A View To A Kill: 20 Things You Never Knew About Roger Moore’s Final James Bond Film
In the 70s and 80s, Roger Moore was irreplaceably James Bond. Moore’s Bond films were full of adventure, action, humour and 007’s idea of romance – and you couldn’t help but enjoy them. A View to a Kill, Moore’s last crack at the role, saw Bond face off against another over-the-top villain whilst trying to save the world. Let’s take a look back at this classic Bond film with some facts you may not have known.
20. Moore was 57 when he made the film – the oldest Bond actor ever
When filming A View to a Kill, Sir Roger Moore turned 57 years old, making him the oldest actor to play 007, even passing Connery’s 52 years of age in (unofficial Bond film) Never Say Never Again.
Critics were scathing in their response to yet another Bond film by the ageing Moore, with the Washington Post writing “Moore isn’t just long in the tooth – he’s got tusks, and what looks like an eye job has given him the pie-eyed blankness of a zombie.”
The Post review added one final blow to Moore: “He’s not believable anymore in the action sequences, even less so in the romantic scenes.”
Moore’s age is particularly evident in the contrast between him and the love interest of the film, Stacy Sutton, played by Tanya Roberts. At the time of filming, Roberts was in her late twenties.
The age difference wasn’t lost on Moore, who apparently decided to retire from the role of 007 after finding out he was older than Roberts’ mother.
In a 2007 interview, Moore expressed regret that he hadn’t left Bond behind sooner, saying “I was only about 400 years too old for the part!”
19. Producers had already decided to can Moore following the film
Unbeknownst to Moore, however, long-time Bond producer Albert R Broccoli had already decided that A View to a Kill would be the seventh and last film to have Moore in the lead role.
How this was resolved between Moore and Broccoli is a subject of some dispute, with Moore claiming that he retired willingly and Broccoli claiming in his autobiography that the ageing Bond needed to be pushed.
“I knew this would be my last Bond film,” wrote Moore later. “Cubby and I sat down one day afterwards, reflecting on its success and agreed it was time for a younger actor to pick up the Walther PPK. There was no drama, no tears (aside from my agent) and certainly no big discussion…”
But Broccoli thought differently. Continues Moore, “I felt very hurt by the claims that Cubby had to effectively tell me it was all over, and how I wouldn’t accept it at first. Then he claimed I had started making ‘neurotic demands’ and had become difficult in so much as I refused to attend charity events or make personal appearances.”
For the next Bond film, The Living Daylights (1985), producers instead chose the 40-year-old Timothy Dalton for 007.
18. The film was Moore’s least favourite Bond movie
Of his movies starring as Bond, Sir Roger Moore made it clear that A View to a Kill was his least favourite.
Not only was Moore’s age a sticking point throughout the action-packed film – and the use of stunt doubles isn’t exactly subtle – but the actor felt the franchise had lost its way.
When Moore was brought on to replace Sean Connery, the cinema sensibilities of the time tended towards a more comedic, gadget-driven set of films. By a View to a Kill, however, tastes were changing.
“[There were] whole slews of sequences where Christopher Walken was machine-gunning hundreds of people,” said Moore on a DVD commentary for the film. “I said, ‘That wasn’t Bond, those weren’t Bond films.’ It stopped being what they were all about. You didn’t dwell on the blood and the brains spewing all over the place.”
In light of his distaste for the film, Moore’s final scene makes all the more sense: he literally throws in the towel.
17. Moore didn’t get along with Grace Jones
As well as not being a fan of the movie, Moore also said that he felt he had no chemistry with Bond girl Tanya Roberts and also stated that he had a genuine dislike for Grace Jones, making it a difficult production for him.
“I’m afraid my diplomatic charm was stretched to the limit with Grace,” said Moore. “Every day in her dressing room, next door to mine, she played very loud music. I was not a fan of heavy metal, so didn’t quite appreciate it vibrating through the walls whenever I returned to my room.”
There were other reports of difficulties working with Grace Jones while on set. Barbara Broccoli, the producer and daughter of Albert Broccoli, was tasked with collecting Jones for the trip to the studio. She claims she had to be diplomatic with the actor due to her dislike of early mornings.
At a live event in his honour in 2016, only six months before his death, Moore declined to answer a question about Jones, saying “My mother once said if you have nothing good to say about someone, then say nothing at all.”
Jones, however, has said that she enjoyed working with Moore and on the movie in general, and only treated him in a steely way to maintain her villainous character.
16. Grace Jones’ scream was real
During the mine sequence at the climax of the film, Grace Jones screams when sparks fly around her. This was a genuine reaction as no-one had warned her that this effect would be happening before the cameras rolled!
Jones was uninjured, though the episode is yet another in a long list of women actors being treated poorly on set. Perhaps Grace Jones’ supposed surliness was connected to being undermined in this way by the crew.
A controversial allegation of stunt mishandling was famously made by Uma Thurman against Quentin Tarantino in 2018, in which Thurman was involved in a crash that left her seriously injured.
“That could have been a death by decapitation,” said Keith Adams, the stunt co-ordinator on Kill Bill (2003) said. “The car could easily have rolled over [or] the camera could have flown forward. It was irresponsibility on a mega level.”
Thankfully, Jones experienced no such danger in A View to a Kill, but the scene is a reminder of the hardships that many actors are forced to endure.
15. Dolph Lundgren makes his debut in the film
It’s a little much to get into here, but Dolph Lundgren had a pretty incredible decade; A View to a Kill was just the spark that led to a hugely successful film career as a macho man actor star.
In the early 80s, Lundgren was earned a degree in chemical engineering from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, and followed it up with a master’s at the University of Sydney. Between 1980-81, he was the European karate champion.
While in Sydney he began working as a bodyguard for Grace Jones, and the two of them started dating. Jones convinced Lundgren to abandon his academic work and instead move with her to New York City.
Keen to show her appreciation for Lundgren leaving his old life behind, Jones got Lundgren a minor part as a KGB henchman on the new film she was working on. A little film known as A View to a Kill.
In the same year, Lundgren would appear in his most iconic role as Ivan Drago, the feared Soviet boxer – and the rest is history.
14. A disclaimer had to be added to avoid any confusion between Max Zorin and a real businessman
A wealthy industrialist with a secretive past and an axe to grind (or with which to lose balance), Max Zorin is an archetypal Bond villain and one who was specifically designed to be less humorous than his predecessors. Unbeknownst to screenwriters, however, the name Zorin would come to be a thorn in their side.
The character of Max Zorin is not based on anyone in particular – or at least, given that Zorin is actually the steroid-riddled result of a Nazi super-soldier experiment who used to be an informant for the KGB, we hope not – but Zorin’s company bore a close resemblance to the real-life Zoran Corporation.
Unfortunately for the Bond team, the Zoran Corporation also makes microchips, and threatened to sue the film for defamation. The discord was eventually settled with the inclusion of a disclaimer in the film, the first Bond movie to do so.
“Neither the name Zorin, nor any other name or character in this film, is meant to portray a real company or actual person.”
The similarities in name aren’t as coincidental as you might think. ‘Zoran’ – whichever vowel you use – is derived from the Hebrew word for ‘silicon’, both the predominant material in microchips and what gives Silicon Valley, Zorin’s target, its name.
13. David Bowie could have played Zorin
Christopher Walken wasn’t the first to be offered the part of Max Zorin. You might already know that the part was offered to legendary musician David Bowie, but it wasn’t an offer made on a whim.
The part of Zorin had in fact been written specifically for Bowie, in an attempt by the studio to rejuvenate their audience in an era with an ageing Bond and a style that increasingly seemed out of touch with the typical action movie demographic.
However, Bowie turned the part down, deriding the script as “terrible” and “workmanlike.” He was also critical of the number of stunts in the film, saying that he “didn’t want to spend five months watching my stunt double fall off cliffs.” Bowie chose instead to play Jareth the Goblin King in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (1986).
The part was then offered to Mick Jagger for similar reasons, who turned it down for similar reasons.
Then it was offered to Rutger Hauer, who had gained fame as Roy Batty in 1982’s Balde Runner, but it was again rejected. Finally, Walken was offered and accepted the part. He’s certainly better than Mick Jagger would have been.
12. Producers hired Duran Duran to sing the theme to draw a younger audience
In another attempt to bring in a younger and ‘cooler’ audience, the studio enlisted new wave icons Duran Duran to perform the theme song to the film.
Composed alongside veteran Bond musician John Barry, A View to a Kill became one of the band’s biggest hits, and is to date the only Bond song to reach number one in the US, peaking at number 2 in the UK.
Duran Duran’s involvement came from inauspicious beginnings, when bassist John Taylor – a few sheets to the wind – approached Albert Broccoli at a party and reportedly said “When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?”
The band apparently enjoyed working with Barry, who allowed the band to devise the song among themselves but provided guidance and handled the orchestral arrangement of the track.
After Barry’s death in 2011, Duran Duran performed the song as part of their encore at the Coachella festival in tribute.
11. The crew was banned from performing stunts on the Golden Gate Bridge
Like any Bond film, A View to a Kill is full of daring stunts and grand set pieces. As the film reaches its crescendo, Zorin kidnaps Stacey Sutton and crashes his zeppelin into the Golden Gate Bridge, leading to a high wire confrontation with 007.
It’s a suitably dramatic fight between Bond and the villain, but plans for the scene had to be altered after bureaucrats intervened.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors had otherwise been very accommodating to the team. The mayor of the city at the time, Dianne Feinstein, now a US senator, supposedly enjoyed Roger Moore as James Bond so much that the city granted multiple stunt permits for the film.
However, they expressed concern over Zorin’s death in the film, in which he loses his balance and falls from the Golden Gate Bridge to his death. Officials worried that the stunt would inspire copycat suicides.
As a result, such a stunt was never filmed, and Zorin’s death was created through effects and a visual illusion instead.
10. It was Lois Maxwell’s last appearance as Moneypenny
Lois Maxwell was a fixture of the Bond franchise, but A View to a Kill was her very last film.
All in all, Maxwell appeared in a staggering fourteen Bond films, double the number of the longest serving Bond actors (Moore and Connery). Famously, in Dr. No (1962), Maxwell was paid only £200 for her role as M’s secretary: £100 a day for two days of work.
During the filming of A View to a Kill, Maxwell decided to make the film her last about Albert R Broccoli pointed out that they were the only remaining members of Dr. No’s cast or crew to still be working on the franchise. Broccoli would go on to produce two more films and was a consulting producer on Goldeneye (1995) before his death in 1996.
Maxwell asked that Moneypenny be killed off, but Broccoli refused. She then asked if she could instead be promoted to M, but Broccoli thought that audiences would react badly to Bond taking orders from a woman. He then recast Maxwell’s role.
After retiring from acting, Maxwell became a columnist and textiles businesswoman, and died in 2007. “It’s rather a shock,” said Moore at the time. “She was always fun and she was wonderful to be with and was absolutely perfect casting.”
9. The film inspired actual CIA technology
In a case of art imitating life imitating art, it turns out that some of A View to a Kill’s far-flung gadgets ended up inspiring real life CIA technology.
It’s no secret that spy films want to be as realistic as possible – but what is secret is confidential government gadgetry, meaning that Hollywood often has to guess as what might be possible.
If ever Hollywood overshoots the mark, however, it occasionally does so in a way that inspires innovation in some of the world’s most secretive agencies.
Former CIA agent Tony Mendez claims that A View to a Kill ended up inspiring his bosses to begin developing facial recognition technology, the likes of which Zorin uses to identify Bond.
However, while the CIA does of course have control of several satellites and image-taking abilities, there aren’t sufficient staff to sift through and analyse all of the data; as a result, satellite imaging is used in a targeted way. Or at least, that’s what they want us to believe.
8. The set was burned to the ground
When you’re filming the world’s premier action movie franchise, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Even recently, the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios burned down in 2006, and the latest Bond film – titled ‘No Time to Die’ – has been beset with production difficulties and injuries.
Current producers of the franchise will take heart, however, that these issues have always plagued Bond, not least when the 007 stage first burned down in 1984 while A View to a Kill was being filmed.
Worse, it wasn’t even Bond’s fault: at the time, the set was being used by Legend (1985), the dark fantasy film starring Tom Cruise and Time Currie, leading to production on Bond 14 being indefinitely.
Amazingly, the set was completely rebuilt in less than four months, and became the ‘Albert R Broccoli 007 Stage’.
For what it’s worth, Legend was poorly received by critics and a flop at the box office. While it’s since become a cult classic, it was considered a major disappointment at the time. That’s what you get for messing with James Bond’s schedule.
7. Tanya Roberts’ career tanked
In the early 80s, it seemed like everything about Tanya Roberts’ career was primed for her debut as a Bond girl. To much fanfare, she joined the ill-fated fifth season of Charlie’s Angels, replacing Shelley Hack.
After Charlie’s Angels was cancelled, Roberts then played a sometimes topless slave girl in 1982’s fantasy adventure film The Beastmaster, as well as becoming a cover girl for Playboy Magazine and featuring as the lead in Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984). While the film was a failure, it nonetheless kept Roberts in the public’s minds and led to her casting as Stacey Sutton in the latest Bond film.
However, Roberts’ conduct on set, and her performance, were roundly criticised. Roberts had hoped that Bond was revitalise her career, much as it had done for Kim Basinger, but the film had little effect on her prospects.
Rumour has it that Bond’s dig at Sutton after she comes out in a pair of coveralls – “Pity you couldn’t find one that fits” – was ad-libbed after Roberts demanded a more flattering pair.
Roberts starred in a few more misfires that lacked a wide theatrical release, and then took on the role of Midge Pinciotti in That 70s Show from 1998 to 2001.
6. Bond’s underwater breathing trick is impossible
Given the film’s poor reception, there aren’t that many famous scenes from A View to a Kill, but besides the climactic fight scene there is one – when Bond drives his Rolls Royce into a lake to evade pursuers, he stays underwater and breathes by releasing the air on the tyres.
But there’s just one problem: doing so is completely impossible. And you don’t have to take our word for it, either. The trick was attempted on MythBusters, in a wide variety of methods that all failed.
In the film, Bond manages to breathe through the valve stem, but MythBuster presenter Adam Savage was unable to suck out enough air to sustain himself.
He then attempted it again by cutting a hole in the tyre, but failed to create enough of a seal around the opening to breathe properly.
It’s worth mentioning that there is some disagreement on the matter, but it turns out even this seemingly simple and mundane part of a Bond film is pure fantasy.
5. The film is credited with popularising snowboarding
In spite of the fact that A View to a Kill was criticised for its ageing lead, it’s actually credited with popularising the definitively young person sport of snowboarding.
This is because of the extensive pre-titles snowboarding sequence, in which the stunts were performed by Tom Sims, who had himself invented the snowboard.
Sims created what he was then calling the ‘skiboard’ in his 7th grade woodwork class with his friend, as a way to combine their favourite sports: skiing and skateboarding.
While the idea of putting a board on your feet and throwing yourself off a hill has existed for hundreds of years, Sims is credited with inventing the snowboard as we know it today, with bindings for feet and steel edges for greater manoeuvrability.
Snowboarding was first included in the Winter Olympics in 1998, and has since included between four and five individual events, such as slalom and half pipe.
4. It was Alison Doody’s movie debut
Despite May Day occupying the villainous sidekick role, and being more than capable at it, she in fact has two henchwomen of her own: Pan Ho and Jenny Flex.
The latter was played by Alison Doody, who had turned 18 days before filming began, in her screen debut.
The youth of Doody makes the irrepressible flirting between Flex and Bond even more awkward. When Flex mentions that she likes to go horse riding in the morning, Bond quips “I’m a bit of an early-riser myself.”
Doody is best known for playing Nazi archeologist Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), in which Harrison Ford is in his mid to late fifties and Doody has just turned 22. Those Hollywood age differences really make the mind boggle.
Doody has since had roles in film and television, including some where she plays herself, but has largely retired from acting – and having conquered two classic franchises before she turned 25, who could blame her?
3. Bond makes quiche
James Bond has done all sorts of things to seduce women into his boudoir – and, if we’re honest, some of them seem beyond the pale nowadays. One more wholesome tactic, however, appears in A View to a Kill.
In an attempt to impress Stacey Sutton, Bond makes her a quiche (for the uninitiated: a French dish consisting of a pastry crust filled with egg).
It may seem like a bizarre inclusion – and it is – or just an excuse for Roger Moore to say a silly word – and it is – but the quiche-making scene features in the film as a special kind of in-joke.
Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche is a best-selling satirical book written by Bruce Fierstein and released in 1980, focused on skewering stereotypes of masculinity.
Fierstein would go on to write the screenplay for Goldeneye (1995), undisputedly – for good and for ill – the most masculine franchise in history.
2. The San Francisco cable cars are just cars
San Francisco is famous for its steep hills and its cable cars. In fact, it’s host to the last manually operated cable car system in the world. While some are used by commuters, nowadays they are predominantly a tourist attraction.
So, naturally, a Bond film set in San Francisco absolutely needed to feature these iconic modes of transport. But there was a problem: during the period in which filming was to take place, the entire system was being renovated.
Not to be deterred, the Bond team instead created cable cars out of preexisting road vehicles.
While they run across the rails to give the full cable car effect, these replacement vehicles clearly have tires and larger wheels than the real things.
Beyond their kitsch appearances, the San Francisco cable cars have in fact been involved in the most accidents of any mass transportation vehicle in the US, and several of its drivers have been convicted of felony embezzlement.
1. Two crew members were fired for jumping off the Eiffel Tower
A View to a Kill really is a film in which people like to jump off things, with Zorin’s fall at the end of the film being mirrored by the moment Bond first encounters May Day in Paris.
Pursuing her up the Eiffel Tower, May Day leaps off and lands on a boat that she pilots through the Seine, eluding 007. Unsurprisingly, the very public presence of the Bond crew at the Tower led to some difficulties.
For one thing, making unauthorised jumps off large structures (also known as base jumping) has long been a popular thrill, and the presence of the crew meant there was cover for two members of the public to make the jump.
The Bond crew were originally scheduled to make two jumps from the tower but, due to the recent copycat jump, as well as the success of the first shot, the second jump was cancelled.
A little peeved at the missed opportunity, two Bond crew members performed the stunt for fun. The unauthorised action got them fired, and got the Bond team kicked out of Paris.