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Film Review: The Spy Who Loved Me

Updated on December 23, 2016

Background

In 1977, Lewis Gilbert released The Spy Who Loved Me, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, as the 10th film in the series. Starring Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curd Jurgens, Richard Kiel, Caroline Munro, Walter Gotell and Geoffrey Keen, the film grossed $185.4 million at the box office.

Synopsis

When a pair of nuclear missile submarines go missing, James Bond and a Soviet spy are independently assigned to find them. However, the two run into each other during the mission and end up being made to continue together. Along the way, they run into an unstoppable henchman with metal teeth and drive a Lotus Espirit off a pier.

Review

The film noted as Moore’s favorite to shoot, The Spy Who Loved Me is one of the best James Bond films post-Connery. From the time the film starts to the point when KGB and MI6 start working together, Bond and Anya are constantly trying to one up the other in order to secure the microfilm for their side. Notably, following the order where they’re made to work together, they don’t immediately cuddle up to each other and accept the idea. Rather, they still continue working to make themselves look better, with Anya continuing her desire to kill Bond for killing her lover. The two do eventually begin to work together, though it's not until the end of the whole adventure that Anya decides to forgive bond following his rescuing her. This actually all makes sense because the two are usually on opposing sides. They’re not used to trusting each other and their respective agencies forcing them to doesn’t make trust automatic. Alternatively, the two have to earn it for each other. Further, not only does Anya see Bond is remorseful for killing her lover lover, but she also sees it from his side, making it true character development.

As for the villains, Stromberg is interesting as unlike Blofeld, he’s not seeking world domination, nor a tremendous amount of money, like Kananga and Scaramanga. Instead, his insanity manifests itself in how he just wants to end all humanity out of contempt and start a new world under the ocean. What's more is he's so insane he legitimately believes himself to be doing humanity a favor, attesting to the consistency of his personality. Stromberg is the least physical villain Bond has dealt with as well. He doesn't use force, preferring to use deathtraps and henchmen to carry out his dirty work. Moreover, the moment does decide to get physical, it doesn't end well for him.

Additionally, Jaws is a fantastic villain whose popularity is well deserved due to his nature as incredibly difficult to put down. No matter what happens to him, he just shrugs it off and continues onward to attempt killing Bond another time. Throughout the film, he survives electrocution, car crashes, being shoved into a building at high speeds, getting kicked through a train window and a shark. Jaws isn't purely brawn either, demonstrating his intelligence with several clever ambushes.

Supplementing all these great aspects to the film, there are well-done allusions to past films. This includes Dr. No, as Anya calls Q by name along with the aquariums and fine artwork on Atlantis referencing Dr. No's lair, From Russia with Love, seen in Anya's request for a cigarette in order to knock Bond out which calls back to Bond doing the same against Grant with his briefcase, Goldfinger, presenting similarities between Jaws and Oddjob, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, this film featuring an opening ski chase reminiscent of the other film's multiple skiing sequences as well as Anya reciting Bond's biographical info and mentioning he has was married only once.



4 stars for The Spy Who Loved Me

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 "Nobody Does it Better")

Golden Screen Awards

  • Golden Screen

Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
  • Best Music, Original Song (For the song "Nobody Does it Better")
  • Best Music, Original Score

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Original Score - Motion Picture
  • Best Original Song - Motion Picture ("Nobody Does it Better")

BAFTA Awards

  • Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music
  • Best Production Design/Art Direction

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD/Blu-Ray Collection (Bond 50: Complete 22 Film Collection)

Grammy Awards

  • Best Album or Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Movie Blu-Ray (For the "Bond 50 Box Set")

Writers Guild of America Awards

  • Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium

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    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 2 years ago from The Garden State

      This one is my favorite from Roger Moore's run as 007, and it's one of my favorite Bond films overall.