A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent's death lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.
James Bond (007) is Britain's top agent and is on an exciting mission, to solve the mysterious murder of a fellow agent. The task sends him to Jamaica, where he joins forces with Quarrel and a loyal CIA agent, Felix Leiter. While dodging tarantulas, "fire breathing dragons" and a trio of assassins, known as the three blind mice. Bond meets up with the beautiful Honey Ryder and goes face to face with the evil Dr. No. Written by
Dr. No begins the entire James Bond film saga, and yet barely fits any of the pre-conceived ideas of what a Bond Film is. What it does do is introduce the public to the basic tenets of who James Bond is and what he does and it does this very well.
We meet Bond playing his card game of choice (Chemin de Feur, a form of Bacarat) and as suave and confident as he will ever be. It is also in this first movie (though the book was much later in the Bond series) that Bond is assigned the Walther PPK from Q Branch by orders of M.
Bond is asked to investigate some problems in the Caribbean by the US (someone is messing with radar transmissions of US rockets in Florida) after a British agent in the area is killed. The investigations hint at a mysterious Dr. No (played brilliantly by Richard Wiseman) who owns a small island off the coast of Jamaica.
What is so great about this movie is that, though a Bond movie, it lacks many of the silly contrivances of the "Bond Formula" which would be introduced piecemeal through later films. Bond is a detective... an agent... not some super-human hero who can pull down evil empires with a button on his magic watch. He's cool, calculating, and even cold-blooded when he guns down a potential assassin who he has already disarmed (though, the scene inferred here has 2 filmed versions- one in which the assailant reacquires his gun- albeit it, with an empty chamber...) The interplay between Bond and Moneypenny are here from the get-go, as is the irascibility of M towards Bond (which Dame Judi Dench has brought back brilliantly in the Brosnan-Craig Bonds).
What's missing are the famous pre-titles sequences, although Maurice Binder's famous titles get a subtler beginning here (before they became the nude extravaganzas in later years). The requisite big-budget chase scenes are not here (though a car chase is offered), nor are the multi-continent gorgeous locales here... everything occurs in or near Jamaica.
The most famous element of Bond movies (outside of Bond) are the famous "Bond Girls." Eunice Gayson as Sylvia Trench comes first, then, the iconic and legendary scene- Ursula Andress (as Honey Rider). SPECTRE, the infamous crime organization, is also mentioned in this movie.
Again, this movie is not unlike many detective/spy movies of its era- it is the name "Bond" that makes it stand out. The fame that the Bond series later achieved was not here- the movie is solid and enjoyable but not "Casablanca" quality good. It is a 9/10 for Bond films because it is done well, fairly faithful to the book, and did not hide behind gadgets and gimmicks as later Bonds do. Bond here is an agent, who must be detective, lawman, and killer all rolled into one- and it does it well.
All in all, a fine movie, made on a shoe-string budget that accomplishes what it was meant to do- ably and properly introduce James Bond to an international audience.
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