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For Your Eyes Only (1981)



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Though Moonraker made a lot of money, it was decided that its stupid humor was artistically wrong. So, with this excellent entry in the series, the producers attempted to return the grim seriousness to the Bond character, conspicuously absent since On Her Majesty's Secret Service ten years prior. Except for a flawed pre-credits scene ruined in a similar but less drastic manner that ruined Moonraker's pre-credit sequence, the project was a success. The story is deadly serious, and Roger Moore's Bond almost looks out of character playing rough and dirty with the badguys even though he's not. For Your Eyes Only is missing a strong central villain, but combines everything else a good Bond film needs: a strong story, rounded characters, suspense (heightened further by the judicious use of silence in the soundtrack toward the end), rousing action scenes, a strong Bond girl co-starring (this time played by Caroline Bouquet), subtle humor, 'Q' and his gadgets, and a fantastic ski scene that is not only Bond's best ski scene, but one of the most exciting chase sequences ever filmed. Objectively speaking, it's not superior to, say, From Russia With Love or On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but at many times I think it's my favorite. Trivia buffs should note two things: (1) the absence of Bernard Lee's 'M'; Lee died while preparing for the role -- in his honor, the role was temporarily retired -- and (2) the appearance of Cassandra Harris as Lisl; Harris was married to Pierce Brosnan, future James Bond, but died of cancer before she could see him play the much coveted role.

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