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The 1980s: EON’s Finest Era?

By Adam Farrington-Williams (FelixLeiter)
December 23, 2004


Some Bond fans say the James Bond film series’ finest period was the 1960s. I, on the other hand, tend to disagree and lean more towards the 1980s. The acting and the plots became better in this era. The best James Bond film is Octopussy and what era was that? The 80s of course: 1983 to be exact. The Bond series acquired a few more beauties: For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill with the only letdown being A View To A Kill in 1985.

Octopussy movie poster

The 1980s also brought about some of the finest directing the Bond series had seen. British director John Glen brought a unique but stimulating style of direction to the already thriving series. Ironically, Glen was the final director before the six-year hiatus which lasted until 1995's GoldenEye. Glen directed five films, all in the 80s.

This period saw Bond composer John Barry come into his own and his final outing, The Living Daylights, is possibly his most successful. To add to the success of the 80s musical scores, Sheena Easton’s For Your Eyes Only title song claimed an Academy Award nomination.

More importantly, the films were on the improve and although not one 80s film topped Moonraker’s overall-grossing, each film brought a unique touch to the series. This is,once again, with the exception of A View To A Kill, which some say was too much like Goldfinger. The decade went out with a bang, unlike the 70s when the final two films of that era, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, carried incredibly similar plotlines to that of one of their predecessors: You Only Live Twice.

Japanese For Your Eyes Only movie poster

From 1981 to 1985, Roger Moore stamped his mark on the Bond series in an entertaining, as well as comical fashion. The 80s era racked-up a total box office profit of $878.4 million, surpassing the 60’s era that made just $580.8 million (with six films) and the 70’s era that mustered $728.1 million from five films. The 80s box office income is only bettered by the 90s era, with a record tally of $1.03 billion.

With so many attributes, the 1980s clearly boasts the most exciting, original and fast-paced action-adventure films of the series. This is especially true when you addd in all the essential ingredients that make up the Bond-formula: beautiful women, stunning and intriguing locations, ruthless villains, flash gadgets and witty humour.

As the posters say: “James Bond’s all time high” and “Adventure above and beyond all other Bonds” seems to reflect the 1980s Bond-era. And, without this precious era, who knows...the series may not have even reached the 90s and beyond!

Article written by Adam Farrington-Williams (FelixLeiter)

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