The Spy Who Loved Me
- Roger Moore as James Bond
- Barbara Bach as Anya Amasova
- Curd Jürgens as Karl Stromberg
- Richard Kiel as Jaws
- Walter Gotell as General Gogol
- Caroline Munro as Naomi
- Bernard Lee as M
- Desmond Llewelyn as Q
- Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny
After the negative reception towards The Man with the Golden Gun, the Bond producers knew that they needed something great to get 007 back on track. And that is precisely what they did with The Spy Who Loved Me, an exciting and high quality entry into the canon.
British and Soviet missile submarines have disappeared and it is up to our man Bond to look into the matter. After an outstanding pre-title sequence in which Bond escapes assassins by jumping off a snowy mountain with his skis only to reveal a parachute emblazoned with the Union Jack, the main plot comes into focus. Bond is tasked with recovering a tracking device that could in the wrong hands could cause the submarines to attack major cities. He is partnered with tough KGB agent Anya Amasova, in an attempt to ease the tension between East and West. Although they are supposed to work together, both know that each of their respective countries wants to claim finding it and have the glory. Unbeknownst to Bond, he killed Anya’s lover when fleeing from attack and she plans to kill him when the mission is over. The inquiries through Egypt and Sardinia lead the two to Karl Stromberg, a supposedly respectable shipping magnate. In reality, he is behind the theft of the submarines and has his own plans on causing war between nations to create new life under the sea. Despite their differences, Bond and Anya must work together to bring this plan to a standstill. Getting in the way of this is sinister henchman Jaws, who has metal for teeth and super strength and the fact that Anya is contemplating revenge for her slain lover.
Unlike Golden Gun, the humour in The Spy Who Loved Me is more controlled and balanced with the action in a much better way. Lewis Gilbert, who had earlier directed You Only Live Twice, is an ideal choice for director as he brings a spirited and adventurous quality to the movie, but never lets it slip into ridiculous hokum for too long. Genuine suspense is generated in many scenes, including Jaws stalking someone with information with murder in mind among the pyramids of Egypt. It is also created because the audience is aware of Anya’s motives for taking the mission and her plans for revenge. No Bond film would be complete without exotic locations, The Spy Who Loved Me boasts many beautiful locales for our hero to work his way through as he uncovers the scheme. This film ups the action and has many great chase scenes, I mean who doesn’t love that iconic Lotus that can swim underwater? And who can forget the ski chase at the beginning which screams iconic and memorable? Marvin Hamlisch is on score duties this time around and gives Spy an electrifying pulse, partly inspired by the disco craze at the time of filming. The main theme, entitled ‘Nobody Does it Better’ is one of the best Bond songs, as it clearly encompasses all the qualities that we love about 007 and Carly Simon’s vocals are outstanding in conveying the excellence of the hero.
Roger Moore gives one of his best performances as 007 in this movie, clearly comfortable with the humour and action and obviously enjoying himself. If anyone was unsure about Moore’s portrayal of Bond before, they weren’t questioning it after seeing his work here. The beautiful Barbara Bach is excellent as the hard-edged and able Anya, who can clearly handle herself and knows exactly how to succeed in her job. Playing her with formidable control, sex appeal and self-assurance, Barbara Bach makes Anya one effective Bond girl who is by no means a damsel in need of rescue. Curd Jürgens as Karl Stromberg may not be the best villain glimpsed in the dangerous world of foes that Bond faces, but he does have a stately quality which is used to hide his inner megalomania. More effective on the villain front is the hulking Jaws, whose metal teeth and extraordinary height even have Bond panicking. Walter Gotell is great as KGB head General Gogol, who is working with MI6 but still has reservations about it. Caroline Munro makes an impression in her brief role as the bikini-clad pilot who attempts to kill Bond. Bernard Lee has some great scenes of banter with Gogol as the two act courteously around one another but are still very much wanting their own country to locate the device first. The other regulars of the 007 universe, Desmond Llewelyn and Lois Maxwell are well-used in this adventure.
Filled with sinister plots, a gorgeous and reliable leading lady and stunning locales, The Spy Who Loved Me proves that nobody does it better than Bond.