For Your Eyes Only (1981) Director: John Glen
For Your Eyes Only has often earned itself a reputation as one of the less goofy Roger Moore Bond films, but that isn’t really much of a statement. After the science fiction-themed and at times cartoonishly produced Moonraker, the production team wanted to bring the next James Bond film back down to earth. For Your Eyes Only is the twelfth James Bond film, and the fifth starring Roger Moore. It essentially saved United Artists after the notorious box office bomb Heaven’s Gate which nearly bankrupted the whole company.
The film begins with an unusual prologue. James Bond visits the gravesite of his one-time wife, Tracy Bond (who was murdered at the end of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), and when he departs, he enters a helicopter that is quickly and remotely hijacked by an unnamed villain on the ground –we are strongly led to believe this assassin is Blofeld (he is in a wheelchair, with a white cat, and a bald head in a grey suit). However, the studio executives were unable to acquire the rights to Blofeld at the time. Nevertheless, Bond somehow regains control of the helicopter, and he flies it, attaching it to the Blofeld-esque character and Bond drops him down a massive chimney which apparently kills him (both literally and symbolically for the studio).
Meanwhile, a British Royal Navy vessel is attacked and sunk off the coast of Greece. It was carrying an Automatic-Targeting-Attack-Communicator (ATAC) which communicates with the British fleet of submarines. James Bond is assigned to retrieve the ATAC before the Soviets can find it, since the device can order coordinated attacks by the fleet of submarines. At the same time, a British archaeologist locates the sunken boat (the St. Georges) but before he can send in his report, he and his wife are killed by a Cuban hitman named Gonzales. Their daughter is left alive on their family boat. James Bond trails Gonzales to his Spanish villa (shot at a real abbey of monks who tried to obstruct the film at every turn), where he spies on a payment transaction but Bond is quickly captured and saved when a mysterious crossbow shoots and kills Gonzales in his own pool. Bond escapes and discovers the hidden attacker, Melina Havelick (played by Carole Bouquet), the daughter of the murdered British archaeologist. They escape together, and, somehow using archaic British technology, Q is able to help Bond identify the man who paid Gonzales. Bond trails the man to Italy where he is attacked while skiing and then he is also attacked by a hoard of goons while on an ice-skating rink. It is revealed to Bond, by his ally named Kristatos (played by the famous English actor, Julian Glover) that the initial attempt at the ATAC was conducted by the KGB, but when Bond and Melina successfully recover the ATAC, Kristatos reveals himself to be a double-crosser. The plot was his all along. They climb up to his secret rendezvous point at an abandoned mountaintop monastery to kill Kristatos and recover the ATAC. However, when Bond does so, the Soviets arrive, and instead of either giving the Soviets the device or keeping it for himself, Bond decides to lob it over the cliff, destroying the ATAC so no one can use it. In the end, Bond and Melina receive a call from Margaret Thatcher from her kitchen, but Bond lets Melinda’s parrot take the call.
The story is drawn from a combination of plot and characters taken from two Ian Fleming short stories from his “For Your Eyes Only” story collection. In truth, For Your Eyes Only should really be watched by no one’s eyes. The only impressive parts of the film are the beautiful shooting locations. Otherwise the opening scene wherein Bond essentially kills Blofeld is an awful sign of things to come. The tone is amusing, but the plot and villains are forgettable, the Sheena Easton opening song is likely one of the worst, and the ’80s background music is just as cheesy and terrible.