"The Chinese have a saying: 'Before setting off on revenge, you first dig two graves.'"The one with The Alleged Car
A British spy ship accidentally fishes out a mine and goes to the bottom. Unfortunately, it contains a secret device that sends orders to British nuclear missile submarines.
007, after visiting Tracy
's grave and dropping someone who strongly resembles Blofeld
down a chimney (at what is now the location of the Millennium Dome, which would feature in The World Is Not Enough
), is sent to find the ship and who was responsible for the murders of two people looking for it. While shadowing his target, he is captured and then saved via a crossbow bolt, after which he meets Melina Havelock, the Girl of the Movie
and an Action Girl
archer who wants to get revenge for her murdered parents
One of the very few Bond films in which the Soviets are explicitly bad guys (the others tend to involve them as allies against a common evil). Even here, they are more respectful competitors; after all, if you hear of a chance to get a key item that could give you a strategic advantage over your official enemies, you'd have to be a utter idiot not to make a play for it. As it is, General Gogol not only survives uninjured in the attempt, but stops Bond from being shot when he destroys the device at the end of the film and concedes the loss without a fuss.
This film is somewhat of a mish-mash of two Ian Fleming
's short stories ("For Your Eyes Only" and "Risico"
), with a scene from Live and Let Die
thrown in and some more plot added. It has also been compared to From Russia with Love
, as the aforementioned secret device is similar to a MacGuffin
featured in the earlier film.
Perhaps as a reaction to the perceived excesses of goofy humour and credibility-stretching adventure in the previous movie, Moonraker
, this movie is far closer to a classic spy yarn, with almost no gadgets deployed, no "larger than life henchman with a gimmick" and the bad guys simply being shot (in one case) and going away empty-handed in the other.
The dark tone to the film (by far the darkest for Moore) oddly comes from Timothy Dalton
. When he was first courted by Cubby Broccoli he was asked what kind of Bond he would play. He briefed Cubby on a much darker, edgier Bond grounded in reality, and this script was born, making a note of killing off the main series villain before the opening credits to make way for the new direction. By the time the new script was ready, Moore had decided to do another one, and Dalton that he was too young to play Bond. So with the script ready and waiting, Moore slipped into this moody and morally ambiguous Bond, something we didn't see again until Dalton took the role.Memorable moments in the movie
- The pre-titles sequence, in which a helicopter is flown indoors and then Bond gets his revenge on Ernst Stavro Blofeld once and for all for Tracy.
- The famous (and still tense on re-watch) scene in which Bond is hanging from a cliff.
- The Colombo/Kristatos switcheroo, in which the latter turns out to be the villain after it's initially made out that he's the goodie.
- A Margaret Thatcher impersonator (complete with her own Denis).
- Bond kicking a car off a cliff.
- Car chase in a yellow CitroŽn 2CV through olive groves.
- Underwater fight between Bond, Melina and a villain in a JIM suit.
- A Bond Girl with a crossbow: Melina is probably the first true Action Girl (as opposed to Faux Action Girl) in the Bond franchise, as she has virtually no Damsel in Distress moments, and ends up saving Bond more than once.
- The Bill Conti-composed disco-like score (with lots of cowbells).
- Bad Boss: When one of Kristatos' mooks falls overboard and is promptly eaten by sharks, Kristatos simply says "Oh, leave him." Admittedly, he was already being attacked, and there wasn't much they could have done anyway.
- Bad Habits: Q dresses as an Orthodox priest to provide information to Bond.
- Bald of Evil: The unnamed Blofeld in the opening sequence.
- Batman Cold Open: The opening sequence has nothing to do with the actual plot, but it does play into a theme within the movie: do we have a right to avenge our lost loved ones?
- There was a possibility Moore wouldn't return after Moonraker. The opening was designed in case a new actor had to play Bond, and they wanted to establish the backstory with Bond's wife.
- Bat Scare: When Bond is climbing the mountain and the doves come out of a hole.
- Between My Legs: Famously on the movie's poster. Incidentally, to get the right amount of gluteal coverage, the model wore the swimsuit backwards.
- British Stuffiness: Chief of Staff Bill Tanner in this film seems to have gone to the same Public School or sixthform as Terry-Thomas in terms of accent.
- Continuity Nod:
- Bond visits his wife's grave in the opening, which was intended as a way to ease a new actor into the role, before Moore decided to come back.
- The musical lock to the Identograph room is opened with the tune of "Nobody Does It Better," the theme song from The Spy Who Loved Me.
- Continuity Snarl: Blofeld appears bald and in a neck brace as he was at the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, even though he had subsequently appeared in Diamonds Are Forever with no brace and looking completely different.
- Contrived Coincidence: Of all things Melina could leave to mark the spot in the ruins she'd been studying, she chose her oxygen tank. It comes in handy saving their lives later on.
- Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Kristatos dies from a thrown knife In the Back from Columbo, just as he's either about to stab Bond or catch a quarrel from Melina's crossbow.
- Cool Car: Subverted; Bond's usual gadget-laden car blows up when the bad guys try to break into it, forcing him and Melina to go through the resulting car chase in her yellow beat-up CitroŽn 2CV.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: A message for Bond is left on his hotel room's bathroom mirror, exposed via condensation from the sink.
- Foreshadowing: Before being taken on a ride by Blofeld, a priest informs Bond that a helicopter from Universal Exports is coming to pick Bond up. He then makes the sign of the cross toward Bond as the helicopter takes off.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Locque to a T.
- Friendly Enemy: General Gogol just shrugs after Bond destroys the MacGuffin he flew in from Moscow to purchase.
- It helps that Gogol already met Bond and that a stalemate was an acceptable deal.
- Never mind that KGB assassinations tended to be subtle. Blatantly blowing Bond away on Western soil would have been a diplomatic nightmare for the Soviets.
- That wasn't the reason though (there wouldn't have been too many witnesses around for that, anyway). Gogol was just being a good sport, as he didn't need to have Bond killed for anything.
- Good Guns, Bad Guns: When Bond and Melina are captured after retrieving the ATAC, Kristatos and his mooks all carry P38 or Luger pistols, both weapons heavily associated with Nazi Germany.
- Go to Your Room: Kristatos says this to Bibi right before he slaps her.
- Groin Attack: Arguably happens to the film's heroine Melina Havelock during the under water excavation when she and Bond are attacked by a thug in an underwater excavation suit. While making a go at her his suit's claw hits her roughly in the groin area while she whimpers in fear. May not have been intentional on the part of the filmmakers and could have simply been a result of slow movement underwater.
- When one of Kristatos' men is attacked by sharks, the first one goes straight for the groin.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: If any of the guards at St Cyril's had gone for help instead of trying to take on Bond's small attack force themselves, they would have been wiped out.
- Gunman with Three Names: Emile Leopold Locque.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: If "Blofeld" hadn't flown the helicopter by his own location, Bond would never have known where he was.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Kriegler is a biathlon champion but is unable to shoot Bond every time.
- Biathletes typically don't shoot at moving targets, though.
- Instant Death Bolt: Melina's crossbow kills two people instantly, although it only wounds a third, who isn't hit in a less severe area.
- Kick the Dog: Kristatos slapping Bibi.
- A minor but amusing one; Locque is paying off Cuban assassin Hector Gonzales with a Briefcase Full of Money. Gonzales takes out a wad of cash and throws it to one of his Paid Harem. When Gonzales gets killed, Locque just picks up the briefcase and leaves, with his henchman snatching the wad from the girl as he walks past.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Bond kicking Locque off the cliff is, however justified given the nature of the victim, entirely deliberate murder (so good thing 007 is licenced to kill).
- The Last Straw: Although the pin thrown in an impending car doesn't bring it down: Bond's kick does.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Blofeld as mentioned above. Blofeld is never named as such or fully shown. He is bald, and he does have a similar outfit and the white cat in his lap pretty much tells the audience who he is. The explosion at the end of Diamonds Are Forever must have left him alive but paralyzed, hence the wheelchair.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After her parents are killed, Melina has an extended look directly into the camera.
- MacGuffin: The ATAC device that went to the bottom of the sea.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service:
Kristatos: Thank you, Mr. Bond. You have saved us the trouble of disarming it.
- Meaningful Name: Bibi Dahl? Come on...
- Needle in a Stack of Needles: Q gripes that they've found 439 St. Cyril's in Greece.
- Nipple and Dimed: We get a very brief glimpse of Lisl's right nipple as her nightie slips off. Melina, however, spends a couple scenes in a cut-off wet t-shirt with nothing visible around or through.
- You can see Melina's nipple during the closing credits, though only while she's swimming in silhouette, if you look for it.
- No MacGuffin, No Winner: When Bond finally destroys the ATAC in front of General Gogol and says "That's dťtente, comrade. You don't have it, I don't have it."
- Though a bit puzzling as the British can simply build another ATAC. Bond is probably taunting Gogol rather subtly.
- No More for Me: A Running Gag character - appeared in the two previous films - after a skier slides through his table.
- Not in Front of the Parrot: "Oh really, Mr. Bond ..."
- Also used more seriously: Bond would have been completely screwed if it wasn't for Kristatos telling his men where to take the ATAC in front of Max.
- Actually, it was Columbo they would have been screwed without since he was quite familiar with the location and would have known, parrot or no parrot
- Not My Driver: Blofeld sends a phony helicopter to pick up Bond in the opening.
- Oh, Crap: The JIM equipment Mook's reaction when the ticking stops.
- Only I Can Kill Him: Melina does it with Gonzales, but fails with Kristatos.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: trope namer, sort of.
Lisl: "Oh, me nightie's slipping!"
Bond: "So's your accent, Countess."
- Paid Harem/Pool Scene: Gonzales has a number of bikini-clad women lounging around his pool.
- Parasol Parachute: Bond uses a poolside umbrella to slow his fall when jumping off a wall. It's also useful as a momentary visual shield to avoid bullets.
- Pistol Whip: Columbo ushers Melina out of the winchroom, then knocks out the Bound and Gagged mook who's groaning from the quarrel stuck in his shoulder.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: Bond to Bibi Dahl as she tries to seduce him.
- Powered Armor: The mook in the deep-sea JIM suit (played by the movie's stunt coordinator) Bond and Melina must fight off underwater.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "You left this with Ferrara, I believe."
- Pretty in Mink: A few worn during the scenes in the Alps, including a coat Melina wears.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Bond's final battle with Kreiger.
- Put on a Bus: M is absent from the film (in the movie, he's said to be on leave) because Bernard Lee, the original M, died before production began. He would return played by Robert Brown in Octopussy.
- Possibly subverted in that Brown had already played the character of Admiral Hargreaves in "The Spy Who Loved Me", so this could be seen more as a major promotion.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: As stated above in Put on a Bus, Bernard Lee, the original M actor, sadly died before production started. Out of respect to his memory, the producers and filmmakers chose not to recast the role of M right then and there, so they established early in the film by way of Ms. Moneypenny that M was "on leave" (vacation) to explain his absence, and the scenes that would have normally featured him were rewritten with other government official characters acting in his place carrying out his usual tasks. M would return in Octopussy played by Robert Brown, but it's never established if Brown is meant to be the same character simply played by a different actor (as Bond usually is across his many recasts) or if he is meant to be a new character replacing the previous M.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Kriegler wears a pink shirt in the climax.
- Recycled in the '80's: The whole film is strongly reminiscent of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In both films Bond is with a Countess, on a beach, threatened by mooks, kicks a gun out of a mook's hand, and he's wearing a tuxedo sans jacket. Both films show Bond at a casino with the aforementioned Countess. Both times the women are losing at baccarat. The opening teaser sequence shows Tracy Bond's grave and Blofeld in a neck-brace. Also the fact in this film Melina is Half-English, Half-Greek. In OHMSS Tracy was Half-English,Half-Italian. Both films have Bond allied with a crime syndicate figure who doesn't sell drugs. Bond also escapes in both films by riding in the car of the female lead who does the majority of the driving. Both films have a wedding scene and Bond riding in a helicopter piloted by someone else. Both films have Bond speaking with a "priest" at some point. Both films are set in the Alps at one point, show a Bond Girl on ice,have Bond on skis getting shot at, and have a bobsled track fight/battle sequence. Mountain climbers are shown in both at some point. Both films have a Germanic female character who is in charge of a girl/girls. Finally, in both films Bond and his crime syndicate ally assault a mountaintop lair.
- Renegade Russian: Averted. This is the only Bond movie in which the villain is an agent of a communist government whose goal is actually authorized by his government.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Melina, hunting down Gonzalez and whoever hired him.
- Ruins for Ruins' Sake: At one point, Bond and Melina scuba dive past a sunken Greek Temple. In a deleted scene, Bond mentions it was once dedicated to Apollo.
- Same Language Dub: Carole Bouquet is inexplicably dubbed by another actress, who sounds more like in her 40s than in her 20s. However, Bouquet dubbed herself in the French version.
- Sea Mine: The St Georges (disguised as a fishing trawler) pulls up a WWII sea mine in its net, setting up the events of the film. Later The Dragon blows up a sea mine in the villains' warehouse to cover his escape and (unsuccessfully) destroy an attacking force. Its presence raises the possibility that the sinking of the St Georges may not have been an accident.
- Sequel Escalation: Inverted. Moonraker featured a space station and a plot to wipe out humanity, For Your Eyes Only is about a stolen MacGuffin.
- Show Some Leg: The villains provide one for Bond as he's infiltrating Gonzales hangout, and a member of his Paid Harem starts smooching with one of the guards, enabling Bond to sneak past.
- Smoke Out: During the car chase, Bond deliberately drives through some aggregate to create a smoke screen.
- Spy Drama: Probably the only Roger Moore Bond film that comes close to Stale Beer.
- Steal the Surroundings: When a spy ship goes missing, it turns out that to steal machinery onboard worth millions on the black market, the bad guys sunk the ship, killing everyone on board, so they could retrieve the equipment later by submarine.
- Stuka Scream: On the helicopter in the Cold Open and Gonzales' machine gun-equipped seaplane.
- Take That: Blofeld's appearance was a swipe at Kevin McClory.
- The destruction of Bond's Cool Car while fleeing Gonzalez's compound was a swipe at the overuse of gadget-laden vehicles during the Seventies. Bond and Melina are forced to flee in a beat-up clunker instead.
- Tantrum Throwing: Kriegler finds his rifle's barrel is bent, and throws both it and an entire motorbike at Bond.
- Theme Tune Cameo: The code to the room containing the identigraph is part of "Nobody Does It Better".
- Title Drop: A very subtle and rather unique variation. During his assignment briefing, Bond is handed a document marked "Classified" and secured with a seal marked "For Your Eyes Only".
- Significantly less subtle, "For your eyes only, darling" at the end.
- Token Romance: A common trope in Bond films, but this one has a particulously obvious example of it. There are literally no romantic moments at all between Bond and Melina Havelock (aside from maybe one slightly flirtatious moment) before they wind up kissing in the last scene, almost as an afterthought. Made more egregious by the fact that Bond rejects the advances of Bibi Dahl, played by Lynn-Holly Johnson, as she is clearly too young for him, yet Caroline Boucquet (the actress who plays Havelock) is only a year older than Johnson. The age difference between her and Roger Moore is 30 years, possibly explaining why their relationship seems far more father/daughter like rather than romantic.
- Two-Person Pool Party: Although it takes place in the sea.
- Unusual Euphemism: Bond's superiors tell him to "apply the necessary pressure" to make Gonzales talk.
- Vader Breath: When Bond is about to be attacked by an enemy diver in JIM equipment, all we see is a POV shot accompanied by the sound of the air regulator. And Ticking.
- The Voiceless: Locque again. We know he can speak, because we see him do it in one scene, but we never hear it. Fittingly, the only time he makes a sound is screaming as Bond shoves him to his doom.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
- Blofeld enjoys Bond's apparently futile attempt to escape his remote-controlled helicopter, deliberately flying it near buildings to frighten him. This gives Bond time to work his way into the cockpit where he can disconnect the cables to the remote system.
- Also later, when Kristatos has Bond and Melina hostage, he drags them behind his boat to be eaten by sharks (except he patches up Bond's open wound) for no apparent reason.
- Wire Dilemma: Needed to detach the ATAC from its self-destruct device. Subverted in that Bond and Melina have the wire guide with them (and it's simply cutting them from left to right) and the explosive and detonator remain intact (merely detached from the failsafe), allowing Bond to use it as a limpet mine later.
- You Killed My Parents: Melina's motivation to join Bond's quest.