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Positively surreal Blaxploitation Bond
Shawn Watson15 December 2006
And none the worse for it, since every Bond film needs a fresh spin on the same old formula. Roger Moore's first outing as JB is, in equal measures, comical and action-packed. You'll never get bored. But it's definitely the weirdest Bond ever with loads of utterly bizarre moments.

It begins with M turning up at JB's house in the early hours while he's pumping some Italian agent for information (don't you just love his initialled dressing gown). Before sending him to America to investigate a Harlem pimp known as Mister Big he delivers some gadgets from Q-Branch, including a very useful watch. Q himself, or Major Boothroyd if you want to call him by his proper name, doesn't make any appearance in this one.

Standing out like a Muslim in an airport, almost every single black person JB encounters in Harlem is on Mister Big's payroll. And they've got a seemingly endless bag of tricks to play on him. The funny thing about Moore is that he's very proper and British and doesn't think anything of walking into a tough Harlem bar while dressed up like the Duke of Edinburgh. His stunned reactions when they mess with his head are seriously funny.

The action then moves to Lousiana and a savage Caribbean island as JB uncovers a massive heroin plot. There's a particularly long speedboat chase across a bayou where JB encounters Sheriff J.W. Pepper, the most stereotypical southern redneck ever. Think of Texas Businessman from The Simpsons and you get the idea. JB also gets to dodge a hundred hungry Gators and do, many times over, Solitaire, Mister Big's Tarot card reader.

I'm not sure what kind of formidable villain uses a Tarot card reader to help him do business but when you also surround yourself with a hook-handed maniac called Tee-Hee, a quiet fat guy called Whisper and a seemingly unkillable voodoo high priest called Baron Samedi then you really do become a serious baddie. Right? He even goes on a big speech about how his master plan works before attempting to kill JB slowly. Obviously this makes much more sense than just shooting him right away. When will they learn?

Despite being the oldest actor to debut as Bond (at 46), Moore does look younger than Connery. And while Sean was gruff and Scottish, Moore is perpetually calm and refined, even in the face of danger (fingers being chopped-off, snake in the bath, being eaten by gators/sharks). Everything that the British once thought they were. He has a certain sarcastic edge that the other Bond actors lacked. While some of his films may have been the sillier of the franchise, Moore has always been my favorite. And the massive revolver and holster he uses at the end is so much more masculine than the usual, wimpy as hell, Walther PPK.

And, as much as I am no fan of Paul McCartney, you gotta love that theme song! Exciting and iconic at the same time. And also yet another juxtaposition in the weirdest Bond movie ever.

MI6, Harlem, Pimps, Paul McCartney, Gators, Heroin, Voodoo, Snakes, Sharks, Clairvoyance, Rednecks, Afros, Fake Afros, Fillet of Soul, Human Scarifice, Scarecrows and a small-headed man in a Top-Hat who lost a fight with chickens. Is this a Bond film or did the whole world just go insane?
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A new era for James Bond, and a fairly effective and enjoyable opening film.
Jonathon Dabell11 January 2005
Live and Let Die ushers in Roger Moore as the new James Bond. Prior to this movie, Bond had been played most often by Sean Connery, with the one exception being George Lazenby's short-lived stint in 1969 (On Her Majesty's Secret Service). Moore is very different to Connery and Lazenby. He plays Bond as a more relaxed, charming, humorous character. Over the years, many people have said that the Moore incarnation of Bond lacks the brutality of Connery's and the hard masculinity, but actually Moore is not the kind of actor to do Bond in that manner. He's merely playing to his own strengths, and creating a Bond that is akin to his acting style. I feel that Roger makes a perfectly likable 007, admittedly different to the character of the novels, but still a rousing screen hero.

The story has James Bond sent to solve the killing of three British agents. One was killed in New York, one in New Orleans, and the third on a voodoo-practising Caribbean island. Bond's starts his mission in New York, where he runs across a nasty black gangster named Mr Big and his gorgeous, tarot-reading accomplice Solitaire (Jane Seymour). Bond heads down to the Caribbean, where he "connects" Mr Big with a drug-smuggling big-shot named Dr Kananga. Then it's off to New Orleans, where Bond discovers that Kananga's master plan is to provide huge amounts of free heroin to the junkies of the world, creating a massive drug-reliant population and setting himself up as a supplier with a worldwide monopoly on the drug trade.

The title song, sung by Paul McCartney and Wings is one of the best of the series, a lively and powerful tune which fits the style and period of the film perfectly. Yaphet Kotto is a decent bad guy (his death scene at the end is both funny and memorable); Seymour is superb as the Bond girl (probably the best of the bunch apart from Barbara Bach in The Spy Who Loved Me). There are good set pieces as we have grown to expect from the Bond series, most notably a spectacular boat chase around the Louisiana bayous, a scene involving a bunch of hungry crocodiles, and a slick sequence featuring Bond's escape from corrupt island police aboard a slow and lumbering double decker bus. The film has some negatives, but not too many. The character of Baron Samedi doesn't fit in the film (check out that ludicrous closing shot, which seems to be hinting that Samedi is somehow immortal), and Clifton James's brash southern cop is an immature and irritating character who might just as well have been left out of the final cut. On the whole this is a good start to the Moore era, though. One point of interest:- Live and Let Die also features a scene in Bond's house at the very start..... only once before have we seen where Bond lives, and that was at the start of Dr No.
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Bond Over Easy, Cool But Dumb
Bill Slocum24 July 2004
Was Roger Moore channeling Austin Powers in 1973? There's a scene in this, his first go-round as 007, where Bond is tied up and his arm is cut to draw blood and attract some hungry sharks swimming below. Moore twitches his eyebrow and asks: "Perhaps we can try something in a simpler vein."

Those sharks don't need any frickin' laser beams on their heads to get you to smell the Austin. Moore gets a lot of blame for turning the Bond movies into weakly-plotted farces, ignoring that the series had been moving in that direction since "Goldfinger" and that the previous installment, Sean Connery's final EON bow "Diamonds Are Forever," was every bit as goofy. Also, Moore could deliver a more serious Bond when the script allowed, and two of the finest Bonds ever, "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "For Your Eyes Only," were his.

But there's no getting around this, "Live And Let Die" is a dumb movie. The gadgets are silly, the villain's scheme is ill-defined, the storyline is frenetic and unengaging, the action is plodding and overlong. Moore starts out not quite know how to play Bond here, while the movie requires him to play the fool sauntering through Harlem in a double-breasted suit like the Prince of Wales waiting for some natives to show him around.

But this film makes me smile, in part because I'm young enough to remember what it was all about when it came out. If this was Bond for the cheap seats, it at least delivered the goods, with some vivid supporting characters, a knockout visual style, amazing title music from Paul McCartney, and most importantly for Moore's future in the series, drop-dead quips. My favorite is when the nasty Tee Hee twists his pistol muzzle out of shape with a metal pincer arm, then giggles when he hands it back: "Funny how the least little thing amuses him."

Julius Harris is menacing but charming as Tee Hee, mostly mute except when he sticks Bond in a gator pond and suggests the best way to disarm the beasts is to try and pull out their teeth. Chief villain Yaphet Kotto has his moments, too, but with odd shifts of character. In the beginning, he's stone-cold Ron O'Neal in "Superfly," and at the end, he's plummy Charles Gray in "Diamonds Are Forever." Jane Seymour is Bond's love interest, and why she goes off with him is another of those things best not thought about long.

There are two great characters in this movie, though, bigger than just about anything seen in a Bond movie before who kind of work in tandem in overhauling any objections about this film being too "cartoony." Clifton James is redneck sheriff J.W. Pepper, who throws off one madman line after another while Bond is off on one of his long silly chase scenes. James mugs through every scene he's in, rolling his tongue around, playing off everyone and everything, and delivering every hackneyed Southern stereotype to such righteous perfection it's enough to make cotton sprout out of his ears. Bond purists who whine should just take their vodka martinis shaken not stirred and let the rest of us enjoy the craziness. The series is supposed to be fun; if you want serious espionage go watch "Smiley's People." (I grant you Pepper shouldn't have returned in the next Bond film; that was a mistake.)

The other great outsized character is Geoffrey Holder as perhaps the most mysterious figure in the whole series, Baron Samedi. Is he supernatural? Is he just crazy from the heat? He's certainly different, a guy who sides with the bad guys without quite being one of them. The always-eerie quality of his appearances, either dancing in a big hotel production number or quietly sitting in a cemetery playing a flute, make you question whether there ain't something to that voodoo after all.

It's silly bashing Pepper but praising Samedi, they are both equally so unreal, in a way that's in tune with the rest of the movie. The best thing to do is enjoy the different kinds of fun on offer. Frankly, not having these guys around might push this film on the bad side of Spinal Tap's "fine line between stupid and clever," the side where "A View To A Kill" and "Moonraker" are on.

But "Live And Let Die" is a winner. It's a fun movie that brings me back to younger days, when my heart was an open book. It's a nice transitional film for the series in that Moore managed a mostly smooth entrance to the role of Bond. And it has one of the best final shots in movie history. That's all I'll say there; you know it if you saw it.
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More Action. More Excitement. More Adventure.
Spikeopath20 May 2012
Live and Let Die is directed by Guy Hamilton and adapted to screenplay by Tom Mankiewicz from the novel written by Ian Fleming. It stars Roger Moore, Yaphet Koto, Jane Seymour, David Hedison, Julius W Harris, Gloria Hendry, Earl Jolly Brown, Clifton James and Geoffrey Holder. Music is scored by George Martin and cinematography by Ted Moore.

Bond 8 and 007 is assigned to investigate the recent murders of MI6 agents in New Orleans, San Monique and New York. Suspicion falls on San Monique ruler Dr Kananga, a man who has definite links to Harlem crime lord Mr Big. As 007 digs deeper he uncovers a plot to corner the world's heroin market, but halting such a plan is hindered by the presence of voodoo in his midst.

Connery was gone, for good this time, no amount of cash would entice him to don the tuxedo for a "legitimate" Bond movie again....... This meant that producers Broccoli & Saltzman would be showcasing the third actor to play James Bond in a four year period! After the fall out of the casting of Lazenby in OHMSS, it was agreed that a established actor was needed this time around. Timothy Dalton was mooted, as he was for OHMSS (he was never offered the role though until 1986), but it came down to just two actors, Roger Moore & Michael Billington. Billington would screen test for the role of 007 a few times in his life but never landed the coveted role, as a sweetener he got to play a minor character in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me. So Roger Moore it was, someone the producers knew quite well and who was well in vogue after starring in The Persuaders and The Saint. He also was honoured to play the role, wanted it badly and accepted the fanaticism that went with it.

Moore's take on Bond the man was a world away from Connery, and rightly so, but Live and Let Die is not far removed from Connery's last outing, Diamonds Are Forever. In truth it's a weak script, with Mankiewicz probably under orders from above to play to Moore's strengths and keep the overt humour and cartoon escapades as a selling point. The decision to pitch Bond into a world of voodoo is a good one, and it was not, as some believe, an attempt to grasp the tails of the Blacksploitation market that had made waves in the early 70s. It's a better film than Diamonds Are forever, without doubt. The villains are memorably played, though Kananga's (Koto) demise is indicative of the daftness that would blight many Bond movies from here on in, and in Hamilton's hands the action, especially an adrenalin pumping speedboat chase, is quality entertainment. Top blunderbuss theme tune, too, from Paul McCartney & Wings. While Felix Leiter is back on good charming form in the hands of Hedison (a real life friend of Moore and it shows).

Problems elsewhere, though, stop this from being a great Bond movie. Much of the film is made up of scenes that are played purely for smiles rather than for dramatic purpose. In short a Bond movie has stopped taking itself seriously. The introduction of Sheriff Pepper (James) is pointless, the beautiful Seymour shows promise but then becomes one of "those" Bond girls who is a liability to 007 outside of the bedroom, and the film is padded out with scenes that offer nothing important to the story. Hendry's Rosie Carver is a dope and poorly written, though it gave Bond his first inter-racial "dalliance", something that the producers were nervous about behind the scenes. While there's no Q! And George Martin's score is very hit and miss.

A new actor playing Bond and many failings in the picture, could Bond still succeed? Yes indeed! Moore, in spite of not getting good page to work from and getting stick from the critics, put his own stamp on the role by looking smooth, having an excellent vocal delivery and being someone the girls wanted to bed and the boys wanted to be. The box office sang to the tune of over $160 million, over $40 million more than Diamonds Are Forever. The tag-line ran "More Action, More Excitement, More Adventure", though not entirely accurate, there was indeed an abundance of fun play and gadgets are us (Felix Lighter, priceless). Bond was set to continue coining it in for the foreseeable future, but the dye had been cast and Bond ran the risk of becoming purely a cartoon caricature..... 7/10
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"Names is for tombstones, baby!"
J.Bond8 August 1998
Ignoring a Roger Moore who presents a bit of a distraction for viewers watching the series in order, Live And Let Die is an excellent example of how pop culture helps the Bond series survive throughout the decades. The growing concern of a drug-using society at the time is featured, and an immensely popular Paul McCartney does the title theme - indicating that the Bond series need not be rooted solidly in the three-piece suit days of 1962. Jane Seymour gives an excellent performance in her "introductory" role (although it was her fourth film). A bit of black magic and voodoo intertwined with gadgetry and high-tech machinery will have the viewer wondering if, indeed, there was magic in the movie after all - indeed, the cards WERE always right under Solitaire's power. Magical or not, Live and Let Die provides an interesting doorway to the other five Moore pictures - J.W. Pepper returns and Tee Hee seems to be Jaws' forerunner.
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Moore introduces his trademark cigar into his interpretation of 007...
Nazi_Fighter_David22 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
'Live and Let Die' is the only film that matches Bond exclusively against African-American drug czars... It is the only other movie besides 'Dr. No' with no briefing with Q, no meeting in M's office, and no musical score from the great John Barry... The motion picture begins with one of the most arresting openings of any Bond film, the killing of three British agents: one in Harlem New York, one in New Orleans and one on the island of San Monique...

Bond is called to investigate the deaths of the three British spies... He is menaced by a venomous snake in his hotel room, and cornered in the middle of a pool full of alligators... He stumbles upon a heroin trade operation presided by two contrasting personalities, Dr. Kananga and Mr. Big...

Yaphet Kotto is ruthless and calculating as the black master criminal... His position is shored up by the application of fortune-telling and magic charms... Under the alias of Harlem hood Mr. Big, Kananga plans to flood the US with free heroin... His entourage includes the mystical Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder) who may or may not be a supernatural being, and Tee Hee (Julius W. Harris) one of the best henchmen in a Bond film... Tee Hee is an intimidating giant enforcer with quite a 'right hand'... He seems amused by 'the least little thing,' after he twists Bond's gun barrel...

Before he became James Bond on screen, Roger Moore was a successful television actor who was respected for his work in such series as "Maverick," "The Persuaders," and, especially, "The Saint."

In his first appearance as 007, Moore wears a refined black jacket, dark gloves, and a magnetic wristwatch... He carries a shark gun that fires compressed-air bullets, and drinks the martini shaken not stirred... He enjoys a large cigar after a hot bath... He tries hard to conceal the presence of his early "guest," and goes into trouble when he tricks a mystical mistress using a fake deck of tarot cards... He claims to be a 'gentleman' when he refuses to tell his interrogator whether or not he's deflowered his chaste priestess... He becomes highly in danger in the land of black magic and fetishes...

Jane Seymour looks innocent in the ways of the world... She is lovely as the clairvoyant heroine Solitaire, whose powers fade after being romanced by the suave, and handsome English 007 Spy...

Rosie Carver is Playboy bunny Gloria Hendry, the weak CIA agent whose loyalty is controlled by a few bloody feathers...

Madeleine Smith is the voluptuous Miss Caruso who's undone by Bond's sheer magnetism... She is seduced with the aid of a watch that magnetically tugged down her zipper...

This eighth James Bond film is an entertaining spy adventure which went so far as to fail to include Q, forever played by actor Desmond Llewelyn...
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Good Bond movie with a good line in bad guys
bob the moo4 July 2002
Several British agents are killed in America and in the Caribbean. Despite the difference in how the murders occur they seem linked together by drugs. Bond begins to investigate and finds links between the American drug dealer Mr Big and the mysterious owner of a Caribbean island Kananga. While investigating Bond falls foul of both despite gaining the affections of Kananga's beautiful mistress Solitaire.

Roger Moore's first Bond is one of his best. The film wisely steps away from those regular bad guys the Russians and gets a new feel by actually having non-white main characters. The plot is pretty good and doesn't have the usual `take over the world' feel to it. There is plenty of silly stuff of course but the stunts are quite good and Bond has a new line in `eyebrow raised' humour.

Moore will never be the best Bond but he did make the role his own – adding an element of self-deprecating humour to the role. Yaphet Kotto is a good actor and makes a good bad guy. Jane Seymour isn't convincing as the mystic property of Kananga – she really should have been played by a black actress and it shows a lack of bravery on the side of the producers that they went with a white face as the lead Bond girl. Julius Harris is good as Tee Hee and Clifton James adds some comedy value as J.W. Pepper.

Overall this is one of Moore's best Bond movies and certainly stands out from previous films with numerous Russian baddies. Also the theme music is a really fun song from Wings.
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Peculiar, but not bad
fletch520 October 2000
As a whole, "Live and Let Die" is a pretty peculiar Bond film. Its characters and settings are rather unusual for a James Bond movie, not to mention the trifling with voodoo culture. However, the result is not bad.

Spiced with the awful 70s fashion, "Live and Let Die" is fun to watch. Of course the film has also intentional stylishness that shows particularly in the clever pre-credit sequence, which contains the murders of three British agents.

Yaphet Kotto gives a strong performance as the infamous main villain, Dr. Kananga. Kananga has many colorful henchmen, like the grinning Tee Hee, who does a very handy job opening a tin. Jane Seymour's Solitaire is a truly graceful Bond girl, but the useless role of Rosie Carver should have been deleted, or recast, at least. And where's Q?

"Live and Let Die" isn't Roger Moore's best Bond outing, but not his worst, either. It's definitely better than his next one, the thoroughly tiresome "The Man with the Golden Gun".
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Lean, mean, but lacklustre
ian-43331 October 2005
Roger Moore's debut as 007 was a bit wan but, in retrospect, probably his best outing. He looked pretty lean and mean for a 45 year-old. For a British audience, Moore (The Saint, The Persuaders) was the natural successor to Sean Connery.

Director Guy Hamilton makes this an expertly staged but somehow lacklustre affair. While the background voodoo theme is suitably bizarre, the main McGuffin about drugs smuggling is rather under-whelming for a Bond movie. Yaphet Kotto is a potentially strong baddie but has too little to do amid the familiar carnage and boat chases. And the introduction of the series' first out-rightly comic character in Sheriff JW Pepper presaged the self-defeating lapse into self-spoofing the films would increasingly take.

Nor does a heavy-handed score by Beatles producer George Martin help. Unlike regular Bond composer John Barry's music, Martin's is ponderous, overlaid onto the action rather than organic to it.

Still, Paul McCartney's blistering title-song really jolts Bond into the 70s. And Live and Let Die does have one of the best jokes in the entire series, in the opening sequence when a CIA agent, watching a New Orleans jazz funeral, innocently asks a nondescript fellow bystander: "Who's funeral is it…?"
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Roger Moore introduction as James Bond is likable and sympathetic in this spectacular adventure
ma-cortes20 December 2005
Various agents MI6 have dead. M(Bernard Lee) sends to 007 with license for kill to investigate it.Suspicion lead to Doctor Kananga(Yaphet Kotto) whose public image is a humanitarian person who defends his country into United Nations.He governs the island of San Monique.There lives totally submitted from infancy by Kananga,Solitaire(Jane Seymour).She is a psychic tarots cards reading and doesn't know about the life and acts as a marionette craving make his own way of life.His tutor(Kotto) believes that his virginal state originates her a sixth sense and he trusts the guesser quality to dodging the law.Others characters appear in the film are Baron Samedi(Geoffrey Holder).He's a Voodoo's chaman who controlled to San Monique people for executing the Kananga's orders .He takes his name of death's Voodoo God. The villainous Tee Hee(Julius Harris) , a giant killer copied posteriorly by others Bond films(Richard Kiel in ¨Spy who loved me¨).He enjoys deeply murdering with his steel arm that hooks the victims. Rosie Carver(Gloria Hendry) is an explosive CIA agent who brings to Bond towards the lush jungle of island.James Bond will confront against numerous dangers,odds,risks like the taking on starving crocodiles located in breeding place where there's a cartel saying: Trespassers will be eaten¨.Besides a breathtaking speedboats pursuit developed on everglades(in New Orleans,Louisiana)with bounds and leaps and intervention even of a headstrong sheriff(Clifton James)who pursues them with a police car.As always 007 will utilize several gadgets delivered by ¨Q¨ like a prodigious watch and an air bombing cartridges,both objects with special importance into the film. Spectacular and exciting final confrontation among Bond and enemies in the underground cave is narrated with moving and stimulating manner. Roger Moore as new James Bond is cool,lacked coldness and toughness characterized for Sean Connery however earned in irony,suavity and smoothness.Agreeable title song by Paul McCartney and Wings and sensational music score by George Martin. Colorful cinematography by Ted Moore.Movie is well directed by Guy Hamilton who also made others James Bond films.
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One of my favorite James Bond movies
kurciasbezdalas20 January 2009
I can't understand why some other people didn't like it. Actually this is the first Bond movie I've seen, it made a big impression on me and it still does. I found this movie being one of the most colorful Bond movies. There were few colorful villains, lots of action, some humor, and of course - Roger Moore who is my favorite James Bond. The story isn't typical for James Bond movies, it's more mystical this time, but I liked that. Of course nowadays when you watch this movie it may look cheesy in some scenes, but the action sequences where very exiting. Another reason why I liked this movie was the main theme song - Paul McCartney's Live and Let Die, which is yet my favorite James Bond theme.
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An Average Bond Aventure
Matthew Kresal22 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Updating Ian Fleming's most controversial novel, Live And Let Die, the producers, writer Tom Mankiewicz, and director Guy Hamilton choose to embrace the action packed comical Bond film as seen in the previous Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. Unlike that film, which turned out to be a very mixed bag, it works here.

Roger Moore's debut as Bond sets up the tone of the films to come. Roger is more comic than Connery or Lazenby and in his later films is stuck with very bad one liners. But here, Bond's one liners are mostly well written and while Roger is mostly comedic, when a serious moment comes, Roger for the most part can play well. Roger makes his own Bond and steps out of Connery's shadow so well that it is extremely hard to make a comparison. On the down side, the more comedic 007 doesn't help the film in the realism department and that hurts the film quiet a bit.

In the casting of Solitaire, Jane Seymour fits Ian Fleming's description of the character to perfection. Not only does Seymour look the part, she also plays the part well. Given that in both the novel and the film, Solitaire is a poorly defined character who Bond saves at every possible chance, Jane Seymour plays the role with believability that is rarely matched by an any other Bond girl. While some of the lines are cliché, the tarot card and ESP abilities of Solitaire give Seymour a chance to show off her considerable talents that have only improved over the years since this film.

In Doctor Kananga, we get the first African American villain in a Bond film. Yaphet Kotto brings considerable menace to the character that is turned on and off as Kananga is both a public figure and then as drug lord Mister Big. It must be noted the well done plot twist of Mister Big being Kananga, though it doesn't make a lot of sense. Two things ruin an otherwise memorable character: his death. His death is completely absurd and doesn't even seem realistic.

The supporting cast is mainly African American actors and actresses playing villains. That fact brings out the fact that while this a 007 adventure, it is also jumping on the blaxplotation bandwagon of the early 1970's and serves to date the film. Those actors are underwritten and way too often used for comic relief. Rosie Carver is another example. She is an interesting character who is underwritten to the extreme and we come off not caring that she is dead.

While on the subject of the supporting cast, it should be note that David Hedison makes a great Felix Lieter. The bad memory of Norman Burton's Lieter as this Bond and Lieter share a very believable friendship. It is only a shame that the character doesn't appear again for 14 years as he could have added a lot to the Moore films. If there is one outstanding example of a bad character in this film, it has to be Sheriff J.W. Pepper. This type of character is out of place in a Bond film and one almost wonder's what everyone was thinking when this character was added. Most if Pepper's lines are cringe worthy, though the scene at the end of the boat chase where Pepper confronts Bond is the film's best comedic moment.

The film can be best viewed as a chase film. The film is really a bunch of chases that the plot revolves around. While this is usually the kiss of death for any film (look at 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies for example), it works here. The chases are well done and, despite thirty plus years of other action films, are exciting. The tension in the film is primarily found in these chases and fights that test's the abilities of 007. While humor fills these chases, which ruined many chase sequences in Diamonds Are Forever, it works here. If there is anything to complain about these chases, it is the occasional lack of music. This is no more apparent than in the film's best chase: the boat chase.

The boat chase is the film's lengthiest sequence and with good reason. The boat chase takes us across the buoy and showcases some amazing stunt work. The chase is occasionally hampered down by appearances by J.W. Pepper and his merry band of idiot cops. The chase is one of the better sequences to appear in the series and has truly stood the test time.

The music for the film marks a milestone in the Bond films. This was the first time ever John Barry didn't compose any music for the film. George Martin, a long time Beetles producer, was hired to the score and he created the best non-Barry Bond score until David Arnold's score for Tomorrow Never Dies 24 years later. The score has a great feel to it and doesn't feel dated at all. Martin is however guilty for leaving some of the action un-scored. The boat chase is for the large part un-scored, but when the music comes on the excitement. Martin does a very good take on the James Bond Theme and the film's score is built around an excellent main title song. The song is an unabashed rock song, but it fits very well with Maurice Binder's title sequence.

With a good main cast, a shaky supporting cast, good action sequences, an excellent tile song and a wonderful score by George Martin, Live And Let Die saved James Bond. Though when it is viewed in context with the rest of the series, it comes off as above average.
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Moore's 1st 007 film - Uneven Pacing but Great Characters...
brando64726 November 2008
This movie was my first exposure to non-Brosnan 007 and, while I wouldn't say it's a GREAT movie, I still found enough about it that I enjoyed to rank it with some of my favorite Bond films. The film, Roger Moore's first performance in the signature role, has James Bond investigating the mysterious deaths of three MI6 agents that appear linked to Kananga, a diplomat from the island nation of San Monique. The film is unique in that it is the only 007 film to include elements of the occult and supernatural. Oddly enough, though there are a lot of aspects of this movie that I love, I still find it hard to claim it as one of the best of the series.

Let me start by saying that I thought Roger Moore was a great choice to replace Sean Connery. At this point, I've seen nearly all of the 007 films and I thought Moore, while he did put his own spin on the character, was a fine replacement. Moore was able to add a bit more humor to the role and I thought it was a welcome addition. As a whole, this movie has a great cast and some of my favorite characters from the Bond canon. Jane Seymour did a fine job as Solitaire; her performance was nothing extraordinary (though it WAS one of her first leading roles...give the girl a break) but she was easily one of the most beautiful, if not THE most beautiful, women to ever pair with James Bond. In this film, my favorite performances came from the villains. Yaphet Kotto does a great job as Kananga, making him appear dangerous without ever going over-the-top or campy, and Julius Harris as Tee Hee (the henchman with the mechanical hook-arm) was a real highlight. I'm not sure why, but Tee Hee's scene introducing Bond to the crocodile farm is one of my favorite moments from the movie. Despite his role as a villain and desire to off the hero, the dude's got a natural charisma. For me, though, the best character in the film had to be that of Baron Samedi (a fantastic job by Geoffrey Holder), the voodoo god of cemeteries and closest Bond's ever come to encountering something supernatural. I WISH he had been given a larger role in the film; it's a shame the filmmakers weren't able to work the character into a future storyline.

On the flip side of the character choices, I really think the film could've done without Sheriff J.W. Pepper. The character, a mildly amusing performance from Clifton James, feels completely out of place and tacked on for whatever reason. Aside from the lame choice of comic relief, the film did have one other major flaw for me...there were a lot of points where it felt as if the whole thing slowed to a near stop. 007's main visit to San Monique drags on a bit once he joins with Solitaire and the boat chase seriously could've been cut in half and still had the same effect. While I was impressed by some of the stunts in the sequence, I think nearly 10 minutes is a bit of overkill for a boat chase. Otherwise, it was a fun film with some great scenes (i.e. the crocodile farm or Bond's visit to Harlem). Sure, the special effects are very much dated and some spots are downright awful by modern standards (i.e. Kananga's last moments) but it isn't enough to detract from the film. Regardless, this movie is easily a must-watch for any 007 fan, as it contains some great characters and it proves that Moore had what it took to become the new Bond.
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It has one of the best Bond themes and the rest of the movie isn't bad either
Rickting27 September 2015
Roger Moore, who was always more of a clown in a tuxedo than a believable secret agent despite the occasional good moment, kicks off his run as James Bond in Live and Let Die, which has him fighting against a heroin smuggling operation. Live and Let Die is a slightly above average and overall a good Bond flick. This time it feels smaller scale and slightly less over the top although it has the action comedy tone which would define the Roger Moore era. Ludicrous yet rooted in the real world and centred on a very real issue rather than world domination or diamond lasers, LALD manages to get the tone right. I have never liked Roger Moore as Bond although he's not completely awful here. He would get really terrible in some later films though. There are 3 main action sequences (The film has a fairly quiet first half which is pretty effective) before the finale and all 3 of these are solid and entertaining. The finale is a let down although it does have That immortal one liner.

The villain is fairly dull and the film is arguably the most sexist Bond movie of them all. Anyone who has watched even only a few of these films will know that is truly saying something. LALD does feel dated at times and doesn't always feel like a Bond film although that doesn't let the film down particularly. The novel was better and it's strange some elements from the book were left out. LALD suffers also from over length and pacing issues but overall, even if it doesn't match the book it's a good Bond film and a very watchable one. It's better on a second viewing as the lack of action in the first hour is surprising the first time you watch it. This stands as the third best of the Roger Moore era behind For Your Eyes Only and The Spy Who Loved Me. There's still a hint of Ian Fleming in the movie, unlike the other Roger Moore Bond films with the exception of For Your Eyes Only. To conclude, this is a good time and an entertaining Bond film although not one of the more memorable outings in the franchise.

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Not Bonds Finest,but Certainly has its Moments,
FilmBuff199413 May 2014
Live and Let Die is a good movie with a very well written storyline and a great cast.It certainly isn't the best James Bond movie,but it's not the worst either.It is the first Bond to star Roger Moore in the main role,and while i like him as Bond in general,he isn't as great the first time around,he certainly improves as in later movies though.The movie certainly has its flaws,but it is action packed and also has several bits of humour throughout,which were certainly the most enjoyable parts.My favourite part of the film was certainly the villain Mr. Big,he was a great Bond villain and the actor really embraced the character.Live and Let Die is an enjoyable movie that James Bond fans will like but won't love.

James Bond uncovers a plan by a drugs kingpin to get the world addicted to heroin.

Best Performance: Yaphet Kotto Worst Performance: Clifton James
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New Bond and fresh directions; this entry is actually a refreshing blast of Blofeld-free, voodoo imbued madness unafraid of taking the franchise to some dark places.
johnnyboyz21 November 2012
I suppose I remember 1973's Live and Let Die as a "spookier" Bond entry to that of those in the franchise. With the further benefit of hindsight in having seen most of what followed and preceded Live and Let Die, I think we're all able to deduce that the film was indeed a stark change to usual proceedings: here is the Bond film that featured a scene whereby people fell backwards into coffins full of snakes; here is the Bond film whereby we are plunged (during the pre credits sequence, no less) into ritualistic killings accompanied by blaring trumpet scores. Here is the Bond film wherein people tear away parts of their face; manage to survive having sections of their scalps blown off by well placed Magnum rounds and have the ability to see into the future. Even the immediate train-set ending to the piece is a full blown, anti-Bondian, anti-mainstream slice of ambiguous; open ended film making designed to force a complete revaluation on where we now stand in terms of whether things are as wrapped up as they seem.

Moore's bow as James Bond begins with him in the company of a young woman whilst located, in what is a rare instance, within his actual house. It doesn't take long for this constant, burning sense of urgency the film has to establish itself when there is a visitor at the front door in the form of his boss, M (Lee), along with ally Moneypenny (Maxwell) – the pair of them paying him this visit ridiculously early in the morning. Where previous instances of debriefing or mission assigning have taken part during the (compared to this) far more relaxed, even leisurely, locale of M's office during normalised hours, this is here and now and in Bond's house such is the importance. The reasoning behind this pushing of the panic button lies with the separate events propping up the pre credits sequence, whereby three separate deaths at three separate, and somewhat disparate, locations took place. The first, a British representative at the United Nations building on account of a mysterious Black hand obtaining access to a place one would think is rather tight with security, sets the scene for a then road side assassination causing the entire street and mock funeral-parade to begin cheering, before things are rounded off with an extravagant ritual involving a hapless White individual at the mercy of a deadly snake bite precipitated by an array of Black cultists.

Bond's task begins in New York City, where he investigates, along with the help of the C.I.A., a powerful political figure known as Kananga (Kotto), whose remorseless expression filled the frame in the United Nations building during the opening. There is a quite brilliant moment in a public bar, ruthless if only for the choreography of the sequence, whereby Bond swaggers in expecting to dominate proceedings, although ends up facing down the barrel of a gun in a completely new zone populated by the very people he's there to foil. The process of placing him there to begin with; having him offer the waiter a bribe for information; having the wall seat at which he is positioned do what it does and then have the waiter swipe the money from his hands before turning around and taking a sip out of the very drink Bond ordered for himself is a sharp, rapid and cutting series of instances reiterating how much control these people have over their domain.

Things progress to the Caribbean, the nation of Jamaica doubling up for a fictional island country of similar geographical locale named San Monique; a strange place, an eerie and seemingly backwater zone populated by these very specific individuals who move and dance and perform in a very unique and very uncanny way. Knocking around is the tarot reader Solitaire (Seymour), a girl whose own plight of independence and ascent into womanhood is just as interesting as Bond's investigative strand as she begins to clash with Kananga's established patriarchy. It is first established how her mother once worked for the same man doing the same thing, and that she "lost" her abilities, something that is later revealed to be more broadly linked to the of a finding a man and falling for them. The use of the word "Solitaire" to double up for Jane Seymour's character's name, traditionally speaking a card game one plays alone, infers degrees of individuality or being by one's self. Bond's entrance into her life does well to spawn a character driven process that pushes Solitaire away from being the pretty supporting female, and into someone deciding not to be tied down to loyalty to a tyrant.

Certainly, Live and Let Die was always a stranger and less conformative Bond entry which still somehow managed to find a way to wedge in all the codes and conventions synonymous with it. Indeed, Bond is torn from the world of espionage or the warring with the Soviets and instead placed into a domain that sees him go up against the illegal drug trade. These are socio-political ideas not necessarily revisited, nor previously explored under Sean Connery, until Timothy Dalton's two outings whereby he battled the Latin American drug trade under a familiar guise of the revenge framework in 1989's License to Kill and (according to some academics) found time to conform to an anti-Aids repertoire in 1987's The Living Daylights, when some-or-a-lot was made of the fact the usual interests Bond has in arrays of beautiful women was more muted. Things feel different in Live and Let Die, and yet it is all at once pleasingly familiar in that way Bond films should be.
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Live and Let Die
Scarecrow-881 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Roger Moore's first stint as James Bond, 007, embarks on a different kind of series of films based on the adventures of debonair, wise-cracking, sexually active, and seemingly impeccable at thinking on the spot when all hope seems lost British Intelligence super agent, going for a definite tongue-in-cheek, totally absurd approach. I have always liked Moore's Bond and For Your Eyes Only can be used as a 007 film that shuts up his critics who consider him a failure as the elusive secret agent.

Yaphet Kotto is in fine form as Ambassador of a Caribbean island of San Monique, with a major heroine operation extending to both American cities New York and New Orleans. Kotto's Kananga has eyes/gunmen/spies everywhere, his advanced network has quite the tentacles so Bond will certainly have his hands full. While I cringe at the Voodoo culture exhibited on display as the cultural stereotypes are exploited to their maximum, there are characters who make the most of their roles, such as claw-handed Julius Harris as Tee Hee, Geoffrey Holder (and that devious smile) as dangerous Voodoo Priest, Baron Samedi, and the seemingly a sweetheart agent in the Caribbean, Gloria Hendry (who turns out to be working both sides out of fear of what Kananga will do to her). Others show up such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea's David Hedison as Bond's New York, American CIA contact, Clifton James in an ill-advised tobacco-chewing hick sheriff, JW Pepper (always spouting "Boy!" to everyone he finds egregious) , and the incredibly beautiful Jane Seymore as Kananga's tarot card reader, clairvoyant Solitaire (who becomes Moore's Bond girl).

The action sequences include an extended motor boat chase (that seems to go on forever, played for humorous effect, such as when it flies across roads causing wrecks by those chasing him, leading one boat into a rich man's pool, another into Pepper's cop car, and a third through a wedding reception!), Bond's ingenious (if totally ludicrous) escape from encroaching crocs, and Bond's use of a Cessna plane to avoid Kananga's boys killing him. A funeral procession in New Orleans cleverly is used by Kananga to rid himself of spies guarding his headquarters, Bond puts a "magnetic watch" to good use on several occasions when in hairy situations, and how a "gas pellet" is used to "pop" Kananga has to be seen to be believed. That double decker bus and hand glider establish the kitchen sink rule that the filmmakers wanted Moore's Bond to use every form of transportation possible in his first outing as 007.
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James vs Ju-Ju.
BA_Harrison2 January 2012
As an avid fan of 70s horror and exploitation, I have no problem at all with Live and Let Die's voodoo plot elements and many blaxploitation trappings: as far as I am concerned, they only serve to make this a very unique debut for Roger Moore as cinema's greatest secret agent, setting it well apart from everything Connery did as Bond.

In addition to superstitious mumbo jumbo and jive-speaking soul brothers, this adventure also benefits from a kick-ass theme song from Paul McCartney, an appearance by big-breasted Hammer babe Madeline Smith, the casting of a hot-as-hell Jane Seymour as sexy Tarot reader Solitaire (so called because, until meeting Bond, she'd only played with herself?), and some classic, corny quippery from an impossibly suave Moore.

Unfortunately, despite all of this, the film must be considered something of a disappointment, suffering as it does from a weak storyline/script, dreadful pacing and sub-par action, including a soporific, overlong speed boat chase, during which we are introduced to Clifton James' irritating Sheriff J.W. Pepper, surely the most ill-advised character of the whole Bond franchise.
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Good start for the Roger Moore era
kriitikko14 May 2011
"Live and Let Die" (1973) is the eighth James Bond movie in the official series. It takes its name from the second Ian Fleming book, but aside of that has relatively little to do with the book. It is directed by Guy Hamilton, his third Bond movie, and stars for the first time Roger Moore as the secret agent. The opening theme is by Paul McCartney.

Three different secret agents are killed and James Bond is sent to New York to investigate. Bond becomes convinced that Dr. Kananga, prime-minister of small Caribbean island, is involved in the killings. Bond follows Kananga to his island where he finds that Kananga uses an old voodoo cult to keep the superstitious locals from finding his heroin fields. Bond also meets Solitaire, a young priestess working for Kananga.

"Live and Let Die" used to be one of my favorite Bond films as a kid and it's a good start for the Roger Moore era. It's got plenty of action starting with Bond trying not to get killed in Harlem, then trying not to get eaten by alligators and having a nearly epic boat chase scene. Looking this film now, years later, however does make me realize that it is a bit longer than would really be needed. Still it's a pretty entertaining movie and not as silly as the previous "Diamonds Are Forever".

Roger Moore's take on Bond is one of those things that people seem to either hate or love. Some people complain that Moore made Bond too comical, too humorous, even a joke. While it's true that Moore does bring more humor to the character than any other actor I've seen, he's by no means bad. Moore's Bond is still charming, witty and always ready to take action.

In other roles we have young Jane Seymour as the priestess Solitaire, a potentially interesting but ultimately rather forgettable Bond girl and Yaphet Kotto seems to be having fun playing the villain Kananga. Clifton James has a funny little role as the redneck sheriff who thinks of Bond as the enemy of humanity number one.

All in all, "Live and Let Die" is not a bad Bond movie, it just doesn't reach its full potential either. It's still a good watch and a fine opening for the Roger Moore era. Above average.
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Roger Moore's Bond Premiere
DKosty1236 November 2007
This film is much like a pilot for Roger Moore. His first bond girl is Jane Seymour, not a bad way to start. This is kind of like dreaming to me as Jane is wonderful in her role. I appreciate the way Jane is stacked as well as the stacked deck that goes with her.

The plot in this one is a little different as it is the one Bond that deals with the occult, Tarot Cards, & Voodoo. It is one of the first Bonds more centered with the revenge of losing an agent & illegal drugs, & less centered on saving the world as a plot device. David Hedison (from Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea) is the latest Felix Lightner of the CIA.

The stunts are very well done as veteran Guy Hamilton is in charge of the directing. Moore's sense of humor is gotten into the script. This film tells you right away this is not you Sean Connery type of Bond. The action does get a little comic strip in the Crockodile escape sequence.

This film features all the regulars from M's Bernard Lee, Moneypenny, & of course Q. Overall, this pilot proves that Moore can do Bond quite nicely. The stunts other than the comic one have plenty of good action. While this is not Connery, not Goldfinger, it proves to be a fun trip & for Moore's fans, a great pilot for him.
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Pretty good.
theshadow9082 February 2007
Roger Moore takes over the role of James Bond in the 8th installment to the series. In this film, James Bond goes to New York to investigate the mysterious deaths of some British agents. He feels there is a connection between a big time Harlem gangster named Mr. Big and Kananga, the mysterious owner of a small island who is trying to sell self produced heroin. As he gets deeper into the case, he discovers that Kananga and Big might be more closely connected than he originally thought. This is a pretty good installment to the Bond series.

After Diamonds are Forever, the James Bond series needed a serious boost so it could be a serious spy series again. Though this movie isn't as good as the early Connery films, it's certainly better than the last two in the series. For the most part it sticks close to the Ian Fleming novel, though there are a few differences, mostly in the beginning and the end. The last film was more like a dumbed down action movie than a James Bond movie, and I was glad to see that they fixed that with this film by putting James Bond on a serious case. One thing that bothered me though was the dialogue. The writers kind of overloaded on the jokes and one liners, which made almost every line out of Bond's mouth corny.

The acting isn't bad. Roger Moore gives his best performance as James Bond in this movie, and though he's nowhere near Connery, he's miles above Lazenby. David Hedison plays an average Felix Leiter. Jane Seymour was an alright Bond girl, and Yaphat Kotto wasn't too bad of a villain.

Overall, this movie had room for improvement, but it wasn't bad for the most part.

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Incredible Debut For Roger Moore as 007
eric26200326 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
When it comes to theme songs in James Bond movie, no one ever comes close than rock legend Paul McCartney and Wings'' classic (Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger" gets honourable mention then Tina Turner's "Goldeneye" comes third). Another milestone about "Live and Let Die" is that there are more black people in this film than any of the other 23 installments of the series.

It seems quite upsetting that Mr. Bond (Roger Moore's debut) was labeled as a "honky" or a "cracker" especially since the setting was in Harlem, New York. It seems strange he would be ostracized that way, but I guess the world was different in the 1970's compared to our more image conscious ways of our modern times. The ideology might have been the results of blacks coming out on their own in the movie industry at the time and were being treated as more serious performers in movies and avoiding and usurping any clichés that they have fallen victim to over the years.

Roger Moore debuts as Sean Connery's replacement as the dashing assassin 007 which he would continue for seven more installments ending with "A View to a Kill".Granted Moore lacks the charisma that Sean Connery possessed in his six outings as Bond, but he still manages to play the part better than most of his successors (especially Daniel Craig). He had potential to be at the same level as Connery if only he wasn't trying too hard to be a carbon copy of Adam West' in the campy "Batman" series in the 1960's.

The plot juxtaposes between a deviant drug lord along with mystifying voodoo as the locations take us from Harlem to San Monique to New Orleans to capture Mr. Big (Yaphet Kotto). Solitaire (Jane Seymour) is a Tarot card reader. No it's time for Bond to stack her deck and get the opportunity to poke her (Get it? Gotta love that tongue-and-cheek humour). She loses her powers to tell the future after she lost her virginity to the Lothario assassin (you think she should have learned by now?) We knew it was bound to happen.

"Live and Let Die" is entertaining in two main factors. The first being that it plays out like a good old-fashioned action packed thriller. The main downfall about "Live and Let Die" was the abominable boat chase between Bond and a bigoted redneck named Sheriff Pepper (who happens to have a brother who ironically is a Sargeant. See the connection?). Pepper was brought on for some comic relief who's mission is to catch Bond and his pursuers. The other entertaining factor is the very dated humour provided which is also sad because this Bond movie did not age very well as we are treated to jive talking, thick side-burned blaxploitated antagonists although it may seem clichéd, but very nostalgic to say the least.
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Poorly done adventure kicks off the Roger Moore era
TimBoHannon30 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
With Sean Connery finally leaving the role of James Bond, Englishman Roger Moore became his successor. While Moore would eventually leave his own stamp on the part, he is much too stiff and tentative here. He does not resemble Sean Connery in looks or mannerisms. Bond is way too nice to his adversaries, often conversing with them as if they are his good friends. Sean Connery's Bond would never say thank you after being roughed up and shoved out a door. This problem stains the entire movie, and led me to question Bond's good judgment. Moore would get better, but he is caught in a weak plot involving drug smuggling and the voodoo nonsense of Baron Saturday.

The air of absurdity materializes as early as the pre-title sequence, where a British agent watches a funeral procession that turns out being his own. This is one of three rather ludicrous killings that melt into Paul McCartney's famous title song. Unfortunately, the best theme in the series is the high point of the movie. Any hope that will improvement will come thoroughly dashed within fifteen minutes.

Bond starts an investigation of the three aforementioned murders, all connected to Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), the prime minister of a small island nation. Bond's mission takes him to Harlem, where he discovers a link between Kananga and criminal mobster Mr. Big, both later revealed to be the same person. Aiding Kananga/Mr. Big is a lusciously beautiful tarot card reader named Solitaire (Jane Seymour) and a vast organization of stereotyped cronies.

"Live and Let Die" is a flop in nearly every way. In addition to Moore's poor rendition of Bond, the action is lackluster, the characters are irritating, the soundtrack is terrible, the style is incongruous, and the film is racist. All the black people use fractured "blackspeak" and are either drug dealers or mob enforcers. Adam (Tommy Lane) orders some lazy henchmen to chase Bond saying, "The man who gets him stays alive! Now MOVE YOU MOTHERS!" Later, he encounters hick Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James) and risks his organization's entire plot by not shooting him.

Pepper is also an annoying, negative stereotype who undermines the film's best scene. Writer Tom Mankiewicz says he included Pepper so he could make fun of all groups equally. Since when are the Bond films about making fun of people? I bet Albert Broccoli would have shuddered if he heard during the making of "From Russia with Love" that the series would one day come to this.

Finally, the movie's climax is poorly written and executed. Bond carelessly leaves one of his weapons lying around for anyone to find, leaving him defenseless. It is the second time that he essentially allows himself to be captured. Maybe Mankiewicz and director Guy Hamilton were just looking for an excuse to create a brawl. Moore was never particularly good at brawls.

Despite its myriad of flaws, "Live and Let Die" has three positives. The most obvious one is Solitaire, Kananga's radiant mistress and the film's best character. Solitaire is intentionally vulnerable, and Seymour understands that well. As for the eye candy, Solitaire is arguably the most physically attractive Bond girl.

The other two positives are Kananga and his aide Tee-Hee (Julius W. Harris). Not surprisingly they are the only two non-stereotyped blacks. Kotto plays Kananga as an intelligent, well-expressed man who is in complete control of his emotions. Only Max Zorin is a more effective Moore era villain. Bond and Tee-Hee's train fight at the end is one of the few jewels of Moore's time although it does not approach the original in "From Russia with Love." The idea of a bad guy trying to kill Bond after the victory is won occurred in five of the eight films by this point and lost its appeal.

As far as 007 adventures go, "Live and Let Die" is one of the worst despite its three good characters. Moore would improve, and but it would take until 1977 to undo the damage from the film and its successor.
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One of the better bond films
Davis P29 July 2015
Live and let die (1973) is definitely one of the best bonds in my opinion, and Roger Moore was always awesome starring as James Bond in the 1970's, I think he really was a great fit for the role! The other actors also accomplished what they needed to in their individual roles here. This installment in the franchise still of course had the women, both in the opening sequence, and later on in the actual film, as every other one does, I liked how in this one they still had the girls, but there wasn't any nudity or long sex scenes, like in a few of the newer ones. I also loved the theme song in the opening sequence. The action scenes were cool, fun, and high octane, which was nice to see. The acting was spot on, like in all the other bond installments. If you're a true bond lover, then this one is most definitely for you. 8/10
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