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Film Review: Octopussy

Updated on December 27, 2016
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.


In 1983, John Glen released Octopussy, based on the 1966 short story of the same name by Ian Fleming, as the 13th entry into the series. Starring Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Kabir Bedi, Steven Berkoff, Robert Brown, and Walter Gotell, the film grossed $183.7 million at the box office.


When a replica Faberge egg is found on an assassinated MI6 agent, James Bond is directed toinfiltrate an Indian circus gang led by Octopussy. Soon, he discovers a renegade Soviet general conspiring to detonate a nuclear device expecting it will force disarmament in Europe.


While it’s not the best Moore era Bond film, Octopussy is decent enough. The film’s plot is pretty interesting, with a crazed Russian general turning smuggling into a scheme to nuke the West. A notable aspect about this is the idea does not receive approval from other generals. When Orlov presents the idea to the rest of the Russian council, the rest of them dismiss it as incredibly foolish, concluding it will backfire and spark World War III. Yet, Orlov proves he is just like any insane person with the idea and money to accomplish such a task as he doesn't think war would be an inevitable outcome, just that it would allow the Soviet Union to annex the rest of Europe. His delusions of grandeur demonstrates how those with insane ideas never take into consideration the realistic outcome, just the only ones which would make sense to an insane mind.

The film presents two climaxes as well. The first is in the circus and the second involved Bond fighting on an airplane flying through the air. The scene at the circus is great and makes sense, considering nobody would believe it to be the epicenter of a nuclear blast. Further, the film doesn't employ the gimmick of the timer stopping with seven seconds left and instead has Bond defuse it at the last possible second. He's also dressed as a clown and not taken seriously when attempting to warn the general in attendance of the threat. Despite knowing the villain will not succeed in a James Bond film, the scene keeps fantastic tensity and suspense in waiting to see how long it will be until his warnings are taken seriously. As for the second climax, the silliness is offset by the kind of interesting stunts the climaxes James Bond films have come to make use of.

There are some genuinely stupid moments found in the film though, including Bond implementing the Tarzan yell as loud as possible while the villains are hunting him.

The film does have some good villains to go along with the plot, too. Orlov has a stark contrast to how the other Soviet generals view the Cold War. He believes using the missile stockpile to force an American withdrawal is a legitimate idea, thinking that Russia could easily sweep through the rest of Europe. On the other hand, General Gogol remains adamant that the missiles are to be used defensively. When he fails and is called a disgrace to his uniform, Orlov has thought his intentions through for so long, he continues to believe it will succeed and he will be known as a hero.

The other villain, Kamal Kahn, is just as insane, albeit is it manifested in a different way. His plan of smuggling jewels is pretty low key, but he establishes his insanity by expressing how much enjoyment he takes from hunting Bond through the guise of a tiger hunt.

Moreover, Octopussy is a good character with a few miner flaws to her characterization. Initially a villain, she isn't as crazy as the other two, alternatively preferring to be a mysterious woman hidden on an island. Nevertheless, she isn't foolish and upon realizing she's been double crossed by Orlov, Octopussy begins helping bond and the way she turns is done well. Still, her flaws come about in how she's built up as a formidable opponent. However, even though she does get some good moments, Octopussy is easily beaten when she does engage in action.

3 stars for Octopussy

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

Awards Won

Golden Screen Awards

  • Golden Screen

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Foreign Feature - Sound Effects

Nominated for

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Fantasy Film
  • Best Supporting Actress (Maud Adams)

Golden Satellite Awards

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


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