3496. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

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6.8 Underwhelming
  • Acting 7.1
  • Directing 6.8
  • Story 6.5
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Chaim Topol

Director: John Glen

Running Time: 127 mins


For Your Eyes Only is a British film following James Bond on a mission to recover a secret naval missile system, all the while becoming entangled in a web of lies and deceit revolving around the murder of a young woman’s parents.

After the dizzyingly ludicrous exploits in Moonraker, it’s clear from For Your Eyes Only that efforts were made to bring James Bond back down to Earth (literally).

However, while Roger Moore’s fifth outing as 007 is more grounded than its immediate predecessor, it’s also a disappointingly lifeless affair, and far from the high-octane blockbuster that earlier films in the series were.

Let’s start with the positives. If you hate campy, unrealistic Bond movies, then For Your Eyes Only will be much more up your street. Apart from the comical opening sequence, this is a far more serious affair, with a web of deceit serving as the main anchor of intrigue and excitement throughout.

Personally, I rather enjoyed the sci-fi insanity of Moonraker, and For Your Eyes Only really feels like a step down in comparison. What’s more, it’s a real regression in comparison to some of Moore’s more serious Bond outings, including the brilliant Live And Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me.

Along with a lower fun factor, this is a very slow, low-energy movie that really pales in comparison to many of the Bond movies that came both before and after it. With little use of the typically spectacular musical score, the action sequences are quiet and lifeless, never getting you anywhere near the edge of your seat.

That would all be fine if the film’s intended gritty, realistic screenplay threw up some properly gripping thrills. However, the writing here is just as weak as the action, failing to really get to the meat of its story until the very last act, leaving you almost bewildered as to what exactly Bond’s mission is at points.

Couple that with a number of bizarre side stories and characters who add little in the way of humour or extra spy intrigue to proceedings, and For Your Eyes Only really struggles to captivate at any point.

Overall, I was rather disappointed by For Your Eyes Only. A step backwards in comparison to both the sillier and more serious Bond movies before it, this is a rather dull, lifeless affair with little of the high-octane blockbuster magic that has made 007 a favourite of the silver screen for so many years. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 6.8.

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About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com