007 Reasons Why Moore Is Not Less


1) Roger Moore guided James Bond through a tricky new decade and assured the series would go on beyond him. With the George Lazenby affair effectively ruling out another unknown and Sean Connery unavailable again, Roger Moore was embraced by a Cubby Broccoli reluctant to cave into studio suggestions that a Hollywood star take the role. After an unspectacular start Moore hit his stride with The Spy Who Loved Me and the franchise was secure again. A whole new generation of James Bond fans were introduced to 007 through Roger Moore.

2) Although lighter in tone and not appealing to all Bond fans, Moore did offer his own distinctive take on the character which is all any actor can do, regardless of reactions. Moore Bond's mixture of humour, suaveness, encyclopedic knowledge and occasional ruthlessness was important enough to Eon for him to make more films than any other Bond actor. They didn't keep inviting him back because he was unpopular. As much as any other actor Roger Moore reshaped 007 to suit his own distinctive personality; adventurous, funny, assured, sophisticated, urbane and uniquely British.

3) Humour. No James Bond actor was quicker with a quip than Roger Moore. While this may have gone overboard at times Moore's films are still a blast to watch today because of a sense of fun that seemed to fit the seventies. It's hard to imagine Michael Billington as a serious, tough as nails Bond enduring through the seventies and beyond but Moore seemed to be the right man in the right place at the right time. Granted he did one or possibly two films too many but if he wasn't popular he wouldn't have been asked to stay on. We should also remember that the first 'Roger Moore style' James Bond film was actually called Diamonds Are Forever and starred Sean Connery.

4) One of the frequent knocks on Roger Moore is that his Bond couldn't punch his way out of a wet paper bag. We should remember that Moore didn't benefit from the all action editing of Peter Hunt like Connery and Lazenby but he had his moments. His fight with Sandor in The Spy Who Loved Me and the punch-up in the belly dancer's room in The Man With The Golden Gun are examples of Moore being able to punch his way out of trouble when the scriptwriters deemed it necessary.

5) The return of the epic James Bond film. The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker were huge OTT epics in the vein of Thunderball and You Only Live Twice a decade earlier. Moore's Bond was a solid anchor in these films and his approach to the character opened up the possibility of these films being produced. In a long running series like James Bond different approaches should be taken and a few grandly produced fantastical adventures are all part of the mix.

6) For Your Eyes Only, a film designed to 'ground' the series after Moonraker and perhaps better suited to a Dalton than a Moore, nonetheless gave Roger some of his best moments as Bond. The heart to heart with Melina in the snow, kicking the car off a cliff. Laurence Olivier he wasn't but Moore was always a better actor than he himself would have you believe. Watch the excellent The Man Who Haunted Himself or Bed and Breakfast and see that Roger could act a bit when given the chance.

7) Self-deprecation. Unlike other Bonds Moore seems happy to talk about his James Bond days, offering a respectful insight laced with self-deprecation. He more than anyone has amusingly downplayed his contribution to the series! What exactly was his contribution? His contribution was considered nigh on impossible but he achieved it and ensured the longevity of the series. His contribution was to show that someone other than Sean Connery could carry the role on and make it his own for a new generation. For that reason all Bond fans should be very grateful to Roger Moore.

- Michael Cooper 


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