- M: "What do you know about a man called Scaramanga, 007?"
- Bond: "Scaramanga? Oh yes, The Man With The Golden Gun."
- ―M to James Bond
The Man with the Golden Gun is the ninth official James Bond movie and the second to star Roger Moore as British Secret Service agent Commander James Bond. The Man with the Golden Gun was made by EON Productions and released in 1974. The film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman and was the final Bond film to be co-produced by Saltzman as his partnership with Broccoli dissolved after the film's release. Saltman's 50% stake in EON Productions parent company, Danjaq, was then purchased by United Artists. The resulting legalities over the Bond property delayed production of the next Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me for three years. The interval would be the longest break in the series until the six-year hiatuses between Licence to Kill in 1989 and GoldenEye in 1995 and again between Spectre in 2015 and No Time to Die in 2021.
The film version's title character is Francisco Scaramanga, a high-priced assassin who charges $1 million per hit. He is known for using a deadly single-shot gold-plated pistol which is capable of killing a target in only one bullet. Nothing is really known about Scaramanga in the beginning of the film except that he has a third nipple (information which Bond later uses to get in touch with Scaramanga's financier, Hai Fat); no pictures or physical descriptions of him exist.
The movie begins with a golden bullet, with "007" — Bond's codename — etched into its surface, being received by Her Majesty's Secret Service, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6). It is believed by Military Intelligence that Scaramanga has been hired to assassinate James Bond and has sent the bullet to intimidate his new target.
Bond's mission at this time revolves around the work of a scientist named Gibson, thought to be in possession of information crucial to solving the energy crisis by creating a virtually unlimited amount of energy using a new technique of harnessing the sun's power. Because of the perceived threat to the agent's life, M (Bond's 'control' officer in MI-6) removes James from his current mission, and forces 007 to go on leave until the matter is resolved.
Though officially "on leave" from his duties, Bond sets out to find Scaramanga before Scaramanga finds him. By retrieving a golden bullet from the belly button of a belly dancer in Beirut, used to assassinate another 'Double-0 agent' sometime previously, Agent 007 is led to the man responsible for supplying Scaramanga with his unusual golden ammunition. This leads Bond to Andrea Anders, Scaramanga's mistress. She confesses that it was she who sent the golden bullet to MI6 — to lure Bond to kill Scaramanga for her. Anders informs Bond as to where Scaramanga's plans will require him to be.
Unbeknownst to Bond, that location is that of Scaramanga's next 'hit', the target of which is Gibson, the solar energy scientist from Bond's previous mission. The hit takes place in order to steal the "solex agitator" — a critical component of Gibson's solar energy device. It is now Bond's mission to retrieve the solex agitator and duel it out with Scaramanga before Scaramanga can sell the device to the highest criminal bidder or use it for his own nefarious plans.
Cast & Characters
This is the first of three movies to feature Maud Adams. In 1983 she plays a different character, Octopussy, in the film of the same name. She would later have a cameo in the Bond movie A View to a Kill. This is also the second movie with Clifton James playing the role of Sheriff J.W. Pepper. He first appeared in Live and Let Die.
- Directed by: Guy Hamilton
- Written by: Ian Fleming
- Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz
- Produced by: Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman
- Composed by: John Barry
- Cinematography by: Ted Moore, Oswald Morris
- Production Design by: Peter Murton
- Art direction by: Peter Lamont
- Main article: The Man with the Golden Gun (soundtrack)
Vehicles & gadgets
- AMC Hornet Sportabout 'hatchback' — Bond steals this car in Bangkok, Thailand from an American Motors dealership (the actual filming location was an office building lobby), unknowing that Sheriff J.W. Pepper is in it, planning to test drive it (an example of product placement), as AMC cars were never sold in Thailand, which drives on the left). LHD AMC Matadors were also used for the cop's cars, and by Scaramanga. A total of 15 AMC automobiles were used (3 of them were AMC Hornets - one of them modified for the corkscrew stunt). A great stunt in the film takes place using the UNIVAC computer-calculated 'Calspan Spiral', permitting a fantastic feat of automotive acrobatics, until that time considered physically impossible. Unfortunately the professionalism of that stunt was ruined in the final film by usage of an incredibly comedic slide-whistle sound effect. This was one of two Bond films where AMC products were used - the other was in Moonraker (AMC was uncredited for the latter product placement but their products at the time of Moonraker's release date were distributed in Europe by Renault, later the owner of the AMC/Jeep Corporation until its demise in 1987, ending up absorbed by the Chrysler Corporation).
- Car Plane — During a car chase, Scaramanga's AMC Matador 'X' disappears in a shed for some time. When it emerges it has wings attached, allowing it to fly away. The vehicle is an extrapolation of the last of the Taylor Aerocars, then undergoing experimentation in the USA.
- The Golden Gun — Scaramanga's weapon of choice, it could fire a 4.2 caliber golden bullet specially made for the gun. The gun contained only a single round, which was sufficient for Scaramanga given his legendary marksmanship. The gun also separated into a gold cigarette lighter, a gold cigarette case, a gold cuff link, and a gold pen so as to avoid detection.
- Hong Kong
- Bangkok and Thailand
- Portuguese Macau
- People's Republic of China (Scaramanga's island)
One of the more interesting locations is the use of a real life derelict cruise liner, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, as a top-secret MI6 base in Hong Kong Harbour. All the cabins on board the ship are slanted.
- The film refers the then-recent 1973 energy crisis. Britain had not yet fully overcome the crisis when the film was released, and North Sea oil was not as well exploited as today.
- Christopher Lee, Ian Fleming's cousin, was Fleming's choice for the role of Dr. Julius No in the film Dr. No. According to Bond film historians, Lee also was considered for the role of James Bond.
- The Bottoms Up Club (the bar where Gibson, the man who created the Solex meets Lt. Hip, MI6's main agent in Hong Kong) is actually a real bar that's still open today. It even has a notice on it's sign that it was featured in the movie.
- The Golden Gun proved popular enough in the fanbase of the film that it became featured in various James Bond games, including GoldenEye 007, as a rare, suitably powerful weapon. In almost every game, the Golden Gun counts as an instant kill, reflecting that the villain Francisco Scaramanga never missed.
- This film was criticised that, in addition to production faults, it is the most sexist story in the series, with James Bond's assistant, Mary Goodnight, a stereotypical blonde buffoon who is nearly useless to him. On the other hand, when Bond is fleeing an enemy dojo, chased by martial artists, he offers to protect two girls who were being menaced by them, only to have them demonstrate their superior fighting skill by easily thrashing Bond's pursuers.
- Although her performance in the film is undistinguished, Mary Goodnight is a recurring character in several Fleming Bond novels, even appearing in lieu of Miss Moneypenny; in the novels, Goodnight is Bond's secretary.
- Broccoli and Saltzman originally intended The Man with the Golden Gun as the film to follow You Only Live Twice, in 1969, but production was cancelled, because it was to have been filmed in Cambodia, the ongoing Vietnam War in the region made filming impractical. Roger Moore was invited to be Bond in the 1969 version.
- The cork-screwing car jump was first demonstrated on January 12, 1972 at the American Thrill Show which was held in Houston, Texas in the Astrodome where Jay Milligan drove an AMC Javelin. Cubby Broccoli contacted Milligan where he entered into negotiations - the producers took out copyrights and patents on the stunt in order to prevent it being used before they could integrate to a James Bond film; the jump was planned using computer modeling based on research at Cornell University on rollover collisions for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Stuntman Bumps Willard drove the AMC Hornet (modified by Milligan's stunt team with a center mounted steering wheel and powered with an AMC 258 (4.2L) inline six motor bolted to a Chrysler Torqueflite 904 transmission for reduced weight) when he performed the stunt with a center mounted steering wheel. Milligan also drove another similar looking AMC Hornet where he did perform the driving stunts in Bangkok including the J-turn (later known as a Rockford as seen in the TV series The Rockford Files) in one scene.
- The scenes featuring the island hideout of Scaramanga were filmed in Phang Nga province in Thailand, north of the city of Phuket. One of the islands seen in the film is known as the "Nail" island (or Ko Khao Tapoo) — in the film, this island houses the solar panels. Scaramanga's hideout is actually Ko Kow-Phing-Khan — both islands are now tourists attractions. The "nail" island seen in the film is known by locals as James Bond Island in all tourist literature. The site was extremely hard hit by a tsunami following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Originally, Ha Long Bay off the coast of Vietnam was considered but the effects following the Vietnam War - the Phang Nga filming location was revisited again in 1997 for Tomorrow Never Dies substituting for Ha Long Bay.
- Marc Lawrence, who plays a gangster called Rodney who was shot dead by Scaramanga at the start of the film, played a similar character in Diamonds Are Forever, although this film does not indicate whether Lawrence is playing the same character.
- The title sequence features the dancing of Carolyn Cheshire, later to be a renowned bodybuilder.
- While filming, Roger Moore used to tease Christopher Lee about his iconic role in Dracula.
- Also, one time when they were filming on the island, Christopher Lee accidentally went into a cave and startled a swarm of bats that flew out of the cave.
- Of all the films, this movie sports the smallest kill count for Bond, one, being Scaramanga himself.
- Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland also starred together around the same time in the cult Scottish horror film the Wicker Man (1973). Unlike this film, they share little screen time together in it.
- The squint doorways in Scaramanga's funhouse are a visual echo of the slanted cabins seen inside the Queen Elizabeth, the shipwreck MI6 headquarters in Hong Kong.
- The Man With the Golden Gun (1974) at IMDb
- MGM Official website
- Ian Fleming bibliography of first editions
|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 (2021)
Casino Royale (1954) • Casino Royale (1967) • Never Say Never Again (1983)