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For Your Eyes Only


For Your Eyes Only (1981) is the twelfth spy film in the James Bond series and the fifth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It marked the directorial debut of John Glen, who had worked as editor and second unit director in three other Bond films. The screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson takes its characters and combines the plots from two short stories from Ian Fleming’s For Your Eyes Only collection: the title story and “Risico”. In the plot, Bond attempts to locate a missile command system while becoming tangled in a web of deception spun by rival Greek businessmen along with Melina Havelock, a woman seeking to avenge the murder of her parents. Some writing elements were inspired by the novels Live and Let Die, Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

After the over-the-top, science fiction-focused Moonraker, the producers wanted a conscious return to the style of the early Bond films and the works of 007 creator Fleming. For Your Eyes Only followed a more gritty, realistic approach, and an unusually strong narrative theme of revenge and its consequences. Filming locations included Greece, Italy and England, with underwater footage being shot in The Bahamas.

For Your Eyes Only was released on 24 June 1981 to a mixed critical reception; the film was a financial success, generating $195.3 million worldwide. For Your Eyes Only was the last Bond film to be distributed solely by United Artists; the studio merged with MGM soon after this movie’s release.

Plot

MI6 agent James Bond, code name ‘007’ and sometimes referred to by that number, is ordered on a mission by the British Minister of Defence, Sir Fredrick Gray and MI6 Chief of Staff, Bill Tanner. The spy boat St Georges, which holds the Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator (ATAC), the system used by the Ministry of Defence to communicate with and co-ordinate the Royal Navy’s fleet of Polaris submarines, was sunk by a naval mine in the Ionian Sea. Bond is asked to retrieve the ATAC before the Soviets, as the transmitter could order attacks by the Polaris submarines’ ballistic missiles.

The head of the KGB, General Gogol had already sent a contact to Greece. A marine archaeologist, Sir Timothy Havelock, who had been asked by the British to secretly locate the St Georges, is murdered with his wife by a Cuban hitman, Hector Gonzales. Bond goes to Spain to find out who hired Gonzales.

While spying on Gonzales’ villa, Bond is captured by his men, but manages to escape as Gonzales is shot with an arrow. Outside, he finds the assassin was Melina Havelock, the daughter of Sir Timothy and the two escape. With the help of Q, Bond identifies a hitman in Gonzales’ estate as Emile Leopold Locque, and then goes to Locque’s possible base in Italy. There Bond meets his contact, Luigi Ferrara, and a well-connected Greek businessman and intelligence informant, Aris Kristatos, who tells Bond that Locque is employed by Milos Columbo, Kristatos’ former organised crime partner. After Bond goes with Kristatos’ protégée, figure skater Bibi Dahl, to a biathlon course, a group of three men which include East German biathlete Eric Kriegler chases Bond trying to kill him. Once he escapes, Bond goes with Ferrara to an indoor ice rink to bid Bibi farewell. After she leaves, three men in hockey gear attempt to kill Bond, but again he manages to fend them off. When Bond returns to his car, Ferrara is dead, with a dove (the symbol of Columbo) pin in his hand. Bond then travels to Corfu in pursuit of Columbo.

At a nightclub, he meets with Kristatos and asks how to meet Columbo, not knowing that Columbo’s men are secretly recording their conversation. After Columbo and his date, Countess Lisl von Schlaf, argue, Bond offers to escort her home. Eventually, Lisl reveals that Columbo knows Bond is a secret agent, and that she was sent by him to find out more info on Bond. Not knowing Apostis overheard the conversation, the two then spend the night together. In the morning Lisl and Bond are ambushed and Lisl is killed. Before they can attack Bond, he is captured by men working for Columbo. When Columbo and Bond meet, Columbo tells him that Locque was actually hired by Kristatos, who is working for the KGB to retrieve the ATAC. Bond accompanies Columbo and his crew on a raid at one of Kristatos’ opium-processing warehouses in Albania, where Bond uncovers naval mines similar to the one that sank the St. Georges, suggesting it was not an accident. After the base is destroyed, Bond chases Locque and kills him.

Afterwards, Bond meets with Melina, and they recover the ATAC from the wreckage of the St Georges, but Kristatos is waiting for them when they surface and he takes the ATAC. After the two escape an assassination attempt, they discover Kristatos’ rendezvous point when Melina’s parrot repeats the phrase “ATAC to St. Cyril’s”. With the help of Columbo and his men, Bond and Melina break into abandoned mountaintop monastery, St. Cyril’s. While Bond is climbing, Apostis attacks him, but is killed. As Columbo confronts Kristatos, Bond disposes of the biathlete Kriegler.

Bond retrieves the ATAC system and stops Melina from killing Kristatos after he surrenders. Kristatos tries to kill Bond with a hidden switchblade, but is killed by a knife thrown by Columbo. Gogol arrives by helicopter to collect the ATAC, but Bond destroys it first, saying “Détente, comrade. You don’t have it; I don’t have it.” Bond and Melina later spend a romantic evening aboard her father’s yacht.

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