Film: The Spy Who Loved Me

Well, well... a British agent in love with a Russian agent. Détente, indeed.

The One With that underwater Lotus.

A pair of nuclear missile submarines go missing. Independently, our British secret agent and a Soviet agent are assigned to find them. Thing is, the former just shot the latter's boyfriend dead.

This 1977 entry is the tenth James Bond film, and the third with Roger Moore, and it is regarded by many as Moore's best and quite possibly one of the best in the series, as well as Moore's personal favourite of his own batch. Ian Fleming had written the namesake novel much differently than the other Bond books, but was so embarrassed by the results that he only sold the rights to the title, refusing to license the plot with it.

Nobody expected The Spy Who Loved Me to do well after the rather poor The Man with the Golden Gun. Its three... four chief weapons were...
  1. The Teaser. At the end of the sequence, Bond skis off a cliff. He falls for several heart-stopping seconds, then a parachute opens. In the colours of the Union Jack. As the Bond theme kicks in. There are several reported cases of audiences breaking into applause at this moment. This stunt was done for real and you can see one of the skis hit the stuntman's chute, which could have been pretty nasty.
  2. The Lotus Esprit. Driving off a pier into the sea. Where it turns into a submarine.
  3. The 007 Stage, built for the massive battle scene in a supertanker. It has been made available for filming other movies and remains the second largest stage in the worldnote . It is actually a silent stage, not a sound stage. But the size makes it ideal for big action sequences, which almost always requires doing the sound in post anyway.
  4. Jaws. the 7'4" henchmen with the metal teeth who is so unstoppable that he is only Dragon to survive fighting Bond and maybe the one who came closest to scaring him. That is partially due to the fact that Bond knows that no matter how hard he hits the giant, he WILL survive it and come back to challenge him again. In fact, he does return for the next Bond movie, Moonraker.

Speaking of that last point, this movie ends with "James Bond will return in... For Your Eyes Only." However, 1977 was the same summer that Star Wars was released, and every producer in the world wanted to have a space-themed hit to rival that. So, instead, they quickly scrambled together and made Moonraker since it could support a space-themed plot (it helped that "Moon" was in the title).

It also features the first appearance of a wetbike - the actual prototype- in a work of fiction, before it was commercially launched.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Agents Dating: A possible Trope Codifier. Bond and Soviet agent XXX (No, not that one) flip flop between working together and working against each other before they finally hookup at the end:
  • Almost Dead Guy: Just before dying, the captain of the Liparus tells Bond that the submarines are on station and the missiles will be launched in four minutes.
  • Amphibious Automobile: Bond's Lotus Esprit can become a sub.
  • The Anticipator: Bond goes to Atlantis to rescue Anya Amasova before Atlantis is blown up. Bond's entrance is noticed by Stromberg, who says "good evening, Mr Bond. I've been expecting you."
  • Apocalypse How: Class 2 (Civilization Extinction). Stromberg's plan to start a global thermonuclear war.
  • Artistic License – Ships: The Soviet submarine is missing its fairwater planes.
  • Auction of Evil: Between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., over the submarine tracking system plans.
  • Big Bad: Karl Stromberg.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Sort of; General Gogol's secretary is "Miss Rublevich."
  • Bond One-Liner: Lots and lots but XXX kicks out a nice one right after slamming Jaws into a stone Egyptian ruin using the van they're in.
  • Break Up Make Up Scenario: when Anya discovers Bond killed her lover. It takes him a full adventure and life saving to make her forgive him. This also gives us one of the very few scenes where Roger Moore's Bond seems remorseful. For hurting a woman's feelings!
  • The Brute: Jaws. Also The Dragon.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A heroic version, Bond initially doesn't think anything about having killed Anya's lover when she asks him.
    Bond: When someone's behind you on skis at 40 miles per hour trying to put a bullet in your back, you don't always have time to remember a face. In our business, Anya, people get killed. We both know that. So did he. It was either him or me. The answer to the question is yes. I did kill him.
  • Car Fu: Jaws going toe-to-toe with a van. While ultimately beat, he does put up a good fight tearing up large portions of it.
  • Collapsing Lair: When Stromberg's lair Atlantis is torpedoed. The Liparus also doubles as a secondary example.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey:
    Girl: What happened? Where are you going?
    Bond: Sorry. Something came up.
    Girl: But, James, I need you.
    Bond: So does England!
  • Continuity Nod: Perhaps because it was the 10th Bond film, or because it was the first made without the input of Harry Saltzman, or because it was the first not to be based at least somewhat on an Ian Fleming story, this film includes multiple references to and thematic elements borrowed from the previous entries, particularly the seven Connery/Lazenby films. These include:
    Anya: You're sensitive, Mr. Bond.
    Bond: About certain things, yes.

  • Cool Boat: Stromberg's Liparus. It eats submarines.
  • Cool Car: Bond's Lotus Esprit submarine car
  • Cool Sidecar: The bad guys chase Bond with a sidecar that becomes a detachable missile steered by a joystick on the motorbike.
  • Darker and Edgier: Very subtly done. Although Bond gave his moral viewpoint on killing in the previous film, this is the first time his profession is openly discussed, and What Measure Is a Mook? is a running theme throughout the film. Although Dalton, Brosnan and Craig have all played increasingly complex versions of the character, this was the first step towards Bond's psychological maturity.
  • Deadpan Snarker
    • Bond, as usual.
    • Anya proves quite adept at snark as well.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Karl Stromberg.
  • Dirty Old Man: Stromberg to Anya, while she's strapped to a couch.
  • Disney Villain Death: Sandor
  • Distaff Counterpart: Anya Amasova to Bond. The scene where she is called on a mission while in bed with someone is in particular very reminiscent of Bond on numerous occasions (though unlike Bond most of the time, she clearly did love her bedmate at the time).
  • Double Entendre
    • One of the tastiest in Bond history:
      M: Moneypenny, where's 007?
      Miss Moneypenny: He's on a mission, sir. In Austria.
      M: "Well, tell him to pull out. Immediately."
      [Cue Bond making love with a woman by a fireplace in Austria.]
    • An even better one at the end, and arguably one of the best Bond endings.
      M: 007!
      Gogol: Triple X!
      Minister of Defence: Bond! What do you think you're doing?
      Bond: Keeping the British end up, sir.
  • The Dragon: Jaws.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Bond fights Jaws only after killing his Diabolical Mastermind boss Stromberg.
  • Drink Order / Your Favorite: James and Anya get drinks for each other:
    James: The lady will have a... Bacardi on the rocks.
    Anya: For the gentleman, vodka martini - shaken, not stirred.
    James: Touche.
  • Driving Stick. Anya falls foul to this when trying to escape Jaws with 007.
    [Anya failing to drive stick, causing the gears to grind noisily]
    Bond: Can you play any other tune?
  • Dull Surprise: Anya makes one face and uses one voice for the entire movie.
  • Enemy Mine: Not only Bond and Anya, as well as MI6 and the KGB, but also the American, British and Soviet submariners who fight against the Liparus crew.
  • Enhance Button: Back before it was cool.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Averted. On Sardinia when Bond and XXX pick up the Lotus from Q she greets him with his true name, Major Boothroyd.
  • Exiled from Continuity: SPECTRE couldn't be used because of legal difficulties.
  • Fanservice: Major Anya Amasova in the shower on the U.S. submarine.
  • Faux Action Girl: Anya Amasova. She's said to be a Bad Ass Soviet spy who has never failed a mission, but in the movie she wouldn't have survived any of the numerous perils without Bond's help, and she spends the finale tied to a chair by the villain, while Bond has to come and rescue her.
    Of particular note is that she holds a gun on Jaws and forces him to drop the microfilm McGuffin he is carrying, then instead of forcing him to back away, she is stupid enough to walk over to HIM, bend over right in front of him, and take her eyes off him to grab the McGuffin. He immediately kicks the gun out of her hand and would have almost certainly killed her had Bond not been there.
  • Fed to the Beast: Stromberg's assistant.
  • Giant Mook: Jaws
  • Go-Go Enslavement
    • Where did Stromberg find that outfit for Anya?
    • Probably in Naomi's wardrobe.
  • Groin Attack
    • Bond to Jaws in the shark pool room.
    • Bond to Stromberg...with two bullets from his Walther, thanks to Stromberg having an explosive launcher under the table with a perspex tube to guide it straight into the groin of the man across from him, for the ultimate in groin attacks. After dodging the shot, Bond decides to show Stromberg what he thinks of the concept...
  • Handshake Refusal: Bond is told before meeting Stromberg that he's germophobic and won't shake hands. Bond holds out his hand to Stromberg anyway and is predictably rebuffed.
  • Hand Signals: The leader of the KGB team trying to kill Bond gestures to the others to split up and a Stromberg crewman makes a beckoning gesture to another crewman.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: Bond does this to a mook and then lets the him plummet to his death when he hears everything he needs.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty
  • Implacable Man: Jaws proves himself to be Bond's most resilient foe.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: Indeed, Major Amasova never does kill Bond for killing her lover. By then, Bond had saved her life even when he had no other reason to.
  • In Name Only: Ian Fleming disliked his original novel so much that he only allowed the film to have the same name on the explicit condition that it would not be an adaptation of the novel (Which was about Bond seducing a hotel clerk and stopping her employers from burning the hotel down to collect on the insurance money).
  • Instant Sedation: The sleep dust cigarette Anya uses on Bond.
  • Intimate Healing
    • Nude Body Warmth Sharing version when Anya suggests this to Bond to keep warm while they're on the boat to Cairo. It doesn't happen.
    • Played straight at the end, when they both need to get out of their cold wet clothes.
  • It's Raining Men: After Bond skis off a cliff.
  • Joker Immunity: Jaws.
  • Just Hit Him: Jaws and Bond.
  • Last Request: Bond asks Anya if he can make one before she kills him. Of course, that was before a popping champagne cork broke the tension. It was unlikely from that point she was going to actually kill him.
  • Left the Background Music On: A variation. When Bond pulls the plug on the Liparus' bridge monitors, the Bond theme abruptly shuts off.
  • Lzherusskie: Barbara Bach as Major Anya Amasova. Incidentally, this movie almost single-handedly changed Americans' views of Russian women. Before it came out, all Russian women were assumed by Americans to be outright Gonks, to the point that American comedians (and especially the hugely influential Johnny Carson) could count on getting cheap and easy laughs by poking fun at the purported hideousness of Russian women. Carson admitted during a visit by Roger Moore that the movie had ruined "half his jokes".
  • Made of Iron: Always true of Bond, but Jaws as well.
  • Mega-Maw Maneuver: Stromberg's tanker has a door in the front which he uses to swallow disabled subs.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Disappearing submarines -> plot to start a nuclear war.
  • Miss Exposition: Major Amasova counts as she reads off everything she knows about Bond in the nightclub scene.
  • Mnogo Nukes: Missile Submarines: The Soviet sub, a "Delta I".
  • Ms. Fanservice: Naomi, Stromberg's gorgeous helicopter pilot/assassin.
  • New Era Speech: Stromberg gives one to Bond.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Averted.
  • No More for Me: A bystander when Bond drives the Lotus Esprit out of the ocean onto the beach. Who also happens to be the same character in Moonraker (as the gondola comes out of the water), and in For Your Eyes Only (as Bond skis over his table).
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Actually subverted for once. Stromberg has a weapon hidden in his table that he intended to use to kill Bond. It backfires.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Stromberg is by far the least physical of Bond villains, relying on push-button deathtraps and legions of Mooks to do his bidding.
  • The Noun Who Verbed: Used as the film's title.
  • A Nuclear Error: The "Impulse Conductor Circuit", which can detonate a nuclear warhead while it's being disassembled.
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You:
    Bond: "Mmm, maybe I misjudged Stromberg. Any man who drinks Dom Perignon '52 can't be all bad."
  • The One With: The one with the underwater Supervillain Lair.
  • Operation Game of Doom: Removing the detonator from the warhead.
  • Pet the Dog: Gogol showing sympathy for Anya's loss helps to establish that he's not the callous villain of the movie.
  • Playing Both Sides
  • Pretty in Mink: A lady wears a white mink coat in the beginning. She's possibly Naked in Mink in it as well.
  • Recycled In Space
    • Inverted. Lewis Gilbert directed both You Only Live Twice and this movie, so while the previous movie dealt with a spaceship-eating spaceship, this deals with a submarine-eating ship.
    • The general plot of this one was used in the next film, Moonraker, which also had a megalomaniac attempting to eradicate the population and starting his perfect society...IN SPACE!
    • Bonus points for having Jaws reprise his role as well. No, not just the actor who played Jaws. The Jaws.
  • Red Right Hand: Stromberg has webbed fingers.
  • Red Shirt: A young Royal Navy officer volunteers to lead the charge, something you'd expect Bond to do. It's no surprise when he and his men get killed.
  • Reds with Rockets: The Soviet Navy sub and Major Anya Amasova.
  • Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: Courtesy of General Gogol:
    The submarine Potempkin disappeared without trace? What a catastrophe, Comrade Chairman.
  • Revenge Myopia: In the opening scene, Bond kills Anya's lover, who is trying to kill him at the time. When she finds out about it she vows to kill Bond.
  • Shark Pool
  • Shoot The Builder: After the two scientists create the submarine tracking system for Stromberg, he has them murdered.
  • Short Lived Aerial Escape: The underwater Lotus to Naomi's chopper.
  • Shout-Out
    • Several nods to David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia. Subtle at first with the desert attire donned by Bond and an homage later with the iconic theme of Maurice Jarre playing while Bond and Anya wander through the desert after the van breaks down.
    • A music box in the film briefly plays "Lara's Theme" from Doctor Zhivago, another magnus opus from David Lean / Maurice Jarre.
    • General Gogol (And his successor General Pushkin in The Living Daylights) are named after two of the most famous writers of 19th Century Russian Literature.
  • Shower Scene: "What's wrong, sailor. Haven't you seen a major taking a shower before?"
  • Sic 'em: "Let them get to shore... and then kill them."
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Surprisingly, Bond and Anya only start liking each other after lots of arguments and fighting side-by-side multiple times. And almost threw it away when Anya found out Bond killed her previous lover.
  • Sleep Cute: Played with. When Anya wakes up, she jerks away from Bond in anger.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: This was the first Bond flick of the Moore era to reach Level 4 (a capable leading lady, albeit one who still needs occasional rescuing), which has more-or-less held ever since. The first two Moore films, as well as about half of the Connery flicks, are Level 3 or worse.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: This is easily one of the most idealistic Bond films. East and West put their differences aside to work to a common goal, Bond is an absolute gentleman to his love interest, and the tone is generally up-beat. Although it has a high death toll, many of those deaths are Heroic Sacrifices to help save the day.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Stromberg feeding his assistant to the sharks while Bach's Air on the G-String plays.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Anya and the champagne bottle.
  • Storming the Castle: Bond breaks into Stromberg's headquarters, Atlantis.
  • Sub Story: U.S., Soviet, and British.
  • Surprise Vehicle: Stromberg's attack helicopter.
  • Swiss Bank Account: After the two scientists complete the submarine tracking system, Stromberg transfers $10 million into their Swiss bank accounts. Then cancels it when he kills them instead.
  • Table Space
  • Tempting Fate: Bond's comment to Anya that their superiors will never know what they've been up to, mere minutes before they catch them in the act.
  • This Is What the Building Will Look Like: In his study, Stromberg shows Bond a model of an underwater city with Atlantis as its main structure.
  • Title Drop: The theme song is called "Nobody Does It Better", but still has it ("Like heaven above me, the spy who loved me...")
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bond nearly gets one at the end when he leaves his PPK within reaching distance of Anya even though she had sworn a vendetta on him - this was literally the only way she could have carried it out too given how she is nowhere close to being in Bond's league.
  • Transforming Mecha: Bond's Lotus Esprit submarine car
  • Translation Convention: Russian characters (General Gogol, Major Amasova, her lover).
  • Trap Door
    • Stromberg uses one in his elevator to drop his treacherous secretary into the Shark Pool.
    • He later tries to use it on Bond, who of course sees it coming.
  • Ultimate Defence of the Realm: The British Resolution-class nuclear missile sub HMS Ranger.
  • Undercover as Lovers: James and Anya pose as man and wife while visiting Stromberg.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means
  • Villainous Valor: Jaws' sheer persistence in trying to finish his mission ended up making audiences pretty sympathetic to him. Richard Kiel has mentioned seeing entire theaters cheer when he was revealed to have survived at the end.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Stromberg tries to start a nuclear war between the U.S. and USSR in order to create an underwater utopia.
  • Weaponized Car: Bond's Lotus Esprit.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Deconstructed. Major Amasova's lover was one of the mooks killed in the teaser, and it comes back to bite Bond hard later in the film. They even have an open discussion on the subject. Bond ultimately has a pretty good explanation in the end.
  • Wicked Cultured: Stromberg likes to kill minions while enjoying fine cuisine and classical music.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Well, not exactly hit as such, but use a (sub)surface-to-air missile on her. Was it really necessary, Bond?
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Bond uses a scoop slam on a mook.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness
    • Dr. Bechmann and Professor Markovitz, after completing the submarine tracking system for Stromberg.
    • Implied with the Liparus, and its entire crew. After the nuclear missiles detonate, the ship is rocked with explosives indicating that Stromberg had it set to self destruct when no longer needed.
      • Alternatively it could be that the numerous internal fires raging within Liparus at this point reach her ammo storages and fuel tanks, setting off a chain reaction, which eventually results in a huge fireball that finally sinks her.
  • You Killed My Boyfriend: Major Amasova vows to kill Bond at the end of the mission when she finds out he killed her lover. Unless you mean in the Shakespearean sense, she doesn't.