriend or whoever killed because she’s the one trying to sell the plans. They have to kill someone, or else you wouldn’t know they were the villain.
But it’s no worry – his assistant Naomi has huge tits, I’m sure he’ll be fine crying himself to sleep at night on those pillows.
Naomi is a henchwoman, so clearly she doesn’t make it. I guess some more major henchmen make it, but this one sure as hell doesn’t. In fact, this is the first time Bond has ever flat out killed a woman, so high five for that one, Roger! Naomi is the villain’s pilot, much like Pussy Galore, Helga Brandt and later, Corinne.
Bond and XXX meet her when she picks them up by boat to take them to see Stromberg. Bond says, “What a handsome craft. Such lovely lines,” referring either to the boat or to her. Either way, XXX is furious. So later they have to kill her. She’s fun, serves her purpose. Nothing special, but not bad.
He also has an elevator that has a trap door that leads down a chute into a shark tank. Honestly, if I went out that way, as I landed in the shark tank, I wouldn’t feel bad about it. He spent all that time and money creating such an elaborate way to go. I’d actually be able to think about how one would think to create that exact way to get rid of someone as the shark bit into my sternum. Or while I was busy furiously masturbating with one hand and punching the shark in the face with the other. Either way, I bet the engineer who was assigned that creamed in his pants when he was told about it. It’s like hiring someone to build your idea for a Rube Goldberg machine. Isn’t that why people become engineers? You know every engineer has at least one Bond villain lair in their personal blueprint collections.
Stromberg then sends two of his henchmen, Sandor (the strong man) and Jaws –
— to retrieve the microfilm containing the plans. He says to kill anyone who even so much as looks at the film.
He also kills the two guys who made the system, because he can. Because he’s evil and shit. How else would we know if he didn’t kills some (relatively) innocents?
Bond then arrives in Egypt. He goes to an old schoolmate buddy of his, who sends him to the person who will get him the plans. And Bond gets to fuck an Egyptian chick for the night, because that’s how life works.
Oh yeah, his buddy Hussein is a boss and just throws a harem at Bond.
The next day, he goes to meet the contact, who isn’t there. Obviously he was killed by Stromberg’s guys. And there’s a woman there who is about to fuck him (because that’s how life works), when Sandor (the strong man) tries to shoot him.
She takes the bullet for him (because that’s how life works) and he chases Sandor. (I’m not really sure why she takes the bullet for him. Was she doing this against her will and didn’t want to see him die? Or was she evil and then Bond’s dick magic was so strong she decided to turn over a new leaf? Either way, I’m pretty sure dick magic is the cause of death with this one. Dick magic and a bullet. I smell a buddy cop show.)
And they fight.
Bond kills Sandor (the strong man). Check out the visual reference they borrowed for Quantum of Solace.
Bond then goes to the pyramids, where Fakkesh, his contact, is. He finds him talking to Agent XXX. Anya Amasova. (You can’t not think of a porno when you write that. Plus – you know – her tits.)
Barbara Bach was so fine in this movie that Ringo Starr married her, or so the story goes. Personally, I thought she was above drummer-wife quality.
When we first see her, she’s in bed with a Russian guy, and a phone call comes for Agent XXX. We think it’s the guy, but it’s not the guy (In Soviet Russia, assumptions make you!). She’s then set up as a rival who does things at LEAST half as good as Bond (despite any claims made in the opening theme) and sometimes better. She dispatches Jaws with the van, demonstrating that her Bach was worse than his bite —
(Roger Moore Note: Can I use that?)
— and then on that boat in Egypt, Bach played Bond like a harpsichord (Bach joke!) and left him there. When we find out they’re working together, they have to compete on obscure European shipping company trivia and she wins, of course. The character gets more depth than the usual Bond girl when she finds out that Bond killed her boyfriend and decides she has to kill Bond to get even. So it’s that whole, “We’re on opposite sides of the Cold War, but you’re hot and I wanna bang you, but ohhhh, I guess I did shoot your boyfriend, but we have to work together now, so I’ll keep trying to sleep with you but you’ll resist,” thing.
(Mike Note: Just like high school.)
This is the same sort of mentality (minus the dead boyfriend) they brought to Michelle Yeoh’s character in Tomorrow Never Dies, and it fails. I particularly like how they make her an able combatant.
And the titties. Those too.
Watch the scene on the train after Jaws gets kicked off. Woo!
Oh, but the fighting…
She’s ready to throw down all the time, and almost karate chops Bond when they’re searching the columns in Egypt. Mostly we just like her for being hot and competent at the same time, which is really played out in the scene where they come aboard the US submarine and the captain’s just staring at her. “What’s the matter, sailor? You never seen a major taking a shower before?”
Of course, in the end she has to succumb to Bond’s charms, but only after he’s acknowledged that she’s got the upper hand by accidentally blowing his champagne load. And then it’s all submersible luxury escape pod sex. All in all, one of my favorite ever Bond girls, and she’s like half of the reason this movie’s so good.
You know who’s also at the pyramids? Jaws.
And since this is his first Bond appearance, let’s talk about him.
Jaws is a ray of sunshine in the dark ages that were the Roger Moore years. This guy is the original Juggernaut, bitch. Run off the road, through a roof, car explodes? Electrocuted and thrown off a train? Showered in stone slabs, hit by a van? He eats those.
Bond jumped the shark, Jaws BIT the shark.
Motherfucker BIT A SHARK TO DEATH.
You have to love his trademark metal teeth (Got that shit in fourth grade!) and the fact that he has no backstory whatsoever. He’s so awesome they bring him back for Moonraker and his character does something cool in that movie too, making him a very interesting Bond villain.
But we’re all clear on the fact that Jaws bit a shark to death and that’s awesome.
— (Bond too) goes after Fakkesh, and there’s a great moment where he bites off a padlock with his teeth, and then he kills Fakkesh with them too. Because fuck dentists.
He then disappears from Bond under cover of darkness. He’s a shifty motherfucker.
Bond then meets XXX, and there’s a cute moment where they know each other’s drinks. Remember when secret agents had their own drinks? Now I’d settle for their own personalities.
Bond goes and meets the owner of the club, to discuss the microfilm. You know who’s also at the club?
— kills the owner and makes off with the microfilm.
How many times have we seen that look?
If this van’s a-Bach-in’ don’t come a-knockin’.
The van is then taken to some ruins. Bond and XXX follow Jaws –
— to Stromberg.
Or so they think.
Turns out – he knows they’re there. And he disappears once again, only to sneak attack.
But XXX manages to pull a gun and get him to give her the microfilm. And he ends up getting trapped under a collapsing structure of wood and shit.
And that’s the end of Jaws.
… or is it?
XXX tries to escape with the microfilm, but Bond had already taken the keys to the van (gotta love someone with enough foresight to do shit like that).
BUT OH NO, IT’S JAWS, MOTEHRFUCKER!
He literally tears the roof off the sucka, raising the roof of the van and pulling it clean off.
FUCK YO VAN!
He literally stops a speeding van with his bare hands. (I bet he’s a master at cunnilingus, too. “Hey, baby, ever get yo pussy licked by teeth that killed a shark?”)
(Shirley Bassey Note: “His teeth are cold!”)
But then XXX backs the van up against some rocks. But that don’t stop nobody.
Our dentally enhanced friend LIFTS the car up like it’s a fucking end table. But they drive away anyway.
I don’t blame her for messing up the gear changes. The whole system must have been confusing, since Soviet-era transmissions and gearboxes were made out of cinder blocks.
He’s not happy.
Bond and XXX break down in the middle of the desert. Oh look – another moment used for Quantum. (Not to mention the Lawrence of Arabia score they play over this entire scene. Like I wasn’t gonna catch that shit…) They hitch a ride on a merchant ship back to Cairo.
And there’s the, “Oh, they’re gonna fuck” moment.
Not to belittle the movie or anything – but Connery did it better.
And then XXX knocks Bond out with some knockout powder. Quel dommage. (It wouldn’t be a Bond film if he didn’t get knocked out.)
Bond then wakes up and goes after her. He ends up at some temple grounds or ruins or whatever their official title is. Gotta love these settings. They always make for interesting shots.
Turns out it’s a temporary base for MI6. Moneypenny is in the outer ruins, while M is in the inner ruins. Only, M’s not initially there. You know who is?
Guess what? This is the first time we see General Gogol in a Bond film.
Gogol is M’s opposite number in the KGB, and he’s even cooler than M most of the time. We meet him here (although the actor Walter Gotell also appeared in a speaking role as an administrator at SPECTRE’s training facility in From Russia With Love) for the first of six total appearances — five as the director of the KGB.
Even though it seems like he’s an enemy, Gogol is usually an ally, and at the very worst a sporting competitor, like in For Your Eyes Only. He’s one of my favorite recurring Bond characters, especially because he’s made out to be a playboy with a sense of humor. He sticks around until The Living Daylights, by which time he’s working for the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Bond finds XXX there and learns that the Russians and the British have decided to work together to find out what happened to the subs. Bond also reveals that the microfilm was just a tease, and that it doesn’t contain the full plans.
So what do they do? Take it to Q.
I love when we randomly get a bunch of gadgets shown to us for no reason. Like the hookah that’s also a gun. I love that Q just sits at home and comes up with shit and just makes it.
Mmm! Can we look at these for a sec?
They check out the microfilm and it leads back to Stromberg. So Bond and XXX head out there. There’s a great moment where Bond invites her for some sex but she says no, and then they’re both sort of waiting for the other to come into their room. (Since ‘no’ means nothing to James Bond. No just means ‘try again in five minutes.’) Only –
OH NO, IT’S JAWS, NIGGA!
He attacks XXX, Bond comes in, and he and Bond fight.
You can’t beat him, James. He eats wood for fun, motherfucker.
But there is one way to overcome a mouth of metal – electricity. And kicking him out the window of a moving train.
And that’s the end of Jaws.
… or is it?
That’s right, you can’t kill me, motherfuckers!
But anyway – it’s time to fuck.
Also, can we take a second to talk about how prominently Barbara Bach’s tits are on display in this movie? (And then look at them for seven to thirty minutes?)
Way ahead of you.
Anyway, the next day, we’re introduced to the Bond car of the film.
I have major conflicts with this car. Bond gets a 1976 Lotus Esprit for his car in the film, delivered by Q — fun fact, we find out that Q’s real name is Major Boothroyd from Anya, who name drops for the first time in the series — before going to meet Stromberg for the first time.
My initial reaction is purely positive. Classic Bond was always about the new technology and the latest stuff available. The Esprit was brand new that year and had some wild styling done by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the same guy who went on to design the DeLorean. So it’s got the sexy, modern, Italian styling, but underneath it has the Lotus engine out of a Jensen Healey, one of the most British sportscars around. You’re seeing “worldly” and hearing “British”….it’s perfect for Bond. You think, “Eh, it’s not an Aston, but it fits.” Problems arise later, which we’ll get to then.
Bond and XXX are then taken to Stromberg. Or rather, to Atlantis. Which looks like one of the tripods from War of the Worlds.
Bond goes to Stromberg under the pretension of being a marine biologist. (I love that he always has a fake job, knows everything about it, and then the villain knows it’s all bullshit and still doesn’t say anything about it until after he leaves. It’s so British.)
And Stromberg tells him of his dream of an underwater city, and basically going one step away from telling Bond his plan. (It’s kind of weird that a billionaire living as a recluse in an underwater fortress would randomly be okay talking to some marine biologist he’d never met and then go and basically tell him all this personal shit. Especially when he knows that dude is really a British agent. Hmm… logic.)
BUT OH NO JAWS IS BACK.
Stromberg sends him to kill Bond and XXX. Which leads to a country road chase, and a dude on a motorcycle where the sidecar is a rocket.
But then Jaws –
— starts shooting at them from another car.
But they spray paint on the windshield and the car careens off a cliff…
… and onto a dude’s house.
And that’s the end of Jaws…
… or is it?
And then a helicopter comes and shoots at Bond.
When the chase begins, it all looks great. We get a pretty standard chase, and the only gadget we see is a rear-firing paint gun that Bond uses to send his pursuers off the road and through an Italian guy’s house. Then a helicopter shows up and the chase continues. Great engine sounds, an E-brake turn, aerial photography.
And again, Naomi is the first woman in the series that Bond has flat out killed. Women may have died because of something he did — like Fiona Volpe when he moved out of the way —
(Mike Note: Or pretty much the rest of them by him fucking them. Strawberry Fields, Lisl, any of the secondary Bond girls, pretty much.)
— but Caroline Munro’s character is the first one where he said, “You’re a bitch, I’ma kill you.” Unfortunately, there was no quip after he killed her, and we forget all about her immediately cause we’re underwater in that stupid fucking submarine.
And there’s actually a really nice chase, which leads to Bond’s car going off a pier and into the water.
But don’t worry – the car is also a submarine.
“Wet Nellie” is probably the second most famous Bond vehicle, but really, guys? A submarine? Moore then uses a missile to destroy the helicopter, cause that couldn’t have been done on land, apparently. This is where things fall apart for me. This may seem like an overly practical argument, but anyone familiar with classic British cars knows that the last thing you want is to get one wet, let alone submerge it. In case you do ever need to take your car underwater, follow Jason Statham’s example from The Transporter 3, and buy German. The Germans have great appreciation for precision fitting and rubber seals.
The whole thing makes me sad, because I really loved that car from the start. I think they only took it in the wacky direction they did because this was the first film that wasn’t based on an Ian Flemming novel in any way (just the title). Would Flemming have send Bond and Anya underwater? Hell no. Maybe half-naked in a pool. But this is one example of why I don’t love all the creative power Cubby Broccoli got when Saltzman left after Man With the Golden Gun.
They return to Atlantis and look to see what’s going on.
BUT OH NO, another chase!
I love this shot of vehicular underwater manslaughter. Bond just fucking runs over a guy, underwater.
And they get rid of everyone, but the car gets a leak and they have to bail out. There’s a great shot of them pulling up out of the water and onto a beach (which I swear is a nude beach in the wide shots and then not a nude beach in the close ups. Conti-what-ity?).
I also sadly do not have a screenshot of the wine drinking dude that would appear again in Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only. (I know. I’m sorry. This was the first film I did. It’s really lacking in shots. One day I’ll fix it.)
Back on land, XXX realizes Bond killed her boyfriend. She tells him she’ll kill him once the mission is over. (But not now. Now, he’s got the magic dick.)
They then hop aboard an American submarine and are immediately captured by the Liparus, a supertanker Stromberg just commissioned. (It’s very Death Star.)
While captured (P.S. I love how this always happens to Bond. He has a chase, escapes, and then immediately gets captured. For the best agent in Britain, he sure does get captured a lot), Bond sees what Stromberg’s plan is – how? Stromberg tells him. Classic Bond villain mistake.
Stromberg’s plan: firing the nuclear missiles at New York and Moscow via the captured British and Russian subs, triggering nuclear war, and then starting civilization over underwater in Atlantis. He’s not destroying the world, he’s creating a world beneath the sea!
So he leaves Bond to die on the ship and takes XXX to Atlantis. For breeding, I guess. P.S. his boat shoots out of the ship exactly like the boat in the World Is Not Enough opening.
Naturally, as soon as Stromberg is gone, Bond escapes, because henchmen are inherently inept. And horrible shots.
Where the fuck are you shooting? HE WENT DOWN STAIRS!
Though the ship does have a nice little boat car transport system. It’s like an amusement park ride. This has to be an engineer’s wet dream, these hideouts.
HOW DO YOU NOT SEE HIM COMING?! He’s the only man with the gun about to kill you!
Bond frees all the captured seamen (what is that, three times for him now in this one?), who then take over the ship. This must have been fun to shoot.
Also, people throw grenades pretty liberally during this sequence. This is an ENCLOSED SPACE. And it’s not, as far as I can tell, Grand Theft Auto. These grenades ain’t gonna take away 30% of your health. Anyway, Bond and the men work on disarming the warhead.
Bond disarms the warhead, which is funny, since as he’s doing it, one of the men explains the specifics of the warhead to the captain. You’d think he’d be the one to do it. But I guess you can’t exposit and disarm a warhead at the same time. No. That would be chaos.
Even as a kid I had an issue with this. This is a globe, but they want to show you the missile trajectory, so they do it like this. So instead it just looks like both missiles are going from one sub to another by way of Greenland, thousands of miles to the north. Also, you ever watch a submarine movie? It takes a long ass time to get places in a sub, and that one on the left is basically on the other side of the Atlantic, having only just left the Liparus a little while ago. Movie magic.
Then Bond takes the detonator and rigs an explosive to get inside the heavily guarded command room. They then reprogram the subs’ coordinates to destroy each other and not the cities. Hooray. The day is saved.
Oh, but it’s not over. Because back at Atlantis –
What a perfect image of a Bond villain capturing the Bond girl. It’s so creepy. Any shot where someone’s head is at dick level and you don’t see anything else besides head and crotch is bound to be creepy.
Stromberg has XXX. (In the kidnapping sense, not the biblical one.) The American sub has been given orders to destroy Atlantis, but Bond wants to go back and get her.
Luckily, Q packed him a portable jet ski. (I wonder if he left him a cute little note with a joke on it too. “From Q, with Love. XOXOO7”)
I love that when Bond shows up on Atlantis, Stromberg says, “Good evening, Mr. Bond. I’ve been expecting you,” since his last words to him were “Farewell.” He even went so far as to remark that the word had an element of finality to it. So how the fuck can you be expecting him?
Bond goes up in the elevator, only – that’s a shark tank chute. Only –
But wait – Stromberg’s got a dick gun under the table!
And Bond evades it. And then shoots Stromberg in the dick. Twice. And then in the chest twice. It’s actually pretty cold blooded. (Cold Blood-ed!)
He then goes to get XXX before the sub sub make-a go boom-boom*. (* Official Terminology.)
ONLY UH OH IT’S JAWS UP IN THIS BITCH!
They have a struggle, and it ends up in the shark tank room. (Why would anyone have a house that doesn’t have a shark tank room?)
Only, uh oh – there’s randomly a magnet in the room! (Why?) And Bond drops him in the shark tank.
And that’s the end of Jaws.
… or is it?
He can’t die, man. You can’t kill a motherfucker who bites sharks.
HE BIT A SHARK TO DEATH. YES.
But then the sub shoots the torpedoes into Atlantis. And Bond and (a somehow scantily clad out of nowhere) XXX have to escape.
Look at those tits.
Though Stromberg randomly has an escape pod laying about that’s perfectly set up to fuck bitches in. Comfortable couch, champagne, some Lionel Richie…
You know Stromberg was a Teddy Pendergr-ass man.
Then Indigo Montoya says the mission is over and that she’s gonna kill Bond. But as she’s going to kill him, he asks for a last request… which is to fuck her.
So I guess that means the execution has been pushed back?
In hindsight, aren’t you just asking for it when you name your floating fortress “Atlantis”? Cause how does that legend about Atlantis go? Their plans all worked and they lived happily ever after?
Which surely must now be the end of Jaws.
NOPE! MOTHERFUCKER’S STILL ALIVE!! AH AH!!
And then there’s the great final line, when the escape pod is brought back onto a ship, and their respective bosses see Bond and XXX banging inside.
And they ask, “Bond what are you doing?” and he says:
“Keeping the British end up, sir.”
Rim shot! (Which I’m sure is happening in that pod right about now.)
Final Thoughts on The Spy Who Loved Me:
This is the one thing that keeps me from flat out loathing Roger Moore. You did one good movie without a hillbilly sheriff or a stupid disguise or looking way too old. The plot is decent, the Bond girl is spectacularly good, the henchman BITES A SHARK TO DEATH and we have some very original locations that totally work. The downsides are that we get a major letdown for a car and a bit of ridiculousness on the part of the final battle and the lair. As much as it pains me to put Moore in the top 10, I really like this movie, and it deserves a spot.
My Final Thoughts:
I really like this one. Pretty classic Bond all the way through. Beautiful shots, good chases, and not too much bad stuff. I don’t really have too much to say about this one. This is the one Moore film where the good greatly outweighs the bad (as opposed to, “Man, if they got rid of that other shit, this could have been a classic”). And I know the more (Moore) I talk about it, the more (yes) likely I am to start saying bad things about it. So let’s just leave it at — I’m glad one of Roger Moore’s Bond films cracked the top ten.
– – – – –
Official Bond Number: #10
Release Date: July 7, 1977 (London Premiere) (As in, 07/07/77)
July 13, 1977 (U.S. release)
Run Time: 125 minutes
Budget: $14 million
Box Office: $46.8 million domestically, $185.4 million worldwide
Title Song: “Nobody Does It Better,” by Carly Simon
Music By: Marvin Hamlisch
Based On: Nothing really, except Bond in general, but “The Spy Who Loved Me” was a Fleming book.
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Writer: Christopher Wood & Richard Maibaum
First Lines: “Captain wants to keep 500 feet.” “Maneuvering, Control. Come in shallow to 500 feet.”
Last Lines: “Bond! What do you think you’re doing?” “Keeping the British end up, sir.”
– – – – –
– – – – –
- Karl Stromberg
- Anya Amasova (Agent XXX)
Secondary Bond Girl:
Bond Villain Chick:
Other Important Characters:
- Not really anyone else. There are the other characters, but not many of them matter so much. And Gogol is kind of established as an important character, so I guess him. But he’s there a bunch.
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- Austrian Alps
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- Lotus Esprit S1 (“Wet Nellie”)
- For Taunus 2.3 Ghia (henchmen in chase)
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- Do Jaws’s teeth count?
- Bond’s car is a submarine. That part of it has torpedoes and land mines. The car part has a cement blaster, machine guns in the headlights and missiles.
- Bond’s cigarette case and lighter combine to create a microfilm reader.
- Bond’s ski pole becomes a gun.
- XXX has a cigarette with stun gas.
- Q has a tea tray in his lab that can behead a man.
- Q’s lab also has a hookah that becomes a gun.
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- The film was nominated for Best Art Direction, Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “Nobody Does It Better.” It lost Art Direction and Score to Star Wars and lost Best Original Song to “You Light Up My Life” from You Light Up My Life.
- This was the first Bond film made without Harry Saltzman, who left the franchise after The Man with the Golden Gun.
- The producers approached Steven Spielberg about directing the film, but decided to wait to see how his “fish picture” did before they decided on anything. They then got Guy Hamilton to return, but he dropped out after being offered Superman (which he had taken away from him afterward anyway).
- This is the only Bond film where M’s first name (Miles) is said. In the books his name is Sir Miles Messervy. It’s also the second time M calls Bond by his first name. Usually he calls him “007” or “Bond.” (The other film he called him James was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.) Q is also referred to by his real name (Major Geoffrey Boothroyd) in this film as well.
- Title translations: (Finland) 007, My Beloved, (Portugal) The Spy That I Loved, (Sweden) Beloved Spy, (Poland) The Spy That Loves Me, (Spain, Norway, France, Denmark) The Spy That Loved Me, (Brazil) 007, The Spy That Loved Me.
- Apparently Stromberg has webbed hands.
- This is the first Bond film to be composed by an American. It’s also the first Bond film to feature the score of another movie in it (Lawrence of Arabia). XXX’s transmitter also rings with “Lara’s Theme” from Doctor Zhivago. This was indeed a Lean night.
- Albert Broccoli named this as one of his three favorite Bond films along with From Russia with Love and GoldenEye. (Considering what’s left on this countdown, and which ones left weren’t really released during his lifetime, that’s damn good.)
- Stanley Kubrick supervised the lighting of the supertanker set. He did so under the condition of complete secrecy.
- This is the first Bond film to make any significant references to Bonds past, specifically his recruitment into MI6 from the Navy, all the women he’s fucked, and his marriage to Tracy.
- This is not only General Gogol’s first appearance in a Bond film, it’s also the first appearance by Defence Minister Frederick Gray.
- Apparently this was the last movie Elvis saw before he died.
- Jaws was originally supposed to die, but Albert Broccoli suspected Jaws has great appeal, so they had him survive, so he could return in the next film. When preview audiences saw him swimming away, they cheered.