Live and Let Die (1973)

PG | 121 mins | Adventure | June 1973

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HISTORY

The onscreen credits read: "Roger Moore as James Bond--007 in Ian Fleming's Live and Let Die ." The film opens with quick images of Roger Moore as “James Bond,” as seen through an iris, first in black and white and then with a red tint, after which the iris expands to reveal the New York City skyline and the United Nations building. After brief scenes showing the murders of the three agents, the opening credits begin, featuring silhouettes of naked women dancing in flames to the song “Live and Let Die,” written by Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by McCartney’s band Wings. Instrumental portions of the song are heard throughout the film's soundtrack.
       A lengthy list of acknowledgments in the closing credits includes Rolex, Inc., The Black Stuntmen's Association of Hollywood and various institutions in New Orleans, New York and Jamaica. Although Jane Seymour's onscreen credit reads "And introducing," she had appeared previously in the 1972 film Young Winston (see below). The final credit reads: "James Bond will return in The Man with the Golden Gun ” (see below). Continuing the tradition of elaborate chase scenes in Bond films, Live and Let Die features a long, complex speedboat chase including several boat jumps, one of which earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for its 110-foot distance.
       Live and Let Die was based on Ian Fleming's novel of the same name, but as noted in reviews, the screenplay, by Tom Mankiewicz, did not bear a strong resemblance to the Fleming story. The film marked the first appearance of Roger Moore as James Bond; he went on to ... More Less

The onscreen credits read: "Roger Moore as James Bond--007 in Ian Fleming's Live and Let Die ." The film opens with quick images of Roger Moore as “James Bond,” as seen through an iris, first in black and white and then with a red tint, after which the iris expands to reveal the New York City skyline and the United Nations building. After brief scenes showing the murders of the three agents, the opening credits begin, featuring silhouettes of naked women dancing in flames to the song “Live and Let Die,” written by Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by McCartney’s band Wings. Instrumental portions of the song are heard throughout the film's soundtrack.
       A lengthy list of acknowledgments in the closing credits includes Rolex, Inc., The Black Stuntmen's Association of Hollywood and various institutions in New Orleans, New York and Jamaica. Although Jane Seymour's onscreen credit reads "And introducing," she had appeared previously in the 1972 film Young Winston (see below). The final credit reads: "James Bond will return in The Man with the Golden Gun ” (see below). Continuing the tradition of elaborate chase scenes in Bond films, Live and Let Die features a long, complex speedboat chase including several boat jumps, one of which earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for its 110-foot distance.
       Live and Let Die was based on Ian Fleming's novel of the same name, but as noted in reviews, the screenplay, by Tom Mankiewicz, did not bear a strong resemblance to the Fleming story. The film marked the first appearance of Roger Moore as James Bond; he went on to star in six more Bond films. As noted in a Jul 1972 DV article, former Bond portrayer Sean Connery refused to continue in the role, despite being offered a financial deal similar to the one he received in Diamonds Are Forever (see above), which the article stated would earn Connery six million dollars. The article named Moore, Burt Reynolds and Paul Newman as contenders for the role. Moore was announced as the lead in Aug 1972, as noted in contemporary sources. According to a Feb 1973 Var article, Moore was the producers’ original choice to play Bond when the series began in 1963, but he was at that point committed to the British television series The Saint , in which he starred from 1962 to 1969.
       As noted in contemporary sources, Live and Let Die was shot on location in New York City, New Orleans, Jamaica (the setting for the fictional Caribbean island of San Monique) and at the Pinewood Studios in London. A modern source states that stunt coordinator Russ Kananga owned the crocodile farm featured in the film and provided the name for the villain, "Dr. Kananga." The film marked the first in which the seminal character "Q" did not appear. Live and Let Die was the third of four James Bond films directed by Guy Hamilton; his final Bond film was 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun .
       Reviews were generally positive, with most critics describing Moore as smooth and sophisticated, but lacking the wit and appeal of Connery. The song "Live and Let Die" was nominated for an Academy Award, and the album from the film was nominated for a Grammy Award. Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: Dennis Edwards, Lance Gordon, Stephen Hendrickson, Della McCrae, Marc Smith, Don Topping and Sylvia Kuumba Williams. Live and Let Die was the eighth James Bond film. For more information on the series, see the entry for Diamonds are Forever (see above).
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Jul 1973
p. 4606.
Daily Variety
18 Jul 1972.
---
Daily Variety
2 Aug 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 1973
p. 3, 15.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
29 Jun 1973.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Jun 1973.
---
New York Times
28 Jun 1973
p. 56.
New York Times
14 Jul 1973
Section II, p. 1.
New York Times
6 Jan 1974
Section II, p. 1.
Time
9 Jul 1973.
---
Variety
1 Nov 1972.
---
Variety
10 Jan 1973.
---
Variety
28 Feb 1973.
---
Variety
27 Jun 1973
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli present
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir, USA crew
2d asst dir
3rd asst dir
Shark scenes by, USA crew
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op, USA crew
Cam op, USA crew
2d unit cam
Focus puller
Cam grip
Elec supv
Clapper loader
ART DIRECTORS
Supv art dir
Co-art dir
Co-art dir
Art dir, USA crew
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Const mgr
Props
Set dresser
Chief draughtsman
Draughtsman
Prod buyer
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward master
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus rec at
SOUND
Dubbing ed
Dubbing ed
Dubbing ed
Sd cam op
Sd maintenance
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Optical eff
Main title des
Spec eff asst
Spec eff eng
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Chief makeup
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting dir
Prod supv
Prod mgr, USA crew
Prod mgr, USA crew
Unit mgr, USA crew
Loc mgr
Loc coord, USA crew
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant, UK
Studio liaison
Accounts secy
Secy to Mr. Broccoli
Secy to Mr. Saltzman
Prod secy
Unit runner
Pub dir
Asst unit pub
Pub secy
STAND INS
Stunts coord
Stunts coord
Stunts coord
Stunts coord
Stunts coord
Stunts coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming (London, 1954).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"James Bond Theme" by Monty Norman.
SONGS
"Live and Let Die," words and music by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney, performed by Paul McCartney and Wings.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Ian Fleming's Live and Let Die
Release Date:
June 1973
Premiere Information:
New York and Los Angeles openings: 27 June 1973
Production Date:
9 October 1972--March 1973 interiors shot at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, England
Copyright Claimant:
Danjaq, S.A.
Copyright Date:
13 March 1973
Copyright Number:
LP42491
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
DeLuxe
Duration(in mins):
121
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In rapid succession, three British secret agents are murdered: In the New York United Nations building, Dawes is killed when a sonic blast is piped into his interpreter headphones; in New Orleans, Hamilton is watching a funeral procession when he is knifed and secreted into the heretofore-empty coffin; and in San Monique, a Caribbean island, Baines is sacrificed during a voodoo ceremony via a cobra bite. Soon after, British espionage agent James Bond, otherwise known as “Agent 007,” is awakened early in the morning at his home, during a tryst with Italian agent Miss Caruso. Bond’s superior, M, who disdains Bond’s urbane and gadget-laden clothing and apartment, instructs him that each murdered agent was watching a facet of the business of Dr. Kananga, the Prime Minister of San Monique. Bond, agreeing to fly to New York to work with CIA agent Felix Leiter, realizes that his assistant, Miss Moneypenny, has spotted Miss Caruso but has declined to inform M. After M and Miss Moneypenny leave, Bond uses his watch, equipped with an electromagnetic field, to unzip her dress. Upon landing in New York, Bond takes a cab to the room where Felix is leading a surveillance operation on Kananga, but en route, the driver is murdered by a black man driving by. Although the driver’s foot is stuck on the accelerator, Bond manages to get control of the car. Meanwhile, Kananga enters his New York office under the Oh Cult Voodoo Shop, where, aware that he is being bugged, he plays a tape of himself dictating to his secretary. With Solitaire, a young woman who reads the future in tarot cards, Kananga leaves via a secret exit to the ... +


In rapid succession, three British secret agents are murdered: In the New York United Nations building, Dawes is killed when a sonic blast is piped into his interpreter headphones; in New Orleans, Hamilton is watching a funeral procession when he is knifed and secreted into the heretofore-empty coffin; and in San Monique, a Caribbean island, Baines is sacrificed during a voodoo ceremony via a cobra bite. Soon after, British espionage agent James Bond, otherwise known as “Agent 007,” is awakened early in the morning at his home, during a tryst with Italian agent Miss Caruso. Bond’s superior, M, who disdains Bond’s urbane and gadget-laden clothing and apartment, instructs him that each murdered agent was watching a facet of the business of Dr. Kananga, the Prime Minister of San Monique. Bond, agreeing to fly to New York to work with CIA agent Felix Leiter, realizes that his assistant, Miss Moneypenny, has spotted Miss Caruso but has declined to inform M. After M and Miss Moneypenny leave, Bond uses his watch, equipped with an electromagnetic field, to unzip her dress. Upon landing in New York, Bond takes a cab to the room where Felix is leading a surveillance operation on Kananga, but en route, the driver is murdered by a black man driving by. Although the driver’s foot is stuck on the accelerator, Bond manages to get control of the car. Meanwhile, Kananga enters his New York office under the Oh Cult Voodoo Shop, where, aware that he is being bugged, he plays a tape of himself dictating to his secretary. With Solitaire, a young woman who reads the future in tarot cards, Kananga leaves via a secret exit to the garage, where Bond is hiding, having followed his driver’s killer there. Seeing them drive out in an unmarked car, Bond follows in a cab, unaware that the driver is one of Kananga’s men, who leaves Bond at the Harlem bar Fillet of Soul. The waiter seats him at a chair against a revolving wall that traps him in a hidden suite. There, Solitaire has Bond pick a tarot card, and although he chooses the Fool, he then flummoxes her by picking the Lovers. Tee Hee, a henchman with a hook for a hand, destroys Bond’s gun, after which his boss, Mr. Big, instructs his goons to kill Bond in the alley. Bond easily dispatches the men, aided by undercover CIA agent Strutter, who informs him that Mr. Big runs Harlem. Felix directs Bond to follow Kananga back to San Monique, where he is informed that “Mrs. Bond” is waiting in his hotel bungalow. After noting the concealed listening devices in the room and calmly killing a poisonous snake in the bathroom, Bond disarms an intruder, who introduces herself as CIA agent Rosie Carver. Rosie, a nervous novice, finds the voodoo symbol of a bloodstained hat on her hotel bed and, screaming in fear, joins Bond in his bed. In the morning Bond takes Rosie aboard a fishing boat. After she nearly shoots the boat owner for targeting Bond, Bond reveals him to be a secret ally, Quarrel Jones. They dock near Kananga’s compound, where Kananga, secretly alerted to Bond’s presence by Rosie, questions Solitaire, who replies that she sees death in her tarot cards. Rosie promises to lead Bond to the voodoo grounds, but deducing her deceit, Bond takes her into the woods, makes love to her, then demands she confess her duplicity. Spotting a voodoo mask, Rosie screams and flees, only to be shot down by guns hidden in a masked scarecrow. Kananga then interrogates Solitaire, demanding to know why she foretold Bond’s death and warning her that if she has lost her power to read the future, he will kill her, as he did her mother. Bond hang glides to Solitaire’s house, and inside orders her to choose a tarot card. Upon receiving the Lovers card, she is mystified and assents to his seduction, unaware that he has rigged the deck. Afterward, she states that losing her virginity with Bond has stripped her of her powers, and knowing Kananga will kill her, accepts Bond’s offer to spirit her away. Though she has no information about the voodoo grounds, she accompanies him there, tracked by Baron Samedi, a voodoo priest, and hidden surveillance cameras. Spotting vast poppy fields, Bond realizes that Kananga is a heroin smuggler, protecting his crop with the threat of voodoo danger. Soon, Kananga’s helicopter opens fire on them, and they flee to a rural village, where Bond commandeers a decrepit double-decker bus. He evades the pursuing police with his clever driving, steering the bus directly to Quarrel’s boat. Despite encouraging Solitaire’s sexual awakening, Bond surreptitiously informs Quarrel to head to New Orleans, where she will serve as bait for Kananga. As soon as they land in New Orleans, the same cab driver from New York forcibly drives them to a private airplane from which Mr. Big’s men plan to throw Bond to his death, and Solitaire admits that she was in on the deception. Before they can shove him on board, however, Bond hops into a prop plane, and with student Mrs. Bell beside him, leads them on a chase through the hangar, successfully evading his captors. Soon after, Bond and Felix visit the New Orleans Fillet of Soul, unaware that Strutter has been killed outside by the murderous funeral procession. As soon as Bond is seated, the floor beneath him retracts and he is imprisoned once again in a suite, where Big and Solitaire await him. Secured to his chair, Bond refuses to answer Mr. Big’s demand to know if he has slept with Solitaire, and when Bond insists on talking with Kananga, Mr. Big pulls off his mask, revealing that he is Kananga. Bond realizes that Kananga produces the heroin in San Monique and then distributes it in America as Mr. Big, and Kananga confirms that he plans to give away two tons of heroin in order to drive the Mob out of business and double the number of American drug addicts, who will then pay top dollar for a fix. Kananga reads the numbers on the back of Bond’s watch and orders Solitaire to divine them, instructing Tee Hee to cut off one of Bond’s body parts every time she gives a wrong answer. After she guesses incorrectly, Tee Hee drags Bond to the crocodile farm that hides Kananga’s heroin lab, while Kananga and Samedi knock out Solitaire. At the farm, Tee Hee, whose arm was eaten by a crocodile, strands Bond on a rock in the center of the crocodiles’ lake. As the reptiles draw menacingly near, Bond hops to safety atop their heads. He then lures a few into the lab, sets it on fire, then flees in a speedboat. Chased by several of Kananga’s men, Bond speeds over the waterways, onto a private lawn and through a lakeside wedding to evade them. He is also pursued by hillbilly sheriff J.W. Pepper, who is increasingly frustrated with the escalating chase. Finally, Bond outwits his final pursuer by throwing oil into his eyes, causing his boat to crash. At the pier, Felix awaits, along with an infuriated Pepper. Soon after, Bond steals into a huge voodoo ceremony at which Samedi is sacrificing Solitaire. While Quarrel plants explosives around the grounds, Bond shoots Samedi, then frees Solitaire. As the bombs explode, a human figure rises from a grave and battles Bond, who throws him into a coffin full of poisonous snakes. Bond grabs Solitaire and stands on the gravesite, which lowers them into Kananga’s underground hideout. There, Kananga ties up Bond and Solitaire over a pit of water, then slices Bond’s arm so the dripping blood will attract sharks swimming beneath. However, Bond manages to use his gadget-laden watch to cut the ropes, then fights Kananga until they both fall into water. Wrestling underwater, Bond shoves an air-pressure bullet into Kananga's mouth, which then explodes and kills him. Days later, Bond and Solitaire leave on the train, unaware that Tee Hee has stowed away in the baggage car. The henchman enters Bond’s compartment, shuts Solitaire in the foldout bed, and attacks. After a long fight, Bond grabs pliers and clips the wires that control Tee Hee’s hook, leaving him fastened to the window. Bond then tosses him out the window and turns back to Solitaire, blissfully unaware that outside, Samedi sits laughing atop the caboose. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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