Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bond (James Bond) in the '80s

With James Bond back in theaters, it got me thinking back to James Bond as he was in the '80s. Bond, of course, was present in films dating back to the early '60s with the first James Bond, Sean Connery. By the time the 1980s started, Bond was being played by Roger Moore, who was chronologically the third actor to play Bond in the movies.
But, as classic as Sean Connery and his brief substitute, George Lazenby, may have been, it was Roger Moore that I first remember as Bond, in television broadcasts of his '70s Bond films like The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). In the early '80s, he was still going strong as Bond, in For Your Eyes Only (1981), and the film whose title I originally thought belonged to a comedy spoof, before I realized it was that of an actual Bond film, Octopussy (1983).
 Although sometimes not accorded the critical respect of certain other Bond films, I can't help but think that the quintessential '80s Bond flick was 1985's A View to A Kill. Released in the very middle of the decade, it featured many of the traits we all know and love from that era.
This film featured Christopher Walken as the very '80s, yet also very Bond, villain, in the form of an evil computer mogul. The perfect villain at the dawning of th computer age.
In yet another very '80s twist, A View to a Kill also featured Grace Jones in the role of similarly villainous May Day.
And if all that weren't '80s enough, there was the very '80s theme song from Duran Duran. The video is above. Whats not to like?
 One of the twists for the Bond character in the '80s was the brief return of Sean Connery as agent 007 in a movie that was actually produced outside of the primary production company for Bond films, 1983's Never Say Never Again. The title is actually an inside joke about Connery returning to play the character of Bond, after assuming that his time in that role was over. This film was an interesting detour in the Bond list of films, but what a great flashback to see Connery suddenly playing the role yet again.

By 1987, those in charge of the Bond franchise felt it was time to seek out a new actor to play Bond. And thus, Timothy Dalton assumed the role of 007 for the remainder of the '80s, with The Living Daylights (1987) and License to Kill (1989). I remember well all the talk back then of the new Bond actor, and all the usual buzz that followed such a transition.  As for me, it was good to see such a venerable character continue. I haven't been into the Dalton Bond films as I have been with some of the others, but I'm interested in checking out more thoroughly the two releases of this, the most '80s of the Bond actors, since his entire Bond career, from start to finish, was within that decade.