For Your Eyes Only - 1981
Bond: Roger Moore
Directed by: John Glen
Produced by: Albert R. Broccoli
Theme: "For Your Eyes Only" performed by Sheena Easton
After taking Bond so ridiculously far that he was actually floating around in space shooting lasers, the producers and first-time director (long-time second unit director) John Glen made a conscious effort to pull back and tell a simpler story. The result is a lovely little character-driven Bond film that borrows elements from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Goldfinger, and From Russia with Love.
Bond is going after a secret decoder - very FRWL. Bond-Girl Melina is on a vendetta to avenge the deaths of her parents - very Tilly Masterson from Goldfinger. Bond allies himself with an organized crime boss to lead an attack on a fortified mountain stronghold - very OHMSS. If you read the movie's Wikipedia page, a lot of plot elements were taken from several of Flemming's novels and short stories. For Your Eyes Only is actually a short story collection.
Carole Bouquet as Melina watches her parents get killed which then drives her the rest of the film. She's probably the strongest Bond-Girl since Diana Rigg in OHMSS, and she kicks ass with a crossbow.
The actors and characters in this film all work very well together. Moore and Bouquet have great chemistry. Moore and Topol as crime-lord Milos Columbo have a great bro-mance going on too. People in this movie seem to enjoy each other's company. Melvina actually laughs at one of Bond's quips. Bond and Columbo laugh when they nearly kill each other accidentally. It's refreshing.
Another highlight is the back-to-basics car chase. After having his Moore-era trademark Lotus destroyed, Bond and Melina have to flee in an old Citroën. It doesn't have missiles or a smoke screen or any sort of bells and whistles. They just have to evade their pursuers. Imagine that.
Not that this movie is perfect. It's enjoyable, but it's not non-stop excitement and thrills. The assault on St. Cyril's, is breathtaking but not particularly tense. The villain is evil, and played well by Julian Glover (who might recognize as the villain from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or as General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back), but he's not out to destroy the world or anything. He's just selling a decoder to the Russians.
And the pre-title sequence is just weird. After placing flowers on the grave of his dead wife, Bond is trapped in an out of control helicopter by his old nemesis, and the killer of his wife, Blofeld. Except he's never named as Blofeld because Kevin McClory owned the rights that character. Bond turns the tables on Blofeld and while Blofeld is begging for his life utters the most inexplicable line all of Bond-dom "I'll buy you a delicatessen, in stainless steel". Then Bond kills Blofeld.
The line does have an explanation. The Italian mafia used to pay people off with delicatessen's made of stainless steal. This was considered a high tribute at one time. The line itself is directed at McClory, as is the unceremonious death of Blofeld. Basically Broccoli was saying, we paid you off, and we don't need your character anymore. Still, it's a ridiculous and strange line.
If you look closely, you'll notice Charles Dance as a henchman in one of his career's early roles. That's just a fun fact that didn't fit anywhere else in this post. Here's another one: Sheena Easton sang the title song and appeared in the title sequence, making her the only theme-song performer to do so. She's not the only theme-song performer to appear in a Bond film, however. Madonna sang the title song for and had a cameo in Die Another Day.
Personal Rankings: This one lands safely in the middle...
- From Russia With Love
- The Spy Who Loved Me
- Live and Let Die
- You Only Live Twice
- For Your Eyes Only
- Dr. No
- Diamonds Are Forever
- The Man with the Golden Gun
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service - In a place all to itself
President: Ronald Reagan
Queen: Elizabeth II
Major League Baseball players went on strike causing the cancellation of over a third of the season.
Best Picture Nominees: