You Only Live Twice (1967)

you only live twice poster 1967 movie 007
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Some awesome spy tech

Japanese James Bond, lots of Bond cliches

Movie Info

Movie Name:  You Only Live Twice

Studio:  Danjaq/Eon Production

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  June 12, 1967

MPAA Rating:  PG


Ladies…there’s enough Bond to go around…Yeah, I talk in third person, so what?

American and Soviet spaceships are snatched from orbit and both sides are blaming each other. With war appearing to be imminent, James Bond (Sean Connery) fakes his death and goes undercover to investigate a lead in Japan with agent Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi). When Aki is killed, Bond and Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama) tracks the source of the danger to a volcano base and SPECTRE…and comes face to face with his enemy Ernst Stavros Blofeld (Donald Pleasence).

Directed by Lewis Gilbert, You Only Live Twice is the fifth film in the James Bond franchise. Following Thunderball in 1965, its screenplay was Roald Dahl (yes the same Roald Dahl who created James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and mostly is an original story using some elements of Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel of the same name. The theme song was performed by Nancy Sinatra.


Don’t I just scream evil…seriously Bond…don’t I?

You Only Live Twice is a pretty highly debated Bond film. Some call it one of the best Bond films; others label it as the worst. I label it as typical Bond and you can judge that for what it is. The movie has what you’d expect from a Bond film with an exotic location (and “exotic” women) and high technology. Some argue that by this point, James Bond has already become too tech reliant and cliché.

The story in You Only Live Twice is rather long but when you think back on it, little happened. It is a rather cool set-up with Blofeld’s volcano base which has been mocked and parodied from The Simpsons to Austin Powers. Blofeld is up to his perfect evil and that is why Dr. Evil almost looks like he fell out of You Only Live Twice…I love Blofeld, but he really doesn’t do much in this film (and that is too bad because Pleasance is a fun actor to play him). At least he has a cool pool of man-eating piranha…

Along with the volcano base, there is a lot of tech in this Bond film. You have shooting cigarettes, a mini-helicopter, and a rocket that can swallow other rockets whole. It is all cool, but they seem to have such limited purpose, and it is always ironic how it works out perfectly that Bond has a situation where he can use them.


Hey, I think he’s turning Japanese…I think he’s turning Japanese…I really think so!

The most ridiculous and controversial (in today’s society) is the decision to have Bond “turn Japanese” (and not in fun way like in the Vapors’ hit song…but from surgery). He gets made up like a Japanese man to infiltrate the people, but still speaks with a Scottish accent and hardly resembles anyone from Japan. It lasts for all of ten minutes of the film and seems to serve little purpose. Along with him knocking the Beatles in Goldfinger, I’m starting to question if Bond was already a little out of touch.

You Only Live Twice isn’t my favorite Bond but it is pretty memorable. Bond is a cliché and it might have already been a cliché by Goldfinger and Thunderball, but that is one of the things that makes Bond nice. Bond movies feel like a nice comfort food, and even if you don’t know one like the back of your hand, it still feels like you do which is in itself nice and safe. Sean Connery takes his Bond break following this film, and steps in for Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969 (Connery does return in Diamonds Are Forever in 1971).

Preceded By:

Thunderball (1965)

Followed By:

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

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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