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The Man With the Golden Gun (1974) - Illustrated Reference

Updated on September 19, 2016

The Man With the Golden Gun was directed by Guy Hamilton and premiered on 19th December 1974. Starring Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, Herve Villechaize and Clifton James. Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz. Music by John Barry. Theme sung by Lulu. 125mins.

A golden bullet with “007” engraved on it arrives at M’s office, is James Bond the next target for top assassin Scaramanga? Meanwhile, the Solex Agitator has gone missing, a device that can harness the sun’s energy and can be used as a deadly weapon. Bond travels to Hong Kong where he teams up with agent Mary Goodnight, he discovers Scaramanga’s remote island and the missing Solex. 007 must face the man with the golden gun in a final showdown.

The Man With the Golden Gun was Ian Fleming’s 13th Bond book and was first published in 1965, it was preceded by You Only Live Twice and followed by the short story collection Octopussy. Golden Gun was Fleming’s last Bond novel and not one of his best, he died before he could polish, revise and add the rich detail contained in the previous Bond books.

James Bond: Who'd pay a million dollars to have me killed?
M: Jealous husbands! Outraged chefs! Humiliated tailors! The list is endless!

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), 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), Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill (1985) and The Quest (1996). TV series The Saint (1962-1969), The Persuaders (1971-1972)

Scaramanga: You see, Mr Bond, like all great artists I want to create one indisputable masterpiece - the death of 007.

Christopher Lee (1922-) / Francisco Scaramanga

Unusually it’s the villain that has all the gadgets this time round, Scaramanga is the man with the golden gun. The worlds highest paid assassin, he charges a million dollars a hit. The golden gun is disguised as a lighter, cufflink and ballpoint pen. He also owns a car that can fly and a laser gun powered by the Solex.

Born in London, England, Hammer Horror legend Sir Christopher Lee has appeared in over 200 films and TV movies, they include - Scott of the Antarctic (1948), Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951), The Crimson Pirate (1952), The Battle of the River Plate (1956), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957 as The Creature), Dracula aka Horror of Dracula (1958 as Count Dracula), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), The Mummy (1959 as Kharis the Mummy), The Gorgon (1964), Dr. Terrors House of Horrrors (1965), She (1965), The Face of Fu Manchu (1965 as Fu Manchu), Rasputin the Mad Monk (1966 as Rasputin), The Devil Rides Out (1968 as the Duc de Richleau), Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970 as Mycroft Holmes), Horror Express (1972), The Three Musketeers (1973 as Rochefort), The Wicker Man (1973 as Lord Summerisle), To the Devil a Daughter (1976), Airport 77 (1977), 1941 (1979), Gremlins 2 (1990), Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003 as Saruman), Star Wars II Attack of the Clones (2002 as Count Dooku), Alice in Wonderland (2010 voice of Jabberwocky) and Hugo (2011).

Bond: I approve.
Goodnight: You do?
Bond: Oh, not the wine, your frock. Tight in all the right places, not too many buttons.
Goodnight: Standard uniform for Southeast Asia. The buttons are down the back.
Bond: Designed by Q no doubt. One of them is a suicide pill I suppose?
Goodnight: No, but the bottom one has a homer in it.

Britt Ekland (1942-) / Mary Goodnight

Bond girl Mary Goodnight is sent to assist 007 on his search for the missing Solex. In the novel Goodnight is Bonds secretary and appears in two other novels, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Britt Ekland's films include - The Double Man (1967), The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), Get Carter (1971), The Wicker Man (1973), Royal Flash (1975) and Scandal (1989).

Maud Adams (1945-) / Andrea Anders

Scaramanga’s mistress Andrea Anders has sent Bond a golden bullet hoping that he would confront and kill Scaramanga.

Born in Lulea, Sweden, Maud Adams also played the title role in the 13th Bond film Octopussy (1983). Her films include - Rollerball (1975), Killer Force (1976), Tattoo (1981) and Jane and the Lost City (1987).

Herve Villechaize (1943-1993) / Nick Nack

Nick Nack, at just 3’ 11”, is the shortest henchman in the Bond series, he is also Scaramanga’s chef. The character does not appear in the novel.

Born in Paris, France, Herve Villechaize found fame as Tattoo in the TV series Fantasy Island (1977-1983). Villechaise suffered from clinical depression and took his own life in 1993, he was 50.

J.W. Pepper: Hey! I know you! You're that secret agent. That English secret agent, from England!

Clifton James (1921-) / J.W. Pepper

Clifton James reprises his role as J.W. Pepper from Live and Let Die (1973). He is holidaying with his wife in Bangkok when he bumps into 007.

Born in Spokane, Washington, Clifton James films include - The Chase (1966), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Silver Streak (1976), Superman II (1981), The Untouchables (1987), Eight Men Out (1988), Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) and Lone Star (1996)

Scaramanga: You get as much pleasure out of killing as I do, so why don't you admit it?
Bond: I admit killing you would be a pleasure.
Scaramanga: Then you should have done that when you first saw me. On the other hand, the English don't consider it sporting to kill in cold blood, do they?
Bond: Don't count on that.

After the success of Live and Let Die, Roger Moore was back as 007, this time showing off his three nipples (when posing as Scaramanga) and kung fu skills at a martial arts school. Q turns up but does not provide Bond with any gadgets, apart from the fake nipple.

This was the last Bond film directed by Guy Hamilton (1922-), he had also directed Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Live and Let Die (1973). It was also the last Bond film produced by Harry Saltzman, his health had deteriorated, his wife had cancer and he had financial problems so he sold his half of the company and retired.

Felix Leiter appears in the novel but not the film. Scaramanga has a gold plated Colt.45 in the book, there is an assassination attempt on M and a fight on a train, the final showdown between Bond and Scaramanga is in a swamp.

The film features a stunt that had never been seen in the movies before, Bond is chasing Scaramanga in an AMC Hornet and drives over a broken bridge, the car spinning 360 degrees before landing on the other side. This was no special effects trickery but done for real by stunt driver Bumps Willard in a redesigned Hornet and the ends of the bridge positioned at the precise angles (worked out by computer) for the stunt to work. Eight cameras were used to film the scene.

Jack Palance was one of the actors considered for the role of Scaramanga.

Look out for the shot near the end of the film when Bond and Goodnight are fleeing Scaramangas exploding island, while they're running Britt Ekland trips and knocks down Roger Moore too. It was an accident which was left in the finished film.

The Man With the Golden Gun was one of the least successful Bond films. Britt Ekland looks great in a bikini but she’s one of the more forgettable Bond girls and Maud Adams barely makes an impression. On the plus side Christopher Lee was a memorable villain though a little too charming to be really menacing. The locations were great and John Barry contributed another effective score but the theme song yelled out by Lulu isn't one of the best.

The film was retitled The Man With the Golden Colt in Germany and 007 Versus the Golden Gun in China.

James Bond will return in… The Spy Who Loved Me.

The Critics Wrote -

"An efficient globetrotting escapist actioner, with Moore now settling nicely into the part." (Winnert)

"The throbbing information that "the energy crisis is still with us" isn't what you need or want to learn from a James Bond picture. But that poverty of invention and excitement characterizes "The Man With the Golden Gun". The only energetic moments are provided by Herve Villechaize, as a midget gifted with mocking authority, and Christopher Lee as the golden gunman—both have a sinister vitality that cuts through the narrative dough." (New York Times)

"Good, gimmicky fun... Lee is excellent as assassin Scaramanga. Great car stunts, worldwide locales." (Maltin)

"Slow, tired, unfunny James Bond film, worst of the series. Roger Moore looks understandably bored. Attempts to drag in kung fu sequences add to the general air of desperation." (Christopher Tookey)

"Britt Ekland doing her well-known showroom-dummy routine and Maud Adams, the dark and Garboesque Swedish cover girl, making her debut into a career of celluloid negligence." (Julie Burchill, Girls on Film)


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    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      I have 4 nipples, no I lie, just 2. Kananga, Pete thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      Pete 6 years ago

      Francisco Scaramanga might have had three nipples but you Robbie only wish you had three nipples.

      I did not know the names of the other country Bond movies, interesting stuff and great finds on the photos. Very well done.

    • profile image

      Kananga 6 years ago

      Not as good as Moore's first Bond movie, but still a good Bond outing. I most be related to Lee's villian as I have three nipples too.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Yep Live and Let Die was a lot more fun, over the top black villains, the voodoo angle, cool theme song. Solitaire was a bit of a damp squib though.

      There's a scene in Golden Gun where Christopher Lee is asleep lying on his back, looking just like Dracula in his coffin. :)

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Not one of the better Bond films, despite the presence of Christopher Lee. As you point out, the Bond girls were forgettable here. (Maude Adams was used better in "Octopussy") The finale was a fight with little Nick-nack/Tatoo. And the reappearance of J.W. Pepper was rather forced and unnecessary. Even the theme song wasn't on par with some of the other themes. Overall, a weak entry in the series. (Although the car stunt was pretty impressive.)

      Good hub.


    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks Cogerson, appreciate your comments. I was a little harsh on the film too. It has it's moments and I'm a huge fan of horror legend Christopher Lee.

      Btw if anyone remembers the tv series The Saint starring Roger Moore, at the beginning of each episode someone would mention the name Simon Templar and Roger Moore would look up and a halo would appear followed by the opening credits. Anyway one of the photos on this hub has Moore standing underneath a halo shaped light, intentional or coincidence? :)

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      I think this was the first Bond movie my dad let me go and see at the movie theater.....I was just so happy I that I got to watch the end of the movie.....up until that time I had only seen the beginning of a few Bond movies...I was always forced to bed when a Bond movie came on tv.

      Recently I was showing my son the bridge twisting car jump scene....he was not impressed until I told him it was not a computer graphic....and that they had done the stunt for real.

      I will have to check out the Moore/Ekland trip on my next viewing. Wow the reviews you included are pretty harsh. As always a great and informative hub...voted up interesting and awesome