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For Your Eyes Only: Bond is sent to stop the KGB from buying a stolen device that can control nuclear missiles in the British Navy submarine fleet – ahhh, back down to earth with a Cold War plot!

Despite pumping half the world Bond clearly still hurts over Teresa

Opening up with Bond visiting Teresa’s grave is a great touch, reminding the audiences about James’ backstory, and adding more depth to Bond than a dozen soliloquies could. It’s the first of many OHMSS vibes coming out of For Your Eyes Only: Teressa Bond, Ski Chase, Blofeld, Trying to save a woman on the beach…

Blofeld with his remote controlled chopper

After the initial burst of promise we cut to the unbelievably terrible Blofeld / Helicopter scene, which is just beyond ridiculous, random and feels so out of place. The last time we saw him, he was slammed into the middle of an oil-rig control room mid-explosion!

Astin Martin, Bentley, Lotus, Mercedes... Citroën 2CV.

 

Carrying on with the absurd we get one of the worst (comedy) car chases of the series with the yellow Citroen car and a downhill chase in the Mediterranean. Again, unforgivable, the height of campy, and really sums up the Moore era for me.

Emile Leopold Locque - doesn't look like much, but he's a right brutal bastard!

With all this tomfoolery going on some of the more brutal scenes feel like massive slaps to the face: a couple getting machine gunned down, agent with a slashed-up neck and the unforgettably heinous hit and run on the beach, which looks so real and horrific!

She had a cracking time with that car!

Harking back to the original less-frill film like Dr No & OHMSS there’s a distinct lack of gadgetry, other than the Hi-tech 3D visualiser and an exploding car (that doesn’t need to be driven off a cliff first). Like Thunderball, there’s a few underwater scenes: the rovers & big white suit sections are pretty cool. Lessons learned also as the sound is a lot better than before.

What's the best thing about Bond girls? He gets older, but they stay the same age!!!

Perhaps the only truly memorable section from FYEO is the rock-climbing piece, where Bond is literally hanging by a thread, and menacing guards looking to cut him out of the picture. Even though you know he must make it, it’s one of the few action scenes that’s genuinely thrilling, and hard to watch – for all the right reasons.

Countess Lisl von Schlaf - Brosnan's first wife. The 'Stiffler's Mum' of FYEO

For Your Eyes only isn’t a particularly bad film, nor is it much good. It opens like a serious character piece and ends with a cheap political satire (Maggie Thatcher) – which sums it up really. The tone and story are all over the place. I honestly don’t really know if the actors knew whether they’d wind up as the good or bad guys! It wants the vibe of the original films, but it just doesn’t wash in the early 1980s.

Score: 5/10

The most annoying Bond girl/teen to date. Roger and her... you can't un-see it!

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Beardy, boring, rich old guy – zero iconic parts. 2
Henchmen: Red-esque olympian, hard as nails. ‘The Dove’ man-brutal killer. 8
Bond Girl: Pool party girls, skater nymph (too young and annoying), rich countess roadkill (Total GILF / Brosnan’s first wife!!), Daughter (long hair, well tidy). 7
Action: Remote-chopper, poolside fight/Citroen car chase, Skiing / toboggan, gunfight at docks, cliffhanging. 7

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You Only Live Twice: as USSR and American space ships disappear above the sea of Japan, and US-Soviet tensions reach boiling point only one spy can get to the bottom of this…

Commander Bond PUNK's his colleagues

No doubt inspired by the space race, the opening credits are out of this world. Then WTF – Bond gets killed! This is the first film where the emphasis and scale of the action is pushed to the next level; there’s a board room fight with the sumo wrestler; large dock fight with all the sailors moving up to the roof; an aerial dogfight in Little Nellie; Ninja trainign camp, and storming of the secret volcano lair…

Little Nellie - Such a cool autogyro. Real too!

Japan is the backdrop of this and plays a large part in the story; it’s represented pretty well – a fine balancing act between the (then) cutting edge technology and the historic & traditional. Also, Japanese James Bond = Lloyd Christmas.

"We got no food, no jobs - our Pets' heads are falling off!!!"

This also has one of the most unforgettable real sets of any film, in the hollowed out volcano lair with full-scale control room, launch pad, monorail, helipad. Such a great achievement for Pinewood studios.

This mammoth set would all be CGI today!

Other than a couple of long-ish story sections – like the marriage – this is a top-drawer Bond flick, with plenty of action, a gripping story and just a little bit of ridiculousness – making it oh-so easy to spoof in the likes of Austin Powers.

Score: 7.5/10

First look at Ernst Stavro Blofeld - another plan to start WWIII foiled

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Ernst Blofeld – Head of SPECTRE and legendary original megalomaniac. 8
Henchmen: Mr Osato – Old Businessman / Ronald Rich – Red Rip-off. 3
Bond Girl: Ginger Helga – Looking good pre-piranha  / several Japanese wimin. 6
Action: Too much to mention. 8

although the at the door sign reads "Beauty Parlour" this is a sumo match!

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Thunderball: A NATO bomber carrying nukes ditches in the sea prompting a ransom from SPECTRE and 7-day ultimatum – and James Bond is the only person with a lead.

Ciao... Seeing double vision

Thunderball is a pretty shocking follow-up to Goldfinger, with almost zero memorable – let alone iconic – scenes /or lines. It’s also punctuated with too many lengthy and boring underwater set-pieces, peaking with a battle that goes on forever and lacks any audio element.

What's that sound? Nothing...

The only vaguely famous scene would be the card game in the casino with one-eye’d Largo. As far as villains go, Largo is pretty poor, but his main henchman – straight-edge Vargas, takes the piss: what a pitiful baddie. I almost felt sorry for those two.

Aye aye cap'n

If Thunderball’s good for something it’s showing us deeper into Bond’s psyche – he blackmails and forces himself upon women,  will sleep with absolutely anyone, does whatever it takes for King and Country, and is so reckless that he doesn’t care who’s life he endangers!

Bond getting ready to pump for information

The most memorable scene is the ridiculously sped-up projections at the end, genuinely laugh out loud material – yet Thunderball won the Oscar for best SFX. It’s a bit of a car crash for a Goldfinger follow-up and far, far, far too long given how little happens.

Score: 2.5/10

Now pay attention 007

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Largo, one eyed sailor – Number 2 – just following orders. 5
Henchmen: Ginger Fiona / Straight-Edge Vargas – the worst henchman ever. 2
Bond Girl: Bikini girl Domino / Spa Worker Patricia. 4
Action: Tranny fight / Boat Chase / Scuba War. 4

Vargas does not drink... does not smoke... does not make love... loser

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From Russia With Love: James Bond must assist a Soviet Defector, while watching his back as SPECTRE are out to avenge the death of Dr No.

Bond and Bey - an espionage dream team

First appearance of Ernst Stavro Blofeld - Number 1

As with Dr No, this film expands on several more recurring themes in the series; most notably Q Branch and the gadgets, pre-title action (although technically a mini mission), and Red Grant – the first of Bonds larger-than-life opposite numbers – and more generally ‘henchmen’ carrying out the grunt work on behalf of the main villain. More than anything else From Russia is quite the sexist film, with crass lesbian overtones, full-on belly-dancing credits, a ridiculously overlong scantily-clad girl fight and continual put-down of the women – what happened to the ladykiller from Dr No?!?

Tatiana Romanova - Bond Girl and defecting agent

For me this film is summed up by “Trains and Tunisia”, as it takes around an hour for anything substantial to happen. Unfortunately, Bond doesn’t even make it to Russia (Cold War tensions were high at the time), yet the film’s full of Terrible Russian – and English – accents. For being one of the most celebrated and highly rated films I personally don’t think that there’s much to like in From Russia, and that the majority of the film is mediocre and forgettable.

Score 4/10

Red Grant - the first of many muscelmen

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Rosa Kleb – looks mean, pointy shoes but killed by the Bond Girl! – 5
Henchmen: Red – benchpressing benchmark for super-strength bad guys / Footnote for chess Grandmaster – 7
Bond Girl: Tania – Hot Russian – 8
Action: Train fight, helicopter, Boat Chase – 3

The main weapon - "she got her kicks"

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Dr. No: Britain’s best spy James Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of another agent, when he uncovers a more sinister plot. The first thing we see is Bond’s silhouette crossing the screen then going for ‘the gun barrel shot’, followed by the unmistakable Bond credits.

The now famous gun barrel shot, which opens up every movie

Opening credit silhouette - another hallmark of the films - no nudity in this one

I always wonder if anyone could have known how iconic these scenes would become. As the first film in the series Dr. No does a superb job of delivering a rock solid spy story, while simultaneously setting up the franchise potential by introducing the main people, themes & concepts: Bond, Double O’s, M, Moneypenny, SPECTRE, PPK, exotic locations, universal exports, quips, action, car chases, licence to kill, fights, exploding cars, theme song, Spectre, alcoholism, espionage and boner-inducing bond girls. Bond himself bursts on to screen embodying suaveness, ingenuity, Britishness, intellect, sex appeal, and – of course – sexism!

Bond's entrance, the epitome of cool

We also quickly come to realise that only in a Bond film would you find great and believable gadgets/technology, but the most lenient use of scientific principals like gravity and radiation! There’s a few glaring continuity errors, but that’s another aspect of the films that we’ve all grown to love. Given that this was made in 1962 the film still stands up well today as a touchstone for the genre. While it’s primarily a detective story backed up by a little action, it’s still a great way to open up the series, and the idea of a ‘secret agent’ film.

Score: 7/10

Honey Rider's entrance - still to be topped

TOP TRUMPS

Villain: Dr No – Crushing metal hands & general megalomaniac – solid, archetypal villain. 8
Henchmen: Asian secretary Spy and the Marine Biologist – weak line up. 3
Bond Girl: Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) with the most iconic entrance of any character in the series – Hubba Hubba – 10
Action: Car Chase, several attempted murders, fake dragon, villains base destroyed – more would be gratuitous. 5

Dr. No - the first of many megalomaniacs

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