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The film:

  • Author's Saving Throw: An example where, ironically, the creators were widely agreed to have addressed the biggest complaint of the previous film, while messing up everything else. Bringing back Sean Connery was welcomed by fans who didn't take to George Lazenby's version in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but the more mature and nuanced storyline of that film was jettisoned in favour of something far Denser and Wackier. This means that On Her Majesty's Secret Service is still seen by many as the pinnacle of the entire Bond franchise, with Lazenby's performance still being the main point of contention, while this film is seen as one of the weakest in the franchise, despite starring the Bond actor generally considered the most popular one.
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  • Badass Decay:
    • Tiffany's general competence falls off a cliff once she teams up with Bond, going from tough as nails, no-bullshit crook in her first scene to Damsel Scrappy by the climax of the film.
    • Bambi & Thumper start off as formidable fighters, but are easily overpowered by Bond once they dive into the pool after him.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The circus act from the novel of the black girl turning into a gorilla, complete with all the Values Dissonance that entails, makes it into the movie for no apparent reason.
  • Broken Base: Not the film itself (which is generally agreed to be the weakest of the Connery era, and the first serious misfire in the franchise), but rather, the film's decision to be the first to go into full-blown camp. A good portion of the fanbase considers this one way the franchise was Growing the Beard for injecting more humour into the series. For the other fans, it's something they'll never let people forget about this film.
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  • Complete Monster: Blofeld again. See that page for details.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd are among the most popular henchmen of the series, standing out for their witty banter and for their gruesome yet creative methods of dispatching their victims. They manage to be both menacing and genuinely funny at the same time. Various shows have parodied the characters and there's even a jewelry store in London named after them.
  • Fan-Preferred Cut Content:
    • It's widely agreed that the deleted material with Plenty O'Toole should have been left in the film, as it not only gives her more screentime, but fills in a plot hole regarding how she knew where Tiffany Case lives.
    • The intended climax involving a full on assault on the oil rig culminating in Bond chasing Blofeld to a salt mine where the villain finally meets his end sounds like it would have been way more satisfying than the final film, not to mention Blofeld getting a proper comeuppance.
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  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: After Bond kills Peter Franks and switches their IDs to fool Tiffany, the following exchange is played for laughs, due to Bond's Mock Surprise Reaction. But nowadays, that would be everybody's reaction to No Time to Die, where Daniel Craig's iteration of Bond perishes by tomahawk missile strike at the end of the movie.
    Tiffany: My god! You've just killed James Bond!
    Bond: Is that who it was? Oh, it just proves no one is invincible.
  • Genius Bonus: Bond's line, "Alimentary, my dear Leiter" when Leiter is searching for the diamonds in Peter Franks' coffin almost didn't make it into the film. The line refers to the alimentary canal, another name for the gastrointestinal tract, which terminates in...well, you know what. Bond is basically doing a one-liner about how he hid the diamonds on Franks's body where the sun doesn't shine. Apparently, Albert R. Broccoli demanded that screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz remove the line for fear that nobody would get the joke.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Plenty's death by drowning. Lana Wood's older sister, Natalie Wood, died by drowning ten years later. What makes it even more disturbing is that Lana almost drowned for real filming that scene.
    • Bond slapping Tiffany is rather uncomfortable in light of Sean Connery's infamous stance on hitting women.
    • Bond has to be rescued from going up in flames at one point. In No Time to Die, he allows himself to go up in flames to save the love of his life, their child, and potentially the world from the Heracles virus.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • From a deleted scene, Plenty's question, "you're not a knight or anything like that, are you?", to which he replies, "no, a mere commoner." Sean Connery was knighted almost three decades later.
    • Bond refers to Tiffany as "dragon lady". Connery would later voice a dragon in Dragonheart.
    • Blofeld infamously disguises himself in drag to get out of his hiding. His actor Charles Gray would later be the narrator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a film that stars someone who describes themselves as a "sweet transvestite."
    • Bond mentions "a friend named Felix who can fix anything."
    • Blofeld's method for duplicating Whyte's voice bears quite a resemblance to the principle behind audio deepfakes, only about 45 years earlier.
  • Ho Yay: Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. The movie suggests that they are a couple, especially in the scene where one of them gets jealous when the other praises Tiffany's physical beauty.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Albert Wint and Charles Kidd are established very early on as dangerous killers, but the point where they cross it is when they murder Plenty O'Toole offscreen by drowning her in a pool in the backyard of a house where Tiffany Case had been instructed to await further instructions, mistaking her for Case, without even bothering to verify her identity. Tellingly, this is their one kill that doesn't have a Bond One-Liner attached to it (spoken by Bond himself whenever he survives any of their attempts on his life), and is played completely seriously in a film full of camp. At this point, James Bond blows his cover to Case and alerts her that the diamond smugglers are being assassinated for a reason whoever's running the operation wants kept secret.
  • Narm: This was the first film in the franchise that gave an exaggerated emphasis on comedy. And boy, it shows...
    • The horrible dub job in the opening scene, as the actor keeps his mouth wide open but we still hear "Cai...Cai...Cairo!"
    • Dr. Tynan has a scorpion slipped down his back, which results in him flinging his arms in the air with a cartoonish cry of pain mixed in for good measure.
    • In the pre-title sequence, one of the mooks defending the fake Blofeld attempts to tackle Bond, only to be disarmed by a mousetrap hidden in Bond's pocket.
    • Bond pretending to make out with himself to appear inconspicuous while pursuing Peter Franks.
    • "Plenty O'Toole".
    • The fake Blofeld's death in the Whyte House: he's shot in the head with a piton gun, freezes for a second or two in shock, then suddenly flings his arms in the air and topples over.
    • As terrible as his death is, the Chinese soldier's expression when the Kill Sat's beam hits him is pretty goofy.
    • The entire scene of Bond taking a beating by "Bambi" and "Thumper".
    • Ernst Stavro Blofeld dressed in drag.
    • Tiffany Case brings a lot of it to the table, particularly her rather embarrassing Fight Scene Failure in the climax where, clad in a bikini she fires a machine gun in the air while covering Bond, sending herself skittering backwards until she falls off the platform.
  • Narm Charm: Bond making out with himself is pretty convincingly shot. It’s dumb as hell, but about as well done as it can be.
  • Never Live It Down: Sean Connery's out-of-shape appearance and dodgy toupée has received a fair bit of criticism over the years, particularly during the scene in which he's naked. His performance has uncharacteristically been bashed a fair bit as well, given that the man clearly, and admittedly was bored to hell and only there for a paycheck.
  • Older Than They Think: Many fans complained that Blofeld had a full head of hair in this movie instead of his iconic bald appearance of the previous two films. In fact, Blofeld did have hair during his appearances in From Russia with Love and Thunderball, though it's difficult to see due to his face being obscured in those films. On top of that, the literary version was also described with an appearance close to that of Charles Gray in this film; in fact, the only reason why the screen Blofeld was ever bald was that Donald Pleasence happened to be bald himself (as was the actor who immediately succeded Pleasence, Telly Savalas).
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Plenty O'Toole, the beautiful woman Bond meets in a casino. Even more so after she decides to let Bond deprive her of her clothes.
    • Peter Franks is only on screen for a handful of minutes, but his surprisingly brutal fight scene with Bond in the elevator is viewed as one of the highlights of the movie.
    • Blofeld's associate Marie only has about thirty seconds of screen time, but is extremely memorable due to how Bond chokes her with her own bikini top to get information out of her.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Charles Gray's interpretation of Blofeld is the least popular incarnation of the character to date, being much less menacing than his predecessors.
    • Norman Burton as Felix Leiter, who comes across as being far more bad-tempered and useless than his previous appearances. It doesn't help that this comes right before David Hedison's version in the next movie, which (at least until Jeffrey Wright came along in the Daniel Craig films) was widely considered the most popular incarnation of Leiter, especially since he got to reprise the role (the only one to do so before Wright himself) in Licence to Kill.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Sid Haig as one of the Slumber Inc. thugs confronting Bond in Vegas.
    • Shady Tree's "acorns", the showgirls that accompany him on his act, are played by Valerie Perrine and Cassandra Peterson, back when they were Las Vegas showgirls.
  • The Scrappy: Tiffany Case, who very quickly becomes a Damsel Scrappy as she comes to rely on Bond to save her hide on one too many occasions.
  • Sequelitis: It's widely considered Connery's weakest and among the low points of the series for its campy tone, cheap, lousy effects and delirious plot.
  • Signature Scene: The car chase through the streets of Las Vegas is considered by many fans to be the best scene in the film.
  • Special Effect Failure: Connery's increased salary for the movie meant that a cheaper effects company had to be used to cut costs.
    • During the chase scene with the moon rover, you can see a wheel rolling on screen just after the rover goes off camera. This is because they crashed the rover.
    • During the chase through the Las Vegas Strip, Bond drives his Mustang through a narrow ally on the two wheels of his right side, only to exit the alley on the wheels of his left side. Chalk this one up to bad editing, one which the filmmakers attempted to rectify by simply flipping the shot of Bond and Tiffany inside the car, making it look like the car somehow managed to flip in the narrow alley.
    • Just about any explosion featured in the film. Those from Dr. No and From Russia with Love look better by comparison.
    • The Kill Sat itself, which somehow manages to look worse and worse in each shot. In the shots of the rocket launching and separating it actually looks decent, at about the standards of the similar sequences from You Only Live Twice. When the satellite sheds its outer casing and fully deploys, it looks like something you'd see in a cheaper episode of Thunderbirds. By the time it takes out a Chinese military base, the effects standard has dropped to being barely above a contemporary episode of Doctor Who.
    • As terrifying as the scene of Mr. Kidd burning alive is, one can clearly make out Putter Smith's heavy fire retardant gloves as he is set alight. Moments later, when Mr. Wint is blown up by his own bomb, none of his remains can be seen falling into the water.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Tiffany Case enduring Badass Decay and becoming another bumbling sidekick for Bond to rescue.
    • And poor Plenty, such a fun, lovely girl...
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Bond going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to avenge his wife and destroy Blofeld and SPECTRE once and for all would have made a hell of a movie and a Grand Finale to the Sean Connery era, or a great comeback for Lazenby. Too bad the revenge angle all but disappears after the Cold Open, Lazenby was gone, and Connery looks bored as hell. The movie is a giant cheese and camp factory on wheels and nothing with Blofeld really gets resolved.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • James plays with Tiffany's genuine fear of being locked up for pure kicks at times.
    • Women in general really aren't treated or presented well in this movie. Plenty O'Toole is just there to oogle and to die. Tiffany Chase turns into a bozo after banging Bond. Bambi & Thumper start off as an exception with their ability to fight, overpower and pummel Bond but are easily made useless once they end up in the pool.
    • One of the circus acts is a black girl who changes into a gorilla, combining freakshow entertainment with racist tropes about Africans being monkeys. This is actually a rare part of the movie taken directly from the original novel, which tended to have a lot of Ian Fleming's more troubling tendencies sanded down for the movies.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Two baddies slowly drowning in mud. Also Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd murdering Lord knows how many people (including Plenty O'Toole, who wasn't even involved in the evil plan, simply because she was in Tiffany Case's house at the wrong time).
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Charles Gray as an unexplainably fully-haired Blofeld, with a "proper English genleman" voice rather comparable to M's and Q's — though it can be argued those changes fit the film's decidedly more playful take on the character. Even Guy Hamilton felt that Gray was "not ideal casting".
    • Norman Burton as Felix Leiter, who was considered to be too old and physically unconvincing as Bond's American counterpart.
    • Sammy Davis Jr., which may be why his rather meaningless cameo in the film was cut from the final product.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Tiffany Case's red hair, which is considerably less alluring than her brown wig she had donned upon her introduction to Bond.

The novel:

  • Harsher in Hindsight: Bond on the idea of getting married: "It wouldn't last. I'd get claustrophobia and run out on her. Get myself sent to Japan or somewhere." (In the novels, OHMSS and You Only Live Twice take place one right after the other.)
  • Nausea Fuel: Ian Fleming lovingly draws out every single detail of how disgusting the mud baths at Saratoga (not to mention its customers) are. It's topped off with one of the most disturbing torture scenes in the book, if not the whole series.
  • The Scrappy: Jack and Seraffimo are easily the least liked of Ian Fleming's main villains, being completely mundane gangsters with completely mundane motives. It's probably telling that they're the only Fleming Big Bads never to have been adapted to film.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Felix makes a joke about how you can't call a measure of whiskey a "jigger" anymore; now you have to call it a Jegro.
    • Felix again; when explaining Wint and Kidd's Backstory he remarks that gays make excellent killers.
    • Felix once again: At one point he refers to rape as a minor crime.

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