When Octopussy came out, I was 11 years old and in full James Bond fever. I’d been watching all the old ones on ABC and HBO whenever they were on and playing the Victory Games James Bond 007 role playing game. I was probably more excited for this movie than anything else that year.
That same year, Bond would also be back — as would Sean Connery — in Never Say Never Again. This is the 007 movie I saw in the theater. I saw that one on HBO.
British agent 009 is killed, but abe to reach the British Ambassador, where his body shows up dressed as a circus clown and carrying a fake Faberge egg. This draws 007 into the orbit of Afghan prince Kamal Khan (Dr. Arcane from Swamp Thing), who has been smuggling Russian treasures to the West with the help of a circus owned by Octopussy (Maud Adams, who was also in The Man with the Golden Gun).
The title comes from the Ian Fleming short stories compendium Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Hardly any of the plot of the short story Octopussy was used, with the auction scene taken from The Property of a Lady and other parts from Moonraker.
Much like Connery, Moore began to tire of playing 007. His original contract had only been for three films, which ended with the The Spy Who Loved Me. The producers even started looking for a new Bond, with Timothy Dalton as a suggestion and tests being filmed with between Maud Adams and both Michael Billington and James Brolin. Yet once Never Say Never Again was announced, Moore was brought back.
Octopussy herself was supposedly going to be played by Sybil Danning, Faye Dunaway, Barbara Carrera, Persis Khambatta and Susie Coelho. Seeing as how Maud Adams was already doing those screentests, she was brought in and darkened her hair to play the Indian-born Octopussy, depsite being Swedish.
This movie is also the first time I ever saw my father swear. We took one of our neighbors to see it, who may have never even seen a film in the theater before by the way he behaved. He kept asking my dad if James Bond was going to die, until completely infuriated, my father blew up. It still makes me laugh to this day.