Roger Moore on his DVD commentary has said that this is definitely his least favorite Bond movie of the seven he starred in, mainly because of the increased violence but also because he felt he was too old for the part and, as confirmed in his autobiography, he felt there was no chemistry between himself and Tanya Roberts, and a genuine dislike of Grace Jones.
The Remy-Julienne Stunt Team from France did many of the stunts in this movie, but in the San Francisco segment, a scene in which Roger Moore was supposed to be driving a fire truck, the stunt driver was too short to reach the pedals and properly operate the truck. There wasn't much time to 'rig' the truck so Moore volunteered to drive it himself, quite expertly as noted by the local San Francisco Teamsters. Moore claims he was a lorry driver among other things before his acting paid the bills.
Although only appearing very briefly, this movie is Dolph Lundgren's first on-screen role, playing General Gogol's KGB bodyguard Venz. He landed the position because he was dating Grace Jones at the time of the filming, and was conveniently on set when director John Glen realized he quickly needed someone to fill in as a simple gun wielding body guard.
According to former CIA agent Tony Mendez (the subject of the spy film Argo (2012)) after watching this film his superior at the CIA asked him did they have any facial recognition technology as depicted in 'A View to a Kill'. When Mendez told him they did not he ordered them to develop it.
The casting of Grace Jones and selection of Duran Duran to perform the theme song were seen as attempts to help market the film (and potential future James Bond movies) towards a younger audience, specifically the so-called MTV Generation.
The disclaimer, "Neither the name Zorin nor any other name or character in this film is meant to portray a real company or actual person" was added after producers discovered a real company known as Zoran Ladicorbic Ltd. Their industry was fashion design.
When Grace Jones as May Day screams during the mine sequence when sparks fly around her, her screams are for real. She did not know that electric cables around her would go off as a special effect for the scene.
This was Lois Maxwell's final appearance as Miss Moneypenny. Apparently, after she was told that she would be retiring from the role, she thought that she could become the M character as a promotion. However, at the time producer Albert R. Broccoli believed that audiences would not accept James Bond being given orders by woman. The M character did become a lady a decade later when Judi Dench took on the role in GoldenEye (1995).
The title song was written by John Barry and Duran Duran and was sung by Duran Duran. It has been the only ever James Bond song to reach #1 in the USA. It stayed at the top position for two weeks out of its seventeen week run in the charts. It entered both the UK and USA charts on 18 May 1985 and it peaked at No. #2 in the UK charts. The soundtrack album charted in the UK on 22 June 1985 where it went to No. #81. In the USA, the soundtrack album peaked at No. #38 after entering the charts on 29 June 1985.
Filming was delayed when the "007 Stage" at Pinewood Studios burned down on 27 June 1984. It was totally rebuilt in less than four months, and renamed "The Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage". Unintentionally, the title song of the movie was called "Dance Into The Fire". The stage burnt down again in July 2006 just after filming had been completed on Casino Royale (2006).
Just before the jump off the Eiffel Tower stunt was to be undertaken, two thrill-seeking members of the public made an unauthorized jump off Paris' famous landmark. It has long been a dare, lark and thrill for people to jump off famous structures without permission. The first of the film's jumps was so successful that the second jump was canceled thereby eliminating any further risk, cost and time. However, as mentioned in Inside 'A View to a Kill' (2000), two of the crew, including Don 'Tweet' Caltvedt, allegedly went and made an unauthorized jump as they were apparently so disappointed that they didn't get to jump off the Eiffel Tower. The non-permitted stunt jump cost them their jobs as it jeopardized the remaining filming of the shoot in the French capital.
Dianne Feinstein was the mayor of San Francisco at the time of filming. Because Roger Moore was her favorite of the first three actors to play Bond, she granted all the necessary permits to film in the city.
As reported by trade paper Variety on 26 November 1985 whilst this movie was still in release in some territories, Roger Moore officially had advised producer Albert R. Broccoli that he would be retiring from the role of James Bond.
After Albert R. Broccoli told Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny) that she would not return for the next "Bond" film, he commented that they were the only two people from Dr. No (1962) who were still working on the series.
The Eiffel Tower features prominently in the movie. In the earlier James Bond film Moonraker (1979), it is mentioned that the villain Hugo Drax actually bought the structure but his application to transport the tower was refused.
The name on the cat's bowl is PUSSY. The word has previously been used as part of one of the most ever popular Bond girl's name, Pussy Galore, in the novel and movie Goldfinger (1964) as well as in the short story and James Bond movie Octopussy (1983), where it appeared in an actual title. It's a word that is very much associated with the James Bond universe.
The title song for this film, "Dance Into the Fire (A View To A Kill)", was the last song recorded by the rock group Duran Duran before the band briefly split up. According to the sleeve notes for this movie's CD soundtrack, as a joke, composer John Barry used the melody from this song in the score for the scene where James Bond and Stacy Sutton escape from the fire in San Francisco City Hall. The leader singer, Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran, shares a surname with Sir Otto Le Bon, ancestor of James Bond mentioned in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). At the end of the music video for this song, Simon Le Bon says: "Bon. Simon Le Bon" like the famous Bond catchphrase of the film series, "Bond. James Bond". Coincidentally, the Danish title for the earlier James Bond movie Thunderball (1965) was actually called "Agent 007 Into The Fire."
Because of the unprecedented level of co-operation from the San Francisco authorities, producer Albert R. Broccoli insisted that the film's premiere take place in the city. It was held at the Palace of Fine Arts, and was the series' first World Premiere to be in the USA.
James Bond utilized two aliases in this movie, in 3rd place after 2nd ranked Octopussy (1983) where he used three and Diamonds Are Forever (1971) where he used the most, four. The first alias was as James St. John Smythe whilst visiting Zorin's horse sales. The second alias was as journalist James Stock (a pun on stocks and bonds) of the London Financial Times whilst in San Francisco. In neither case did he use a disguise.
The idea to set the story in California's Silicon Valley was a concept conceived by producer and co-writer Michael G. Wilson. In the first draft, Zorin wanted to destroy Silicon Valley by changing the course of the Halley Comet, but it was later decided that this plot was not believable.
The final scenes for Lois Maxwell and Roger Moore each make reference to their end with the series. Maxwell's last scene as Moneypenny shows her in tears, while Moore's last scene as Bond has him, quite literally, throwing in the towel.
Patrick Macnee got the role of Sir Godfrey Tibbet because he wanted to be in a Bond movie, and also because he and Roger Moore were the best of friends. Macnee was also friends with Bond creator Ian Fleming, and subsequently has done the narration for the Bond films when they were released on DVD in 1995 and 2000.
First James Bond movie to have an associated video game produced tied-in with it. The game had two versions, one was called James Bond 007: A View to a Kill (1985) and the other A View to a Kill (1985). Though there had been a James Bond video game produced prior to it called James Bond 007 (1983), this was the first to have a Bond film's name which was also the name of the video game. A video game called "James Bond as seen in Octopussy" had been developed in 1984 by Capcom and Parker Brothers for the previous film Octopussy (1983). It was designed for the Atari 2600/5200, Commodore 64 and ColecoVision platforms but was never released.
First James Bond movie where Michael G. Wilson, stepson of Albert R. Broccoli, is credited as a fully-fledged producer. He had previously been an executive producer on Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981) and Octopussy (1983) and a special assistant to the producer on The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). His association with the James Bond series started with Goldfinger (1964) in which he was a 3rd assistant director and made an appearance, the cameo becoming a tradition regularly from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). He was also a scriptwriter for the series on five occasions. This was also the first Bond film that Broccoli shared a producer's credit with anyone besides original Bond co-producer 'Harry Saltzman (I)'.
The opening sequence of this film is the first time 007 is depicted on a mission inside Russia. Specifically, it was the snow-capped region of Siberia inside Russia (which was actually filmed in Iceland)
When Stacey Sutton shows Bond the earth tremor details on her home computer, the electronic sound made by the computer is the same sound as that made by the computer in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) when the submarine-launched missiles are in the air.
With the release of this film, Roger Moore's Bond has bedded a total of 17 women, one more than Sean Connery's (Bond beds four women in this film, which is a tie for the most (at time of release) with the unofficial Never Say Never Again (1983)). (Connery's Bond did bed one character twice in two different movies, counting as one woman).
Some people felt that a little bit of artistic license was taken with one of the movie's main posters as James Bond was shown as being considerably taller than May Day. However, Grace Jones's height is 5' 10½" (1.79 m) whilst Roger Moores height is 6' 1" (1.85 m), making James Bond approximately taller by 2 1/2 inches (or 6 cm). It should be noted though that Jones was wearing four inch heels in the picture, which would have made her taller than Moore in reality.
This is the only James Bond movie to have the title from an Ian Fleming work be amended or changed in some way. The source title which is from the "For Your Eyes Only" collection of short stories was called "From a View to a Kill". This was also this movie's working title, as seen in the end credits of Octopussy (1983), but the word "From" was dropped before filming began in May 1984.
The literal translations of some this film's foreign language titles include include Moving Target (Italy); Dangerously Yours (Canada & France); A Panorama To Kill (Spain); Dangerous Mission (Belgium); Operation: Moving Target (Greece); In The Face of Death (West Germany); Murder In The Eyes (Hebrew/Israel); The Beautiful Prey (Japan); Living Target (Sweden); 007: In The Aim Of The Assassins (or 007 At The Aim Of The Killers) / The Preview To A Death (Latin America); 007 In The Target Of The Assassins (Portugal and Brazil); 007 And A View Of Death (or 007 And The Look of Death) (Finland) and Agent 007 In The Line Of Fire (Denmark)
This film is often credited with helping to spark the interest in snowboarding due to its use in the pre-credits opening action snow sequence. The The Beach Boys song "California Girls" can be briefly heard as an in-joke when James Bond snowboards. The song however does not feature on the soundtrack album.
For an unknown reason there are several inside jokes in the film that refer to the JFK assassination. Zorin's "Main Strike" is scheduled for the 22nd, the same day as the assassination. Patrick Macnee's character is murdered and named "Sir Godfrey Tibbet." Dallas police officer JD Tippit was killed the same day as the assassination. The Texan is named "Conley." Texas Governor John Connally was also shot in the assassination.
When 007 meets his CIA contact (Chuck Lee) in San Francisco - there is a reference to a South African mining accident. Roger Moore previously starred in Gold (1974) where he portrayed a gold mine general manager who uncovers a plot to stage a gold mining accident (with a plot similar to Goldfinger (1964)).
Together, both Paris and the Eiffel Tower were a major location for this James Bond movie. But it wasn't the first time they had been used in an EON Productions official James Bond film. Paris was seen in the opening scenes of Thunderball (1965) which included a long-shot of the Eiffel Tower.
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for this movie include Renault Automobiles; Michelin Tyres; Stolichnaya Vodka; BP; Phillips Computers; Phillips Electronics; Lafite Rothschild wine; The Sharper Image; Cartier; Bollinger Champagne, particularly a Bollinger '75; Diner's Club; Chevron Oil USA; Seiko Time (U.K.) Ltd.; Whiskas and two spin-off video-games, A View to a Kill (1985) and James Bond 007: A View to a Kill (1985).
Vehicles featured included two Zorin airship blimps, one with green and white and the other with green, red and white markings, the larger being a SkyShip 6000 and the smaller is marked G-BIHN and was inflatable from a Portakabin; a 1962 silver Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II chauffeured by Tippett but owned by the producer; a 1984 blue Renault 11 TXE French taxi; a Peugeot 604 limousine; a 1977 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine (used by Zorin's thugs), a 1985 Ford LTD US sedan; a truck carrying explosives; a red American LaFrance Tiller Fire Engine Truck belonging to the San Francisco Fire Department; a MBB Bo-105 helicopter; Stacy's Jeep Cherokee XJ; Pola's 1984 General Motors Chevrolet Corvette C4 hire-car; Polaris Indy 600 snowmobiles; an Aerospatiale SA 341/342 Gazelle helicopter; an Iceberg Mini-Submarine and various makes and models for the San Francisco PD squad and patrol cars such as late 1970s Dodge Monacos, Dodge Diplomats, a Plymouth Volaré and vehicles typical of Mopar Squads, one of two James Bond movies ever to feature them.
In 1959, The "London Daily News" published an original Ian Fleming short story (conceived as a plot for an abandoned James Bond TV show) called "Murder Before Breakfast". Fleming felt the title did not capture the essence of the story and re-titled it "From A View To A Kill" when it was included in his "For Your Eyes Only" collection of five James Bond stories in 1960. Fleming found the inspiration for this new title from John Woodcock Grave's 1820 Cumberland Hunting Song, "D'Ye Ken John Peel". It read in part: "From the drag to the chase. From the chase to the view. From the view to a death in the morning..." Fleming adapted the third stanza for his short story title.
The 1962 silver Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II seen in the film was actually owned by producer Albert R. Broccoli, who lent it to the production. Its license plate number in the film was 354 HYK. A duplicate model without an engine is used when Zorin and May Day push it into the lake.
Two classical pieces of music are excerpted in the movie. The piece of classical music heard during the French château sequence was Antonio Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" (Italian title is Le quattro stagioni). The piece of music heard during the hot tub sequence was classical music composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Neither piece of music though is included on the movie's soundtrack album as they are only excerpted for the movie.
The Eiffel Tower jump was made from a platform extending out into air which was necessary in order to perform the stunt. The platform was painted the same color as the Eiffel Tower and it can still be seen in the final film's footage.
The fishing-butterfly-hook-marionette kill in the Eiffel Tower restaurant was an unused concept from Moonraker (1979), where it would have been a poisonous bee brooch. Director John Glen suggested the change from bee to butterfly.
"A View To A Kill" is an abridged title derived from the Ian Fleming short story "From A View To A Kill". The title and the story's French setting and some Russian spies are the only common story elements of the film and the short story. The short story was included in the "For Your Eyes Only" short story anthology which was the first collection of Ian Fleming James Bond short stories. This 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. Working titles for the story included "The Rough with the Smooth" and "Murder Before Breakfast". The name of the Bond girl in the short story was Mary Ann Russell but this name was not used for the film.
According to Inside 'A View to a Kill' (2000), the color scheme of red, white and green of the Zorin airship was based on the Fuji Airship logo color scheme. This is because during a location scout, actual footage was used from this in the finished movie, and the long shots had to match the close-ups.
The only element of this film taken from the original Bond story by Ian Fleming is its title and the French location. However, it has been pointed out that the 1981 James Bond novel "Licence Renewed" by John Gardner features an Ascot horse-racing scene similar to that seen in this film.
Four novelizations based on this movie were written and published in 1985 as part of a series of children's' book tie-ins called "Find Your Fate". The novels were called (in order): Find Your Fate #11: James Bond in Win, Place, or Die; Find Your Fate #12: James Bond in Strike It Deadly; Find Your Fate #13: James Bond in Programmed for Danger and Find Your Fate #14: James Bond in Barracuda Run.
The Charity World Premiere of A View to a Kill (1985) was held on 22nd May 1985 at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts. The Gala Charity Premiere Benefit was held in aid of the (San Francisco's) Mayor's Youth Fund to benefit the Tenderloin Child Care Center. A Benefit Premiere was also held in Los Angeles on the following night on 23rd May 1985. The British and European Gala Royal Charity Premiere was held on 12 June 1985 at London's Odeon Leicester Square Theatre. This is the usual venue for Bond World Premieres. The after-premiere party was held at the Inner Temple Hall.
According to the James Bond encyclopedia by John Cork and Collin Stutz, Felix Leiter was originally going to be Bond's contact in San Francisco. However, owing to Chinatown being such a prominent part of the city, David Yip was cast as Chuck Lee instead.
as a woman in the crowd at Fisherman's Wharf. Adams happened to be visiting San Francisco when the film was in production there. Roger Moore got her to appear as an uncredited extra in a crowd scene, making her the only actress to appear in 3 Bond films (excluding actresses in recurring roles), after The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) and Octopussy (1983).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
This film was intensely disliked by Roger Moore himself. Moore who was barely on speaking terms with Grace Jones during filming. He did not consider this to be a real 007 movie. On the scene where Christopher Walken was machine-gunning hundreds of people, Moore said, "That wasn't Bond, those weren't Bond films. It stopped being what they were all about. You didn't dwell on the blood and the brains spewing all over the place."
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors forbade any falling stunt (as per The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979) and For Your Eyes Only (1981)) from the Golden Gate Bridge in fear of copy-cat suicides. As such, the death of Zorin was created by special optical effects.
The first line of the Ian Fleming James Bond "From a View to a Kill" short-story read: "The eyes behind the wide black rubber goggles were as cold as flint." The last line read: "Bond took the girl by the arm. He said: 'Come over here. I want to show you a bird's nest.' 'Is that an order?' 'Yes'."