The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

man with the golden gun poster 1974 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Christopher Lee, typical Bond

Too jokey and weak script

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Man with the Golden Gun

Studio:  Danjaq/Eon Productions

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Martial Arts

Release Date(s):  December 19, 1974

MPAA Rating:  PG

man with the golden gun kung fu school girls roger moore

Couldn’t we just have the Adventures of the Kung-Fu School Girls instead?

James Bond (Roger Moore) receives a warning that he’s become a target of legendary and unseen assassin Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee).  Agreeing to hunt Scaramanga before he finds him, Bond finds himself headed to China and teamed with agent Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland).  When Scaramanga steals a new form of solar battery call the Solex that could be a boon to the world or pose a dangerous threat, Bond must retrieve the Solex from him at any cost.  It is a game of who can catch whom first, and 007 might be the cat or he might be the mouse.

Directed by Guy Hamilton, The Man with the Golden Gun was the ninth film in the James Bond franchise. Following Roger Moore’s premiere as Bond in Live and Let Die in 1973, this film was also met with mixed to negative reviews. The movie’s title and aspects of the story were taken from Ian Fleming’s 1965 novel The Man with the Golden Gun, and the title track of the film was performed by Lulu.

man with the golden gun christopher lee scaramanga roger moore

Bond, I’ll shower you with gold…wait…that doesn’t sound right

While Live and Let Die dipped its toe in blaxploitation, The Man with the Golden Gun tries out the popular trend of martial arts.  Both Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun show a real turn from the previous Sean Connery movies (and even the George Lazenby film) and they definitely are an acquired taste…if a viewer can do that.

Roger Moore’s James Bond films are amplified on the “fun” level.  The goofier stories and approaches feel lighter and moving in on comedy over action-adventure.  This story carries a little more weight with Scaramanga at least have something that could become an immediate threat to the safety of the world (Mr. Big’s drugs were more of a slow-burn), but the story limps along and never feels like it ever gets in any flow.

man with the golden gun herve villechaize nick nack

I said to the boss, “The plane…the plane…hey, wait. That sounds pretty good!”

Moore just doesn’t have the tough guy vibe that Connery gave off as Bond.  Moore feels like he is already too old for the film and the athleticism just isn’t there in fight scenes like at the dojo.  Likewise, Britt Ekland’s danger prone Mary Goodnight doesn’t emote the sexuality that is normally in Bond girls at the time (primarily through the script)…she and Moore just don’t feel like a good pairing.  The flipside of this is Christopher Lee who is a good Bond villain, but I wish that the story utilized him better because he’s good in the second half when he really becomes a factor.  As Nick Nack, Hervé Villechaize feels like he’s just auditioning for his future on Fantasy Island while the real sin is that the irritating redneck cop J.W. Pepper (played by Clifton James) returns for a second visit with Bond…and he really doesn’t seem like the guy to be vacationing in Bangkok.

man with the golden gun car jump

You know what would really make the stunt complete? A slide-whistle!

The movie feels a bit bigger than Live and Let Die with some nice sets and locations, but like the story, the movie has a goofy factor to it.  There is another extended boat chase (right after having one in the previous film), and it has less energy.  The movie might also feature one of the weakest moments in which Bond corkscrew jumps the car over a river…complete with a slide whistle that makes it feel like a cartoon which ruins the stunt.

The Man with the Golden Gun isn’t a great film and in fact it is pretty bad.  Sometimes, however, watching a bad Bond movie is just what you need.  You know Bond will get the girl and be a hero, and there are probably going to be some explosions.  It is comfort food…I just wish it was better.  The Man with the Golden Gun was followed by The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977.

Preceded By:

Live and Let Die (1973)

Followed By:

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

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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