Sir Roger Moore's ten best James Bond moments
The incomparable Sir Roger Moore has passed away. We raise a martini to the great man, and count through ten of his greatest moments as James Bond.
For 15 years and seven films, Roger Moore charmed audiences as the suavest of secret agents. To honour Sir Roger's passing, we've selected ten of his finest moments as James Bond. Pour out a martini and enjoy.
“Sheer magnetism, darling.”
Perhaps more than anything else, Moore’s Bond is defined by his womanising and his so-bad-they’re-almost-good one-liners. In his very first scene as 007 both traits are on display, as Bond uses a newly acquired magnetic watch to unzip the dress of the Italian spy hiding in his wardrobe. But rather than guffaw / wince at the pun, note the confidence of the man delivering it; only onscreen for a matter of moments, Moore has already made the role his own.
The crocodile escape
A brilliant set piece in which jovial henchman Tee Hee cheerfully strands Bond in the middle of a crocodile-infested lake. Despite never losing his manners (naturally), Moore demonstrates Bond’s alarm through taut movement and eyes that are always searching for an escape route. It’s a masterful display of repressed fear – make no mistake, Moore was as fine an actor as any who have donned the tuxedo.
“I want him there!”
The Man With The Golden Gun is one of the weakest Bond films, but the first 45 minutes show Moore at his most hard-bitten. The scene in which Bond forcibly interrogates Scaramanga’s girlfriend offers a tantalising glimpse of Moore playing Daniel Craig. Realising Scaramanga plans to attend a local stripclub, Bond is determined nothing should scare off his rival. “I want him there,” he snarls, sounding like a man not only prepared to use his licence to kill but almost relishing the prospect.
Probably the most iconic moment of Moore’s long tenure, and still a series’ highpoint. Pursued by enemies down a snowy mountain, outnumbered and outgunned, Bond comes a cropper off the edge of a cliff… Cue several seconds of silence as he tumbles into the abyss – before simultaneously summoning a Union Jack parachute and the James Bond Theme at full blast. Air-punching stuff. Note the yellow ski suit – only Moore could pull off a yellow ski suit.
The Spy Who Loved Me is Moore’s finest hour (or two) – a big-hearted romp that includes the aforementioned parachute, Jaws the steel-toothed giant, Bond killing the boyfriend of his new Russian lover (she isn’t happy), and a megalomaniac who plans to trigger nuclear war so everyone has to live underwater. It also boasts the second-most iconic car of the series: the Lotus Esprit S1, which transforms into a miniature submarine. (So even if the underwater kingdom plan had transpired, Bond would’ve been cool.)
“How do you kill five hours in Rio, if you don’t samba?”
The most shameless of all Bond’s many seductions. He rocks up to his hotel suite and finds a beautiful woman shaking a vodka martini. She’s a local agent instructed to help with his investigations in Rio. Literally within 30 seconds of learning her name, Bond is tugging off the sash from Manuela’s (incredibly flimsy) gown. We don’t see what happens next, so it’s entirely possible she slapped him and stormed out.
“He had no head for heights”
Another rare but welcome appearance of Dark Moore. After doggedly pursuing a hitman’s car on foot, Bond manages to intercept his enemy and force him to swerve off the road. With the car teetering on the cliff edge, Bond tosses the wounded Locke the broach he left by the body of his recent victim. Then, as Locke screams for mercy, Bond applies a couple of hard kicks… Even the inevitable quip is delivered with rare callousness.
“Spend the money quickly, Mr Bond.”
A nice variation on the classic Bond vs Villain casino showdown, here played over the backgammon board rather than the card table. Bond dangles a Faberge egg in front of Afghan Prince Kamal Khan, then uses his opponent’s loaded dice to throw double six. The watching femme fatale smiles knowingly, the silent henchmen crushes the dice in his fist. “Spend the money quickly, Mr Bond,” Khan hisses at a superbly unthreatened 007. Scenes like this are the reason Bond has lasted 55 years and counting
From the sublimes to the ridiculous, as Bond disarms a nuclear bomb while wearing a clown outfit. It’s tempting to dismisses this as a horrible misstep, but the scene is played straight: Moore sounds genuinely panicked as he yells, “Let me go dammit, there’s a bomb in there!” to the American soldiers who somehow fail to believe the man with the red nose is a professional secret agent. Yes, it’s silly, but it’s a testament to Moore that he basically pulls this off; no other Bond would have come close.
The Golden Gate Bridge.
Although Moore’s swansong is sadly a misfire (not helped by the fact its leading man was pushing 60), the final battle on the Golden Gate Bridge provides one last iconic moment. With a marooned airship as the backdrop, Moore and a peroxide blonde Christopher Walken trade blows on the San Francisco landmark. Just ignore the screaming Stacey Sutton. And the bit when the mad professor starts lobbing sticks of dynamite at Bond, rather than, you know, pick up a gun.
Rest in peace, Sir Roger – and thank you. Nobody did it better.