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Film / Moonraker

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"James Bond. You appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season."
Hugo Drax

The One where Bond gets launched INTO SPACE!

Moonraker is the eleventh James Bond film by Eon Productions, the third and last to be directed by Lewis Gilbert and the fourth starring Roger Moore, coming out on June 26, 1979. The Title Theme Tune was performed by Shirley Bassey, for the third and last time.

James Bond is sent to investigate the aerospace industries of magnate Hugo Drax after one of their space shuttles is hijacked mid-transit. Turns out it's all part of an Evil Plan by Drax who, like Blofeld and Stromberg before him, is tired of sharing the world with all those riff-raff. To remedy this, Drax plans to exterminate the world population from the safety of his space station and replace it with "ideal" supermodel specimens. So much for champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Originally, the film following The Spy Who Loved Me would have been For Your Eyes Only, and this was even announced in the final credits of that film. However, after the unexpected and gigantic success of Star Wars less than two months before the release of The Spy Who Loved Me, the producers quickly changed their minds and decided to adapt Moonraker. Because they found the original story by Ian Fleming too mundane, the filmmakers took only the name of the villain, Hugo Drax, and nothing else. Jaws returns as the only henchman to make a second appearance in the series, but his "vicious killer" role disappears.

The laser gun shown in the film and its infinite ammo is unlockable it as a cheat in the N64 game GoldenEye (in which the Aztec bonus level is based on this film). The film also got the 2010 GoldenEye video game treatment as one of the segments of 007 Legends, as in reimagined with Daniel Craig's Bond.

Notable for being the final Bond film to feature Bernard Lee as M, who was suffering from stomach cancer during filming. By the time production started on For Your Eyes Only he was too ill to participate, being in the terminal stage, and he died shortly before filming wrapped. This was also the last Bond film with sets by production designer Ken Adam.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Dr. Goodhead, although for a CIA agent with proper spy equipment, she sure doesn't get a lot of action (pun not quite intended) until the finale.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • M asks Moneypenny if Bond's back from a mission in Africa. Roger Moore's previous film was The Wild Geese, which largely took place in South Africa.
      M: Moneypenny, is 007 back from that African job?
      Moneypenny: He's on his last leg, sir.
    • While testing Q's dart-shooter, Bond shoots a dart into a painting of William III, who was played by Bernard Lee in the 1937 film adaptation of The Black Tulip. No wonder why M is mad at him this time!
  • Actually, I am Her:
    Bond: My Name is Bond. James Bond. And I'm looking for Dr. Goodhead.
    Holly: You just found her.
    Bond: A woman?
  • Adaptational Location Change: The book never actually left England, with the climax taking place in Kent. The movie is a globe-trotting adventure that sees Bond visit California, Venice, Rio de Janeiro and outer space.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Rather implausibly used for an Outrun the Fireball scene.
  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: While visiting a monastery outside Rio, Bond finds some Catholic monks practicing martial arts. Of course, since the monastery is actually an MI6 front, the combatants probably aren't really monks.
  • America Saves the Day: The NASA forces who provide the Big Damn Heroes backup for Bond and Dr. Goodhead during the assault on Drax's space station.
  • Animal Assassin: Drax sets his dogs on Corinne after discovering that she's been helping Bond and later uses a snake to try and kill Bond.
  • Animal Reaction Shot: A pigeon has a Double Take while Bond is driving his gondola through St Mark's Square. Likewise, a dog gets an exasperated expression for the same scene.
  • Apocalypse How: Drax wants to use a Depopulation Bomb — lethal spores that will eliminate all human beings on Earth — to repopulate it with a select group of people under his leadership.
  • The Ark: Drax created his space station to hold the humans who would repopulate the Earth after the deadly spores killed everyone on the surface. When the two leads see that their space shuttle is carrying a cargo of men and women:
    James Bond: The animals went in two by two.
    Holly Goodhead: What do you mean by that?
    James Bond: Noah's Ark. This operation.
  • Arm Cannon: This is the only film where Bond doesn't use a Walther pistol of any kind. Instead, he makes use of a concealed wrist mounted dartgun that fires armour piercing and cyanide tipped darts.
  • Artificial Gravity: The film uses the centrifugal method (except when travelling between modules, apparently) but when the station rotation halts we're treated to the most ambitious (at that time) zero-gee sequence on film.
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: Drax designs a chemical that will kill humans but not animals or plants. Humans actually are animals and a huge chunk of animals roaming the world have similar respiratory systems, meaning that they'd be killed too. The only way a chemical like that would only harm humans would be if it was gene-based (like the weapon from No Time to Die), but Moonraker has no indication that it is.
  • Artistic Licence – Engineering:
    • Space shuttles cannot be crewed and prepared in a moment's notice as is shown onscreen, as such flights took months to prepare on average. In real life, it was for this reason that the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster could not have been prevented once the mission was underway.
    • When Drax's henchmen are being deployed to fight the Marines, they appear to be walking right through the airlock instead of waiting for it to decompress.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: A chase scene down the Amazon, over Iguazu falls somehow ending up in a Mayan temple. Bond appears to have travelled several thousand miles and crossed into another hemisphere during this unspecified interval of time.
  • Artistic Licence – Physics:
    • Bond is placed in a centrifuge that can test the durability of potential astronauts against a g-force of up to twenty gs, which Dr. Goodhead remarks would be fatal. In actuality, Air Force Colonel John Stapp had set the record for a human's sustainability against g-forces of up to 46 gs in 1954, twenty-five years before the film was released.
    • The skydiving scene, exciting as it is, takes much too long. Bond freefalls for about two full minutes before he pulls the ripcord, which means he fell for approximately 18,000 feet. He sure doesn't start out that high, and he doesn't even seem to be much closer to the ground when he opens his 'chute.
    • Kudos to the film for dealing with artificial gravity in a realistic way, by spinning the station. The problem is, that only works on surfaces perpendicular to the center of rotation. The control center has floor surfaces parallel with the center of rotation— everybody would be stuck on the walls. Certainly for budget reasons, as really doing it correctly like 2001: A Space Odyssey would have been extremely expensive.
  • Artistic Licence - Space: Drax's space station is not detected until Bond and Dr. Goodhead deactivate the radar jamming system. However, the station is over 200m in diameter, which is twice as big as the International Space Station, and it would have easily been visible to the naked eye, never mind your average amateur astronomer with a backyard telescope.
  • Assassin Outclassin':
    • Chang sabotages the centrifuge simulator, which Bond disables with his dart device.
    • Drax places a sniper in the trees during the grouse shoot. Bond misses the birds, but hits him instead.
    • Some assassins in boats come at Bond in the canals of Venice with knives and guns. Bond kills the knife-throwing assassin by throwing one of his own knives back at him, then escapes in his motorised gondola.
    • Chang attacks Bond with a kendo stick, but Bond dispatches him after breaking a lot of glass.
    • Jaws returns and fails to eliminate Bond before switching sides.
  • Asshole Victim: The scientists in Venice. They died horribly ... to the nerve gas they had developed and built for Drax to wipe out mankind in favour of his master race.
  • "Balls" Gag: This exchange as Bond enters Q's South American lab to find him testing a new weapon:
    James Bond: Balls, Q?
    Q: (unimpressed) Bolas, 007!
  • Balls of Steel: Bond knees Jaws in the groin while fighting him in the space station. There's a "clang" sound when Bond does so, indicating that Jaws has these, in addition to his steel teeth.
  • Batman Cold Open: The cold opening shows Jaws trying to kill Bond by pushing him from an airplane without a parachute. His 'chute fails but lucky for him (and Bond), there's a nearby circus tent (with a safety net set up for a high-wire act inside).
  • Battle Bolas: Bond checks in with Q at an MI6 base in Brazil where several weapons are being tested for near-future use. One of these is a bolas modified with balls that, once wrapped around a test dummy, explode on impact.
  • Beard of Evil: Hugo Drax plans to remake the world to make it a better place to have an evil beard in.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Drax' Evil Plan is to destroy all human life on Earth so it can be repopulated it with only genetically perfect specimens that he selected.
  • Beta Couple: Jaws and Dolly.
  • Black Site: Bond discovers a secret laboratory in Venice that synthesizes nerve gas. By the time Bond can get MI6 on the scene, Drax has eradicated all traces of the laboratory, and welcomes the Brits to what is ostensibly a summer villa. The lab was moved to another secret base in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Body Horror: Implied when we see a laser gun in Q's lab being used to melt a mannequin's head; later, we see the same type of weapon being used to shoot people on Drax's space station (though here they just yell and fall down).
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • At Drax's mansion, a sniper hides in the trees, ready to take the shot at Bond, while he's taking a shot at pheasants.
    Drax: You missed, Mr. Bond.
    [the sniper falls out of the tree, dead]
    Bond: Did I? As you said, such good sport.
    • Also after killing Chang: "Play it again, Sam."
    • Drax receives three from Bond, in quick succession:
    Drax: Desolated, Mr. Bond?
    Bond: (shoots Drax with his dart-launcher) Heartbroken, Mr. Drax. (prepares to open the airlock) Allow me. (pushes Drax into the gap between the ship and the airlock) Take a giant step for mankind.
    (after Bond ejects Drax from the airlock)
    Holly: Where's Drax?
    Bond: Oh, he had to fly.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Willingly invoked by Drax, who keeps going out of his way to try and eliminate Bond in the most impractical means from their very first meeting. "Stupidity" in the sense that, originally, Bond wasn't even there to investigate Drax and all the murder attempts just made him suspicious. The first couple of attempts were suitably convoluted. Afterwards, he had no problem sending entire kill squads to assassinate Bond in public - which are just as doomed to fail, of course. His explicit justification for not simply having Bond shot is For the Evulz; he wanted Bond's death to be "amusing". Most people he has murdered in the movie actually die quite nasty deaths, especially Corrine, so this is pretty in-character.
  • Bring Him to Me: Happens to Bond and Holly, but it was probably more Jaws' idea, since that's just where Drax happens to be.
  • Bringing in the Expert: Drax orders Chang to kill James Bond. Chang fails repeatedly and Bond finally kills him. Drax then hires Jaws to finish the job.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Drax brags about his plan to create a master race where all people are physically perfect right in front of Jaws (who is freakishly tall, and in love with a short girl with glasses), and then snaps at him.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The whole point of Drax's plot, with him and his master race set to be the only humans left alive after the rest of them on the planet are eradicated.
  • By the Hair: Bond fights a mook while Holly Goodhead is strapped to a stretcher. When the mook gets knocked near her, she grabs his hair. He stands up anyway, ripping out a chunk of his hair in the process.
  • Cable-Car Action Sequence: A fight between Jaws and Bond happens aboard the gondola leading to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Call-Back: The exchanges between Bond and Drax in their final face-off ("Desolated, Mister Bond?", "Heartbroken, Mister Drax") are similar to those between Mister Kidd and Mister Wint from Diamonds Are Forever (e.g. "Heartwarming, Mister Wint.", "A glowing tribute, Mister Kidd.")
  • The Capital of Brazil Is Buenos Aires: Just for starters, the movie depicts the Amazon as terminating in a waterfall. The location depicted, Iguazu Falls, is nowhere near the Amazon. In fact, the falls aren't even in the Amazon watershed (they ultimately drain into the Río de la Plata, which divides Argentina and Uruguay).
  • Captain Obvious: Bond almost falls off the roof of the cable car.
    Goodhead: Hang on, James!
    Bond: The thought had occurred to me!
  • Cassandra Truth: Every time Bond runs into Moneypenny he tells her why he's late, but as the explanations are along the line of "I fell out of an airplane without a parachute" or "I just fell off a mountain", she doesn't believe him.
  • Centrifugal Farce: While on a tour on Drax' aerospace facility, James Bond is put in such a machine by Holly Goodhead and given a spin. While he's undergoing this Holly is called away and Drax's henchman Chang took over, turning the dial up and subjecting Bond to multiple gravities of force. Just before falling unconscious, Bond used one of his gadgets to shoot the control panel and turn the machine off. Of course, there is absolutely no reason for the centrifuge to be able to go fast enough to kill people.
  • Centrifugal Gravity: Hugo Drax's secret space station spins on its axis, providing gravity to those inside. When James Bond stops the rotation, the station interior goes to zero gravity and everyone starts floating around.
    • However, Drax's space station was not cylindrical, rather it had a roughly spherical central portion with long appendages sticking out. When it "spins up", gravity is uniform everywhere, and directed towards the "floor" of the main area, when in reality it would vary enormously depending on where in the station you were, and would be directed away from the axis of rotation.
  • Chain Pain: Chang fighting Bond in the clock tower, then later Bond fighting Jaws on top of the cable car.
  • Chekhov's Exhibit: There's an entire museum full of glass artefacts. Not thirty minutes later, we get to see the whole lot trashed when Bond fights Chang, a Kendo champion who insists on going after him with a shinai. Bond manages to repel him with a glass-handled sword that was shown earlier.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Three of them. The wrist-activated dart gun Bond uses to escape the gravity trainer and shoot Drax, Dr. Goodhead's "poison pen" Bond takes in Venice and later uses to kill the python in the jungle, and the laser rifle being tested by Q that's later used by the U.S. Marines attacking Drax's orbiting space station.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The people shown working out at Drax's estate at the beginning of the film, and at the glass factory in Venice, are later revealed to be the same people intended by Drax to seed his "master race".
    • Bond and Manuela walk past several giant masked figures while winding their way through a carnival parade. One of them turns out to be Jaws.
  • Chummy Commies: General Gogol's conversation with an American General counterpart is fairly benign.
  • Clock Tower: Bond fights Chang in a clock tower in Venice.
  • Cool Guns:
    • Jaws is seen firing an Ingram MAC-10 with a barrel-extension rather than the standard silencer, as he chases James Bond in a speedboat.
    • The laser gun props were based on a plastic toy Uzi.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: During the gondola chase scene, a snogging couple continues to make out even as their gondola is cut in half and the portion with the gondolier sinks (and their half will very likely eventually sink also).
  • Collapsing Lair: Drax's space station, due to battle damage.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The space marines wear white, while Drax's mooks wear yellow. Justified given the environment they're fighting in, where distinguishing between friend and foe is absolutely crucial and stealth is meaningless.
  • Cool Boat: Two, no less. The tricked-out hydrofoil/gondola/car thingy in Venice, and the awesome speedboat (equipped with torpedoes, mines, bullet shield and hang glider no less) used by Bond to explore the Amazon Basin.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Hugo Drax, owner of the aerospace company Drax Industries, is secretly plotting to use Deadly Gas to Kill All Humans so that he can restart civilization with those human beings he regards as "superior".
  • Covers Always Lie: The film's posters feature Bond in a white space suit. He never wears one such in the film.
  • Credits Gag: The closing credits says "Shot on Location, Italy, Brazil, Guatemala, U.S.A and Outer Space!" (the exclamation mark is actually in the credits).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Getting ripped apart by dobermans certainly qualifies.
  • Cute Mute: Dolly talks even less than Jaws does.
  • Cut Lex Luthor A Cheque: Drax has succeeded in not just planning but building a fully-functioning space station with a built-in radar-jamming cloaking device which renders it undetectable from Earth. Were he not a psychopath intent on wiping out humanity and creating his own master race out of the people on the space station, he could've made a fortune from the cloaking device alone by selling it to NASA (for whom he makes space shuttles, so he already has legitimate and doubtless lucrative business links with them).
  • Dark Messiah: This was suggested with Hugo Drax, given the loyalty of his followers.
  • Deadly Gas: Drax plans to build himself a space station, then drop satellites filled with enough nerve gas to kill everything on Earth. One scene involves James infiltrating the lab where the nerve gas is being synthesized, taking out a nerve gas canister and looking at it in puzzlement, then sloppily putting it down and hiding in the next room (which conveniently has glass windows and an airlock separating it from where he was) when the scientists come back. The scientists fail to notice the moved canister until one of them knocks it off the table, shattering it-giving Bond a demonstration of the canister's contents and purpose, as the scientists immediately die horribly.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Drax gets many amusing quips throughout the film. For instance, as Bond attempts to lead M and Gray to Drax's lab as described in It Was Here, I Swear!:
    Drax: You must excuse me, gentlemen. Not being English, I sometimes find your sense of humour rather difficult to follow.
    • Bond, of course, is a master at this.
    Bond: (about Q's cyanide-tipped darts) Very novel, Q. Must get them in the stores for Christmas.
    • Goodhead too, especially when she first meets Bond.
    Bond: Where did you learn to fight like that? NASA?
    Goodhead: No, Vassar.
  • Denser and Wackier: A shining example of this from the series, as was the slow Villain Decay of Jaws from genuinely menacing Psycho for Hire to Dumb Muscle and finally outright comic stooge. Drax and his plan, however, avert this, being one of the most monstrous villains in the whole series; here, genocide isn't just an incidental by-product of his plan, genocide pretty much is the plan.
  • Depopulation Bomb: Drax attempts to use a chemical weapon which would kill all humans on earth (only humans; other animals will be fine), to be repopulated with humans from his space station. With him as their leader, of course.
  • Destroy the Product Placement: Happens twice, in two back-to-back scenes. A cable car station is clearly adorned with a huge banner for 7-Up. After Jaws fails to kill Bond, his car not only does ram through the station, but it also clearly damages the 7-Up signs in front, as seen here After that, Bond and Goodhead are captured by henchmen dressed as paramedics, but Bond escapes a fight in the ambulance; Bond and an enemy henchman fall out of the back on a gurney and roll down a hill. Bond falls off, the henchman continues down and eventually hits and is stuck in a billboard for British Airways, causing some damage.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Hugo Drax is a billionare industrialist with his own secret space station who makes shuttles for NASA. The original novel had him as a Nazi who disguised himself as a British businessman, but is actually working for the Soviets.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the novel, Drax perishes when his submarine is blown up by the Moonraker rocket. In the film, Bond shoots him with a cyanide dart and blows him into space.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • In The Teaser, Bond is thrown out of an airplane with no parachute. He is able to intercept a mook, fight him in midair, and take his parachute, leaving the mook to die on impact.
    • Bond throws Chang through a glass window. He falls to his death by impaling a piano with a loud clang.
  • Dissonant Serenity:
    • Drax's master race candidates watch Bond in a life-and-death struggle with a python with smiles on their faces, showing they're just as evil as he is.
    • Corrine's vicious death takes place in a beautiful, sunlit forest.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • A couple snogging don't even notice when a speedboat with machine gun-toting mooks cuts their gondola in half.
    • Drax has time to evacuate his Italian biolab because Bond spends the night bonking Goodhead.
    • Goodhead smiles at a mook guarding the prisoners in the ambulance while Bond slips his bonds.
    • General Gogol gripes that he can't sleep because of his job. Problems, problems, problems! Then we see there's a beautiful blonde in his bed. Go go Gogol!
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Jaws tries to pull the ripcord on his parachute... it comes off in his hand. Later on he's chasing Bond in a speedboat, realises he's heading for an Inevitable Waterfall and tries to jerk the steering wheel to the side; it also comes off in his hand.
  • Double Entendre: "I think he's attempting re-entry, sir!"
  • Double Take: A rather (in)famous one with a Venetian pigeon doing a double take at Bond passing by in a gondola-hovercraft.
  • Dramatic Space Drifting: Hugo Drax, after being ejected by Bond with the classic quip "Take a giant step for mankind."
  • Dressing as the Enemy: While in Drax's Elaborate Underground Base, Bond and Dr. Goodhead knock out two of Drax's employees and put on their yellow jumpsuits so they can masquerade as astronauts and board one of the space shuttles.
  • Dull Surprise: Dr. Goodhead on numerous occasions, including when the shuttle they are riding is at risk of burning up on reentrynote .
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Drax's launch facility in the Amazon jungle. Where the water table is generally within no more than a few tens of feet from the surface at the very most, and in many places less than ten feet.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Say about Drax what you want, but he doesn't discriminate by gender or race. The number of women and non-whites in his ranks is impressive - especially for 1979. Even more impressive that this also counts for the crew of his space station.
  • Establishing Character Music: Drax is introduced playing Frédéric Chopin's Prelude no. 15 in D-flat major (op. 28, "Raindrop") on the piano.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Jaws changes sides primarily to protect his girlfriend.
    • We see two of Drax's "new order" kissing as they head to the station.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Although the point of most Bond films is the actions by 007 to avoid death, this film takes this trope up to eleven. In every locale and virtually every scene something or someone is trying to kill him.
  • Evil Plan: Hugo Drax's plan involves the annihilation of the human race in order to repopulate the world with his own "ideal" specimens. Given that the original villain of the novel was a Nazi, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Hugo Drax, who altered spores that caused sterility to make them lethal.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Bond accompanies Hugo Drax on a quail hunt. One flies out at him and he fires, missing the quail. Drax says, "You missed, Mister Bond.", whereupon a thug who had been trying to kill him falls from a tree near where the quail flew out, and Bond answers "Did I?".
  • Exact Words:
    Hugo Drax: And you, Dr Goodhead, your desire to become America's first woman in space will shortly be fulfilled.
  • Explosive Decompression: Averted when Bond expels Drax out an airlock. He seems to freeze quickly, but doesn't explode. Considering how thoroughly the laws of physics are violated in the movie, it's surprising that they didn't go with that trope as well, though the Squick potential might have been a factor.
  • Expy: Drax is basically Stromberg from The Spy Who Loved Me, complete with his own private army and plans for destroying the world and creating a new one from the ashes. Like Stromberg, Drax is also an expy of Blofeld and his game plan involving biological agents is similar in concept to Blofeld's in the original novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Failsafe Failure: The "chicken switch" on the centrifuge. Justified in that we see Chang unplug it before he turns the centrifuge on.
  • Fanservice Extra: Used for Chekhov's Gunman. While investigating Drax's worldwide enterprises, Bond runs into the usual highly-attractive extras as receptionists and so forth. Then he encounters the same people in Drax's Supervillain Lair. Turns out Drax's Evil Plan involves a Master Race involving physically perfect people from throughout the world, and these are the people he's recruited.
  • Fatal Flaw: Hugo Drax's tendency to gloat, and his need to make people suffer instead of killing them immediately.
  • Fed to the Beast:
    • Drax sends his dobermans to kill poor Corinne once he learns that she assisted Bond in finding his blueprints.
    • Bond falls into a pool when a man-eating python slithers in. After Bond kills the snake, Drax is disappointed that he wouldn't succumb to "an amusing death".
  • Fiction 500: Hugo Drax is the world's foremost manufacturer of space shuttles, and not only builds an entire space station, but secretly gets it into orbit, apparently all with his own money.
  • Flapping Cheeks: This happens to Bond while he is in the Centrifugal Farce machine.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Drax's Sexy Secretary Corrinne is set upon by his dogs. As they leap on her and knock her to the ground, we hear the solemn tolling of a church bell (though this is technically because the next scene is set in Venice, it is clearly meant to symbolize her death).
  • Free-Fall Fight: Bond has to fight two mooks in mid-air in the Action Prologue, one of which is Jaws.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the opening, when Bond is held at gunpoint by the pilot, you can see Jaws sitting in the copilot seat.
  • GPS Evidence: Bond knows to search the Amazon jungle for Drax's secret base — it's where the specific orchid used in Drax's neurotoxin came from.
  • Gender-Blender Name: When Bond first meets Dr. Goodhead [Holly], his reaction is a surprised "A woman!" Her response is quick and sarcastic. Note that by this point (in 1979), Bond has met any number of capable women in positions of (relative) power. Humour of the 1840s, indeed.
    • Just goes to show you how Genre Blind Mr. Bond can be.
  • Glass Weapon: Bond's battle with Chang leads to a museum of glass art. They end up trashing the place and using the various art pieces as weapons. Bond manages to chop Chang's wooden katana in half with a glass-handled rapier.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Frederick Grey mentions that he has played bridge with Drax, a nod to the card-playing sequence in the original novel.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Incensed when he discovers that his assistant Corrinne has been helping Bond, the villain Drax sets his dogs on her. Pursued by them, she hysterically flees into the woods. Despite running as fast as she can, the dogs keep gaining on her. She lets out one final desperate scream as they leap on her and knock her to the ground … and the camera pans upward to the beautiful, sunlit sky, leaving the rest to our imagination.
  • Groin Attack: Bond knees Jaws in the groin while fighting him in the space station. There's a "clang" sound when he does so, indicating that Jaws has balls of steel just like his teeth.
  • Hand Signals: While the two scientists in Drax's laboratory are preparing the lethal nerve gas containers, one makes a "come here" gesture to the other.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jaws, after spending most of the film as one one of the main henchmen (and being the main henchman of the previous one), after being forced to choose between his employer and his girlfriend, he chose the latter.
  • Highly-Conspicuous Uniform: Hugo Drax's mooks wear yellow Latex Spacesuits, even on earth. You could say the same for the US marines astronauts, though they do wear suits resembling real astronauts (though with US flag insignia on it).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Bond kills a knife-throwing assassin with one of his own knives.
    • It looks like Drax has 007 cornered and is about to have him Thrown Out the Airlock. Guess what happens instead...
  • Hollywood Skydiving: Jaws fails to deploy his main chute, diving in free fall into a circus tent, and somehow surviving by falling onto a trapeze safety net. In Real Life he could have simply deployed his reserve chute when the main chute failed.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Jaws and Dolly. There was some concern about audiences accepting the height difference until Richard Kiel pointed out his Real Life wife is the same height.
  • Hunting "Accident": Drax tries to arrange this for Bond, but the assassin gets shot by Bond instead.
  • Improvised Zip Line: Bond and Holly Goodhead use a chain to slide down a cable car cable.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: At the end of a boat chase, Jaws falls afoul of one in The Amazon Rainforest.
  • In Name Only: There's really only two things that the film shares with the novel on which it was based: Its title and the name of the villain. And really, the movie's Drax is characterized quite differently from the Hugo Drax of the novel (though the former's ambitions of building a master race in outer space could be a nod to the latter's background as a literal Nazi). When the movie came out, they made a whole new novelization (James Bond and Moonraker) based on its plot.
  • Instant Expert: In the novelization, Bond does his jump (including wresting a parachute from someone in mid-air) based on only a conversation he had with a British army parachute team.
  • Irony: While Bond is driving a gondola in Venice, a hearse ship with a laid-out coffin floats by. Suddenly, an assassin rises from the coffin, and tries to hit Bond with a couple of throwing knifes. But Bond swiftly manages to kill the assassin on the spot, causing his body to sink back into the coffin, which then shuts itself. The only time a minor Bond-villain gets a proper funeral.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Bond discovers a lab where Drax is constructing satellites with deadly chemical agents. When he brings M and Frederick Gray back there, everything is gone. The lab is replaced with a huge, opulent office. No explanation is ever given for how this happened. The lab was smaller than the office, so presumably one had been kit-assembled inside the other. Luckily Bond did have a vial of the nerve gas that the lab was working with.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Bond's visit to Rio is of course during the thick of Carnival.
  • It's Raining Men: In the pre-credits scene, Bond, Jaws, and a mook parachute from a plane and fight in mid-air.
  • Just Between You and Me: Hugo Drax lampshades this trope, and then says he's not going to follow it. But when Bond and the Bond Girl follow Drax up to his space station and see most of what's happening anyway, Drax helpfully provides the remaining details before ordering them Thrown Out the Airlock. It comes back to bite him when Jaws realizes that he and his girlfriend will have no place in Drax's new world.
  • Just Plane Wrong: During the sequence in which a space shuttle blasts off from the aircraft carrying it. The shuttle is never carried with fuel or live batteries, due to weight considerations and the obvious danger of strapping a live rocket to a plane. Even if Drax used Offscreen Villain Dark Matter to acquire a superplane able to lift the load and ignored the safety concerns, without its external fuel tank the shuttle is basically a rocket-steered glider: The shuttle's main engines are shut off once the external tank is emptied, and the OSM engines powered by the internal tank take over. These smaller engines are intended only for orbital adjustments and initiating re-entry using carefully timed burns - effective and efficient in a vacuum, but nearly useless in atmosphere.
    • That said, it is possible to launch a shuttle from the shuttle-carrier aircraft, and the technique was done several times in Real Life as part of the testing and development of the space shuttles. Rather than firing the rocket engines, the launch is performed by releasing the docking clamp holding the shuttle to the carrier, and having the carrier plane simply descend out from under the gliding shuttle.
  • Kung-Shui: Bond and Chang's fight in a glass factory results in several priceless artefacts smashed. In fact, the scene had the largest amount of break-away sugar glass in a single scene.
  • Love at First Sight: Random civilian Dolly helps Jaws extract himself from the wreckage of the cable car, they silently smile at one another and practically skip off hand in hand. With Tchaikovsky's love theme from Romeo and Juliet playing, to boot.
  • Love Redeems: Jaws is redeemed after falling in love: the realization that Drax's plan to exterminate anyone not fitting the image of his "master race" would include tiny, glasses-wearing Dolly is what prompts him into his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Made of Iron: Continuing the trend started in the previous movie, Jaws survives a fall from an airplane in the cold-open (he falls through a circus tent and lands in the trapeze artists' safety net, which should still have killed him). Then, he emerges unscathed from a cable car that crashes through a wall (and shortly before that, he bites through a thick cable, the story ignoring the fact that the inside of his mouth is made from soft skin that would not like the jagged bits of metal fraying as he bit), falls over Iguazu Falls without suffering any injury, and, in the climactic scene, the dialogue implies that he and his girlfriend survive falling from low-Earth orbit in a part of the space station that breaks off and is shown zooming away. By the end, Bond acknowledges Jaws' invulnerability, reassuring Dr. Goodhead that "it's only a hundred miles to Earth" and therefore Jaws will be fine (though he actually survives by hitching a ride with the Marines in their shuttle).
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • Chang first tries to murder Bond by sabotaging the Zero-G astronaut training he was taking part in (the Bond girl believes something had went wrong with the controls), and later Drax himself tries to have him shot and make it look like a hunting accident. Both attempts take place when Bond was on Drax's property as a guest and, when Bond leaves, later attempts are even more over-the-top but not set-up as accidents.
    Hugo Drax: Look after Mr. Bond. See that some harm comes to him.
  • Makeup Weapon: Dr. Holly Goodhead has a perfume atomiser that is actually a miniature flamethrower.
  • Meaningful Name: Dr. Holly Goodhead. Despite the blatant innuendo (given the nature of many Bond Girl names), Holly is still an intelligent CIA agent and scientist and thus has a good head on her shoulders.
  • Meet the New Boss: Drax is very similar to Stromberg from The Spy Who Loved Me. There are a few differences, and he's arguably a lot more sinister and dangerous. Stromberg is more or less an Orcus on His Throne, mostly just sitting around Atlantis all day, pressing buttons when he wants something done (or someone killed), and leaving Bond's fate mostly up to his minions. Drax does a lot more globetrotting, comes up with amusing deaths for Bond and others who have displeased him, and has a far more evil plan: at least Stromberg didn't try and select which members of the human race he was going to spare. Drax is far more egomanical, ruthless and controlling, a much more evil bastard.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: When Jaws goes through an airport metal detector his metal teeth set it off. When a guard tries to stop him, Jaws just grins at him and the terrified guard lets him pass.
  • Milkman Conspiracy: Drax Industries' Moonraker space shuttle programme wants to wipe out humanity and start over with a race of ubermenschen astronauts.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Disappearance of a space shuttle -> a plot to kill all humans on Earth.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Drax is explaining his master plan, which involves exterminating everyone on earth who isn't "perfect" - including his own less than perfect employees once he no longer needs them. Jaws overhears this, and is worried since he is a giant with metal teeth (and it's implied he isn't exactly firing on all eight cylinders intellectually), while his girlfriend is short and wears glasses. So, while on the station, Jaws helps Bond escape a sticky situation and gets physical with some of his former allies.
  • Monster Clown: When Jaws stalks Manuela in a dark alley during the Rio de Janeiro Carnival, he is dressed as a giant clown.
  • Mood Whiplash: As pointed out in the James Bond Encyclopedia, the scene where Corrine is pursued and attacked by Drax's Dobermans is genuinely chilling, and stands out from the outlandishness of the rest of the film. Drax and his evil plan to commit genocide also stands in contrast to the rest of the silliness.
  • Mook Carryover: Jaws survives being dropped into a shark tank in the middle of the ocean at the end of the last film. When Chang is killed, Jaws is hired as his replacement. Justified by the implication he was a freelance Professional Killer rather than a loyal minion of Stromberg's.
  • Mook–Face Turn: James Bond tricks Hugo Drax into talking about his plan to exterminate everybody who doesn't fit into his genetically perfect "master race" in front of Jaws, who then turns against the villains. Seeing his bespectacled, short, and somewhat plain looking girlfriend standing beside the supermodel-level women that make up the female half of Drax's group didn't help either.
  • Mook Horror Show: The death scream uttered by the unnamed villain whose parachute Bond steals is one of the most disturbing sounds ever heard in cinema. It was subsequently recycled in Octopussy and The Living Daylights for the deaths of Gobinda and Necros, respectively.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Bond and Dr. Goodhead knock out two of Drax's employees and put on their yellow jumpsuits.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: The Space Clothes worn by The Beautiful Elite have plunging v-necklines that reach their stomachs.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Hugo Drax has his own personal space program, with a highly-advanced space station. Though somewhat implausible at the time, commercial space operations are not uncommon nowadays. Drax's operations were at least partially funded by selling equipment to governmental space agencies.
  • Never Learned to Read: Corrinne claims this while Bond is trying to seduce her. It's not clear if she's serious or just flirting with him.
  • New Era Speech: Hugo Drax, to his assembled minions on the space station:
    "First there was a dream. Now there is reality. Here in the untainted cradle of the heavens will be created a new super-race, a race of perfect physical specimens. You have been selected as its progenitors - like gods. Your offspring will return to Earth and shape it in their image. You have all served in humble capacities in my terrestrial empire. Your seed, like yourselves, will pay deference to the ultimate dynasty which I alone have created. From their first day on Earth they will be able to look up and know that there is law and order in the heavens."
  • No Gravity for You: Bond disables the station's gravity so that the approaching space shuttle loaded with U.S. Marines can't be attacked and Bond and his allies can escape. The scene is truly impressive when you bear in mind this was filmed pre-CGI.
  • No More for Me:
    • While Bond is driving his gondola on the street of Venice, one onlooker suspiciously inspects his bottle of wine.
    • A bit earlier, Bond kills an assassin who was hiding in a coffin, which is then scraped off the gondola it was being transported on and dropped into the canal. A heavily-coughing smoker sees the coffin floating from under the bridge in front of him and throws away his cigarette, clearly viewing it as an omen.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Before Drax is revealed as a villain, he invites Bond to tea.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • By rights the Moonraker shuttle should have been shipped unfuelled, both to prevent accidents caused by the engine lighting off and because it would have made the flight lighter and safer.
    • Bond turns off the artificial gravity of Drax's space station with the flip of a switch.
    • Drax's astronaut training centre has a centrifuge that apparently has a 'kill' setting for no reason. There is a kill switch, but if that doesn't work (or someone disconnects it), the person inside the centrifuge is dead meat.
    • A lab facility that involves the handling of a nerve agent that kills in under a minute should any of it leak somehow does not require the lab workers to wear biohazard gear in the event of an accidental spill. There are safety precautions to ensure that the gas doesn't spread outside the room where the leak occurred, but nothing to protect the people in that room.
  • Noah's Story Arc: Drax created his space station to hold the humans who would repopulate the Earth after the deadly spores killed everyone on the surface. Bond lampshades the story by quoting "And the animals came in two by two." and specifically mentioning Noah's Ark when the two leads see that their space shuttle is carrying a cargo of men and women.
  • Noodle Incident: M asks Moneypenny if Bond's back from "that African job". Whatever that may be (though it's likely a reference to Moore's previous, non-Bond film).
  • No Place for Me There: Deliberately triggered by Bond. During Drax's Motive Rant, Bond asks if Drax will keep his new human race perfect by purging anyone with imperfections. When Drax confirms it, Jaws and his glasses-wearing girlfriend realize that applies to them, prompting a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Novelization: Christopher Wood novelised his screenplay as James Bond and Moonraker, which combined elements of both the film and the original novel. More details here.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: During the opening aerial fight scene, the stuntman playing Jaws looks nothing like Richard Kiel.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Bond's usual reaction upon seeing that Jaws is after him again.
    • Jaws himself gets one when he pulls the ripcord to his parachute and it comes off in his hand. He gets another one later when he sees his cable car is about to crash. Then a third one as he's about to fall from the top of the Iguazú Falls.
    • Bond when he sees that an enormous, man-eating python has just entered the same pool he's in.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: James Bond gives a hilariously wan little grin when he first runs into Jaws.
  • Operation: [Blank]: Drax's plan to wipe out mankind is called "Operation Orchid."
  • Organization with Unlimited Funding: To have had a space station and fleet of rocket ships over 25 years before NASA and Russia finally got around to creating one, would have definitely been ambitious for Drax.
  • Outrun the Fireball: While crawling through an air vent.
  • Pain to the Ass: Downplayed, as Bond tests his wrist dart gun in M's office by firing a dart into a painting of William III and his horse.
  • Perfection Is Impossible: Hugo Drax's fatal error; he uses Jaws as a henchman, but when Jaws realizes that he and his love interest will be disposed of as imperfect he helps Bond foil Drax's plan.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment: The scientists in Hugo Drax's lab use manipulators for part of their processing of the deadly poison. Unfortunately they use manual manipulation outside a sealed area for the rest, so after James Bond fools around with the vials one of them is knocked down and broken, killing them.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Dolly might be tiny, but she has no trouble lifting the heavy cable-car wheel that Jaws is pinned under.
  • Plot-Demanded Manual Mode: In the climax, James Bond and Holly Goodhead use a laser-armed space shuttle to locate and destroy three globes filled with nerve gas. As per Rule of Three, the first two are destroyed easily, but as the shuttle enters the atmosphere the automatic targeting starts to malfunction from the heat and vibration, so Bond has to aim it manually using a fold-out joystick.
  • Politically Correct Villain: Drax may be a megalomaniac who wants to end human civilisation as we know it, but he's no racist — as evidenced by the fact that the beautiful people in his space station are by no means exclusively white.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Take a giant step for mankind." Downplayed in that Drax has already been fatally shot by Bond.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: Bond and Chang are fighting in a Venice glass museum where they smash just about everything in the exhibition. At one point during the fight Bond picks up an item, hears the alarm that reminds him that it's "priceless", and carefully replaces it; seconds later, Chang smashes it.
  • Product Placement:
    • Yes, we all know that all James Bond movies have it, but this one goes a little nuts with the 7-Up billboards.
    • A British Airways billboard is prominently featured.
    • Lampshaded and inverted when Bond suggests Q put one of his deadly gadgets into the stores for Christmasnote .
  • Put Their Heads Together: In the final act, Jaws does this with two underlings when pulling his Mook–Face Turn.
  • Reaction Shot: The Gondola Scene derives much of its humour from this.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • One of the most criticised aspects of the movie was how easy it was for the United States to launch a space shuttle with only a few hours notice. Except that this was during the height of the space race, and NASA was expected to have at least one orbital space mission a month. Thus, depending on how close they were to the next launch, its quite possible that a shuttle was indeed prepped enough to pull this off. In short, Moonraker assumed NASA's plans for the (then near-future) space shuttle were accurate. They weren't, but the filmmakers couldn't have known that.
    • In universe, shuttles are being produced at least as readily as low-volume aircraft are. The one that's stolen was stolen because Drax had problems with one of his own, and couldn't reduce the fleet needed for his plan, so he stole back one he'd already sent for delivery. It follows that NASA is doing a lot more launches than in real life. The presence of space-borne combat troops ready to go on short notice is a bit harder to accept.
  • Recycled In Space:
    • Literally. In the previous movie, James Bond works with a female foreign secret agent to stop a Corrupt Corporate Executive (who eliminates a female subordinate by dropping her in a Shark Pool) from destroying the world and creating a new empire in the ocean. In this movie, James Bond works with a female foreign secret agent to stop a Corrupt Corporate Executive (who eliminates a female subordinate by getting her fed to his dobermanns, but also has a Python Pool) from destroying the world and creating a new empire in space. Yes, Moonraker in plot is blatantly copied from The Spy Who Loved Me. Yet the latter film is considered one of the best in the series and of the Moore era, while this one is mostly reviled.
    • And annoyingly enough, both steal from You Only Live Twice, where James Bond works with a female foreign secret agent (Japan, this time) to stop Ernst Stavro Blofeld (who eliminates a female subordinate by dropping her in a Piranha Pool) from causing World War III (i.e. destroying the world) so that another global power can take over. All three plots involve stealing exotic government vehicles of some kind. All three were directed by the same dude, Lewis Gilbert.note  All three end with Bond and the girl being "interrupted" by their superiors as well. Gilbert admits this in the The Spy Who Loved Me DVD "making of" featurette.
    • Also borrows from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, in which Blofeld's plot was to decimate the world using a biological warfare agent and included a bevy of beautiful women.
    • And also borrows from Thunderball specifically with a battle between US soldiers and henchmen in an unusual environment. This time in outer space rather than underwater.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Hugo Drax has built a fleet of space shuttles and a large functioning space station years before the International Space Station, and all the heroes do is blow them up rather than taking them over and using them.
  • Removable Steering Wheel: Jaws and some mooks are chasing James Bond in a speedboat when Jaws takes the wheel a little too literally.
  • Restart the World: Drax decides to destroy mankind with a nerve toxin, and then repopulate with his own super race preserved on a space station.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: Bond wasn't interested in Drax until Drax started trying to have him killed.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Drax has some Dobermans that only eat on his command, as he demonstrates to Bond. Later he uses them to eat Corrine on his command.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: Jaws keeps trying to catch Bond, fails every time and ends up crashing in things in ways that would kill normal men without so much as an injury, this time with an Oh, Crap! face when plummetting without a parachute, being in a gondola at full speed with an inevitable crash and facing the Inevitable Waterfall. And he keeps coming back.
  • Royal Rapier: During Bond’s fight with Chang in Venice, Bond briefly uses a rapier to cut Chang’s shinai in half.
  • Rule of Three: Three globes are ejected and have to be destroyed by Bond and Goodhead in a laser-armed shuttle. Naturally the first two are destroyed easily while the last presents all kinds of problems like the laser malfunctioning, requiring him to make three attempts to destroy it.
  • Running Gag:
    • Victor Tourjansky as the "man with the bottle" in St. Mark's Square who does a double take on seeing Bond drive by in a gondola. in the previous film he was the man on the beach who does a Double Take seeing Bond's Lotus drive out of the water.
    • Bond with the girl at the end, being interrupted by his superiors trying to get in touch with him. This was a common gag for the Moore films, only two of which did not include it.
  • Safecracking: Bond opens the safe in Drax's headquarters with an X-ray device.
  • Safety in Muggles: Jaws is about to strangle Manuela, when he's interrupted by a group of Carnival revellers. Even more fortunate for her, the distraction lasts long enough for Bond to arrive and rescue her, and another group of partiers saves both of their lives when they not only stop Jaws, they sweep him along with them, away from the couple.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Bond tells Moneypenny he's late because he fell out of an airplane, then gets miffed when she laughs. The next time he meets her, Bond starts to tell how he fell off a mountain in a cable car, then gives up at her "Yeah right!" look.
  • Scenery Porn: In addition to natural beauties/cities, there's the space station.
  • Schmuck Bait: A beautiful blonde beckons Bond across a bridge in Drax's Amazon base. No doubt thinking of his experience in You Only Live Twice, Bond gives her a "Yeah right" look and walks around the side of the pool, only to be flipped into it by a tilting rock.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: M is forced by Frederick Gray to take Bond off the case after they're both humiliated by entering the supposed laboratory, now Drax's study, wearing gas masks. However, Bond is able to produce the gas vial he recovered from the lab, showing that he was right. M decides to grant him a "leave of absence" so that he can pursue the lead in Rio.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Novelization only - in stark contrast to the Love Redeems angle of Jaws' defection in the movie, it's portrayed as Jaws abandoning Drax after realising that a "freakish mutate" like himself would have no place in Drax's Nazism-inspired "genetically perfect world". Likewise, though he does take a woman with him, Bond cynically notes that it's most likely a scientist who realised that Jaws wasn't Too Dumb to Live and who played on her beauty to make him take her with him.
  • Sea Mine: Bond's Amazon boat has a number of these in its arsenal, which Bond releases to blow up a pursuing boat.
  • Semper Fi: When the time comes to destroy Hugo Drax's space station, guess which service is sent to do it? And given that the ensuing fight demonstrates the principle "in space, there is no such thing as 'minor damage'", one suspects this is why the film-makers went with the USMC.
  • Sequel Escalation: How can you top a madman stealing SSBNs to start World War III? A genocidal madman IN SPACE! To date, the films never escalate to this scale again. Instead they have escalated in amount of action sequences, or their Refuge in Audacity (see previous film and the ski jump), or more recently with Brosnan's run, the exception of Carver, ever more physically powerful villains such as Renard and Graves. The Daniel Craig run appears to be flipping it back the other way once again.
  • Sex Signals Death: Drax' secretary Corrine Dufour is seduced by Bond and is tricked into telling him where Drax's safe is. Drax, apparently thinking she did this deliberately, sets his dogs on her.
  • Sexy Stewardess: Unfortunately she turns out to be a Femme Fatale.
  • Shark Pool: Hugo Drax drops Bond into a pool with a reticulated python.
  • Shoe Phone:
    • Bond uses four gadgets across the movie. One he was issued by Q, one he borrowed from Holly, and two that came out of nowhere with no explanation.
    • Bond identifies Holly as an allied agent thanks to her "standard CIA equipment", which consists of pen that squirts poison, a diary that fires a dart, a handbag that's a radio and a perfume sprayer that's a Fire-Breathing Weapon!
  • Shot in the Ass: M gets annoyed when Bond test-fires his wrist dart gun into a picture on his wall, specifically the horses' ass.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sic 'Em: "Look after Mr Bond. See that some harm comes to him." Not to mention poor Corrine...
  • Signs of Disrepair: The ambulance chase culminates into James throwing a mook on a wheeled gurney onto the streets, which then wheels all the way down a slope before crashing into a billboard depicting a tourism ad for Rio. Naturally, the mook's head goes into the mouth of an air hostess on the billboard.
  • Sigil Spam:
    • "007" is on the miniature camera Bond uses to photograph documents, with the lens in the middle "O".
    • Drax Industries' logos are everywhere, from the side of his space shuttles to the belt buckles of his mooks.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Somewhere in the middle. It has the grimmest villain, but the most funny (and at times, cutesy) moments.
  • Slow Laser: They're noticeably faster than many other fictional lasers, and they have no apparent recoil, but they are also noisy, very bright, and don't leave any visible wounds on those they kill during the battle on the space station.
  • Snake Pit: Hugo Drax throws James Bond into a snake pool—a swimming pool where slithers a gigantic reticulated python. Python reticulatus is an excellent swimmer.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: Access to Drax's base is controlled by a musically coded keypad. The tune is the same five notes used to communicate with the aliens at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
  • Space Base: The climax takes place in a orbital space station.
  • Space Is Noisy: Averted until everyone starts shooting at each other.
  • Space Is Slow Motion
  • Space Marines: Apparently, NASA keeps a shuttle load of U.S. Marines on standby just in case.
  • Space Station: Drax's main lair at the end. It rotates to provide simulated gravity, even though it seems to be more of a star shape rather than the traditional wheel.
  • Spy Cam: Bond use a small camera to take snaps of Drax's blueprints.
  • Stealth in Space: The orbiting colony station is concealed by a radar jamming device, until our heroes disable it, instantly exposing the space station to NASA. However this still doesn't explain why no-one noticed the numerous shuttle launches and space construction required to build the thing, not to mention something that big being visible to the naked eye.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Bond and Goodhead are completely unaffected by the sound of a space shuttle blasting off even though they're only inches away. Never mind being deafened by the noise, in Real Life they probably would have been killed.
  • Stock Scream:
    • The scream uttered by the Mook Bond kicks away after taking his parachute in the opening teaser skydiving sequence. This scream is commonly heard in the Moore-era Bond films. It's the same one cried out by the guy who wants "no part of it" and is Thrown from the Zeppelin in A View to a Kill.
    • Another butchered Wilhelm Scream can be heard in the latter part of the film, during the boat chase down the River Amazon when a speedboat driven by one of Drax's mooks gets blown up.
  • Stronger Than They Look: After Jaws fails to kill Bond in the cable car scene he is trapped under a very large wheel or gear. He can't lift it off of himself. Who can? Dolly, a five foot nothing girl with big glasses and pigtailsnote .
  • Storming the Castle: The film ends with an assault on Drax's space station by U.S. Marine astronauts with laser weapons. Bond was already inside the station when it occurred.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: When Bond and Goodhead follow Drax up to his space station and see most of what's happening, Drax helpfully provides the remaining details.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Jaws finally breaks at his silence at the end, when he says one line, "Here's to us", while proposing a toast with Dolly.
  • Super Breeding Program: Drax plans to do some omnicide, and repopulate the planet Noah's Ark style with pairs of men and women he has determined to be the best specimens of the human race.
  • Supervillain Lair: Drax actually gets three: his French château transported brick by brick to California, a Mayan ruin which houses his shuttle launch complex, and the space station in orbit of Earth.
  • Take the Wheel: Jaws and some mooks are chasing Bond in a speedboat when Jaws takes the wheel a little too literally.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Bond uses Hugo Drax's speech to inspire a Heel–Face Turn in Jaws, who takes notice of how much he and his short, bespectacled girlfriend stick out amongst Drax's future "Master Race".
  • Tap on the Head:
    • A tram operator was knocked out by being hit on the back of a head with a wrench and two Drax employees are knocked out by a punch and a metal container.
    • Bond is knocked out by fake paramedics who capture him and Holly.
  • There's No Kill like Overkill: The film clearly points out that someone shot with the cyanide-tipped darts in Bond's wrist gun dies in 30 seconds. Yet when Bond shoots Drax with said darts, he follows up by blowing him out an airlock and into space before the dart has a chance to work.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Jaws get a lot of abuse in this movie, but he not only does get a girlfriend out of it, but he gets to live, unlike everyone else in Drax's employ, and unlike most henchmen who cross paths with 007.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Bond does this to Drax after shooting him with a wrist-dart. This also happens to be the current trope image.
  • Transhuman Aliens: The James Bond franchise itself weirdly enough jumps onto the extraterrestrial species train since Drax's plot involves the creation of a humanoid master race native to space via genetically perfect breeding on the space station Moonraker and said species taking planet Earth for themselves. This alien race never comes to be since Drax is stopped, but it is still strange nonetheless space dwellers are teased in the series, albeit they are a more logical and justified variation of alien tropes.
  • Trapped in Containment: James Bond accidentally (or not) causes this to happen to a couple of scientists working for Drax. Whether or not he cares is a different issue.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Drax.
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: Bond is thrown out of a plane without a parachute and uses the tucked position in order to catch up with the pilot, who had bailed out earlier and was falling in the boxman position. Bond overpowers him and steals the parachute. Before he can equip it properly though, Jaws catches up with Bond and Bond only escapes being bitten by deploying his parachute in the nick of time, slowing him enough that Jaws plummets away. All of that is reasonably accurate, although they were falling for long enough that they must have started above 25,000 feet, which would require oxygen equipment. However, when Bond detaches the parachute from the pilot, the pilot starts falling faster than Bond for no apparent reason.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: This is probably the campiest, most lighthearted film in the franchise. And yet Hugo Drax is possibly the most diabolical villain in the franchise. As a cold, snobbish, understated executive, Drax wishes to exterminate the human race, except for those he considers "superior beings". To this end, Drax captures men and women whom he sees as physically perfect, planning to keep these people in his giant space station while he covers the earth in a rare toxin that will kill every human being on earth.
  • Villain Decay: The film is often criticized for making Jaws more buffoonish than in The Spy Who Loved Me, where he was genuinely menacing. Here, he falls in love, does a Heel–Face Turn and (unlike most Bond villain henchmen) survives.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Happens after Bond and Dr. Goodhead are captured in the space station when Bond explains the implications of Drax's master race. Jaws begins his Mook–Face Turn when he realizes he and Dolly won't fit in with Drax's perfect people.
    Drax: [angrily] JAWS! You obey me! EXPEL THEM!
  • Villainous Plan Inertia: Bond manages to kill Drax and destroy his space station, but even then, he and Holly have to chase down the three poison capsules he successfully launched, which, if not stopped, will kill 100 million people... each.
  • The Voiceless: Jaws... until the end: "Well, here's to us."
  • Warrior Monk: Spoofed with two monks doing martial arts. After flipping his opponent, the winner blesses his opponent by performing the sign of the cross over him.
  • We Don't Need Roads: Bond's gondola transforms into a hovercraft, allowing him to drive it onto the streets of Venice.
  • We Need a Distraction: Dr. Goodhead pulls this on one of the henchmen in the ambulance.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Hugo Drax attempts to do this to James Bond.
    Drax: Jaws, Mr. Bond must be cold after his swim. Place him where he can be assured of warmth.
    • At the start of the movie the stolen shuttle does this to its carrier aircraft during its getaway.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The novelisation gives Drax a Motive Rant where he claims the world is doomed through overpopulation and ozone depletion, so he's just doing what's necessary to save humanity and its achievements.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The "ideal humans" vanish from the narrative once Bond reaches the space station. Whether any actually survive is never revealed. This is actually noticeable as the film takes pains to focus on the fact that the women among them are the same ones Bond sees earlier at Drax' estate and in the glass factory in Venice, yet we never learn their fate and the only people being seen killed on screen are Drax' male troops.
    • Also, regarding the Action Prologue / Batman Cold Open, we are never shown what happens to the stewardess who was working with Jaws and the Pilot henchman to try and kill Bond, though considering we see her putting on her own parachute, she likely bailed out after Jaws did.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Although Bond does kill Drax, Jaws changes sides at the last minute and receives redemption. Meanwhile it is strongly implied (yet pointedly never directly shown on screen) that Drax's "master race" specimens, whose only crime it seems was to be genetically perfect and be on his payroll, are either slaughtered by the US troops who invade the station or are left to die as it breaks up. Keep in mind that this would have also likely included Dolly, Jaws' cute and kind girlfriend (but technically a mook - she even wears the "yellow suit of death") had he not changed sides.
    • Well they were (presumably) willing participants in his conspiracy to kill everyone on Earth.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: A real life one for Richard Kiel, as he suffers from acrophobia and was unable to film any of the cable car fight. Hence the numerous shots of Jaws from behind awkwardly intercut with Kiel's face in front of a bluescreen.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Bond fights Chang in an Italian glass museum. There had been a tour through the museum earlier, just to establish exactly how priceless each piece was. It goes like you'd expect.
  • Why Won't You Die?:
    • "Mr. Bond, you persist in defying my efforts to provide an amusing death for you."
    • There's a very good chance that Bond himself is thinking this about Jaws, who seems unkillable.
  • Wicked Cultured: Drax lives in a fancy villa imported brick brick from Paris and plays Chopin on the piano.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Subverted James Bond and Chang engage in a fight in Venice that eventually leads them into a glass shop (which Bond had toured earlier looking for his contact). Initially, his opponent (an apparent master of Kendo) had the advantage with the Shinai, until Bond picked up a glass-handled Rapier and sliced it in half. This wasn't what won the battle, though, as he soon lost the weapon himself.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Prior to the final space battle, Drax's crew is shown to include men and women, both uniformed and civilian. But once the battle begins - and it is strongly implied that the space soldiers slaughter everyone on Drax's side - no female combatants are shown. We don't see another woman until after the battle and Jaws' girlfriend comes out from hiding - maybe with all the other women on board?
  • You Have Failed Me: Drax fires Corinne, accusing her of having revealed the location of his safe to Bond. Then he sics his Dobermans on her.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Drax fully intends to kill all his employees who fail to meet his standards of perfection once his plans are realized. This causes Jaws to Heel–Face Turn when he realizes that his girlfriend - who has less than perfect eyesight - wouldn't make the cut. He also might have realized he probably wouldn't make the cut either, having prosthetic jaws and teeth, plus gigantism.
  • Zero-G Spot: James Bond and Holly Goodhead attempt reentry in Moonraker, making Bond both a member of the Mile-High Club and the 100 Mile High Club.

Holly Goodhead: Take me 'round the world one more time.
James Bond: Why not?


Video Example(s):



Access to Drax's base is controlled by a musically coded keypad. The tune is the same five notes used to communicate with the aliens at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

How well does it match the trope?

4.4 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / SongsInTheKeyOfLock

Media sources: