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Film Review: For Your Eyes Only

Updated on December 27, 2016
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Jason Wheeler is the Senior Writer and Editor at Film Frenzy. He reviews films from across the cinematic landscape.


In 1981, John Glen released For Your Eyes Only, based on the 1960 collection of short stories of the same name by Ian Fleming, as the 12th film in the series. Starring Roger Moore, Julian Glover, Carole Bouquet, Chaim Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, John Moreno and James Villiers, the film grossed $194.9 million at the box office.


After a British spy ship fishes out a mine and is blown to the bottom of the ocean, James Bond is sent to find it, its secret cargo, and those responsible for the murders of two people looking for it. During his search, he runs into Melina Havelock, who is seeking to avenge her parents deaths.


For Your Eyes Only is a pretty good film that's significantly lower key than previous Bond films.There isn't as heavy a reliance on gadgets and there’s a lot more spying going on. This makes perfect sense due to the previous film being so over the top, causing production company to want this film toned down and the series given more severeity. However, in its attempt to break with what the other film presented, this film almost did away with a lot of what makes a Bond movie a Bond movie.

The major theme of the film is revenge and all the consequences surrounding it. Melina is going after Hector Gonzales for killing her parents and while she does eventually get her revenge, the film demonstrates her efforts have caused her to sink as low as Gonzales. In effect, Melina has become exactly what sh hated in order to bring about what she's seeking. Further, Bond is highly aware of what revenge can do to a person, stating to her a Chinese proverb, warning those seeking revenge to dig two graves before setting out on their quest. This knowledge isn’t out of the norm for Bond at all as he knows full well what revenge will do to a person. His warning to Melina is a fascinating and clever reference to his vengeful rampage earlier in the series following Blofeld killing Tracy. Bond knows knows what it takes to satisfy a lust for revenge as well as how completely carrying out such a desire would cause Melina's downfall.

Bond so vehemently discouraging Melina from extracting her revenge is quite interesting, seeing as in the beginning of the film, he gets his full and final revenge on a man heavily implied to be Blofeld. Though the person's identity is not outright stated in the credits, it doesn't make sense for it to be anybody else considering he's bald, cradling a white cat and states he's going to take great pleasure in killing Bond, something he's been looking forward to for a long time. Regardless of Moore's iteration of the character never fully taking on Blofeld in any of his films, this is a perfect way to not only retire the character but to make a statement he's no longer necessary as a villain.

Nevertheless, apart from the cameo by the man implied to be Blofeld, this film does employ some notable villains. The main antagonist is Kristatos, who wants to sell the ATAC system to the KGB. Like many of Bond’s other villains, he doesn’t seem to be too smart in regards to doing away with the agent. Rather than shooting him, he drags Bond and Melina behind a boat to be eaten by sharks for no reason whatsoever. He’s also a terrible boss. One of his henchmen falls into the water with them, yet he doesn't care about rescuing him. Assisting him is Eric Kriegler, a German biathlon champion. The most noticeable aspect about this character is none of his shots are accurate, despite others making him out to be a great shooter. On the other hand, this does make some sense, since he was most likely trained to hit stationary targets.

3 stars for For Your Eyes Only

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

  • Most Performed Feature Film Standards (For the song "For Your Eyes Only")

Golden Screen Awards

  • Golden Screen

Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Music, Original Song (For the song "For Your Eyes Only")

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Original Song - Motion Picture ("For Your Eyes Only")

Golden Satellite Awards

  • Best Classic DVD Release (For "The James Bond DVD Collection," volumes 2 & 3)

The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards

  • Worst Supporting Actress (Lynn-Holly Johnson)

Writers Guild of America Awards

  • Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium


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