Sean Connery did his last Bond film for Eon Productions in 1971. After his departure it was Roger Moore's turn to play Bond, and he would serve in this capacity until the mid 1980s. Sean Connery would do a remake of Thunderball in 1983 (Never Say Never Again), but this was done in conjunction with another studio.
Roger Moore's Bond films lean more heavily toward Bond the Lover, and Moore's Bond is more of an English country gentleman. The 70s Bond films were also working toward more of a formula, and are at times even more cartoonish than Connery's Bond films. They are Bond films that don't take themselves so seriously, and I think this is an approach that worked well at times.
Sean Connery starred in 1971's Diamonds are Forever. After this film, Moore appeared in Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), and Moonraker (1979).
The Las Vegas car chase in Diamonds are Forever is pretty cool, as are the muscle cars on display in that movie. It was also good to see Blofeld again, especially after the way he was (mis)handled in both You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd were great villains, though the ways in which they try to dispose of Bond are a bit too convoluted.
Live and Let Die is probably Roger Moore at his best. This movie also features Yaphet Kotto as his nemesis Kananga, and Jane Seymour as the voodoo priestess Solitaire. Kananga was a great Bond villain, and Jane Seymour was both one of the more interesting and one of the more beautiful Bond girls.
The Man with the Golden Gun gets very silly, but Christopher Lee is good as the villain, and this movie also features two of the most beautiful Bond girls, Maud Adams and Britt Ekland. The locations in this movie were a lot closer to my heart, with Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, and Vietnam featuring prominently in the film.
Jaws, one of Bond's more memorable adversaries, makes his first appearance in The Spy Who Loved Me. He would also appear in the following film, Moonraker. Actor Richard Kiel, who played Jaws, was 7 feet 1.5 inches tall.
Moonraker scores points for being the weirdest 007 movie ever. Bond has never been further removed from reality - and it kind of works. This movie was made shortly after the first Star Wars, and the elements Moonraker borrowed from that film are painfully obvious. I'm only sorry Bond wasn't given a lightsaber.
The casino owner in Diamonds are Forever is annoying, and Plenty O'Toole is a throwaway character if there ever was one. It's as if she was only put in the movie just to say her own name.
Kananga's thug has a claw instead of a hand. This claw is the fakest-looking thing that anyone ever put into any Bond movie.
Britt Ekland's character in Man with the Golden Gun is also annoying, and one wonders how someone so accident-prone could have ever found employment in the British Secret Service. Sure, she looks fantastic in a bikini, but she serves no purpose in that movie.
...and that scene where Bond bangs Maud Adams for two hours while Britt Ekland is in the closet! Cold blooded - even for Bond!
Watching 007 slap women around is also hard to watch. He slaps Maud Adams around in The Man with the Golden Gun, and this is especially unnecessary because of a plot twist I won't give away here. Barbara Bach, who starred with Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me, has described the character as "a sexist pig."
In addition, I found myself feeling increasingly sorry for Ms. Moneypenny. Come on, woman! Respect yourself a little more! Why waste time fawning over Bond, when he's clearly not interested?
Shirley Bassey returned to Bond with the theme song for Diamonds are Forever, and while it's not as good as Goldfinger, it's still good. Ditto for her Moonraker theme. Live and Let Die, performed by Paul McCartney and Wings, is one of the all-time classic Bond theme songs.
On the negative side, The Man with the Golden Gun is one of the most annoying theme songs ever written, and singer Lulu, who was a hot property at the time, was wasted on it. Likewise for The Spy Who Loved Me's "Nobody Does It Better."
Let us not forget this was the era of Playboy and porno chic. Many of the women in these films can be found nude or semi-nude elsewhere, and the Bond movies tended to be a lot more revealing with regard to their figures. The sex in these films is a lot more obvious, though still a far cry from more adult-oriented fare.
None of the women in Diamonds are Forever did anything for me. Jane Seymour however, who appears in Live and Let Die, is stunning. Maybe the finest Bond girl ever. Britt Ekland and Maud Adams were also very beautiful, and Barbara Bach is breathtaking. I think what makes Barbara Bach even more attractive is that her character is more interesting, and she's one of the driving forces within the plot.
The women in Moonraker didn't do much for me, though Bond's contact in Brazil is pretty hot. It's worth noting that Jaws' girlfriend in this movie later appeared in The Story of O, an extremely graphic film featuring Udo Kier.
Where Does Bond Go?
Starting with Diamonds are Forever and ending with Moonraker, Bond goes to a secret base, to Holland, to the USA, to London, to the USA (again), to Jamaica, to the USA (again), to London, to Lebanon, to Macau, to Hong Kong, to Thailand, to China (actually Vietnam), to London, to Austria, to Egypt, to Italy, to England, to the USA (actually France), to Italy, to Brazil, to (inexplicably) Guatemala, to space, and then back to Earth.
Starting to notice a pattern here? Almost every movie features locations in both the U.K. and the United States, with a third, "exotic" location thrown in for good measure. I'm thinking the people and studios that funded these films had a lot to do with the locations they chose.
And in Conclusion...
Again, I have no conclusion! On to the 80s!
Other Bond entries:
Bond: The 1960s
Bond: The 1980s
Bond: The 1990s
Bond: 2002 to the Present
Bond: The Conclusion!