Why Roger the Codger deserves Moore praise

makes the case that Sir Roger’s the best Bond of them all

A man stands at the end of a long tunnel. His suit hugs his slender frame as tightly as the clutches of the many women who have made his intimate acquaintance. Sharply turning, his trusty Walther PPK flashes into sight. BANG. A scarlet river floods the screen.

This is of course the opening to any official James Bond film. Everyone knows the suave, sexy, British superspy, but how do we imagine him? And of the six actors that have now portrayed him, who is the best? The vast majority would immediately say Sean Connery. To them, any form of dissent from this reasoning is enough to suggest you work for the dreaded SPECTRE. Personally though, I prefer Roger Moore. Crazy, deluded, call me what you will; my mind is made up. The allure of those omnipotent eyebrows cannot be resisted.

For many years Sir Roger has been unjustly scoffed at by critics and fans alike. Surely it is time he gets the recognition he deserves as the definitive Bond? It would be easy to write off Moore as a mere outlet for witty one-liners but he is clearly so much more than that. Who can forget iconic moments such as the gunfight on the Eiffel Tower in A View to a Kill or his parachute unfurling to show the Union flag after an epic ski chase in The Spy Who Loved Me? My favourite Moore moment is from the climax of Octopussy. On that occasion, 007 defuses a nuclear bomb with only seconds to spare, all while he is dressed as a clown.

Indeed, Roger is currently the longest serving Bond with a remarkable 7 films under his belt. It was only until he reached the age of 58 that he handed the role – along with his licence to kill – over to Timothy Dalton. Not bad considering he was seducing some of Hollywood’s finest females throughout his tenure! Britt Ekland, Barbara Bach and Jane Seymour all fell victim to his infinite charms, despite the obvious age gap.

Nevertheless, Moore’s Bond could be just as tough as he was charming. Henchmen were being hired at the dozen to compensate for the ferocious pace at which they were being exterminated. Whether it be by gun, fist or giant octopus, sir Roger had a way to dispose of any bad guy. Even Scaramanga, the greatest hitman of them all, was outwitted in his disco of deplorable evil. I certainly wouldn’t want to meet Roger Moore down a dark alley! Afterall, he had managed what Connery could only ever dream of: he had killed Blofeld. Furthermore, the famous Scotsman never had to deal with a foe as relentless as Jaws or as blood-thirsty as Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga during his tenure as 007.

Admittedly, Roger the codger had clear flaws including blatant use of stunt men for anything that involved the slightest bit of physical input and, to name a horrendous movie, Moonraker. However, people seem to forget that Connery had his weaknesses too (Diamonds Are Forever, anyone?). Ultimately, it was Roger Moore, with his stiff demeanour and sharp wit, who has stolen my heart.

7 comments

  1. As Sports Editor I would like to pass on my congratulations for the superb pun in the title. Love to see it.

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  2. 27 Oct ’11 at 12:34 pm

    Finn Tellefsen

    Finally, someone eloquently stating what so many of us have known all along. Without Sir Roger’s reinventing of Bond, the franchise would have died when Connery left. And let’s not forget that Octopussy did far better at the box office than Never Say Never. For my money there’s never been a better Bond.

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  3. 1 Nov ’11 at 8:45 pm

    Philip Spacey

    An excellent appraisal of the UNICEF ‘Goodwill Ambassador’. Sure, Connery was the classic, cool Bond of the 60’s, no doubt, but Moore brought the humour to it that kept the franchise alive.

    Personally, my favourite Bond movies are ‘Live and let die’ and ‘The Spy who loved me’, all that voodoo and then an underwater Lotus…….what’s not to like?

    Classic last lines from The Spy who loved me:

    [Bond and Anya are discovered making love]
    M: 007!
    General Anatol Gogol: Triple X!
    Sir Frederick Gray, Minister of Defence: Bond! What do you think you’re doing?
    James Bond: Keeping the British end up, sir.

    Looking forward to more of the Thorne’s thoughts being published.

    **Any particular reason for deleting my posting the first time?**

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  4. I am no Bond expert but I have often wondered why George Lazenby was dropped after one film. Was it poor audience feedback or a falling out with the producers?

    There seem to be a number of connections from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service to the Craig era “realism”. The Lazenby-Rigg rapport was much less the cartoon type sexism of Moore and Connery. The last scene with Rigg shot is surely one of the most affecting of the early Bonds.

    Incidentally – OHMSS raises the question of Telly Savalas – under used, under estimated and presumably frustrated by his film roles. His tv performances as Kojak were seminal.

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  5. Cracking review loved it!

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  6. Sam is right. Would like to see more reviews from this guy – seems like a real film fan and his reviews would make a change from the others that seem more like creative writing assignments or attempts to build up a CV portfolio

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  7. 13 Nov ’12 at 10:23 am

    Rohan Banerjee

    Great piece!

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