- Sir Frederick Gray: "Bond! What do you think you're doing?"
- James Bond: "Keeping the British end up, sir."
- ―James Bond and Sir Frederick Gray, Minister of Defence.
The Spy Who Loved Me in many ways was a make or break film for the Bond franchise and was plagued since its conception by many problems. The first was the departure of Bond producer Harry Saltzman, who was forced to sell his half of the Bond film franchise due to financial difficulties. A second problem was the issue of finding a director. The first director attached to the film was Guy Hamilton, who directed the previous three Bond films as well as Goldfinger, but left after being offered the opportunity to direct the 1978 film, Superman: The Movie. It has been reported that EON Productions, after Hamilton's departure, approached Steven Spielberg to direct the film, though after Jaws turned out to be such a huge success, the producers would not agree to Spielberg's demands for creative control and turned instead to Lewis Gilbert who had directed the similar Bond film, You Only Live Twice.
With a director finally secured, the next hurdle to be overcome was finishing the script, which had gone through several rewrites by numerous writers. Additionally, the initial villain of the film was Ernst Stavro Blofeld, however, Kevin McClory, who owned the film rights to Thunderball, forced an injunction on EON Productions, delaying the film further. The villain would later be changed from Blofeld to Karl Stromberg so that the injunction could be lifted. Christopher Wood was later brought in by Lewis Gilbert to complete the script. Although Fleming had requested no elements from his original book be used, the novel features a thug named Sol Horror who is described as having steel capped teeth. This character would be the basis for Jaws, although having steel capped teeth is where the similarity between Horror and Jaws ends.
Regardless of all the problems throughout production of the film, The Spy Who Loved Me was a financial and box office success, raking in $185,400,000 worldwide on a production budget of $14 million USD. At the time it was the highest grossing Bond film. The Spy Who Loved Me was also nominated for three Academy Awards for:
- Nominated Best Art Direction, (Ken Adam, Peter Lamont, Hugh Scaife)
- Nominated Best Original Music Score (Marvin Hamlisch)
- Nominated Best Original Song (Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager).
A British nuclear submarine experiences a serious disruption of power. The captain looks through the periscope and sees something foreboding, however we do not see what he does. In Moscow, General Gogol hears that a Soviet nuclear sub has also vanished without trace. He promises to assign his best agent, Major Anya Amasova, codename XXX, to investigate.
In Austria, James Bond is enjoying a romantic encounter in a remote cabin in the Alps when he's called back to duty by M. He dons his ski gear and leaves, his lover says she needs him to which James replies, "So does England!" As James skis away from the cabin, he's pursued by a group of four Russian agents. James is able to evade his attackers and, using a ski pole that doubles as a type of rocket gun, kills one of them, a man whom is the group leader (and who happens to be XXX's lover). Bond approaches a sheer cliff and skis over it, free falling several thousand feet until he opens a parachute decorated with the British Union Jack, escaping his attackers.
Anya Amasova reports to Gogol in Moscow where she's given her new assignment - the search for the missing submarines. Gogol also informs her that her lover was killed in an operation. Amasova is visibly shaken but says she'll dedicate herself to the mission at hand.
Meanwhile, Bond meets with M at a British naval yard where the mission path for the lost submarine is studied: Bond shows M, Fredrick Gray the Minister of Defense, Admiral Hargreaves and others a transparency that shows the route had somehow been stolen. M orders Bond to Cairo on his first lead.
In the Mediterranean Sea, two scientists who have developed a sophisticated submarine tracking device, meet with Karl Stromberg, a rich and powerful businessman who lives in a specially designed city, Atlantis, that can submerge beneath the ocean surface. He thanks the two scientists for their invention, but before he allows them to leave, he deals with his secretary, who has stolen information from him; she enters his elevator and Stromberg opens the floor dropping her into a large pool where a tiger shark eats her alive. As the two men leave by helicopter, Stromberg activates a bomb that destroys it and kills them. He killed the scientists as a loose end to prevent them from ever talking about their work with him... as well as to avoid having to pay them. Stromberg then meets with two hired assassins, the fat Hungarian agent Sandor and the seven-foot tall, silent Jaws, so named because he has steel teeth. Stromberg instructs them to go to Egypt and find the stolen submarine tracking system blueprints and to kill anyone who comes into contact with the plans.
Bond arrives in Egypt, meeting with a old contact who tells him to find a man named Fekkesh, a local businessman whom is seeking to buy the submarine tracking system. Bond goes to the man's house where a woman tells him Fekkesh isn't home and refuses to reveal his location. As Bond kisses her, Sandor tries to shoot him. Bond uses the woman to take the bullet and chases after Sandor, fighting with him and dangling him over the edge of the house's roof. He forces the assassin to reveal Fekkesh's location and then lets him fall off the building, killing him.
Bond goes to Giza to meet Fekkesh at the pyramids where he sees XXX has already found the man. While the pyramid light show goes on, Fekkesh notices Jaws standing to the side. He quickly leaves to escape, Jaws in pursuit, Bond following closely. Jaws corners the man and kills him with a bite to his neck. Jaws also escapes from Bond.
In order to continue the investigation, Bond must meet with a man named Max Kalba at his nightclub in Cairo. Anya Amasova also meets him there and the two meet with Kalba to obtain a valuable microfilm containing designs for the submarine tracking system that may have been used to abduct the missing subs. Kalba prepares to negotiate a price with the two government's agents when he's called away to the phone. Jaws (disguised as a maintenance man) kills him in the phone booth after obtaining the microfilm. Bond and Amasova stow away in Jaws' van and he drives out to a site of ruins in the desert... aware that they are in the back of his van.
In the morning, the two agents chase Jaws through a series of Egyptian ruins, finally cornering him and obtaining the microfilm. Bond and Amasova escape in Jaws' vehicle and make it to a boat on the Nile. Bond examines the microfilm on board without Amasova's knowing and the two settle down for the journey. Suddenly, Amasova renders Bond unconscious and takes the microfilm.
Bond recovers the next day and reports to another site of ruins where he finds Amasova, Gogol and M waiting. With the assistance of Q, they examine the microfilm, which is worthless, a conclusion that Bond came to when examining it on the boat. However, they do find evidence of a symbol hidden in it that identifies Carl Stromberg. Their superiors order Bond and Amasova to investigate on the island of Sardinia, where Stromberg lives. The two travel there by train (in a scene that recalls the train ride in From Russia With Love). They are attacked by Jaws, however, Bond is able to fight him off and expel him from the train.
Upon arriving in Sardinia, Bond and Anya Amasova meet Q who has brought Bond's car, a Lotus Esprit S1. The two meet with Stromberg's secretary and assistant, Naomi, who takes them out to Atlantis. Bond poses as a marine biologist and meets with Stromberg, who tells the undercover Bond of his love of the sea and how an underwater city (like the model he has in his private chamber) may be the only hope for the future of humanity. As they leave, Naomi is telling Anya about Stromberg's largest ship, a one-million ton supertanker named the Liparus. After seeing a small model of the tanker, Bond privately remarks that the design of her bow is unusual. After Bond and Anya leave Atlantis, Jaws comes out of a hidden room and confirms to Stromberg that Bond and Amasova are the spies that he encountered in Egypt. Stromberg instructs Jaws to wait until the Bond and Amasova get ashore and to kill them both.
As they speed away in Bond's Lotus, they are attacked by Stromberg's men, first by a motorbike assassin who attempts to destroy the car with a warhead sidecar. Next, Jaws and a carload of assassins attempt to shoot at Bond who is able to throw off their pursuit using the car's defenses. They are also attacked by Naomi in a helicopter, firing on them in a strafing run. As the chase continues, Bond drives off the end of a pier and converts his car to a small submarine. He uses a small missile to destroy Naomi's helicopter, killing her.
In the submerged car/submarine, Bond and Amasova proceed to Atlantis, now submerged. Unable to find anything conclusive from outside, they prepare to leave and are attacked by several frogmen and mini-subs. Bond destroys them all with the Lotus' defenses, however, they are forced to surface on a beach when the Lotus is damaged by an underwater mine.
Back at their hotel, the two plan their next moves. Bond sends a message to M in London, inquiring about the supertanker Liparus. A short while later, a telex reply comes back explaining that in the past nine months when the Liparus was launched, there is no record of the ship being in port anywhere in the world. Bond and Anya suspect that something is up and decide to find the tanker to get a closer look at it. When Bond lights one of Anya's cigarettes, she notices that the lighter he uses is from the city near where her lover was killed. She confronts Bond on the issue, to which Bond replies that he acted in self-defense when he killed the man. Anya vows revenge as soon as their current mission is over.
The two spies next find themselves on an American submarine monitoring the Liparus. While surveying it, the sub is rendered inoperable and is swallowed by the Liparus; the bow of the Liparus opens, revealing a large submarine dock inside... with the captured British and Russian subs. The crew are forced out of the sub and taken prisoner by the heavily armed crewmen. Bond and Anya are identified almost immediately and are also taken prisoner. On the bridge of the Liparus, Stromberg explains his plans to use the nuclear missiles aboard both the captured British and Russian subs to ignite a nuclear war between the superpowers. The resulting nuclear holocaust will destroy the surface world, leaving Stromberg the opportunity to rule an underwater kingdom.
Stromberg departs for Atlantis with Anya as his personal captive, leaving his crew to begin the assault as crews board the British and Russian subs and depart to their launching stations in the Atlantic Ocean. Afterwards, the Liparus Captain orders Bond to be put with the rest of the prisoners. Bond escapes before he can be imprisoned and frees the British, Russian and American sailors. The combined sub crews lead an all-out assault on the Liparus' crew, taking the dock areas and most of the ship despite taking heavy casualties, including the British sub captain. Unable to break into the heavily fortified bridge control room, Bond uses a nuclear warhead detonator to blow a hole in the armored wall of the control room, and the crews kill the rest of the Liparus crew, including the captain.
With the two Stromberg-controlled submarines on their launch stations in the Atlantic, Bond has the American sub captain use the tracking system computer on the Liparus to transfer the coordinates of each submarine to the other as their targets. The ruse works, causing the two submarines to destroy each other. On fire from the battle, the Liparus begins to blow up from the fires on the ship. Bond, the American sub captain, and the remainder of the American, British, and Russian crews board the American sub and escape from Liparus before it explodes and sinks.
They set course for Atlantis, which has been ordered to be destroyed. Bond argues with the American captain that Anya is still on Atlantis and must be rescued first. He is given a wetbike (an early Jet-Ski) and arrives at Atlantis ahead of the sub. Bond takes the elevator to Stromberg's level, avoiding the trap door in the elevator floor. Bond finds Stromberg in his massive dining room. Stromberg attempts to kill Bond with a harpoon gun located under the dining table but misses. Bond then shoots Stromberg twice in the groin and twice in the chest, killing him.
Still searching for Anya, he encounters Jaws and outwits him, using an electromagnetic crane to seize his metal teeth and drop him into the shark tank. The shark is no match for its namesake; Jaws quickly bites and kills it.
Bond finds Anya tied up in a torture room, just as the American submarine begins its attack, torpedoing Atlantis. The city begins to sink into the ocean, slowly filling with water. Bond and Anya escape from Atlantis in a pod that surfaces. (Jaws himself is also seen escaping the stricken Atlantis and swims off.) In the pod, as Bond relaxes, Anya takes his gun, seemingly intent on killing him. But she changes her mind and shoots off a cork on a champagne bottle, having forgiven Bond in which she professes her love for him and they kiss.
A little later, the escape pod is found by a British vessel which captures it. M, Minister of Defense Gray and General Gogol find the two semi-nude agents in the midst of a romantic encounter inside.
The film is best known for the Bond's Lotus Esprit submarine/car and the introduction of Jaws, a giant and seemingly indestructible assassin with steel teeth. Jaws, played by Richard Kiel, is the only henchman of the James Bond villains privileged to appear in more than one film. He later appeared in Moonraker. Previously, Kiel played a similar character in the action comedy Silver Streak starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.
Cast & characters
Robert Brown had a small role in The Spy Who Loved Me as Admiral Hargreaves. Brown would go on to replace Bernard Lee as M in Octopussy. It has never been established as to whether Brown was supposed to be still playing Lee's character, a promoted Hargreaves, or someone else, though the novelizations to later films state that Sir Miles Messervy (Bernarnd Lee's character) remaned M until the mid-90s when Judi Dench assumed the role.
Walter Gotell makes his first appearance as General Gogol of the KGB. Gogol would appear in all future Roger Moore Bond films and would make his final appearance in Timothy Dalton's The Living Daylights. While this was his first appearance as Gogol, this is Gotell's second appearance in a James Bond film. His first was in From Russia with Love where he played the villain Morzeny.
- Directed by: Lewis Gilbert
- Produced by: Albert R. Broccoli, William P. Cartlidge
- Screenplay by: Christopher Wood, Richard Maibaum
- Composed by: Marvin Hamlisch
- Cinematography by: Claude Renoir
- Film editor and second unit director: John Glen
- Production design by: Ken Adam
Main Article: The Spy Who Loved Me (soundtrack)
Vehicles & gadgets
- Lotus Esprit — Including all of the usual Q refinements, this car was equipped with surface to air missiles. The main feature of the car however was the ability to transform into a submarine. Once transformed it could unleash depth charges and smoke screens. The car was nicknamed Wet Nellie, a reference to the autogyro provided by Q for Bond's use in You Only Live Twice.
- Wetbike — a hydrofoil "water motorcycle" used by Bond to travel from the US Submarine to Stromberg's Atlantis to save Triple X. Built by a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Arctic Enterprises.
- XXX's Cigarette — The cigarette used by Triple X contained knock-out powder.
- Seiko Quartzwatch — Basically working like a pager, it had a built-in telex that allowed MI6 to send important messages to Bond, printing them out like a miniature teletype. (It actually looked more like a label-maker tape.)
- Ski pole gun — Was used to fire a projectile at his pursuers. He uses it to kill Triple X's lover while escaping from him in the pre-credits sequence.
- The Austrian Alps
- Cairo, Egypt
- Giza pyramid complex
- Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak, Egypt
- Moscow, Russia
- Pinewood Studios / 007 Stage
- Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda, Sardinia
- Auyuittuq National Park, Canada
- At the end of the film, the credits announce that the next Bond film will be For Your Eyes Only. Ultimately, however, the producers chose instead to adapt Moonraker next in order to cash in on the sci-fi/fantasy craze sparked by the success of Star Wars.
- This is the second film in the history of the Bond series in which M refers to Bond by his first name, rather than simply 007 or Bond (the first time was at his wedding in On Her Majesty's Secret Service). We also hear M's real first name (Miles) for the first time on film. In addition, Q is referred to by his real name (Major Boothroyd) for the first time since From Russia with Love. However, Miss Moneypenny would be left without a first name until it was revealed to Eve in Skyfall 35 years later.
- The 007 Soundstage at Pinewood Studios, for many years the largest in the world, was specially constructed for this film.
- Prior to the film's release, Barbara Bach posed nude for the men's magazine Playboy.
- Michael Billington, who plays Anya's ill-fated lover, Sergei, was considered a candidate for the role of Bond on several occasions in the 1970s and 1980s. He is best known for his role as Paul Foster in the science fiction series UFO.
- Demand for Lotus Esprits surged after the film was released. Many new customers were put on a three-year waiting list.
- Stanley Kubrick provided uncredited assistance in supervising the lighting of the tanker set due to cinematographer Claude Renoir's failing eyesight.
- Although this isn't the first Bond film to relocate M's office to an exotic location as a branch office (You Only Live Twice was the first), it is the first to have Q-Branch likewise relocated with a full array of weapons and testing personnel catering to the particular region of the world. Future similar relocations would occur in Moonraker and Octopussy. (Q, on his own, first joined Bond in the field in Thunderball.)
- Valerie Leon has a brief scene with Moore. She also appears in Never Say Never Again opposite Sean Connery's James Bond.
- Another Bond film to show Bond in the Royal Navy uniform. Unlike You Only Live Twice, Bond here has only two awards/decorations on his uniform: The Naval General Service Medal (actually discontinued by 1962) and the General Service Medal.
- Other naval officers in this film also have decorations: Captain Benson wears what looks like the Royal Victorian Order along with the Naval General Service Medal and the General Service Medal. (Vice-)Admiral Hargreaves wears the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Service Cross, a rather faded 1939-1945 Star (with clasp), the Atlantic Star, the Africa Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal 1939-1945.
- While filming in Egypt, the cast and crew celebrated Roger Moore's fiftieth birthday.
- Apparently, Cubby Broccoli put the film's famous Lotus Esprit in the movie as Bond's car after seeing one illegally parked at Pinewood Studios.
- The scene when Bond comically dropped a fish out of the Lotus' window was added as a joke by Roger Moore.
- When filming the chase scene at the pyramids, Richard Kiel got dizzy often and had to have most of his stunts done by his stunt double, who put a piece of orange wrapped in tin foil around his mouth to emulate Jaws' metal teeth.
- Richard Kiel's son was an extra on-set. He appeared during the scene when the Lotus Esprit submarine surfaces after Bond and Amasova escaped Stromberg's henchmen.
Opening Title Sequence
- Main article: James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me
- Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, a James Bond parody.
|James Bond films|
Dr. No (1962) - From Russia with Love (1963) - Goldfinger (1964) - Thunderball (1965) - You Only Live Twice (1967) - Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
| George Lazenby |
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Live and Let Die (1973) - The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) - Moonraker (1979) - For Your Eyes Only (1981) - Octopussy (1983) - A View to a Kill (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987) - Licence to Kill (1989)
GoldenEye (1995) - Tomorrow Never Dies (1998) - The World Is Not Enough (1999) - Die Another Day (2002)
Casino Royale (2006) - Quantum of Solace (2008) - Skyfall (2012) - Spectre (2015) - Bond 25
Casino Royale (1954) - Casino Royale (1967) - Never Say Never Again (1983)