Sir Roger Moore. Truly, the James Bond series of films is what got me into movies across the board. You see, my folks wouldn’t let me, as a young kid, watch anything over a PG rating (which in hindsight, probably fair enough). But one Friday night in 1995 at age 12, we were at our local Video Ezy and a tattered copy of ‘A View to A Kill’ stared me down. It was M15+, but I showed Dad the cover – “Hey Dad, what about a James Bond movie?” “Oh yeah, old Roger Moore, okay!” That was it, I was hooked. With hindsight now, it’s a tired Roger Moore in that movie, playing a Bond clearly and markedly older than his leading lady and struggling to keep pace in action scenes with Grace Jones, and you get the sense that mayyyybe Moore should have left it at Octopussy and been done with the series.
Shortly thereafter, GoldenEye came out at the cinemas and I took my Dad. I was all in on the James Bond series. I rented every single one on VHS and watched them ad nauseum, I hired out James Bond Encyclopedias from the library and read them endlessly and learned all about all the actors and the films and the soundtracks. I began to buy all the movies and the soundtracks and more. From this, it opened up watching more films – because some of the James Bond movies were M15+, I was allowed to now get those films out and watch those, which quickly ceded into MA15+ and by the time I was 15 or so, the Video Ezy was letting me rent R18+ movies on VHS, like Pulp Fiction, The Colour of Night and Sliver. I really did hire some trash films just to see some boobs back then.
Anyway, my point is, Roger Moore was a true gentleman – he was always the more gracious of the James Bonds of the past, totally acknowledging his fans and letting them have their fun with his association with Bond, in ways that Connery really doesn’t.
Roger was the Bond that, despite the remnants of obvious misogyny of the past that is obvious to viewers today, was at the beginning of a more progressive time in history. His was the first Bond to be more stylish and “forward” for the time, Flares became his signature pants, the theme songs became more Rock N Roll than the 60s films were, he refused to sleep with Bibi in For Your Eyes Only (clearly underage!) where Connery’s Bond probably would have, he slapped less women (!!), and the women in his films were (at times – fuck off Mary Goodnight!) capable heroines, strong women or outright badasses.
Regarding his James Bond films, to be honest, Roger holds titles in both my Favourite Bond Films and Most Hated Bond Films. For Your Eyes Only (despite the opening sequence) is excellent across the board, and Moonraker and The Man With the Golden Gun are jokes.
Rest in Peace, Sir Roger Moore. You were the Bond that got me into film and unfortunately the first of the Bonds (the main films anyway, not David Niven) to pass away. Thank you for the wry humour, the wonder, the confidence and machismo, the weird and the wacky gizmos and for being generous and appreciating your fans. You will be missed.