MI6 tracks the legacy of Live And Let Die, from Ian Fleming's novel, to the comic strip adaptation, feature film and computer game...

Live And Let Die - The Legacy

In 1954, Ian Fleming’s Live And Let Die was released. The second Bond novel delved into the world of Harlem mobsters and smuggling - and behind it all a secret SMERSH plan. The Fleming legacy was next revived by the Daily Express comic strip, first printed in 1958. In 1973 Roger Moore took over the role of Secret Agent 007 and starred in the movie adaptation of Live And Let Die. The controversial story was amended for the modern audience but one pivotal point remained – all the villains were black. Finally, in 1988, Live And Let Die was revisited in a Domark computer game of the same name.

The Novel
Fleming’s second novel, Live And Let Die was first published on the 5th of April, 1954 by Jonathan Cape (Hardback, UK) who’s cover Fleming himself had a hand in designing.
"Live And Let Die" Literary Coverage

Mr Big is a Harlem gangster, who controls his empire with superstitious fear. He has discovered a lost treasure beneath a Jamaican Island and is smuggling the gold into America. Bond's mission to stop him is made more urgent by the suspicion that he is also an agent of SMERSH.

“Mr. Ian Fleming is without doubt the most interesting recent recruit among thriller writers. The second adventure of his Secret Service agent fully maintains the promise of his first book. . .containing passages which for sheer excitement have not been surpassed by any modern writer in this kind.” – Times Literary Supplement

Published: 5th April 1954 (UK)
Preceded By: Casino Royale
Followed By: Moonraker

"Why it's just a hat, darling, belonging to a smallheaded man of limited means who lost a fight with a chicken"

  Live And Let Die First Edition Cover
Above: First edition cover art

The Comic Strip
First printed by the Daily Express (UK), Live and Let Die ran for 15 weeks between 15th of December 1958 and 28th of March 1959. Drawn by John McLusky and with the story by Henry Gammidge, Live And Let Die continued the trend set by the Casino Royale adaptation, whereby James Bond narrates the story himself. Beyond the title and a loose plot outline, the strip was not that faithful the Fleming’s creation and much of the story was cut or trimmed to fit it into the 15-week period.
"Live And Let Die" Comic Coverage

Above: The opening panel of "Live And Let Die"

"He disagreed with something that ate him. P.S. We have plenty more jokes as good as this"

Published: 15th December 1958 (UK)
Preceded By: Casino Royale
Followed By: Moonraker

The Film
Directed by Guy Hamilton, and written by Bond veteran Tom Mankiewicz, Live And Let Die introduced Roger Moore as James Bond 007 in 1973. Much of the story was adapted for a modern audience, including the dropping of the SMERSH back-story. The principal cast also included Yaphet Kotto as the villainous Mr. Big and Jane Seymour as the clairvoyant Solitaire.
"Live And Let Die" Movie Coverage

In Live And Let Die, James Bond is on a manhunt from Harlem to the Caribbean to find and defeat the evil Dr. Kananga before he can flood the world with massive shipments of heroin.

"Tee-Hee, on Solitaire's first wrong answer, you will sever the little finger of Mr Bond's left hand. On the next wrong answer, you will move on to more... 'vital' parts of his anatomy.'”

  Live And Let Die Film Cover
Above: Special Edition DVD cover art
Pre-Order - Live And Let Die

Triva: Moore had been one of Ian Fleming's personal choices for the role of 007, but when the film series went into production in 1962, he was committed to his starring role in TV's "The Saint".

Released: 6th July 1973 (UK), 27th June 1973 (US)
Running Time: 123 minutes
Worldwide Box Office: $126.4m
Preceded by: Diamonds Are Forever
Followed by: The Man With The Golden Gun

Roger Moore in Live And Let Die
Above: Roger Moore as James Bond 007

The Music
As the first non-Barry Bond score, the film soundtrack was arranged by Beatles ledged George Martin and the Beatles theme continues with Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Live And Let Die” theme sone. This rocky number made No. 2 on the US charts, higher than any Bond theme that had gone before.
"Live And Let Die" Music Coverage

The Media
Live And Let Die premiered on US television’s ABC in January of 1976 and then in the UK on the 20th of January 1980, on ITV.

4 Word Reviews

  • Moore's film got soul
  • Spy versus voodoo villains
  • Who wants alligator shoes?
  • "Names is for tombstones..."

The Game
"Live And Let Die" was released on October 20th, 1988 by a company named Domark - named after it's founders whose names were Dominic and Mark. The company no longer exists after it was bought out along with United States Gold & Core design and became part of the Eidos video game company which still exists today. The multi-platform game featured four levels, all of them boat racing/shooting 3rd person adventures.

Dr. Kananga or "Mr. Big" as he is known in the underworld, is a shrewd operator who conceals his dealings from prying eyes. His headquarters, which are well hidden beneath a cemetery on San Monique, ships all of the un-refined heroin to processing factories in remote and inaccessible locations. James Bond, 007, the world's top secret agent must undertake a series of dangerous missions to overcome the covert operations of Dr. Kananga. As James Bond you must carry out the orders of "M", traveling by the only accessible means.
"Live And Let Die" Game Coverage

"Live And Let Die" is a classic example of the weak movie tie-in games that were released around the late 80's / early 90's. Fortunately, better - original - titles lay ahead for Domark, and "Live And Let Die" can only be looked back upon as quick fix stop-gap between their more robust outings. Although rated by many as Domark's best 007 title at the time of release, fortunately Bond fans had much better things to come.

Released: 20th October 1988
Genre: 3rd Person Boat Racer
Preceded By: The Living Daylights
Followed By: Licence To Kill

Live And Let Die Game Box Art
Above: Game cover art