Dialogue can make or break a film. However beautifully photographed the picture might be, however stimulating, thought-provoking or thrilling the story is, however captivating the score, if what the characters say is poorly conceived, that movie is operating on a significant handicap. The Roger Moore tenure in the 007 film franchise is indeed often criticized for be being the weakest of all the actors who played the part, but more for its frequent silliness…and the fact that Moore was 57 years old by the time his last outing, A View to a Kill, was made. Say what one will about Moore’s versatility as an actor (although doubters should either re-watch For Your Eyes Only or arguably his best non-Bond film, The Man Who Haunted Himself), the man was among the best in delivering witty, comical lines, often peppered with some sort of sexual innuendo. That alone should qualify for something, but sometimes the best lines are those which speak about the individual saying them. A line that produces some laughter is all fine and dandy, and when it comes to Bond everyone knows those are a requirement, yet when Moore said a bit of dialogue that was funny yet somehow also spoke about who Bond was, that was when we knew he and the writers had truly hit the spot. With that in mind, the conclusion to Sound on Sight’s look back on the Moore 007 era shall highlight the dialogue, sometimes uttered by Moore, other times by his co-stars.
Live and Let Die
-When in New York, Bond takes a cab to trail his target, one Mr. Big. The driver is African American, which adds a little spice to this exchange the two have:
Driver: You know where you’re heading?
Bond: Uptown, I believe,
Driver: Uptown? You headed into Harlem, man!
Bond: Well you just stay on the tail of that jukebox and there’s an extra twenty in it for you.
Driver: Hey man, for twenty bucks I’d take you to a Ku Klux Klan cookout!
-While held in captivity, 007 is witness to Mr. Big ripping off his own (artificial) face, thus uncovering that he was Kananga all this time:
Bond: Quite revealing!
-When Bond and Solitaire first make love, our hero shares with the inexperienced beauty the lessons of love. He has explained the first two when:
Solitaire: Is there time before we leave for lesson number 3?
Bond: Of course. There’s no sense going out half-cocked.
-Bond meets his San Monique contact, Rosie Carver, but in their hotel room is a strange looking hat, sign of a voodoo curse!
James Bond: Don’t worry darling, it’s just small hat, belonging to a man of limited means, who lost a fight with a chicken.
-Immediately after the villain Kananga has literally been inflated and blown to pieces:
Solitaire: Where’s Kananga?
Bond: He always did have an inflated opinion of himself.
The Man with the Golden Gun
-As Scaramanga explains to his unfortunate guest, James Bond, that after dinner they shall square in a battle of assassins:
Scaramanga: A duel between titans…my golden gun against your Walther PPK.
Bond: One bullet versus my six?
Scaramanga`: I only need one, Mr. Bond.
-In the same conversation, there is another exchange worth noting, this one indicating that, as much it may seem like Moore’s Bond is more concerned with luxuries and fun, his patience in the face of vile scum does have its limits:
Scaramanga: You get as much pleasure out of killing as I do, so why don’t you admit it?
Bond: I admit killing you would be a pleasure.
Scaramanga: Then you should have done that when you first saw me. On the other hand, the English don’t consider it sporting to kill in cold blood, do they?
Bond: Don’t count on it.
-In M’s office at the start of the film, Bond is perplexed by the possibility that anyone would want to have him killed.
Bond: Who’d want to put a contract on me?
M: Jealous husbands, outraged chefs, humiliated tailors! The list is endless!
-Bond is on the trail for Scaramanga, which takes him to a club in Beirut where an ally was killed by the hit man while spending time with a dancer named Saida:
Bond: Did you see who shot Fairbanks?
Saida: No, I was in his arms. My eyes were closed.
Bond: Well, at least he died happy.
The Spy Who Loved Me
-A great exchange between Bond and Anya Amasova after she has discovered that 007 killed her lover at the start of the film:
Bond: Which bullet has my name on it, the first or the last?
Amasova: I have never failed on a mission, Commander. Any mission.
Bond: In that case, Major, one of us is bound to end up gravely disappointed because neither have I.
-As Q supplies Bond and Asamova with the stunningly equipped Lotus Esprit:
Q: Now pay attention 007. I want you to take great care of this equipment. There are one or two accessories…
Bond (as he revs up the engine): Q, have I ever let you down?
-A little throwaway line that sarcastically speaks to how much importance Bond gives to the finer things in life:
Bond: Hmm, maybe I misjudged Stromberg. Any man who drinks Dom Perignon ’52 can’t be all bad.
-A very brief moment of utter seriousness from Moore and one that recalls 007’s past as Amasova reveals everything she has learned about him from his file:
Amasova: Commander James Bond, recruited to the British Secret Service from the Royal Navy. Licence to kill and has done so on numerous occasions. Many lady friends but married only once. Wife killed-
Bond: You’ve made your point.
Amasova: You’re sensitive, Mr. Bond?
Bond: About some things.
-Amasova explains to Bond the survival skills she learned in Russia as the two prepare to spend the night outside:
Amasova: It’s very important to have a positive mental attitude.
Bond: Nothing more practical than that?
Amasova: Food is also very important
Bond: What else?
Amasova: When necessary, shared bodily warmth.
Bond: That’s the part I like.
-A very good line that caps off a terrific film. At the very end, Bond and Amasova are discovered by their respective superiors making love in a life boat capsule at sea:
General Gogol: Triple X!
Minister of Defence: Bond! What do you think you’re doing?
Bond: Keeping the British end up, sir.
-A good line for the villain of the piece, Hugo Drax, after Bond has eluded the multiple attempts on his life:
Drax: Mr. Bond, you persist in defying my efforts to provide an amusing death for you.
-After Bond has survived an encounter with a python in Drax’s elaborate garden:
Drax: Why did you break up the encounter with my pet python?
Bond: I discovered he had a crush on me.
-This seems to be a low blow towards the CIA, which is a little odd considering 007’s staunchest ally is CIA agent Felix Leiter, but a funny line never the less. It is said when Bond discovers that Dr. Goodhead is in fact working for the American intelligence agency:
Bond: Standard CIA equipment. And the CIA place you with Drax, correct?
Goodhead: Very astute of you, James
Bond: Not really. I have friends in low places
For Your Eyes Only
-Bond refuses the advances of an underage girl, Bibi. It is a fantastic line because it demonstrates that, as much of a sex maniac Bond might be, he does have his limitations:
Bond: Now put your clothes on and I’ll buy you an ice cream.
-After Bond kicks a car carrying the villain Locque over the edge of a cliff:
Bond: He had no head for heights.
-Kamal Khan, tired of Bond always escaping his assassination attempts:
Khan: You seem to have this nasty habit of surviving
Bond: You know what they say about the fittest.
-Magda offers Bond a way out of a predicament so long as he provides her with a coveted Fabergé egg:
Magda: He (speaking of Khan) suggests a trade: the egg for your life.
Bond: Well, I hear the price of eggs was up, but isn’t that a little high?
-A silly line but one that gets me chuckling every time, mostly for Moore’s delivery. 007 is now a prisoner in Khan’s luxurious estate. Magda and the huge bodyguard Gobinda are present as Bond is forced to his room after dinner:
Magad: I guess this is good night.
Bond: I could come in for a nightcap
Gobinda blocks Bond’s way to Magda’s room.
Bond: Some other time perhaps.
After walking Bond to his own room:
Bond: I don’t suppose you’d care for a nightcap?
A View to a Kill
-Sadly, there aren’t too many great lines in this one, although some of the sexual innuendos are solid, like this one between Bond and Jenny Flex, who works at Zorin’s horse ranch
Bond: Well, my dear, I take it you spend quite a lot of time in the saddle
Flex: Yes, I love an early morning ride.
Bond: Well, I’m an early riser myself.
-Bond meets up with Zorin in his office after spending the night with the particularly muscular and energetic May Day:
Zorin: You slept well?
Bond: a little restless, but I got off eventually.
And that ends Sound on Sight’s look back at the Roger Moore years of the James Bond franchise. We hope you enjoyed revisiting the most memorable scenes and that you had a few giggles remembering some of the best (and silliest) lines of dialogue.
This article is part of our 007 marathon. You can find all the entries by clicking here.