For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Stung by criticism that Moonraker had strayed too far from the 007 formula, Cubby Broccoli made good on his promise to make For Your Eyes Only a more realistic thriller. He succeeded quite admirably, although the first half of the film is a decidedly mixed bag. The pre-credits sequence is extremely well done, but its impact is largely negated by an over-the-top villain and some very exaggerated jokes. The extended chase sequences in cars and by skis are technically proficient, but so overlong that they appear to be used as padding. The film takes off with the introduction of the villainous Kristastos and his rival Columbo - two fascinating characters played superbly by Julian Glover and Topol. The pair re-energise the film and ensure that the story becomes far more involving. The film also boasts the directing debut of long-time Bond editor John Glen, who acquits himself admirably with his first of five 007 films.
For Your Eyes Only features one of Roger Moore's strongest performances as Bond. He downplays the tongue-in-check jokes and actually appears to be taking the proceedings seriously. he has a strong leading lady in Carole Bouquet. Despite their dramatic age difference, their relationship is a believable one. The film sacrifices the standard climactic battle for a small-scale, but far more dramatic assault by Bond and his allies on Kristatos' mountain hide-out. There is a genuine suspense, and the sequence in which Bond falls precipitously from the mountain peak while trying to outmanoeuvre a would-be assassin is chilling. Another outsanding action scene is the one in which Kristastos keelhauls Bond and Melina through shark-infested waters. (The sequence is from the novel Live and Let Die.) Critics and audiences were initially startled by the lack of the huge sets and massive battles which had become a staple of the series. However, in retrospect, the film-makers made a wise choice. After sending 007 into outer space, there was nowhere else to go but back to earth. In For Your Eyes Only Bond is once again a man who relies primarily on his wits and ingenuity instead of merely pushing buttons or operating gadgets.
The British trawler St George's, in reality a spy ship, sinks in Albanian territorial waters. The vessel was equipped with ATAC, a top-secret device which is used to transmit orders to Polaris submarines. If the ATAC falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to programme the subs to attack their own nation and allies. The sinking results in a scramble between the British and Soviets to retrieve the ATAC from the ocean floor. Unable to launch official recovery efforts in Albanian waters, both nations initiate covert activities. James Bond is assigned to locate the wreck and bring back the ATAC. His mission is complicated by Melina Havelock, a young woman out to avenge the murder of her parents - two marine archaeologists who were secretly assisting MI6 in the search for the St George's. In Greece, Bond and Melina succeed in recovering the ATAC but are captured by a local shipping magnate, Kristatos, who plans to sell the device to the Soviets. With the aid of Kristatos' old rival, Columbo - a charming smuggler with massive resources - the couple infiltrate their enemy's compound in the Greek mountains. Kristatos dies at the hands of Columbo, and Bond chooses to destroy the valued ATAC rather than let it fall into the hands of the KGB.
Exotic locations abound in FYEO with extensive sequences filmed on the Greek island of Corfu and the resort town of Cortina d'Ampezzo in northern Italy. In the small Greek town of Kalambaka in the Teteora mountains, the film-makers ran into an unexpected problem. Monks at a neighbouring monastry protested at the presence of the crew hanging signs designed to ruin the camera angles. The incident received international attention, although film-makers insisted they were not in any way disturbing the natural beauty of the area. Roger Moore quipped, 'I don't see what the fuss is all about...they seem to forget that I was once a "Saint" myself.' The moving sequence in which Bond pays a visit to the grave of his late wife Tracy (a wonderful touch) was shot at Stoke Poges church near Pinewood Studios, where the interiors were filmed. Certain underwater scenes were filmed by Al Giddings in the Bahamas.
Any concerns that audiences would not respond to a Bond film that was not hi-tech were quickly dissipated by initial box-office returns. Although US grosses totaled $52 million ($11 million less than Moonraker), international totals of $198 million ensured that For Your Eyes Only was classified as a major hit.
Director: John Glen
Writers: Richard Maibaum, Michael Wilson, Ian Fleming
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller, Crime
Official Rating: PG
Release Date: 24 June 1981 UK
Bond Actor: Roger Moore
Film number: 12
Theme song: "For Your Eyes Only" by Sheena Easton
Soundtrack: by Bill Conti
Alternate theme: "For Your Eyes Only" by Blondie (Unofficially)
Available on: DVD, Blu-Ray
Cast and Characters
Marketing & Merchandise
'Nobody Comes Close to James Bond, 007' read the provocative cinema poster for the film. In the UK Bond is depicted through the back of a pair of woman's legs, surrounded by a montage of scenes from the film. In the USA, however, the advertisements were far more controversial because a genuine photograph was used and shown the derriere of the female model. Although she was clad in a bikini, the poster designer opted to turn the swimsuit round to make it skimpier. The result was a striking advertising campaign which set off a media frenzy.
Virtually every model claimed to be the possessor of the gorgeous legs and several conservative newspapers objected to the advertisements as being too sexual. (One even painted black boxer shorts over the bikini.) All of this helped ensure good box office, of course.
There were a number of licenced merchandising items of note. Corgi released large and small versions of the Citroen 2 CV. Crescent manufactured a die-cast cap gun. In the UK a souvenir brochure featured highlights from the film. Other items included a film poster magazine, a Marvel comic adaptation, a children's annual in Britain, a series of toy guns from Coibel, four promotional posters sold in stores, a Japanese resin figure model of 007 and a line of watches from Zeon. The chrome wristwatch had the film's logo and played the Bond theme, and Prince Charles was presented with a gold-plated version at the premiere.