Watch Roger Moore in action in all seven of his James Bond films
Roger Moore wasn’t the first actor to play James Bond on the big screen, but he was the man who played 007 the longest.
Moore, who died Tuesday at age 89 after a battle with cancer, was one of six stars to take on the role of the iconic British spy. Sean Connery was the first to tackle the part, and Moore took over the franchise in 1972. He would continue to appear as Bond until 1985, starring in a total of seven films about the MI6 agent.
Here, we remember Moore’s entries in the long-running Bond screen canon:
“Live and Let Die” (1973)
Based on Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name, “Live and Let Die” put Bond up against a new villain: Mr. Big, a Harlem drug lord who ran a chain of Fillet of Soul restaurants across the U.S. But Mr. Big is actually just an alter ego for Dr. Kananga — the ruler of the Carribbean island San Monique, which is home to secret heroin poppy farms.
The movie was the first to feature an African American Bond girl: Gloria Hendry, who played the spy’s love interest Rosie Carver. Its theme song, “Live and Let Die,” was written by Paul and Linda McCartney and would go on to earn an Academy Award nomination for best original song.
In his review of the film for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert noted that Moore “has the superficial attributes for the job: The urbanity, the quizzically raised eyebrow, the calm under fire and in bed.” But the critic felt the film’s villains were lackluster, not “worthy of the Goldfingers, Dr. Nos and Oddjobs of the past.”
“The Man With the Golden Gun” (1974)
The fourth and final Bond film to be directed by Guy Hamilton, “The Man With the Golden Gun” had Bond searching for a device that contained the power of the sun called the Solex Agitator. Bond must duel assassin Francisco Scaramanga to secure the apparatus, which was meant to tie in thematically to the 1973 energy crisis taking place in Britain.
The movie, which attempted to take on a more comedic tone, earned mixed reviews and was one of the lowest-grossing pictures in the series.
“The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977)
“The Spy Who Loved Me” teamed Bond with Russian agent Anya Amasova — played by Barbara Bach — as the duo set out to catch villain Karl Stromberg. Stromberg, hiding out on a base in Sardinia, is plotting to launch a global nuclear war that would force civilization to be created underwater.
As you might imagine, the film involves a lot of submarines.
Moore long said that “The Spy Who Loved Me” was his favorite Bond film, and critics agreed. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has more positive reviews than any of Moore’s other Bond pictures, notching a 79% fresh rating. The film got a splashy premiere both at the Cannes Film Festival and in London’s Leicester Square.
Made on a budget of $34 million — pricey for the era — “Moonraker” sent Bond on a mission to find out who stole a space shuttle. After traveling from California to Italy to Brazil to the Amazon, the spy actually goes into space to stop the evil Hugo Drax. Drax’s plan? To kill all humans by sending nerve gas into Earth’s atmosphere and create a new “master race” of people with supposedly ideal genetics.
The highest-grossing Bond movie Moore appeared in, “Moonraker” took in more than $210 million at the worldwide box office. That makes it the ninth most-lucrative film in the spy series — not adjusting for inflation — of the 25 Bond movies to date.
“For Your Eyes Only” (1981)
Following the science-fiction-set “Moonraker,” “For Your Eyes Only” saw Bond return to Earth. In the film, our hero faced off against Greek businessmen while trying to track down a missile command system. The only problem? That system — called the Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator — is on a boat that sank. And he needs to find it before the Soviets do, as the ATAC is capable of ordering ballistic missile attacks.
In “Octopussy,” Bond sets off to track down an Afghan prince, Kamal Khan, and his wealthy female associate, Octopussy, who are stealing jewels and other important artifacts from the Soviet government. But while he’s investigating the mysterious pair, the spy learns of a plot to explode a nuclear warhead that would cause Europe to seek disarmament — likely prompting a Soviet invasion.
“A View to a Kill” (1985)
Moore’s last Bond film and also his worst-reviewed, “A View to a Kill” did not go over well with critics, many of whom argued it was time for the actor to retire his tux.
“Moore isn’t just long in the tooth – he’s got tusks, and what looks like an eye job has given him the pie-eyed blankness of a zombie,” said one particularly harsh Washington Post critique. “He’s not believable anymore in the action sequences, even less so in the romantic scenes.”
In the movie, Bond went up against Max Zorin, a horse racing entrepreneur who wanted to destroy Silicon Valley by triggering an explosion on earthquake fault lines that would flood local lakes and put the area underwater.
Moore wasn’t a fan of the film, either, calling it his least-favorite Bond film and later joking he was “only about 400 years too old for the part.”
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