Roger Moore…the Best James Bond?

Once again reaching into my bag of old posts, this one is from December of 2009.  I re-post it because very recently I also re-posted my thoughts on the Roger Moore Bond film Moonraker (read about that here) and decided to post my slightly more detailed opinions on all of Mr. Moore’s Bond films in light of an article from Entertainment Weekly.  Re-post begins in 3…2…1…

This article ran a couple of weeks ago in Entertainment Weekly and is available to be viewed online:,,20244755,00.html

To many, Sean Connery IS James Bond, but I have to admit, I’m not as hostile as some are regarding Roger Moore’s take on the character. He was certainly different in the role, and if there is some criticism to point out about his take on the character, it is that at times he seemed a little too suave and/or fancy to be a killer secret agent.  But to me the Moore Bond film’s worst “sin” was that for each “good” one released it seemed to almost always follow that the next one would be mediocre or downright wretched.

For what it’s worth, my take on Mr. Moore’s Bond films.

The Best:  For Your Eyes Only – Granted, those watching it for the first time today may feel it is tame, but I loved the stripped down -and non-gadgetry filled- plot.  The stunt-work is also first rate.  Only real debit is that Roger Moore was beginning to look a little old for the role.  The Spy Who Loved Me – I suspect even those who don’t think much of Roger Moore’s Bond films like this one, a reworking/remake of You Only Live Twice (my least favorite Sean Connery Bond film).  Unlike YOLT, the plot here was presented, in my opinion, far better than in the Connery vehicle.  Jaws (Richard Kiel) makes for a truly memorable heavy.  Only real debit is that Barbara Bach (the spy who loved him) turns out to be more of a damsel in distress than the deadly Russian spy she’s advertised to be.  Certainly a sign of those times.  I suspect if the film were remade today, her character would be far more independent and lethal.  Live and Let Die – Moore’s first outing as Bond was one of the actor’s best. He appeared incredibly comfortable in the role, as if he had always been there.  The plot is rather nonsensical (and some today might even argue borderline racist), but the action sequences (especially an escape from a pond filled with alligators that has to be seen to be believed) make this an enjoyable romp.

The Good-But-Not-Great Moore Bond:  Octopussy – Roger Moore was looking very old by this point (this was his second to last outing as the super spy), but the film was nonetheless an enjoyable “let’s-hit-the-audience-with-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” tongue-in-cheek action extravaganza…at least to me.  On the other hand, I can’t argue too strenuously with those who view the film far less charitably.  Again, I think its a decent -if not great- film.

The Worst Roger Moore Bond films:  The Man With The Golden Gun – You would think that after the success of Live and Let Die the people behind and in front of the cameras would re-work their magic of the previous film, improve upon it, and give us an even better bang for our buck their second time out.  You’d be wrong.  TMWTGG is so lukewarm and forgettable that I’m still astonished the movie’s villain, Scaramanga, is played by the legendary Christopher Lee…and even he is not all that interesting.  Worse, the final encounter between Bond and Scaramanga, something the film was building up to during its entire run time, winds up being too brief and incredibly anticlimactic.  A major disappointment.  Moonraker – Roger Moore’s worst Bond feature, although if you hunt around some of my previous posts, you’ll find that upon seeing it again recently, I had to admit the first twenty to thirty minutes of the film was not all that bad.  The rest of it, alas, remains pretty dreadful.  A View To A Kill – Moore’s last swing at Bond proves a strikeout.  David Bowie (by now you must know how I feel about him) was at the time sought by the movie’s producers to play the villain, but when he backed out Christopher Walken (sporting a definite David Bowie “Let’s Dance”-era look) stepped in.  Mr. Walken and Duran Duran’s theme song may be the only good thing about this weak, weak film, which also features one of the most nonsensical plots.

3 thoughts on “Roger Moore…the Best James Bond?”

  1. Thought Live and Let Die was the best, Roger Moore’s humor makes this impossible character real.

    I like Sean Connery but he always applied a level of seriousness that the character just couldn’t contain: He always seemed campy.

    Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig are the only actors so far that have successfully played the character from the edgy persepctive.

    1. Don’t quite agree with all you say (Sean Connery, to my mind, is the best of the Bonds). However, like you I enjoyed Timothy Dalton in the role. Unfortunately, as good as Dalton was, only his first film was good (not great) to my mind. The script was clearly written for Roger Moore while Dalton tried to make it his own. License to Kill, his second and last foray into the role, was horrible -again, to me- and Dalton looked sour throughout. I think even he knew at the time that was it for him in the role.

      Most disappointing Bond? I’d have to go with Pierce Brosnan. He sure looked the part, but I never could buy him as a killer. The movies built around him, too, were very bland. I couldn’t even say how many he was in!

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