Thursday Night Movie Club
The Spy Who Loved Me
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Release Date: 3 August 1977

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Roger Moore
Barbara Bach
Curt Jürgens
Richard Kiel
Caroline Munro
Walter Gotell
Geoffrey Keen
Bernard Lee
George Baker
Michael Billington
Olga Bisera
Desmond Llewelyn
Edward de Souza
Vernon Dobtcheff
Valerie Leon
James Bond
Major Anya Amasova / Agent XXX
Karl Stromberg
General Anatol Gogol
Sir Frederick Gray
Captain Benson
Sergei Barsov
Sheikh Hosein
Max Kalba
Hotel Receptionist
The Spy Who Loved Me movie poster The Spy Who Loved Me movie poster
Roger Moore and Barbara BachJames Bond Is Back!! First-time Bond screenwriter Christopher Wood has gotten Roger Moore's reading of James Bond 007 perfect. Wood has given Moore a scene he can really sink his teeth into. Wood also creates a killer who likes to sink his teeth into his work.

In The Spy Who Loved Me, the world, once again, stands on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. Only James Bond can save the free world. A Soviet nuclear submarine has gone missing. The British government comes upon "someone" selling plans for a device that can track submarines underwater. Western defense strategies are at risk.

James Bond (Roger Moore) is Britain's top secret agent. The Soviets assign their best agent Major Amasova (Barbara Bach) to track down the submarine tracking plans and obtain them before the British. The plot is hatched pitting Britain against the Soviet Union. The U.S. is also on edge as their own nuclear submarines are in peril. The chase is on and the clock is ticking.

Atlantis, Stromberg's laboratoryReturning Bond director Lewis Gilbert starts off the film with a bang and never lets up on the gas pedal. A Soviet nuclear submarine on routine patrol suddenly has every control on the sub fail. The sub performs an emergency surface maneuver only to discover something more ominous.

Due to the crisis, 007, on a mission to Austria, is ordered to "pull out immediately". Of course, Bond is in bed with a beautiful Austrian girl. The chase scene on skis is absolutely spectacular. The cinematography is fantastic. The stuntwork is amazing. The sequence culminates with 007 skiing of the edge of a precipice! This is the most dramatic stunt the producers have ever pulled off! Better yetebho Loved Me only gets better and better.

Still from Maurice Binder's title sequenceNext up comes the opening title sequence by Bond regular Maurice Binder. He over-trumps his work on Thunderball. He leaves nothing to the imagination as he populates the screen with the silhouettes of naked women. Anyone in the audience actually reading the credits better check his pulse.

The theme song "Nobody Does It Better" is sung by Carly Simon. This is one of the best title songs in the Bond series and a great song in its own right. The only flaw in The Spy Who Loved Me is the rather weak soundtrack composed by Marvin Hamlisch who won an Oscar for The Sting. The soundtrack is rather subdued compared to all of the action on the screen.

Bond's Lotus Esprit Turbo in actionSpeaking of action, director Lewis Gilbert breathes new life into Bond. All of the action sequences are fresh. This is rather surprising accomplishment since this the tenth film in the series. There is an extended car chase with Bond and his new car, a Lotus Esprit Turbo with plenty of extras. Bond narrowly escapes a motorcycle whose sidecar is a missle. Bond outmaneuvers a car full of thugs when the car spins off the road. A helicopter loaded with machine guns is no match for the bullet-proof car. To escape the helicopter, Bond drives off a pier and converts the car to a submarine. OK. The whole sequence sounds hokey. On the surface, it is. Director Gilbert films and edits the scene for maximum excitement.

Roger Moore has never been better as 007. Moore puts his personal stamp on the role. He develops his own signature geture that he repeats in all of his subsequent outings as James Bond. During the chase sequence against the helicopter, Moore looks out the window at the pilot Naomi, does a double-take, and then smiles. It is wonderful!

Moore's best scene as 007 is a quiet moment when Bond and Major Amasova are discussing the mission. She pulls out a cigarette and Bond lights it with a lighter he picked up while on his mission in Austria at the beginning. During that chase, Amasova's lover was killed by the unknown agent. She has sworn to avenge his death. Amasova confronts Bond and Moore delivers a very passionate speech before finally admitting Bond did indeed kill her lover. The scene is a show-stopper! Why couldn't the screenwriters have come up with a scene like this in every Bond film?

Moore's next most memorable scene comes when Bond is trying to remove the detonator from a nuclear warhead. The scene is not played for laughs. There is one joke but it serves to heighten the suspense. A young sailor assisting Bond casually asks how long it will take. The captain replies, "You got a date!" This is edge-of-your-seat suspense. Great job Lewis Gilbert.

Curt Jurgens as Karl StrombergChief villain Karl Stromber (Curt Jurgens) is appropriately menacing. Unfortunately, his ultimate goal is very far fetched. He plans on creating a new race of human beings underwater and destroying all of the corruption in the world of man on land. The problem is that he can go ahead with his grand design without destroying the world above. This makes no sense!

Roger Moore and Richard KielThe biggest surprise is the lead henchman Jaws played by Richard Kiel. Kiel is a giant of a man. His hand is as big as Moore's head. Jaws is equipped with razor-sharp steel teeth that he uses to bite the spines of his victims. On board a train, Major Amasova is no match for Jaws. Bond doesn't fare much better. Jaws easily picks up Bond and slams his body into the ceiling of the train compartment before hurling Bond into the next one. Bond barely escapes by the skin of his teeth.

Better still, every Bond girl in the film is drop-dead gorgeous. Barbara Bach may not be the best actress in the world but she looks fantastic in the many low-cut gowns she wears. Caroline Munro as Naomi is even more exotically beautiful than Bach. Munro is sexy, sultry and just plain hot. She matches Moores signature smile with one killer smile of her own. Although no scene called for it, every young man's heart would have stopped beating if there was a scene with both Bach and Munro wearing bikinis!

For Roger Moore's third go as James Bond 007, The Spy Who Loved Me gets everything right. The film is fun, exciting, suspenseful and surprising on many levels. Welcome Back 007!! Enjoy this one over and over again!

Barbara Bach Caroline Munro Sue Vanner