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YMMV / For Your Eyes Only

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The film:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Fans have questioned and debated for decades as to whether or not the vicar is in on Blofeld's plot to kill Bond, given the ominous sign of the cross he gives towards Bond as the helicopter takes off—is he saying a prayer for him or reading him his last rites?
    • Bond talking Melina out of revenge makes him look like a hypocrite in the wake of Licence to Kill (and even his killing of Blofeld and Loque). Or is he trying to avoid her going down his path?
  • Awesome Music: As you would expect from Bill Conti, aka the Rocky composer.
    • The title song by Sheena Easton.
    • The theme that plays when Bond regains control of the helicopter in the Action Prologue.
    • "A Drive in the Country" and "Runaway".
    • The instrumental version of the titular song.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Kriegler is often mocked for being a Red Grant Expy with no characterization, but other fans like him in spite of his dull personality due to how he's a frighteningly tough Cold Sniper and Badass Biker with Charles Atlas Superpower strength.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • The death of Blofeld. Particularly if you have watched the movies in order and have seen all the atrocities he commits yet gets away with every time, as well as him just disappearing from the movies for a decade due to legal issues.
    • The death of Locque also counts, particularly after what he did to Ferrara and Lisl.
  • Complete Monster: Blofeld, if that guy at the start really is him. See here.
  • Contested Sequel: The film is often regarded as a step up from the over-the-top Moonraker, if you're in the "realistic Bond" crowd. To fans of the more bombastic and humorous style, however, For Your Eyes Only is sometimes regarded as one of the more average Bond entries, or at least suffers a bit from Tough Act to Follow compared to The Spy Who Loved Me. Take your pick.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Melina Havelock is considered one of the best Bond Girls in the franchise: an independent and strong woman who manages to save Bond on several occasions (and she doesn't have to be saved by him at the climax, unlike Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me), and who only romantically engages with him at the end of the movie, after her parents' murderer was finally punished.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Roger Moore saying the opening credits scene was far sexier than any of the Bond girls could come across as this if you take into account that Sheena Easton said the filming of the closeup scene was unglamorous as she was tied down to a chair to prevent her from moving.
    • Countess Lisl was played by Australian actress Cassandra Harris, married to an up-and-coming television actor named Pierce Brosnan (who came to visit the set). She always wanted to see him play 007; unfortunately, by the time that happened Harris had died of cancer (in 1991).
    • The scene where James Bond climbs up a cliff and almost falls to his death can seem like this, since it would later be revealed in GoldenEye that, like in the books, his parents died in a climbing accident.
    • When settling down after their (hectic) first meeting, James tries to talk Melina out of taking revenge. Melina tells Bond, "I don't expect you to understand. You're English. And I'm half-Greek. And Greek women, like Elektra, always avenge their loved ones." Another woman named Elektra takes Melina's sentiment to heart in The World Is Not Enough.
    • Bond talks Melina out of taking revenge for the death of parents in the end by telling her to be prepared to dig two graves. In Licence to Kill, Bond goes on a revenge tour for Felix Leiter and his wife Della and it takes Pam Bouvier to make him realize that his personal vendetta could get somebody hurt or even killed.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • This wouldn't be the last time Julian Glover faced off against a James Bond actor. Bonus points for both of Glover's characters initially starting off as an ally only to turn out to be Evil All Along.
    • Speaking of Glover, Charles Dance is his henchman in this film. Three decades after, the roles are inverted and is Grand Maester Pycelle, who serves Tywin Lannister.
    • Speaking of Dance, as mentioned above, he plays a henchman in this film. Eight years later, he would feature in the made-for-television biographical film Ian Fleming himself.
    • Anime fans might look at the high-pressure diving suit which menaces Bond and Melina and be reminded of D-type Evangelion armor.
    • At a certain point in the film, Bibi tries to seduce Bond, but Bond gently rejects her for being much older than her. Actress Lynn-Holly Johnson was 23 at the time of production, only one year younger than Carole Bouquet, the actress who plays the film's main Bond Girl, Melina, with whom Bond gets involved at the end. And yes, they were both 30 years younger than Roger Moore.
      • The situation gets even more hilarious two films later in A View to a Kill, where the main Bond Girl in the film, Tanya Roberts, was also 30 years younger than Roger Moore.
    • A stunt in a Bond movie punctuated by a comical whistling sound effect? That'll be the day!
  • Ho Yay: Locque and Kriegler are a common target for villainous slash fics, due to them both being strong, silent assassin types who share a not-insignificant amount of screentime, and Bibi saying that Kriegler never shows any interest in women.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Aris Kristatos presents as a war hero of Greece and ally of the British in James Bond's question to recover the ATAC targeting machine. Kristatos is actually a ruthless heroin smuggler and double agent who betrayed the Greek resistance and now works for the Soviets. Taking advantage of the murder of the Havelock archaeologists to recover the ATAC, Kristatos manipulates Bond into believing his former friend and rival Milos Columbo is the true "Dove" of the underworld, having an Italian agent murdered to frame him. After Columbo tells Bond the truth, Kristatos simply allows him to recover the ATAC for him, stating to Bond he never goes back on a deal when Bond offers more money from the British.
  • Narm:
    • "Blofeld" pleading for his life, as Bond dangles him from a helicopter, saying "Please, Mister Bond! I'll buy you a delicatessen! In stainless steel!" note  before plummeting down the chimney while emitting a Bomb Whistle.
    • Bond giving Melina the classic "dig two graves" speech is pretty silly when you consider she kills several other people throughout the film, so it's not like he's protecting her innocence at all. So why shouldn't she be able to kill the guy it was actually all for?
    • The situation of the guy wearing the JIM diving suit is rather unpleasant to think about, what with a bomb being attached to the back of his head as he's completely unable to remove it thanks to his limited body movement, but when he finds that it's too late to get it off, his expression and Curse Cut Short make it look less like he knows he's going to die painfully and more like he came downstairs and realized he accidentally left the milk out overnight.
  • Once Original, Now Common: Up to this film, the Bond series had entirely straightforward stories where he's given a villain to defeat — the nearest exception being in Diamonds Are Forever, and even that didn't make much of an effort to disguise the fact that Blofeld was the actual Big Bad — and keeps fighting until he does it. The reveal that this time he's been going after the wrong guy while his supposed ally is the true Big Bad was mind-blowing at the time, while nowadays this kind of plot twist is entirely expected in an espionage thriller.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • The Scrappy: Bibi Dahl is usually regarded as rather off-putting, being a teenage girl who comes on to much older men. She is also unnecessary in the plot, and it doesn't help that Melina Havelock and the Countess Lisl are much more interesting and complex Bond Girls.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • In the climbing scene, where Apostis (a henchman of the Big Bad) attempts to drop Bond off the cliff by loosening his hooks, during the moment where Apostis starts falling off the cliff himself after Bond throws one of his hooks at him, right behind him "on top" of the cliff, you can clearly see a part of the actual filming room. Also, the sound effect for the hook hitting Apostis plays noticeably earlier than when it actually hits him.
    • When Hector Gonzales jumps into his pool and is shot with a crossbow, you can clearly see that nothing actually hits him, and they just dubbed in the sound of an arrow flying through the air and hitting something.
    • The gunbarrel sequence, in the bit after the bloodied barrel scrolls around the screen, doesn't "open up" to reveal an establishing shot; it just vanishes.
    • While the chase through the bobsled course still looks very good, the rear projection on Bond's close-ups during it does not hold up well.
    • When Bond is climbing up the cliff and gets kicked down by Apostis, as he's rolling down the side, there's a noticeable black line in the background, like there's a hair in the lens for the background projection.
  • Strangled by the Red String: A common criticism against the film. For much of their screentime, Bond and Melina have few romantic interactions, as Melina is much more concerned with avenging her parents, and the couple's only sex scene occurs at the end of the film. The fact that Roger Moore is thirty years older than Carole Bouquet makes the Bond and Melina relationship feel more like a father-daughter relationship. It doesn't help that director John Glen cut an important scene in which Melina would reveal that she was angry and jealous of Bond spending the night with the Countess, as the director felt the scene didn't fit Melina's personality.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Countess Lisl has some great chemistry with Bond, and comes across extremely charming and likeable during the two's scene at her beach house, only to be unceremoniously killed off in the next scene just to give Bond even more reason to want to kill Locque. Given that Cassandra Harris was far closer to Roger Moore age-wise than Carole Bouquet, there are more than a few fans who feel that the film would have worked better had Lisl been the actual Bond Girl, while Melina had been treated as more of a protege of Bond rather than a romantic interest.
  • Vindicated by History: The film did not appear to have had a strong first impression among fans and critics at the time of release. Today, it is considered by many to be one of the best films of the Roger Moore Era, and is praised for its emphasis on a more realistic and serious plot.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: A medical condition meant that Carole Bouquet could not film scenes underwater. All the underwater close-ups of Bouqet and Roger Moore were dry-for-wet faked, using a combination of lighting effects, slow motion, wind and superimposed bubbles.note  The effect is convincing enough that even today, most viewers would never guess unless they were told that they weren't really underwater.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: An innocent woman is brutally run over by a goon who wasn't even aiming for her. Bond also kicks a man inside a car off a cliff, in cold blood.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Widely regarded as a return to form after the exaggerated silliness of Moonraker, opting for a much more down-to-earth plot against the backdrop of the Cold War.

The book:

  • Values Dissonance: In "The Hildebrand Rarity", Bond muses that "the only trouble with beautiful Negresses is that they don't know anything about birth control." Admittedly, he was having a conversation about Nigeria at the time, where contraception is indeed less prevalent, but the line's still jarring.