The Roger Moore debate among 007 fans

It has been 24 years since Roger Moore last played James Bond. Yet it seems as if Sir Roger stirs the most emotional reactions among 007 fans. His detractors really don’t like him. His fans are equally strong in their opinions.

Here’s a sampling. For detractors, it is too much humor, Moore doesn’t take the role serious enough and his seven films, for the most part, stray too far from Ian Fleming. In fact, the parent Web site of this blog has carried many such comments over the years For a few examples click HERE, not to mention RIGHT HERE and let’s not forget RIGHT HERE.

For that matter, some fans refer to the 1970s — where Moore accounted for four of the five 007 films of that decade — as the dark ages of the film series.

Moore supporters say this is poppycock. Perhaps the Moore film that gets the most flak is 1979’s Moonraker, where 007 goes into space. Fans of Sir Roger say it’s entertaining, including THIS ARTICLE and this thread on the CommanderBond.net message boards.

What’s more (or what’s Moore, if we were into puns), supporters will say Sir Roger kept the series going at a time many critics thought it couldn’t survive Sean Connery’s departure. Finally, when Sir Roger returned for his sixth 007 film, Octopussy, it prevented James Brolin from being cast in the role:

And that, some believe, was a very good thing, the comments by John Glen and Michael G. Wilson notwithstanding.

Finally, there’s the argument that the actor didn’t control scripts and directors. When he got a good story to work with, such as For Your Eyes Only or The Spy Who Loved Me, some fans feel he did just fine, even if they didn’t like efforts such as Moonraker or Live And Let Die.

This post isn’t likely to change anyone’s mind. We just hope it provides some food for thought among 007 fans. And we hope our friends at the I Expect You to Die! and CommanderBond.net sites don’t mind us linking. The purpose was to demonstrate the diversity of thought among fans and not to criticize or pick on anybody.

5 Responses

  1. The comic book feel that most fans accuse the Moore era of starting, actually began with the second half of “DR. NO”, when Bond found himself on the villain’s private island, Crab Key. It got worse with “GOLDFINGER”, the movie that is actually responsible for starting the “Bond formula” . . . and that includes the silly humor.

    One really cannot lump the Bond films into one category. In truth, the style and content seemed to differ in many of them. What all 22 movies have in common is that you can count on the production values to be top-notch and there is always a first-class actor portraying James Bond.

  2. Rosie, I agree with you regarding GOLDFINGER. It was the first of the series to introduce elements of silly — as opposed to clever — humor (the hausfrau guard at Goldfinger’s complex is a good example), that was designed to elicit a laugh independent of the actions of the major characters. DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER established actual comedy sequences as standard for the series; the subsequent two movies carried on with this new “tradition.” Of course, the common element of all four pictures is director Guy Hamilton, who perhaps found his ideal leading man in Roger Moore. I don’t know that either gentleman wanted to do dumb things on screen; I suspect they simply fund more inspiration in the “Pink Panther” movies than they did in the pages of Ian Fleming.
    — Paul

  3. Interesting that the two previous posts completely ignore the shortcomings of Moore and look for other “problems” in the series.
    For me, Moore was wrong from day one.
    He exudes none of the machismo that James Bond is supposed to have.
    His inteactions with women never look real.
    He poses no believable physical threat to anyone.
    He walks through the entires series, never creating any sense of urgency.
    The scripts Moore had were certainly sub-par, but I have often read that they were tailored to meet his supposed acting strengths.
    While the comedy on screen is bad, it’s even more laughable when Moore tries to act tough.
    He brings absolutely nothing to the James Bond franchise.
    He stayed with it as long as he was invited, because he had to have known his own shortcomings as an actor. Why would he give up a comfortable job? His cavalier attitude is certainly an indication that he knew his performance and continued success enabled him to laugh all the way to the bank. I don’t know whom he was portraying on screen, but it sure wasn’t James Bond.

    I saw all his movies numerous times. They served as place holders until a real James Bond portrayal could be offered again. Better to have had nothing instead of the cinematic garbage that Roger Moore symbolized.

  4. […] talked before about how some fans are split about his performances as 007. And, truth be told, the HMSS staff has taken its shots at Sir Roger at times in reviewing and […]

  5. I have no shame. i’am a sir roger moore fan.
    when he took over the role of james bond in (1973) I was right
    there as a 13 year old boy. not knowing anything about the history
    of bond and ian fleming. so thank you sir roger moore.

    but however being exposed further into films I realized there was an
    original bond actor who played james bond 007. sir sean connery
    I was hooked ever since’

    most fan’s like myself don’t like ‘moonraker’ but I don’t hate it.
    the special effect’s are captivating and the model’s by the late Derek meddings. were awesome. but the storyline too childish.

    the james brolin screen-test was probably made out of desperation
    on the production’s side. because roger moore held the handle.
    but everybody new brolin’s bond wouldn’t work.

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