Breakaway Pop Hit: The opening song is still a permanent fixture in Duran Duran's set list over thirty years later, despite the film being widely considered as one of the weakest of the James Bond series.
Averted, as the entire second act was filmed on location in San Francisco. The crew even got permission to do an on-location simulated burning of City Hall with gas jets. Stacey Sutton's house is the real life Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate in Oakland.
Inversion: Zorin's 'Main Strike' mine, supposedly in California, was filmed at Amberley Working Museum in West Sussex, England.
Bond being bailed out of a Paris jail by M following his taxi chase of May Day. The scene shows Bond collecting his personal effects, including the wristwatch with garrote wire from From Russia with Love, the ink pen filled with acid from Octopussy, and a cigarette lighter that's a flame thrower.
Bond observing Zorin's pumping station.
Stacey getting fired.
Zorin and his henchmen arriving at city hall right after Bond and Stacey.
Enforced Method Acting: When May Day screams during the mine sequence when sparks fly around her, her screams are for real. Grace Jones didn't know that sparks would go off from the electric cables around her as a special effect for the scene.
Fake Russian: The KGB agent Pola Ivanova is played by a Brit born in Nigeria, Fiona Fullerton.
Old Shame: The least favorite film from his tenure, Roger Moore regretted making this movie for many reasons. Besides realizing he was too old to be Bond, he was appalled with the scene where the mine is destroyed as Zorin guns down the surviving workers. This was his final film role, and Moore's own feelings convinced him to retire from cinema on a visible scale and force EON to replace him.
Jon Taylor of Duran Duran was also a fan. He approached Albert R. Broccoli at a party, and somewhat drunkenly asked "When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?"
Reality Subtext: Zorin's "Main Strike" is scheduled to happen on the 22nd, the same day as the Kennedy assassination; the Texan oil driller Conley is a reference to Texan Governor Connally, who was also shot but survived; and Sir Godfrey Tibbet is a reference to JD Tibbet, the policeman Lee Harvey Oswald was originally arrested for shooting.
Recycled Script: The story is a lot like Goldfinger, replacing gold with microchips and Fort Knox with Silicon Valley. The part where Zorin illustrates his plan to his criminal investors with a miniature model in the middle of a boardroom table and having his dragon kill the investor who wants no part of it is a dead giveaway.
This Bond film proved to be at least one mission too many for Roger Moore, who did not like the experience and voluntarily did small roles in movies for the rest of his life; he was replaced by Timothy Dalton for the final two Albert Broccoli/John Glen/Richard Maibaum/Maurice Binder/1980's Bond films, and then Pierce Brosnan took over the role in the 90's, which brought a completely new crew and MI-6 set in and was now produced by Broccoli's daughter; Albert died the next year.
This also applies to Tanya Roberts; her performance in the film made this the first Bond movie to get nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award. The inability to work with her and her poor acting essentially drowned her cinematic career immediately, though she got That '70s Show in 1998.
When Stacey comes out of the shack in Silicon Valley wearing a pair of coveralls, Bond comments "Pity you couldn't find one that fits" and Stacey gives him a dirty look. This scene was not in the script. Roger Moore ad-libbed the line and Tanya Roberts' reaction was genuine; because Tanya Roberts had refused to film the scene until the wardrobe department made her a pair of custom-fitted coveralls that would look flattering on her. And, because Tanya Roberts was so difficult to work with, the director decided to leave it in.
In the scene where May Day disrobes before sleeping with Bond, Grace Jones wore a diseased-looking strap-on dildo into the scene just to mess with Moore. His reaction is genuine.
Unintentional Period Piece: Between the Duran Duran theme song, Tanya Roberts' feathery bangs, and Grace Jones' playing a major villain, this is by far the most 80's Bond film released in the decade.
David Bowie turned down the role of Zorin, which explains the presence of Grace Jones (the directors wanted to bring in a pop singer to attract young people to the film); ultimately, he chose Labyrinth instead. Bowie later explained that he thought the script was too "terrible" and "workmanlike" to spend much time working on and he told them so. He also said his directness wasn't received very well by them.
This was Lois Maxwell's final appearance as Miss Moneypenny. Apparently, after she was told that she would be retiring from the role, she thought that she could become the M character as a promotion. However, at the time producer Albert R. Broccoli believed that audiences would not accept James Bond being given orders by a woman. Maxwell also suggested that Moneypenny be killed off. Maxwell was replaced by Caroline Bliss for Dalton's two Bond films, which are the final two films to involve Albert Broccoli and John Glen, then was replaced by Samantha Bond for all four of Brosnan's films. The character was eliminated for Craig's first two films before appearing in his next two.
Zorin's scheme originally involved redirecting Haley's Comet. This was scrapped for being too ridiculous.
Originally, Bond was to have used the electronic snooping device created by Q to break into Zorin's pumping station. When the device is threatened by guard dogs, it sprays them, skunk-like, with a noxious liquid, and then gets stuck in a tunnel. Q later berates Bond for deserting "a fellow agent in the field."