Roger Moore’s James Bond – Film Series Review

Roger Moore looks the parts of James Bond. Not so much a spy, but James Bond the character. His films were more comedic, more camp and very 70’s. He was classy and suave, and early on he had some good action. But 7 films man… They really took their toll. Those last couple just aren’t great and he really looks old. Looks good, but old. Moore is a great Bond though and I still really like him. He’s got some quality films under his Bond gadget belt!

Live and Let Die (1973)

Moore’s first Bond film is another one of those Bond films which follows the trends of the time. It’s the 70’s. So this is a blaxploitation movie. There’s voodoo, racism, sharks, weird gadgets, a great theme song and a brand spanking new James Bond!

Moore is suave and cool. This is before his films went down the camp and corny route, so things are still a bit Connery-esque. This movie involves Bond investigating a crime boss who is distributing heroin in America. But the plot isn’t the most important thing here. The action is good, the jokes are pretty funny. The gadgets however, are ridiculous. I mean, a bullet meant for sharks that contains loads of air that will blow them up?? I mean, come on! I do kind of love it though.

The villain is over the top, the henchmen are crazy, the set pieces are mental. All of it is great. James Bond jumps on crocodiles! So good! And the theme song Paul McCartney and Wings is one of the best! (except that weird reggae part…). A great movie that I’ll even overlook the terrible special effect of the villain death that is also kind of great at the same time.

JACK’S SCORE: 4/5

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Christopher Lee is great at playing bad guys, and he’s great here as an anti-James Bond basically. He has a sweet golden gun he can make from a pen and a lighter and some other scraps and he has a crazy laser and weird underground theme park lair with a section dedicated to James Bond. It’s pretty crazy. The story just isn’t all that engaging. There’s a missing Solex and a golden bullet with Bond’s number on it as part of a complex plot. It doesn’t make too much sense really.

Britt Ekland may look the part of a Bond girl, but she’s one of the most annoying. She’s utterly incompetent as an agent and only seems to cause more trouble every situation she’s in! Plus, there’s a henchman. A big tough one? Nope. A French dwarf who is Scaramanga’s servant. You just wait until you see him tussle with Moore… Is it offensive to say it’s comedy gold? It’s not the kind of action we’ve come to expect anyway. This movie is average, just like the theme song and everything in it. Apart from one stunning sequence featuring a car do a crazy barrel roll stunt jump across a river which is possibly the greatest stunt ever! Only they ruined it by putting some weird pin wheel whistle over the top… Shame.

JACK’S SCORE: 3/5

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

This film is pretty much a remake of ‘You Only Live Twice‘ except with submarines and boats instead of rockets and Roger Moore instead of Sean Connery. It is great though. One of Moore’s best! Action packed and fun. Plus it has one of the best henchmen in Richard Kiel’s Jaws, a metal mouthed assassin. For my money it has the best theme song in Carly Simon’s ‘Nobody Does it Better’ and it has one of the best cars in the underwater diving Lotus Esprit.

There’s so much good stuff in this film. It’s a massive blockbuster of a Bond film! The villain is an over the top megalomaniac who wants to build a new world society underwater or something and he has a sweet lair in the ocean too! There are killer sharks, puns, and don’t even get me started on that opening sequence. One of the best Bond cold opens where he skies off a cliff and has a Union Jack parachute! Amazing! I love it. I love it all.

JACK’S SCORE: 4/5

Moonraker (1979)

James Bond in space. I could end my review there and whatever you would guess would pretty much sum it up. Capitalising on ‘Star Wars‘ this pretty much rehashes the same plot as the previous film except now the villain wants to go to space to create his master race. This film couldn’t be more different from the book (one of my favourites) and really wears thin quickly. Jaws is turned into a slapstick comedy villain, the lasers and spaceships are ridiculous and everything looks pretty tacky.

As if they’d run out of ideas, the Bond girl’s name is Goodhead, the plot ends with two armies fighting AGAIN and even the puns aren’t great. There are some bright spots though. The cold open where they jump out of a plane without parachutes is pretty great and, perhaps because it is so bad, Q’s joke about a love-making Bond orbiting the earth attempting re-entry is hilarious. Overall though, this is a bad film. It’s not very good at all and is one of the worst Bond movies. The whole thing is a bit of a joke really.

JACK’S SCORE: 2/5

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

How do you follow a crazy movie where your hero has just gone to space? With a stripped back, simple movie that’s how. And it’s pretty good actually. Bond has less gadgets and the action is more real. The Bond girl is up there with the best too! Melina is a badass and one of the strongest Bond girls who is out for revenge on the person that murdered her parents. The story has twists and turns and relies less on silly puns and jokes and more on characters and action.

It’s not all great though. A young ice skating girl who is in love with Bond is a bit of a weird story idea, but at least he doesn’t actually see it through for once. There’s some underwater stuff, which usually isn’t great, but it’s not too bad in this film. The henchman, if you can even call him that, is a bit of a nobody and has no real characteristics apart from a pair of octagonal glasses. I mean, did anyone actually wear those?! But it doesn’t ruin what is a pretty solid movie thankfully though.

JACK’S SCORE: 3/5

Octopussy (1983)

Moore is starting to get old in this one. I mean, he was obviously getting older the entire time anyway, but in this one it starts to show. This isn’t a great film and is usually one of the few Bond films I forget exist. I’d probably forget it completely if not for the name. Maud Adams is a villain/Bond girl who seems like she’s quite capable but then suddenly isn’t. Setting the film in India makes a change from the usual locations but seeing Bond run away from elephants isn’t exactly the change you would look for.

This film does have a fun sidekick for Bond in the form of Vijay. He’s friendly and kind and he really doesn’t deserve the horrifically brutal death he gets. Bond is also assisted by Q, who makes a rare venture into the field in this one, something that is always fun. Nothing else really screams fun though. The plot isn’t particularly exciting, the villains are plain and none of the action is particularly great either. There is however a fairly tense scene where Bond must defuse a bomb in a circus whilst dressed as a sad clown. Which is good for a bit, then you realise this heroic sex symbol is dressed as a sad clown. Sad faces all round.

JACK’S SCORE: 2/5

A View to a Kill (1985)

Roger Moore was 57 when this movie was filmed. It shows. The wrinkles are there, the stunt double is there. Moore’s energy largely isn’t. That doesn’t stop him giving it a red hot go though as he sleeps with seemingly every woman in the movie. The opening of the movie is a weird snowboarding scene set to a cover of The Beach Boys. Yeah… Moving on! There’s lots of horse stuff in this film too. Too long is spent at a racetrack investigating the obviously evil Christopher Walken. Who is very evil and so over the top it’s unreal. Seriously, not realistic at all. Is it enjoyable though? Questionable.

There’s a hilarious death from a blimp (oh yeah, there’s a blimp!), Grace Jones as a henchman and a pretty cool guitar string soundtrack. It also has a great theme song by Duran Duran, although it is a bit too pop rock for a James Bond theme maybe. Look, this film’s not great. It’s barely even good. But there is stuff to enjoy. If you’re willing to accept anything, then you might have fun. It’s ridiculous and utterly silly. Not the best way for Roger Moore’s Bond to go out really, but somehow it’s also fitting for his Bond.

JACK’S SCORE: 2/5

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