Live and Let Die (1973)

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6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun grittier look

Dated...badly

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Live and Let Die

Studio:  Danjaq/Eon Productions

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Blaxploitation

Release Date(s):  June 27, 1973

MPAA Rating:  PG

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I love a parade!

James Bond (Roger Moore) is put on the trail of a heroin smuggler named Mr. Big (Yaphet Kotto). The search leads him to New York, the Caribbean, and New Orleans. Big (also known as Dr. Kananga) has a young woman named Solitaire (Jane Seymour) working for him that can predict the future. Can Solitaire see her future with Bond and the fate of Mr. Big?

Directed by Guy Hamilton, Live and Let Die is the eighth James Bond film and the first Bond outing by Roger Moore. Following Diamonds Are Forever in 1971, the title is taken from 1954 Ian Fleming novel of the same name and borrows aspects of the plot. Live and Let Die’s popular theme song “Live and Let Die” was performed by Paul McCartney and Wings and was nominated for an Oscar.

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I’m Bond now!

Roger Moore takes the reigns from Sean Connery after Diamonds Are Forever, and though Connery is fondly remembered as the quinessential Bond, his last few outings as the super spy were rather weak. Moore (who was actually three years older than Connery) was picked due to his previous spy work as The Saint. The hand over seems pretty effortless with some returning cast members like Ms. Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and M (Bernard Lee), but shockingly no Q (Desmond Llewellyn was on a TV series at the time).  The movie also introduced David Hedison as Felix Leiter and Leiter returned to the role in License to Kill.

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I fight racial stereotypes…that’s enough reason for you to sleep with me right?

This James Bond film tried to give James Bond a modern edge. With blaxploitation films on the rise, James Bond heads to Harlem and also takes a big move stand by bedding the first African-American Bond girl in Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry). The African-American aspect of this film is unusual for the series, but now seems really dated. It doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, but James Bond goes Shaft isn’t really a good idea because it was probably dated before it came out. You also get the obnoxious Archie Bunker Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James) who reappears rather unexplained in The Man with the Golden Gun.

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I don’t think I can swallow this.

Visually this movie is pretty good. With the urban aspect, the movie has a grittier look than some of the other Bonds. I like the New Orleans and the Caribbean stuff, but it is also fun to see New York in the ’70s. I’m always for James Bond when he jumps over the pond. It might not be as exotic as some of his other locations, but it is still entertaining.

Moore and have a nice chemistry. I like it when Bond “steals” his women from the villains, but I also really like it when Bond has a bit of an equal. I wish that Gloria Hendry had been the lead woman in this movie and that she had been less of a screamer…I though she and Moore had a different chemistry than many of the previous Bond girls, but it could have been because an interracial romance was more taboo at the time.

Live and Let Die isn’t very good, but it is fun at points. Things like running across the crocodiles and alligators and the deadly French Quarter parade provide fun, but Moore always felt hokey to me. Plus, that boat chase just goes on way too long and the explosive ending to Mr. Big also is pretty weak. Live and Let Die was followed by The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974.

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Preceded By:

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Followed By:

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by

Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn’t afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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