Bond-a-Thond #13: ‘Octopussy’ (1983)

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.

Octopussy (1983)

Plot: An MI6 agent’s death sets off a chain of events that leads to Bond uncovering a nuclear plot disguised as a diamond smuggling scheme.

Title Meaning: It is the name of entrepreneur and circus owner at the center of the story. It was the nickname her father gave to her. Her father.

Song: “All Time High” by Rita Coolidge (one of the worst)

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Bond Girl: Octopussy, leader of the Octopus cult, played by Maud Adams

“Bond, James Bond” Occurrences: 1

Martinis: 0

Card Games: 0

Cigarettes Smoked: 0

Explosions: 2

Tuxes Worn: 2

Kills By Bond: 13 + at least two dozen in opening explosion

Most Creative Kill: James smashes an attackers face into an aquarium containing a poisonous octopus.

Gadgets: Acid pen, liquid crystal television watch, crocodile suit

Mental State of Miss Moneypenny: Preparing for retirement

First Occurrence of Sex: 43 minutes in

Sexual Partners: 2 (Magda, Octopussy)

Most Unrealistic Moments: One of Khan’s hired assassins uses what is essentially a circular saw yoyo as a weapon. It requires him to stand hit above victims, but the film treats it as a real threat.

Most “Bond” Moments: As Q introduces Bond to his new watch, 007 zooms in on the breasts of a nearby woman.

Place in Bond History: Roger Moore almost didn’t star in “Octopussy.” Producers brought in American actor James Brolin when they thought their former 007 would not return. Brolin’s screen test was included on the DVD release and can be viewed below.

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Review: “Octopussy” is unique as a Bond movie in that it provides the perfect visual metaphor for the state of the series at that time. While avoiding the cops and attempting to disarm a nuclear bomb hidden inside a circus cannon, Bond disguises himself as a clown. It’s all too fitting for the late-Moore era camp-fest.

Looking back on “Octopussy,” the penultimate Moore Bond movie—if you keep track of that sort of thing—it’s difficult to recall what the film is actually about. There are East-West tensions, diamond smuggling, fake eggs, and a circus subplot, which is always a bad idea. Though the series has never been known for dramatic weight or narrative coherency, the breathless jumble of the “Octopussy” story makes itself undeniably apparent.

Aside from that, there is some considerable stunt work done near the end of the film, during the film chase sequence. As Khan flies away with a captive Octopussy (sigh…), Bond clings onto the outside of the small aircraft. The set piece is filled with the kind of stunts you don’t see any more and the kind that makes these films all the more special.

The Bond-a-Thond will return next week in “A View to a Kill.”

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