The Spy Who Loved Me
30th Anniversary

Cast and crew members, authors and Bond aficionados explain why Nobody Does It Better on the 30th anniversary of The Spy Who Loved Me...


Opinion - Nobody Does It Better!
16th July 2007

As part of the special 30th Anniversary coverage of "The Spy Who Loved Me", MI6 asked cast & crew members, authors and Bond aficionados to explain why Nobody Does It Better....

Sir Roger Moore - On His Favourite Outing...
MI6 asked Sir Roger Moore why The Spy Who Loved Me was his favourite of his seven outings as James Bond.
Lewis Gilbert directed. He really is the dearest, sweetness man. We got on famously as we both share the same, daft sense of humour.

It was a great script by Christopher Wood. The sets designed by Ken Adam were fantastic, particularly the 007 stage. The locations were delightful and exotic. Then there was the wonderful Lotus car, and the wet bike – it was the first time it was ever seen on screen, and I got to ride it!

Richard Kiel was one of the best henchmen ever – so good in fact we brought him back. Curt Jurgens was one of the best villains, and one of the nicest men you could meet. Such a professional. Mrs Ringo Starr played my leading lady. What else can you ask for? The shoot was pure fun from start to end.


Christopher Wood - On Keeping The British End Up...
One memory? All right, let’s go for this: intrepid and in dinner jacket, Roger trudges doggedly across the endless desert wastes, Barbara Bach, never lovelier in long black evening dress, gamely struggling on behind. Up a steep sand hill and - 007’s trousers fall down.


We were watching rushes and, of course, we all laughed. Something we did with astonishing frequency considering the pressures, strains and tribulations of The Spy Who Loved Me production process: Cubby’s first independent Bond after the break-up with partner Harry Saltzman, Michael Wilson’s first 007, the franchise rumoured to be in trouble, the production threatened with a closing down injunction, the writer sued for plagiarism, the studio hating the script etc., etc.

Despite all this my memories are nearly all of laughter and good times. As if we, the participants, knew what we were doing would become the most successful Bond ever and many peoples all time favourite – certainly my children’s. Yes, I’ll go with Roger dropping his trousers. Looking back over the years it sums up for me what fun it all was.

Christopher Wood is an English screenwriter best known for the James Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me (1977 with Richard Maibaum) and Moonraker (1979), as well as for the two novelizations based upon these films. He is currently published by 21st Century

John Grover - On Editing 007 For The First Time...
I had a call from John Glen to come and join him in the cutting rooms at Pinewood Studios to help sort out a mass of film he had shot in Baffin Island for the opening title sequence of ‘A Spy Who loved Me’.
A number of stunt men baddies chasing a daredevil skier playing James Bond who then skied over a precipice with a parachute on his back in the colours of the Union Jack. The final jump was shot by many cameras but only one of them got the full shot that was used in the film. This could not be done today because of Health and Safety regulations, it would be done with green or blue screen and the skier would be attached by wires, all would be sorted out in a computer. On ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ most of the stunts were for real, only the boat going over the falls was a composited shot, purely because the model boat sent over the falls got stuck and even a helicopter sent up to blow it off did not work.

TSWLM was the first Bond film I worked on and was to be the start of a long happy time with Eon Productions. Cubby Broccoli and Lewis Gilbert were always ready to accept ideas from anybody on the crew to make the film more outrageous or impossible. Bad language was unacceptable but some violence and sexual innuendo was OK. Family entertainment was their motto, grandparents could always take their grandchildren to see the films to enjoy them together.

‘In’ jokes were good fun, we tried them in rushes, the first showing of the film shot the day before, one example was the Lara theme from Dr Zhivago put over the alarm clock, I had been an assistant on Zhivago and had a small musical box given to me that played the theme, I recorded it and put that into rushes, that little joke stayed in the film and even Maurice Jarre got royalties on the bit used in the film! As did John Williams from the door entry code when we used the Close Encounters theme.

John Grover began his run of Bond films as an assembly editor on "The Spy Who Loved Me". He performed the same role on "Moonraker", then as supervising editor on "Octopussy", and editor on "For Your Eyes Only", "The Living Daylights" and "Licence To Kill".


Shane Rimmer - On Bathing With Bach...
There was this scene with Barbara Bach having a shower, it was behind frosted glass but anyone who just happened to be able to walk seemed to wander in during the taking of that scene. This went on for at least an hour. It was amazing. People who hadn't been there all of a sudden were having a look. It felt like theatre - we had an immense audience participating in this scene.


She was great! I don't know if she realized that she'd packed the studio with people from every department. She got together people who hadn't seen each other for months and months. The distraction was enormous that day; there was quite a bustle of people.

I remember the great cordiality - that was the right word for Roger Moore. The star makes or breaks the atmosphere on the production. He made it! He was one of the most genuine people. There wasn't a veneer on him at all. There quite easily could have been, he was running very high at that point. But he gave fellow actors so much room to do what they wanted to do.

You didn't feel that you were under any kind of inspection from him - you could just let go. It was a very free production in that sense. I've always admired Roger for that - he was one of the guys and he preferred being that way. It was a delight.

Shane Rimmer was born in Toronto, Canada. After a successful career in Canadian Radio & T.V. he was brought to England in the late 50’s by Director Richard Lester to appear in an ITV Network Special. He stayed on to appear in 50 films in the U.K. & Europe.

Charlie Higson - On Falling Out Of Fashion...
Unfortunately by the time the Spy Who Loved Me came out, ten years later, I had kind of grown out of Bond. This was 1977 and I was a teenage punk obsessed with Taxi Driver. Bond was for kids. The films had become too silly. I was too cool for all this nonsense.

TSWLM is actually better than I imagined at the time, and one of the best of Roger Moore’s outings, but Moonraker following on its heels was a low point and cemented my temporary divorce from 007. Moore has been dismissed as camp and lightweight, but looking back he was a very good light comedian and had something of Cary Grant’s appeal. As long as you don’t treat his films as classic/authentic James Bond, but more as classy and outrageous family entertainment they hold up pretty well. Moore was a million miles from Connery and a million miles from Daniel Craig but he was still an essential part of the Bond world.


Charlie Higson is a writer, actor and comedian. He is author of the Young Bond series of novels. The fourth adventure, Hurricane Gold, is due out in September 2007.

Gary Giblin - On Bond's Return To The Top...
I distinctly remember my first encounter with The Spy Who Loved Me. It was at the Northgate Mall multiplex in Cincinnati, Ohio, and it was the first Bond film to which I could actually drive myself. Hurray! No more chaperoning parents! My best friend and I bought our tickets, perused the posters (exotic Arab beauties and a steel-toothed assassin), and went inside.

Two and a half hours later I left the theater and felt as if I could do anything. I had seen a film that was truly exhilarating, with breathtaking locations, gorgeous girls, super stunts and amazing special effects. To top it off, Roger Moore seemed just about perfect as Bond, alternately cool, comic or concerned as the situation required. At that moment, I idolized the actor as much as the character he played. Unlike Sean Connery, who had to shave off his moustache and put on a wig to play Bond, Moore always looked—and acted—the part. And The Spy Who Loved Me was his crowning achievement.


Even now, thirty years later, I still view the film as a near-perfect example of what a Bond adventure should be. Granted, there are some striking similarities between The Spy Who Loved Me and Director Lewis Gilbert’s previous Bond film, You Only Live Twice, as Richard Schenkman’s Bondage magazine pointed out years ago.

For example: Bond first appears in his naval uniform in the 1967 film and next appears in the uniform in The Spy Who Loved Me. In both films he pretends to be married to a beautiful secret agent from another country and in both films the villain uses a “kidnapper” super craft to trigger a nuclear war between the Soviets and the West. Yet, for all that, the films couldn’t be more different. You Only Live Twice is a lumbering, clumsily conceived and (at times) executed affair, while The Spy Who Loved Me is a truly elegant encapsulation of the series and the undoubted peak of the Moore era.

It eschews virtually everything that marked the preceding Hamilton-Mankiewicz trilogy (brainless, ineffectual bimbos, four-letter words and an overall sleazy feel) and instead concentrates on sheer spectacle.

In fact, if it hadn’t been for Cubby Broccoli’s all-out commitment to make this Bond bigger and better than ever, the franchise might not have survived another indignity like Diamonds Are Forever or The Man With The Golden Gun. Thanks to The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond not only survived, he thrived—and still does thirty years on. Happy Anniversary to Bond ’77!

Gary Giblin is the author of James Bond’s London and Alfred Hitchcock’s London, as well as the editor of Bond production designer Syd Cain’s memoirs, Not Forgetting James Bond.

Barry Parker - On The Spy's Gadgetry...
“The Spy who Loved me” came out in August of 1977, and we are now celebrating its 30 anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it was that long ago. What was my reaction when I first saw it? I’m sure it was awe; with its huge supertanker and Stromberg’s impressive base of operations, Atlanta, it was a visually stunning movie. And who could forget one of the most amazing cars in the entire Bond series: Wet Nellie.

After a somewhat disappointing reception of the previous Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun, Broccoli (the producer) took a gamble with this film. He built the largest stage ever constructed for a movie, and the gamble paid off. The film was a tremendous success and it is still one of the favorites (if not the favorite) of most Bond Fans.

Although Wet Nellie stole the show, there were other interesting vehicles and some particularly interesting gadgets. The four gadgets used in the movie were all quite unique, but none was particularly startling. Near the beginning Bond got a ticker tape message on his watch, then as he raced on skis across the Siberian Landscape pursued by several Russians he got away using his ski pole, which doubled as a rocket launcher. Anya’s cigarette was also a little unusual in that the smoke from it knocked Bond out. I’m not sure, however, why it never affected her. Finally, there was the cigarette case that doubled as a microfilm reader.

One of the more amusing scenes for me was when Naomi (Stromberg’s assistant) winked at Bond from her helicopter just before she tried to do him in. But Bond was one step ahead of her. Wet Nellie blasted off a rocket shortly after it hit the water that made short work of her and her helicopter.


This was, without a doubt, one of Roger Moore’s best performances. And Barbara Bach was quite stunning as Bond’s Russian KGB accomplice; furthermore, unlike most previous Bond girls she was his equal in many ways. And although Stromberg was the major villain, it was his henchman Jaws who stole the show. All in all it was a delightful film.

Barry Parker is the author of Death Rays, Jet Packs, Stunts, and Supercars: The Fantastic Physics of Film's Most Celebrated Secret Agent.

Gareth Owen - On The 007 Stage...
The poster for the tenth film in the official franchise, Lewis Gilbert's The Spy Who Loved Me, claimed that it was the biggest Bond of all. With You Only Live Twice's huge volcano set the producers changed the studio's skyline, albeit temporarily, but this time they left a permanent reminder in the shape of the '007 Stage'.


During early pre-production, the search for a stage large enough to house three nuclear submarines was underway. 'We saw a lot of people and places,' Broccoli told American Cinematographer magazine. 'They couldn't promise anything. We told them we had to dig a big tank to take in the water and we'd have to have a guaranteed period. It became an absolute farce. So it appeared to me that it was more sane, after talking to United Artists, to explore the possibility of putting up a new stage.'

United Artists took some persuading but Broccoli managed it. Production designer Ken Adam and young architect Michael Brown were brought together to design a stage. On the one hand, it had to be functional for the film, but on the other it needed to be operational as a stage in its own right, because EON and Rank (Pinewood's owner) had agreed it would later be rented out to other filmmakers. This was the carrot that finally saw United Artists give it the go-ahead.

But where could it be built within the studio? Peter Lamont recalls that the idea was to position the new stage over the existing reservoir on the backlot. 'It only used to be 75 feet square, but we made it bigger for Thunderball. When The Spy Who Loved Me came along and we needed the large stage with a tank, we decided to extend the reservoir again and build the stage over it.'

Happily, planning consent was swiftly granted and the stage began to take shape throughout the scorching summer of 1976. Delta Doric, a building firm from nearby Uxbridge, took seven months to complete the world's largest stage, measuring 336 ft by 160 ft with a height of 136 ft. Inside, the tank measuring 75 ft by 350 ft was the main feature of Stomberg's Liparus supertanker.

'It was surprisingly inexpensive to construct: $1,650,000,' observes Ken Adam, 'and I designed the stage to be part of the set with steel gantries and all that. I don't think UA ever regretted it as it's always been in use!'

The 007 Stage was officially opened on 5 December 1976. The ceremony was attended by former Prime Minister Harold Wilson and leading actors from the film. Several dignitaries from the Royal Navy were also in attendance, plus some top actors including Sir John Mills and Kenneth More. Cubby Broccoli's wife, Dana, broke the champagne bottle on the conning tower of the American submarine. A brochure was produced to promote Pinewood's new stage, with Pinewood's then MD, Cyril Howard, saying, 'The film industry has always cried out for a huge stage and now it has got one. I sincerely hope that producers will make use of the facility, which is unique.'

The Spy Who Loved Me was a huge success and Adam was nominated for an Oscar, losing out to Star Wars on the night. For Cubby Broccoli it was an extremely significant picture, as there had been much debate following his recent split with partner Harry Saltzman as to whether Bond would continue. Cubby had now left no doubt in anyone's mind. For Roger Moore it was the film that firmly established him as the new James Bond, and it remains the actor's personal favourite.

Gareth Owen is author of "The Pinewood Story: The World's Most Famous Film Studio"

The views of these columnists and those expressed in this article are not necessarily those of or its owners.

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MI6 would like to thank everyone for their kind contributions to the The Spy Who Loved Me 30th Anniversary celebration features.