The Spy Who Loved Me

dir. Lewis Gilbert

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Bond teams with a beautiful KGB agent (Barbara Bach) to foil a mad shipping magnate's scheme to spark an apocalyptic nuclear conflict, in this lavishly produced and epically-scaled 007 adventure.

Lavishly produced and epically scaled, The Spy Who Loved Me revived the flagging Bond franchise, becoming the most successful film of the series since Thunderball and placing second only to Star Wars as the highest-grossing film of the year. British and Russian nuclear submarines have disappeared without a trace, sending Bond (Roger Moore) to Cairo to investigate a source who claims to have information about the unknown enemy who swiped the subs. There, Bond encounters his distaff opposite number in the KGB: super-efficient Soviet siren Major Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach), who is (inevitably) code-named "Agent XXX." Following the trail to Sardinia while being pursued by seven-foot-tall, steel-toothed assassin Jaws (Richard Kiel), the two agents discover that the man behind the plot is aquaphile billionaire industrialist Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens), who is plotting a mad scheme for global annihilation from his gigantic underwater base. Opening with perhaps the most astonishing stunt sequence in the series' history — a free-falling ski jump off an enormous mountain precipice — and featuring some of production designer's Ken Adam's most ambitious and impressive sets (the design for Stromberg's huge, sub-swallowing supertanker required the construction of the world's largest soundstage), The Spy Who Loved Me truly is "Bond — and B-E-Y-O-N-D," as its posters boldly proclaimed.