What is the most underrated Bond film?


#41

I’d say On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It’s popular among fans, true, but general public seem not to appreciate it at all.
Also mentioned here Octopussy, which has really clever plot. And my favourite Moore era movie, For Your Eyes Only.
In general Moore wasn’t lucky enough; while his movies usually (except for Moonraker) were solid, he wasn’t given a chance to play in a really great one. He didn’t have his From Russia With Love (for most, Dr. No for me), his On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, his The Living Daylights or Casino Royale.


#42

I think what is more underrated is Lazenby’s performance. It’s not the greatest, however, he brings genuine emotion to the role and has excellent chemistry with Diana Rigg. He certainly showed more emotion than Connery ever did.


#43

My candidate would be Live and Let Die. It’s one of those films that tend to be easily overseen between the bigger entries, the classics of Connery and Moore‘s own blockbuster entries.

There’s a vivid sense of the surreal all over the film, as if we’re watching a series of circus acts that together tell a Kafka story. For Moore’s first entry it’s surprisingly strong, certainly a better fit than The Man with the Golden Gun. The bizarre humour of Wint and Kidd, easily the best thing about Connery’s last Bond film, has found its way into this and gave us Tee-Hee and Samedi, a whole island peppered with occult fetishes and a double-faced villain that suffered real pain when his girlfriend left him.

Then there is the beautiful scenery of Louisiana and Jamaica, the action with cars, speedboats and airplanes, the fights and beasts and goons, all roughly ten times more engaging and entertaining than nearly everything in Diamonds Are Forever. And with a little licence you can even recognise traces of Fleming’s book underneath the spectacle.

And yet, in spite of it all, Live and Let Die often doesn’t make it into the top ten of fan rankings. Personally, I think nearly every entry since Moonraker could have profited from a drop or two of Live and Let Die’s surrealism and sense of fun.


#44

Could not agree more on Laz. I’ve always said OHMSS works as well as it does because of his naivety and “humanity” - I’m not sure we would have bought SC, at the least the bored uninterested SC of the prior film, or to be fair, the almost schoolboy-ish irreverence of TB SC.

There is a school of thought that won’t have Laz’s performance as anything other than bad. It’s most certainly not that. Yes, there are moments when his performance grates a little for me (“Maam” and one or two of the throwaway lines feel unnatural) yet I’ll contend that he’s good when he needs to be (anything with Draco) and of course the end. And the vulnerability that he displays adds to the suspense (cable car, escape in the village).

OHMSS is not underrated (anymore) but Laz’s contribution I agree, most certainly is.


#45

Watching OHMSS is always a weird experience for me. When Lazenby first says “my name’s Bond, James Bond” it feels wrong but by the end I wish we got to see more of him as 007. I know films like this aren’t shot sequentially but it’s as if his performance improves as the film goes on.


#46

I still think that LALD was more courageous and daring than CR. Introducing a new actor with that kind of material was a huge gamble for EON, especially after trying Lazenby in a very straight-forward film.


#47

Eon have always written for the actor, fitting the tone to his strengths.


#48

I agree LALD is the most underrated of the Bond Movies, Moore is fantastic in it , it’s exotic and strange , and it has a sense of identity that certainly all of the Brosnan films lack , it also has some great one liners
" Could you gift wrap it for me please…length wise" priceless !
DAF would have benefited from Moore as Bond , as companion pieces both are tonally equal.


#49

And one of my favourite scores, from George Martin.


#50

I know what you mean. OHMSS’s story is very strong because it’s one of Fleming’s best novels. So we get swept up in the action and connect with Bond (Lazenby) as a result.


#51

Great love for both OHMSS and LALD. Remember, this was some extreme juggling in the series too. The first “changing of the guard” with OHMSS, then the return of the “old guard”, then the newest “guard” over three films. Until Roger committed, it was very much up in the air. Thankfully, Roger was the right choice and had better than a decade of TV playing two characters that were perfect training for Bond.

When CR premièred, I had an opening night party with about 70 people gathering at my home and I had five screens to play with. I opted for my own mix of music, but had, on my available screens, all the lads first playing (muted) as guests arrived. DN, OHMSS, LALD, TLD and GE running. It provoked a lot of conversation. We all waited for the inevitable, but I silently was thinking “God…Don’t let this suck.”

Happily, not the case. Also, a number of guests appreciated the choice of seeing the boys their first time to the dance as it were. Lots of praise in equal portions.

Take the films for when they were. Much like wine or whiskey. The '62 is different from the '95, but still a good finish and the '73 and '69 have a good flavor and the '87 a nice bouquet of things to come.


#52

To me, Live and Let Die is a classic. Beautiful locales, great villains, Jane Seymour, and probably the most famous theme song of the whole series.


#53

LALD is good fun (much more than TMWTGG,) though I personally wouldn’t call it a classic.


#54

Just watched Moonraker for the first time in years. Honestly, it is much better than I remember. I think it kind of loses the plot when it gets to space, but the California section, Venice (aside from the double taking pigeon), and Rio are all excellent. Drax is excellent and Michael Lonsdale plays him brilliantly. The effects aren’t great, but this was 1979 after all. They’re still better than DAD’s CGI from 2002. I think the space sequence goes too much off the rails and Holly Goodhead is just so bland. Lois Chiles is lovely, but she gives such an emotionless performance. Compare it to Barbara Bach, who people complain gives a wooden performance in TSWLM, Bach is much better than Chiles. While I definitely liked the film more than I remember, the film does feel incredibly long. I usually rank this film between 22-24. I may raise it a few spots after my most recent viewing.


#55

I’m more lenient because I like how the finale brings all of the prior plot points together as one, namely the glass vials and the orchids. We actually get to see them in action via the globes.

Bond shooting the globes with the laser gun is a very underrated in my opinion. Some real tension in the scenario (the shuttle burning up) and we get to see Bond literally save the world - and it’s via his incredible marksmanship. That’s pretty cool I think.

The US marines/Drax army battle doesn’t drag on like Thunderball’s underwater equivalent either. Even if I hated the finale of Moonraker the preceding content is just too good to dismiss.


#56

I find it astounding that “Live and Let Die” doesn’t make it the top ten for so many others. It’s always made mine and I regard it on a par with “The Spy Who Loved Me” as Moore’s best.


#57

I’ve always rated Live and Let Die as Moore’s second best film. Its got some of the most beautiful locations, even if it does waste New York and New Orleans. Its also the only time Bond has been to New York in the films. It’s interesting to note that the 2 biggest American cities, New York and Los Angeles, have barely been referenced. LA in particular hasn’t even been shown. I think Drax’s compound is meant to be located in Los Angeles county, but the city is never shown and outside of exterior shots of the Moonraker production facility (filmed in Antelope Valley in LA county), the rest of the sequence was filmed in France. Number 3 Chicago only ever got a mention during the Spike trace in goldeneye.

EDIT: Bond does fly into Los Angeles in DAF, but is only briefly at LAX.


#58

Hear hear.


#59

I don’t mean to come across as abrasive, but here’s why LALD will NEVER make it into my top 10:

  • Villain’s plot: smuggling drugs… or something? Not really sure.
  • Tediously long boat chase, most of which is just long shots of boats gliding across the water. I timed it: about 1/6 of the entire movie. Very dull (other than the jump and the finale).
  • The action in general is very repetitive and lackluster. The only standouts are the crocodile jump and the boat jump, amounting to less than 30 seconds of the entire movie. Everything else feels stale.
  • Arguably the most anticlimactic climax in the entire series.
  • I think it was probably Moore’s worst performance.

#60

We do see Bond land at LAX in Moonraker; you can see the 'Theme Building" clearly in the background when he boards the helicopter;
We also see shots of downtown LA immediately after he boards and before they head out into the desert

but overall I agree, I’m surprised LA & NYC haven’t been better utilised