The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures.”

Bond 10, Roger Moore’s 3rd outing. “The Spy who Loved Me” sees James Bond attempting to uncover the mystery behind disappearing Russian and British nuclear submarines. If you have seen Bond films before, and you are not sure which one this is let me throw you some clues:

  • At the start of the film Bond skies off a mountain and a Union Jack parachute is opened.
  • He is working with a Russian spy, who’s lover he previously killed.
  • It’s the first time that we see henchman Jaws.
  • The one with the ship that eats submarines.
  • It’s got the submarine car (Lotus) which loads of kids of the 70’s and 80’s had as a toy.
  • There is an underwater lair, which when it’s out of the water, looks like a massive sea spider.

In this film Roger Moore seems to fit more comfortable in the role. If you’ve read my previous Bond film reviews, then you’ll know that I thought that there was something amiss. Up until this point one of the failings of the Moore films was that the Bond role had been written with Connery in mind. In pre-production long-term producer Albert R. Broccoli brought in many writers to work on the script including Stirling Siliphant, John Landis, Ronald Hardy, Anthony Burgess and Derek Marlowe. Richard Maibaum was once again reinstated to produce the screenplay based on writing submissions. Director, Lewis Gilbert additionally brought in Christopher Wood to fix Bond for Moore, making the character more what is seen in the book; “very English, very smooth, good sense of humour”. This fitted Moore better after his other TV spy capers, his delivery was much more suited to the changes brought in.

Alongside Moore there is the gorgeous Barbara Bach as Russian Triple X agent Anya Amasova. Curd Jurgens plays villain Karl Stromberg, who ultimately wants to destroy civilisation in order to rebuild humanity under the sea. Caroline Munro plays Naomi, Stromberg’s pilot/ assassin. Usual faces such as Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn and Lois Maxwell reprise the roles as M, Q and Moneypenney. Richard Kiel is introduced to the Bond franchise, as Stromberg’s indestructible assassin, Jaws. Jaws, the giant with the metal teeth that seems to be never too far behind Bond in the film. Richard Kiel would go on to appear in “Moonraker” too, as well as other (non-Bond) films too where he was able to utilise his gigantism to good effect playing a menacing force.

All in all, I enjoyed this outing for Bond. It has a lot of memorable things in it, fans of the franchise have voted the submarine car as the second best car in the franchise (behind the Aston Martin), Stromberg and Jaws both appear in the top 10 villains in the Bond films, the iconic parachute/union jack scene was also voted the second best scene in a Bond film (losing to “007: Goldfinger” (1964)” scene where Bond is tied up and being threatened “No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!”. The opening music track sung by Carly Simon, “Nobody does it better”, is one of my favourites, it oozes with quiet confidence which seems to spill into the scene. Music is used to sell certain things about the film, and Marvin Hamlish (standing in for John Barry) seemed to bring a different feel. At times, the score to the film feels more disco than usual. There are also two snippets of scores from other movies, added to help sell as scene (Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia). Speaking of stand-in’s; I was shocked to learn that film maestro Stanley Kubrick also had a minor hand in this film. Cinematographer Claude Renoir was struggling with lighting, partly due to deteriorating eyesight. So, in secret, Kubrick visited the set to help advise on lighting.

A family friendly and fun film with lots to offer. Plenty of nostalgia, actions, adventure, tongue in cheek humour, and mixed in with some of the franchises most iconic moments and characters.

Title Song: Nobody does it better – Carly Simon

In terms of Bond films this is a 7 out of 10.

In terms of movies in the long and illustrious history of film I would give this a 6 out of 10.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (6/10)

Bond, James Bond, 007 – Ranking

1007: Goldfinger (1964) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
2007: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
007: Dr. No (1962) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
007: From Russia with Love (1963) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
3007: Thunderball (1965) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
007: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
4007: You only live twice (1967) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
007: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
007: Diamonds are Forever (1971) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5007: Live and Let Die (1973) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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