Fan Reviews (For Your Eyes Only)
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"For Your Eyes Only" by Luds
Following the financial success of the latest Bond movie (Moonraker,
1979), producer Albert R. Broccoli and script writers Richard
Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson knew that attempting to keep James
Bond in another SCI-FI comedy would be flirting with disaster!
Moonraker was successful at the Box Office, but critics were rather
It was decided that Bond should go back to its roots: the next
movie, For Your Eyes Only (FYEO) would be a no nonsense spy thriller.
Using material from two of Ian Fleming’s short stories (For
Your Eyes Only and Risico) from the novel For Your Eyes Only originally
released in 1960, the cinematographic Bond would get its edge
back and lose a bit of humour, an ingredient that was far too
present in the latest movies according to many fans of the franchise.
The movie starts off with a rather lacklustre and forgettable
opening scene, quite a contrast with the previous two movies.
The main Bond girl, Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) is introduced
early on as she witnesses her parents’ assassination at
the hands of Cuban hitman Gonzalez (Stefan Kalipha). Melina is
clearly established as a strong and resourceful character as she
then murders Gonzalez in front of Bond (Roger Moore). Bond then
has to figure out the identity of the villain. Is it Ari Kristatos
(Julian Glover), a member of the Greek underworld, or his rival
Milos Columbo (Topol)?
This uncertainty is one of the movie’s main strength. Both
actors are very convincing: Kristatos ending up as villain and
the charismatic Colombo as an ally. Topol’s performance
as Colombo was key and still remains one of the franchise’s
best “Bond ally” with the likes of Kerim Bey (Pedro
Armendariz) in From Russia With Love, and Marc Ange Draco (Gabriele
Ferzetti) in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Henchman Emile
Leopold Locque (Michael Gothard) was also a convincing adversary
to Bond, and played a part of one of Roger Moore’s very
best scenes as James Bond: ruthlessly killing Locque by kicking
the car in which the assassin was sitting over a cliff. That scene,
with Moonraker’s Centrifuge scene may be Roger Moore’s
best moments as 007.
FYEO is also memorable for the beautiful scenery. The climactic
action sequence where Bond, Colombo and Melina attack Kristatos’
hideout is a pleasure to watch from beginning to end. Another
interesting action sequence is Bond’s escape from German
hitman and Olympic athlete Erik Kriegler (John Wyman). While not
being as exciting and innovative as the ski and bob sleigh sequence
from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the long distance
ski scene and chase in FYEO is still thrilling and enjoyable.
There are very few negative points in FYEO other than the weak
opening sequence. The use of an evil hockey trio attacking Bond
was quite ridiculous. Perhaps influenced by the American movie
Slapshot (1977) where hockey players are portrayed as violent
goons, the hockey scene from FYEO seems quite out of place. The
biggest flaw in FYEO is the use of the annoying and immature Bibi
Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson) as comic relief. Very much like the
hockey sequence, Bibi’s character only tarnished an excellent
In conclusion, Bill Conti’s score and Sheena Easton’s
interpretation of the movie’s theme song are a perfect example
of what is to come: pure classic Bond.
"For Your Eyes Only" by NicNac
As dramatic a shift in style as Diamonds Are Forever was in 1971,
For Your Eyes Only saw the 80s in, and offered up a few tasty
reminders of what Bond was all about during the golden years.
The script, initially designed for a new Bond actor (Moore began
his mind games with Cubby, effectively securing a better deal)
was an action-filled affair, allowing one time 2nd unit director
and now first time director John Glen to feel more at ease with
his work. Most of the action was serviceable, and with the warehouse
raid and the climatic mountaineering,it reached the heights of
true top drawer Bond. A slight niggle if anything would be the
over-reliance on action. I for one would happily have seen the
ice hockey scene dropped, and the underwater submarine wrestling
dramatically edited down.
An uncomfortable Roger Moore famously had doubts about the hardening
up of his character, but eventually won praise from all corners
for introducing these elements into his slightly tiring repertoire.
Other characters included the shifty pair Kristatos and Colombo,
played by Julian Glover and Topol. The question of which was the
villain threaded throughout the movie, although the pay-off aboard
Colombo's boat, was almost shamefully thrown away without the
dramatic twist it needed.
Ice skating star Lynne Holly Johnson played love-sick strumpet
Bibi and Carol Bouquet was love-interest Melina Havelock.
A decent cast backing Moore up, and a thankfully uncomplicated
plot about the hunt for an Internationally renowned type writer
called the ATAC.
But Bond is back!
The idea of squeezing as many locations as possible into 2 hours
is dropped. And Bond is back in a smoky, crowded casino - just
where he belongs.
The Q scene is cozy and enjoyable. An assistant brings Bond and
Q coffee, and - shock, horror - it isn't drugged! Its just coffee!
A simple, real touch.
He beds women for information (rather than just because they are
there!), discusses fine wines and dispatches loathsome villains
without the need for a flippant comment.
He uses his wits, especially at the end, and the destruction of
the ATAC is a marvelously satisfying pay-off, rather than multiple
explosions and dancing machine guns we were used to.
So FYEO without losing sight of the direction Bond would be
taking, still managed to nod vigorously to the past.
It's a film full of misses, but the hits still come thick and
fast. There are no moments to remind the future masses of what
Bond was all about (they are all in GF, YOLT, and TSWLM) . What
it has is bags of integrity, and we should appreciate it.
"For Your Eyes Only" by Rich Rane
Following a revival of the Bond movies once Albert Broccoli took
full control of the franchise with two blockbusters with 1977s
The Spy Who Loved Me and 1979s Moonraker, Broccoli decided to
make a true spy thriller in For Your Eyes Only.
After all the silliness of Moonraker, Broccoli decided it was
time for 007 to return to his roots. For Your Eyes Only is based
on Fleming's two short stories of For Your Eyes Only and Risico.
Combining these two stories gave James Bond a hard-edge along
with the addition of Roger Moore's humour.
The movie's pre-title sequence has been argued to be a conclusion
to 1969s On Her Majesty's Secret Service as we see James Bond
visiting the grave of his late wife, Tracy, and the 'death' of
Blofeld. Now because the man was not credited as Blofeld, people
argue that it is not a conclusion to On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Common sense would say it all as we see the white cat and injuries
Blofeld may have suffered in the previous movies he appeared in.
With Blofeld finally out of the way of Bond's life, we continue
to the plot as we see a nuclear remote control, named ATAC, being
seized by someone's men. We are then introduced to the Havelock's,
a daughter named Melina and two parents, on a boat. Suddenly,
a plane flies over and shoots at the boat, killing Melina parents.
Bond's mission is now to find ATAC after Chief of Staff Tanner
tells him that the Havelock's were also looking for the ATAC.
The movie has a couple of great strengths. The plot of the movie
seems convincing and realistic. Roger Moore's fifth appearance
as 007 is one of his best as he also has a great supporting cast
in Carole Bouquet, Topol, and Julian Glover. The action sequences
in this movie were amazing. Broccoli turned again to stuntman
Rick Sylvester who has been connected with the franchise for years
after his amazing ski jump in The Spy Who Loved Me. One of the
better sequence is Bond being chased by Olympic figure skater,
Erik Kriegler, who is played decently by John Wyman and the infiltration
on Kristatos's hideout can make your head glue to the screen to
make sure you don't miss a part. Sheena Easton's opening title
song became one of the best in the franchise and Bill Conti's
score was excellent for the movie.
There was only one weak point in this movie and it wasn't too
much to worry about as it didn't ruin the movie. Bibi Dahl, played
by Lynn-Holly Johnson, is a bit annoying when all she wants is
sex from an aging Roger Moore.
Other mentionables was Moore's seriousness as Bond. In a scene
with Emile Locque's car on the edge of a cliff, Bond looks on
and kicks the car off the cliff, setting the stern tone of James
Bond in films to come. Also, Cassandra Harris, who played Countess
Lisl in mediocrity, introduced her husband, Pierce Brosnan, to
Broccoli during production.
Desmond Llewelyn and Lois Maxwell returned to their familiar
roles as Q and Miss Moneypenny. A missing face was Bernard Lee's
M, as he died of stomach cancer during pre-production. As a sign
of respect, all of M's dialogue was divided between Q, the Minister
of Defence played by Geoffrey Keen, and Chief of Staff Bill Tanner
played by James Villiers.
Despite not having an M for the first time in the franchise and
having to sit through the annoying Bibi Dahl, For Your Eyes Only
was yet another superb movie that stands up in the 007 Franchise.
"For Your Eyes Only" by Disco Volante
After the Bond in space movie Moonraker, the producers wanted
to make a more down to earth Bond. They decided to take the name
of Fleming's novel collection to their new movie, and here it
For your eyes only starts very nice as many of Moore's Bonds.
This time Bond puts Ernst Stavro Blofeld off for good. The opening
sequence contains an action packed helicopter "fright"
flight and Bond's really in trouble but of course he makes it
out and takes his revenge on Blofeld.
The main plot is very good: A british "spy" boat sinks
to the bottom of sea after an explosion and a powerful transmitter
"ATAC" goes down with it. Bond (Roger Moore) gets the
mission to get the ATAC back because it can make submarines fire
their missiles. Useful for MI:6, but also dangerous in the hands
of wrong people... Bond gets in contact with Melina Havelock,
the daughter of a murdered marin archaeologist who worked for
the british with the sunken ATAC. After a while Bond and Melina
will work together sort of. In Cortina Bond has to find out who
the evil guy is (in other words the one who also wants the ATAC
and sell it to the russians). Is it the nut eating Columbo or
"nice" Kristatos? The final battle take place on a mountain...
Even if For Your Eyes Only is more back to earth than Moonraker
it contains very many action scenes. For me that's good, and especially
Bond and Melina's escape with a yellow Ford down serpentine ways.
FYEO also has ski chase and a scene where Moore proofs that he
is rough that he should be. It's when he kicks the bad guy Locque
and his car out of a cliff. Another very nice thing with FYEO
is that you don't know who the bad guy is until a long time. Even
if it's a bit dark and very serious it still contains Moore's
funny on-liners, and that's very good...
"A nose not a banana Q"
"Stinging in the rain?"
For me the final scenes are not as good as I would have wanted.
St. Cyrils location if you think of Bond's climbing up there is
very nice, but otherwise I would have like it to take place somewhere
in Cortina (near the city).
FYEO has one of the best Bond girls, who's not helpless and has
to be rescued all the time. She even takes revenge on her parents
by herself by putting a bolt into Gonzales back (the one who killed
Finally, For Your Eyes Only surely is one of Moore's best Bonds,
and its high tempo and good plot make the film going on and it's
not slow more than in a few moments. But it also has some few
less good things but nothing that makes it less good.
"For Your Eyes Only" by sisillius
After the joke that was Moonraker, I had feared that Bond had slipped into a repeating loop of self-parody. However, For Your Eyes Only brings us quite literally down to earth after the orbital excesses of MR by giving us a good meaty Cold War movie. Gone are the super-rich megalomaniacs, the far-fetched lairs, and the ridiculous gadgets. In their place, we get countries trying to steal each other's secrets, a beautiful woman wanting revenge, a good three-dimensional ally, and loads of excitement along the way.
The script is nicely paced, well written and features some very smart dialogue. The humour is largely used for slight seasoning only, and the corny wisecracks of Moonraker are replaced by witty dialogue. There was an overall theme of détente running through the plot that culminates in very Hitchock-esque climax when Bond sums it up by destroying the the ATAC decoder, the film's McGuffin, and says: "That's détente, Comrade."
Roger Moore comes into his own in this movie: he not only gives a good performance, but he also has enough maturity to be more than a pretty face; with age he finally looks sufficiently tough to handle a difficult situation. And there are plenty of those. There's the best ski chase in the canon, a whodunit choice of two characters for the villain, plenty of fisticuffs, an excellent pitched battle, and loads of good old-fashioned character conflict.
For Your Eyes Only co-star Carole Bouquet gives a credible performance and makes a very good heroine who is most definitely not just clinging on to Bond's shirttails. As a raven-haired beauty with flashing grey eyes and a crossbow, she makes a memorable ally as well as a good love interest. In addition, Topol's Columbo is one of the series' strongest ally characters. His pistachio eating wisdom and dry avuncular humour live on long after the movie has ended.
Continuing in its tradition of good visuals, this Bond travelogue takes us to the ski slopes of the majestic Italian Alps and then off to the sun-drenched Greek islands with its bikini-clad women and twisting narrow streets - all filmed beautifully by Alan Hume. The sets are a little so-so, but the drama doesn't really call for volcano rocket silos, undersea laboratories or grandiose space stations - and that is not a bad thing since in previous outings, the sets have often been known to upstage the drama itself.
I don't really have a problem with the Bill Conti score, although the wonderful haunting melodies and dramatic leitmotifs of John Barry are conspicuous by their absence. The title song was well done, but maybe not the best the canon has to offer. However, I did like the idea of the titles sequence featuring the singer Sheena Easton.
I have to say that the opening to this movie left a lot to be desired. The pre-titles sequence had very little in common with the story's main plot except to act as an objective correlative to On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which reminds us that Blofeld was responsible for Tracy's death and also foreshadows the very similar ski chases later. The vision of a disabled Blofeld stuck on the side of a helicopter pleading with Bond is just all too ridiculous for me. I know this was a two-finger salute to Kevin McClory, who won the rights to Blofeld, but was this really necessary?
One can forgive the pre-titles sequence for its inanities, but the dénouement of the movie was a complete farce. A Margaret Thatcher spoof that could easily have come out of one of the Carry On movies involving a talking parrot and a sozzled Dennis was just not what I wanted to see at all, especially after such a good, down-to-earth and entertaining movie as this. I know that this scene was almost certainly done to amuse the children with its MR-like pantomime, but for me it was completely unnecessary.
Niggles apart though, For Your Eyes Only is a welcome return to form.
"For Your Eyes Only" by w7
There have been several "re-boots" in the Bond series, most notably when new actors took over the Bond part. But one of those re-boots was in the middle of one actor's tenure, the actor who served longest on Her Majesty's secret service, Roger Moore. After the extravaganza of Moonraker ended the Seventies (and thus the first two, and still best, decades of Bond movies), there was no way to go up. And so, Bond went down to Earth, with For Your Eyes Only.
Throughout the film, there are many references to Fleming's source texts and earlier more down-to-earth Bond films like On Her Majesty's Secret Service. And when burglars blow up Bond's Lotus which served him so well in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Bond has to settle for a Citroën, we know that this Bond will be more grounded and harder-edged. The film includes unused bits of Fleming works like the keelhauling scene from Live And Let Die or the Columbo/Kristatos plot from the short story Risico (in fact it can very well be said that the film is an adaptation of the Fleming short stories For Your Eyes Only and Risico), and it features Moore in some of his tougher scenes like the acclaimed moment when Bond cold-heartedly kicks a car (plus occupant) off a cliff, or shortly before that, my favourite moment of the film, when Bond appears in an archway and is opening fire at that car.
But there are problems with this film. The humour is not in place. Moore proved that he could be an incredibly funny Bond. But in this film, playing it harder, the Moore kind of humour, which is still in there, seems inappropriate. While I love Moonraker despite its flaws, I never warmed up to For Your Eyes Only, despite its merits. Sorry Roger, but the golden years of the Bond series were the Sixties and Seventies. And with the appearance of For Your Eyes Only in 1981, these times were over.
"For Your Eyes Only" by 007calbrit
It's the eighties! A brand new decade set upon the world! And with this new change of times, one would expect everything else to develop with it. And indeed this is the truth, which holds no exceptions to the James Bond series...
For Your Eyes Only, the twelfth 007 flick to hit our screens brings us something a little different. When we last saw our hero, many would recall the over the top spectacles and dramatic plot, mixed with stunning women and danger and villains. And would we expect no less from a Bond adventure? But after Moonraker wrapped up the seventies with its out of this world back clash, 'Only' crashes back down to earth with a fresh, more serious take. But how does this fare against its predecessor? Does it steer the series in the better direction? And how does it even compare to its older sibling? In short, is 'Only' a worthy way to bring Bond into the new decade?
And the answer is: Yes. And it does it with style...
Bond is definitely back! And while he doesn't leave the boundaries of earth, we are taken for quite a ride as Moore returns as the suave agent. A variety of performances also helps the lead star as Carole Bouquet gives us a unique portrayal of the main heroine. Topol also follows in the shoes of such allies as Kerim Bay and Draco with his pistachio eating smuggler character of Columbo. A good villain and story direction (which are mostly elements taken from the Fleming short story collection of the same name) are enough to have me sold on the main aspects of 'Only.'
The film starts with one of the worst Pre Title Sequences of the series. It has to be said that the beginning to this adventure seems to stick out like a sore thumb, reflecting the legal battle off screen between McClory and the producers. In fact, it seems almost like an attempt to separate their series from his unofficial ones. Whatever way, For Your Eyes Only starts up to give the impression of another Moonraker, but once we get going, we're in for a treat as we're introduced to a new direction...
What I like about 'Only' is that it sets itself up well. In front of us, we get the more realistic spy movie, the more probable stunts and likely plot, yet at the same time it never strays too far from what it is: a Moore film. We are able to keep the over the top mentality of it without actually going over it, we are very much able to appreciate the humour and tongue in cheek moments without feeling guilty about doing so. Heck, we are able to enjoy it to the full without letting our minds slip into too dark a place or even too light a place for that matter. It's fun, yet at the same time it's gritty. It's charming in its own way, and you know what? It works at being so. For Your Eyes Only manages to set Moore's Bond to a new level, and yet it isn't too much of a change. Essentially it's a half reboot on these notes, and one which I approve of...
Visuals also help add to the film with a ski chase in the Italian Alps and several scenes in the Greek Islands, including an eventful finale. Sequences are also not short or hard to find with a welcomed unused scene from Fleming's Live And Let Die. Good dialogue and a nicely paced final product are also on 'Only's' side as well...
In short, the eighties has begun! It's new, it's down to earth and it's Bond. And moreover, it's an improvement...
"For Your Eyes Only" by Sir Henry Lee Cha-Ching
Ahhh, the eighties, my favorite decade! Ronald
Reagan restores America's image after the failures of the Carter
era and strongarms the Iranians into returning our people...Margaret
Thatcher becomes Britain's first and only female prime minister
not long before...the real Iron Maiden and others like them wrest
control of the English music scene from the untalented punk movement
while their U.S counterparts put disco out of our misery...and
in response to an ever changing world, the series' producers
suddenly take the Moore era in a more serious direction that
recalls the glorious days of the series' very beginnings..
Fresh off a boycott of the Moscow Olympics (where many nations either abstained or attended under protest) that seemed to intensify the Cold War, 007's twelfth adventure, For Your Eyes Only reflects the current mood by finally pitting him squarely against the Russians after previously teasing it during The Spy Who Loved Me. The result is a suspenseful, action packed thriller that brings Bond back from the copycatting of outer space adventures and back on planet Earth to the real world where he belongs.
The PTS, while ultimately having nothing to
do with what's to come, interestingly sets the nostalgic tone
with memories recalling the Connery/Lazenby tenure by showing
Bond with his guard down paying respects at the grave of late
wife Tracy, and a final showdown with who we can only assume
is "Ernst Stavro Blofeld" almost exactly 10 years after
he was last seen trapped in his baffle sub in Baja California.
This time though, Bond properly finishes the job (no doubt enraging
McClory into the fraud he would go on to try and foist on Bond
fans 2 years later) and puts a real end to the supervillain that
should have been done long before.
After the suspected British spy ship the St. Georges goes down in the Aegean Sea with a piece of counterintelligence equipment called ATAC that in the wrong hands could jeopardize the entire British fleet, the story begins in full as Bond and the Soviet government begin a race to retrieve it before the other does. What follows is a grand adventure without the technological excess that brings Bond from skiwear in the Italian Alps to the sun bathed shores of the Greek Isles. leaving the viewer guessing for a good part of the movie who exactly the good guys are. Explanations for my scores to follow.
BOND: Roger Moore gets a 2nd chance to be serious and with a bubblehead blonde not doing so much damage to the story this time around, he shows that he indeed can be as ruthless as Connery was. He personally sends three merciless killers falling to their deaths, shoots quite a few more, and still manages to find some moments of enjoyment amidst it all. His best portrayal of the character.
BABES: Chanel spokesmodel Carole Bouquet gives a mostly believable performance as revenge minded Melina Havelock, whose parents get a bloody sendoff early on for trying to help track down the missing ATAC. Melina shoots one helluva deadly crossbow and kills a few baddies herself, proving to be a worthy sidekick and love interest. Bouquet had a few years of prior experience in both TV and movies that helped her show a little range, and despite being French she has a Greek look that fits her character. American actress Lynn-Holly Johnson plays bubblehead Bibi Dahl, an oversexed teen Olympic hopeful who chases Bond or anyone else who captures her fancy. Bond coming up with excuses to get away from her is mostly hilarious and makes the character a bit of a joke. And of course, Pierce Brosnan's first wife, the late Cassandra Harris, appears as Countess Lisl, a casino shill and spy for Colombo. For myself, none of these (except for the girl in the flower shop) rates among the best Bond beauties, but they generally do a decent job of getting their character across.
VILLAINS: Definitely a memorable crew of baddies in this one. Julian Glover plays Ari Kristatos, a man with no political conscience who sells his "services" to the highest bidder, which is the old U.S.S.R in this case. Aiding him is his Russian liaison, steroid popping East German athlete Eric Kriegler, and his own private enforcer, Emil Locque. All were written and played well.
HUMOUR: Thankfully more toned down compared to his 2 previous efforts, but still enjoyable due to Sir Roger's wit and style. The ice cream allusion to the "dirty old man" was hilarious as Moore totally got it, plus there were a few other good one-liners popping up.
SADISM: Lots of great moments include the bloody machine gunning of Melina's parents, the slashed throat of Italian agent Luigi Ferrara, Melina's crossbow, Kristatos' keelhauling of Bond and Melina, and of course Bond coldly kicking Locque over a cliff.
SNOBBERY: Bond stays in a nice hotel, drives his TSWLM Lotus, it's there but it isn't at the level of other films.
ACTION: Not too many slow moments in this film, great ski chases, underwater mayhem, and a death defying climb up St. Cyril's.
LOCATIONS: From Cortina to Corfu, the scenery impresses.
GADGETS: I can't recall anything short of the Lotus, therefore to me this score must be a low one.
MUSIC: The title song was a huge worldwide hit, and some selections such as the one played during the climb of St. Cyril's are very Bondian, but crossing disco with Rocky was a bad idea and there was too much of it.
"For Your Eyes Only" by Louis Armstrong
What am I supposed to say, it's good because it's not as bad as "Moonraker" or "The Spy Who Loved Me"?
For Your Eyes Only is one of the most mediocre, take it or leave it Bond films to me. It tries to be gritty. A Macguffin like the 60s' Lektor is key to the story - but unwelcome is muscular blond Eric Kriegler, who never approaches the menace of From Russia With Love's Red Grant and never seems to have the upper hand. We get to see him do some ski stunts and some professional shooting, but this is intercut with cute shots of barnyard animals who are amazed at the action and some superhuman feats from Bond (he both lands a huge jump and does a 360 on skis later in the scene). Kristatos was an unnotable ally for Bond, and an even worse enemy. This was probably because of the useless Bibi Dahl hanging on his arm so much.
The pre-title sequence is a joke, and to boot is not tense at all. It is an insult to the events of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I don't like Sheena Easton's title song - it's just not what I look for in a Bond track. It's not sonically subtle and is filled with synthesizers and cliches. The start of the film proper is my least favourite way Bond films are often started, with a bunch of military types, usually on a submarine or in a control room, talking jargon. Eventually the Annoying Sound Effects are pulled out and something is destroyed. Cue mission, complete with Bond already knowing all about his assignment and spitting it out for the audience. Pretty boring stuff. The film is pretty thin, with most of the dialogue up until the halfway point being exposition. A lot of the action is unexplained and some of it is ridiculous. I don't know what the point of the keel-hauling sequence is (the villains don't discuss their reason for not just killing Bond), and Bond and Havelock's underwater sabotage scene is made a farce by some 'Jaws' music and a clunky, clawed robot-thing attacking them. John Glen's directing is reliably safe, but his use of soft lens during dinner and casino scenes bugged me. It's a cheap way to try to make something look glamorous.
The biggest highlight of the film, for me, is the car chase. It's one of my favourites in the series. Tightly shot and choreographed with a notable lack of backscreen projections.
"For Your Eyes Only" by thegiantcookie
For Your Eyes Only was not initially one of my favourite James Bond films. As a younger Bond fan I enjoyed the fast cars, high octane action, witty one liners and huge set pieces. As I have grow up and matured as a Bond fan, I seem to have gone the other way in my opinion. For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore's 'serious' Bond film, is a spectacular thriller that is true to the Bond tradition and the character that Ian Fleming wrote.
For Your Eyes Only is the follow up to Moonraker, the most outlandish, unrealistic and silly Bond film ever made. Broccoli wisely decided to bring Bond 'back to earth'. And come back down he did. The story revolves around a soviet plot to steal the mysterious ATAK transmitting system through a Greek smuggler, wonderfully played by Julian Glover. The plot is classic Bond and is highly enjoyable, if a bit predictable, and it never runs its course. I wish all bond films were like this one!
I'm not going to drone on about what makes the film work. Nothing specifically works. Roger Moore is fantastic in his down to earth portrayal of 007, Carole Bouquet is an exquisite, sexy and intelligent Bond girl, the music is fantastic (and for me makes the movie) along with Sheena Easton's theme song, but they all come together to create something fantastic.
There is one particular scene in the film that annoys me, however, and that is when Bond and Melina travel down to the sunken St Georges to retrieve the ATAK. They are attacked by an underwater submarine type scuba diving suit with claws. The whole scene is pointless (They could have easily just grabbed the ATAK, swam back to the surface to find Kristatos on the boat). It seems that the scene only existed to fulfil the needs of John Glen, the previous second unit director of Bond films.
But for every bad scene there is a good one to match it. The scene in which Bond has to climb a rock faces to reach St Cyril's. The whole scene is wonderful, full of tension and makes a welcome regular change from the usual Bond set pieces. I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat every time I watch the scene, even though I know the outcome and have seen the scene many times. It's just that great.
To summarise, I like For Your Eyes Only a lot. It is easily Roger Moore's best portrayal of Bond and I would easily rank it among the best Bond films ever made. I would easily recommend the film to die hard bondians and first time bondian-wannabies.
"For Your Eyes Only" by James Clark
"The Chinese have a saying. Before setting out on revenge, you first dig two graves."
"I wouldn't expect you to understand, you're English. But I'm half Greek, and Greek women, like Elektra, always avenge their loved ones"
After the mildly entertaining but hardly engrossing Moonraker, Cubby delivered to fans that which he had promised at the close of The Spy Who Loved Me; that James Bond would return in For Your Eyes Only. Thankfully the wish of so many Bond fans craving a harder edged, more realistic Bond was fulfilled and audiences could hardly be disappointed. Lifting moments from Fleming's Live and Let Die (the thrilling shark keel hauling sequence) and elements of short story Risico, Moore is launched into action as Bond in the 12th adventure, and his 5th.
Notably beginning to show his age, Moore gives ironically his best performance as Bond. John Glen, a trusted second unit director and editor most notable for his Bond work for On Her Majesty's Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me is given his chance to display his directing skills and what a brilliant job he manages. The principal cast are all terrific and the story is sped along at a sensible pace, ensuring that audiences can enjoy the film as well as being thrilled at the same time.
That For Your Eyes Only was the highest grossing Bond movie of the 1980s is no surprise - this is a tight story with beautiful touches to Bond's past adventures (see the pre-credits graveyard visit to Diana Rigg's Tracy Bond - We Have All The Time in the World) and the somewhat less successful dispatching of a bald villain stroking a cat who fans can only assume is Blofeld, though this is never explicitly stated. This scene aside, the humour is less obvious which is a great thing considering the implausibility and double-entendre-heavy previous Moore Bond outings and there are no gigantic set pieces - everything is simple yet startlingly effective.
Alongside The Spy Who Loved Me, this is my favourite of Roger Moore's Bonds because I feel firstly that it has the 'watchability' factor, (a phrase I've just coined), and secondly the characters are well rounded - particularly the vengeful Melina. It is a brilliant directorial debut for Bond veteran John Glen and safe assurance for the fans that the 1980s would be another exciting decade for 007, even if it would later feature Moore trying to bed Grace Jones and dressing up in a clown outfit! The only thing that I still cannot fathom is why For Your Eyes Only is so under regarded by critics and glossed over by many a Bond fan. You want Moore's closest depiction of Fleming's Bond - then look no further dear fans. Forget Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only is Moore's 'All Time High'!
Bond - Roger Moore, until this point in the series, was unable to show much versatility in the role. Luckily the usual wise cracking Moore Bond is suppressed in favour of a passionate and dedicated performance. Though clearly beginning to show his age on screen, Moore plays Bond brilliantly with some meaty dialogue and great conviction. A breath of fresh air.
Babes - The term 'babes' seems unfitting to describe Carole Bouquet's tortured soul Melina Havelock in the 12th Bond adventure. She doesn't even feel any attraction for Bond until the second half of the film. Half Greek, half British and determined and resourceful as well as stunningly beautiful, Bouquet's Melina ticks all the boxes of an essential Bond girl. Cassandra Harris' Countess Lisl is also a brief but beautiful conquest for Bond. It is only Lyn-Holly Johnson's 'fickle' Bibi Dahl who is embarrassing in her quest to bed Bond. Even Moore's Bond declines her on the basis that she is too young, thankfully. Representing the Bond women, Melina Havelock receives high marks.
Villains - Julian Glover's soviet spy turned feigning MI6 informant Aris Kristatos is an underrated Bond villain - sly and determined, intelligent and sadistic, Glover's reactions against Moore and the character rivalry between Kristatos and Topol's Milos Columbo are well conceived. It is Michael Gothard's silent menace Locque who steals the show however, for the film's highlight scene where he is ruthlessly and in cold blood dispatched by Bond. At last audiences can cheer at a death well deserved in the Bond series. Minor villainous sidekicks make up a solid set of villains in the film. For Locque alone, I rate the For Your Eyes Only villains
Humour - Rare glimpses in this film, which is a somewhat shocking summary given that this is one of Moore's Bond films renowned up to this point for their humour. Q is on hand in this film to deliver some great moments - most notably as a priest at St. Cyril's where after Bond confesses that he has sinned, Q replies "that's putting it mildly 007!" before ripping off his fake beard. The humour is understated in Eyes Only and works to the film's advantage.
Sadism/Snobbery - Kristatos' casual attempt to kill Bond and Melina in the keel hauling sequence, Bond kicking Locque's car off the edge of the cliff, Locque kills Ferrara (off screen) and Lisl (on screen), Bond's snobbish reaction to Melina's Citroen 2CV - which is probably the general reaction to such an underwhelming vehicle.
Action - Some thrilling scenes grounded in the film's realistic approach. The keelhauling sequence, the car chase, the ski chase, the underwater pursuit in the sunken St. George's ship to retrieve the ATAC and of course the climactic, breathless mountain climbing to St. Cyril's monastery
Locations - From snowy Cortina to picturesque Corfu, Eyes Only boasts some stunning Bond locations that hark back in many respects, particularly in the Cortina sequences, to On Her Majesty's Secret Service and are captured beautifully on camera.
Gadgets - Few to mention: the voice activated **** that is used to comic effect in the film's final scene with Margaret Thatcher and the parrot. Also, not particularly a gadget, but in Q's lab there is the Identograph, which Bond uses to discover more information about Locque. As a Bond fan that never cares much for an abundance of gadgets, this film suits me fine.
Music - Though many will disagree with me, Bill Conti captured the free spirited 80s attitude superbly in his score for the film. He's no John Barry, just as George Martin (Live and Let Die) and Marvin Hamlisch (The Spy Who Loved Me) aren't but nevertheless he brings some great musical pieces to the film, notably Melina's theme, the flugelhorn for Countess Lisl, the action cue for the car chase in Corfu, doubling for Madrid (A Drive in the Country) and one of the best, highly dramatic sounding gun barrel themes to open a James Bond film in the whole series. Conti captures the Spanish and Italian lilts in his music successfully and the sound never feels derivative. The theme song, written for Sheena Easton, is also a beautiful ballad written by a woman who is speaking out to Bond through the lyrics, something which is reminiscent of Carly Simon's brilliant song Nobody Does It Better for The Spy Who Loved Me.
"For Your Eyes Only" by NicNac
The twelfth official Bond movie is a simple enough affair, with Britain and USSR desperately trying to locate an ATAC missile launching system sunk in the Ionion Sea. About as far removed from Moonraker's 'villain destroying the world' plot as is possible.
James Bond: Bond shows his sensitive side by visiting his dead wife's grave, enjoys the odd Chinese saying, is an expert helicopter pilot, mountaineer, skier, diver, appears to speak Greek with confidence, knows his Robolo from his Theotaki Aspero, and is not averse to a bit of live skating ("I saw Ms Brink skate").
Babes: Armed and dangerous babe Melina, Countess Lisl (from Liverpool), skating strumpet Bibi.
Difficult. Lisl has a certain sexiness once she sheds that god-awful hairstyle, but otherwise the girls seem so young that Bond has a more avuncular role.
Villains: Bibi's mentor Kristatos is a double agent, smuggler, killer and all round bad egg. (and as it appears he fancies a slice of Bibi, he's a dirty old man as well).
Assassin Hector Gonzalos, silent killer Emile Locque and yet another Red Grant wannabe Eric Kriegler.
Nothing terribly original, but many and varied, so when all is said and done a satisfying bunch of nasties.
Humour: A bit of a non-starter. Some of the laughs are unintentional.
The intentional jokes, based around the treatment dished out to 'bald headed villain', the car chase and some of the sight gags like the ice hockey score board are routine at best.
The funniest moment is the hotel bedroom scene between Bond and Bibi, followed by Q's second brief appearance in the confessional.
The Margaret Thatcher joke belongs in Moonraker.
Sadism: Well, dragging Bond and Melina across the reef in one of the film's standout set pieces was pretty sadistic, as was Melina's use of the crossbow and Bond's disposal of Locque.
Snobbery: Bond showing off his knowledge of fine wines made me wince (maybe it was Moore's unconvincing reading of the lines). Not too much here unless we mention Kristatos' refusal to acknowledge Luigi's handshake. Or is that just plain ignorance?
Action: Very well done with some excellent stunt work (some of the series' best in fact), but too many sequences were dragged out - the car chase, the ski chase and the underwater wrestling with the diver followed by the submarine. All these went on too long.
The action was best when the sequences were shorter and tighter - Bond and Melina tied to the boat, and the raid on the warehouse stood out and were classics of their type.
The ice hockey fight was pointless and unnecessary.
Points though for the wonderfully tense mountaineering at the end.
Locations: Corfu and Cortina. Nice and warm with plenty of charm.
Gadgets: Qs workshop showed off a few daft gadgets, culminating
in Qs identigraph (a nose Q, not a banana). As great as this sequence was,
a lack of gadgets must lead to a low score.
Music: A combination of 70s disco, a Greek musical pastiche and some plinky plonky piano effects (during the ski chase) that seemed left over from a 1973 Jon Pertwee episode of Dr Who.
First time director John Glen showed his inexperience in key sequences. The murder of Melina's parents was done and dusted so quickly that we the viewers had no time to get to know them, and therefore felt no sympathy for Melina's loss.
The pivotal scene between Bond and Colombo, where we discover who the villain really is, is so under cooked that the pay off is almost shamefully thrown away without the dramatic twist it needed.