Franchises of All Time
James Bond Films
Live and Let Die (1973)
James Bond Films
Dr. No (1962) | From Russia With Love (1963) | Goldfinger (1964) | Thunderball (1965)
You Only Live Twice (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) | Diamonds are Forever (1971)
Live and Let Die (1973) | The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) | The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Moonraker (1979) | For Your Eyes Only (1981) | Octopussy (1983) | A View to a Kill (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987) | Licence to Kill (1989) | GoldenEye (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The World is Not Enough (1999) | Die Another Day (2002) | Casino Royale (2006) | Quantum of Solace, 007 (2008) | Skyfall (2012)
See Bond Girls in Live and Let Die (1973)
Live and Let Die (1973)
Opening Credits, Title Sequence
Film Plot Summary
In the pre-title credits sequence, there were three murders of British MI6 agents within a 24 hour period: (1) at the United Nations in New York City, United Kingdom representative-delegate Dawes was killed by his sabotaged sonic earpiece (# 1 death), while keeping an eye on San Monique's Prime Minister Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), (2) in New Orleans, Louisiana, another agent named Hamilton was standing across the street from a Fillet of Soul restaurant when he was stabbed in the side while watching a funeral parade (and his body was placed in the coffin) (# 2 death), and (3) on the Caribbean island of San Monique, a third agent named Baines was tied to a stake and murdered (bitten by a yellow and green snake) (# 3 death) during a bizarre, frenzied nighttime voodoo ritual.
The debonair, super-cool agent James Bond (Roger Moore) was called upon to investigate, summoned from his bed at 5:48 am which he shared with voluptuous Italian agent Miss Caruso (Madeline Smith) (# 1 tryst) ("Beautiful Girl" in credits) who had been involved in his recent Italian mission in Rome, but had since gone missing. "M" (Bernard Lee) and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) came to Bond's apartment for an early morning visit to deliver instructions, causing Bond to quickly hide the scantily-clad woman, in a game of cat-and-mouse, while he was briefed. Miss Moneypenny actually conspired to help Bond hide Miss Caruso in a living room closet and avoid detection by "M." Bond was to travel to New York, aided by Q's latest gadget - a bullet-deflecting Rolex watch. He learned that all three killings were of individuals looking into the suspicious activities of San Monique's corrupt statesman Dr. Kananga, who was presently in New York addressing the United Nations's Pan Island Unity Conference. After "M" and Miss Moneypenny departed, Bond used his watch's magnet to unzip the back of Miss Caruso's dress (Caruso: "Such a delicate touch." Bond: "Sheer magnetism, darling"). Bond's arrival in New York was foreseen by a psychic named Solitaire (revealed later) through a tarot card reading.
Bond flew on Pan Am to New York, and was enroute via taxi to meet CIA agent Felix Leiter (David Hedison), who informed him by phone that Kananga was under constant surveillance. Suddenly an attempt was made on Bond's life on the FDR Expressway. A white pimp-mobile driven by obese henchmen Whisper (Earl Jolly Brown) shot a dart at the cab driver's head from his car's right side rear-view mirror (# 4 death). Bond barely survived by steering the out-of-control vehicle and crashing it into a parked van once he exited the freeway. Afterwards, he ventured to the Oh Cult Voodoo Shop (33 East 65th Street) where the owner of the pimp-mobile had been traced by Leiter, and he saw Whisper slip into a backroom. He followed, finding himself in an underground garage where Whisper's vehicle was parked, and then saw a gang of people (three men and a lady) leaving in another vehicle. Bond was tailed and spotted by numerous individuals ("You got a honky on your tail") as he followed the car in a taxi (driven by another henchman, Cab Driver 1 (Arnold Williams)), heading uptown toward Harlem and their destination, another Fillet of Soul restaurant. After ordering a "bourbon and water" at a booth, the wall revolved and Bond found himself at gunpoint in another room - he had fallen into the hands of Harlem black crime lord and syndicate leader, "Mr. Big" (also Yaphet Kotto). Bond was led to believe that Kananga had ties to the Harlem crime kingpin.
He met the gangster's psychic tarot card-soothsayer and virginal "High Priestess" Solitaire (Jane Seymour) who had predicted his fateful arrival ("I know who you are, what you are and why you've come. You have made a mistake. You will not succeed"). Bond was disarmed by Mr. Big's imposing henchman Tee Hee (Julius W. Harris) who had a steel arm and a pincer-hook for a hand, used to twist the barrel of Bond's gun. Afterwards, Solitaire had Bond pick a card to identify himself, and he turned over the Fool card ("You have found yourself"). After Mr. Big ordered Bond to be killed ("Y'all take this honky out and waste him, now"), Bond selected another card to foretell his future, the Lovers card, and he asked Solitaire, prophetically: "Us?" He was dragged outside by two black thugs, but after a brief struggle knocked them out, and was met by Leiter's CIA assistant Harold Strutter (Lon Satton) who had been trailing him. He spoke to Leiter through Strutter's dashboard cigarette lighter communicator ("A genuine Felix lighter"), and learned that diplomat Kananga was leaving by private plane within the hour for San Monique.
Voodoo God of Cemeteries and Chief of the Legion of the Dead - the tall and formidable Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder), introduced as "The Man Who Cannot Die," appeared in an outlandish costume and frightful make-up as he performed a musical extravaganza before a hotel audience on the island of San Monique. Bond had just arrived there - he had followed Kananga and checked into his hotel room/bungalow. Using a hand-held bug sweeper/detector, he discovered his room was thoroughly bugged, and then with his hairbrush transmitter, he communicated by Morse Code with CIA undercover agent Quarrel Jr. (Roy Stewart) (son of Bond's ally Quarrel from Dr. No (1962)). As Bond took a bath and shaved, a poisonous snake was let loose in his bathroom, and Whisper (posing as a hotel waiter) delivered champagne. Bond fried the snake with a makeshift blowtorch - a blast of fiery aftershave aerosol lit by his cigar, and then averted harm from a gun-wielding African-American woman who had claimed to the front desk that she was "Mrs. Bond" and had already checked into the room. She explained that she was Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry), a CIA agent there to back him up (she had previously aided Baines). Bond proposed that they "catch up on old times" overnight, although she retreated to the second bedroom. But when she discovered a hat with bloody chicken feathers on her bed ("a warning"), she embraced Bond for protection and spent the night with him (# 2 tryst).
The next morning at breakfast, after Bond intercepted an upside-down Queen of Cups tarot card message functioning as a warning, he visited the local "High Priestess" tarot card shop near the hotel (where Solitaire did readings). Then, he hired Quarrel Jr's deep-sea fishing boat to take them by water to the spot where Rosie claimed that Baines had been killed. It was near a cliff-top mansion - the "house of the Kananga woman" who reportedly had the "power of the Obeah." On the way, Rosie discovered that Quarrel Jr. was another CIA agent. Solitaire was again reading tarot cards for Kananga, predicting Bond's appearance and further violence, and transmitting her visions of the future ("It is death"). Kananga was relying on her psychic powers to guide his plans. Kananga then revealed that he had hired Rosie to work as a double-agent. By phone, the dictator ordered his men to kill Bond: "I want no bodies this time, no trace." After a brief picnic love-making interlude with Rosie (# 3 tryst), Bond revealed that he hadn't been deceived by her - calling her "a deceitful, perverse woman, a liar, a cheat." She begged for her life: "You couldn't. You wouldn't. Not after what we've just done." Bond replied: "I certainly wouldn't have killed you before." When she ran scared from Bond through the jungle, she was gunned down in the back (# 5 death) by an unseen assailant hidden in a voodoo statue, one of Kananga's scarecrows.
Kananga questioned Solitaire about her misinterpreted answer and what went wrong - why had Rosie been killed instead of Bond? He was disturbed by her change of mood, not knowing that she was having recurring visions, through her tarot cards, of becoming Bond's lover. She had to remain chaste in order to retain her mystical, psychic powers and keep herself from danger, although she was beginning to have visions of making love to Bond, signaled by the Lovers card. Her mother had also had the same power, as an upset Kananga reminded her not to lose her virginity: "These growing signs of impertinence begin to disturb me, Solitaire, even as they did with your mother before you. She had the power and lost it, became useless to me. You will not make the same mistake."
Bond used a hang-glider (held in place by a wire and guided by a crane on Quarrel Jr's' boat) to fly over and infiltrate Solitaire's cliff-top island home that night. As he landed, he knocked a sentry guard off a cliff (# 6 death, # 1 Bond kill). Inside, Solitaire berated Bond for playing with her tarot cards, although he told her that sex with him was in her future: "The cards say we will be lovers." She asserted it was "impossible" and "forbidden" for her to lose her virginity - it would mean the loss of her magical powers. Bond tricked her to pick a card from a fixed Tarot deck (composed completely of The Lovers cards), and she slept with Bond (# 4 tryst). She was a willing lover, seeking to escape the oppressive Kananga, although she needed reassurance from "lover" Bond: "There has to be a first time for everyone." And then he confessed his duplicity in seducing her: "Darling, I have a small confession to make...The deck was slightly stacked in my favor." She replied: "The physical violation cannot be undone," and she feared Kananga's retaliation. He promised to protect her, but first needed to know the deadly and valuable secret of what Kananga was protecting at Voodooland. But before leaving, he agreed to remain for another round of love-making (Bond: "There's no sense in going off half-cocked") (# 5 tryst).
The next morning, the two of them searched together in the vicinity of Voodooland, and came upon Kananga's scarecrows (actually closed circuit TV surveillance devices), and an unmasked Baron Samedi playing a flute (a radio transmitter) in a cemetery outside a small chapel - the voodoo-lord's imposing presence and threats had kept other locals out of the area. They were watched by Kananga's henchmen as they came upon massive fields of poppies being grown under camouflage netting. Enemy helicopters with machine guns opened fire on them. They fled and came upon a small village, where Bond commandeered a run-down double-decker bus to escape from more of Kananga's men, who chased them on three Harley-Davidson motorcycles and in two police cars. The motorcycles were upended when Bond skidded the bus in a circle on a slick surface and the braking bikes hit the wet surface to avoid a collision. During the remainder of the exciting high-speed pursuit, one police car was sent into a field. Bond sliced off the top level of the bus when he approached a low-level overpass/bridge - and the wrecked deck conveniently trapped the occupants of the remaining police car. After arriving safely at the harbor, Solitaire and Bond escaped on Quarrel Jr's' boat - and the couple went below deck. Solitaire was asked where she wanted to go, and she reclined back on the cabin bed for more love-making, suggesting: "Anywhere where we can find one of these." (# 6 tryst).
Once the couple arrived at the New Orleans International airport, with plans to meet up with Felix Leiter, Mr. Big's men (notified by Kananga) made another attempt to seize Bond and Solitaire. The two were trapped in a taxi-cab (driven again by Cab Driver 1 - who joked: "Well, hello Jim"), in which the doors automatically locked and a partition separated them from the driver. They were taken to an awaiting private jet at the adjacent local airport, where the henchmen - including thug Adam (Tommy Lane), planned to kill Bond "sky-diving" without a parachute. After Solitaire created a diversion, Bond was able to flee through the many aircraft hangars by hijacking a training school single-engine plane with a student passenger, causing the demolition of scores of cars and aircraft before he escaped (although Solitaire was recaptured). After Bond met up with Leiter, the two of them visited the local Fillet of Soul restaurant on Docker Street. [Outside on the street before their arrival, CIA agent Strutter was murdered in the same manner as Hamilton in the pre-title credits sequence. (# 7 death, off-screen)] Inside, Bond was swallowed up through a trap-door in the floor near the stage when Leiter was called away for a fake phone call. In the basement, the 007 agent again found himself confronted by Mr. Big, Solitaire, and henchman Tee Hee. When Bond was asked by the jealous and protective Mr. Big about whether he had slept with Solitaire ("Did you mess with that?...Did you touch her?"), he refused to answer to anyone but Kananga ("When I see Kananga"). Mr. Big ripped off his facial disguise to reveal himself as Kananga, and Bond was astonished ("Quite revealing"), but it all made sense. Kananga was harvesting the poppy crop as part of his plan to gain a monopoly on the world's heroin market. His ruthless goal, backed by his manipulative use of Baron Samedi's local voodoo cult, was to drive the competitive Mafia drug business bankrupt by flooding the US market with two tons (over $1 billion dollars worth) of free narcotics ("A sort of junkie's welfare system") to double the number of dependent addicts in the country, and then by selling his own stockpiled supply at inflated prices to establish a monopoly. He was using his own chain of Fillet of Soul restaurants to distribute his drug supply.
To test Solitaire's ability to continue to foretell the future, Kananga threatened to have Tee Hee snip off the little finger of Bond's right hand if she answered his first question incorrectly, and then proceed to more "vital areas." Solitaire was told she correctly identified the registration number on the back of Bond's Rolex watch, and Bond was saved, but he was knocked unconscious by Tee Hee, and Whisper was ordered to transport him to his Louisiana crocodile farm. With Bond out of the way, a disappointed Kananga, feeling spiteful and betrayed, admitted Solitaire's watch number guess wasn't "even close" and he knew she no longer could help him without her psychic powers. Now that she was no use to him, he brutally slapped her and decided to kill her at "the proper time."
At the backwoods crocodile farm, Bond was given a tour of the facility by Tee Hee - a dilapidated wooden building mostly functioned as a front for Kananga's drug refining and packing/shipping activities. While feeding the crocs with raw meat, the good-natured Tee Hee showed off old Albert who had bitten off his arm years ago when he was careless. Bond was left marooned on a small island in the middle of a bunch of hungry crocodiles. Bond ingeniously escaped by jumping over the backs of the crocodiles to reach land. He then set the wooden building housing the refining plant on fire, and fled in a high-powered Glastron speedboat into the nearby Louisiana bayou. Kananga's thugs (summoned at the dock by Adam) also pursued in high-powered speedboats at the start of the spectacular and extended chase sequence. The local redneck Sheriff J. W. Pepper (Clifton James) was in the middle of arresting Adam for speeding on a strip of land, when Bond's speedboat did a leap into the air over the Sheriff's car before landing back in the water. One of the thugs' errant boats plowed into the Sheriff's car, and another ended up in a swimming pool when Bond decided to ditch his boat (when it ran out of gas) on land and steal another one. Adam escaped and drove to a Ranger station where he also stole the speed-boat belonging to the Sheriff's brother-in-law Billy Bob to join the pursuit. Bond's boat briefly skidded on the bank and passed a wedding ceremony, but the boat behind him crashed into the reception tent. Adam was left as the sole pursuer by water. Multiple wrecks occurred when both boats crossed the highway in front of four state police cars involved in the chase. After Adam was blinded by Bond with a mixture of chemicals thrown into his face, his out-of-control boat collided with a docked derelict ship and exploded (# 8 death, # 2 Bond kill).
At the main dock, Bond was greeted by Felix Leiter, and told that Kananga had returned to San Monique with Solitaire (and with Baron Samedi). The police captain had to explain to an enraged Sheriff Pepper (who earlier complained about the swamp filled with "Black Russians") that Bond was a "secret agent" working with the local "boys." The Fillet of Soul restaurant in New Orleans had been raided, and there were only three half-burnt tarot cards left behind (a prediction of Solitaire's fate by Baron Samedi): Death, the Moon, and The High Priestess. Back on San Monique under cover of night at 11:30 pm, Bond and Quarrel Jr. took a rubber raft to shore near the cemetery-chapel, the entrance to Voodooland. Bond took a shark gun with compressed gas pellets, just in case. Quarrel Jr's' task was to plant incendiary bombs set to explode at midnight in the poppy fields. Bond meanwhile watched from the cemetery as a strange voodoo sacrificial ceremony was in progress. Solitaire was led out for execution and her wrists were tied to stakes, as a costumed witch doctor emerged, opened a casket filled with poisonous snakes, and taunted his victim with a green and yellow one. Top-hatted cemetery god Baron Samedi with skeletal makeup ascended from an underground gravesite, after which Bond shot and killed the witch-doctor (# 9 death, # 3 Bond kill), and then shot a hole in the left side of the brain of Samedi, although when he took a second shot, it appeared Bond had fired at a cyborg robot. Bond then killed another crazed worshipper with two shots (# 10 death, # 4 Bond kill), and then cut Solitaire loose with a machete, as the poppy fields exploded at the stroke of midnight. As they fled, a second Samedi emerged from the grave, gave his trademark loud laugh, and fought one-on-one against Bond. He was punched backward into the open coffin and presumably was bitten to death (# 11 death, # 5 Bond kill).
Bond and Solitaire entered Kananga's subterranean lair by tapping on one of the gravestones, and Bond fought off a few henchmen guards. They raced through a network of underground caverns, but were overtaken by guards and confronted by Kananga himself. The villain described how heroin was transported from his hideaway in large watertight metal canisters (containing 20 cans of 25 pounds each). The couple were tied together, and Bond's forearm was sliced to draw blood and lure "diners" (sharks). The two were to be lowered into Kananga's pool and served up as bait for his pet sharks. 007 employed the magnet on his Rolex watch to snag a CO2 shark bullet (he hid it in his mouth), and then used the buzz-saw gadget to cut himself free. In a final combative showdown, Bond kicked Whisper into one of the large canisters and sealed it (death unknown), and then fought against Kananga. They both fell into the shark pool, where Bond forced a large compressed-air shark bullet (or pellet) into Kananga's mouth and made him bite into it and swallow it. He pushed him below the water's surface, and then when the bullet discharged, Kananga's body began inflating, in a clearly-disgusting and gory death scene. He was propelled out of the water into the air like a rising helium balloon. When his floating-upward, engorged body struck an upper structure, his elasticized, swelled-up body of skin popped or exploded (# 12 death, # 6 Bond kill). When "lover" Solitaire was released and asked: "Where's Kananga?", Bond quipped: "He always did have an inflated opinion of himself." They escaped the lair on Kananga's monorail.
In the final scene, Bond and Solitaire took an overnight train from New Orleans to New York, but didn't know that Tee Hee was also onboard (concealed in a US Mail bag). As they prepared to make love in their sleeper cabin (Solitaire: "The first time in my life, I feel like a complete woman"), Tee Hee sabotaged the train, broke into their room, and attempted to kill Bond with his pincer-hook hand. He trapped Solitaire in her wall bunk bed, and then the two fought in the cramped room, until Bond caught and clamped Tee Hee's pincers to the window frame (by cutting control wires in his arm) before tossing him out the window (# 13 death, # 7 Bond kill), leaving Tee Hee's disembodied arm hanging there. Hearing Solitaire's muffled cries behind the closed bunk bed, Bond released her and she exasperatingly asked: "Now what are you doing?" After tossing Tee Hee's artificial arm out the window and closing it, he replied: "Just being disarming, darling." As the train continued on its way and she and Bond presumably proceeded to make love again (# 7 tryst), the undead Baron Samedi sat on the front of the locomotive, laughing, just before the end credits began.
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
The eighth film in the series.
This was director Guy Hamilton's second consecutive Bond film, and his third film overall. He also directed Goldfinger (1964) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
The first of seven films with Roger Moore as James Bond, the longest continually-serving actor in the role, with 7 films over 12 years (1973-1985). Moore would be the third actor to portray Bond over a period of four years. Moore was slightly distinctive from Connery's Bond - he smoked long cigars (rather than cigarettes), drank bourbon (rather than martinis), and didn't wear a hat.
Released during the early 1970s "blaxploitation" film era, with a racially-driven plot about drug trafficking (and terms bandied about such as "Pimpmobile" and "Honky") which were meant to blatantly capitalize on the hot trend in American film. It was also the first (and only) Bond film with supernatural elements.
The character Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry) was the first black Bond girl, portrayed as an incompetent and inept CIA double-agent. She experienced two trysts (# 2 and # 3 above) or love scenes with Bond - controversial in some places. The government of South Africa (due to apartheid) required that the inter-racial sex scenes be removed before the film's release in the country.
This film surprisingly featured no "Q" character or gadget scene whatsoever, although "Q" did ship Bond a magnetic Rolex watch.
The film continued the trend of corny humor and sight gags from the previous film, particularly in the character of Southern, uneducated, uncouth and prejudiced Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James), who might have been more appropriate in a Smokey and the Bandit film.
This was the first Bond film to be set in a fictional country. On the Caribbean island of San Monique (although filmed on Jamaica), one of the villain's henchmen was voodoo 'cyborg assassin' Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder), and although Bond put a bullet through his brain, it appeared he had only shot a robot. Before the end credits, the undead and laughing Samedi again confusingly appeared as he sat on the front of the locomotive of the overnight train carrying Bond and Solitaire to New York.
With an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song (Paul McCartney & Wings' "Live and Let Die") - the first James Bond theme song in the series to be nominated. It was the first rock theme of the Bond franchise.
With a production budget of $7 million, and gross revenue of $35 million (domestic) and $162 million (worldwide).
Set-pieces: The double-decker bus chase scene, the destructive chase through the New Orleans local airport, Bond's escape from Kananga's Louisiana crocodile farm involving the speedboat (and police car) chase through the Louisiana bayou, the death scene of inflated Kananga in a shark pool, and Bond's fight to the death against Tee Hee in the cabin of the overnight train.
Bond Villains: Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big (Yaphet Kotto), Whisper (Earl Jolly Brown), Tee Hee (Julius W. Harris), Cab Driver 1 (Arnold Williams), Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder), Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry), Adam (Tommy Lane)
Bond Girls: Miss Caruso (Madeline Smith), Solitaire (Jane Seymour)
Number of Love-Making Encounters: 7
Film Locales: New York City, US (United Nations), New Orleans, Louisiana, San Monique - a fictional island in the Caribbean, London, England, Harlem (uptown) in NYC, surrounding bayou areas in New Orleans
Gadgets: sonic blasting earpiece, switchblade knife, Pulsar digital watch, Rolex wrist watch with a hyper-intensified magnetic field bullet-deflector and buzz-saw, Whisper's poison dart-shooting right-side rear-view car mirror, cigarette lighter communicator, hand-held bug sweeper/detector, hairbrush transmitter, hang glider, Dr. Kananga's scarecrows (closed circuit TV surveillance devices), flute radio transmitter, shark pellet gun that fires compressed air bullets
Vehicles: Double Decker Bus, Harley Davidson motorcycles, Glastron Speedboats, Kananga's underground monorail, Overnight train
Number of Deaths (Bond Kills): 13 (7)
Also Worth Your Attention...
Bond Regular: Miss Moneypenny
Bond Girl: Miss Caruso
Bond Villain: Dr. Kananga
Bond Girl: Solitaire
Bond Villain: "Mr. Big"
(also Yaphet Kotto)
Bond Villain: Rosie Carver
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