Bond-a-Thond #11: ‘Moonraker’ (1979)

MTV Movies Blog is currently running what we call the Bond-a-Thond. Every Wednesday we’re taking a look back at a single (official) Bond film, giving you the vitals and seeing how it holds up, right up until the release of “Skyfall” on November 9. Feel free to watch along with us and share your thoughts or just kick back and enjoy the Bond.

Moonraker (1979)

Plot: After a space shuttle is stolen off the back of an airliner, Bond must discover who is behind the theft.

Title Meaning: “Moonraker” is the name of the line of space shuttles created by Hugo Drax, one of which is stolen during the opening sequence.

Theme Song: “Moonraker” performed by Shirley Bassey.

Embedded from

Bond: Roger Moore

Villain: Michael Lonsdale makes a memorable turn as the jet black-haired nihilist Hugo Drax.

Bond Girl: Dr. Holly Goodhead, a CIA agent embedded in Drax Industries, played by Lois Chiles.

“Bond, James Bond” Occurrences: 1

Martinis: 1

Card Games: 0

Cigarettes Smoked: 0

Explosions: 1

Tuxes Worn: 1

Kills By Bond: 12 (includes 2 innocent scientists Bond uses as guinea pigs)

Most Creative Kill: Bond throws a would-be assassin through a clock and into a piano, quipping “Play it again, Sam.”

Gadgets: A dart-shooting watch, safe cracker, hover-craft gondola, spy boat

Mental State of Miss Moneypenny: Delightfully incredulous

First Occurrence of Sex: 25 minute, 45 seconds

Sexual Partners: French pilot, Holly Goodhead, Brazilian agent

Most Unrealistic Moments: Jaws fall from an airplane, lands in a circus net, and lives.


Most “Bond” Moments: “I think he’s attempting re-entry!”

Sign of the Times: The previous film in the series teased that Bond would return in “For Your Eyes Only,” but thanks to the success of “Star Wars,” producers moved up the space-themed movie to benefit from the sci-fi boom.

Place in Bond History: “Moonraker” successfully rode the wake of “Star Wars” and went on to earn $210 million worldwide, a series record that wouldn’t be broken until “GoldenEye” in 1995.

Review: “Moonraker,” or “The One Where Bond Goes Into Space,” won over crowds in 1979 because of its connection to “Star Wars,” which had changed movies forever just a couple years earlier, but managed to entirely missed the point. Though “Moonraker” only spends its final act in space, it manages to do so in the most implausible, hokey way possible. (For the record: Turning off the gravity doesn’t just make everyone walk really slowly.)

But even the most egregious space travel impossibilities seem believable compared to the feats expected from Roger Moore as James Bond. Never has his miscasting been so apparent. Fights sequences roll by as a laughably slow pace. Every quip comes off painfully smarmy, and the Connery cool is nowhere to be found.

A more-elaborate-than-usual evil scheme and a fun turn by Michael Lonsdale help Drax stand out a higher-class villain, and the set design and special effects sequences have made “Moonraker” one of the more memorable entries during the Moore era.

The Bond-a-Thond will return next week in “For Your Eyes Only.”

What do you think of “Moonraker”? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!