Octopussy (1983)

octopussy poster 1983 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Darker Roger Moore film, Octopussy's killer circus girls

The clown suit, the ape suit, the Tarzan yell, a long story with forgettable villains

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Octopussy

Studio:  Danjaq S. A./Eon Productions

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  June 6, 1983

MPAA Rating:  PG

octopussy backgammon roger moore

Intense baccarat is replaced by…intense backgammon?

When Agent 009 is killed on a mission, James Bond (Roger Moore) finds himself investigating a fake Faberge egg and a potential smuggling ring.  Tracking the egg, Bond discovers that the smuggling ring is tied to a woman named Octopussy (Maud Adams) who seems to be working with a man named Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) and through Khan, a Soviet agent named Orlov (Steven Berkoff).  Though Octopussy thinks she is part of a typical job, Orlov has big plans for Octopussy and her team…and it could lead to a nuclear war!

Directed by John Glen, Octopussy is a James Bond action adventure spy thriller.  Following For Your Eyes Only in 1981, the movie is the thirteenth film in the James Bond franchise.  The title comes from Ian Fleming’s collection Octopussy and the Living Daylights from 1966, but the story has aspects of “The Property of a Lady” which is also within the collection.  Rita Coolidge sings the main theme song of the film which is titled “All Time High”.  The movie was met with mostly negative reviews but was a big pull at the box office.

I find Octopussy one of the most forgettable James Bond films.  Each time I watch it, other than a few moments (and Bond dressing as a clown), I largely forget the plot, the story, and the villains.  While there are worse Bond films than Octopussy technically, it might be my least favorite.

octopussy roger moore clown

“Dressing up as a gorilla is the most ridiculous thing James Bond could do”
Roger Moore: “Hold my martini”

The movie’s plot isn’t very compelling.  I like the idea of one crime being the cover for another crime (and that is frequently used in Bond films), but Octopussy and her smuggler ring combined with an attempt to destabilize the world through nuclear attacks just doesn’t seem to mesh.  First, it is a bit of a discredit to Octopussy who seems relatively intelligent while Khan and Orlov are obviously a bad guys, but the fact that Orlov would tie his hopes to a jewel thief seems also unlikely in the grand scheme of things.

Moore has been too old to play Bond for the last few films and intended to turn over the role (James Brolin and Michael Billington were considered), but due to Sean Connery returning in Never Say Never Again, producers kept Moore on rather than risk a new Bond.  Maud Adams is ok as Octopussy (she oddly also appeared in The Man With the Golden Gun but as a different Bond girl), but I would have liked her character to be more like a Catwoman type villain that plays more with the good and bad role.  Both Louis Jourdan and Steven Berkoff don’t really provide a great villain source though I kind of like the twin knife throwers played by David and Anthony Meyer (but the Yo-Yo saw guys are cooler).

octopussy roger moore plane scene

“I’m getting too old for this s*@%!”

With a toned down smuggling plot, Octopussy just doesn’t feel as big as For Your Eyes Only.  The movie has some moments like the train chase, but like other Moore Bond films loses credibility with things like an inserted Tarzan yell as Bond swings from ropes and the classic (and funny) crocodile mini-submarine that Bond uses.  You also get Bond in a moment of crisis put on a complete clown costume with make-up to infiltrate the circus as the bomb ticks down.

With James Bond, some of the bad James Bond movies (largely under Roger Moore’s run) are still fun because they are corny and hokey.  Movies like The Man With the Golden Gun are worse than this film, but I think they are also more enjoyable.  Octopussy probably technically falls in the middle of James Bond movies if I were to rank it on quality, but might be dead last in the case of fun and memorability.  Octopussy was followed by A View to a Kill in 1985 (another bad but more fun Bond outing).

Preceded By:

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Followed By:

A View to a Kill (1985)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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