Lewis Gilbert (1920-2018)

Sad news to report today as it appears legendary director Lewis Gilbert, who helmed three of the biggest films in the Bond franchise (YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME and MOONRAKER) has passed away at the age of 97.



Sad news.



Aw damnit. They were just talking about him on the James Bonding podcast last week.

I was thinking recently on how a lot of these old school Bond folks ended up living to very nice, old ages.

I will button my shirt up to the top in his honor :wink:

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Indeed sad news, but a wealth of entertainment he gave us beyond Bond as well. From Sweden With Love got the word out best and have a great and growing tribute on their main page.


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Oh, man. A superb director, not only of Bond. Another part of an era gone by. R.I.P.

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Oh my!

But what a cracking age he achieved.

Thank you Lewis. RIP.

With Gilbert’s passing, we have lost all of the producers, directors, writers, composers, and production designers who worked on Bond films pre-80s.

May he rest in peace.

I think Johanna Harwood, who wrote “Dr. No,” is still alive.

I stand corrected. Well done. Thanks for pointing that out. Fascinating that a screenwriter from the very first film in the series is still with us.

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As my first Bond film, Moonraker was everything to me! It was so over the top and Roger was so cool that I measured everything against it for years. A film like this could never be made now so thank you Lewis for some amazing film moments :slight_smile:

Point well taken, though. The old guard (60’s and 70’s) is certainly almost gone. Besides Harwood, Norman Wanstall is the biggest name I can think of still with us. Certainly John Glen (as editor) as well.

Gilbert in my mind is who saved Bond following the departure of Saltzman. It was his idea to have more of Moore in his Bond, and it worked brilliantly. TSWLM is easily Moore’s best, and Moore never gave a more nuanced performance than his two under Gilbert. He really brought out the best in his leading man.


Ditto! I heard it on the podcast too.

It seems eerie that whenever we think about a person we haven’t thought about in a long time, in the case of Gilbert, something unfortunate happens.

RIP Mr. Gilbert

This is a sad loss for the whole of the British entertainment establishment.
Yes, Lewis Gilbert worked wonders to rejuvenate Bond in the seventies, and he handled the nonsense of his three OO7 films with much aplomb, but i think we really ought to consider the fantastic work he did on the following flicks:
The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1954)
Carve Her Name With pride (1958)
Sink the Bismark (1960)
Three underrated British WW2 movies, the first two drawing good performances from Michael Redgrave and Virginia McKenna, the last a great example of cinema-scope photography (also edited by Bond-ster Peter Hunt)
Reach For The Sky (1956)
A career defining performance from Kenneth More as Douglas Bader with great aerial scenes and a real sense of tragedy and then stoicism confronting his ailments. The most popular film in UK cinemas in 1956.
Alfie (1966)
Michael Caine at something like his very best. A stunning film which drew the 60s kitchen-sink dramas of Tony Richardson and Karel Reiz away from the north and out of monochrome. Alfie Elkins, possibly one of the least likeably likeable heroes ever to grace the screen. Oscar nominations all round. A great jazz score. Good song. A particularly intense abortion scene where Alfie experiences something of a Damascean moment upon witnessing the disposal of the dead fetus. The final scene, that lonely walk with a stray dog, a perfect balance of pathos and sad humour.
Educating Rita (1983)
Shirley Valentine (1989)
Stepping Out (1991)
Great roles for older actresses. New versions of the northern kitchen sink drama. Slight, well played, beautifully handled by a director in tune with his actors, especially his leading ladies.
Lewis Gilbert will indeed be missed.


RIP to the king of the Bond extravaganza. What a talent.

TSWLM and MR will always be the high point of my personal Bond experience, and YOLT was an early favorite (though it’s lost some luster since). So grateful to Gilbert for what he did to make Bond what it was to me as an impressionable youth, and the influence of his approach continues to be felt (and enjoyed) in things like the Kingsman films, the Marvel Universe and, to an extent, M:I.

No doubt Roger’s throwing him a proper welcome home party in “the other room.”


R.I.P. Lewis Gilbert…97 is a grand ol age and I’m pleased that he was with us that long and gave us three of the most iconic Bond films in the series. :cocktail:

The Spy Who Loved Me was my introduction to Bond, and my first James Bond cinema experience. I am grateful that Lewis Gilbert’s best vision of Bond was my first. Within two years, I saw the rest of the 007 canon, but Roger Moore was always my favorite, in no small part thanks to Gilbert. Moonraker is now a completely guilty pleasure. YOLT set the standard for big Bond set pieces, and Ken Adams’ production designs. Long live the monorail!

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Sad news, RIP. A life well used, though.