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‘The Spy Who Loved Me’

Chris Murphy, writing for CNN back in 2013 on the “greatest James Bond scene of all time”:

Despite this wealth of choice, a series of Bond experts, and one of the film’s legendary producers, are in no doubt as to which scene should be anointed the best ever.

And given the recurring role that skiing has played throughout the life of Bond, it should comes as no surprise our panel’s chosen encounter occurs on the slopes. “I would argue the most iconic sequence is in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, when Bond shot straight off the edge of a cliff at Baffin Island in Canada,” Ajay Chowdhury, editor of the James Bond International Fan Club, told CNN.

“We saw him fall and fall, and when the Union Jack parachute opened up and the theme tune kicked in, the world cheered.

“That was Britain’s Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee Year in 1977 and I think to this day it was (famous Bond producer) Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli’s favorite ever scene in a Bond movie.

“When everything cleared it was him, on his own against the world. You play that sequence around the world and it is James Bond. And he did it on skis.”

That opening scene in The Spy Who Loved Me is also the one where Bond is wearing a digital Seiko watch that can receive secure text messages from MI6 — at the time, sheer fantasy; today, a feature many of you reading this now have on your own watch. (Albeit without the ticker tape.)

I don’t know if it’s the single best Bond scene of all time, but it’s up there, and it’s almost certainly the best Bond stunt of all time — stuntman Rick Sylvester actually skied off that cliff and parachuted to safety. I just love how the fall takes place in silence.

Without hesitation I would put The Spy Who Loved Me at the top of my list of Roger Moore’s Bond films. It has everything: the aforementioned great opening, an iconic car (the submarine-convertible white Lotus Esprit1), a great villain (Jaws), and a perfect theme song (Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better”). Bernard Lee was still in the role as M. And at the center of it all, Roger Moore at his cool, suave, and assured best.

Moore was quite self-aware of what he brought to the role. His take, in a 2014 interview with NPR, is exactly right:

I look like a comedic lover, and Sean [Connery] in particular, and Daniel Craig now, they are killers. They look like killers. I wouldn’t like to meet Daniel Craig on a dark night if I’d said anything bad about him.

Moore’s Bond had fun doing his job.