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Film / Live and Let Die

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Bond: My name is-
Mr. Big: Names is for tombstones, baby! Y'all take this honky outside and waste him now!

The one where Bond is at a war on drugs, and gets called a "honky".

Live and Let Die is the eighth Eon Productions James Bond film, the third in the series to be directed by Guy Hamilton and the first to star Roger Moore. It came out on June 27, 1973. It features a Title Theme Tune sung by Paul McCartney and Wings.

James Bond is assigned to a case involving a drug lord who leads a huge African-American crime network spanning several cities and a Caribbean island where Hollywood Voodoo is practised. After rescuing the drug lord's tarot fortune teller from her virginity, it becomes a plot of everybody trying to kill them. It is the first film where Bond deals with both organized crime and the supernatural, and the first film since Goldfinger to not involve SPECTRE. It is noteworthy in that amongst the things it did to try and distance it from the later Sean Connery films, it didn't include a scene with Q (he's mentioned though). Also includes a boat chase in Louisiana, which resulted in at least a dozen speedboats being written off when they filmed it.


Preceded by Diamonds Are Forever and followed by The Man with the Golden Gun.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Solitaire's real name in the book is Simone Latrelle. Her nickname comes from her apparent exclusion of men from her life.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the book, Tee Hee's a perfectly ordinary mook whose only quirk is giggling while torturing people and who dies very early on. The film ups him to second-in-command to Mr. Big.
  • Adaptational Location Change: In the book, Mr. Big's lair is in Jamaica. In the film, he resides on the fictional island of San Monique, which was portrayed by - Jamaica. Also, the film doesn't go to Florida, unlike the book.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Bond improvises one to kill the snake released in his bathroom.
  • Agents Dating: Bond and Coffy Expy Rose Carver pretend to be husband and wife on vacation. Turns out she's The Mole. Bond is introduced having his usual post-mission sex with an Italian agent.
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  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Mr. Big intends to flood the US with free heroin, driving the Mob out of the market, then cornering it at a highly inflated price to the multitudes of new addicts.
  • All Balloons Have Helium: Bond kills Mr. Big by blowing him up with compressed air so that he floats up to the ceiling before exploding.
    He always did have an inflated opinion of himself.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees:
    • One of the more ridiculous scenes involves Bond running over the backs of a bunch of alligators and crocodiles to get off an island before the carnivores can eat him. It's completely unbelievable... except for being real. According to the commentary on the film, they were planning to have Bond escape using his magnetic watch to pull a boat over, but felt it lacked excitement. They asked the animal handler on the set how he would escape from the island and he proceeded to do the "run-over-their-backs" stunt for the camera. The footage is actually of him doing it!
    • Jazz funerals, or "funerals with music" as they're traditionally known, are a noted tradition in New Orleans, held for deceased musicians or other prominent New Orleans natives. Though the film greatly exaggerates it, showing the procession immediately switch from a somber tune to a happy tune ("Rock Around The Clock", as shown during the film). In real life, they play a somber tune (such as "Nearer My God To Thee") on their way to the cemetery, and play a happy tune (such as "When The Saints Go Marching In") after the deceased is laid to rest.
    • The villain himself, especially for younger audiences. You could be forgiven for thinking that the concept of a Caribbean dictator using voodoo imagery to strengthen his mystique and terrorize his underlings was simply the movie following the trashiest traditions of pulp fiction and Hollywood Voodoo. Unfortunately, François Duvalier was quite real (see the No Celebrities Were Harmed entry below).
  • Amusing Injuries: Bond pops a compressed air pellet into Kananga's mouth with alarming and jarring effects: he literally swells up like a balloon and hovers up into the air, where he continues to expand until he explodes with no gore whatsoever. Such a sudden, cartoonish moment in a movie that has so far been at least vaguely grounded in the laws of physics was a bit hard to stomach for most. It's no surprise that this was Roger Moore's first Bond movie, signifying the beginning of a sillier, more outlandish Bond than before.
  • Animal Assassin: A snake, presumably venomous, is let loose in Bond's bathroom. Then later Mr. Big and/or his employees try to feed him to a bunch of crocodiles and then a bunch of sharks.
  • The Anticipator:
    • Happens several times because Kananga's organisation is so widespread he's able to track Bond at every stage.
    • Also happens at the end when Bond and Solitaire go down to the underground base only to find Kananga and his goons expecting him with guns ready, having found Bond's wetsuit.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Baron Samedi is clearly evil in this version, although whether he is truly an incarnation of the real Baron Samedi or simply just another henchman of Mr. Big who knew a lot of convincing parlor tricks is uncertain.
  • Artificial Limbs: Tee Hee's right arm is a prosthetic from the shoulder down; it doubles as a Red Right Hand.
  • Artistic Licence – Physics: In the finale, Bond shoves a pressured carbon dioxide capsule down Kananga's throat, leading to Kananga inflating rapidly and rising above water and to the ceiling before exploding. CO2 is heavier than air, Kananga's body should have stopped going up when it reached water surface.
  • Ascended Extra: In Fleming's novel, Tee Hee is one of three minor thugs ordered to dispose of Bond and Leiter, while Whisper appears in one scene as the operator of Mr. Big's communications network. The film expands their roles significantly.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: At the end of the mission, Felix asks why they're taking the train back. "What the hell can you do on a train for sixteen hours?" Bond and Solitaire just give him a Meaningful Look.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The island of San Monique, which is neither French nor Spanish, in addition using the wrong gender for the saint herself. While the saint Monica of Hippo does indeed exist, her name would be "Santa Monica" in Spanish and "Sainte-Monique" in French. "San" refers to a masculine saint in Spanish. This is intentional, as the fictional nation is based on Hispaniola (the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which were colonized by the French and Spanish respectively).
  • Author Appeal: Since director Guy Hamilton was a jazz fan, screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz suggested to him to film in New Orleans.
  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance: When James Bond walks into the Fillet of Soul restaurant in New York the entire crowd slowly goes completely silent. It might be because the Fillet of Soul is in Harlem and everyone in the crowd is black, while Bond is white. Or it might be because all of them work for Kananga/Mr. Big and the situation is a trap.
  • Badass Bystander: Sheriff Pepper, actually. He nearly manages to subdue and arrest one of the major henchmen all by himself, and would have even succeeded if Bond wouldn't have, you know, nearly dropped a speed boat on him (and let another one get neatly sandwiched in his patrol car).
  • Banana Republic: San Monique, though a pretty specific one based mostly on Haiti. The voodoo heritage and entirely black population would be out of place in most of the Latin America/Caribbean region.
  • Big Applesauce: Starts at the UN, and also goes to Harlem.
  • The Big Easy: Bond takes Solitaire to New Orleans after their escape from San Monique, but they're quickly captured by Mr. Big's men.
  • Blofeld Ploy: Inverted. Kananga looks like he's going to test Bond's shark gun on Whisper, but he shoots the couch he's sitting on instead (then again, over the years the couch had surely served him well)
  • Bloodless Carnage: Kananga pops like a helium balloon, but there's no gore, since that would push the age rating up. Likewise, him dying in the shark tank was probably nixed by the studio.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: As Felix Leiter and his CIA team start spying on his office in New York, Kananga puts a recording of his voice on, allowing him, Tee Hee and Solitaire to leave the building unnoticed and go to Harlem for criminal business.
  • Board to Death: The British Secret Service agent stationed in the United Nations building in the teaser is killed when someone unplugs his translator and replaces it with a device that sends a deadly sound to his head.
  • Bond One-Liner
    • After killing Kananga: "He always did have an inflated opinion of himself."
    • "Just being disarming." referring to Tee-Hee after he's tossed out of a train and loses his prosthetic hook-arm on the way out the window.
    • An unintentional one from Solitaire: "That wasn't very funny" referring again to Tee-Hee.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • Bond is left on a small island surrounded by crocodiles without a single guard watching to make sure he dies, after having previously escaped Kananga's traps more than once. Why they don't shoot him then feed his body to the crocs is a question you're just not supposed to ask. Of course, it's possible they did it For the Evulz. Being eaten alive is a pretty scary death.
    • Although averted pretty early in the movie, when Mr. Big tells his men to "take this honky out and waste him!" within three seconds of meeting Bond.
    • Kananga decides to dispose of Bond and Solitaire by feeding them to sharks, which come to feed in a pool in his lair. Instead of shooting or drugging the two, then throwing them into the water and letting the sharks dispose of their remains, Kananga has them tied to a rignote  which is very slowly and gently lowered into the water. Kananga's mook Whisper actually proves somewhat wiser than his boss and initially tries to lower them in quickly, presumably so that they'll drown before they can try to escape, but Kananga overrules him on the grounds that he wants them eaten alive. This gives Bond the chance to use the super-powered electromagnet in his watch to escape and foil Kananga once and for all.
  • Book Safe: The classic gun in a Bible routine.
  • Boring, but Practical: Despite the various over-the-top elements, the movie does take time to dwell on the mundane aspects of espionage.
    • Bond is shown checking his room for bugs and quickly identifying and investigating a store that's fronting for the villains. He also effectively (however sleazily) seduces and recruits an agent by taking note of her belief in tarot cards and preparing a loaded deck to trick her with.
    • On the villain side, Kananga has New York and New Orleans blanketed with an absolutely superb network of eyes and ears who work under the most innocuous disguises (shoe shiners, cab drivers) that let him know the minute anything in his territories is out of place. He also uses many simple but effective tricks to throw off CIA surveillance, such as playing a prerecorded speech to make it sound like he's still in the room while slipping out through a hidden door. His tradecraft is good enough to allow him to live a double life as a Caribbean dictator and as an American mob boss (neither of which is exactly a low-profile job) without anyone noticing. Many of the grander Bond villains could have learned a thing or two from him.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted, Bond uses a revolver at one point and fires exactly six shots before resorting to hand-to-hand combat.
  • Brown Note: The movie opens with the assassination of the United Kingdom's ambassador to the United Nations, carried out through sound piped through his translation earpiece.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Both utilized and subverted.
    • Bond is given special "shark pellets" that are capsules full of compressed gas. He never uses them on any sharks, instead using them as a quick way of dispatching Kananga by force feeding him one and making him swell up like a blimp and pop.
    • Instead of the usual "Q introduces Bond to a new gadget" scene, we have M returning Bond's Q-watch which has already been issued to him. Therefore the audience knows nothing about its abilities (except the magnet) until Bond uses them, notably a miniature buzz-saw blade that he uses to saw through rope.
    • The watch has another subversion earlier, as it was introduced as a powerful magnet, which Bond tries to use to pull a metal canoe toward him when he's stranded in the middle of a bunch of alligators. After moving a few inches, the canoe is revealed to be securely tied to the shore. This was originally played straight however (see Aluminium Christmas Trees).
  • Chekhov's Gunman: James Bond Will Return. Unfortunately so will Sheriff J.W. Pepper.
  • The Chessmaster: Thanks to Solitaire's abilities, Kananga stands two steps ahead of Bond throughout much of the movie.
  • Classy Cane: After James Bond's first meeting with Kananga, Baron Samedi has a stylish cane to match his Sharp-Dressed Man style.
  • Closet Shuffle: Miss Caruso takes refuge in Bond's closet when M drops by unexpectedly. Moneypenny sees her, but helps her stay hidden.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: Bond seduces Solitaire for information (citing Lesson No. 1: no secrets between lovers) only to find out she doesn't know much about what's happening on Kananga's island. So Bond is determined to go look for himself, and makes it clear that she's coming with him. "Togetherness is Lesson Number Two.". She asks if there's time for Lesson Number 3 before they go.
  • Continuity Nod: Bond's reaction when the San Monique concierge tells him "Mrs. Bond" has already checked in would suggest that certain events still strike a nerve.
  • Convenient Escape Boat: After escaping the alligator farm and burning down the drug lab, Bond steals a convenient escape boat to flee the bad guys. This leads to an awesome chase across the bayous as Bond is pursued by the villains and the police.
  • Cool Boat: The black and yellow speedboat one of Kananga's goons steals to pursue Bond. Damn shame it gets blown up.
  • Cool Guns: Bond uses a Smith and Wesson Model 29 as part of rescuing Solitaire and his confrontation with Baron Samedi.
  • Covers Always Lie: The DVD synopsis states Kanaga wants to Take Over the World, when he actually only wants to make a considerable sum of money by flooding the heroin market with his own supply.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Kananga, whose goons are seemingly everywhere no matter where he turns.
    • The Fillet of Soul restaurants especially. The first time he's in one, Bond is given a booth, which promptly rotates and leaves him in the villain's lair on the other side of the wall. The second time, Bond intentionally asks for a table in the middle of the restaurant to avoid this fate. The waiter obliges... and the table is quickly lowered by a trapdoor into the basement lair.
    • Also, as always, MI6. You just can't ever tell when your agents might find a use for a wristwatch that's also a buzzsaw and a high-powered magnet.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Kananga when he's inflated by the gas in the shark pellets. The man eventually explodes into gobbets.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Adam radios the other henchmen to pursue Bond, he screams, "Now move, you mother—".
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Rosie Carver, though this could be at least partially an act.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Kananga owns a thriving chain of soul food restaurants.
  • Dead Foot Leadfoot: Whisper kills Bond's driver not long after his arrival on New York, using a dart with some kind of poison that causes this trope. Bond has to navigate through traffic with the dead guy's foot on the gas.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Struther gets a gem on Bond after observing him escape Mr. Big’s clutches on his first encounter: Struther was able to follow Bond into Harlem despite Bond’s ‘clever disguise’ being a ‘white face in Harlem’.
  • Death by Sex: Rosie Carver, who's quickly killed by a gun hidden in a scarecrow after Bond outs her as a spy. Averted with Solitaire, who survives the film.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: What Bond thinks Kananga was planning to do to him in the climax, before he tried to drop him in the shark pool.
  • Decomposite Character: In the novel, Bond has an ally named Quarrel, who is later killed in Dr. No. Because Dr. No was the first 007 book to be made into a film, the movie gave Quarrel's role in the plot to Quarrel Jr., the Suspiciously Similar Son of the original.
  • Delicious Distraction: Bond gets stranded in an alligator infested swamp. He finds a bucket of chicken meat and throws them at the approaching gators, but soon runs out and has to escape them.
  • Deus ex Machina: Quite unusually, Bond's magnet watch also turns out to have a serrated edge that can cut ropes when the face is spun, which comes out of nowhere in the climax.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Kananga is an island dictator and drug lord Mister Big.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: A lounge singer gives the title song a Motown-style reprise, and she mocks Bond from the stage as he's captured by the bad guys.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • In the novel, Mr. Big is eaten by various forms of marine-life after his yacht explodes. In the film, he swells up and explodes after ingesting a compressed air bullet.
    • In the novel, Bond kills Tee Hee by pushing him down a flight of stairs. In the film, he throws him off a train.
  • The Dragon: Tee Hee and Baron Samedi both serve Mr. Big and Kananga.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Tee Hee isn't present when Bond kills Kananga and tries to kill Bond later on a train.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: If Samedi is the real deal, he's probably this.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: In order to establish Moore's Bond as different from Connery's, he drinks bourbon and water with no ice as opposed to vodka martini.
  • Driving Test Smashers: Bond commandeers a light plane, passing himself off as an instructor to the little old lady student, and causes mayhem taxiing around the runway evading Mr. Big's mooks.
  • Early Instalment Weirdness: For Roger Moore's run. Bond's demeanour here is much less humorous, and perhaps even more hard-boiled than Sean Connery's portrayal. The supernatural elements also do not fit well with any of the other films.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Dr. Kananga had an underground base near one of his poppy fields in San Monique for processing the poppies' morphine into heroin.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Baron Samedi is perhaps the most enigmatic villain/henchman the cinematic Bond has ever faced. The character is an ambiguous one, and the audience cannot tell if he really is the Voodoo god Baron Samedi himself, or simply a mortal who has assumed Samedi's identity. Contributing to the mystery is the fact that Samedi seems to operate as an aide to Dr. Kananga aka Mr. Big, but is not entirely under his control.
  • Everybody Owns a Ford: Or, in this case, Ford's rival, GM's Chevrolet Division, who sponsored the film. Rather egregious, since practically every (non-taxi or pimp) vehicle in New York seems to be a Chevy.
  • Everyone Hates Hades: Baron Samedi is portrayed as a Voodoo version of Satan who has numerous zombie servants. In actual Voodoo mythology, Samedi is known for making the dead rot quicker so they can't be turned into zombies and is a personally charming and friendly fellow, fond of rum and cigars.
  • Evil Chancellor: Mister Big himself.
  • Evil Cripple: Tee Hee lost his right arm to an alligator and replaced it with a mechanical arm and a pincer.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Baron Samedi, who has a single line, but lots of laughter (which even appears in GoldenEye 007).
    • Kananga gives a (dubbed) Evil Laugh when he appears to be going to use the shark gun on Whisper.
  • Evil Plan: Kananga/Mr. Big wanted to corner the heroin market by flooding the United States with free heroin, driving The Mafia out of the drug business and doubling the number of addicts, whom he will then sell to once the free heroin runs out.
  • Eye Scream: Shortly before his death, Adam is blinded when Bond throws paint thinner into his face.
  • Fatal Flaw: Dr. Kananga's bloated ego brings him down. As quipped by Bond: "He always did have an inflated opinion of himself."
  • Fed to the Beast: Kananga tries to feed Bond and Solitaire to his pet shark. Tee Hee earlier tried feeding him to crocodiles.
  • A Fête Worse Than Death: There's a scene in the opening where a British agent is watching a somber funeral procession in New Orleans. When he asks a stranger whose funeral it's for, the stranger says "Yours," then stabs him right in the middle of the street. The procession casually walks over to the body and places it in the coffin, then breaks out in celebration in a dark twist on the tradition. Mind you, this is happening on Bourbon Street in broad daylight and the funeral goers are all ages.
    • It later happens again to Harold Strutter.
    • The "celebration" is actually a jazz funeral, a New Orleans tradition.
  • Fingore: Dr. Kananga threatens to have Tee Hee cut off Bond's finger, along with some... other important parts of his anatomy.
  • Fish out of Water: A fair amount of the humor in the film comes from watching James Bond, the consummate English gentleman, trying to navigate far less refined setting of the Blaxploitation genre. Not to mention the Deep South.
  • Flaming Skulls: The opening and ending credits.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: Sheriff Pepper commandeers a Louisiana State Police car after a speedboat crashes onto his.
  • Follow That Car: Subverted when Bond gets a taxi driver to follow Mr. Big and his entourage into Harlem. As they drive along however, various people on their route warn him via radio that he's being followed. When they finally arrive and Bond enters the building, the taxi driver then uses his radio to tip off Mr. Big that Bond has arrived.
  • Fortune Teller: Solitaire has the ability to see the future by reading tarot cards. Possibly also Baron Samedi. When Kananga is raging at Solitaire for losing her virginity to Bond, Samedi calmly sits there drawing tarot cards from the deck and burning them. Each one is perfectly relevant to the situation at hand.
  • Gadget Watches: Bond's latest watch has magnetic and rotary saw capability. Also notable in that this is his first proper Q-watch in the series; previous watches were either owned by the villains (From Russia with Love), or didn't really look that much like a watch at all (Thunderball).
  • Gainax Ending: The final scene is Baron Samedi apparently resurrecting himself for real.
  • Genre Refugee: Sheriff J.W. Pepper seems to have been imported from a Burt Reynolds comedy.
  • Giggling Villain: This is, unsurprisingly, the case with Tee Hee.
  • Gilligan Cut: While waiting for Bond to return to Quarrel jr.'s boat, Leiter comments "He must have gotten tied up somewhere", followed by a cut to Bond and Solitaire tied to a death trap. Earlier Quarrel Jr says they'll be back any minute as he saw Bond's wetsuit was missing, only to cut to a scene where Kananga says he knew Bond was there because his men found the wetsuit.
  • Groin Attack: Bond may or may not have kicked Tee-Hee in the nuts during their climactic fight, but judging by the way Tee-Hee squeals when Bond gets the advantage it seems a good indicator that he did.
    • In the novel he definitely does, and with his steel toe capped shoes no less!
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: Bond takes Rose's Smith & Wesson Model 19, then claims the serial numbers were filed off, yet he glances at the right side; the serial number on S&W revolvers is always on the butt plate. Later, when she finds another Model 19 on Quarrel Jr.'s boat, Quarrel tells her the safety was on, despite revolvers generally not having safeties.
  • Hand Cannon: Bond spends most of the film with his compact Walther PPK, but come the finale, he trades it out for a shiny .44 revolver to rescue Solitaire, plus an anti-shark pistol with compressed gas bullets that make things inflate, then explode.
  • Hand Signals: While Bond and Solitaire are tied to the dipping device Kananga gives a hand gesture to Whisper, commanding him to activate and move it out over the Shark Pool.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn
    • Inverted when Bond sleeps with inept CIA agent Rosie Carver....then pulls a gun on her, revealing he knows she's actually The Mole for Big Bad Kananga. He threatens to kill her if she doesn't spill what she knows; when she says he wouldn't do that, they've just made love, he replies:
    • While Kananga's men are loyal to the death, his female Fortune Teller Solitaire is won over by Bond's charms, even going so far as to lose her virginity - and with it her ability to predict the future! - to him.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Dr. Kananga uses voodoo as means to scare the populace of San Monique to stay away from his poppy fields. The Hollywood aspects are all over such as Baron Samedi raising zombies and a priest with a goat skull hatt that is pilfered from Hollywood Satanism.
  • Hollywood Police Driving Academy: Arguably turned up to eleven as several police cars are wrecked during a boat chase.
  • Hook Hand: Tee-Hee has a hook hand, but for the larger part of his lower arm. He alludes to crocodiles, and implies one bit it off.
  • Hope Spot: Kananga suspects Bond slept with Solitaire, so he tests her by calling out the registration number of Bond's watch and asking her if he's reading it truthfully. If she guesses wrong, Tee-Hee will cut off Bond's finger. Solitaire appears to guess the right answer and everyone relaxes. Then Kananga's minions knock out Bond and drag him off to be disposed of, and Kananga reveals that the answer wasn't even remotely close, despite her having a 50/50 chance.
  • How Unscientific!:
    • The Big Bad's death scene.
    • Not to mention Baron Samedi surviving his "death", and appearing mysteriously laughing on the back of the train at the end of the movie, leading to a Real After All implication.
  • The Hyena: Most of the time, Baron Samedi just laughs at things.
  • Improvised Weapon: Bond is smoking a cigar while he's shaving, when a villain lets a venomous snake into the bathroom. Bond notices it, and ever resourceful, kills it by using the cigarette and an aerosol can of aftershave to fashion a makeshift flamethrower and spraying it at the reptile.
  • In Love with the Gangster's Girl: Bond with Solitaire, though she has a platonic relationship with Kananga, to preserve her psychic abilities.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail:
    • Bond finds that being white he tends to stand out a bit when tailing Kananga. It doesn't help that Kananga's organisation appears to be ubiquitous and organized enough to track him at every stage.
    • Ironically, this is immensely helpful to Strutter, the CIA agent assigned to watch over Bond in New York. Not only is Bond easy to keep track of, but the same villains who're focused on the white British agent coming through their neighborhood completely miss the black American tailing him.
    • Unfortunately, Strutter later plays this trope straight in New Orleans, as did Hamilton before him. It's hard for the gangster bar not to notice when there's literally only one man standing still just across the street from them, even if he appears to be just casually smoking.
  • Inflating Body Gag: Kananga dies from getting inflated by the gas in the shark pellets.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Miss Caruso in the post-credits opening. Solitaire herself.
  • Instant Convertible: Done with a bus when the police force of San Monique is chasing Bond, and he drives under a tunnel.
  • Island Base: Kananga's island of San Monique, but it isn't really isolated: it has a tourist trade. Too bad - poppy fields, voodoo totems with guns, Baron Samedi, and a Shark Pool.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Averted. It's actually not Mardi Gras when Bond visits The Big Easy. The parades of people dancing on Bourbon Street are funeral processions.
  • Joker Immunity: Baron Samedi gets thrown into poisonous snakes, only for the film's last shot to show him laughing on the engine of Bond's train.
  • Just Between You and Me:
    • Subverted when Mr. Big says "Take this honky out and waste him!"
    • Played straight when Kananga captures Bond near the end of the movie., though only in the manner Bond villains usually play this- Bond already knows what's going on, and Kanaga is just clearing up technical details (or rather, he's letting Bond himself clear up those details), like how he plans on smuggling his drugs into America in the first place. Also subverted in that Bond has already blown his poppy fields up and his plan is (temporarily) foiled already.
  • Kick the Dog: When Kananga slaps Solitaire in the face after she sleeps with Bond and loses her psychic powers.
  • Kidnapped by an Ally: After Bond knocks out two of Mr. Big's thugs, another black man approaches him with a gun...only to hand Bond an ID card that identifies him as CIA agent Harold Strutter.
  • Kill It with Fire: Bond kills a snake with a makeshift flamethrower.
  • Large Ham
    • Dr. Kananga, particularly while showing Bond around his underground lair.
    • Sheriff J.W. Pepper too, even more when he returns in the next film.
    • Baron Samedi and Tee Hee are both larger than life.
  • Later Instalment Weirdness: It's the only James Bond film without a Q scene between 1962 and 2002 (the gadget is instead brought to Bond by M). Desmond Llewelyn was brought back in the next film.
  • Latex Perfection: Dr. Kananga as Mr. Big. A subversion; the Latex Perfection trope involves two separate actors, one playing a character, and another playing a character that first character is imitating with a face mask. Live and Let Die is one of the few films to use the same actor for both the character and the character he's imitating, via Yaphet Kotto and a pretty convincing prosthetic and wig.
  • Machete Mayhem: As he is rescuing Solitaire, Bond shoots a guy who is about hit him with a machete, and later uses it against Baron Samedi in a very brief Sword Fight.
  • The Mafia: Never appears, but important to the plot all the same. Kananga's ultimate goal is to bankrupt them, leaving himself with an effective monopoly on the American underworld and narcotics trade.
  • Magical Flutist: One of James Bond's opponents is a man who plays the role of the voodoo loa Baron Samedi. Bond once encounters him while he's playing a flute. After apparently being killed by venomous snakes, at the end he appears riding the front of a train, indicating that he may be the real Baron Samedi.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane
    • Baron Samedi and his apparent resurrection powers. He may in fact be the Baron Samedi.
    • Solitaire's tarot Fortune Teller powers.
  • Meaningful Name: Baron Samedi, since he might be the real deal.
  • Milkman Conspiracy: The Fillet of Soul Jazz Bars all seem to have secret lairs behind the booths or underground. They are part of a massive heroin ring run by drug baron Mr. Big for Caribbean dictator Dr. Kananga (who are actually the same person), through which is employed nearly every black person everywhere.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Deaths of three British agents → massive heroin smuggling operation.
  • The Mole: Rosie Carver.
  • Mood Whiplash: The funeral starts off with sad mourners and a slow jazz number by the band. Then when the victim is killed and placed inside the trick casket, a trumpet blows and the mourners start acting joyful and playing lively jazz music.
    Felix: Some send-off!
  • Mouthing the Profanity: When Bond's boat jumps over him, Sheriff J.W. Pepper says "What the" and mouths the word "fuck".
  • Mundane Utility: Bond uses his watch magnet to unzip Miss Caruso's dress.
  • Murphy's Bed: One is also used to get Solitaire out of the way during Bond's final confrontation with Tee Hee.
  • Musical Nod: If you listen carefully, you’ll realize that the song being played during the funeral procession in the opening sequence is “We Have All The Time In The World
  • Mutilation Interrogation: Tee Hee and Bond.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: Bond asks sarcastically if Mr Big is planning to give away his heroin for free. Turns out that's exactly what he's planning.
  • Naked People Are Funny: An almost completely naked Miss Caruso (Bond's one night stand) gets caught by Miss Moneypenny while making a dash for the closet in the hopes of not being caught with her pants down.
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin: Solitaire only keeps her predictive powers for as long as she remains a virgin. Kananga makes it clear that it's up to him how long she gets to keep her powers, and when the time comes he will take care of them personally. Too bad for him that Bond got there first...
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bond sleeps with Solitaire to get information from her, only to find she loses her psychic abilities if someone sleeps with her, so she can't tell him anything.
  • Necessary Weasel: Yaphet Kotto's "Mr. Big" is Blofeld in all but name, something the actor is clearly enjoying. There’s no real reason for Mr. Big to have a top-secret underground cave-system headquarters, but most Bond villains do, so why not? There’s no obligation for him to keep a shark tank in his headquarters, either. In fact, it was this movie which inspired the “Unnecessarily Slow Dipping Mechanism™!” from the first Austin Powers movie.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: At one point during the film, Bond is trapped on a small island in the middle of a pond at a crocodile farm. He manages to escape by jumping on the backs of the reptiles. Tee Hee points out one in particular that tore off his arm before the events of the movie.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: There was absolutely no mention of Bond's magnet watch having a buzzsaw function until the moment he turned it on to cut the ropes he was bound with.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Kananga is at least partially based on Dr. Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, dictator of Haiti, who used Voodoo as the basis of his personality cult and even claimed that he was Baron Samedi. Inverted with the character's name; Kananga was the Real Life owner of the crocodile farm and the producers decided to use his name for the movie, so the real Kananga became a minor celebrity as a result of this film.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The island nation of San Monique stands in for Haiti and/or the Dominican Republic.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Kananga, after he captures Bond in his underground lair.
  • Noodle Incident: The film starts with Bond in bed with "Miss Caruso," an Italian secret agent who was implied to be the Bond girl from a past adventure (and her government is looking for her since she hasn't checked in since finishing it). Who is she, and what did she and Bond do on "the Rome affair" that M congratulates James about? We're never told.
  • Not My Driver: Happens to Bond and Solitaire when they get a cab in New Orleans. The driver turns out to be the same guy who drove Bond back in Harlem, who then proceeds to trap them in his car.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: Rose Carver holds Bond and Quarrel Jr. at gun point, only for Bond to point out that Quarrel Jr. is a friend and Quarrel to point out she has the safety on... despite the revolver not having a safety.
  • The Nudifier: Bond uses his magnetic watch to strip down his one night stand, the beautiful Italian agent known only as Miss Caruso (billed as "Beautiful Girl" in the end credits).
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Tee Hee, when Bond cuts the cables to his prosthetic arm, locking him in place on a window handle.
    • Bond when he opens the door to find his boss outside. Then Miss Caruso when Ms. Moneypenny catches her emerging from Bond's bedroom wearing nothing but her frilly blue panties and covering her topless self with his robe. Fortunately for her Ms. Moneypenny is nice enough to stay quiet while she retrieves her clothes and hides in the closet and is then nice enough to keep M from discovering the poor Italian agent.
    • Rosie Carter gets one when she sees the Scary Scarecrows for the first time.
  • Older Than They Look: Would you have guessed that Roger Moore was 45 (and three years older than Sean Connery) when he first played Bond here?
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Both within the movie and within the series as a whole. It's a Bond movie, but it largely has the trappings of a Blaxploitation crime drama. Except for the twenty minute chase in the Louisiana bayou, during which both Bond and the Blaxploitation villains find themselves plunged into a Smokey and the Bandit type Southern action comedy.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Sheriff J.W. Pepper is a typical Southern lawman who suddenly finds himself caught up in the wake of Bond.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Up to this point, Bond himself has normally gone up against European and/or Asian villains, who tend to be after world domination with science on their side- here, he's up against a American-based drug ring led by a Caribbean dictator who has voodoo on his side.
  • Outside Ride: Baron Samedi is seen riding on the front end of a train locomotive after he was killed by poisonous snakes earlier in the movie. Badass indeed.
  • Paranormal Episode: Even Bond had a run of this here, where he faces off with a henchmen claimed to be Baron Samedi. He's seemingly killed, but shown alive at the end of the film, hinting he may have been the genuine article.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Adam, one of Mr. Big's thugs, knocks out Sheriff Pepper's brother-in-law Billy Bob when he steals his boat.
  • Pocket Rocket Launcher: One of the gag weapons experiments that show up in Q's lab is a rocket launcher concealed within a boom box, affectionately called the "Ghetto Blaster."
  • Police Are Useless: The Louisiana State Police certainly is, but Sheriff J. W. Pepper takes it to an entirely new level. The San Monique cops who try to apprehend Bond don't cover themselves in glory either.
  • "Pop!" Goes the Human: Bond force feeds Dr. Kananga an oxygen bullet, which causes to inflate like a balloon. He rises up like a helium balloon and pops, with nothing but clothing shreds left.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Tee Hee attacks Bond in the train.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Proven when Bond uses his magnetic watch to unzip a woman's dress.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: This gem when an agent is watching a jazz funeral:
    Agent: Whose funeral is it?
    Assassin: Yours! (stabs agent)
  • Precision F-Strike: The first of (currently, as of 2012) five Bond films to use strong profanity. However, only one of them gets through.
  • Prophecy Twist:
    • Solitaire tries to invoke this to explain how Rosie Carver died but Bond didn't.
    • Solitaire's cards can't predict if Bond is coming by air or by sea. That's because he's coming via boat-launched hang glider.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Baron Samedi and Tee Hee Johnson.
  • Questionable Consent: When Bond first meets Solitaire, he asks her to draw a tarot card for him and it's The Lovers, hinting at their future relationship. When they cross paths a second time later in the movie, he's dealing the cards and asks her to pick one, and it once again turns out to be The Lovers, so she proceeds to have sex with him. Then he drops the deck behind her back and all the cards are The Loversnote .
  • Real After All: The film ends with Baron Samedi appearing at the front of the train Bond is in, laughing as usual, even though he was subjected to a coffin full of (presumably) venomous snakes earlier in the film.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: One of the most unbelievable and cartoonish stunts, Bond jumping on some crocodiles to safety after being left to die on a small island was actually an authentic feat by the owner of the crocodile ranch. Yes, those were real crocodiles (though their feet were tied down).
  • Red Right Hand: Tee Hee's right arm.
  • Religion Is Magic: Baron Samedi (named after the Loa of the same name). He's called "the man who cannot die", and apparently, he doesn't.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Dr. Kananga uses snakes to kill adversaries, either releasing one into their hotel room, or using one in an elaborate voodoo ceremony (pulled from a coffin full of snakes). Then there's his crocodile farm/heroin processing centre.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who, or what, is Baron Samedi, and how did he survive being thrown in a casket full of snakes? Is he really the Vodou Loa of death from whom he takes his name? If so, why is he working for a mere mortal drug lord?
  • Scary Black Man:
    • Baron Samedi (especially scary as it is implied that he cannot be killed, even by Bond - he's the voodoo god of the dead, after all), Tee Hee, Mr. Big and Dr. Kananga and Adam, one of their henchmen, all fit this trope.
    • Also subverted at least twice. Harold Strutter and Quarrel are both introduced in ways that heavily imply that they're part of Kananga's surveillance network. Both are Red Herrings: Strutter is the CIA officer Felix assigned to keep an eye on Bond, Quarrel is Bond's local contact in San Monique.
  • Scary Scarecrows: San Monique is littered with scarecrows that have cameras and in one case, a dart gun, hidden in them.
  • Scenery Gorn: The back alley in Harlem where Mr. Big's goons take Bond out to shoot him is probably the most miserable alley in fictional history.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: As in the novel, Mr. Big uses Voodoo, as his mistress/servant Solitaire, who has "the power of the Obeah" (which supposedly lets her see the future), to maintain an iron grip over his island nation and drug empire. He even has someone pretending to be Baron Samedi on his side, plus a host of traps and tricks. Subverted in that Solitaire seems like she really does have the power to see the future, and the ending has Samedi (who was apparently killed by snakebite earlier) riding the front of a train, laughing, implying he was Real After All. Most of the other stuff really is just an elaborate hoax, like scarecrows promising death to anyone who trespasses on the poppy fields (and hidden cameras and guns in case you don't take the hint).
  • The '70s: More blatant here than in the others from this decade. Dig those '70s fashions!
  • Sex–Face Turn: Solitaire may have actually been attracted to him before it happened. (She may have secretly sent him a warning that the first girl worked for Mr. Big) and truly switched sides after he seduced her. (He tricked her - possibly. He later told her that the deck of tarot cards he used was rigged, but she was neither upset nor surprised; it was clear she held at least some grudge against Mr. Big already.)
  • Shackle Seat Trap: When James Bond sits down inside Mr. Big's headquarters, steel bands in the chair's arms snap shut on his wrists, holding him prisoner.
  • Shark Pool: Mr. Big/Kananga has a shark pool in his Elaborate Underground Base. And earlier in his Louisiana lair, Tee Hee strands Bond in a large pond full of crocodiles and/or alligators.
  • Shoe Shine, Mister?: While Bond is trailing Kananga's car in Harlem, he's spotted by a black shoeshine man, who calls Mr. Big on a radio inside his shoeshine kit.
  • Shout-Out: Bond's all-black turtleneck ensemble towards the end is in homage to Bullitt. It comes full circle in Spectre as the blond Daniel Craig is dressed similarly.
  • Shown Their Work: A minor example, but a lot of the things Tee-Hee says regarding crocodilians are accurate, such as their long lifespans, their slow appetites and the methods of telling crocodiles and alligators apart.
  • Sic 'em: The Diabolical Mastermind Kananga does it twice with his minions.
    Kananga (calm): If he finds it, kill him.
    Kananga (concerned): At any cost - any - Bond must die.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Bond is smoking while shaving, when a villain lets a venomous snake into the bathroom. Bond notices it, and ever resourceful, kills it by using the cigarette and an aerosol can of aftershave to fashion a makeshift flamethrower and spraying it at the reptile.
  • Snake Pit: Bond knocks Baron Samedi into a coffin full of snakes.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: A fancy outdoor wedding on the bayou gets to this point in the ceremony, and on cue, James Bond and his pursuers plow through on speedboats cutting across the grounds and obliterating the wedding cake and caterer's tent. The bride is disconcerted.
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: By a helicopter while Bond is hiding under the poppy field net.
  • Staying Alive: Baron Samedi. He was apparently killed by venomous snakebites, then re-appeared at the end of the movie sitting on the front of a moving train (to be fair, he was very likely a god.)
  • Storming the Castle: A two-man version. Near the end of the film while Quarrel Jr. infiltrates Kananga's poppy fields and blows them up with incendiary bombs, Bond attacks the voodoo village to save Solitaire, then sneaks into Kananga's underground base below the village.
  • Stuff Blowing Up:
    • Quarrel Jr sets incendiary Time Bombs to blow up the poppy fields. Kananga isn't too bothered, saying the poppy is a hardy plant so it's only a temporary setback.
    • At the climax, the villain — rapidly pumped full of high-pressure CO2 — explodes.
  • Super Wrist-Gadget: Bond's watch contains a magnet and a buzzsaw.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Bond's original escape from the crocodiles involved both the boat and the watch. However, after Kananga (the owner of the ranch, not the movie's villain) showed the filming crew that he could run over the the crocs, they decided to go with that one instead and just added a rope to the boat.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Quarrel Jr., to his father. Which they did to work around the fact that Quarrel first appeared in the book Live and Let Die, but they filmed Dr. No, in which Quarrel dies, first.
  • Take the Wheel: Bond's taxi driver is shot by Whisper, leaving him desperately trying to regain control of the car.
  • Tap on the Head: Tee Hee to Bond, and Bond to a number of mooks.
  • Tarot Motifs: One modern deck, often marketed as the Tarot of the Witches, was actually designed for the film. Early versions even had the 007 logo on the back, like in the film.
  • Tarot Troubles: Bond uses a tarot deck consisting of nothing but The Lovers to seduce Solitaire. Played straight when Solitaire reads of James Bond's arrival in the cards.
    Solitaire: A man comes. He travels quickly. He has purpose. He comes over water. He travels with others. He will oppose. He brings violence and destruction.
  • Tempting Fate: As Bond goes to attack the Island Lair, Felix tells him to watch out for sharks on the way back. Kananga does his best to introduce him to some.
  • Terrifying Pet Store Rat: The pre-credits sequence has a Hollywood Voodoo ritual execution where the victim is bitten by a venomous snake. Except the snake in question is actually a non-venomous emerald tree boa.
  • Thriller on the Express: Bond battles Tee Hee on a train before joining Solitaire in bed.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Many of Louisiana's citizens are part of Kananga's racket. He apparently has enough people to stage a jazz funeral in order to dispose of a target's body.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Averted. The trailers conceal the fact that Mr. Big and Dr. Kananga are one and the same.
  • Traintop Battle: Though it never actually gets on top of the train.
  • Trap Door: With obligatory "Thanks for dropping in" joke.
  • Tuckerization:
    • Dr. Kananga was named after the guy who owned the crocodile farm seen in the film. The feet you see running on top of the crocodiles when Bond escapes said farm? Those were Kananga's, and those were real crocodiles.
    • Old Albert, the crocodile that took Tee-Hee's arm, was a joking dig at Albert R. Broccoli.
  • Tuxedo and Martini: Downplayed as much as the producers feasibly could. As a conscious effort of distinguishing him from Sean Connery's Bond, Roger Moore's Bond goes tuxedo-free for the entire movie (the second and last instance, after You Only Live Twice), favours cigars over cigarettes, and by the third act replaces the classic Walther with a gigantic S&W Model 29. The direction and set elements follow suit, with much heavier emphasis on down-and-dirty location photography (Harlem, New Orleans, etc.) than the glossy Scenery Porn and over-the-top lairs of movies past.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: While on the island of San Monique, Bond and Solitaire escape in a double-decker bus while the San Monique police pursue on motorcycles and in squad cars.
  • The Unintelligible: Whisper. Due to some unspecified condition (in the novel he lost a lung to TB as a child) he's unable to speak above a whisper.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Hamilton and Strutter both being collected by the funeral parade after they are killed, all done in plain view of the entire city of New Orleans. One can only assume the onlookers to any of Kananga's many traps are also working for him, or know better than to interfere.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The film opens with people getting murdered (though the cause only appears after the credits).
  • Villain with Good Publicity: It would seem that every black person in New York City, New Orleans, and the fictional San Monique works for the Big Bad, or knows him enough not to be surprised when Bond's table at a restaurant is suddenly lowered into the villain's lair as the singer taunts him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The only time Mr. Big really gets mad is when he lambasts Solitaire for losing her powers.
  • Virgin Power: Solitaire's tarot reading ability depends on her virginity. This causes problems when Bond does his usual trick of sleeping with the Bond Girl, only to find the information he's hoping to get isn't there any more. He points out that he stacked the deck, only for Solitaire to reply that it makes no difference as the physical act has already happened.
  • We Are Everywhere: Bond tries to tail Kananga into Harlem, but is clocked at every stage by radio-equipped spotters working for the villain, including his own taxi driver.
  • Wedding Smashers: A boat chase between James Bond and some thugs "drops by" a wedding, with the mook running over the cake.
  • Welcome to the Caribbean, Mon!: The fictional island of San Monique.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Bond is surprisingly thoughtful in this movie, never killing anyone outside of self-defence. Even when blowing up the heroin lab, Bond gives the workers in there a chance to escape by luring an alligator in the building before he sets it on fire.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Sheriff J.W. Pepper says to Bond:
    What are you?! Some kind of doomsday machine, boy?!
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: The incendiary bombs that Bond uses to burn Kananga's poppy fields are set to go off at midnight.
  • Where da White Women At?: The black villain Kananga is enraged that Bond has seduced his Caucasian mistress Solitaire, outright stating that he was to be the one to take her virginity. The racial difference adds some serious unfortunate implications to the typical "Bond rescues the Damsel in Distress" situation.
  • Within Arm's Reach: In the last scene, Tee Hee attacks Bond in his train room and is about to kill him with his hook arm when Bond reaches into his suitcase and pulls out some tweezers, which he uses to snip the wires controlling his arm, leaving his hook stuck on a window handle, with Bond throwing him out.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?
    • The "Unnecessarily Slow Moving Dipping Mechanism" parodied in the first Austin Powers film was more than likely inspired by the machine that Kananga uses in his attempt to dispose of Bond and Solitaire near the end of this film. Kananga wanted to give the shark a chance to get the scent of blood; ironically, Whisper was going to put Bond in fast - Kananga told him to slow down to, as he put it, "let our diners assemble".
    • Likewise the "put him in an easily-escapable deathtrap and then just walk away and assume it worked" meme is exemplified when Bond is marooned on a rock in a lake full of hungry crocodiles without even a single mook left behind to watch him, though to be fair, nobody could have predicted him running across their backs to shore.
    • Mr. Big completely averts this on his first meeting with Bond — but it's still the first act, so Bond kung-fus his way out of it.
    • This article goes into further detail, counting a whopping 10 moments, including the two earlier mentioned attempts.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Tee Hee bends the barrel of Bond's PPK, rendering it useless.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Invoked by Bond when he stacks the deck so Solitaire will sleep with him.
  • You Have Failed Me: Rosie Carver fails to lure Bond to his death after he realizes that she's a double agent. Kananga's henchmen have her killed before Bond can force her into telling him what she wants to know.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Shockingly, Bond implies this about Solitaire at one point. Although he says it to Quarrel Jr., not her. Kananga also orders Solitaire's death on realising she's lost her powers, though it's also because he views her sleeping with Bond as a personal betrayal.
  • Zip Me Up: Inverted when Bond uses a magnetic watch to unzip a woman's dress. Now that's what we call Power Perversion Potential.


Video Example(s):


The Trope Namer

"Bond, James Bond"

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Main / TheNameIsBondJamesBond

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