Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / From Russia with Love

Go To

The film:

  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Robert Shaw originally turned down the role of Donald "Red" Grant, calling the script "rubbish". His then-wife Mary Ure convinced him to take the part.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The really long Cat Fight between two skimpily-dressed Roma women has nothing to do with the overall plot and is pretty Narmy in its attempts to be titillating. Toned down from the book, where both women end up completely naked.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Advertisement:
  • Even Better Sequel: Is generally considered better than Dr. No, regularly appearing on Top 10 Lists that the former doesn't appear on. Many consider that this film got its own Even Better Sequel in Goldfinger.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Bond slapping Tanya quite viciously across the face is even more uncomfortable in light of Sean Connery's infamous stance on hitting women.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Kerim for Bond. Hell, he treats screwing his mistress like a chore, but he's the most animated and enthusiastic guy in the world when he's sharing a scene with James.
    Kerim Bey: James, life in Istanbul will never be the same without you.
  • Memetic Mutation: From/To [X] With Love.
  • Moral Event Horizon: For most of the film, Grant appears to simply be a professional doing his work. Then he and Bond finally meet and we see what a twisted bastard he really is.
    "My orders are to kill you and deliver the Lektor. How I do it's my business. It'll be slow and painful. The first shot won't kill you. Nor the second. Nor even the third. Not until you crawl over here and kiss my foot!"
  • Narm: Bond checks into his hotel room and casually walks around checking for bugs... with the Bond theme playing in the background the whole time. It's like the Bond canon version of Mike and the bots blurting out "BA-DA-BA-DAAAAAAAAAAA!" during the boring bits of Agent for H.A.R.M.
  • Narm Charm: On the other hand, though, having epic music for that mundane scene arguably makes it better. Also kind of helps that Bond kills someone (Bond One-Liner and all) and the music kicks in right on the scene before that.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Bond finding Tanya in his bed. This scene is used to screen test potential James Bond candidates and Bond girls.
    • The Orient Express fight between Bond and Grant. Every so often after this film, Bond gets into a fight on a train, examples are Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Spectre.
    • Bond being chased by a SPECTRE helicopter (not unlike Cary Grant in North By Northwest) and taking it down with his portable sniper rifle.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • When Blofeld gives his Siamese fighting fish speech, where he explains that the third fish is letting the other two fight so that it can finish off the survivor, it is easy to see that the real reason why the third fish isn't attacking is because the fish tank is divided by a glass wall.
    • Pedro Armendáriz dabs his arm with a red sponge to simulate being shot during the Romani camp fight.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: While the story is very good, keeping the SPECTRE plot a mystery until Bond finds out would have made for a cool twist.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Bond slapping Tatiana after Kerim's murder. Granted, Bond is understandably upset over his friend's death and he knows Tatiana has been lying to him, but it seems quite brutish to modern viewers.
    • It's a throwaway line but Kerim casually notes that the Western allies and the Soviets in Istanbul have encouraged a blood feud between the Roma and the Bulgars through using them respectively as pawns in the Cold War.
    • On that note, the representation of the Romani is... Very dated. The use of the common slur term for the people rather than the more appropriate Roma, the representation of them as simultaneously filthy and backwards and the women as sexual objects of desire (not to mention the weird-as-hell catfight to the death) definitely shows how attitudes towards the Romani have changed in the last 60 years.

The novel:

  • Complete Monster: Donovan "Red" Grant has been afflicted with a burning urge to kill during the full moon since his youth. Starting with animals, he graduated to vagrants and tramps before becoming a Serial Killer who targeted young woman in his native Ireland. Escaping justice by joining the military, Grant would defect to the Russians after he realized they could offer him the bloodshed he craved. A ruthless, efficient killer, Grant rose to the position of head executioner of the clandestine group SMERSH and was indulged in being allowed to murder with impunity during the full moon. This even extended to Grant being allowed access to prisons with chainsaws during those nights. He is chosen to execute Bond and Tatiana.
  • Designated Hero: Kerim is intended to be a lovable, larger-than-life Unscrupulous Hero, but it's hard to see him as anything other than a villain due to his backstory, in which he describes how as a drunken teenager he won a woman in a bet and when she refused to go with him, he beat her unconscious, stripped her naked, chained her up, fed her on table scraps and raped her until her mind broke and she said she liked it. But BECAUSE she said she liked it, Kerim himself, Bond, and the narrator all treat it as okay. The only reason he isn't the most loathsome person in the book is that The Heavy is a serial killer-turned-KGB legbreaker with a triple-digit bodycount to his name. None of this is present in the film adaptation, whose version of Kerim is genuinely lovable and is one of the most popular one-film characters.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Bond finds Q Branch's attaché case (which contains two hidden knives, gold sovereigns and his silencer, but neither the tear gas nor the rifle from the film) to be a bit over-the-top (though of course he ends up using everything), and later he laments that his side doesn't provide handy gadgets like Grant's five-shot copy of War and Peace. It's pretty strange to see the iconic "spy gadget" user lamenting that he doesn't get kit like that.
    • Kerim Bey's given name in the novel was "Darko".
  • Nausea Fuel: Fleming's extremely detailed description of what it feels like to be shot in the heart.
  • Tear Jerker: The chapter "Out of Danger?" where Bond has to break the news of Kerim's death to his son and M.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Kerim's kidnapping, imprisoning, and attempting to brainwash a woman into loving him in his Backstory is portrayed as a mere "youthful indiscretion" that the Service quickly straightened out of him, rather than the serious crime it would be extremely difficult to redeem oneself from that it would be seen as today. This can definitely hamper modern readers' sympathy for Kerim.
    • Kerim also says that most Turkish people secretly hate democracy and wish for the mass-murdering, serial-raping days of the Sultans to come back.
    • Bond and Tatiana telling Domestic Abuse jokes. Even as playful banter it's doubtful this would fly today outside of a Black Comedy.