Home / Features / James Bond Dossier No.12 – For Your Eyes Only

James Bond Dossier No.12 – For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only posterJames Bond returns once again in the form of Roger Moore as 007 tracks across Greece, Corfu, and Albania and sees the advances of not one but three women come his way. Just another day at the office for our favourite British spy. Here’s For Your Eyes Only.

  • Mission/target: When a British Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator (ATAC) goes missing following the sinking of a spy ship, James Bond must track down who is responsible and retrieve the vital apparatus before it falls into the wrong hands, most notably Aristotle Kristatos.
  • Year: 1981
  • Bond Girls: Melina Havelock, Countess Lisl von Schaff and Bibi Dahl (whom Bond actually rejects!)
  • Cars: Lotus Espirit and a trusty Citroen 2CV
  • Gadgets:  Identograph

‘For Your Eyes Only’ Mission Overview

Starring Roger Moore as James Bond, Carole Bouquet as Melina Havelock, Julian Glover as Aristotle Kristatos, Chaim Topol as Milos Columbo, Cassandra Harris as Countess Lisl von Schaff  and Desmond Llewelyn as Q.

The first foray into the ’80s for 007 sees him on a mission to retrieve an Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator (ATAC) following the sinking of St Georges, a spy ship used to protect the equipment. With the ATAC unprotected, Bond must work quickly to retrieve it before it falls in the hands of the Russians, who could use it to control the ballistic missiles of the Royal Navy’s attack submarines and cause global chaos.

Heading to Spain following the murder of one of his contacts, Bond is soon acquainted with Melina Havelock, a woman driven by revenge, who happens to rescue the British spy following his capture at the hands of hitman Hector Gonzales and his cohorts. Tracking a tangled web of deceit and lies, Bond soon comes to work also with Milos Columbo when the real enemy in Aristotle Kristatos is uncovered. As the net tightens on Kristatos, Bond and his allies finally retrieve the missing ATAC and in a final battle, see the evil plotter off once and for all.

Directed by John Glen from a screenplay by Bond stalwarts Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum, For Your Eyes Only is certainly a return to a much more serious state of affairs for Roger Moore’s James Bond. Following outer space antics in Moonraker, Cubby Broccoli thought it best to once again ground 007 and provide fans with a much more realistic and surprisingly revenge-driven outing.

Opening with a fond return for the off-screen portrayal of classic villain Blofeld, Bond once again finds himself in a sticky situation at the hands of the scheming chief enemy but once and for all our man has the final say as S.P.E.C.T.R.E.’s main man plunges to his death through a chimney. Whilst a fitting return and consequently an end to the bald megalomaniac, Blofeld’s inclusion in the introduction is somewhat of a misplacement and serves as more of a question; why wasn’t Bond’s revenge on him featured any earlier? Either way, the film begins in a rather memorable fashion and there are plenty of instances along the journey to make this a ride for franchise fans.

Moving swiftly on from a classic nemesis to further deadly foes, For Your Eyes Only introduces the likes of Aristotle Kristatos and his tough to handle henchmen Erich Kriegler and Emile Leopold Locque. Each with deadly intent, Bond has a tough task on his hands and the film produces many a thrilling moment when he is pursued by the enemy. A standout is without a doubt a scene in which Bond is pursued whilst skiing by henchmen on motorbikes, only for the chase to enter a bobsleigh track and head through snowy woodland. Showcasing just one great feature of the Bond universe, the action is thrilling and once again we get to see why the series has gathered such a great following through the years.

Where the action provides thrills, the characters continue to show great diversity, as leading Bond girl Carole Bouquet provides a strong-willed and vengeance-hungry female for viewers to get behind.  Julian Glover proves there is still plenty left in the tank in terms of memorable villains. Roger Moore, in his fifth outing as James Bond, once again quips his way through his mission whilst proving he still possesses the clout to carry the licence to kill.

Ultimately a change in direction from its predecessor, For Your Eyes Only may divide opinion in terms of content but it yet again offers pure escapism into the world of Britain’s top secret agent. Bond seduces the women, dons some skis, and tackles the baddies in an adventure that is worthy of re-watching time and time again.

Trivia

  • For Your Eyes Only is the first Bond film to be based on one of Ian Fleming’s short stories, although it does borrow and share similarities with other tales in his book series.
  • Director John Glen’s first involvement in a James Bond film was as second-unit director for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
  • Roger Moore admitted that before some of his rather scary climbing scenes he would take a hint of valium and drink a glass of beer to calm the nerves.
  • Future Bond, Pierce Brosnan, first met Albert R. Broccoli during the production of the film, through then wife Cassandra Harris.

About James Thompson

James is in love with cinema as much as he is in awe of Emma Stone; the actress joining with Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks to forge his favourite on-screen acts. A lover of all genres, James tends to dabble in an unhealthy amount of comic book and action movies, while still enjoying a little indie treat from time-to-time and a striking foreign movie for good measure. His favourite movie is Donnie Darko.
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