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For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

 For Your Eyes Only is a 1981 British spy film, the twelfth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the fifth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It marked the directorial debut of John Glen, who had worked as editor and second unit director in three other Bond films.

There wasn’t much further 007 could go as far as sci-fi wizardry and fantastic characters after the cartoonish MOONRAKER that had seen James Bond propelled into space.
What was called for was a `back to basics’ approach that emphasized realism, exotic locations, less gadgetry, down to earth villains and a return to the ruthlessness that Roger Moore had exhibited in movies such as THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN and THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. What better way for the filmakers to return Bond to his roots than to tap into original Fleming source material.
Taking characters and situations from not only the Fleming novel FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, but also the keel-hauling sequence from LIVE AND LET DIE writers Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson wove together a complex and enticing cold war spy drama that included some of the staple setpieces underwater and on the slopes that had served the character so well in the past.
As the late John Brosnan noted in his review of the movie this production is essentially one long chase, but in the one solitary tip of the hat to the fantastic plots of the previous two movies, here the stakes could not be higher. Those stakes are the fate of all the British nuclear missiles in the polaris fleet. Forget the kidnapping of a few nuclear warheads in previous movies, here the balance of nuclear brinksmanship is at risk and ultimately the fate of the world.
This movie sports several of my favorite characters from the entire EON canon. Topol plays a brilliant, amiable Greek smuggler named Columbo and the good natured trust and friendship between him and Roger Moore’s James Bond is clearly evident in every scene they share together. Noted British television actor Julian Glover plays Greek mercenary and chief villain Kristatos and I love the understated mannerisms and menace that literally oozes from every line. The movie also has one of the series most beautiful women with the appealing Carole Bouquet and this particular Bond fan had a huge crush on Lynn Holly Johnson who portrayed the chipper Bibi Dahl. Add these elements together and place it against the backdrop of the Italian Alps and the Adriatic and you have one of the best entries in the series. Highly Recommended.


For Your Eyes Only is a 1981 British spy film, the twelfth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the fifth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It marked the directorial debut of John Glen, who had worked as editor and second unit director in three other Bond films.

The screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson takes its characters and combines elements from the plots from two short stories from Ian Fleming’s For Your Eyes Only collection: the title story and “Risico”. In the plot, Bond attempts to locate a missile command system while becoming tangled in a web of deception spun by rival Greek businessmen along with Melina Havelock, a woman seeking to avenge the murder of her parents. Some writing elements were inspired by the novels Live and Let Die, Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

After the science fiction-focused Moonraker, the producers wanted a return to the style of the early Bond films and the works of 007 creator Fleming. For Your Eyes Only followed a grittier, more realistic approach and a narrative theme of revenge and its consequences. Filming locations included Greece, Italy and England, while underwater footage was shot in The Bahamas.

For Your Eyes Only was released on 24 June 1981, ten years after release of Diamonds Are Forever (1971), to a mixed critical reception; the film was a financial success, generating $195.3 million worldwide. This was the final Bond film to be distributed solely by United Artists; the studio merged with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer soon after this film’s release.


Roger Mooreas James Bond
Carole Bouquetas Melina Havelock
Topolas Columbo
Julian Gloveras Aristotle Kristatos
Lynn-Holly Johnsonas Bibi Dahl
Michael Gothardas Locque
Cassandra Harrisas Countess Lisl
John Wymanas Erich Kriegler
Desmond Llewelynas Q
Jill Bennettas Jacoba Brink
Geoffrey Keenas Frederick Gray
Jack Hedleyas Timothy Havelock
Lois Maxwellas Miss Moneypenny

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The Screen: Bond in ‘For Your Eyes Only’

Published: June 26, 1981

FORGET about the relationship of this planet to the sun. Whenever possible, summer officially begins with the release of a new James Bond film – that is, today, with the opening at Loews State 1 and other theaters of ”For Your Eyes Only,” the 12th in the phenomenally successful series of movies that was initiated almost 20 years ago with ”Dr. No.”
Nothing else in our popular culture has endured with such elan as Agent 007, whether played by Sean Connery, by George Lazenby (briefly, in ”On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”) or by the incumbent, Roger Moore. Not the least of the feats of the Bond films is their having outlived all the imitations, particularly the Matt Helm and Flint pictures.
”For Your Eyes Only” is not the best of the series by a long shot – that would be a choice between ”Goldfinger” and ”Moonraker” – but it’s far from the worst. It has a structural problem in that it opens with a precredit helicopter chase – in, over, around and through London – which is so lunatic and inventive that the rest of the movie is hard-put to achieve such a fever-pitch again.
Though Mr. Moore shows no sign of tiring – his Bond retains an ageless cool that remains outside of time – the screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael Wilson is occasionally lazy, allowing us fleeting moments of introspection when logic raises its boring head. One of the secrets of the best of the Bonds is the manner in which we, in the audience, are made willing accomplices to illogic.
”For Your Eyes Only” is the first feature film to be directed by John Glen, who has been the editor and second-unit director on several earlier Bond pictures, including ”Moonraker,” for which he directed the spectacular free-fall fight sequence that opened the movie. Considering Mr. Glen’s experience as an editor, it’s surprising that some of the action sequences in ”For Your Eyes Only,” especially an underwater fight between Bond and a villain, both in diving suits, should be more confusing than suspenseful. In a James Bond movie, a little ambiguity of this sort is much too much.
Most of the time, though, ”For Your Eyes Only” is a slick entertainment in which Bond’s mission is to locate a sunken British spy ship, one that contains some potentially lethal equipment sought by the Russians and that went down perilously close to the coast of Albania. The film, which was shot on location in Greece, Corfu and the Italian Alps, contains a great deal of natural scenery in which Bond swims, dives, skis, drives, falls and flies, and from which he emerges never scratched so badly that he can’t carry on.
”For Your Eyes Only” is not the spaced-out fun that ”Moonraker” was, but its tone is consistently comic even when the material is not. It has no villains to match Goldfinger or Jaws, but it has one of the most appealing leading ladies of any Bond picture. She is Carole Bouquet, the tall, dark-haired beauty who played one-half of the title role in Luis Bunuel’s ”That Obscure Object of Desire.”
The supporting cast includes Topol, who still can’t resist playing cute when straight would be better; Lynn-Holly Johnson as a champion ice skater, which she is; Julian Glover as the principal bad guy, and Michael Gotherd, who gives a new, evil connotation to the wearing of octagonal-shaped glasses. The film’s very funny postscript introduces one of Britain’s most famous married couples, played wickedly by John Wells and Janet Brown. And Maurice Binder’s opening titles, always one of the fancier features of the Bond movies, are still terrific.
”For Your Eyes Only,” which has been rated PG (”Parental Guidance Suggested”), contains some mildly suggestive sexual situations and some violent encounters that are less often frightening than funny.

My Review


Bond comes down to earth Bond series returns to a `back to basics' approach that emphasized realism, exotic locations, less gadgetry, down to earth villains and a ruthlessness

Bond girl Appeal

About The Author


Born on the English-Scottish border I emigrated to the US after graduating college in 1995 and became a U.S. citizen in 2007. I have served in the U.S. military and my past positions include as an Assistant Managing Editor of The Washington Post Company, a technical writer working on technical documentation for both a construction company and a large government contractor, a graphic designer creating graphics in support of government contract proposals, and as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy. which included being assigned as the official writer for the Navy and DoD on the assumption ceremony of a new Secretary of the Navy. I am currently a Web Services Writer for a large government contractor in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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