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Octopussy (1983) - Illustrated Reference

Updated on October 23, 2016

Octopussy was directed by John Glen and premiered on 6th June 1983. Starring Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan and Steven Berkoff. Screenplay by Richard Maibaum, George MacDonald Fraser and Michael G. Wilson. Music by John Barry. Theme sung by Rita Coolidge. 131mins.

Bond flies to India to investigate the death of 009. There he meets the mysterious Octopussy and her partner Kamal Khan. 007 discovers that Khan is working with a mad Russian general who is planning to detonate an atomic bomb at a US base in West Germany.

Octopussy was the 13th Bond movie and was based on Ian Fleming’s 14th Bond book, first published in 1966. A collection of three short stories comprising of – Octopussy, The Living Daylights and The Property of a Lady. It was the last Bond book written by Fleming who died in 1964.

In the short story Bond investigates the murder of his former ski instructor Hannes Oberhauser over hidden Nazi gold. Bond suspects retired agent Major Dexter Smythe of the crime. Facing a courtmartial, Smythe swims out to sea to visit his pet octopus, which he has named “Octopussy”. He gets stung by a scorpionfish and dies.

Roger Moore
Roger Moore
Maud Adams
Maud Adams
Louis Jourdan
Louis Jourdan
Steven Berkoff
Steven Berkoff
Kabir Bedi
Kabir Bedi
Kristina Wayborn
Kristina Wayborn
Vijay Amritaj
Vijay Amritaj

Roger Moore (1927-) / James Bond

Born in London, England, Roger Moore's films include - Diane (1956), The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), Live and Let Die (1973), The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), Gold (1974), Shout at the Devil (1976), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), The Wild Geese (1978), Ffolkes (1979), Escape to Athena (1979), Moonraker (1979), The Sea Wolves (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981), For Your Eyes Only (1981), A View to a Kill (1985) and The Quest (1996). TV series The Saint (1962-1969), The Persuaders (1971-1972)

Maud Adams (1945-) / Octopussy

Octavia Charlotte Smythe was given the pet name "Octopussy" by her father Major Dexter Smythe, an ex-British army officer and secret service agent. Octopussy is the leader of the Octopus Cult, a group of female smugglers who live on a secluded island off the coast of India.

Born in Lulea, Sweden, this was Maud Adams second Bond movie. she had previously played Scaramanga’s mistress in The Man With the Golden Gun (1974). Her films include - Rollerball (1975), Killer Force (1976), Tattoo (1981) and Jane and the Lost City (1987).

Kamal Khan: Mr. Bond is indeed a very rare breed... soon to be made extinct.

Louis Jourdan (1921-) / Kamal Khan

Kamal Khan is Octopussy's partner, an exiled Afghan prince, and unknown to Octopussy, in league with insane Russian General Orlov.

Born in Marseille, France, Louis Jourdan's films include - The Paradine Case (1947), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), The Swan (1956), Gigi (1958), Can-Can (1960), The VIPs (1963), Count Dracula (1977 as Dracula), Swamp Thing (1982), Return of the Swamp Thing (1989) and Year of the Comet (1992).

Steven Berkoff (1937-) / General Orlov

General Orlov wants the Soviet security council to end talks with the West and launch an all out attack on Western Europe. When they refuse Orlov smuggles an Atomic Bomb aboard Octopussy’s circus train, the destination – West Germany.

Born in London, England, Steven Berkoff's films include - Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), Outland (1981), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Rambo First Blood II (1985), Revolution (1985), The Krays (1990), Fair Game (1995), The Tourist (2010) and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

Kabir Bedi (1946-) / Gobinda

Gobinda is Kamal Khan's bodyguard. When Bond beats Kamal at Backgammon, Gobinda crushes the dice to powder in his hand, reminiscent of Oddjob crushing a golf ball in his hand after Bond beats Goldfinger at a game of golf.

Born in Bombay, India, Kabir Bedi's films include - The Thief of Baghdad (1978), Ashanti (1979) and The Beast of War (1988).

James Bond: [sees tattoo on her back] What is that?
Magda: That's my little octopussy.

Kristina Wayborn (1950-) / Magda

Magda is Octopussy's trusted partner and member of her cult.

Born in Nybro, Sweden, Kristina Wayborn was Miss Sweden 1970, her films include - Little Ghost (1997), Forbidden Warrior (2005) and The Frankenstein Syndrome (2010).

James Bond: [The bad guys give chase] Vijay, we've got company.
Vijay: No problem, this is a company car.

Vijay Amritaj (1953-) / Vijay

Born in Madras, India, tennis star Vijay Amritaj is 007’s contact in India, and is first seen playing the “James Bond theme” to a cobra on his flute. He has also appeared as a Starship Captain in Star Trek IV The Voyage Home (1986).

Robert Brown (1921-2003) / M

Born in Dorset, England, Robert Brown was the new ‘M’, replacing the late Bernard Lee. Brown would play Bond's boss in three more films.

Kamal Khan: You seem to have this nasty habit of surviving.
James Bond: You know what they say about the fittest.

Bond vs Bond. Two Bond movies were on release in 1983, Octopussy premiered in June and Never Say Never Again (starring Sean Connery and Kim Basinger, produced by Kevin McClory and directed by Irvin Kershner), premiered in October.

The final box office figures reveal that Octopussy grossed $187m worldwide and Never Say Never Again, $160m.

James Bond flies an Acrostar mini jet in the opening teaser. Q provides him with a wristwatch with LCD TV and a pen with concentrated hydrochloric acid.

Actor James Brolin tested for the part of James Bond after Moore was hesitant in making another Bond film. At the last minute Moore agreed to make the film and Brolin departed. James Brolin's screen test can be seen on the DVD.

Faye Dunaway was considered for the role of Octopussy.

The song “All Time High” sung by Rita Coolidge was the first song in the series not to feature the title of the film in the lyrics. The song peaked at #36 in the US charts.

After the disco beat awfulness of Bill Conti’s music score in the previous film, John Barry returned to compose the score for this and the next two Bond films.

If you watch carefully during the pre-credit teaser, when Bond flies the mini jet through the hangar, you will notice that the jet is attached to the roof of a car which is being driven through the hangar. Various obstacles are added in front to hide the car but you can still just make it out.

Kamal Khan: Spend the money quickly, Mister Bond.

Octopussy is an entertaining Roger Moore Bond movie with good location work, excellent stunts and some nasty villains but it has a lot of silly moments that weaken the character of 007, for example – Bond in the jungle swinging on a rope like Tarzan, Bond telling a tiger to “sit!”, Bond in a gorilla suit and Bond in clown outfit and make up. From Russia With Love by now seems like it’s part of another series entirely.

The end credits show that Bond will be back in – From a View to a Kill, which was later shortened to A View to a Kill.

The film was retitled Octopus in Finland, Operation Octopus in Italy and 007 Averts the Blast Plot in China.

The Critics Wrote –

"John Glen directs at top speed and with his usual flair for action. The wildly implausible script contains some laugh-lines, and Steven Berkoff overacts entertainingly as a mad Russian general, but on the whole this is wearisome stuff." (Christopher Tookey)

"Agent 007 faces a succession of unspeakable dangers and obliging women with the absurdly overstated, indefatigable waggishness that has outlived all imitations. Roger Moore, who plays Bond yet again, is not getting any younger, but neither is the character. The two have grown gracefully indivisible." (Vincent Canby, New York Times)

"Film's high points are the spectacular aerial stuntwork marking both the pre-credits teaser and the extremely dangerous-looking climax." (Variety)

"The picture doesn't deliver on the chic perversities suggested by the inelegant title. As Octopussy, the beautiful amazon Maud Adams is disappointingly warm and maternal." (Pauline Kael)

“The filmmakers make the mistake of demeaning Bond by having him swing through the trees and emitting a Tarzan cry and having him hide in a gorilla suit and later disguise himself as a clown. It’s as if they’re trying to remind us that everything is tongue-in-cheek, but that makes little sense, for the film is much more serious than typical Bond outings.” (Danny Peary)

"As the films drift further and further into self-parody, no one seems to notice and no one seems to mind." (Nick Roddick, MFB)


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    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks AlabamaGirl, appreciate the comment. I should have the last of Roger's spy comedies (oof that was a bit harsh) ready and out on the hubstands some time tomorrow. :)

    • AlabamaGirl86 profile image

      AlabamaGirl86 6 years ago

      I get so confused with the Roger Moore movies, your articles help me remember them. Keep up the great work.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      We seem to have the same views on this Bond film Rob, thanks for posting.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      This film is a guilty pleasure for me. The ridiculousness of it is undeniable but its fun all the way through. There are so many wacky, laughable moments (The Tarzan yell, telling the tiger to sit, Bond recognizing his own film theme song, Bond's mini-jet landing in the gas station and saying "fill her up", etc., etc.) that the film seems more of a parody of Bond than an actual Bond film. Roger Moore seems to be having fun here playing the role as pure comedy. He delivers the comic lines well ("No ma'am, I'm with the economy tour".)

      Louis Jordan always makes a good villain. He has that aristocratic smugness. (He was used better here than in the "Swamp Thing" films, as evil Arcade.) I enjoyed him as a villain on "Columbo" because of that upper-class arrogance he portrays so well. It makes him very detestable. (He's played "Dracula" as well.)

      Maude Adams was fine in the leading lady/love interest role and very good looking. I thought the second-lead girl played by Kristina Wayborn (Magda) was absolutely stunning.

      A silly, fun Bond film. Much better than the one before (For Your Eyes Only) or after (View to a Kill). Moore probably should have bowed out with this one. It would have been a higher note to go out on.


    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thank you Alastar, these Bond hubs are really an excuse to post rare photos and posters from the hundreds I have collected here over the years. Plus it puts to good use some of the screenshots I've taken off my DVDs. And it gets me in the mood to watch these films again. :)

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Pretty good Hub on the Bond flick Steve. I managed a cinema that played this one and For Your Eyes Only. Yeah really looks good the way you've written and pic'd it up. Give ya a useful n vote up.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Bond Man, Cogerson, thanks for commenting. I have to admit that for all it's silliness I do enjoy Octopussy more than For Your Eyes Only. The villains are more interesting, they were too bland in FYEO, and the last half hour when Bond tries desperately to stop an atom bomb exploding inside a circus, generates more excitement than anything in FYEO.

      But unfortunately the filmmakers love having fun with the character "lets have Bond swing thru the trees like Tarzan here", "haha great idea and lets add the Tarzan yell to it!", "hohoho brilliant!"

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      I did not realize that James Brolin was considered for Bond. I would rate this Roger Moore movie...5th of all his movies....Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Man With The Golden Eye, Octopussy, Moonraker and View To A Kill. I think Moore should have stopped with For Your Eyes Only....but I am sure it was hard to walk away from that money.

      I think I have only seen this movie once and that was at the theaters. Looking at your pictures has me remembering certain well as shaking my head that I do not remember parts. As always your Bond hubs are interesting and informative. Pretty soon you will have knocked out 3 of the 7 Bonds. Voted up.

    • profile image

      Bond man 6 years ago

      Nice tribute to one of the weaker Bond movies, interesting fact about the car in the opening scene, I will try and spot that on my next viewing.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Thanks for reminding me I have seen The Paradine Case and actually own a copy-a group of the four Hitch-David O. Selznick partnership together. But I always forget about it when talking about the actors' careers because it was a major dissappointment to Hitch- it was essentially a D.O.S. production of a wordy courtroom drama. I wonder what it could have been like if Hitch had been allowed to edit it and if Peck had been allowed to get a vocal coach -Hitchcwas bored with the idea-to learn a British accent. Despite my love of the artists involved (I'm a Peck fan too), I watch The Paradine Case once in a blue moon.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Hi Flora, Jourdan also appeared in a Hitchcock film, The Paradine Case, which had a very interesting cast of actors.

      But I'll always remember Jourdan as Gaston in Gigi, and he was very good as Count Dracula in the excellent 1977 BBC production.

      In the Bond film I always smile at the way he says "Octopussy... Octopussy" :)

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      I've always enjoyed louis Jourdan in his movies. He usually didn't play a villain. He did very memorably in Julie, in which he stalked his wife played by Doris Day-a real departure for day.

      On tv: He played a strong one in an episode of Columbo in which he was a chef who knew how to remove the poison from a fish so that it is safe to eat. He left the poison in to kill his victim