He was the longest serving James Bond (all the way from 1973 in Live and Let Die to 1985 in With a View to a Kill), and also the oldest to step into Bond’s shoes – he was already 45 when he first did so. But Roger Moore brought a special touch to the character, blending wry humour and charm with some incredible action and stunts. We remember ten of his most memorable scenes as the man with a Licence to Kill!
1. Stepping over alligators, Live and Let Die
Would the new chap be better than the legendary Sean Connery, was the question many critics were asking when Moore stepped into 007’s shoes for the first time in Live and Let Die. They had the answer when placed on a little island, surrounded by advancing alligators, the new Bond adjusted his tie (of course he wore an immaculate jacket) and then after failing to gadget his way out of trouble, proceeded to hop across the backs of the reptiles to safety. There was a new Bond in town.”
2. Dinner with Scaramanaga, The Man With the Golden Gun
For most people, James Bond is about action and fast cars and lovely ladies, but beneath all that style is a fair bit of storytelling substance. And never did it come to the fore like it did when Roger Moore’s Bond duels verbally with master killer and arch villain Francesco Scaramanga. The two men talk of killing, one as a profession, one as a necessity and you can still feel a thrill go through your nerves when Moore says “Killing you would be a pleasure.” One of the great Bond exchanges.
3. Tuc Tuc chase, Octopussy
Octopussy was perhaps the film that signalled the waning of the James Bond star in the eighties. In spite of the presence of the Bond factor and a highly-publicised shooting in India, the film did not quite come up to expectations. It did provide some stirring moments however, and perhaps none was more amazing than a crazy Tuc Tuc (a sort of auto rickshaw) chase sequence in the market of Udaipur, with Moore in an auto trying to dodge a murderous Kabir Bedi. Oh and Moore’s driver was Vijay Amritraj.
4. Gondola chase, Moonraker
If you thought that the Tuc Tuc chase in Octopussy was something, picture Moore piloting a Gondola through Venice being shot at by the villains! Yes, that happened and a Gondola actually got cut in the half during the sequence. Of course, Bond did not use oars – there were gadgets aplenty on his boat. But what a sequence. And that too in a film that was supposed to be about outer space!
5. Dropping Blofeld finally, For Your Eyes Only
When it comes to villains that Bond faced, few were as bad as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the man who killed Bond’s wife. And while he is not officially named in this opening action sequence of the film, it is pretty clear that Bond has been given a chance to settle scores with his arch nemesis. Moore does so. In style. He drops him down a chimney!
6. Out of a plane, minus a chute, Moonraker
James Bond pushed out of a plane without a parachute. With a villain above and below him, the one below having steel teeth, no less. You said it. And trust Moore to carry all that off dressed in an immaculate jacket as well. Of course, he lives to tell the tell. Of course, he stretches belied to the extremest point possible, but hell, he is Bond, isn’t he?
7. The charm offensive, A View to a Kill
They said he was too old to play Bond one more time, but 58-year old Moore oozed charm by the trunkful as he tried to talk up Tanya Roberts in A View to a Kill. Of course, the baddie, a very dark and very tough looking Grace Jones breaks up the tete a tete, and tells Moore “Someone will take care of you.” Moore replies banteringly: “Oh you will see to that, personally, will you?”. Never was the Bond charm so in evidence. Age was a number.
8. Searching for weapons, Moonraker
Bond and women went well together and with Moore’s dashing good looks even more so. But he always did have his wits around him. As can be seen in this sequence, where the proposal for going out with a rather attractive young lady results in a very comprehensive weapons search, which reveals (pun intended) that she is an intelligence agent. Don’t get your hopes high – there’s no disrobing. But check Moore’s expression after he tries perfume that bursts into flames and mutters “Trifle overpowering!”
9. Fighting in the air, Octopussy
The climax of Octopussy sees the villain, Kamal Khan trying to escape in an aircraft. Of course, Bond somehow manages to jump and hang on to it. At which Kamal Khan tells his henchman (Kabir Bedi) to go out and kill him. “Out there?’ a puzzled Bedi asks, at this request to fight outside a flying aircraft. And then complies, dagger clenched in his teeth. One heck of a sequence.
10. Battle over the Golden Gate, A View to a Kill
It was his last film as Bond and while he did look a bit the worse for wear, Moore signed off as Bond with one of the most stirring climaxes – a fistfight with bad guy Christopher Walken over the Golden Gate bridge, no less. The action might seem a little leisurely by modern standards, but the settings are as jaw-droopingly awesome as ever.