Octopussy has had many criticisms leveled at it since it slipped into cinema's in 1983. One complaint is that there are simply too many villains - is the crazed Gen. Orlov the main villain or the suave Kamal Khan? Another objection postulates that its choice of India as a location sends Bond into a pure fantasy land with a depiction of tribal princes, mysterious islands populated entirely of impossibly beautiful women and bungling local thugs. Still more point to its inappropriate rather juvenile schoolboy humor, from Bond's Tarzan yell to our heroes ogling over a young woman secretary's bust as a reason why the movie fails.
These objections are perfectly legitimate, but one has to feel that the movies detractors were missing the point. Bond is a fantasy figure who in the past has battled armies inside bases hidden inside hollowed out volcano's (in 1967's YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE) and shot into space to save the world from poisoned orchids globes (in 1979's MOONRAKER). Bond belongs in the fantasy realm and the over-the-top formula is perfectly suited and indeed complimented by the India depicted here.
In addition the villains are similarly over-the-top and the movie audience is treated to two wonderful performances. Who can forget the fantastic performance of Steven Berkoff as Orlov in the Kremlin meeting room - "Never, the West is decadent" Orlov states as he struts around one of Peter Lamont's amazing sets.
The humor is also perfectly suited to the Roger Moore portrayal of Bond and in fact the adventures had become so fantastical at this point that it was necessary for Moore to not take events too seriously. The only truly embarrassing scene is the one in Q's workshop where Bond focuses a camera in on a woman's bust. But other scenes referred to pop culture of the 1900s, such as Bond doing his Barbara Wodehouse impersonation telling a tiger to "sit-t-t" and swinging through the vines like Johnny Weismuller in an old Tarzan picture. Neither is particularly intrusive and both elicited belly laughs from the audience I saw the movie with. Similarly the complaint that Bond ends up in a clown suit at the end should be taken in context, he is undercover at a circus, a clown outfit is in fact the perfect disguise.
The movie starts with one of the most famous action sequences of the 1980s. Captured trying to destroy a spy plane in Latin America 007 escapes by using the worlds smallest jet even flying it through a hanger as the doors close. In fact the jet, called an Acrostar, actually exists and had been originally planned for use in 1979's MOONRAKER, it deserves its place in the Bond movie's pantheon of gadgets alongside the mini helicopter Little Nellie from 1967. Rolling up to a gas station at the end of the sequence Bond delivers my favorite line in the movie, smiling to the undoubtedly amazed attendant and asking him to Fill her up please."
Of course this scene has nothing to do with the movie as a whole but it's a nice little mini-adventure to start things off with and set the tone for the rest of the movie. Following the erotic main titles, in which designer Maurice Binder makes full use of lasers and gorgeous women, we are plunged headlong into the main plot with two assassins chasing a British agent in full clown make-up (shades of what is to come later) as he attempts to get a fake Faberge egg to the British embassy.
Understandably a little miffed at the death of their agent and curious as to the reason why he was carrying a fake egg the British send Bond to observe the auction of the real egg at Sotheby's. Here is one of my favorite scenes, there are no explosions, no meglomaniacal speeches from super villains and no incredible sets but merely Bond testing the determination of Khan in a standoff which reaches its final conclusion thousands of miles away over a game of backgammon. Here we see shades of Goldfinger cheating at golf in the 1964 movie except this time its loaded dice on the backgammon table.
Special mention must go to the very alluring Maud Adams who holds the distinction of being the only actress to play two leading roles in the EON Bond series (Ursula Andress played two, the first in DR. NO and the second in the non-Eon 1967 spoof CASINO ROYALE). Adams is a stunning Scandinavian beauty and plays the title role with a sense of both amusement and conviction. In fact in what is an interesting tip of the hat to the short story from which the movie gets its title, the plot of Bond tracking down a traitor serves as the backstory to Adam's characters father.
The plot for what its worth involves jewelry smuggling and nuclear brinkmanship, but that's really not what is important here, that merely serves as a canvas on which to stage fun set pieces and a generous selection of stunt action sequences.
What we have here is a fun action adventure movie, just don't go in expecting anything serious. If you approach this movie with the right frame of mind you might find this entry in the James Bond canon to be one of the series most entertaining - for entertainment's sake.
The DVD also features a scene specific commentary from Director John Glen. It can be a little dry at times and it might be better waiting for the upcoming remastered DVD releases that will feature a commentary by Bond actor himself Roger Moore.
on October 31, 2000
"Octopussy" is the thirteenth entry of the James Bond series produced by Cubby Broccoli and it marks the sixth appearance of Roger Moore as the British secret agent. John Glen returns to the series to make his second of four directorial efforts in this film. The title of this film is taken from an Ian Fleming short story which is actually told by the title character to James Bond in the film. Only one part of the film, the auction, is based on Fleming's work, in this case the short story "Property of a Lady". The rest of the screenplay was conceived and written by longtime Bond associates, Richard Maibaum and Michael Wilson.
The story begins with the discovery of a fake Fabrege Easter egg in East Berlin. Its genuine counterpart is about to be auctioned off in London and M, head of MI6, is worried that this is part of a Soviet operation to raise hard currency. Bond is assigned to attend the auction and report what he can see. What starts out as a simple assignment quickly becomes more involved. Bond first encounters Kamal Khan, a disposessed Afghan prince and apparent jewelry fence. As Bond follows Kamal back to his home in India, he finds that Kamal is involved with a female jewel smuggler known only as Octopussy. But behind them both is Soviet General Orlov and his plans involve more than just selling off jewels from the state archives. Bond must find out what Orlov is up to and stop him.
The cast of characters in "Octopussy" is as wide and varied as ever seen in a Bond. Bond is opposed not by one but two master villians. Actor Louis Jourdan portrays the smooth but deadly Kamal Khan and Steven Berkoff nearly steals the show as the maniacal General Orlov. Kamal's henchman Golinda, played by Kabir Bedi, is a worthy successor to the likes of Red Grant and Oddjob. David and Tony Meyer nicely round out the villians as the twin killers, Mischa and Grischa. Kristina Wayborn makes good impression as Magda although she comes off as a little stiff in a couple of her earlier scenes. The film's title character is played by Maud Adams, whose performance as the smart but sensuous businesswoman Octopussy is quite excellent. The regular cast of characters are here as well with Robert Brown debuting as "M" and with Lois Maxwell and Desmond Llewelyn reprising their roles of Miss Moneypenny and "Q". Bond's trusty sidekick in India is played by newcomer Vijay Amritraj.
The screenplay to its credit maintains a strong storyline, no mean feat considering the number of characters and the number of fights and chase scenes. The scenes where Bond is racing to prevent the fulfillment of General Orlov's plans are both amusing and suspenseful, worthy of comparison to films like Goldfinger. The final assault of Kamal's palace is a bit weak but the ensuring fight between Gobinda and Bond on the outside of a twin-engine aircraft is first-rate.
The MGM Special Edition DVD of "Octopussy" has, like most of the other DVDs, an excellent widescreen print. The DVD also contains a couple of interesting documentaries, an audio commentary track, and many other goodies. As with any movie presenting in a widescreen format, this DVD is best seen on a large-screen TV.
"Octopussy" is one of those few Bond movies, especially in the Roger Moore's era, that seem to blend all the elements, exotic locations, colorful villians, spectacular physical action, suspenseful plot, into a masterful whole. If not the best of his individual performances, "Octopussy" is certainly the most entertaining of the Roger Moore Bonds. It is a shame that he was persuaded to do another Bond, this effort would have been a great swan song for Roger Moore. This DVD is a must for any Bond fan's collection.
"Octopussy" was the thirteenth "official" James Bond film, and Roger Moore's sixth. While Roger is looking a bit ragged, this movie is plotted well and has some of the classiest Bond movie characters. "Octopussy" was released twenty years after the release of Dr. No, well into establishing the James Bond series as the longest running movie series in history. 1983 was also the only year in which two "serious" James Bond movies were released, with "Never Say Never Again," starring Sean Connery, released shortly after this film. Two Bond films were also released in 1967; "You Only Live Twice" and the comedy "Casino Royale," with an all-star cast that included Peter Sellers, David Niven and numerous Bond movie actors, including Ursula Andress and Caroline Munro.
When agent 009 turns up stabbed with a valuable jeweled egg, James Bond is on the case. His investigation leads him to India, where he learns that Kamal Khan is involved in a number of activities, some of them apparently involving Octopussy, a female smuggler who makes her home on an island where there are only women.
Louis Jourdan plays Kamal Khan. Jourdan brings significant class and style to the character, and may be Bond's classiest villain ever. Jourdan's Khan is also utterly ruthless, and comes close to killing Bond several times.
Beautiful Maud Adams plays Octopussy, which was her father's nickname for her. Maud and her girls are smugglers, but you will note that their guns contain darts that put their targets to sleep rather than kill. Maud Adams remains unique as the only actor to be in a lead role in two Bond movies, the first being "The Man with the Golden Gun" in 1974. In many ways the character of Octopussy is similar to the character of Kristatos in "For Your Eyes Only."
As the movie unfolds we learn that General Orlov (played chillingly by Steven Berkoff) has been plotting with Kamal Khan to use the military superiority of the Soviet Union to show the world that the Soviet Union remains a potent world power. Kamal Khan's interest is money, however, and he cares little for Orlov's activities other than how he can benefit from them.
Two principal characters support Kamal and Bond. Kabir Bedi plays Gobinda, a tall, quiet, intelligent henchman. Gobinda seems to be the one to spot when the good guys are about to make a move. Gobinda is also quite obedient, to his ultimate chagrin. Vijay Amritraj plays Vijay, a suave Indian who likes to play tennis, is well-spoken and educated. Octopussy also has her sidekick in the character of Magda, played by Kristina Wayborn. Magda is beautiful, athletic, highly intelligent, and much like Octopussy.
The movie is focused in India until the principal characters travel to East Germany and Berlin where General Orlov's activities climax. Here Bond faces twin knife throwers, a host of East German soldiers, a lady who refuses to give up her pay phone, West German police, U.S. MPs, a bevy of clowns, and a nuclear bomb. The movie then returns to India where Q gets to take direct part in the action in a change of traditions, where Q has traditionally beem away from the action.
The title song for this movie is sang by Rita Coolidge. "All Time High" is a pretty song, and continues the tradition of having current music artists sing the title song. The special edition includes a music video of this song, along with a short on Peter Lamont and a making of documentary. Of the extras the documentary and the voice commentary are the best features. Here are a couple of interesting facts from the extras. The plane that flew through the hangar at the beginning was mounted on a post that was attached to the chassis of a car. If you slow the picture down as the plane flies through the hangar you can easily see the post and catch a couple of glimpses of the car chassis. Later in the movie when Bond is fighting on the circus train, the scenes with Bond suspended just above the moving rails was done with a painted moving below a pair of railroad cars suspended in the air, and a single moving train wheel. I found it hard to tell that the railroad ties were not real even though I knew how the special effect was created. I thought the extras were worth watching.
"Octopussy" has a lot going for it. The plot is now slightly dated, but worthy of Bond. There are interesting special effects, including a fight on a plane and an attack with a high tech hot air balloon. There is also a cool "crocodile" and a saw-blade yo-yo that shows how much of a cutup a bad guy can be. The title song is excellent. Roger looks very comfortable in this role, and Maud and he have substantial screen chemistry. I could readily have watched Roger and Maud in another movie together, even another Bond movie. While this Bond movie may be less than the best, it is still a very good Bond movie and enjoyable to watch time and again. You need this one in your Bond movie collection.
on February 20, 2010
My wife and I saw this Bond film the afternoon it was released. Both us and the entire crowd in the theater were massively enjoying it and everyone walked out greatly satisfied. Now I read articles decrying it as a terrible Bond film and I am mystified. It is one of my five favorite Bonds. This film is fun from start to finish with a great pre-credits sequence and terrific action sequences to enliven the entire film. Maud Adams returns to the Bond films in leading-lady status after appearing as the secondary female lead in the disappointing "Man with the Golden Gun." (Moore has stated in interviews that Maud Adams was his favorite leading lady.) Louis Jourdan is suitably slimy as the lead villain and Steven Berkoff is positively psychotic as the crazed Russian General trying to set off a nuclear device on a U.S. Air Force base in Germany. (This film was filmed during the time of constant demonstrations throughout Europe for a "nuclear freeze" and this works its way into the plot.) Much has been written in a negative manner about Moore in clown makeup trying to deactivate the bomb as the seconds tick away. (Bond has to hide in a clown costume to get onto the air force base where Octopussy's circus is performing.) I think the make-up just adds to a very suspenseful scene. I have never understood the controversey it has engendered. (Most people who write about it just hate Moore's Bond in general and feel this gives them more ammunition.) The location work in India, like most Bonds, is excellent. This features the customery excellent John Barry Score and a nice theme song "All Time High" sung by Rita Coolidge.
This film opened in the June of 1983 and did great business. The highly overrated Sean Connery Bond "Never Say Never Again" opened in September 1983 and did good business also, only not as good as "Octopussy." At the time the critics went bananas raving about the Connery Bond and had a great time bashing the Moore Bond. It is poetic justice that "Octopussy" did better business and now "Never Say Never Again" has been reevaluated as the absolute mediocrity it always was, a film Warner Bros. was ready to pull the plug on in mid-production, had Connery not taken matters into his own hands and held the production together. Moore has stated in his recent autobiography the satisfaction he received when "Octopussy" grossed more than "Never Say Never Again." I guess it gets tiresome being bashed as Bond after starring in 7 greatly successful Bond films.
Anyway, for some reason, people like to still bash "Octopussy." As previously stated, I don't understand why and feel it is a marvelously entertaining Bond film. This, like all the recent Moore Bonds, had an audio commentary by Roger. We are still waiting for the blu-ray release, I hope it comes soon.
on January 5, 2007
This is probably Roger Moore's best Bond movie. It is a richly textured film beautifully photographed and full of rich and detailed production designs. It seems like a throwback to the 60s style of filmmaking. The pace is slower and deliberate and the dialogue seems to have subtler wit interspersed. It has an overall nostalgic feel about it. The opening is excellent as we see Bond the spy infiltrate a banana republic air base. Bond escapes via a Bede Acrostar mini jet aircraft with a guided missile in hot pursuit.
The score by John Barry is a little sparse and sporadic but still rich in structure and flavor. Barry utilized "The James Bond Theme" more for this Roger Moore outing than he did for his other scores for the Moore Bonds. He did do an outstanding job scoring the scenes involving the Soviets, which had that eastern block flavor similar to his score for THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM.
To its credit, the film uses elements from the short stories "Octopussy" and "The Property of a Lady" by Ian Fleming in a sentimental throwback to earlier Bonds. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY filmed just before this one, also used some of Fleming's original writings for inspiration. In that one Bond as the shark bate in-tow was taken directly from Fleming's novel "Live and Let Die."
Louis Jourdan as Kamal, in a very underrated performance, is excellent and is one of the best villains of the series. He is Bond's counterpart nemesis. It was also good to see many of the regular cast members return for this one. Desmond Llewelyn as "Q" seemed to return to his old self as he had established prior to DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. Walter Gotell as Gogol, Geoffrey Keen as the Minister of Defense, Eva Reuber-Staier as Rublevitch, Jeremy Bullock as Smithers and Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny all reprised their roles much more effectively and reminiscent to the style of the earlier Bonds. Robert Brown replaced Bernard Lee as the beloved "M." We all missed Bernard.
The film goes a little over-the-top near the end having Octopussy's troupe of beautiful amazons attack Kamal's Monsoon Palace. Then the film really goes over-the-top and under-the-top as Bond crawls all over Kamal's Beechcraft Model 18 Super H18 as it dives, loops and tailspins. I don't see anything wrong with that. This is one of the better James Bond films of the series.
The extras are very good. They are well thought out and prepared. Great screen test footage of James Brolin with his comments is a very good insight into the making s of these films. I like the re-design of the menu screens. The digital sound restoration is spectacular. The new digital sound restoration adds a new dimension to the film. The images are also much crisper, cleaner and brilliant. I also like the redesign of the cover graphics.
on March 20, 2016
After Connery, Moore ranks as another actor remembered for his Bond role. Suave and outstanding in all his Bond movies Moore was excellent. Octopussy remains our favorite contrary to what the so called critics have to say. Always meant to be tongue in cheek, the albeit corny one liners and actions are well placed and humorous, the action non stop and scenery outstanding. Plenty going on on this movie which seems to end all too soon for the viewer. All these elements are no longer found in current Bond movies which are clearly attempting too hard to be something they are not and never will be. Bond is fantasy fiction created purely for entertainment and the inspired and gifted scripts of the Connery/Moore days have long since vanished. Good quality DVD.
on January 6, 2007
This is one of Roger Moore's best Bond movies and ranks up there with his definitive THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. It certainly has its moments. It does contain the best scene from the entire series. Bond swings from a vine and gives this terrific Tarzan yell. Only Roger Moore's Bond could pull that one off. Bond uses some cool disguises like a gorilla suit and an alligator outfit that turns into a boat. The story is a little confusing and gets jumbled up in subplots involving lookalike jewelry and smuggled nuclear devices. You don't know who is good or who is bad. It depends on your point of view.
The score by John Barry is exceptional and harkens back to a more rich sounding score such as he used in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. He did do a good job scoring the scenes involving the Soviets, which has a rich eastern European flavor.
The film does use elements from the short stories "Octopussy" and "The Property of a Lady" by Ian Fleming as a jumping board. We had not seen that for some time. I think LIVE AND LET DIE was the last Bond film that resembled anything written by Fleming.
Louis Jourdan as Kamal is excellent and gives a performance that rivals Christopher Lee's Scaramanga. It was also good to see many of the regular cast members return for this one. Desmond Llewelyn as "Q," Walter Gotell as Gogol, Geoffrey Keen as the Minister of Defense, Eva Reuber-Staier as Rublevitch, Jeremy Bullock as Smithers and Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny all reprised their roles. Robert Brown replaced Bernard Lee as the beloved "M." We all missed Bernard.
on January 10, 2007
'Octopussy' begins at an East German circus, where 'a man in a clown suit' is chased through a dark wood by two circus knife-throwing experts... The clown eventually gets a dagger in his back, but survives long enough to drop a fake Fabergé Easter Egg at the feet of the British ambassador...
The clown is actually 009 in disguise, who is investigating a smuggling ring that uses carnivals and circuses for cover... But the plot is much more grave than that...
There is a rebellious Russian general called Orlov, assuming a fortuitous atomic explosion on an American Air Force Base in West Germany...
Orlov's connection is an exiled Afghan prince (Kamal Khan), who is willing to help the Soviet general smuggle his deadly A-bomb into West Germany in exchange for Kremlin most remarkable jewels...
James Bond enters the case, in London, to investigate the death of 009... He attends a sale at Sotheby's where a priceless super green egg (used by Czar Nicholas in 1897) is auctioned... There he first sees Kamal Khan and his lady friend, Magda...
Aware that Khan will get the Imperial Egg to fulfill some unknown but obviously vital purpose, 007 actually bids against the exiled Afghan prince, raising its market value over the top... Although Khan eventually outbids him, Bond is clever enough to switch the real Fabergé egg with a perfect replica...
Convinced that Khan is somehow mixed up in 009's murder, Bond is soon sent to India to find out why 009 was murdered...
Bond remains the sophisticated man with a price on his head... He pays a surprise visit to an island exclusively populated by attractive women... He seems to like 'eggs, preferably Fabergé and dice, preferable loaded.' He maneuvers the world's smallest jet, and swings through the high trees to someone else's tunes... He orders a ferocious beast to sit, and creates a spontaneous mass action by flinging 'hard currency' in the air... In a crucial moment, he appears to have a 'very good memory for faces and figures, survives a series of throwing knives, and gets caught on a train tracks... He follows a plane on horseback for a terrific mid-air fight sequence...
Maud Adams' Octopussy serves little purpose in the story taking a backseat to Kamal Khan's disloyalty... Nevertheless she is a statuesque resourceful woman living with her stupendous sexy acrobats on a floating palace, developing a talent for illegal activities...
Christina Wayborn's Magda actually steals the show from Maud Adams... Magda is by far the prettiest of Kamal's friends exposing a 'little Octopussy' tattoo on her lower back...Her dramatic exit from 007's bedroom certainly must rank up as one of the best memorable escape in any Bond movie...
Louis Jourdan brings poetic elegance to a treacherous character... He is quite sure that Bond is 'indeed, a very rare breed soon to be made extinct.'
Kabir Bedi plays the villain Gobinda, with strong hands that can pulverize so easily a pair of dice...
Steven Berkoff plays Orlov, the wonderful Russian villain who surely is leaving the way clear for a full-scale Russian invasion of Europe...
With John Barry beautiful score; the snake charmer playing the 'James Bond' theme; the disturbed fakir resigning his bed of nails; Bond climbing at a steep angle of an engaging décolletage; John Glen's 'Octopussy' is exotic, lush, very enjoyable and highly entertaining...
on February 7, 2016
Unlike other bond films that rely solely on pyrotechnics and action, not that this film lacks either, I found it a satisfying and suspenseful film ... especially once the bomb was armed. The only real negatives were the sudden appearance of a hot air balloon bearing a Union Jack envelope. And, yes, Bond has to rescue the girl, but why did the bad guys grab her in the first place? Still as Bond films go this was, possibly, the best one.
on August 4, 2001
Octopussy was, in my opinion, the best of the seven James Bond films that Roger Moore had done. He was very confident and great for his style of James Bond in the film. Personally I like the scenes in Germany the best, with Bond fighting an enemy on top of a moving train, the chase to get to a nuclear bomb located on a US Airforce Base, among others. Another good thing of this movie, is that the composer, John Barry, was on top of his league doing the excellent score, including the title track, "All Time High" sung beautifully by Rita Coolidge. Overall, this is an excellent movie. For the DVD version of the movie (which I definitely prefer over VHS), you get many treats and specials, including the "All Time High" music video, a Behind the Scenes documentary, TV spots, movie trailers, etc. A great DVD available for a great movie.