starring Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Clifton James
screenplay by Tom Mankiewicz, based on the novel by Ian Fleming
directed by Guy Hamilton
by Ian Pugh As a young teenager and budding cinephile, I owned all the Bond films on VHS. I remember watching Live and Let Die more often than any of the others, probably because--crushes on Jane Seymour notwithstanding--as a viewer without any working sense of social context, it was the easiest film of the series to just sit back and enjoy. No Cold War scenarios requiring global perspective, no long-standing rivalries requiring explanation; Thunderball perfected the infamous Bond formula to dubious ends, but this is the entry that endeared you to its simplicity. In his first turn in the role, Roger Moore's easygoing charm was a better fit for the youngest 007 neophytes than the rough, brutish Connery--and, despite being mired in a hopelessly-dated '70s landscape, the action sequences are sharply directed and tightly edited. In fact, they'd assure that the film would hold up pretty well today for more adult sensibilities...that is, if its script didn't revolve around James Bond fighting every single black person in the Western hemisphere.