When three British agents are all mysteriously killed, a pattern begins to emerge linking a small Caribbean country to the New York criminal element, so M sends Bond in to investigate…
Live and Let Die takes Bond into a new era, with Roger Moore taking the helm. In many ways, Live and Let Die builds on the foundation of the previous movies, but allows Moore the freedom to interpret Bond in a new way. This has mixed success, though the good certainly outweighs the bad.
Where Connery blends in and is the picture of sophistication, Moore is a more provocative Bond, both in his investigations and his wit. The ‘secret’ in secret agent is less important to the new Bond, though the action certainly steps up a notch because of it. Moore makes Bond’s double entendres his own, and he certainly has the confidence to pull it off, though it comes off a bit brash having just seen so much of Connery’s subtlety.
The supporting characters have, for the most part, picked up right where they left off, with odd prosthetics and more. They are little over the top but no more than we’ve come to expect from Bond movies. It’s not all good news though, as Like Diamonds are Forever before it, Live and let Die handles racial stereotypes with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The pimpmobile culture feels overdone, and as if to show that they treat all cultures with the same sledgehammer, Sheriff J.W. Pepper just adds to the distraction.
Overall, Live and Let Die is a great introduction to Roger Moore, and does a great job featuring so much of the Bond movie DNA that we’ve come to know and love. While I’m less of a fan of it’s more in your face style, I can definitely see why it’s on many people’s best Bond lists.
A very respectable first outing, and far more comfortable in the role than Lazenby. A new style will never feel perfect first time on, but the movie certainly doesn’t suffer for it
Kananga / Mr Big (Yaphet Kotto).
A menacing man you don’t want to cross, very well played.
Solitaire (Jane Seymour).
Solitaire fits in well, and does what we expect from a female lead. Hampered by losing the spotlight to so many other characters but otherwise great
Bernard Lee is, as always, a solid M, but again plays a minor role here.
Sadly not present.
Seemingly over any romantic feelings for Bond, Moneypenny is finally free to banter more freely with James, and her character seems the more natural for it.
Felix Leiter (David Hedison).
Leiter is a decent minor character, though he fills more of a plot connection to the USA than anything more meaningful here.
The gadgets are pared back to the basics, with not much more than a feature-rich wristwatch.
Bond drives a Mini Moke, a double-decker bus and a speedboat, but there’s not much love here. And don’t mention the pimpmobiles…