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YMMV: Live and Let Die

The film:

  • Ass Pull: The circular saw function on Bond's watch comes completely out of nowhere.
  • Awesome Music: That Paul McCartney title theme. Whoa.
  • Badass Decay: Bond is supposed to be a very good spy and secret agent. Yet on this movie it is quite jarring how EVERYBODY seems to know what he is, what's he's up to, and what he's doing. Not only that, but they're following and tailing him at almost EVERY SINGLE INSTANT in the whole film, to the point he gets betrayed twice AND trapped three times.
    • Part of this is explained by Solitaire's tarot reading giving the bad guys a heads up. After that, Mr. Big is well connected.
  • Broken Base: Relating to both Baron Samedi's immortality and Solitaire's clairvoyance. Accepting that they are real (and there is a lot of potential evidence that it is) means that you are accepting the existence of magic in the pre-reboot franchise. Which is understandably something that a lot of people have a problem with in their spy fiction; especially if you are a fan of the darker and more realistic incarnations of Bond such as Timothy Dalton.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Baron Samedi is probably the most well-remembered character from the film.
  • Fair for Its Day: For all the cringeworthy portayals of African-Americans as jive-talking superstitious criminals, Bond's two most competent allies, Quarell and Strutter, are both African-American, and the bigoted sheriff J.W. Pepper is portrayed as and openly referred to as an idiot. And if you're feeling extra generous, you can write off the "jive-talking superstitious" part of that last sentence as the Big Bad's personal fetish, enforcing the theme on his underlings.
  • Genius Bonus: At the close of the pre-credits sequence, to ratchet up the tension of the agent's death, the musical score quotes the Huge Chord from The Beatles' "A Day In The Life". The film's composer was George Martin.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Bond hears Felix communicating to his car through a cigarette lighter, noting "A genuine Felix Leiter/Lighter. Illuminating.". In Licence to Kill, Felix (again played by David Hedison) gives Bond a cigarette lighter as a gift for being his wedding's best man which he uses to kill Franz Sanchez as vengeance for the maiming of Felix and the death of Felix's wife.
    • ...which happened to him in the book "Live and Let Die".
  • Narm: Inflatable Yaphet Kotto, for a start.
    • "Take that honky out and waste him!"
      • "Get me a make on a white Pimpmobile!"
    • The "reveal" that Mr. Big and Kananga are one and the same, thanks to the ludicrously paper-thin makeup.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The lovely Ms. Caruso from after the title sequence.
  • The Scrappy: Sheriff J. W. Pepper, to a certain extent, although this really set in for him after he reappeared in The Man with the Golden Gun.
  • Special Effect Failure: The Big Bad's death scene. There were limits on how realistic they could have possibly made that sequence without outraging the censors at the time. Still, it just goes to show what a poor idea that method of dispatch really was.
    • It's quite obvious that the actor playing Tee-Hee is wearing a prop claw (you can see his wrist bending the sleeves, even though it's supposed to be solid steel).
    • Averted, surprisingly, on Bond's escape after being left to be eaten by crocodiles in a very small island. Instead of using fake props, those were actually real crocodiles. That ain't Moore or even a proper stunt double running on top of them. That's the owner of the ranch, Kananga himself.
    • Also averted with Bond using his magnetic watch to give his Italian lover Ms. Caruso a not so Shameful Strip once they're alone. It was basically just a very thin wire connecting the watch to her dress zipper but it's impossible to see. However there appears to be a crew member's hand holding her dress steady, though most might ignore it in favor of seeing the lovely Ms. Caruso's backside and top of her panties be revealed again.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Rescuing the white Distressed Damsel from the Scary Black Men. And that's just the movie; let's not talk about the book.
    • The fact that all but two black people in America (Agent Strutter and Quarrel Jr.) are evil and somehow in league with Kananga. Including not only everyone who lives in San Monique, but apparently also the entire black population of Harlem and New Orleans.
    • Bond tricking Solitaire into sleeping with him with a trick Tarot deck is up there with his blackmailing a woman into sex in Thunderball.
      • Solitaire already knew they'd be lovers due to her clairvoyance. Still, it was a jackass move by Bond. Which, of course, is the point of being a 00. You do jackass things to get the mission done.

The book:

  • Fair for Its Day: Live and Let Die was Ian Fleming's second 007 novel (1954) - while the book's narrative and the black dialect Bond hears in Harlem read pretty cringe-worthy, he observes they're interested in the same things as everyone else, and is glad "they're not genteel about it". Mister Big himself notes that blacks have made major contributions to many human endeavors, and aims to be the first black super-criminal. Also, during Bond's initial briefing, even M (a hidebound reactionary even by the standards of the time) says that Mr. Big or someone like him was inevitable.
    "The Negro races are just beginning to throw up geniuses in all the professions-scientists, doctors, writers. It's about time they turned out a great criminal. After all, there are 250,000,000 of them in the world. Nearly a third of the white population. They've got plenty of brains and ability and guts. And now Moscow's taught one of them the technique."
  • Narm: Bond correctly identifies a very minor character as a henchwoman because she's a black woman driving a car, which simply did not happen in the '50s.
  • Unfortunate Implications: All the inhabitants of Harlem are depicted as very superstitious, which gives Mr. Big control over them.

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