Director: Lewis Gilbert
Producer: Albert R. Broccoli
Script: Richard Maibaum and Christopher Wood
From the novel by Ian Fleming
Cinematography: Claude Renoir
Production Design: Ken Adam
Special Effects: John Evans
Editing: John Glen
Music: Marvin Hamlisch
This is a big-budgeted opulent film bond film, with a lively and strong screenplay by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum and very effective editing by John Glen. It delivered one of the most succinctly structured films of the series under the direction of Lewis Gilbert. Roger Moore had a decent start as James Bond in ‘Live and Let Die’, then faltered in ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. In this film Moore roars back with one of his best and one of the all-time best in the Bond series. After The Man with the Golden Gun, Roger Moore clearly redefined his approach to the role as the good-natured British agent. That was the way he played it for the rest of the series.
This bond film had a gadget laden Lotus Esprit as its centrepiece (doing more for Lotus than any amount of advertising) along with the introduction of Richard Kiel as the indestructible Jaws the villain's henchman with steel teeth. The main villain of the piece is the maniacal Karl Stromberg, played with detached amusement by Curt Jurgens, whose immense wealth featured an aquatic empire aimed at global domination. Moore must pair up with Soviet agent Major Anya Amasova played by Barbara Bach to track down missing nuclear submarines.
The pre-title sequence features a very thrilling and well-filmed ski chase re-establishing that the British Empire was alive and well! Marvin Hamlisch composed a very effective score to the surprise of many. His music is right on mark and in some sequences very innovative. The score keeps up the tradition of having an outstanding theme song with Carly Simon's rendition of "The Spy Who Loved Me," becoming one of the best theme songs to any Bond movie and a hit for Simon in the 70s. Ken Adam returned as production designer bringing a familiar look back to the series not seen since Diamonds are forever.
Interestingly there are several new characters are introduced in the film who would return in subsequent films of the series. They include Walter Gotell as Russian General Gogol and Geoffrey Keen as the British Minister of Defense. Lois Maxwell is there as Miss Moneypenny and in expanded roles Bernard Lee as "M" and is ever watch-able Desmond Llewelyn as "Q". The Spy who loved me is one of those rare films where all the talents come together at their peek of perfection delivering an impeccable film.
The comedy in this movie was significantly subdued after the near parody of "The Man with the Golden Gun." Thank goodness. The humour had become overwhelming and distracting. Moore's Bond is relatively serious in this film (was as serious as Moore gets), with the fewest one-liners and double entendre's of any of the previous several Bond films. The result is a much more serious and effective spy movie.
This movie succeeds with a solid plot that is a throw back to the earliest Connery films, a solid cast, excellent locations, and plausible gadgets. One of the best of the series and definitely Moore's best.