First and only Bond film in the official series not to feature the M character. It was the first Bond film not to feature Bernard Lee as M, who had played the role in the previous eleven films in the series. Lee died of stomach cancer on January 16, 1981, after the filming of "For Your Eyes Only" had started but before his scenes were shot. Although Bernard Lee was dying of stomach cancer, he did try to film at least one scene in the movie, but in the end it was too much for him and he had to bow out. He died not long after. As a result, Q's role in the film was slightly expanded to fill the gap. As such, a number of scenes originally intended to include M were re-written with Q, e.g. the confessional scene. As a mark of respect, producer Albert R. Broccoli refused to recast the role, changing the script to say that M was on leave. The tele-movie Climax!: Casino Royale (1954) also did not feature the M character.
To enter the identigraph booth, Q enters a five digit code. Those five digits were the first five notes to the chorus of "Nobody Does It Better", the theme to a previous Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). James Bond responds by entering the final two notes. See also Moonraker (1979).
In the movie, James Bond rejects Bibi's (played by Lynn-Holly Johnson) advances, presumably due to her being too young for him. Bond later has a relationship with Melina (played by Carole Bouquet). Melina is presumably much older than Bibi in the movie. In reality, the two actresses are only a year apart in age.
A major problem occurred during production which threatened to stop the filmmakers filming. The monks who lived in the monastery on top of the Meteora Mountain placed sheets and plastic on top of the roofs and external infrastructure so as to halt filming. They allegedly did not like the violence associated with James Bond. Reportedly, Roger Moore told them that he had once been a Saint! [See: The Saint (1962)]. A special hearing of the Greek Supreme Court was convened where a panel of judges decreed that the monks only had rights over the interiors of the mountain-top monastery but the exteriors were the domain of the people and the local government. The film crew were eventually able to film at the location which included a gigantic fall by stuntman Rick Sylvester. They did not actually film inside the monastery (known as St. Cyril's in the film) but built a set on top of a neighboring rock for some of the hideout's exteriors. The interiors were filmed back at Pinewood Studios on a set designed by Peter Lamont.
The previous Bond film, Moonraker (1979), was a huge financial success but fans and critics complained that the series had become too focused on wild gadgets, outlandish plots, over-the-top villains and screwball comedy. As a result, producers decided to return to a more realistic storyline in 'For Your Eyes Only', using previous Bond films From Russia with Love (1963) and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) as models. Therefore, this film contains many story elements similar to those films; the ATAC is similar to the Lektor, Kriegler is similar to Grant, Columbo is similar to Kerim Bey and the winter sports sequences are similar to those in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
Roger Moore's vertigo made the rock-face climax especially hard to do. Moore has said that he took a small amount of Valium and drank a glass of tall beer before some of the scary climbing sequences which helped him through the close-up shots. Stunt-man Rick Sylvester performed most of the work. Moore only had to dangle over a 4 foot drop, while Sylvester dangled over a 20 feet drop.
The title song is the first in the Bond series in which we see the person who is singing, in this case Sheena Easton. The song was a Top 10 hit in both the UK charts (#8) and US charts (#4, 25 July 1981). It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song, and was featured in a song and dance number at the Oscars on 29 March 1982. It featured dancers dressed as villains and henchman such as Dr. No and Ernst Stavro Blofeld as well as the real Harold Sakata and real Richard Kiel reprising their roles as Oddjob and Jaws respectively. A dancer played James Bond and at the end of the sequence he took off in a rocket with Sheena Easton who had been singing the title song live. This was just one of a medley of five song and dance numbers for each Best Song nominee on the night and it also acted as a preamble to the presentation by Roger Moore of the Irving Thalberg Honorary Award to 'Albert R Broccoli' in honour of the James Bond movie series. Starting with this film and the rise of the MTV Generation, all Bond films have had music video tie-ins.
The film saved United Artists from financial ruin. At the time of the film's release, the studio was still reeling from Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate (1980), a notorious $40,000,000 bomb that was about to force UA to file bankruptcy. When this film took in a worldwide gross of $194,900,000, the studio was saved and afterwards turned its focus toward blockbusters and less on personal films.
The close-ups of Carole Bouquet and Roger Moore for the underwater scenes were actually filmed in slow motion a studio with a wind fan to produce the effect of floating hair. The bubbles were added in later.
In the opening sequence, James Bond visits his deceased wife's grave at Stoke Poges Church, adjacent to Gert Fröbe's golf course from Goldfinger (1964). The scene was written when Roger Moore was considering retirement from the series, to provide story continuity between different Bond actors. Ironically, the teaser scene has absolutely nothing to do with the plot of the movie that follows, leaving it more connected to earlier Bond films than to the one it opens.
The closing scene with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, marked the first time a real life head of government was portrayed on screen in a James Bond movie. The PM was portrayed by Actress-Comedienne Janet Brown, who was well known for performing impersonations of Thatcher.
Begging Bond to spare his life, Ernst Blofeld baffles viewers with the cryptic line "I'll buy you a delicatessen, in stainless steel!" It is reported that the phrase is attributable to Albert R. Broccoli, who recalled accounts of 1930s New York mafia gangsters offering full-service delis as a bribe to cohorts, complete with stainless steel countertops.
The camera was played at 72 to 84 frames per second, and then played back at 24 frames to simulate underwater inertia when Bond and Melina are dragged along by the boat. The bubbles were added in closeup by simply adding Alka-Seltzer, which were then imposed over the negatives when Bond and Melina opened their mouths.
This was the first Bond film to be based on one of Ian Fleming's short stories (instead of one of his novels). Interestingly, there are several scenes in this film lifted from other Fleming tales. Examples: The assault on the smugglers' boat and warehouse is lifted intact from a short story entitled "Risico", and the sequence featuring Bond and Melina being dragged through the coral is actually lifted from the climax from the book, "Live and Let Die". The Identigraph appeared in slightly different form in the book, "Goldfinger".
When Bibi flirts with Bond (Roger Moore), she states that Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover) is much older than Bond, and while Bibi pursues Bond, she later tells Kristatos that Kristatos is "too old for her". The Kristatos character is also a 1939-1945 War veteran. In fact, Glover was born in 1935 and is eight years younger than Moore.
Director John Glen has indicated that for a time it was considered bringing back the Jaws character for a third time but eventually the idea was rejected as it was believed that he did not fit the tone of this film.
Although an accomplished cross-country skier, Roger Moore wasn't insured to do any downhill skiing. Willy Bogner handled all the skiing for him. Any closeups with Moore were done with him strapped to a sled pulled downhill, while Bognor skied backwards while looking into the camera. Moore tried to learn downhill skiing in Gstaad. His children had school afternoons there and were embarrassed that he kept falling over. But he eventually became quite reasonable at it.
When shooting the still for the movie's main poster, photographer Morgan Kane allegedly asked his model to put the bathers on backwards as they hung too low over her legs. After the poster had been released, some newspaper editors felt that there was too much buttock shown in the poster. To show less skin, the bathers were extended or shorts were added to the hips in the posters. The original poster caused outrage amongst various groups, causing Saskatchewan, Canada, to rate the film "Special X", despite being rated PG or equivalent virtually everywhere else. That rating was later lowered. Apparently the model's identity was not known for some time. More than one model alleged they were the owners of the legs but it was finally revealed they belonged to then 22 year old New York model Joyce Bartle.
The story involving the sinking of the ship the St. Georges off the Albanian coast was inspired by an international incident on 11 April 1968 when a Soviet submarine was blown up and sank in the Pacific Ocean. Seventy personnel died and the US Navy located the wreck using the nautical Glomar Explorer, a mission funded by Howard Hughes, whom the Willard Whyte character in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) was based on.
After viewing Flash Gordon (1980), the producers at one time wanted to cast not just Topol (Zarkov) in this film, but also Timothy Dalton (Prince Barin) as Bond and Ornella Muti (Princess Aura) as Melina, even writing the part specifically for her. Dalton eventually became Bond in 1986 after Roger Moore retired from the series.
The stunt of Bond falling off the cliff was dangerous, since the sudden rope jerk at the bottom could be fatal. Derek Meddings developed a system that would dampen the stop, but Rick Sylvester recalled that his nerves nearly got the better of him: "From where we were [shooting], you could see the local cemetery; and the box [to stop my fall] looked like a casket. You didn't need to be an English major to connect the dots." The stunt went off without a problem.
The producers of the film wanted Debbie Harry to perform the title song: the band wrote a song titled "For Your Eyes Only", but decided to decline the offer when they discovered the producers wanted a recording of Bill Conti's song instead. It appears on the 1982 album "The Hunter." Surprisingly, Sheena Easton and Debbie Harry both appeared together in Body Bags (1993)
It was an early intention of the production to put James Bond in a scene with Greece's classic architectural building, the Parthenon. Old world architecture had previously been a backdrop for Bond in From Russia with Love (1963) (Istanbul and The Basilica Cistern) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) (Cairo and The Pyramids). But in this case permission was refused to film at The Parthenon.
The assassination of Melina Havelock's parents was first intended as part of the pre-credits sequence. The reaction shot of the murder was intended to cut to a close-up on her face whereby the look of anger and revenge in her eyes would then segue into the main titles.
Since flying a helicopter through a warehouse was thought to be too dangerous, the scene was shot using forced perspective. A smaller mock-up was built by Derek Meddings' team closer to the camera that the stunt pilot Marc Wolff flew behind and this made it seem as if the helicopter was entering the warehouse. The footage inside the building was shot on location, though with a life-sized helicopter model which stood over a rail. Stuntman Martin Grace stood as Bond when the agent is dangling outside the flying helicopter, while Roger Moore himself was used in the scenes inside the model.
"For Your Eyes Only" was the first collection of Ian Fleming James Bond short stories and was first published on 11 April 1960. The collection was subtitled "Five Secret Occasions in the life of James Bond" and was the eighth James Bond book. It included the short stories "The Hildebrand Rarity", "Quantum of Solace", "From A View To A Kill", "Risico" and "For Your Eyes Only". These stories were originally conceived in the 1950s as scripts for a never-produced James Bond TV series. The last two of these provided material for the film along with some story elements from the novels "Goldfinger" and "Live And Let Die". Fleming's working title for the "For Your Eyes Only" story was "Man's Work" whilst its title when it was written as a TV episode for CBS was "Rough Justice" then as "Death Leaves an Echo".
Was originally planned for production and release in 1979 as the follow-up to The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). It was even announced as such in the closing credits of the earlier film. However, it was decided to make Moonraker (1979) instead, which delayed production of For Your Eyes Only for several years. Following the release of Moonraker (1979), some newspapers erroneously announced that the next James Bond film would be called "The Sea Wolves". Roger Moore did make a film entitled The Sea Wolves (1980), but it was not a Bond movie.
The Royal World Premiere of For Your Eyes Only (1981) was held on 24 June 1981 at London's Odeon Leicester Square Theatre in the presence of British Royals 'Prince Charles' and the then Lady Diana Spencer [Princess Diana] of England. The Gala Charity Premiere Benefit was held in aid of the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation. The launch was attended by then future James Bond Pierce Brosnan with then wife Cassandra Harris, who had appeared in the film.
Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) says to James Bond (Roger Moore) "Greek women, like Elektra, always avenge their loved ones". Coincidentally, about eighteen years later in the later Bond film The World Is Not Enough (1999), the female antagonist villain in the film is called Elektra King (Sophie Marceau). Both Bouquet and Marceau are French actresses.
Carole Bouquet had previously visited the set of Moonraker (1979) as the actress is French and interiors and some exteriors of that movie were filmed in Paris, France. She was remembered when it came to casting this movie. Two actors in the movie had previously appeared in the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967). John Hollis (Bald Man in wheelchair aka unofficially Ernst Stavro Blofeld) played a monk whilst John Wells (Dennis Thatcher) was Q's assistant Fordise.
In the Identigraph scene, Bond installs a removable disk-pack in the disk drive cabinet. Each pack consisted of several platters and typically held only about 1 megabyte of data. They were obsoleted by vastly smaller and cheaper floppy disks.
The name of the Jamaican Bond girl Judy Havelock in the "For Your Eyes Only" short story was changed to Greek Bond girl Melina Havelock in the film. The Cuban Major Hector Gonzales also comes from this short story. The Lisl Baum character from the "Risico" short story also had a name change to Contessa (Countess) Lisl Von Schlaf for the movie. The Aristotle Kristatos and Columbo ("The Dove") character names also come from "Risico," but Henrico Colombo was an Italian in the book - the movie changed him to Milos Columbo, a Greek.
The opening scene where Bond visits his wife Teresa's grave was written as a way to introduce the new Bond actor, thus linking the new actor to elements from previous Bond films. Namely, Timothy Dalton, who was approached to take over as Bond in this film. Dalton declined, as he disliked the direction the series was taking at the time.
Twelfth James Bond movie in the EON Productions James Bond film series. Fifth James Bond film to star Roger Moore as James Bond. It was the eleventh to feature Q, the tenth to feature Desmond Llewelyn as Q and it was the 14th James Bond movie overall.
The title of any Bond film is also a line of dialogue in the movie; in this film, it's Melina who says "For your eyes only" to Bond at the climax. It's also on a classified report that Bond reads in M's office.
The literal translations of some of this film's foreign language titles include Only For Your Eyes (France, Italy, Spain); On A Deadly Mission (Germany); Agent 007: Strict Confidence (Denmark); From A Lethal Viewpoint (Sweden); Top Secret (Finland); 007 For Your Eyes Only (Brazil); Only [strictly] For Your Eyes (Norway) and 007 Only For Your Eyes (Portugal)
Melina Havelock is the first vengeful Bond Girl out to settle a score with Hector Gonzales, who murdered her parents. In Quantum of Solace (2008), Camille Montes seeks vengeance upon General Medrano for murdering her father and the rape and murder of her mother and sister.
Vehicles featured included two Lotus Esprit Turbo 2.2 sportscars, one white and one copper metallic to contrast against the white snow after the other is blown up; a yellow Citroën 2CV fitted out with a Citroën GS 4-cylinder boxer engine for a drive in the country to escape two black Peugeot 504 sedans; black Yamaha XJ 500 and Yamaha 500 XT motorcycles; Hector Gonzales's black, yellow & white Cessna U206G Stationair Amphibian seaplane; a remote-control Universal Exports red & white Mi6 Augusta / Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter; Aris Kristatos' black Everflex top white Rolls Royce Silver Shadow / Silver Wraith II car; a white two-person Neptune lock-out submersible exploratory mini-submarine; a PZL-3A / PZL Mi-2 / Polish Mil Mi-2 standard Soviet light helicopter; Colombo's yacht SS Colombina; the archaeological research vessel Triana; a black and yellow one-person atmospheric submersible Osel Mantis mini-submarine; the fishing trawler electronic surveillance spy ship HMS St. Georges containing one ATAC device; Emile Locque's black Mercedes Benz 280SE; a black GP Beach Buggy; and Aris Kristatos' motor yacht the Santa Mavra.
The whole film is strongly reminiscent of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). In both films Bond is with a Countess, on a beach, threatened by mooks, kicks a gun out of a mook's hand, and he's wearing a tuxedo sans jacket. Both films show Bond at a casino with the aforementioned Countess. Both times the women are losing at baccarat. The opening teaser sequence shows Tracy Bond's grave and Blofeld in a neck-brace. Also the fact in this film Melina is Half-English, Half-Greek. In OHMSS Tracy was Half-English,Half-Italian. Both films have Bond allied with a crime syndicate figure who doesn't sell drugs. Bond also escapes in both films by riding in the car of the female lead who does the majority of the driving. Both films have a wedding scene and Bond riding in a helicopter piloted by someone else. Both films have Bond speaking with a "priest" at some point. Both films are set in the Alps at one point, show a Bond Girl on ice,have Bond on skis getting shot at, and have a bobsled track fight/battle sequence. Mountain climbers are shown in both at some point. Both films have a Germanic female character who is in charge of a girl/girls. Finally, in both films Bond and his crime syndicate ally assault a mountaintop lair.
The first line of the Ian Fleming James Bond short-story "For Your Eyes Only" read: "The most beautiful bird in Jamaica, and some say the most beautiful bird in the world, is the streamer-tail or doctor humming-bird." The last line read: "She fell in behind and followed him, and as she walked she pulled the tired bits of golden-rod out of her hair and undid a ribbon and let the pale gold hair fall down to her shoulders."
Wide public interest in the 1980 Lake Placid USA Winter Olympics was the inspiration for the production to use a Winter Olympics location and to include story action within its associated sports. The film used the Italian Alps location of Cortina D'Ampezzo which had hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics. As such, there are sequences set at Cortina D'Ampezzo's Winter Olympic venues. Winter sports featured in the film include the biathlon, ski jump, ice hockey, downhill skiing, ice skating, cross-country skiing and bobsled toboggan run. Cast member Lynn-Holly Johnson (now Givens) was a professional ice skater, noticed by Albert R. Broccoli for her turn at acting in Ice Castles (1978). Her character in the film was an aspiring Winter Olympic medalist funded by Aristotle Kristatos.
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for this movie include Olin Skis; Bogner Ski Suits; Seiko Time (U.K.) including the Seiko H357 Duo Display & Seiko 7549-7009 watches; Diner's Club; Philips Industries; Garmont Boots; Mitsui Yamaha UK Motorbikes; Tyrolia Ski Bindings; Visa Card; Lotus Cars, S.A.; Automobile Citroën; American Express; Kelloggs; Interflora Florists; Scubapro Diving Equipment; Jewel Water Buggies; Osel Mantis one-man submersibles; Perry Oceanographic submarines; and Normalair-Garrett (NGL) Deep Dive 55 sea diving helmets, wet-suits and breathing equipment including the Deep-Dive 500 lift support system.
This movie is one of a handful of action-thriller films made within a five year time-span around the time of the mid to late 1970s that used a mountaintop monastery in Greece. The pictures include Sky Riders (1976), Escape to Athena (1979) and For Your Eyes Only (1981).
The character at the start of the movie billed as Man in Wheelchair is unofficially Ernst Stavro Blofeld but not called that for legal reasons due to the Thunderball (1965) law suit with Kevin McClory. Blofeld is the series' earlier arch villain nemesis of James Bond. The surname of the Ernst Stavro Blofeld character was allegedly named after Thomas Blofeld with whom James Bond creator Ian Fleming went to school with at Eton College. Also known as Tom Blofeld, he was a Norfolk farmer, a fellow member of Boodle's, and the Chairman of the Country Gentleman's Asssociation. His son is cricket commentator Henry Blofeld. Ernst Blofeld's date of birth in the literary James Bond stories is the same date as Fleming's birthday which is 28th May 1908. Moreover, Ernest Cuneo was a friend of Fleming's. According to the book "Martinis, Girls and Guns: 50 Years of 007" (2003) by Martin Sterling and Gary Morecambe: "Cuneo may have also have inspired Blofeld's forenames - it is but a short leap from Ernest Cuneo to Ernst Stavro". According to the book "For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming + James Bond" (2009) by Ben Macintyre: "Alternatively, Blofeld may owe his name to China scholar John Blofeld, who was a member of Fleming's club Boodles, and whose father was named Ernst". In addition, the book "The Bond Code: The Dark World of Ian Fleming and James Bond" (2008) by Philip Gardner states: "The name is also revealing in a psychological way. Ernst is Teutonic for 'earnest', and Stavros is Greek for 'victor', and so he is the 'earnest victor'", and "the name Blofeld means 'blue field', a swipe at his own blue blood rampant in the field, like heraldry", and moreover, "As the creator of SPECTRE, Blofeld is in reality the spectre of Ian Fleming that looms ever present within his divided mind".
Robbin Young was the Winner of the "Be a James Bond Girl" Competition as Girl in Flowershop. Playboy Magazine, which had had a long association with James Bond, ran a competition in their magazine for a reader to become a Bond Girl in 1980. The prize was a cameo in this movie and a photo-spread in the magazine. Young appeared in the flower shop scene when motorbikes crash into the florist's front window. Playboy published some of the James Bond short stories by Ian Fleming including "The Hildebrand Rarity" in 1960 whilst the James Bond character was seen reading a copy of the magazine in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and Bond has a Playboy Club membership card in Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
The film and source short story and compilation novel title is a variation on the real life espionage term "Eyes Only" meaning restricted viewing to certain personnel. 'The Free Dictionary' website defines 'Eyes Only' as meaning "meant to be seen only by the addressee; confidential" and "official classification for documents; meant to be seen by only the person to whom it is directed".
The expression "For Her Eyes Only" is a variation on the real life espionage term "Eyes Only" meaning restricted viewing to certain personnel. 'The Free Dictionary' website defines 'Eyes Only' as meaning "meant to be seen only by the addressee; confidential" and "official classification for documents; meant to be seen by only the person to whom it is directed".
It was an early intention of the production to put James Bond in a scene with Greece's classic architectural building, The Parthenon. Old world architecture had previously been a backdrop for Bond in From Russia with Love (1963) (Istanbul and The Basilica Cistern) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) (Cairo and The Pyramids). But in this case permission was refused to film at The Parthenon.
In the German dubbed version the name "Lisl" is changed to "Lisa". This was probably done because "Lisl" or "Liesel", both nicknames of "Elisabeth", are only used in Southern Germany and Austria and even there they have become slightly outdated. The character is supposed to be of Prussian heritage therefore "Lisl" would probably have led to confusion or even laughter among German audiences.
Robbin Young: The Winner of the "Be a James Bond Girl" Competition as Girl in Flowershop. Playboy Magazine, which had had a long association with James Bond, ran a competition in their magazine for a reader to become a Bond Girl in 1980. The prize was a cameo in this movie and a photo-spread in the magazine. Young appeared in the flower shop scene when motorbikes crash into the florist's front window. Playboy published some of the James Bond short stories by Ian Fleming including "The Hildebrand Rarity" in 1960 whilst the James Bond character was seen reading a copy of the magazine in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and Bond has a Playboy Club membership card in Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
A line of dialogue had to be cut from the opening helicopter sequence due to legal reasons involving Kevin McClory. The bald man could not be called Blofeld as Kevin McClory had won a court case some years previous and owned the rights to the use of SPECTRE and Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Unofficially disposing of Blofeld so early in the film was producer Albert R. Broccoli's way of telling McClory that the success of 007 did not depend on him and he got get rid of Blofeld once and for all. McClory only a couple of years later released a rival Bond movie to the franchise'next installment Octopussy (1983), Never Say Never Again (1983), featuring the Blofeld character played by Max von Sydow. Blofeld has not appeared in EON productions since this movie until Spectre (2015), after the rights matter was finally settled in 2013.
Roger Moore hated the end scene with Margaret Thatcher. He felt it didn't suit the seriousness of the rest of the film. He also didn't like getting a clue about the ATAC from a parrot. Moore thought that's the type of silliness he usually got accused of.
Roger Moore was not happy about the scene where he cold-bloodedly kills Locque by pushing his teetering car off a cliff. Although Moore acknowledged that this was a Bond thing to do, he didn't feel that it was a Roger Moore Bond thing to do. Michael G. Wilson also added that he and Richard Maibaum, along with John Glen, toyed with other ideas surrounding that scene, but ultimately everyone, even Moore, agreed to do the scene as originally written.
The first scene in this film shows James Bond visiting his wife's grave to lay a bouquet of roses on her grave then finally get his personal vengeance on Blofeld. As this is the twelfth film in the James Bond franchise and half of the film franchise is the sixth film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). James Bond was meant to end his vengeance on Blofeld after another six film hiatus in the events occurred in the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).