By the time this film was made, the James Bond franchise was the most lucrative in the world, and many manufacturers wanted their products featured. There was great competition for the company that would supply Bond's car. Don McLaughlin, PR Manager of Lotus, realised that the best way to win this coveted position was to make the film's producers chase after him, rather than going begging to them. One day he turned up at Pinewood driving a brand new unreleased Lotus Esprit, with all identifying names covered up. He parked it outside the Bond set, knowing that the producers would see it when they broke for lunch. Once the car had attracted a crowd, all clamouring to know what the car was, McLaughlin nonchalantly got in the car and drove away without answering any questions. As he had expected, the producers were desperate to discover what the car was and Albert R. Broccoli (Cubby Broccoli) later chose it for the film.
The Carl Stromberg character in this film actually has webbed hands, however, they often go unnoticed by viewers on video and DVD compared to when the movie was released in cinemas - a bigger image on a theatre screen makes them more noticeable.
The eyesight of cinematographer Claude Renoir was failing at the time and he could not see to the end of the massive supertanker set, with its shiny surfaces and its vastness. As a result, he could not supervise the lighting. Ken Adam turned to his friend Stanley Kubrick, who under the condition of complete secrecy supervised the lighting. He suggested to use flood-lights, as an effect it would light the set. In addition, Kubrick's real-life stepdaughter (Katharina Kubrick) designed the dentures that Richard Kiel (Jaws) wore in the film.
The stunt driver was having problems making the Lotus Esprit look sufficiently exciting in the chase scenes because its road-holding was so good that it had to be driven dangerously fast to make it slide impressively on corners. One scene in Sardinia required the car to drive up a hill on a mountain pass and round a sharp bend. The normal stunt driver was not available and the film crew who were waiting at the top asked Lotus employee Roger Becker to drive the car up. He thrashed the car, skidding dramatically round the corners and making a dramatic 180-degree turn on a gravel area as he stopped at the top. "Would you mind doing that again?" they asked him. "And this time we'll have the cameras rolling." From that time on, Roger became the stunt driver for shots involving the Lotus.
The crew was upset because of the horrible food in Egypt, so Broccoli had an refrigerated truck with food brought from England. However, someone forgot to turn on the freezer, so all the food was inedible. Producer Albert R. Broccoli jumped into action and took a jeep and some crew, went into town and got some tomatoes, pots, pans and pasta was flown in from Cairo. Broccoli, well known as an amateur chef at home, cooked up a feast for the cast and crew, served by him and Roger Moore. The crew applauded the meal. A sign was painted in the mess-room: "Trattoria Broccoli." Trattoria is the Italian word for "simpler" restaurant. Broccoli had Italian parents.
A representative from the Egyptian government was on-set throughout the shoot in Cairo and Giza to make sure that the country was not revealed in an unflattering light. For that reason when the scaffolding collapses on Jaws and Bond quips "Egyptian builders", Roger Moore merely mouthed the line, dubbing it in later. It went unnoticed by the official Egyptian minder, and ironically, got a great laugh from Egyptian audiences.
Jaws actor Richard Kiel could only keep the metal teeth in his mouth for about half a minute at a time due to the excessive pain and discomfort. He often had to show comic expressions which was quite contradictory to the way he was feeling wearing the extremely uncomfortable braces. Richard Kiel, 7'2.5'', played an almost identical part a year earlier in Silver Streak (1976). The chain that Jaws bites through was made of licorice. In order to simulate the character's metal teeth, Richard Kiel's stunt double Martin Grace used pieces of orange peel wrapped in tin foil.
Singer, Elvis Presley saw The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) on Wednesday, August 10th 1977 during a special viewing at the General Cinema in Whitehaven, Tennessee. It was the last movie he saw as he died six days later on Tuesday, August 16th, 1977 at the age of 42.
The famous Union Jack parachute ski jump stunt during the film's pre-title sequence was originally suggested by star George Lazenby to be used in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), but the necessary equipment to film it was not available then. The Bond producers thought it was a great idea, and later added the Union Jack to the parachute and used it in this movie.
The film introduced a spy sea scooter known as a "wetbike" (better known now as a jet ski) to the world, sparking a new water-sport industry. This gadget was commonly referred to as the "motorbike that rides on water."
Prior to the introduction of Naomi, Caroline Munro accidentally sat on a bee and was stung hard on the behind. Despite the resulting pain, she was pushed on by the filmmakers to complete the scene. When shown boating in and greeting Roger Moore and Barbara Bach, the stern look on her face wasn't due only to the character of henchwoman she was playing, but the pain from the sting she was feeling.
Amongst the pyramids when Jaws is trailing a hidden 007, a still photograph of Roger Moore was used when they needed to have him in the shot. Hardly anyone noticed this during the film's release. Further, all the shots of pyramids used were actually models.
Ian Fleming was so disappointed with the 'Spy Who Loved Me' novel that he would not allow the publisher to print the book in paperback. It was not until Fleming's death that the book became widely available.
This film marks the debut of a fifth version of the gun-barrel opening sequence that needed to be redone to match the film's 2.35/1 aspect ratio. It features a closer shot of Roger Moore against a more colored background. Also it's the first time that Bond wears a tuxedo during the sequence. In addition, this sequence has the distinction of being the one with the most appearances, as its footage would be reused for Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985), with a total of five appearances.
The character of Major Boothroyd is addressed as such by Barbara Bach for one of the only times in the movie series. Boothroyd (played by Desmond Llewelyn) is the head of Q branch, but the name Q stuck to the character.
Rick Sylvester's opening ski stunt was shot from the top of Asgard Peak on Baffin Island in Canada. The summit was only accessible by helicopter. A small crew, including Sylvester and second unit director John Glen, traveled there in July 1976, a month before principal photography began. They stayed in the neighboring village of Pangnirtung for 10 days, awaiting the right weather conditions. Numerous cameras were positioned around the site to capture the moment. All the camera operators felt that they lost sight of the skier as he went sailing off the cliff, all except one camera which stayed with him throughout the stunt. The scene was all uncut. Sylvester's pay was $30,000. Sylvester was supposedly given an additional bonus when he successfully completed the shot.
One of the first directors to be considered was Steven Spielberg. There was some worry about his inexperience as he was caught up on an extremely lengthy pre-production schedule for a little film he was making at the time called Jaws (1975), which ironically would provide inspiration for a major character in this film.
$1 million of the $13.5 million budget was spent by production designer Ken Adam on building the largest sound stage in the world: 336'x139'x44'. The set was used for the interior shots of Stromberg's supertanker. The tank had a capacity of 1.2 million gallons.
Assistant to producer Michael G. Wilson saw a photo in an ad of a skier jumping out of a helicopter and insisted on recreating the stunt for the opening of the film. As such, an advertisement inspired the famous opening skiing sequence. It was for Canadian Club Whisky and featured Rick Sylvester jumping off Asgard cliff on Baffin Island, Canada. The ad had actually been staged elsewhere and had really been performed off the El Capitain Peak, Yosemite Valley, California. The ad read: "If you Space Ski Mount Asgard...before you hit the ground, hit the silk!". Sylvester performed the stunt for the film which famously ended with a parachute of the Union Jack opening. Sylvester also did the Meteora mountain fall in For Your Eyes Only (1981).
General Gogol's first appearance in the EON Productions official James Bond series. His first name is heard for the only time in the series when M refers to him as Alexis (However, he is called Anatoly Gogol in the credits of A View to a Kill (1985)). Gogol is played by Walter Gotell who had previously played Morzeny in From Russia with Love (1963). He would appear a number of times in the series as General Gogol with the last being The Living Daylights (1987). The character's surname is a nod to the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol.
The only James Bond movie in which M's (Bernard Lee) first name (Miles) is said. In the books, his name was said to be Admiral Sir Miles Messervy in the novel "The Man With The Golden Gun". It is only the 2nd time in the series that M calls Bond by his first name James and not 007 or Bond - the 1st was On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Q is referred to by his real name (Major Geoffrey Boothroyd), as in Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963).
In his audio-commentary, Roger Moore comments on the opening parachute ski-jump that could have gone horribly wrong for stuntman Rick Sylvester. After the jump, a disengaged ski clipped the unopened chute as it was falling. The ski could could easily have prevented the chute from opening. It can still be seen in the final footage when the ski clips the about-to-open parachute.
The title song "Nobody Does It Better" sung by Carly Simon is the first Bond theme song to be titled differently from the name of the film, although the phrase "the spy who loved me" is included in the lyrics.
Despite the perceived underperformance of The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), producer Albert R. Broccoli nevertheless invested $13 million on the production of "The Spy Who Loved Me", making it the most expensive Bond movie yet produced.
This was the first James Bond film to be composed by an American i.e.Marvin Hamlisch. A piece of music composed by Mozart inspired the title song 'Nobody Does It Better" composed by Hamlisch. Indeed, the film includes in its score a number of pieces of classical music by such composers as Johann Sebastian Bach (Air in Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068 aka Air on the G String), Frédéric Chopin (Nocturne No. 8 in D-Flat, Op. 27 No. 2), Camille Saint-Saëns (The Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Andante second movement of Piano Concerto No. 21 Elvira Madigan plays when Atlantis arises from the sea. After the van breaks down, the theme from Lawrence of Arabia (1962) plays when Bond and XXX walk across the desert. One young assistant in the cutting-room put it in as a joke, and it brought laughs to the team and they kept it in the final film. As such, this was the first James Bond film to use score from another movie. Moreover, Anya's music box-transmitter plays Lara's Theme from Doctor Zhivago (1965). All these pieces of music however are not included on the movie's soundtrack album as they are merely excerpted in the film.
Producer Albert R. Broccoli wanted Lois Chiles to play the part of Russian agent Anya Amasova. Upon talking to her agent, it was discovered that Chiles had retired temporarily, upset by criticism she had received, and was taking acting lessons. Chiles would become the next Bond girl in Moonraker (1979) after sharing a seat next to director Lewis Gilbert.
Last Bond film (to date) of character actor Shane Rimmer. He plays the commander of the USS Wayne here and had previously played a NASA technician in 'You Only Live Twice' and the head of Willard White's aerospace division in 'Diamonds are Forever'. He also provided the voice for the American agent at the beginning of 'Live and Let Die'.
The Aquapolis, the enormous Japanese floating sea structure, was considered as an exterior set for the Stromberg Marine Research Laboratory, Atlantis. It resembled an oil rig (something which had already been used in Diamonds Are Forever (1971)), had a gigantic three-tiered deck which was also a helicopter pad measuring 100 m2, and was supported by about a dozen major pillars. It cost 13 billion yen and had been built in Hiroshima in 1975 then transported to Okinawa for the International Ocean Exposition. Depending on weather conditions, it could partially rise or submerge into the ocean, in a similar fashion to the Atlantis setting of the movie's script. At the time of the location scout, it was incomplete and after attempts to make the mega-structure work, production designer Ken Adam felt that it lacked the right creative elements for the nautical villain's lair. Disappointingly, the floating sea city was rejected as an exterior location for Atlantis and the filmmakers decided to go with a model. Sadly, it was closed to tourist visits in 1993 and in 2000, after twenty-five years, the real-life floating city in the ocean was sold for scrap after the company that owned it went bankrupt.
The title song "Nobody Does It Better" sung by Carly Simon and composed by Marvin Hamlisch was a hit in both the USA and UK. The song was so successful that the title "Nobody Does It Better" has become part of James Bond universe phraseology. According to the CD Soundtrack sleeve notes, it charted in the USA on 23 July 1977 and went to No. #2. It stayed there for three weeks and was in the US charts for 25 consecutive weeks. The song in the USA also achieved the classification of being a Gold Single. It entered the charts in the UK on 6 August 1977 and peaked at the No. #7 position. The soundtrack album charted in the USA on 27 August 1977 and went to the No. #40 rank.
The Lotus submarine car was code named Esther Williams in an early draft of the script and was also nicknamed by the crew as Wet Nellie (after the mini-helicopter in You Only Live Twice (1967)), which is the name used in the novelization. This car was in reality an empty shell of a car that was propelled off a jetty and into the sea by a compressed air cannon. Designed to operate whilst filled with water, it was driven by two divers in full scuba gear, but overheat whilst idling in between takes. The chase sequence involving Wet Nellie runs for seven minutes
A miniature tanker had to be built for the film, despite one of Albert R. Broccoli's friends offering the production a real one. They had to turn the offer down as the insurance premiums on tankers are so prohibitively expensive, clocking in at £50,000 a day. The tanker model of the Liparus was 60 feet long, powered with a Chevrolet 350 inboard motor.
A total of four "Wet Nellie" diving cars were built for the underwater scenes. All but the last one were hollow shells. One was shot off the pier by an air cannon and had retractable wheels, one had panels that covered the wheel wells, one that had diving planes that extended from the wheel wells and one that was actually able to move underwater. The last one was operated by scuba divers since the car was filled with water. One of the fiberglass "Wet Nellie" shells was found on a scrap heap. It was restored on a recent episode of the _"American Restoration"_ TV show. The final restoration has one wheel down and one wheel in the process of retracting on the passenger side and the dive fins in place on the driver's side. It also has the window shields, periscope, missile, propellers and rudders as seen in the film. It is on display at a James Bond Museum in Florida.
The Union Jack parachute Bond uses in the opening sequence is an incorrect design. The red Cross of Saint Patrick is swapped with the white Cross of Saint Andrew in one corner. Prince Charles obviously did not notice this during the film's premier, when he stood in honor of the flag.
During the fight scene at the Pyramids between Bond and two KGB agents, Bond at one point delivers a blow that causes one of the men to, in reflex, cross his arms over his chest, making him resemble a character in old Egyptian drawings.
"The Spy Who Loved Me" was the tenth James Bond novel to be written by Ian Fleming. It was first published on 18 April 1962. The only common story elements between the novel and the film are its title and two henchman Jaws and Sandor who are loosely inspired by the book's villains Horror (with steel-capped teeth) and Slugsy (short and bald). The film is considered as the first Bond film whose story is completely original. (The second would be GoldenEye (1995).) Fleming only allowed the novel's title to be used as it was told in the first person of a Bond girl character, with James Bond himself only appearing in chapters 10-14 out of 15. The names of the heroine (Vivienne Michel) and the villains' employer (Mr. Saguinetti) are not mentioned in the movie. The novelization of the film by screenwriter Christopher Wood was called "James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me" so as to distinguish it from Fleming's novel. This was the first novelization of a Bond film, rather than the other way around. Some later Bond movies, namely Moonraker (1979), A View to a Kill (1985) and Quantum of Solace (2008), followed the example of using a one of Fleming's titles and creating a wholly or mostly new story for it.
The first James Bond film produced solely by Albert R. Broccoli as a single producer. All previous Bond movies had been co-produced with Harry Saltzman or other producers. Saltzman left the series during pre-production of this movie.
Gerry Anderson (creator of Thunderbirds (1965)) threatened legal action against the producers as he felt the film came too close to a story proposal he had offered the Bond producers in the 1960s. The suit was dropped, though EON Productions ended up purchasing the rights to Anderson's original proposal.
The first appearance of recurring character Defence Minister Frederick Gray (played by Geoffrey Keen). While walking along the docks, Bond addresses him as "Freddy" for the only time in the series (in all subsequent films, he uses the more formal address "Minister").
James Mason was considered for the part of villain Karl Stromberg. His famous role as Jules Verne's Captain Nemo in Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) was a major element in his consideration. He would also be considered as main villain Hugo Drax in the next Bond movie Moonraker (1979). Coincidentally, James Bond creator Ian Fleming based the villain Drax on the Jules Vernes character Robur from the "Clipper Of The Clouds", "Master of the World" and "Robur, The Conqueror" stories. Sadly, Mason never got into any Bond movie.
The Royal World Premiere of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) was held on the 7th July 1977 at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square, London and was attended by Princess Anne, her second Bond launch after Live and Let Die (1973). The date has special significance as it is abbreviated as 7/7/77 or even 007/007/77, all digits being a 7 as in 007.
Twelfth James Bond movie made and tenth in the EON Productions official series. The third Bond movie to star Roger Moore as James Bond. This is the only EON Productions James Bond movie to be made in the same order as its source novel was written. The Spy Who Loved Me was both the 10th official series James Bond movie produced and the 10th Ian Fleming James Bond novel written.
Fekkesh's apartment seen in the film is the real-life Gayer-Anderson Museum in Cairo. The ceremonial hall and rooftop terrace were used in the film (the rooftop terrace is where the fight scene with Bond and Sandor was filmed).
First Bond film to make significant references to Bond's past, including his recruitment to the British Secret Service from the Royal Navy, his "many lady friends", and his marriage to Tracy in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
The first line of the Ian Fleming James Bond novel "The Spy Who Loved Me" read: "I was running away." The last line read: "A secret agent? I didn't care what he did. A number? I had already forgotten it. I knew exactly who he was and what he was. And everything, every smallest detail, would be written on my heart forever."
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for this movie include Lotus Cars, particularly the Lotus Esprit S1 turbo sports car; Seiko Watches, James Bond wears a Seiko 0674 LC watch; a Sony Electronics' Sony video monitor; Q's travel-bag labeled BOAC; Shark Hunter underwater submersibles; Ford vehicles including makes Cortina and Taunus; Dom Perignon Champagne, particularly a Dom Perignon '52; Bacardi Rum; Jetski Wetbikes; Kawasaki Motorcycles; Bell Helicopters; and later Domark's spin-off video-game, The Spy Who Loved Me (1990).
Jaws' steel teeth would become an influence in hip-hop culture (known as "grilles" in the Houston, TX hip-hop scene) decades after the film's release - Houston, TX rapper Paul Wall, known for wearing grilles, paid homage to Richard Kiel (after Stromberg's line that anyone in contact with the microfilm is to be eliminated) when he grinned in his music video for his hit single 'They Don't Know', revealing his diamond-clad grille.
The movie received Three Academy Award Nominations - the most ever received by a James Bond movie to date. These were for Best Art Direction - Set Decoration, Best Score, and Best Song - "Nobody Does It Better".
Vehicles featured included a white Lotus Esprit S1 turbo sports car adaptable Perry submarine-car, which was also known by the production as Margie Nixon and Wet Nellie; a Arctic Enterprises Wetbike hydrofoil water motorcycle; Jaw's Telephone Service gray Sherpa Van; a yellow and black Kawasaki Z900 motorcycle with black and yellow sidecar; Hovercraft Speedboat jettisoned from Atlantis; black and yellow two-seater Shark Hunter submersibles (mini wet submarines); two black and yellow Bell 206 JetRanger helicopters; black Ford Taunus car; the Liparus oil tanker which includes a Mini Moke; Westland HH-3 Sea King and Westland Wessex HC Mk 2 helicopters; 1977 Ford Cortina 2.3 Ghia; HMS Ranger, USS Wayne and Soviet Potemkin Submarines; a Stromberg Enterprises company motorboat; a magnetic levitation Maglev monorail train inside Liparus; a small bus and a spherical underwater escape pod for exiting Atlantis.
The delay in production of this movie involved legal issues with the script. Thunderball (1965) co-writer and producer Kevin McClory brought a suit against the production stating that his script "Warhead" (later Never Say Never Again (1983)) had been plagiarized for the nuclear submarine storyline. The injunction was ultimately rejected and EON productions could proceed. However, the original name of the villain was changed from Stavros to Stromberg, due to the similarity between Stavros and Ernest Stavro Blofeld, a character belonging to McClory. A very early version of the script intended to have Blofeld return as the villain for the first time since Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Screenwriter Richard Maibaum's original draft featured an alliance of international terrorists entering SPECTRE's headquarters and deposing Blofeld before trying to destroy the world for themselves to make way for a New World Order. This script was deemed too political by producer Albert R. Broccoli. Several scenes, including the one where Bond and Anya meet each other in a Cairo bar, were written by an uncredited Tom Mankiewicz. According to him, the scene originally made reference to Tatiana Romanova of From Russia with Love (1963), but this was cut. If it had been left in, the film would have included direct references to both the Sean Connery and George Lazenby eras of the Bond series. Other writers included John Landis, original director Guy Hamilton; Stirling Silliphant, Cary Bates, and Anthony Barwick, Anthony Burgess, Ronald Hardy and Derek Marlowe. In total, 12 scriptwriters worked on 15 drafts of the script.
A fight sequence was originally envisaged in this movie for the Mummy Room of the Cairo Museum of Antiquities. This was scrapped but the sequence resurface in the next Bond movie Moonraker (1979) as the fight between Chang and Bond in the Venini glass showroom.
Special visual effects-man Derek Meddings had the supertanker "Liparus" built like a catamaran, because is had to swallow boats. He also had an Evinrude engine put inboard, to get the wash behind. Meddings also directed the model. The ship was modeled after a real tanker owned by Shell. The supertanker set was named "the Jonah Set", for the Biblical Jonah, who is swallowed by a whale.
The label (but not the cover) on the original soundtrack LP lists Paul Buckmaster (not Marvin Hamlisch who receives credit for everything else on the LP) as composer to the source music heard at The Mojaba Club.
The warship involved in the final scenes is HMS Fearless. The Fearless has an amphibious deck where the escape pod from Atlantis was recovered - as life imitating art, the success of Exploration Flight Test 1 on December 5, 2014 where the Orion capsule was recovered by the U.S.S. Anchorage - NASA personnel are using this recovery method similar to the escape pod retrieval instead of a helicopter which was previously used during the Apollo program.
The small pistol that Anya uses in the Egyptian ruins scene is a .25 caliber Beretta Model 950 Jetfire in stainless steel finish. Bond uses his traditional Walther PPK and a Sterling submachine-gun, a weapon he also uses in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' and which features in 'You Only Live Twice', 'The Living Daylughts' and 'For Your Eyes Only'.
The fictional HMS Ranger nuclear submarine is based on the real-life Resolution class where four were constructed as part of the Polaris programme. The Royal Navy decommissioned the Resolution class in 1996, with the Vanguard class as its replacement carrying Trident II missiles. The Soviet submarine is a Delta class which would be replaced in the early 80s by the Typhoon class (subject of the film 'The Hunt for Red October' with ex-Bond Sean Connery).
The literal translations of some this film's foreign language titles include The Spy That Loved Me (Spain, Norway, France, Denmark); 007, My Beloved (Finland); The Spy That I Loved (Portugal); Beloved Spy (Sweden); The Spy That Loves Me (Poland) and 007, The Spy Who Loved Me (Brazil)
uncredited as the man with the bottle who wonders whether he's hallucinating at seeing the Wet Nellie drive out of the water. He repeated the gag in the following two movies: in Moonraker (1979) he is drinking in Venice when Bond drives his gondola out of the water, and in For Your Eyes Only (1981) he is a patron of the lodge that Bond skies off the table at. His main job was assistant director.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The original script called for Jaws to perish after Bond used an industrial magnet aboard the Super Tanker to drop him into the tanker's furnace. The scene was storyboarded using Richard Kiel and Roger Moore as models, and apparently rehearsed, but ultimately scrapped because Albert R. Broccoli suspected Jaws' character had enormous appeal, so an alternate ending with Jaws surviving was filmed, allowing Jaws to return in the next Bond epic Moonraker (1979). When the film was previewed, audiences cheered when they saw Jaws swimming away in the film's finale.
Milton Reid didn't enjoy falling two stories to the ground, even though there were boxes to cushion his fall. Lewis Gilbert needed a long scream from him and a fall from anything less than two stories would have been insufficient.