- May Day: "Wow what a view."
- Max Zorin: "To a kill."
- ―Max Zorin and May Day.
A View to a Kill, released in 1985, is the fourteenth entry in the James Bond series of films made by EON Productions, and the seventh and last to star Roger Moore as British Secret Service Agent, Commander James Bond. It is also the final Bond film to have Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny, which had began with Dr. No. It was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Wilson also co-authored the screenplay along with veteran screenwriter Richard Maibaum.
The title itself is adapted from Ian Fleming's short story "From A View to a Kill", contained in the For Your Eyes Only collection of short stories released in 1960; however the title is where the similarity between short story and the film end, making this the second completely original Bond film after The Spy Who Loved Me. At the end of Octopussy during the famed "James Bond Will Return" sequence, it listed the next film as "From A View to a Kill", the name of the original short story; however, the title was later changed a few months before filming for unknown reasons. The original title "From A View to a Kill" was taken from a version of the words to a traditional hunting song "D'ye ken John Peel?": "From a find to a check, from a check to a view,/From a view to a kill in the morning".
James Bond is sent to Siberia, where he finds 003 buried by an avalanche and recovers a microchip from the corpse. With the help of field agent Kimberley Jones, he escapes the ambushing Soviet troops. Back in England, Q informs M, Bond and the Minister of Defence that the retrieved microchip's design is an exact match of an advanced microchip resistant to electro-magnetic pulse damage manufactured by Zorin Industries, indicating the company is leaking top secret technology to the Soviets.
Max Zorin and his miracle horse
Along with Miss Moneypenny, the group then venture to the Ascot Racecourse to observe the company's owner, frenchman Max Zorin. Zorin's horse miraculously wins the race; Sir Godfrey Tibbett, a horse trainer, believes the horse was using drugs, but the screening prior to the race came back negative. Through Tibbett, Bond meets with Achille Aubergine, a local detective already investigating the accusations. During dinner at the Eiffel Tower, Aubergine is killed by Zorin's lover and henchwoman May Day, but not before Bond learns about Zorin's annual horse sale in a few weeks. The futile chase after May Day leaves Bond with 6 million in damages and a citizen's arrest on him, infuriating the minister.
Bond and Tibbett later travel to Zorin's stud in Chantilly, France where Bond poses as St. John Smythe, a horse dealer. They locate and break into Zorin's secret labs where they discover that Zorin is using implanted microchips to release the drug remotely, triggered by a switch in his cane. Even though Bond sleeps with May Day to cover up their nightly investigations, he and Tibbett are soon discovered and the latter is killed by May Day. Bond survives a deadly horse race and an attempt to drown him inside his car in a lake.
In his blimp, Zorin unveils his plan to destroy Silicon Valley in an operation he dubbs "Main Strike" in order to gain complete control of the microchip market. In San Francisco, Bond learns from Chuck Lee, a CIA operative, that Zorin is a psychopath as a result of failed steroid experiments by Nazi-turned-Soviet scientist Dr. Carl Mortner. General Gogol tries to reason with Zorin, who behaves outside protocol for KGB agents; but Zorin declares himself renegade from KGB. Bond later runs into rival spy and former lover Pola Ivanova, who tries to sabotage Zorin on Gogol's orders.
During his investigations about Zorin's ventures, Bond meets again with Stacey Sutton, a state geologist and heiress of Zorin's competitor in oil business. Back in Chantilly, Zorin tried to buy out hesitating Stacey, who is now threatend by Zorin's thugs. Bond and Stacey unveil Zorin's "Main Strike": He plans to detonate explosives beneath the lakes along the Hayward Fault and the San Andreas Fault causing them to flood. A bigger bomb in an abandoned mine will destroy a "geological lock" that prevents the two faults from moving at the same time. The timed detonations would cause a massive double earthquake, thus destroying Silicon Valley, the world's leading microchip manufacturing area.
Foiling Main Strike
Bond and Stacey reach the mine, but Zorin soon begins to flood it with the first set of explosives. May Day, feeling betrayed after being left behind to die in the mine, changes sides and aids Bond in removing the bigger bomb that would destroy the lock. Doing so eventually costs her her life.
In the finale, Bond manages to grab a rope attached to Zorin's airship as he leaves the mine. During the flight Bond gets the rope tangled in the Golden Gate Bridge. Zorin and Bond then fight upon the bridge resulting in Zorin falling to his death into the San Francisco Bay.
Bond is awarded with the Order of Lenin by Gogol, who amusingly claims the Soviet economy needs Silicon Valley. Bond is missing in action, but Q's espionage robot finds him and Stacey together in her shower.
Cast & Characters
- Directed by: John Glen
- Produced by: Albert R. Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson
- Screenplay by: Michael G. Wilson, Richard Maibaum
- Composed by: John Barry
- Production design by: Peter Lamont
Vehicles & gadgets
- Iceberg - Bond escapes from a mission in Siberia by getting into a boat built to look like an Iceberg.
- Camera Ring - Bond wears a ring given to him by Q-Branch that acts a camera.
- Electric Razor - Bond uses an Electric Razor that detects bugs in his room at Zorin's Mansion.
- Anti-Tinted Glass Sunglasses - Special pair of glasses which enable Bond to see through a tinted window.
- Cheque-Book Imprint/Photocopier - Fortuitously shaped copying device which exactly fits over Zorin's cheque book allowing Bond to make a copy of the last cheque written. (Louis Vuitton)
- Credit Card lockpick - Magnetically unlocks latches. Disguised as a Sharper Image card.
- 1984 Renault 11 TXE - Bond steals this from a Parisian taxi driver to chase May Day after she killed a French secret agent, the car ends up being decapitated, and then chopped in half after going through a typical James Bond chase sequence. Three Renault 11s were used in the film - the decapitated car is now a museum exhibit.
- Siberia, Russia
- London, England
- Amberley, England
- Paris, France
- Ascot, Berkshire
- San Francisco, California
- Pinewood Studios / Albert R. Broccoli's 007 Stage
- San Francisco, California — United States
- Fisherman's Wharf
- San Francisco City Hall
- Lefty O'Doul Bridge
- Golden Gate Bridge
- A View To A Kill is widely regarded as one of the poorest entries in the Bond series, the criticism centering on the now aged Roger Moore (56 when shooting, 57 at completion); in fact many tabloid newspapers joked that Bond's next gadget from "Q" should be a Zimmer Frame (walker). The plotline was also criticised for being almost identical to that of Goldfinger; similar elements include:
- In Goldfinger, the villain's scheme is to irradiate the entire US gold reserve, making it worthless, causing financial meltdown in the West plus Auric Goldfinger's personal gold stocks will increase in value tenfold; correspondingly in A View To A Kill, Max Zorin intends to destroy Silicon Valley by triggering a massive earthquake, thus leaving his company with a monopoly on the microchip market.
- As in Goldfinger, one of the business partners in the scam gets cold feet and would rather take the money and run. While Mr. Solo was assassinated by Oddjob and his body disposed of in a car crusher, in A View To A Kill, the dissenter in the ranks is dropped from Zorin's airship and into San Francisco Bay.
- Both Zorin and Goldfinger are being bankrolled by the Communists: in the former case, Zorin is an ex-KGB agent, while the atom bomb intended to destroy Fort Knox is supplied by the Chinese.
- Another comparison A View to a Kill has received is to the 1978 film Superman. Both films were produced by Pinewood Studios, with the Eiffel Tower scene being on the same stage used in the 1980 sequel film Superman II where Superman saves Paris from a terrorist group who planted a bomb in the elevator of the Eiffel Tower. Like Zorin, the Superman villain Lex Luthor aimed to destroy California using hijacked nuclear missiles, detonating them in the San Andreas Fault and causing massive earthquakes, which would cause a chain reaction causing the western part of California to fall into the ocean. Also like Zorin, Lex Luthor would stand a gain a monopoly, in this case real estate. Prior to the scam Luthor had purchased acres of desert land for pennies, whose value would multiply astronomically as Luthor's "New California".
- This film is not only Roger Moore's swansong, but Lois Maxwell's as well. Maud Adams also has a cameo, taking her total of Bond appearances to three.
- Given that Roger Moore was actually several years older than Sean Connery, and that Moore's films included occasional references to the Connery and George Lazenby films, suggesting Moore's 007 is meant to be the same man, A View to a Kill marks the end of the original Bond film continuity that had started with Dr. No; the Timothy Dalton era, while it too made occasional references to the past, is set in a new timeframe with a Bond who would have been too young to be an active agent in the early 1960s, and a Moneypenny played by an actress who was only a year old when Dr. No took place.
- Leftover canisters of gasoline used during filming of Ridley Scott's Legend caused Pinewood Studios' "007 Stage" to be burnt to the ground in 1984. Albert R. Broccoli, the producer of the James Bond films had the studio rebuilt in 4 months time so that filming could commence on A View to a Kill. The soundstage was renamed "Albert R. Broccoli's 007 Stage".
- Christopher Walken was the first Academy Award-winning actor to portray a Bond villain. Javier Bardem was the second with his role in Skyfall. Benicio del Toro, who played lead henchman Dario in Licence to Kill, has also won an acting Oscar, although he did not win it until 2000, 11 years after his appearance in a Bond film. Halle Berry also won an Oscar prior to the filming of Die Another Day.
- David Bowie was the producers' first choice to play Zorin. He turned it down saying, "I didn't want to spend five months watching my stunt double fall off cliffs." The role was then offered to Sting, who also turned it down.
- When a company with a name similar to Zorin was discovered in the United States, a disclaimer was added to the start of the film affirming that the evil Zorin was not related to any real-life company. This is the only Bond film to have a disclaimer at the start of the film (Licence to Kill had a disclaimer in the end credits about the dangers of smoking).
- Part of the film takes place on the Eiffel Tower. In an earlier Bond film, Moonraker, it was mentioned that the tower was purchased by the villain of that movie, Hugo Drax, but he was refused an export permit for the structure.
- It has been suggested that the film's teaser sequence helped initiate interest in snowboarding.
- The Rolls-Royce driven by Patrick Macnee in the film belonged to producer Albert R. Broccoli.
- It was planned that two stuntmen, B.J. Worth and Don Caldvedt, would both parachute off the top of the Eiffel Tower so that two takes of the scene could be filmed. However, sufficient footage was obtained from Worth's jump, so Caldvedt was told he would not be performing his own jump. Caldvedt, unhappy at not being able to perform the jump, parachuted off the tower without authorisation from the City of Paris. He was sacked by the production team for jeopardising the continuation of filming in the city.
- The parachute jump from the top of the Eiffel Tower was made from a platform which extended from the edge of the tower. The platform is clearly visible in the film.
- Though Patrick Macnee plays only a small part in the film, he received his own "starring" credit, that is, his name is the only name to appear on screen at the time.
- In the mine scene towards the end of the film, Grace Jones' screams when sparks fly around her are genuine. The sparks were created to mimic the effect of electrical cables in and near the water, but Jones was not told about them.
- Nikolai Diavolo, a villain played by Willem Dafoe in the 2004 video game Everything or Nothing claimed Max Zorin was his mentor. In the game, one of Diavolo's objectives is to kill Bond in revenge for Zorin's death.
- At the conclusion of the end credits it says the traditional "James Bond will return" but not the title of the next film as had been tradition since From Russia with Love, nor has the title of the next film been announced in the end credits of every Bond film since.
- At the time of filming, Grace Jones was dating Dolph Lundgren. He was visiting her on set one day when an extra was missing, so the director John Glen asked him if he wanted to get a shot at it. Lundgren appears as a KGB agent during the confrontation between General Gogol and Max Zorin at the racetrack, standing several steps below Gogol.
- A View to a Kill is the first James Bond film to not directly use the title of a story by Ian Fleming, and currently the only one to use a modified version thereof.
A View to a Kill was also made into a video game. It was published by Domark and produced by Softstone Ltd (Tony Knight, Daryl Bowers and Gary Burfield Wallis). It ws available on ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64.
|James Bond films|
Dr. No (1962) • From Russia with Love (1963) • Goldfinger (1964) • Thunderball (1965) • You Only Live Twice (1967) • Diamonds are Forever (1971)
| George Lazenby |
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Live and Let Die (1973) • The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) • Moonraker (1979) • For Your Eyes Only (1981) • Octopussy (1983) • A View to a Kill (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987) • Licence to Kill (1989)
GoldenEye (1995) • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) • The World Is Not Enough (1999) • Die Another Day (2002)
Casino Royale (2006) • Quantum of Solace (2008) • Skyfall (2012) • Spectre (2015) • No Time To Die (2020)
Casino Royale (1954) • Casino Royale (1967) • Never Say Never Again (1983)