review for The Spy Who Loved Me on AllMovie

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
by Donald Guarisco review

Roger Moore's third appearance as James Bond is not only one of his best entries in the series, but also one of the best Bond films overall. Ironically, the script jettisons the Ian Fleming source novel altogether, but still delivers large-scale action and spy intrigue in the classic Bond style and wisely avoids the campy humor that diluted the effectiveness of Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun. Lewis Gilbert's direction occasionally drags a bit in the pacing department (a common Bond film problem), but he gives the film a polished look and packs it with memorable action set pieces, including a breathtaking pre-titles ski chase and a car chase that suddenly transforms into an undersea adventure. Gilbert's work is nicely bolstered by stunning production design by Ken Adams, especially the dazzling design of Stromberg's undersea lair, and a wonderful Marvin Hamlisch score that features the deliciously torchy Carly Simon song "Nobody Does It Better." In terms of acting, Roger Moore is dashing and witty in equal measure as James Bond, and Barbara Bach's dramatic and surprisingly tough performance as Anya provides Bond with his most formidable leading lady since Diana Rigg starred in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The Spy Who Loved Me also features a pair of worthy adversaries thanks to Curd Jürgens' quietly menacing work as Stromberg and Richard Kiel's memorably physical performance as steel-toothed henchman Jaws. All in all, The Spy Who Loved Me is old-fashioned spy-movie fun that should be seen by anyone interested in the high points of the James Bond series.