For Your Eyes Only (1981)

For Your Eyes Only was inspired by not just one Ian Fleming book. It has parts of Live and Let Die, Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, as well as the short stories For Your Eyes Only and Risico. It was an attempt to move away from the silliness of Moonraker and get Bond quite literally back down to Earth.

John Glen was promoted from editor to director. His plan? “We had gone as far as we could into space. We needed a change of some sort, back to the grass roots of Bond. We wanted to make the new film more of a thriller than a romp, without losing sight of what made Bond famous – its humour.”

The movie begins with Bond laying flowers at the grave of his wife Tracy, whose inscription is her last words: “We have all the time in the world.” Soon, he’s attacked by a bald man in a wheelchair holding a cat. Is it Blofeld? Glen said, “We just let people use their imaginations and draw their own conclusions … It’s a legal thing”. After all, Kevin McClory owned the film rights to Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the organization SPECTRE and other material associated with the development of Thunderball. Bond bests his arch-nemesis and dumps his wheelchair down a giant factory chimney. Consider this scene a middle finger to McClory, as producer Albert Broccoli wanted the world to know that he had no use for Blofeld ever again.

This time, Bond must take an ATAC system that could be misused for controlling British military submarines back from Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover, who was almost Bond before Roger Moore was selected). Assisting our hero is Milos Columbo (Topol, Flash Gordon) and complicating matters are ice skater Bibi Dahl (Lynn Holly-Johnson, Ice Castles) and Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet).

This is the only Bond movie not to feature M, as Bernard Lee was dying of stomach cancer during filming. Q has an expanded role as a result.

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