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For Your Eyes Only

Film poster by Bill Gold
James Bond Roger Moore
Also starring Julian Glover
Carole Bouquet
Chaim Topol
Lynn-Holly Johnson
Directed by John Glen
Produced by Albert R. Broccoli
Novel/Story by Ian Fleming (stories)
Screenplay by Michael G. Wilson
Richard Maibaum
Cinematography Alan Hume
Music by Bill Conti
Main theme For Your Eyes Only
   Composer Bill Conti
Michael Leeson
   Performer Sheena Easton
Editing by John Grover
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) United Kingdom:
June 24, 1981
United States:
June 26, 1981
Running time 128 minutes
Budget $28,000,000
Worldwide gross $195,300,000
Preceded by Moonraker
Followed by Octopussy

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. The screenplay takes its characters from and combines the plots of two short stories from Ian Fleming's collection For Your Eyes Only: the title story and "Risico". It also includes elements inspired by the novels Live and Let Die (the keelhauling sequence), Goldfinger (the identigraph sequence) and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (the opening at the graveyard). In the film, Bond and Melina Havelock become tangled in a web of deception spun by rival Greek businessmen against the backdrop of Cold War spy games. Bond is after a missile command system known as the ATAC (a MacGuffin introduced to tie together the original stories' plots), whilst Melina is out to avenge the murder of her parents. As well as seeing a conscious return to the style of the early Bond films and the works of 007 creator Fleming, and therefore a more gritty, realistic approach (following the science-fiction Bond film Moonraker), the film is perhaps unusual for the Bond series in having a strong narrative theme: revenge and its personal consequences. FYEO was also the first James Bond film to be directed by John Glen, who would then direct the following four Bond films after a span of eight years (he directed every Bond movie that was released in the 1980s).

The film was released on both June 24 (in the United Kingdom) and June 26 (in the United States) of 1981 (two weeks after the release of blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark). Despite the film's mixed critical reception, the film was a monetary success, generating $195.3 million worldwide. The film's financial success helped save United Artists from bankruptcy after their 1980 box-office disaster Heaven's Gate by Michael Cimino. This is why For Your Eyes Only was the last James Bond movie to be distributed solely by United Artists; they merged with MGM soon after and began focusing on blockbusters rather than personal films.[1]



In the pre-title sequence, Bond is picked up at his wife's gravesite by a helicopter; he escapes after being trapped in the aircraft. It is remotely controlled by someone who is presumed to be Blofeld - who was accomplice to Tracy's assassin Irma Bunt. The unknown man pilots the helicopter around various parts of London before Bond manages to gain control of the helicopter and turns it on his enemy, who is in a motorized wheelchair; picking him up, Bond then drops him into a smokestack, presumably killing him.

The film then turns its focus to the fishing trawler St Georges of Valetta on the Ionian Sea, which is revealed to be a British spy ship equipped with 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. The ship dramatically sinks when an old naval mine becomes entangled in the fishing nets and pulled into the hull, causing it to explode and flood the lower compartments of the ship.

Sir Timothy Havelock (Jack Hedley), a marine archaeologist based in Greece, is contacted by the British government to secretly locate the St Georges. However, before he can give a report, he and his wife are shot down by a Cuban hitman, Hector Gonzales (Stefan Kalipha), who passes their yacht in a machine-gun equipped floatplane. Havelock's daughter Melina (Carole Bouquet) survives and vows revenge.

The British Minister of Defence and his Chief of Staff summon James Bond (Roger Moore) and assign him the task of recovering the ATAC. They explain that if the transmitter were retrieved underwater by another superpower the Polaris submarines' ballistic missiles could be used against major western cities. Bond is sent to Spain after Gonzales to find out who hired him. Melina kills him before Bond can find out. Melina owns a Citroën 2CV which proves to be very resilient in the following car chase by two bigger and more powerful cars driven by Gonzales's henchmen; they manage to disable both of the other cars in the Spanish highlands with a series of clever manouveres.

After identifying a hitman (Michael Gothard) in Gonzales's estate (Locque) who appeared to be paying him, Bond is led to a well-connected Greek businessman and intelligence informant, Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover), in Cortina d'Ampezzo, a resort in northern Italy's Dolomites. He later tells Bond that the man he saw is employed by Milos Columbo, a Greek Smuggler. Kristatos's 15-year-old niece Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson), a figure skating champion, attempts to seduce Bond who refuses, acknowledging she is a minor (at the time of filming, Johnson was in her early 20s and Moore was in his mid-50s). Bond is also forced to contend with Eric Kriegler (John Wyman), a German biathlete. Kriegler attempts to kill Bond with his biathlon rifle, and pursues him on a machine gun armed motorcycle, over a chalet balcony, bobsled track, and into a farm where Bond escapes. He and two other men also attempted to kill Bond on an indoor ice rink, but he manages to fend them off once again and after discovers that Ferrara was murdered.

When Bond is eventually captured by men working for Columbo (Chaim Topol) (who have saved him from being killed by Locque and Locque's accomplice Claus) it emerges that Locque is actually in the employ of Kristatos who himself is in the employ of the KGB. Kristatos is attempting to recover the ATAC for the KGB, and had set up Columbo as the villain as the latter knew too much about Kristatos's KGB leanings. Columbo proves this connection to Bond by allowing Bond to take part in a raid on one of Kristatos's warehouses in Albania, where they find Locque. In this factory, Bond discovers false rolls of paper containing poppy syrup, and additional naval mines similar to the one that sank the St. Georges, suggesting that the sinking was not an accident. Locque places explosives to destroy this evidence and flees as the building explodes into a fierce inferno, destroying all the heroin which was stored there. He then loses control of his car when Bond wounds him by shooting him through the car's windshield, and ultimately ends up teetering on the edge of a cliff. Bond approaches him there and gives the car a solid shove, sending Locque plunging to his death.

Bond and Melina later recover the ATAC from the wreckage of the St Georges, but Kristatos is waiting for them when they surface, and he takes the ATAC from them. He attempts to dispose of them by dragging them behind his yacht while sharks circle in the water; however, Bond effects their escape. They discover Kristatos's rendezvous point when Melina's parrot repeats the phrase "ATAC to St. Cyril's".

With Columbo's help, Bond, Columbo's team, and Melina break into a mountaintop monastery, St. Cyril's, being used by Kristatos to meet KGB chief General Gogol (Walter Gotell) where he will turn over the ATAC. Bond climbs up the sheer face of the mountain and, upon reaching the top, gains control of the lift basket and brings the rest of the team up.

Bond eventually retrieves the ATAC system and talks Melina out of killing Kristatos after he surrenders. Kristatos tries to kill Bond with a hidden weapon, but Columbo throws a knife at him from behind and kills him. Gogol arrives by helicopter to collect the ATAC, but Bond throws it over the cliff and it is dashed to pieces on the rocks below, with the quip, "That's détente, comrade. You don't have it; I don't have it." General Gogol gives Bond an understanding smile and leaves. Bond and Melina later spend a romantic evening aboard her father's yacht. When a call from the office comes in (which is patched through to the home of prime minister Margaret Thatcher), Bond passes it along to the bird while persuading Melina to undress and join him for a night swim.

Kristatos surrendering to Bond and Melina.



Roger Moore with the "all women" cast around the pool. Intersex actress Caroline Cossey is on the left, in the white bikini.

For Your Eyes Only marked a creative change of direction for the Bond film series. John Glen was promoted from his duties as a film editor to director, a position he would occupy throughout the 1980s. A result of this was a harder-edged directorial style, with less emphasis on gadgetry and large action sequences in huge arenas (as was favoured by Lewis Gilbert). More emphasis on tension, plot, and character was also added in addition to a return to Bond's more serious roots.

In order to blend the plots of the two short stories, several changes were made for the film. Since the film is set in Greece, closer to the location of "Risico" than to that of "For Your Eyes Only", the Havelocks were changed from being Jamaican, as in the short story, to an Anglo-Greek couple (Mr. Havelock being English and Mrs. Havelock being Greek). Havelock's daughter, "Judy," was also renamed "Melina" in the film, the Greek word for honey (a reference to the first screen Bond girl's name). The film also contains elements from several Ian Fleming stories: The warring smuggler characters Kristatos and Columbo come from "Risico". The keelhauling sequence comes from the novel Live and Let Die, a scene unused in the previous film adaptation. The Identigraph comes from the novel Goldfinger, where it was originally called the "Identicast". The film's opening, with Bond laying flowers at the grave of his wife, refers to both the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service and a scene in the novel where it is revealed that 007 visits annually the grave of Vesper Lynd (from Casino Royale).

Initially it seemed Roger Moore would not return as 007 for this outing, so interviews and screentests were held for a replacement. At the forefront were Lewis Collins, famous for his role as Bodie in The Professionals, Michael Billington, who previously appeared in The Spy Who Loved Me as Agent XXX's ill-fated lover and best known as Col. Paul Foster in Gerry Anderson's "UFO" and Ian Ogilvy, who like Moore had made his name playing Simon Templar in Return of the Saint. Eventually, however this came to nothing as Moore signed on to play the superspy once again.

For Your Eyes Only is noted for its pre-title sequence which sees the final comeuppance of the supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond's enemy in five previous films. The sequence of the film was initially scripted to aid the introduction and establishment of a new actor to portray James Bond since Roger Moore, who had starred in four previous films as Bond, was reluctant to return. The sequence begins with Bond laying flowers at the grave of his wife, Tracy Bond, but ends with Blofeld attempting to get even with Bond for foiling his plans and for the downfall of his criminal organization SPECTRE. The industrial chimney in the opening scene was part of the North Thames gasworks in London.

For this film, Blofeld is deliberately not named due to copyright restrictions with Kevin McClory, who owned the film rights to Thunderball, which supposedly includes the character Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the organization SPECTRE, and other material associated with the development of Thunderball. The demise of Blofeld was added to show that the James Bond series did not need Blofeld and was also done after a number of attempts by Kevin McClory to produce a rival Bond film based on his ownership of the screen rights to Thunderball. This includes a failed attempt in the late 1970s of an original Bond film that resulted in a lawsuit brought about by EON Productions and United Artists. Nevertheless McClory was able to film a remake of Thunderball entitled Never Say Never Again in 1983.

Overall, For Your Eyes Only accumulated a box office gross of $195,300,000, and became the second highest grossing Bond film after its predecessor, Moonraker. This was the last James Bond film to be solely released by United Artists. Following the MGM and United Artists merger, the films were released by "MGM/UA Distribution Co".

Caroline Cossey, who was used in a pool scene, turned out to have Klinefelter's Syndrome, an intersex condition. Urban legends about the incident greatly exaggerated Cossey's role, from a non-speaking "girl at pool" to someone who had "heavy love scenes" with Moore.[4] In reality, Cossey appears only fleetingly and is only clearly visible in one or two shots.


The tombstone of James Bond´s wife, Teresa, which Bond visits. shown at a James Bond convention in 1992.

Many of the underwater scenes, especially involving close-ups of Bond and Melina, were actually faked on a dry soundstage. A combination of lighting effects, slow-motion photography, wind, and bubbles added in post-production, gave the illusion of the actors being underwater. Apparently, actress Carole Bouquet had a preexisting health condition that prevented her from actually attempting any underwater stuntwork.

The film was shot mainly in Greece on locations such as Meteora, Corfu, and the Achilleion. Other locations included England (Pinewood Studios with 007 Stage), Italy, and The Bahamas.

During filming of the escape on the bobsleigh track in Cortina d'Ampezzo, one of the stuntman driving a bobsleigh was killed during the first day of production.


Sheena Easton appears on screen singing the title song, the first artist ever to do so in a Bond film. The producers of the film wanted Blondie to perform the title song written by Bill Conti and Michael Leeson. Blondie declined, so a different song, also titled "For Your Eyes Only" was recorded by Sheena Easton instead. Blondie's version of "For Your Eyes Only", which is not the same song recorded by Sheena Easton, can be found on their 1982 album, The Hunter.

Release and reception

The respected and noted Bond historian, the late John Brosnan (who wrote James Bond in the Cinema) noted in his review for the magazine Starburst that the movie was similar to 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service with all the skiing action and 1973's Live and Let Die for essentially being one long chase. Brosnan also noted that the MacGuffin for the movie (the ATAC) had actually been added to the movie after the main plot had been written.

The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics and was seen as a significant improvement over the previous film. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 74% "fresh" rating.[5] "There are exciting moments, but most of it is standard Bond fare," wrote Danny Peary, who went on to describe For Your Eyes Only as "an attempt to mix spectacle with [the] tough, believable storylines of early Bond films. Moore does a good job, coming through as a convincing action hero for a change. The film itself is great in comparison to the previous Bond film, Moonraker, and is enjoyable while you're watching it. Afterward, it's one of the most forgettable of the Bond series."[6] IGN ranks For Your Eyes Only as the ninth-best James Bond movie, MSN ranks it as the sixth-best, and Entertainment Weekly ranks it as the eleventh-best.

IGN ranked Melina as 5th in a Top 10 Bond Babes list.[7] Nevertheless, Entertainment Weekly ranks her as the worst babe of the Roger Moore James Bond films.[8]

The original poster for the film featured a woman holding a crossbow. She was photographed from behind, and her outfit left the bottom half of her buttocks exposed. The effect was achieved by having the model (Joyce Bartle, of New York) wear a pair of bikini bottoms backwards, so that the part seen on her backside is actually the front of the suit. While the image is considered tame by today's standards, in 1981 it caused outrage. The studio was forced to create several versions of the poster with superimposed garments covering the offending area.[9]

Comic book adaptation

Prior to the film's release, Marvel Comics was given permission to publish a two-issue comic book adaptation. The first issue was released in October 1981 and was soon followed by the second issue in November of the same year. It was also reprinted the same year in magazine and paperback book form. Both issues of the adaptation were written by Larry Hama and edited by Dennis O'Neil.

For Your Eyes Only movie comic book adaptation by Marvel Comics.

Two major differences in the comic book include the addition of M, who was technically in the initial drafts of the screenplay until Bernard Lee's death in early 1981, and the villain's given name, which for unknown reasons was "Ari Kristatos" instead of the film's "Aris Kristatos" (or "Aristotle Kristatos", although he is referred to as "Uncle Ari" both by Bond and Bibi Dahl in the film). The comic also includes additional suggestive dialogue from Bibi Dahl, aimed at Bond, that does not appear in the final film.


  1. ^ For Your Eyes Only (1981) - Trivia
  2. ^ Chancellor, Henry (2005). James Bond: The Man and His World. John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-6815-3. 
  3. ^ Black, Jeremy (2005-06-01). "The Brosnan films". The Politics of James Bond: From Fleming's Novels to the Big Screen. Bison Books. p. 167. 
  4. ^ "Caroline Cossey in For Your Eyes Only". For Your Eyes Only. Retrieved March 16, 2006. 
  5. ^ "For Your Eyes Only". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  6. ^ Danny Peary, Guide for the Film Fanatic (Simon & Schuster, 1986) p.157
  7. ^ IGN: Top 10 Bond Babes
  8. ^ Chris Nashawaty, "Moore...And Sometimes Less: A look at the most--and least--memorable bad guys, babes, and Bonds in Roger Moore's 007 oeuvre," Entertainment Weekly 1025 (December 12, 2008): 37.
  9. ^ "A Common Bond". 

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Preceded by
James Bond Films
Succeeded by


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

For Your Eyes Only is a 1981 film in which Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

Directed by John Glen. Written by Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum, based on short stories written by Ian Fleming.
Bond Has Everything - James Bond Agent 007 Is Back taglines


James Bond

  • [to Bibi] Now put your clothes back on, and I'll buy you an ice cream.


James Bond: What did Columbo whisper to you at the restaurant?
Countess: That you were a spy, and to find out more about you.
James Bond: And have you?
Countess: Have I ever.

Tanner: You were supposed to question Gonzales, not let Miss Havelock perforate him!
James Bond: I quite agree, sir.
Frederick Gray: I'm afraid we have to inform the Prime Minister that Operation Undertow is dead in the water. Why... she'll have our guts for garters!

Bibi: That's a laugh. Everyone knows it builds up muscle tone.
James Bond: Well, how about you build up a little more muscle tone by putting on your clothes?
Bibi: Don't you like me?
James Bond: [Wearily] Why, I think you're wonderful, Bibi... But I don't think your uncle Aris would approve.
Bibi: Him? He thinks I'm still a virgin.
James Bond: Yes, get your clothes on and i'll buy you an ice cream

Blofeld: Mr Bond! Mr. Bond! We can do a deal! I'll buy you a delicatessen in stainless steel! Please!
James Bond: All, right keep your hair on.
Blofeld: Put me down! Put me down!
James Bond: Oh, you want to get off?
Blofeld: [Falling inside a chimney] Mr Boooooooooonnnnddddddddddd!

The Prime Minister: [over the phone] Ah, Mr. Bond. I wanted to call you personally and to say how pleased we all are that your mission was a success. Thank you.
Parrot: Thank you, thank you.
The Prime Minister: Don't thank me, Mr. Bond. Your courage and resourcefulness are a credit to the nation. Denis and I look forward to meeting you. Meanwhile, if there is anything I can do for you...
Parrot: Give us a kiss, give us a kiss.
The Prime Minister: Well, really, Mr. Bond.
Tanner: I think we're having a little trouble with the line, madam.
Frederick Gray: [to Q] You idiot. Get on to him.
Q: 007. 007.
Frederick Gray: Bond! Have you gone mad? What's going on? Bond. Bond! BOND!


  • Bond Has Everything - James Bond Agent 007 Is Back
  • Bond for the ladies in For Your Eyes Only
  • Bond for action in For Your Eyes Only
  • Bond for thrills in For Your Eyes Only


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