Rest in peace, Roger Moore.
The sad part of modern life is we mourn the loss of celebrities, but we really don’t know them as people. We only know them as their character. Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia. Leonard Nimoy is Spock. Robin Williams is . . . everything.
It is not disrespectful, therefore, to remember the passing of a beloved icon with a tip of the hat to the work they did. As such, I am certain family and friends of Roger Moore will mourn him the way I hope to be mourned when my time comes. But I, I will mourn him by remembering him as Bond. James Bond.
Moore’s Bond was different than Sean Connery’s. Connery was tough first, slick second. Connery and Daniel Craig play Bond more like Fleming wrote him. Moore reinvented the character as a happy-go-lucky kind of guy who enjoyed wisecracks and managed to do his job as a side-effect of his good time. He fit the 1970s, and his Bond was goofier, but far more playful. His bond was more sexual, carefree, and smiled. Moore wore the tuxedo better, but looked out of place in a fist fight. He could sell a scene with his eyes, and in so doing invite the audience in on a little escapism.
On that note, here are his turns as Bond from best to worst, in my personal opinion.
- Live and Let Die–His first movie was his best. Trains. Sharks. Crocodile farms. Exploding people. New York City. Jane Seymour. An espresso machine. Paul McCartney. Perfect.
- The Spy Who Loved Me–The underwater car was brilliant. The submarine scenes were a little forced, but who cares.
- The Man With The Golden Gun–The film drags a little, but fun none the less. Moore is over-the-top Bond in this one.
- A View To A Kill–Horrible movie, but loads of fun. Moore was too old to play Bond at this point, but Christopher Walken as the bad guy was inspired. Let’s just forget about the Beach Boys in the opening escapade, but the Duran Duran theme song more than makes up for that. High Duran Duran coolness factor. (Click Here for more Duran Duran)
- Moonraker–The Bond book by this same name is one of my favorites. The movie was cheesy and beyond bad, however Moore makes it so much fun with his witty banter and the fun in Rio.
- For Your Eyes Only–Honestly, Moore feels a little stale in this film. Only the scenery of Greece saves it from complete and total failure. The plot is intricate, but all the actors are beyond bad.
- Octopussy–I hate this movie. The Tarzan yell is inexplicable. The Fleming short story by the same title is fascinating and spectacular. This movie is a terrible mashup of several Fleming plots and none of them work. But Roger Moore gambling and making his getaway through the streets of India is enjoyable and reminds us of why even as the worst, of the Moore films, it is still a good evening.