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 the 14th Bond film with some facts you may not have known.
20. Moore was 57 when he made the film, making him the oldest Bond 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 Sean Connery’s 52 years of age in (unofficial Bond film) Never Say Never Again. In fact, many people may not realise that while Moore was cast as the third 007 for his then-youthful looks, he was in fact older Connery by almost three years.
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.
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: Moore said he retired willingly, but Broccoli claimed 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… [later] 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.”
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, as 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.”
17. Moore didn’t get along with Grace Jones
Another of Moore’s complaints about A View to a Kill is that also said that he felt he had no chemistry with Bond girl Tanya Roberts, and also had a genuine dislike for Grace Jones. “I’m afraid my diplomatic charm was stretched to the limit with Grace,” Moore later said of his relationship with his co-star.
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. Also a singer and fashion icon, Jones’ other 80s movies included Conan the Destroyer and Vamp.
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 thankfully uninjured, although this seems more luck than anything else.
At this time in the early 80s, safety regulations on movie sets were often not as stringent as they are today. A View to a Kill arrived in the wake of 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie, which was the scene of a notoriously horrific stunt accident in which actor Vic Morrow and two child extras were killed.
15. Dolph Lundgren makes his debut in the film
When A View to a Kill was shooting, Grace Jones’ personal bodyguard (and boyfriend) was a then-unknown Dolph Lundgren. As he was on set anyway, it was agreed that the statuesque Swedish Karate champion would be great as a henchman, so Lundgren was cast in the minor role as KGB agent Venz.
Later that same year, Lundgren landed the plum role of Russian boxer Ivan Drago opposite Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV, and this promptly made him the hottest new action star around. He went on to appear in Masters of the Universe, Universal Soldier and many more.
14. A disclaimer had to be added to avoid any confusion between Max Zorin and a real businessman
Christopher Walken’s Max Zorin is an archetypal Bond villain who was specifically designed to be less humorous than his predecessors. Unbeknownst to the screenwriters, however, the name Zorin would come to be a thorn in their side, as it bore a close resemblance to the name of the real-life Zoran Corporation, who – like Zorin – manufacture microchips.
The Zoran Corporation threatened to sue the film for defamation. The discord was eventually settled by the filmmakers opening the film with a disclaimer reading, “Neither the name Zorin, nor any other name or character in this film, is meant to portray a real company or actual person.” No previous Bond film had been obliged to use such a disclaimer.
13. David Bowie could have played Zorin
Christopher Walken wasn’t the first to be offered the part of Max Zorin, as the part was first offered to legendary musician David Bowie. In fact, the role had been written specifically for Bowie, in an attempt by the studio to attract a younger audience. However, Bowie turned the part down, deriding the script as “terrible” and “workmanlike,” and went on to instead make Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.
The part was then offered to another rock icon, Mick Jagger, who turned it down for similar reasons. Then it was offered to Rutger Hauer, who had gained fame as Roy Batty in 1982’s Blade Runner, but it was again rejected. Finally, Walken (a recent Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner for The Deer Hunter) accepted the part.
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?”
11. The crew was banned from performing stunts on the Golden Gate Bridge
A View to a Kill’s epic climax sees Zorin kidnaps Stacey Sutton and crash his zeppelin into San Francisco’s iconic 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 expressed concern over Zorin falling to his death, fearing the stunt would inspire copycat suicides. As a result, such a stunt was never filmed, and Zorin’s death was created through effects and camera trickery instead.
10. It was Lois Maxwell’s last appearance as Moneypenny
Roger Moore wasn’t the only Bond actor to retire on A View to a Kill, as it was also the swan song of Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny. Maxwell had played M’s secretary in every Bond film since the series began 23 years earlier with Dr No. The actress first 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.
Of course, the first (and to date only) female M would be introduced ten years later when Judi Dench took the role in GoldenEye. Three more actresses have since played Moneypenny: Caroline Bliss opposite Timothy Dalton, Samantha Bond opposite Pierce Brosnan and Naomie Harris opposite Daniel Craig.
9. The film inspired actual CIA technology
In a case of art imitating life imitating art, some of A View to a Kill’s far-flung gadgets ended up inspiring real life spy technology. 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
The famed 007 sound stage at London’s Pinewood Studios (built specifically for 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me) burned down in 1984 shortly before work on A View to a Kill got underway. It wasn’t the Bond crew’s fault, however: at the time, the stage was being used by Legend, the dark fantasy film starring Tom Cruise and Tim Curry. As a result, production on Bond 14 had to be put on hold.
Amazingly, the stage was completely rebuilt in less than four months, and became the ‘Albert R Broccoli 007 Stage’. Although it has since become a cult favourite, Legend wound up poorly received by critics and a flop at the box office. That’s what you get for messing with James Bond’s schedule!
7. Tanya Roberts’ career tanked despite Bond
Stacey Sutton actress Tanya Roberts came to Bond after appearing in the final season of TV’s Charlie’s Angels, as well as appearing in fantasy hit The Beastmaster and playing the title role in Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. Hopes were high that A View to a Kill would really see her hit the big time, but this was not to be; she struggled to land major roles in the years that followed, until she took a recurring role in sitcom That 70s Show.
Roberts met a sad end, falling ill on December 23rd 2020. When it was clear she wouldn’t make it, Roberts’ agent announced that she had died, although these reports were hastily withdrawn when it came to light she was still alive. After being taken off life support, she passed away on January 4th 2021.
6. Bond’s underwater breathing trick is impossible
One scene in A View to a Kill sees Bond drive his Rolls Royce into a lake to evade pursuers; he then stays underwater and breathes by releasing the air in the tyres. This trick has been done a number of times in the movies, but there’s just one problem: in reality, it’s completely impossible to breathe this way.
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.
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 more youthful sport of snowboarding. The stunts in the pre-titles snowboarding sequence were performed by Tom Sims, who had himself invented the snowboard as a way to combine their favourite sports: skiing and skateboarding.
Sims is credited with inventing the snowboard as we know it today, with foot bindings 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 halfpipe.
4. It was Alison Doody’s movie debut
Despite May Day occupying the villainous sidekick role, 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 went on to appear alongside future Bond actor Pierce Brosnan in 1988 thriller Taffin before landing her most famous role as Dr. Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, opposite Harrison Ford and the original 007 Sean Connery.
3. Bond makes quiche
James Bond has done all sorts of things to seduce women, but A View to a Kill sports one of his more wholesome tactics. In an attempt to impress Stacey Sutton, Bond makes her a quiche, the famous 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, playing his part in what is 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 – 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 famously features a chase scene at the Eiffel Tower. Unsurprisingly, the presence of the Bond crew at the Parisian monument 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 copycats, 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.