The night before the news of his passing broke, my friend James messaged me that he had just finished watching A View to a Kill, the last of the Roger Moore era James Bond films. Having gotten the James Bond Collection on Bluray the week before, he had begun working his way through a rewatch of the series in something of a random order, making this the second entry, and had come to the conclusion that it was a good looking film that wasn’t as bad as it’s reputation would suggest. Slightly higher praise than I had expected.
It has been two years since I last saw A View to a Kill, having caught it at the Circle Drive-In as part of a James Bond double feature with Thunderball, but like all the Bond films, the beat-for-beats have an easy recall and time seems to have smoothed over any plot holes with a layer of nostalgic admiration, a phenomenon that benefits the late 70s era more than any others and will perhaps come into play for the days of Pierce Brosnan if another decade passes.
The Roger Moore era was a strange one, and A View to a Kill was perhaps the most perfectly flawed example of it. The villains were completely insane. The plots were incredibly convoluted. It was gadgets galore and the series as a whole seemed to be chasing the current trends rather than setting them. One could argue that Moore was always just a little too old for the part, but he brought so much charm to those films, it’s impossible to deny how good a time they can be. They were campy as hell, but it was the 70s and the world needed some globetrotting fun.
I love how Sean Connery made 007 so damn cool. And I love how Daniel Craig has shaped the character in a way that has helped usher the franchise into the upper tiers of modern cinema, but if you asked me who I picture when I think of James Bond, it’s Roger Moore. I don’t think anyone ever had to work very hard to convince him to come back for one more.
Ranking the Films of the Roger Moore Era:
- For Your Eyes Only
- The Man With the Golden Gun
- The Spy Who Loved Me
- Live and Let Die
- A View to a Kill
Ranking the Villains of the Roger Moore Era:
- Scaramanga – The Man With the Golden Gun
- Drax – Moonraker
- Zorin – A View to a Kill
- Mr. Big – Live and Let Die
- General Orlov – Octopussy
- Kristatos – For Your Eyes Only
- Kamal Khan – Octopussy
- Stromberg – The Spy Who Loved Me