This is the only Eon Productions James Bond movie to be made in the same order as its source novel was written. The Spy Who Loved Me was both the 10th official series James Bond movie produced and the 10th Ian Fleming James Bond novel written.
Harry Saltzman sold his interest in James Bond during December 1975 while this movie was in pre-production. Though the last James Bond movie which was co-produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli was "The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974), the dissolution of the partnership did not occur until after that film was released. Saltzman was actually involved with the "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) during early pre-production of the film, as was the original director Guy Hamilton.
A number of writers contributed to the script during its development. These included directors John Landis and original director Guy Hamilton; script writers Richard Maibaum, Stirling Silliphant, Cary Bates, Tom Mankiewicz and Anthony Barwick; and authors 'Anthony Burgess', Ronald Hardy and Derek Marlowe. In total, twelve scriptwriters worked on the script which went through to fifteen drafts.
Screenwriter Richard Maibaum's original draft of "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) featured an alliance of international terrorists entering SPECTRE's headquarters and deposing Blofeld before trying to destroy the world for themselves to make way for a New World Order. This script was deemed too political by producer Albert R. Broccoli.
Gerry Anderson (creator of "Thunderbirds" (1965)) threatened legal action against the producers as he felt the film came too close to a story proposal he had offered the Bond producers in the 1960s. The suit was dropped, though EON Productions ended up purchasing the rights to Anderson's original proposal.
The delay in production of this movie was contributed to by legal issues to do with the script. Thunderball (1965) co-writer and producer Kevin McClory brought a suit against the production stating that his script "Warhead" had been allegedly plagiarized. This was due to the similarity in story-lines involving nuclear submarines. The injunction was ultimately rejected and EON productions could proceed. However, the original name of the villain was changed from Stavros to Stromberg, due to the similarity between Stavros and the middle name of Ernest Stavro Blofeld, the use of this character legally belonging to McClory. Interestingly, apparently in a very early version of the script, it was intended to have Blofeld return as the villain.
Several scenes, including the one where Bond and Anya meet each other in a Cairo bar, were written by an uncredited Tom Mankiewicz. According to him, the scene originally made reference to Tatiana Romanova, the Bond girl in "From Russia with Love" (1963), but this was cut. If it had been left in, the film would have included direct references to both the Sean Connery and George Lazenby eras of the Bond series.
Product placements and promotional tie-ins seen in the movie included BOAC, Lotus Cars, Bacardi, and Jetski Wetbikes.
Vehicles featured included a white Lotus Esprit S1 turbo sports car adaptable Perry submarine-car, which was also known by the production as Margie Nixon and Wet Nellie; a Arctic Enterprises Wetbike hydrofoil water motorcycle; Jaw's Telephone Service gray Sherpa Van; a yellow and black Kawasaki Z900 motorbike with sidecar; Hovercraft Speedboat jettisoned from Atlantis; a black and yellow Shark Hunter mini-submarine; a black and yellow Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter; black Ford Taunus car; the Liparus oil tanker which includes a Mini Moke; Westland HH-3 Sea King and Westland Wessex HC Mk 2 helicopters; 1977 Ford Cortina 2.3 Ghia; USS Wayne and Russian Potemkin Submarines; a Stromberg Enterprises company motorboat; a small bus and a spherical underwater escape pod from Atlantis.
Introduced a spy sea scooter known as a "wetbike" (better known now as a jet ski) to the world, sparking a new water-sport industry. This gadget was commonly referred to as the motorbike that rides on water.
In his audio-commentary, Roger Moore comments on the opening parachute ski-jump that could have gone horribly wrong for stuntman Rick Sylvester. After the jump, a disengaged ski clipped the unopened chute as it was falling. The ski could could easily have prevented the chute from opening. It can still be seen in the final footage that the ski clips the about-to-open parachute. Rick Sylvester was paid $30,000 for the skiing stunt in the opening sequence.
An advertisement inspired the famous opening skiing sequence. It was for Canadian Club Whisky and featured Rick Sylvester jumping off Asgard in Greenland. The ad had actually been staged elsewhere and had really been performed off the El Capitain Peak, Yosemite Valley, California. The ad read: "If you Space Ski Mount Asgard...before you hit the ground, hit the silk!". Sylvester performed the stunt for the film which famously ended with a parachute of the Union Jack opening. This opening sequence was recently parodied in "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" (2004) and was imitated with the air balloon in Octopussy (1983) and paid homage to in the Gustav Graves parachute drop in "Die Another Day" (2002). Sylvester also did the Meteora mountain fall in "For Your Eyes Only" (1981).
The famous Union Jack parachute ski jump stunt during the film's pre-title sequence was (reportedly) originally suggested by former Bond star George Lazenby to be used in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969), but the necessary equipment to film it was not available then.
First James Bond movie to feature an actor playing James Bond to appear as part of the opening titles sequence itself. In "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969), footage from previous films including an actor playing James Bond was edited into the opening sequence.
The Lotus submersible (the Lotus Esprit underwater car or Lotus submarine car) was code named Esther Williams in an early draft of the script and was also nicknamed by the crew as Wet Nellie (after the mini-helicopter in "You Only Live Twice" (1967)). It is called Wet Nellie in the novelization.
The chase sequence in Sardinia involving the Lotus Esprit runs for seven minutes.
After the film's release, demand for white Lotus Esprit cars surged to the point that new customers had to be placed on a three-year waiting list.
The Aquapolis, the enormous Japanese floating sea structure, was considered as an exterior set for the Stromberg Marine Research Laboratory, Atlantis. It resembled an oil rig (something which had already been used in "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971)), had a gigantic three-tiered deck which was also a helicopter pad measuring 100 m2, and was supported by about a dozen major pillars. It cost 13 billion yen and had been built in Hiroshima in 1975 then transported to Okinawa for the International Ocean Exposition. Depending on weather conditions, it could partially rise or submerge into the ocean, in a similar fashion to the Atlantis setting of the movie's script. At the time of the location scout, it was incomplete and after attempts to make the mega-structure work, production designer Ken Adam felt that it lacked the right creative elements for the nautical villain's lair. Disappointingly, the floating sea city was rejected as an exterior location for Atlantis and the filmmakers decided to go with a model. Sadly, it was closed to tourist visits in 1993 and in 2000, after twenty-five years, the real-life floating city in the ocean was sold for scrap after the company that owned it went bankrupt.
During the Egyptian shoot, the catering didn't arrive. Producer Albert R. Broccoli jumped into action and took a jeep and some crew, went into town and got some tomatoes, pots, pans and pasta was flown in from Cairo. Broccoli, well known as an amateur chef at home, cooked up a feast for the cast and crew, served by him and Roger Moore. A sign was painted in the mess-room: "Trattoria Broccoli."
In one scene amongst the pyramids when Jaws is trailing a hiding agent 007, a still photograph of Roger Moore was used when they needed to have him in the shot. Hardly anyone noticed this during the film's release. Further, all the shots of pyramids used were actually models.
The eyesight of cinematographer Claude Renoir was failing at the time and he could not see to the end of the massive supertanker set. As a result, he could not supervise the lighting. Ken Adam turned to his friend Stanley Kubrick, who under the condition of complete secrecy supervised the lighting.
$1 million of the $13.5 million budget was spent by production designer Ken Adam on building the largest sound stage in the world: 336'x139'x44'. The set was used for the interior shots of Stromberg's supertanker. The tank had a capacity of 1.2 million gallons.
The set for Stromberg's supertanker was named "the Jonah Set", in reference to the Biblical story of Jonah, who is swallowed by a whale. In the film, the tanker swallows submarines.
The date the new OO7 Stage was opened and christened at Pinewood Studios was 5 December 1976, coinciding with the production of this movie. Former English Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Roger Moore and Barbara Bach partook in the opening ceremonies for the stage which was first used for the production of this movie.
The literal translations of some this film's foreign language titles include The Spy That Loved Me (Spain, Norway, France, Denmark); 007, My Beloved (Finland); The Spy That I Loved (Portugal); Beloved Spy (Sweden); The Spy That Loves Me (Poland) and 007, The Spy Who Loved Me (Brazil)
The title song "Nobody Does It Better" sung by Carly Simon and composed by Marvin Hamlisch was a hit in both the USA and UK. The song was so successful that the title "Nobody Does It Better" has become part of James Bond universe phraseology. It charted in the USA on 23 July 1977 and went to No. #2. It stayed there for three weeks and was in the US charts for 25 consecutive weeks. It entered the charts in the UK on 6 August 1977 and peaked at the No. #7 position. The song in the USA also achieved the classification of being a Gold Single. The soundtrack album charted in the USA on 27 August 1977 and went to the No. #40 rank.
A piece of music composed by Mozart inspired the title song 'Nobody Does It Better" composed by Marvin Hamlisch. Indeed, the film includes in its score a number of pieces of classical music by such composers as Johann Sebastian Bach (Air in Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068), Frédéric Chopin (Nocturne No. 8 in D-Flat, Op. 27 No. 2), Camille Saint-Saëns (The Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals) and also by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Andante second movement of Piano Concerto No. 21 Elvira Madigan. These pieces of music however are not on the movie's soundtrack album.
The movie received Three Academy Award Nominations - the most ever received by a James Bond movie to date. These were for Best Art Direction - Set Decoration, Best Score, and Best Song - "Nobody Does It Better".
Albert R. Broccoli once named this film along with "From Russia with Love" (1963) and "Goldfinger" (1964) as his three favorite James Bond movies, according to an interview with the Hollywood Reporter's Robert Osborne on 12 April 1982.
Cast & Characters
The name of the Bond Girl in the original Ian Fleming "Spy Who Loved Me" novel was Vivienne Michel. Her name was not used for the movie. Nor was Mr. Saguinetti, the name of the villain's employer in the book, utilized for the film.
Producer Albert R. Broccoli wanted Lois Chiles to play the part of Russian agent Anya Amasova. Upon talking to her agent, it was discovered that Chiles had retired temporarily, upset by criticism she had received, and was taking acting lessons. Chiles would become the next Bond girl in Moonraker after sharing a seat next to director Lewis Gilbert.
Milton Reid, who plays the henchman Sandor had unsuccessfully lobbied for the role of Oddjob in "Goldfinger" (1964). Reid previously played one of the guards in Dr. No (1962) and was also one of Mata Bond's attendants in "Casino Royale" (1967).
In order to simulate the character's metal teeth, Richard Kiel's stunt double Martin Grace used pieces of orange peel wrapped in tin foil.
The Carl Stromberg character in this film actually has webbed hands. But they can go unnoticed by viewers on video and DVD compared to when the movie was released in cinemas.
Jaws was played by Richard Kiel, who played an almost identical part a year earlier in "Silver Streak" (1976). Jack O'Halloran was considered for the role of Jaws before Richard Kiel got the part. O'Halloran would portray Non (a character similar to Jaws) in the first two Superman films (Superman and Superman II). Will Sampson, the Indian from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) was also considered for the Jaws part as was David Prowse.
The character of Major Boothroyd is addressed as such by Barbara Bach for one of the only times in the movie series. Boothroyd (played by Desmond Llewelyn) is the head of Q branch, but the name Q stuck to the character.
Jaws actor Richard Kiel could only keep the metal teeth in his mouth for about half a minute at a time due to the excessive pain and discomfort. He often had to show comic expressions which was quite contradictory to the way he was feeling wearing the extremely uncomfortable braces.
General Gogol's first appearance in the EON Productions official James Bond series. His first name is heard for the only time in the series when M refers to him as Alexis. Gogol is played by Walter Gotell who had previously played Morzeny in "From Russia With Love" (1963). He would appear a number of times in the series as General Gogol.
According to Richard Kiel, the chain he bites through as Jaws during the Pyramids sequence was made of licorice.
Character actor Shane Rimmer, who plays an American submarine captain, makes his third appearance in a Bond movie, after playing bit parts in "You Only Live Twice" (1967) and "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971).
Michael Billington, who played Sergei Barsov, Anya's lover in the KGB, was under consideration for 007 and played him during the casting of the leading ladies.
Victor Tourjansky, uncredited as the man with the bottle who wonders whether he's drunk at seeing the Lotus Esprit drive out of the water, played the same man in the following two movies: in Moonraker (1979) he is drinking in Venice when Bond drives his gondola out of the water, and in For Your Eyes Only (1981) he is a patron of the lodge that Bond skies off the table at. He is better known as an assistant director.
One of the models seen during the opening credits was named Penelope Smallbone. A character in "Octopussy" (1983) would be given this name.
The original script called for Jaws to perish after Bond used an industrial magnet aboard the Super Tanker to drop him into the tanker's furnace. The scene was storyboarded using Richard Kiel and Roger Moore as models, and apparently rehearsed, but ultimately scrapped in favor of bringing Jaws back for the next film. When the film was previewed, audiences cheered when they saw Jaws swimming away in the end.
Christopher Wood's novelization of the film (based on his screenplay) contains information not in the final film. Jaws, for example, is revealed to be Polish and his real name is Zbigniew Krycsiwiki.
The first appearance of recurring character Defence Minister Frederick Gray (played by Geoffrey Keen). While walking along the docks, Bond addresses him as "Freddy" for the only time in the series (in all subsequent films, he uses the more formal address "Minister").
Caroline Munro was dubbed by Barbara Jefford.
James Mason was considered for the part of villain Karl Stromberg. His famous role as Jules Verne's Captain Nemo in Walt Disney's "20000 Leagues Under the Sea" (1954) was a major element in his consideration. He would also be considered as main villain Hugo Drax in the next Bond movie Moonraker (1979). Coincidentally, James Bond creator Ian Fleming based the villain Drax on the Jules Vernes character Robur from the "Clipper Of The Clouds", "Master of the World" and "Robur, The Conqueror" stories. Sadly, Mason never got to play either and never was a Bond villain in a Bond movie.
When James Bond drives the Lotus Esprit up onto the beach, we can see a child pointing out to the car in the water. This child is played by Richard George Kiel, son of actor Richard Kiel who portrayed Jaws.
Story & Bond Lore
First James Bond movie to be filmed in Dolby Stereo.
The original M's first name is heard for the only time in the film series when Gogol refers to him as Myles (in the books, his name was Admiral Sir Myles Messervy and was only ever mentioned in the novel "The Man With The Golden Gun"). In addition, Bernard Lee's M calls Bond by his first name for only the second time in the series - the first time was in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969). The last time Q was referred to by his real name (Major Geoffrey Boothroyd) was in "Dr. No" (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963).
James Bond and Anya Amasovas' aliases when they first visited Atlantis were Mr and Mrs Robert Sterling - the alias R. Stirling is re-used in "Quantum of Solace" (2008).
First Bond film to make significant references to Bond's past, including his recruitment to the British Secret Service from the Royal Navy, his "many lady friends", his marriage and the death of his wife, Tracy.
During the fight scene at the Pyramids between Bond and two KGB agents, Bond at one point delivers a blow that causes one of the men to, in reflex, cross his arms over his chest, making him resemble a character in old Egyptian drawings.
The hull number on the sail of the U.S. submarine USS Wayne in Stromberg's supertanker is 593. This is the number of the USS Thresher, lost in 1963 with all hands off the Massachusetts coast.
The license plate number of the Lotus Esprit was PPW 306R.
A Minolta logo appears on the microfilm capsule.
Anya's music box-transmitter plays Lara's Theme from "Doctor Zhivago" (1965).
After the van breaks down, the theme from "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) plays when Bond and XXX walk across the desert.
Russian Agent Anya Amasova's code number was XXX (i.e. as in Agent XXX). Anya's henchmen in Egypt were called Ivan and Boris.
The name of Max Kalba's club in Cairo, Egypt was the Mujaba Club.
A fight sequence was originally envisaged in this movie for the Mummy Room of the Cairo Museum of Antiquities. This was scrapped but the sequence resurface in the next Bond movie Moonraker (1979) as the fight between Chang and Bond in the Venini glass showroom.
The Lotus Esprit underwater spy car had the following features and gadgets: A periscope; convertible dashboard-control panel; oil release, harpoon and cement guns; retractable turning wheels; hydroplanes; protective louvres; television monitor; rudder and propulsion units; submarine activator; rocket missiles and missile firing control.
The two stolen nuclear submarines were the American "USS Wayne" and the Russian "Potemkin". The renaming of them had them called Stromberg No. #1 and Stromberg No. #2. The submarine eating tanker that captured them was called the Liparus.
In the scene in which Bond and his compatriots are looking at the tracing of the submarine's course, the first few notes of the James Bond theme are played when the line is drawn onto the map.
The warship that appears at the end is the HMS Fearless.
As a nameless soldier is drowning in the burning water during the fight between the escaped sub crews and the evil henchmen, the dub mix uses the infamous "Wilhelm Scream" stock sound effect.
The name of the champagne that James Bond and Anya Amasova have in the escape capsule at the end of the movie was a Dom Perignon '52.
The closing credits say, "James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only (1981)" but, because of the successes of "Star Wars" (1977) and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), "Moonraker" (1979) was chosen.