In memory of Sir Roger Moore

A week ago James Bond died in Switzerland at the age of 89.

Sir Roger Moore was worldwide known in the mid 70s to 80 for his role as the British secret agent. And everyone has some kind of love for James Bond, so in a way to honor Roger Moores Bond I am gonna take a look at all his movies as the loveable British agent. Roger Moores Bond was not the stone cold cynical killer that Sean Connery was. This new James Bond had humour and witty one liners that managed to capture some realism to the character and make him more likeable for the 70s and 80s.

Live and Let Die.(1973)
So. Roger Moores first film as James Bond was Live and Let Die. This came out in the early part of the blaxploitation era and was a departure from previous BOnd movies where there was one big egomaniac super villain trying to ruin the world. Live and Let Die is a movie about drug trafficking. It was set in the African-american cultural centers as Harlem and New Orleans, and the use of black gangsters and what we today would call very racist stereotypes was a way to appeal to the African-American community. We had Gloria Hendry as the first African-American Bond Girl and Jane Seymour as the psychic woman Solitaire.

Live and Let Die was a big box office success but it was not the strong debut that Roger Moore may have wished for as James Bond. There are so much focus on Blaxploitation and the way Jane Seymour dominates the movie that Moore kind of becomes invisible. Live and Let Die also had one of the finest opening tracks from Paul and Linda McCartney and their band Wings.

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The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Now Moores next movie was The Man With The Golden Gun, and this is personally one of my favorite Bond movies. I know everyone hates it but I am gonna explain. The Man With The Golden Gun has Christopher Lee as Franscisco Scaramanga. The only Bond Villain close to being Goldfinger caliber. The story is great. Britt Ekland and Maud Adams are great Bond Girls. And the action scenes are pretty good choreographed. The movie came out during Kung-Fu hysteria of 1973-1975 and the movie takes place in Asian locations and are filled with Kung Fu Fighting

In the Man With The Golden Gun Bond has to recover a device that can harness the power of the sun, and that puts him in conflict with Franscisco Scaramanga, a super assassin that works as kind of the Alter Ego to Bond and his signature Golden Gun that kills in one shot.

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The Spy Who Loved Me. (1977)
There was a three-year gap between Moores second and third Bond movie and The Spy Who Loved Me. We are probably talking about the weakest of Roger Moores Bond movies here and in this film James Bond has to team up with a soviet spy to stop a big psychopath in destroying the world to create his own civilization under the sea. Here we have the first appearance by Richard Kiel as the very popular bad guy Jaws.

Strombergs supertanker is almost dangerously impressive for being 1977 in terms of mise-en-scene and the cinematography was okay but the acting is so weak. Moore and Barbara Bach seems bored as the two leads and Curt Jurgens does not really manage to put up an impressive main villain in Karl Stromberg. The movie has an amazing open track. called “Nobody Does it Better” and Jaws is always fun.

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Moonraker (1979)
Now we are in 1979, and after the huge success of Star Wars they wanted to put James Bond in space, and the result is a train wreck. Bond investigates the theft of a Space Shuttle leading him into conflict with Hugo Drax. Jaws returns as Draxs new bodyguard and Bond has to go into space to prevent the destruction of the world and the rebirth of humanity as a master race.

Up until 1995s Goldeneye Moonraker was the highest grossing Bond movie, and the highest budget in a Bond film to date with 34 million dollars. Most of that money went to the visual effects that are quite good, the main problem is the desperate attempt of turning this happy fun action into Star Wars. It is slow pacing. The action sequences are boring and the humour is lame and the lame love twist where Jaws falls so madly in love he becomes a good guy. It is not what Bond is supposed to be. It is quite frankly the only Bond movie close to being; Quantum of Solace bad. Shirley Basseys title track is pretty neat and the visuals is pleasing to look at but it can’t save Moonraker from maybe being the worst James Bond movie to date.

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For Your Eyes Only (1981)
We are approaching the end of this short look at Roger Moores Bond career and next up is one of his finer Bond movies. For Your Eyes Only tells the story of Bond trying to locate a missile command system while being tangled into a web of deception from a Greek businessman while working with a woman trying to avenge the death of her parents.

This is the first James Bond movie without Bernard Lee as M. The actor died early in 1981 and out of respect for the actor they did not cast a new M for this film and said he was on holiday instead. Julian Glover delivers a splendid villain as the smuggler Aristotle Kristatos. The title song is done by Sheena Easton and it was the first time the singer appeared in the opening credits.

The movie has high quality stunts an intriguing plot that is not too much. This Bond movie is just great entertainment. Moore was getting a bit older but he still managed to have a quiet and reliable authority. And the cinematography here is just incredible. It is a movie that is easy on the eyes and pleasing to look at.

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Octopussy (1983)
Now this is a funny one. Moores sixth Bond movie. Here he has to follow a general who is stealing Russian jewelry. And this gets him into conflict with the Afghan prince Kamal Khan and the smuggler and wealthy business woman Octopussy. Here we can see how tired Roger Moore was from playing Bond.

This is a bad movie. They are making fun of Bond by putting him in clown outfits and turning him into Tarzan. The movie is overall very slow. and has no really believable humour. And it has some of the lamest villains in the franchise to date. Octopussy is a demeaning Bond movie and one of the few ones I would say there is no need to see at all.

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A View to a Kill (1985)
The seventh and final Bond movie starring Roger Moore is A View to a Kill. Everyone knows Duran Durans famous opening track and the movie is pretty good. Here Bond has to Max Zorin who plans to destroy Silicon Valley in California.

A View to a Kill is the cheesy Bond we love. Christopher Walken is phenomenal as Max Zorin and Grace Jones is as scary as she can only be as his sidekick May Day. Tanya Roberts gives an interesting Bond Girl and Moore really uses his final James Bond film to shine. He is in great shape here and he feels more energetic than he has done in previous installments.

The Storyline is absurd, the action looks pleasing and the stunt work is incredible. A View To A Kill is really a great ending to a pretty mediocre James Bond.

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So. I have never been the big fan of Roger Moore as James Bond but some of his movies were pretty good. He managed to bring quite the unique life to the character and a sense of humour he has not had since. He played James Bond for seven movies, and although two of them (Moonraker and Octopussy) never should have happened he was pretty okay. He was no Connery or Dalton but I can totally acknowledge how important he has been to the franchise.

The Ranking:
I am going to rank Roger Moores seven Bond movies like this

  1. The Man with the Golden Gun
  2. A View to a Kill
  3. For Your Eyes Only
  4. Live and Let Die
  5. The Spy Who Loved Me
  6. Octopussy
  7. Moonraker

 

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