The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

PG | 125 mins | Drama | 3 August 1977

Director:

Lewis Gilbert

Cinematographer:

Claude Renoir

Production Designer:

Ken Adam

Production Company:

Eon Productions
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HISTORY

       The film ends with a title card stating: "James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only. "
       According to United Artists production notes from the AMPAS library files, only the title of writer Ian Fleming’s novel was used for the Bond film, according to the writer’s wishes before his death. The original novel did not follow the normal format of the Bond adventures. Instead, the story revolves around Bond checking into a motel with a flat tire in the last third of the book and rescuing the main character, Vivienne Michel, whose stay at a motel is threatened by gangsters planning to burn it down for the insurance money. Fleming was never pleased with the novel, as it was the weakest of his Bond adventures. The film’s producers got Fleming’s permission to revamp the story before filming could begin. Over three years, an original screenplay was developed by producer Albert R. Broccoli and screenwriters Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum. Fleming never warmed to the original casting choice of Sean Connery and thought Roger Moore was a better fit to play the sophisticated agent. As stated in a 5 Dec 1976 LAT article, Broccoli approached “well-known actresses Catherine Deneuve, Marthe Keller, and Dominique Sanda” to play the Bond girl but all passed on the role when fees involving points or a percentage of the profits could not be agreed upon. Broccoli summed his choice to pick unknowns when casting Bond girls: “…Remember this: The money I’ve saved by not using a well-known actress I spent on that marvelous ski stunt.”
       In an Apr 1977 After Dark article, novelist Anthony Burgess stated ... More Less

       The film ends with a title card stating: "James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only. "
       According to United Artists production notes from the AMPAS library files, only the title of writer Ian Fleming’s novel was used for the Bond film, according to the writer’s wishes before his death. The original novel did not follow the normal format of the Bond adventures. Instead, the story revolves around Bond checking into a motel with a flat tire in the last third of the book and rescuing the main character, Vivienne Michel, whose stay at a motel is threatened by gangsters planning to burn it down for the insurance money. Fleming was never pleased with the novel, as it was the weakest of his Bond adventures. The film’s producers got Fleming’s permission to revamp the story before filming could begin. Over three years, an original screenplay was developed by producer Albert R. Broccoli and screenwriters Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum. Fleming never warmed to the original casting choice of Sean Connery and thought Roger Moore was a better fit to play the sophisticated agent. As stated in a 5 Dec 1976 LAT article, Broccoli approached “well-known actresses Catherine Deneuve, Marthe Keller, and Dominique Sanda” to play the Bond girl but all passed on the role when fees involving points or a percentage of the profits could not be agreed upon. Broccoli summed his choice to pick unknowns when casting Bond girls: “…Remember this: The money I’ve saved by not using a well-known actress I spent on that marvelous ski stunt.”
       In an Apr 1977 After Dark article, novelist Anthony Burgess stated that he worked on a script of the film “while on a lecture tour of American colleges” in spring 1976, although Burgess is not credited in the final film. He also mentioned the possibility of actor Orson Welles playing the arch villain and “the finale set in the architecturally spectacular Sydney Opera House in Australia.”
       A 21 Jul 1976 Box news item mentioned that principal photography on The Spy Who Loved Me would begin 31 Aug at Pinewood Studios in London.
       The UA production notes described that the film required a five-month shooting schedule in the following locations: “London’s Pinewood Studios, Sardinia, Egypt, the Bahamas, Baffin Island, Scotland and Switzerland.” Faslane Submarine BaseBase on the Southwest coast of Scotland near Glasgow was the location used to film the “Royal Navy top-secret base, where the Polaris nuclear missile submarines were located.” A team of divers and naval experts spent five months in Nassau, Bermuda, shooting underwater sequences. The town of Pangnirtung, Baffin Island, twenty miles north of the Arctic Circle, was the site of Bond’s chase scene on skis. Additionally, a 5 Dec 1976 LAT Calendar section article revealed that the ski chase stunt through the Austrian Alps in the beginning of the film was “actually performed by 37-year-old Californian Rick Sylvester, a space ski expert. He did the stunt, which was tracked by three cameras, on Baffin Island.”
       The UA production notes went on to say that the cliffside roads on the Italian island of Sardinia were used in an action sequence in which a Kawasaki 900 motorcycle fitted with a teleguided explosive sidecar pursued Bond driving a Lotus Esprit.
       To accommodate the interiors of the supertanker, which kidnaps three nuclear submarines, the world’s largest film stage at the time was built at Pinewood Studios. Its dimensions were 160 feet x 374 feet x 53 feet. A special Lotus “Spirit” car that transformed into a miniature submarine and was outfitted with new gadgetry, replaced the Aston-Martin spy car most commonly seen in Bond films. The submersible car was transformed for underwater use by Florida-based Perry Oceanographics and could reach a speed of 7.2 knots and a depth of 45 feet.
       According to a 5 Dec 1976 a LAT Calendar section article, the film’s production office had to relocate when it was kicked out of the Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, when a last-minute Arab summit meeting took over most of the accommodations available, and set up quarters in the open lobby of the neighboring Sheraton.
       An 18 Dec 1975 DV article reported James Bond feature producer Harry Saltzman dissolved his partnership in production company Danjaq S.A. with Albert R. Broccoli and sold his interest to the distribution company, United Artists Corp. (UA), for an undisclosed sum. While several years of conflict between the two producers caused the split, the deal was lucrative for UA due to the ongoing popularity of the Bond series.
       As stated in the 18 Dec 1975 HR , Albert R. Broccoli would continue as the “sole producer of all future James Bond motion pictures. “The Ian Fleming Estate granted Broccoli the rights to all future Bond stories. However, in a 25 Jun 1976 HR news item, producer Kevin McClory filed a lawsuit in the London courts to prevent the start of filming The Spy Who Loved Me, scheduled for early Aug. Also, a 25 Jun 1976 DV article reported that producer Kevin McClory filed a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement by producer Broccoli and others, violating his rights to use the Bond character.
       The backstory to McClory’s lawsuit appeared in a 28 May 1976 DV article in which it stated McClory had entered into an agreement with Ian Fleming, author of the Bond series, in the 1950s to film the feature James Bond of the Secret Service, as well as other Bond projects well before the first Broccoli-Salzman films were made. However, once Danjaq S.A., i.e. Broccoli and Salzman, began producing Bond movies, McClory signed an agreement with Danjaq S.A. in 1965, where the film and TV rights of Thunderball (1965, see entry) would revert back to McClory ten years after the theatrical film’s U.S. release. McClory would also regain his right to produce other Bond films after 1 Jan 1976.
       Despite McClory’s attempt to block the start of principal photography, a 21 Jul 1976 Box news item mentioned that filming on The Spy Who Loved Me would begin 31 Aug at Pinewood Studios in London. As the suit wound its way through the courts, a 2 Aug 1976 DV article stated that UA agreed that McClory had a “right to remake the Thunderball, ” but disputed his claim that he had control of other Bond material, including the Warhead project aka James Bond of the Secret Service .
       Finally, an 11 Aug 1976 HR news item stated that Kevin McClory withdrew his “injunction to halt filming.” No further information regarding the outcome of McClory’s copyright infringement lawsuit is known.
       On 18 Oct 1978 Var announced that "The Spy Who Loved Me won the Grand Prix for use of sophisticated miniatures in special effects filming at the biennial conference of International Association of Film Technical Societies."
       A Feb 1979 AmCin article described in elaborate detail what it was like to create many of the challenging mechanical models and miniatures needed to further the film’s story line. When interest fizzled from oil companies about loaning the production a real tanker, a 63-foot long tanker was built in scale with model submarines. Only the front of the barge looked like a tanker and was bottomless to accommodate swallowing up the various submarines; the rest of the model looked like a Catamaran. Approximately six clones of the Lotus were built to accomplish assorted tasks including retracting wheels and folding wheel arches to give the vehicle a smooth aquatic appearance and another model that was specifically used for traveling underwater. In chase scenes on a winding Sardinian mountain road, a stuntman lying on his stomach hid inside the motorcycle sidecar and propelled it through a separate combustion engine. Lastly, the scene with “Jaws” in the shark tank was divided between surface shots using a mechanical shark and underwater shots using live sharks.
       A 23 Aug 1979 Rolling Stone article explained how James Bond films amounted to big business. The example it cited The Spy Who Loved Me went as follows: “The film earned $90 million in rental fees. UA reportedly earned $30.25 million for distribution but deducted the $13.5 million cost of production plus $2 million in ‘loan interest’ and about $7.5 million for ‘advertising, prints and parties.’” The net profits of the film totaled $36.75 million, according to Rolling Stone, which was split between UA and Danjaq S.A. (Broccoli’s production company).




      The end credit crawl carries the following statement: "Made by Eon Productions Limited on location in Egypt, Sardinia, Canada, Malta, Scotland, Okinawa, Switzerland and at Pinewood Studios, London, England; Underwater sequence filmed in Nassau, Bahamas." End credits also include the following acknowledgements: "The producers gratefully acknowledge the assistance and co-operation of: Royal Navy; Hotel Cala Di Volpe, Costa Smeralda, Sardinia; Egyptian Film, Theatre and Music Organisation; Parks Canada; Lotus Cars Ltd.; Wetbike - furnished by Arctic Enterprises, Thief River Falls, Minn.; Aviation Facilities, Capt. J. Crewdson - Helicopter Hire Ltd., Shell Oil Ltd., Perry Corporation; Ski Suits by Willy Bogner; Ford Motor Company, Seiko Watches, Kawasaki Motorcycles; Tanker Propulsion by Evinrude Motors; Furs by Grosvenor- Canada; Sony Corporation; Commonwealth of the Bahamas."
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
After Dark
Apr. 1977.
---
AmCin
Feb 1979.
p. 187, 193.
Box
21 Jul 1976
---
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1975.
---
Daily Variety
28 May 1976.
---
Daily Variety
25 Jun 1976.
---
Daily Variety
2 Aug 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 1976
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 1977
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
5 Dec 1976
p.52.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jul 1977
p. 1.
New York Times
28 Jul 1977
p. 17.
Rolling Stone
23 Aug 1979.
---
Variety
6 Jul 1977
p. 17.
Variety
18 Oct 1978.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
Asst dir, 2d unit
2d unit dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Pres/Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Underwater cam
Ski seq photog and supv
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Prod des by
FILM EDITORS
Assembly ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATOR
Const mgr
COSTUMES
Fashion consultant
Ward supr
MUSIC
Mus rec at
Wembley
SOUND
Dubbing ed
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff
Spec opt eff
Spec eff, studio
Main title designed by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr, Egypt
Loc mgr, Bahamas
Prod coord, Canada
Naval adv
Special asst to prod
Prod controller
Prod accountant
Prod asst
Casting dir
Casting dir
Continuity
Script ed
Action arranger
Capt., U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Crew, U.S.S. Wayne crew
Capt., H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Crew, H.M.S. Ranger crew
Stromberg crew
Stromberg crew
Stromberg crew
Stromberg crew
Stromberg crew
STAND INS
Ski jump performed by
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Laboratory services]
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming (London, 1962).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"The James Bond Theme," written by Monty Norman, music recorded at The Music Centre, Wembly.
SONGS
"The theme from The Spy Who Loved Me , 'Nobody Does It Better'," performed by Carly Simon, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, composed by Marvin Hamlisch, produced by Richard Perry.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
3 August 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 3 August 1977
Production Date:
began 31 August 1976 at Pinewood Studios in London
Copyright Claimant:
Danjaq, LLC & United Artists Corporation
Copyright Date:
1 July 1977
Copyright Number:
LP48613
Physical Properties:
Color
Eastman Color
Color
Color by Deluxe®
Widescreen/ratio
2.35:1
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
125
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24122
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Both a British Ranger nuclear submarine and the nuclear Soviet submarine Potemkin disappear without a trace. When agent James Bond’s orders type out on his miniature telex wristwatch, he navigates a treacherous trail with steep slopes and tunnels made out of ice on skis in the Austrian Alps, as he dodges bullets from the enemy. One of his ski poles transforms into a gun and he kills one of his attackers. He skis over a precipice, free falls and floats to safety when his parachute opens. Agent XXX also known as Major Anya Amasova meets with General Gogol, the head of the Soviet spy agency. He wants her to find out what has happened to the submarine and track down a lead in Cairo, Egypt. At a briefing, “M,” head of British Intelligence, tells Bond that somebody with the capability to track nuclear submarines wants to sell the technology to the highest bidder. James’ mission is to capture the dealer and neutralize the threat. After shipping magnate Carl Stromberg congratulates professors Markovitz and Bechmann on the creation of their submarine tracking system, Stromberg says that the plans have been stolen and are being offered to competing world powers. In his headquarters, Atlantis, a floating marine laboratory that bubbles to the surface of the ocean, Stromberg summons his henchmen, Sandor and Jaws, to retrieve the microfilm blueprints of the tracking system. Their orders are to kill anyone who gets in their way. In the Egyptian desert, Bond arrives at the lavish tent of an old friend, Sheikh Hosein, and is told that a contact named Asiz Fekkesh will lead him to dealmaker Max Kalba. At Fekkesh’s stylish ... +


Both a British Ranger nuclear submarine and the nuclear Soviet submarine Potemkin disappear without a trace. When agent James Bond’s orders type out on his miniature telex wristwatch, he navigates a treacherous trail with steep slopes and tunnels made out of ice on skis in the Austrian Alps, as he dodges bullets from the enemy. One of his ski poles transforms into a gun and he kills one of his attackers. He skis over a precipice, free falls and floats to safety when his parachute opens. Agent XXX also known as Major Anya Amasova meets with General Gogol, the head of the Soviet spy agency. He wants her to find out what has happened to the submarine and track down a lead in Cairo, Egypt. At a briefing, “M,” head of British Intelligence, tells Bond that somebody with the capability to track nuclear submarines wants to sell the technology to the highest bidder. James’ mission is to capture the dealer and neutralize the threat. After shipping magnate Carl Stromberg congratulates professors Markovitz and Bechmann on the creation of their submarine tracking system, Stromberg says that the plans have been stolen and are being offered to competing world powers. In his headquarters, Atlantis, a floating marine laboratory that bubbles to the surface of the ocean, Stromberg summons his henchmen, Sandor and Jaws, to retrieve the microfilm blueprints of the tracking system. Their orders are to kill anyone who gets in their way. In the Egyptian desert, Bond arrives at the lavish tent of an old friend, Sheikh Hosein, and is told that a contact named Asiz Fekkesh will lead him to dealmaker Max Kalba. At Fekkesh’s stylish home, he escapes to a roof courtyard to avoid being Sandor’s target. Before he falls to his death, Sandor tells Bond to find Fekkesh at the pyramids. At a night lecture on the history of the Valley of the Kings, Amasova sits in the audience, and Jaws, known for his menacing set of metal teeth, follows Fekkesh into a secret chamber at the base of a pyramid and kills him. As he leaves, Bond holds Jaws at gunpoint but there is a blackout and Jaws escapes. Bond finds Fekkesh dead and sees Kalba’s name in his appointment book. Amasova’s men attack Bond but he extricates himself and meets Amasova again at the Mashava Club. Meeting Kalba, the club’s owner, Bond says he wants to buy the microfilm blueprints that Kalba is selling. Amasova appears with Bond’s drink and wants a chance to bid on the microfilm as well. Kalba takes a call in a private phone booth, where Jaws kills him and takes the microfilm. After Bond finds Kalba dead, he and Amasova hitch a ride in the back of a telephone repair truck that Jaws is driving. Jaws parks the truck among some remote Egyptian ruins and makes several attempts to kill them with falling boulders. The men fight while Amasova pulls a gun and demands the microfilm. She grabs the cartridge and runs off as Bond fights the giant, who becomes buried in the rubble of collapsed scaffolding. When Amasova tries to leave in Jaws’ truck, she doesn’t have the keys. However, Bond has the keys and grabs the microfilm sitting on the dashboard. Soon the truck breaks down and the couple trudges through the desert, hopping on a boat at the river that takes them to Cairo. Bond examines the microfilm while Amasova naps. Bond lights Amasova’s cigarette and Amasova blows drug-laced smoke from her cigarette at Bond, which puts him to sleep. When Bond awakens, he finds that Amasova has disappeared along with the microfilm. He reports to British Intelligence inside an Egyptian tomb, where “M” tells him that they have orders to pool resources and cooperate with the Soviets. The Soviets surrender the microfilm but Bond tells them it is worthless because the most important information has been deleted. However, the plans contain a clue: The Stromberg Laboratories logo. On a train ride to find Atlantis, Stromberg’s marine laboratory off of Sardinia, Jaws attacks Amasova and knocks her unconscious. Bond overpowers Jaws with an electrical shock from a broken light bulb that sends him flying out the window, stunned but alive. In Sardinia, British agent “Q” gives Bond a white Lotus sports car. Bond impersonates marine biologist Robert Sterling and the agents meet with Stromberg in his laboratory. Bond meets with Stromberg alone in his lounge-aquarium, but Stromberg cuts the meeting short. Afterward, Jaws tells Stromberg that Bond and Amasova are the couple he battled on the train before he was thrown overboard. Bond and Amasova depart in the Lotus and Jaws makes several unsuccessful attempts to kill them on a treacherous mountain road. Bond drives the Lotus into the ocean, where it converts to a mini-submersible. Stromberg sends his own mini-submersible to destroy them, but the Lotus’ smoke screen and depth charge destroys the scientist’s vehicle. The two agents are transported to an American submarine to get a closer look at the Stromberg’s tanker Liparus. The tanker maneuvers behind them and its hull opens, swallowing the U.S. submarine, which docks next to the two missing submarines inside. Bond and Amasova are captured when the crew disembarks. Stromberg explains that nuclear missiles from his two submarines will be launched to destroy New York City and Moscow as part of his plan to create a better world underwater. Stromberg launches his two submarines. Bond is a prisoner on the tanker, while Stromberg escapes on a speedboat with Amasova. Bond breaks free of his captors and escapes to a monorail car. He overpowers Stromberg’s men and frees both the British and Soviet submarine crews. They grab weapons and ammunition from an arsenal room and attack Stromberg’s soldiers at the loading dock. In a firefight, the prisoners take over the dock, hoping to penetrate the control room. When a grenade is unable to pierce the control room’s steel plates, Bond recruits one of crewmembers to open a submarine nuclear missile so he can remove its magnetized detonator. He rides the tanker’s video camera monitor and attaches the detonator to the steel plated control room, where it blows a hole. Commander Carter, the American submarine captain, tells Bond that he is too late to stop the missiles, which will launch in four minutes. Bond has Carter reprogram the missiles to destroy the two Stromberg submarines. They watch the monitor as each Stromberg submarine launches a missile that strikes the opposing Stromberg submarine. Mushroom clouds signal that the mission is accomplished. Both Soviet and American crews run to the remaining submarine as a series of explosions rock the tanker. Inside the submarine, Carter launches a torpedo that blows a hole in the tanker’s hull, allowing the craft to escape. Bond and the crew watch from the open sea as the tanker explodes and sinks. Carter receives orders to destroy Atlantis, but Bond is granted an hour to rescue Amasova before they complete the order. With a portable sea ski sent by “Q,” Bond races toward Stromberg’s laboratory, avoids being dropped into a shark tank and comes face to face with the scientist. When Bond says he has come for Amasova, Stromberg shoots him with a special gun mounted to the underside of his dining table but misses. Bond points the nose of his gun into the barrel of Stromberg’s gun and kills him. While searching for Amasova, Bond and Jaws fight along the edge of the shark tank when Bond activates a magnet that immobilizes Jaws and leaves him dangling by his metal teeth; Bond drops him into the tank. Still, Bond finds Amasova after the hour deadline. Carter aims a torpedo at Stromberg’s laboratory and blows it up. Water rushes in, causing the laboratory to sink. Bond finds a submersible, and the two agents escape as it careens into the ocean. Bond opens a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne to share with Amasova, but since the mission is over, she is intent on killing Bond to avenge the death of her Soviet agent boyfriend. Bond’s dying request is to make love to her and she accommodates him. Although the laboratory is gone, Jaws survives. On the deck of a ship, “M,” “Q,” and General Gogol peer in the window of the submersible and ask Bond what he is doing. “Keeping the British end up,” he replies as he closes the curtain and slides back into Amasova’s arms.
+

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

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