From Russia With Love »» Movie Review & Dossier

Sean Connery returns as James Bond in this thrill-a-minute adventure with blistering action, romance, and high-tech gadgetry. The evil organization SPECTRE has hatched a plan to steal a decoder that will access Russian state secrets and irrevocably unbalance the world order.

It is up to James Bond to seize the device first, but he must confront enemies that include Red Grant and the ruthless Rosa Klebb, a former KGB agent with poison-tipped shoes. Even as Bond romances a stunning Soviet defector, he realizes he is being lured into a deadly trap, and he will need all of his courage, abilities and cutting-edge technology to triumph over the forces that seek to destroy him.

UnivEx Rating


(out of a possible 007)

Japanese From Russia With Love poster

From Russia With Love: movie review

Perhaps the most realistic and down-to-earth movie of the series, From Russia With Love is the perfect Bond movie and my favorite of the series. Sean Connery is in the prime of his Bondian career both physically and in terms of his portrayal of the character.

While many consider Goldfinger to be Connery’s best movie, I feel that he was a bit too comfortable in it.

In From Russia With Love, he still seems a bit wet around the collar, which is perfect for an agent on his second mission. Connery is also most like Ian Fleming’s version of 00: something that gets lost in his later films.

The movie’s tone is set early when Red Grant kills a Bond double during the opening sequence, showing the audience that this man is Bond’s equal, even if it is not Bond himself. As the movie continues, Bond must rely on his skills as a secret agent and his God-given talents, not on Q’s gadgets and dumb luck.

The plot itself is brilliant yet simple; spies don’t spend their lives battling megalomaniac villains bent on world domination. Rather, the espionage aspect of this film seems like something Bond would be more suited for in real life.

From Russia With Love Wide Poster

SPECTRE … and other villains

Another wonderful aspect of From Russia With Love is that it continues the Blofeld/SPECTRE arc which begane in Dr. No.

Blofeld’s introduction and utilization is well done, not giving away too much of who he will become in the Bond universe while still impressing the diabolical nature of his character. There is no need to see his face yet, as he is a mere puppet-master in the film.

Rosa Klebb and Red Grant are brilliantly developed and two of the most memorable Bond villains.

Klebb’s shoe goes down as one of the best villain “gadgets” ever. Meanwhile, the battle between Bond and Red Grant aboard the Orient Express shows the true brutality of Bond’s job while demostrating his skills as a trained assassin. Even Kronsteen, who has minimal screen time, is a sinister and brilliant henchman: a perfect fit for the film.

Mexican From Russia With Love poster

The Bond Girls

Of course, what would a Bond film be without the Bond Girls. First, Sylvia Trench returns for a little rendezvous with Bond in the beginning of the movie and later the gypsy battle between Zora and Vida provides some fantastic eye-candy.

However, the screen really heats up when Tatiana Romanova meets Bond in bed: wearing only a bowtie. Tatiana is, in my opinion, the most beautiful Bond girl in the series. Also, despite being in a 1960s Bond movie, she is still a strong woman.

From Russia With Love Lobby Card

Why From Russia With Love is #1

To conclude, From Russia With Love excels by taking its time, develops the characters, and makes the viewer care for the people on the screen. While other Connery-era Bond movies share this pacing, they tend to drag on and make you want to fastforward through certain scenes. Not here.

Thanks to its amazing characters and their development, stunning locations, a classic plot, and James Bond at his best, I safely declare: From Russia With Love is my favorite James Bond movie.


First appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Q

First Q gadget (The briefcase)

First appearance of Walter Gotell (Later played General Gogol)

First appearance of a car phone

First villain with a gadget (Grant’s watch)

First time Bond is being chased by a helicopter

First time another Cubby Broccoli/Saltzman production appears in a Bond film (Call Me Bwana)

First time the villain avenges a colleague’s death (Blofeld wants revenge for Dr. No’s death)


Pedro Armendariz (Ali Karim Bey) was secretly dying of cancer during filming. Days after finishing his scenes, he committed suicide in a hospital.

In both the British and American trailers, the name of every major cast member is mentioned, except one: Sean Connery.

Principal photography ended two days before a revolution in Istanbul.

Just after Bond and Tatiana jump off the Orient Express, Ian Fleming can be seen standing next to a car.

Daniella Bianchi was an ex-Miss Italy.

This is Sean Connery’s favorite Bond film.


From Russia With Love

UnivEx Rating:

October 13, 1963

Bond Actor:
Sean Connery

Terence Young


$2.2 Million

U.S. Boxoffice:
$24.8 Million

Worldwide Boxoffice:
$78.9 Million

Running Time:
118 Minutes

Bond’s Kill Count:

Bond’s Conquest Count:


Ernst Stavro Blofeld


The theft of a LEKTOR and the embarrassment of MI6

Rosa Klebb, Red Grant

Sylvia Trench, Zora, Vida, Tatiana Romanova

M, Q, Ali Kerim Bey


The From Russia With Love Store

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