MI-6 agent 007, James Bond (Roger Moore) is sent to Siberia to find the body of Agent 003 and a Soviet microchip. Q (Desmond Llewelyn) analyzes the chip and finds that it can withstand an electromagnetic pulse. It is made by Zorin Industries, owned by entrepreneur and government contractor Max Zorin (Christopher Walken). Bond visits the Ascot Racecourse to study Zorin. Sir Godfrey Tibbett, MI-6 agent and racehorse trainer (Patrick Macnee) believes that Zorin’s horses are drugged because they win all the time, even though the standard tests come out negative. Bond meets with French private detective Achille Aubergine (Jean Rougerie), who tells Bond that Zorin is to sell some horses later, but during their dinner at the Eiffel Tower, Aubergine is killed by Zorin’s bodyguard May Day (Grace Jones).

Bond and Tibbett travel to Zorin’s estate to attend the horse sale. Bond is puzzled when he is rebuffed by a woman and discovers that Zorin has written her a check for five million dollars. That night, Bond and Tibbett sneak into Zorin’s lab, where he injects horses with adrenaline devices. Zorin identifies Bond and has May Day kill Tibbett, but Bond escapes. General Gogol (Walter Gotell) of the KGB scolds Zorin for trying to kill Bond on his own. Trained by the KGB, Zorin is going rogue. He reveals his plans to destroy Silicon Valley, giving him a monopoly over microchips. Most Bond villains are megalomaniacs, but this one is seriously insane.

Bond travels to San Francisco and meets CIA agent Chuck Lee (David Yip), who tells him that Zorin is the product of steroid experimentations at the hands of Doctor Carl Hortner (Willoughby Gray), a former Nazi scientist who is now Zorin’s veterinarian. Bond investigates an oil-rig owned by Zorin and finds KGB agent Ivanova (Fiona Fullerton) recording conversations for General Gogol, and her partner Klottoff (Bogdan Kominowski) placing explosives on the rig. The latter is killed by Zorin but Bond and Ivanova escape. Ivanova later finds that Bond switched out her recordings.

Bond tracks down geologist Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) and finds Zorin trying to buy her family’s oil business. Zorin traps Bond and Stacey in an elevator between floors and sets fire to the building. They escape and are arrested on suspicion of arson, but they flee in a fire truck, pursued by police. They reach Zorin’s mine and discover his plot to set off explosives beneath the lakes on the Hayward and San Andreas faults, thus flooding Silicon Valley. Then Zorin and his henchman Scarpine (Patrick Bauchau) flood the mine and kill the workers. Stacey escapes as Bond battles May Day, but May Day realizes that Zorin betrayed her, helps Bond move the bomb out of the tunnel, and it explodes, killing her.

Zorin escapes in his airship with Scarpine and Mortner, abducting Stacey. Bond is hanging from the mooring rope and moors the airship to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Stacey attacks Zorin, Mortner and Scarpine are knocked out, and a fight between Bond and Zorin ends with Zorin falling to his death. Mortner tries to kill Bond with dynamite but Bond cuts the airship free and it explodes over San Francisco Bay. Bond is given the Order of Lenin by General Gogol and ends up with Stacey in his arms.

The film was produced by Albert Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who wrote the screenplay with Richard Maibaum, and it was directed by John Glen. It was the last appearance of Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny and the last appearance of Roger Moore as Bond. Critics were largely put off by his derring-do at an advanced age, but audiences enjoyed the movie, along with the theme song by Duran Duran, which earned a Golden Globe nomination for best song. The title was taken from a story entitled From a View to a Kill by Ian Fleming, but that’s about all they took. Moore had not wanted to do the film but was persuaded to do so to compete with Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again.

Before Christopher Walken was picked for the bad guy, the role was offered to David Bowie and Sting. Priscilla Presley was offered the role later taken by Tanya Roberts but could not do it. Patrick Macnee was the fourth star of the British Avengers series to appear in a Bond film, after Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, and Joanna Lumley. Dolf Lundgren, Grace Jones’ boyfriend, was visiting the set one day and was offered a small role as a gun-toting bad guy, his first job in the movies. The Skyship 500 Blimp from Airship Industries was on a promotional tour for the opening ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics and was pressed into service. It was a great presence, as were Christopher Walken and Grace Jones. You can’t take your eyes off them and are about the most interesting things in the movie.

This was Roger Moore’s least favorite Bond film and he was dismayed to discover that he was older than his leading lady’s mother. Tanya Roberts was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award but lost to Linda Blair. Roger Moore himself drove the firetruck through the streets of San Francisco. Before becoming an actor, he had been a truck-driver. The snowboard stunts before the credits were performed by Thomas Simp, who had basically invented the snowboard. When Grace Jones was looping dialogue in post-production, her clothes kept making rustling noises, so she stripped naked. She based her evil stare on that of her childhood schoolmaster in Jamaica. Neil Gaiman said that when he saw Roger Moore climbing into bed with Grace Jones, he thought they had come up with a way for Bond to die with dignity.

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