The man, the myth, the eyebrow-raising legend Roger Moore was as divisive a James Bond as they come.
Following on from one-film wonder George Lazenby, Moore starred as 007 in seven action-packed films that, in truth, range from absolute turkeys to stone-cold classics.
Here we rank the seven Bond films of the Roger Moore era from worst to best…
Octopussy is easily Moore’s weakest Bond outing. It can be argued that Moore’s era brought the silly to the James Bond franchise, but maybe having Bond disguising himself as a clown was a bit too over the top?
We’ll give credit where credit’s due though; the scene with Bond fighting a couple of knife wielding goons on top of a moving train is great fun.
James Bond in space. Why not? Moonraker was almost certainly made to try to cash in on some of the attention a certain movie called Star Wars had received just a couple of years earlier. Hugo Drax is usually criminally overlooked when reciting lists of best Bond villains; this guy was a pure basket case!
Bond bad guys didn’t usually have much by way of motivation other than they did it because they’re evil but Drax actually wanted to wipe out the entire human race, that’s pretty evil even for a Bond villain.
For Your Eyes Only
It says something that For Your Eyes Only is considered to be Moore’s ‘serious’ Bond film. After all, this does contain a ski chase on a motorcycle and bobsled track! It’s got to be said the storyline for this outing is very forgettable (something regarding a stolen targeting computer…) but at the very least it’s not too daft, even with the ski chase factored in. Special mention must go to Bond’s snowsuit, what in God’s name was that thing?
Live and Let Die
In the cold light of 2016, Moore’s first outing as Bond does feel a little bit out of touch in terms of its racial politics. That aside, this was the film that showed that there was life in the franchise post-Sean Connery. It’s fun for sure, even if the story is a bit needlessly convoluted.
One particular standout sequence is one that sees Bond escaping from a crocodile pen before leading Kanaga’s henchmen on a boat chase through Louisiana’s swamps. We’d be amiss if we didn’t also mention the film’s theme song by Paul McCartney & Wings – Live and Let Die is definitely one of the best tunes the 007 series has ever served up.
A View to a Kill
Ok, admittedly Moore’s last outing as Bond is totally bonkers. By this point the world had just about accepted a Bond that was a globetrotting, womanising old codger (Moore was 57 when this one was made). However, if A View to a Kill can be celebrated for what it is rather than what it isn’t then it’s difficult not to enjoy Moore’s swansong. Also, villains played by Christopher Walken and Grace Jones? Need we say more.
The Man With the Golden Gun
You might be surprised to find this one so high on the list, especially as Moore himself has gone on record to say he had reservations about some of the scenes he had to do for the movie. It can’t be denied though that The Man with the Golden Gun has a little bit of everything – cool gadgets, an awesome villain in Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee), and some truly incredible stunts.
Lee sprinkles a healthy dose of his Count Dracula into the role of Scaramanga and there are moments where he is legitimately unnerving to watch. Not everything is perfect: Britt Ekland as Bond girl Mary Goodnight feels a bit bland and some of the one-liners do feel a bit flat, but this is still a highly enjoyable Bond flick that often gets overlooked.
The Spy Who Loved Me
Yep, The Spy Who Loved Me is our choice for best Bond of the Roger Moore era. We’ve already mentioned that Bond villain motivation is usually questionable at best, but this one’s a real doozy. Karl Stromberg (Curd Jurgens) wants to start World War III to wipe out civilisation so he can begin his own society… underwater.
This Bond really hammered home widescreen spectacle: the ski jump stunt near the beginning, the car that can turn into a submarine, and of course Moore was in his absolute prime here. Nobody Does It Better? Carly Simon, you are most definitely right.
Loaded digital reporter Oli Palmer has been writing about film/TV since 2013. Follow Oli on Twitter at @olipalmer