Running Time: 126 minutes.
Tag-line: "From the most exotic locations on Earth, MOONRAKER will take you out of this world!"
Notable Cast or Crew: Roger Moore (THE QUEST, LIVE AND LET DIE), Michael Lonsdale (MUNICH, THE NAME OF THE ROSE), Lois Chiles (THE WAY WE WERE, BROADCAST NEWS), Richard Kiel (EEGAH, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME), Corinne Clery (YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE, THE STORY OF O), Bernard Lee (DR. NO, THE THIRD MAN), Geoffrey Keen (THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY), Desmond Llewelyn (THUNDERBALL, GOLDENEYE), and Lois Maxwell (LOLITA, GOLDFINGER).
Best One-liner: "Take a giant step back for mankind."
A few James Bond films (like, say, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE or SKYFALL) attempt a stern and serious atmosphere, a kind of no-nonsense-thriller vibe striving for a degree of class that's slightly more "John le Carré" than "Ian Fleming." MOONRAKER is not one of these films.
It shares more in common with the delightfully insane DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER or the funhouse loopiness of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN than your typical higher-tier Bond film. And that is why I love it.
So, without further ado– my six favorite head-scratching, spit-take worthy moments in MOONRAKER: they're what make life worth living.
#6. Bond hurls a henchman through a priceless clock-tower window, whereupon the unfortunate lackey plummets to his doom...
and completely penetrates a grand piano
in a live-action Looney Tunes tableau that achieves near-Joe Dante levels of comic grotesqueness.
There you go! A-plus!
#5. Spielberg ouroboros.
In addition to having a returning character named "Jaws," MOONRAKER uses the famous, five-note theme from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND as the electronic combination to a door in a high-security area. Little did the makers of MOONRAKER know that Spielberg would soon begin his own James Bond-ian series (INDIANA JONES) which would eventually include in its third installment a Venice speedboat chase sequence, just like in MOONRAKER! The mind reels.
#4. Lasers, Lasers, Lasers!
I mean, the movie is called MOONRAKER. Obviously, you wouldn't rake the moon with anything less than a laser. What else are you supposed to use... a rake?
Now here are some pictures of an undercover MI6 agent dressed as a monk zapping the hell out of a goopy dummy, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK-melting-Nazis-style:
Carry on, then.
#3. Roger Moore as Clint Eastwood.THE PIRATE MOVIE or a NATIONAL LAMPOON'S flick, but I'm more than okay with it.
#2. Jaws' Love Interest.
Fan-favorite, metal-mouthed behemoth Jaws (Richard Kiel) returns from THE SPY WHO LOVED ME with appropriate grandeur and succeeds in stealing a second James Bond movie away from James Bond himself. In a mind-blowing setpiece scored by the love theme from Tchaikovsky's ROMEO AND JULIET, Jaws is swept up off his feet by the Heidi-esque "Dolly," a super-strong woman with pigtails. I'm going to stop you right there, tell you to lower your arched eyebrow, and ask you to just go with it.
This culminates in a crowd-pleasing plot-line of Jaws becoming something of a good guy, which leads to Jaws tossin' Mr. Bond a hearty outer space thumbs-up
and celebrating his new life choices by gnawing the cork off of a bottle of champagne and enjoying it with his lady friend.
Clearly, I wish that Jaws could be in every James Bond movie. Alas.
#1. I have to give the number one spot to the moment that inspired an actual, non-theoretical spit-take:
James Bond blasts his motorized gondola out of the Venetian canals and onto a main thoroughfare, rapidly inflating a bottom panel that transforms the vessel into a hovercraft.
This prompts a pigeon to do a show-stopping double-take, achieved through a forward-reverse-forward motion effect.
This is one of the ballsiest, most wonderfully inane gags to appear in any movie, James Bond or otherwise. Its sheer lameness is such that it goes through the rabbit hole and back again, trampling your logic centers until you have no choice but to admit its brilliance.