The 12th official James Bond movie. After a British encryption device goes missing, Bond is tasked with retrieving it.
Actor Bernard Lee, who had played the character "M" in previous 11 James Bond films, died prior to filming. "For Your Eyes Only" subsequently did not feature the character of "M" per producer Albert Broccoli's request.
As the first Bond film of the Eighties producer Albert R. Broccoli decided to change the tone of the films from the fantasy seen in Moonraker to the more traditional Bond stories. For Your Eyes Only follows James Bond as he hunts down a British ATAC that could be used, in the hands of the Russian, to bring down the entire British defensive line.
While visiting his late wife’s grave James Bond (Roger Moore) is caught in a helicopter controlled by Ernst Blofeld. By crawling on the outside of the flying helicopter Bond retakes control and kills Blofeld once and for all.
Melina moments after her parents are killed
Off the coast of Greece a secret British ship sinks with a ATAC transmitter. General Gogol (Walter Gotell) of the KGB is informed and calls a contact to retrieve the transmitter before the British do. Also in Greece Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) visits her parents on their expedition yacht. Moments later her parents are killed by a airplane equipped with a machine gun. Back in London Bond is informed by Sir Frederick Gray (Geoffrey Keen) that the ATAC has been lost and that Melina’s father was asked to find the wrecked British shipped but was killed in the process. Bond is sent to find the Cuban assassin and who hired him.
In his Lotus Esprit Bond travels to Cuba and sneaks on to the assassins estate where he is caught while he is being paid by Emile Leopold Locque (Michael Gothard). When Melina kills the assassin with a crossbow Bond escapes capture. Together Melina and Bond escape during the car cash after tricking the henchmen to driving over a cliff. That night Melina tells Bond that she wants to hunt down the man that hired the assassin and get revenge for her parents death.
Bond and Melina
Bond returns to London and reports to Sir Gray about the situation. With the help of Q (Desmond Lleweyln) Bond uses an Identi-graph to discover the identity of Locque. After several hours they finish and find out that is believe that Locque is in Northern Italy. Bond follows the trail to resort hosting Olympic try outs. There he meets his Italian police contact Luigi Ferrara (John Moreno) who sets Bond up with Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover) who has had dealings with Greek smugglers and sponsors Olympic hopeful Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson) and her coach Jacoba Brink (Jill Bennett). Bond agrees to escort Bibi to the Biathlon and finds out that Locque is working with Milos Columbo (Topol), also known as The White Dove, who is made out by Kristatos to be a very evil man after they stopped being partners.
While walking through a shopping center Bond sees Melina purchasing a new crossbow and saves her from being attacked by unknown henchmen. Melina explains that Bond had sent her a telegram to meet him at the hotel which Bond never sent. Bond convinces her to wait for Bond to figure this all out on his own without her going crossbow crazy.
Bibi waiting for Bond
Back in his hotel Bond finds a naked Bibi in his room. Bond resists her advances and takes her to the Biathlon. Leaving Bibi at the Biathlon Bond is chased by Locque and other henchmen wearing white doves on their jackets. Using a ski jump and a bobsled course Bond escapes.
That night Luigi drives Bond to meet with Bibi at an ice rink where she tells him that one of the henchmen is Erich Kriegler (John Wyman) who was a defector from East Germany. After Bibi leaves more henchmen attempt to kill Bond. With the henchmen disposed of Bond returns to the car and finds Luigi dead and a white dove pin.
Bond and the Countess
Bond flies to Greece and meets up with Melina again and they have a nice day in the city gathering supplies for the crew on Melina’s expedition yacht. That night Bond visits the local casino and meets with Countess Lisl von Schlaf (Cassandra Harris) who is impressed with Bond. Having dinner with Kristatos Bond learns the face of Milos Columbo who has an argument with the Countess. Kristatos advices Bond that the only way to stop Milos is to kill him. With the Countess leaving Bond charms his way into her bed. The next day, during a walk on the beach Locque shows up again and kills the Countess. Bond is only saved by divers wearing white doves on their wet suits.
Awakening on Milos Columbo’s yacht Bond is told that it is actually Kristatos that doing all the evil things that Columbo was accused off. Milos also reveals that Kristatos is also working for the Russian government and then suggests an alliance between himself and Bond to which Bond hesitantly agrees. Sailing to Albania Columbo’s men attack one of Kristatos smuggling hideouts. In the fire fight Locque attempts to escape but Bond catches Locque. Before kicking him off a cliff Bond reveals that Locque was responsible for killing Luigi and setting up Columbo.
Bond and Melina being thrown over board
Back in Greece Bond meets up with Melina hoping she could help find the sunken British ship. Going through her fathers records they find the wreck. After retreiving the ATAC Kristatos men attempt to kill Bond and Melina. They escape only to find Kristatos on board Melina’s yacht. He takes the ATAC from them and drags 007 and Melina behind Kristatos own ship. Bond ties the rope around some coral allowing the two of them to escape.
With Kristatos gone with the ATAC Bond almost gives up hope until Melina’s father’s parrot gives a clue to the location of Kristatos hide out near a church named St. Cyrils. With the help of Columbo Bond finds the hideout of St. Cyrils. Before General Gogol arrives to retrieve the ATAC from Kristatos. On the mountain Brink and Bibi try to make their escape from Kristatos but are saved by Bond who kills Kriegler.
Kristatos about to be killed
As Gogol lands Kristatos is slowed down by Columbo while Bond grabs the ATAC. Before Melina can get revenge on Kristatos Columbo throws a knife into Kristatos back. Bond then throws the ATAC off the cliff giving no reason for Gogol to stay around. With Kristatos gone Bibi finds a new sponser in Columbo. Back in Greece Bond ignores MI6 who are trying to set up a call with the Prime Minister and goes skinny dipping with Melina.
Albert R. Broccoli on location
With a large critic of Moonraker being that it was too much fantasy in a Bond film producer Albert R. Broccoli decided to bring Bond back to reality. Broccoli turned to his step son and and executive producer Michael G. Wilson to help shape the new film. The first step was to get a brand new director. John Glen had been working on Bond films since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service shooting much of the stunts and second unit and now For Your Eyes Only would be his first feature length film. It was also decided to bring back veteran Bond writer Richard Maibaum. With Michael G. Wilson Maibuam went back to Ian Flemings short story’s and combined For Your Eyes Only and Risico.
With Ken Adams unavaible to design the film the team turned to another Bond veteran Peter Lamont who had been working in the art department in Goldfinger. With a reduced budget Lamont went a more realistic route of designing the film than Ken Adams usual larger than life concepts.
Topol and director John Glen
Famous Fiddler on the Roof actor Topol was cast for the part of Milos Columbo by Barbara Broccoli, Cubby’s wife, at a dinner party one night. The story goes that she saw him across the room walked up and pointed at him, turned to her husband and said he would be perfect for the part of Columbo. With that Topol was hired.
In September shooting began in Greece which included the big car chase in the film. Much of the planning of the chase was improvised once on location. Even though the gadgets from the chase that Bond would usually use were removed the humor of Bond was still intact. By October production moved on to the largest fist fight in the Bond franchise. Once again legendary stuntman Bob Simmons joined the team to help choreograph the seen. Shooting at night nearly 30 stuntmen had to be recruited to make the scene possible. There were also a lot of guns that also had to be shot for the scene however one of them didn’t have the safety of the blanks. In one shot Topol was hit with bullet shrapnel near the eye causing him to bleed profusely. Broccoli was on set that night and ran into the shot before Glen could call cut and drove Topol to the hospital himself.
For the scene in which the character of Locque was to be killed Roger Moore felt that it would be out of character for his version of Bond. John Glen continued to push for Bond to kick the car over the cliff feeling that Bond needed to have a harder edge. Eventually Moore agreed and the scene was shot.
Topol, John Glen, and Roger Moore on location
The finale of the film was to be shot at a real monastery. A deal was made with the local bishop to shoot nearby with the monastery in the back ground. However when the crew arrived something had gone wrong. Either the money hadn’t gotten to the monks or they simply disapproved of a film being shot so the monks sabotaged the shots by draping the buildings with laundry. This actually upset the local village down below. The producers had to stop the villagers from actually assaulting the monks and throwing them out of their home. Instead the team built their own monastery on a nearby rock ledge allowing them to keep filming.
For the sequence of Bond climbing the mountain Rick Sylvester, who did the parachute jump in The Spy Who Loved Me, returned to do the stunts including a several hundred foot drop without a parachute.
Moore and Carole shooting the underwater scenes
Meanwhile in London the pre titles helicopter sequence had to use a variety of techniques to pull off the stunt. Martin Grace doubled for Roger Moore in the sequence as they flew around an abandoned mining facility. A full size helicopter built onto a crane was also used to get the shots inside the warehouse so that no one would be endangered.
For the underwater scenes it was discovered that Carole Bouquet was incapable of diving due to sinus problems. This left the team trying to figure out how to shoot underwater without being underwater. By shooting in slow motion with a wind machine the team was able to put in the bubbles later and create the full illusion of the two actors underwater.
Willy Bogner with camera in hand
The skiing scenes were orchestrated and filmed by yet another Bond veteran Willy Bogner. To get the close ups that they needed for the scenes the actors were placed on sleds that were mounted to the camera’s. Then in front of them another skiing were tow the camera sled and actor behind him. Bogner had specially made ski’s so that he could ski both forwards and backwards while filming the actors and stuntmen.
At the time and even now For Your Eyes Only is considered to be one of the best Bond films of the series. After the fantastical nature of Moonraker audiences were pleased to see the return of a classic Bond tale. The film also reintroduced the much harder edged Bond who isn’t afraid to kill an unarmed man.