You Only Live Twice

Year: 1967
Production Co: Eon Productions
Studio: United Artists
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Producer: Albert R Broccoli/Harry Saltzman
Writer: Roald Dahl
Cast: Sean Connery, Donald Pleasance, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn

In a lot of ways this is the consummate James Bond film (as opposed to the consummate books). It contains all the 'big' elements Bond producers occasionally let off the leash a little too much and lead to the inevitable and regular cries to take Bond back to basics).

There's a spacecraft hijacking in orbit, a hollowed out volcano lair full of private army minions, the cool gadgets (little Nellie the gyrocopter, in this case) and a plot that careens from one exotic locale to the next.

After tensions arise following the disappearance of a US spacecraft, James fakes his own death and goes undercover to find out who's really behind it. The trail leads him to a crooked chemical company that hopes to spark off nuclear war between Russia and the US and eventually to his old enemy SPECTRE, via a bevy of babes and fights along the way.

It was always a very delicate balance to strike between the over the top thrills and spills and the small human details of the Bond universe. Most films veered too much one way or another, but by a stroke of luck (and the expanded budget after the success of Dr No) this movie gets it just right.

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