On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

On Her Majesty's Secret Service Reviews

Page 1 of 146
Super Reviewer
May 11, 2008
A so so 007 fare ..
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2012
Sean Connery retires from the 007 role and incomes Australian model-turned-actor George Lazenby to fill in his massive shoes. Does he succeed?

OHMSS was the first in the franchise to attempt the depiction of a more-vulnerable James Bond and this movie also breaks one of the franchises biggest cliches at this point...James Bond gets married to the Bond girl!

This movie has a lot of good things going for it. The cast is very well-rounded. Diana Rigg plays Tracy, daughter of a mobster and the woman that Bond falls in love with, and she is fantastic. Equally fantastic is Telly Savalas, who replaces Donald Plleasence as Bond's arch nemesis Blofeld. I think Savalas is my personal favorite actor to play Blofeld because he feels more like a person that can exist in real life.

The ski-chase action set pieces are also a joy to watch and first-time director Peter R. Hunt does a pretty decent job, at times giving the proceedings a very 60's trippy vibe.

Not only that, but John Barry offers some of his best music compositions for this entry.

It's just a shame about Lazenby though. Lazenby's lack of acting experience really sticks out like a sore thumb and in a way, perfectly demonstrates the fact that playing 007 is not as easy of a feat as one might expect. Despite having a decent chemistry with Rigg, Lazenby's performance just left me cold due to his lack of one-screen presence and it doesn't help that most of his dialogue was awkwardly dubbed in post-production due to his heavy Australian accent. The only time Lazenby displays any sincere acting chops is in the film's heart-breaking ending.

Despite Hunt showcasing decent prowess for a first-time director, his weakness lies in filming hand-to-hand fight sequences because the editing gets so choppy and the bizarre camera angles really brings unintentional comedy to some fights scenes. Also this movie was just way too long for me and could have used a better editor at the helm because I found myself bored a few too many times, especially during the drawn-out second act in which James Bond is undercover in Blofeld's lair.

In the end, a part of me deeply admires how much this film attempted to shake things up with the franchise but in the end it's unique elements never end up combining into a satisfying whole.
Super Reviewer
October 24, 2012
Overlong, choppily edited, helming sloppy action, and a plot that is very preposterous and far too self-aware, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is is a very weak entry in the bond canon, although it arguably has some of the best sequecnes. After a string of five very original stories, the fans get this, which completely goes against the personality of it's lead character. George Lazenby is not a terrible actor, but he is a terrible choice for James Bond. The previous films focussed on one Bond girl, when in this film, I swear I counted at least 10. The pacing is ridiculous and the plot sometimes makes no sense. Sure, the filmmakers work with what they had, which was a horrible crew. This film is the epitome of a series low. "On Her majesty's Secret Service" is a serviceable flick for fans, especially for the action, but it is quite the letdown in other regards. I will give it some slight props for their effort though.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2014
Faced with the necessity of breaking in a new 007 following the departure of Sean Connery, the producers wisely opted for a back-to-basics Bond movie, eschewing most of the ludicrous excesses evident in You Only Live Twice. Gone, at least for the time being, were production designer Ken Adam's cavernous sets, along with the increasingly silly gadgetry.That the film failed to find much of an audience at the time of release - the reasons for which I'll come to in a moment - can only be classed as a great shame, not least for the genuine Bond fan, as Broccoli and Saltzman backslid furiously and Connery picked up where he'd left off, before passing the baton to Roger Moore, who cheapened the character by chiefly playing him for laughs. Consequently, in the 37 years separating OHMSS and Daniel Craig's revitalisation of the character in Casino Royale there were only a couple of high points in the series, and - surely not coincidentally - each corresponded with a similar back-to-basics agenda. The first of these was the curiously unloved For Your Eyes Only, which notwithstanding its risible prologue and epilogue is the purest Bond film Moore ever made; the second, Timothy Dalton's superb début in The Living Daylights.OHMSS's failure, perhaps unsurprisingly, was due in no small part to George Lazenby, though not for the reason one might expect, namely his performance. The problem with Lazenby was a perceived cockiness and lack of humility that got up the noses of his seasoned cast and crew mates and had the film critics sharpening their knives before nary a foot of film was in the can. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I dare say much of this was a combination of youthful high spirits and naivety, however the damage was done and the finished film was roundly savaged in the press. As one would imagine, Lazenby was compared unfavourably with Connery, as ever other actor who plays the part continues to be to this day, though I, for one, couldn't disagree more with this assessment. Frankly, Connery was visibly bored with Bond, charmlessly sleepwalking his way through both Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. Furthermore, there is an aura of invincibility about Connery's Bond that precludes one's becoming overly fearful for the character's safety, even with a laser beam trained on his testicles, whereas for all his powerful physique and obvious athleticism, there's an appealing vulnerability to Lazenby's Bond that produces a couple of startling moments in which he resembles a lost little boy in need of a cuddle. Simply put: yes, he's not nearly as good an actor as Connery, but Connery could not have played this Bond this well in this film.Not only was Diana Rigg's poor-little-rich-girl the first Bond girl of any real substance since Daniela Bianchi's Tatiana in From Russia with Love - and perhaps the last until Eva Green's Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale - she's still arguably the best of an admittedly shallow bunch, her combination of strength and vulnerability complimenting her co-star's perfectly. Without being either as creepy as Donald Pleasance's or as suavely menacing as Chales Gray's, Telly Savalas' Blofeld still manages to be definitive, not just because he plays him straight and with restraint, but because he brings to the role a brute physical presence the others lack; one senses, for once at least, here's an adversary who might give our hero a run for his money in a fistfight. Elsewhere in the casting, From Russia with Love appears to have been a definite reference point, with Ilse Steppat's Irma Bunt echoing Lotte Lenya's Rosa Klebb and Gabriele Ferzetti channelling Pedro Armendáriz's Kerim Bey as Draco.All things taken into consideration, this is probably the second best movie of the entire series after From Russia with Love. Don't listen to the haters!
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2007
A well made entry into the Bond canon, but one that lacks the charisma and charm of a good Bond flick. George Lazenby is probably the worst actor to ever play the role in the series and I often wonder how good this movie truly could have been if Connery were back. There's plenty of great action sequences and the scenery is beautiful, but I didn't care much for the story. Blofield has been my least favorite villain in the series up to this point because both actors portraying him have not been the least bit menacing or even evil really. Dianna Rigg is a fantastic Bond girl, but she completely overshadows Bond which should never happen. Overall, I liked the change of pace after You Only Live Twice as the formula established was clearly getting old and repetitive, but On Her Majesty's Secret Service doesn't quite have all the ingredients for a great Bond film.
Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2012
One hell of a great movie in the series. My favorite James Bond film ever and possibly the finest film in the series. A tremendously entertaining and wonderfully enjoyable action-packed adventure. A true classic. It`s story is great and has lots to offer including great character interactions, blistering excitement, explosive action sequences and sizzling romance. A sensational, charming and romantic adventure. George Lazenby gives a terrifically confident and charismatic performance as Bond, and gives him a surprising amount of emotional dept and still manages to be tough and sharp. Lazenby and the gorgeous Diana Rigg have marvelous romantic chemistry. From its thrilling opening to its action-packed finale at the alps to the heart-breaking conclusion, On her Majesty s Secret Service is awesome. While the ending is shocking and surprising it sets a tone for the next film and shows Lazenby is more than just a replacement for Connery.
Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2012
This is the first Bond movie to not feature Sean Connery as Bond. Instead we have George Lazenby as Bond, James Bond in his only turn as the Secret Agent. He does a very good job, and when it was over I actually wished that he did more films. He doesn't have the swagger of Connery, but he has a ruggedness that I don't think the other Bonds except Craig have. Here Bond once again has an adventure that leads him to Blofeld(this time played by Telly Savalas, without the scar). But this movie is separate from the other movies in that Bond meets a woman like no other named Tracy(Diana Rigg) who makes him fall in love and actually give up his womanizing ways for marriage. There are some great action scenes, especially the ski battles, but overall this movie is a bit boring considering it is 2 1/2 hours long. A good story that could have been executed better. Still worth a watch, and not the worst Bond movie, but it could have been better.
Super Reviewer
½ August 14, 2007
Solid Bond with excellent action. Lazenby isn't bad as 007 but competing as he was with the megawatt star power of Sean Connery he didn't stand a chance to make the role his own, still he's more believable than Roger Moore ever was. The great Diana Rigg is underused, especially as she was famous as Emma Peel at the time, but whenever she's on screen it's a pleasure.
Super Reviewer
July 4, 2012
05/07/2012 (DVD)
Super Reviewer
½ May 18, 2011
Oh this movie, how mixed of a reception you (still) seem to get. That's rather unfortunate, too. The plot once again follow James Bond on the trail of SPECTRE head Ernst Stavro Blofeld. This time around Blofeld has developed quite a strong interest in genealogy and is using that as something legitimate, as well as for a bit of a cover up for a plan to take over the world via germ warfare, to be done using sleeper agents (of sorts). Yeah, it is once again global domination, but overall the film feels far more grounded in reality than most of these types of movies.

The film also apparently sticks really close to the novel, and strives for a sense of greater realism, with little to no gadgets being used, as well as greater focus on a strong plot as well as wonderful character development, with Bond legitimately falling in love.

What makes this film notable is that is marks George Lazenby's sole outing as Bond. Here's the deal: he's not THAT bad. He's mostly just a little stiff, underwhelming, and a tad bland. It also doesn't help that he didn't seem to have his heart in it, and that he mimics Connery too often, somethiong future Bonds pretty well avoided. Had he stayed on for more films, I think that Lazenby could have been a pretty decent Bond and made it his own. As it stands he's just so-so. Fortunately though, his presence is really the only major issue with this film. Granted that's no small thing, but still. I will give him some credit and say that he does good with the action elements and does manage to pull off the final scene nicely, which would be a challenge for anyone, not just him.

I loved the cinematography, enjoyed the fact that they tried to do some different things this time around, including having the touching love story and the ballsy final scene. The love plot is well done and believable, and the plot doesn't seem all that silly or outlandish. Also, the action's pretty well done, and the bulk of the third act is filled with several chase scenes, fights, and shootouts. The music is probably the real highlight though, and John Barry once again puts in some terrific work, especially with the main title theme. Louis Armstrong's performance of "We Have All the Time in thew World" isn't too bad either.

I do have some minor gripes, but unlike Lazenby, they aren't quite as big an issue. Those are the sometimes choppy editing (mostly during close up fights), the occasional speeding up of the film (noticeable during some fights) which comes off as a bit silly and distracting, and the fact that the end credits shoulsd have either featured somber music or none at all. As is, the Bond Theme, no matter how classic, is jarring compared to the emotional impact of what preceds it.

Overall ,I think this is a wonderful film that deserves more attention, and that Lazenby deserves a bit of a break. I do think that the film would be less maligned had Connery done it, but I don't know if the love story and the ending would have worked as well as they do. His Bond was more superhuman, whereas Lazenby's is a bit more human amd vulnerable. You should give it a chance, because it is quite well done and does a lot of great things. It would be better had Lazenby had more time to make the role his own. I will say that you should probably pass on this if you don't like the idea of Bond growing and changing by falling in love instead of being just a suave ladies man. The film is one of the longest in the series, so yeah, if you can't get into the many scenes where the film takes a break to let the plot and characters develop gradually, then again, give it a pass, otherwise, sit back, relax and enjoy one of the strongest entries in the series.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2010
Different kind of Bond movie, doesn't really follow the classic structure of a Bond movie much like the Craig films. Put together well, forgettable characters but it's an interesting chapter in the franchise. George Lazenby, much like Ashton Kutcher, is not an actor. He was a model that looked the part. Basic rundown: Lots of snow, Louis Armstrong, an absurd bobsled chase, marriage, and an absurd bobsled chase.
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2010
i liked it but it got boring in parts. B
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2010
Well here it is, the first James Bond dud. George Lazenby shoulders the Walther PPK in this one, and thankfully it was also his final appearance. A good cast is wasted here, and not even Telly Savalas can save this film. Theres little action in this film. Just a lot of talk. Just when the action starts and it starts to get thrilling, it's too little too late. The film like the book are pretty dull and uninteresting, the ideas for both were good, but the execution was poor. The film does boast a few very thrilling moments, but it's too little too late.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2006
As a James Bond film it has certainly stepped up a notch in regards to Action ? it may look dated with some of the stunts etc, but it is an improvement on the scale of Action envolved in these films.

Wasn?t blown away by the storyline and of course it quite evidently missed out on the presence of Sean Connary. George Lazenby, didn?t really come across as a suitable replacement at all, perhaps that shows why he only did one film as James Bond.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2007
lazenby gets a bad wrap, having to follow connery, as he pulled of the role of bond for this film just fine. the film is an excellent one with great chase scenes, an interesting story, and more emotion than we're used to from a bond film. it was a bit too long for a bond film and the final scene was executed very poorly, but overall this is another solid addition to the bond legacy.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2008
Does anybody here remember George Lazenby? He was the first actor to take over the role of James Bond from Sean Connery, who had had enough by 1969 and wanted to end his reign as Bond (though he would come back one more time officially when they offered him an ungodly sum of money). Lazenby had the impossible task of following someone who defined a role. That's like replacing Indiana Jones or if they try to replace Heath Ledger in the next Batman movie- whoever takes that role will forever be compared to the "original".

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is Lazenby's only Bond film, sandwiched in between two Connery films (You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever). It's main plot is that a gangster (Gabrielle Ferzetti) is willing to pay Bond one million pounds to wed his indulgent daughter. The film follows their budding relationship while Bond investigates Blofeld's (Tell Savalas) allergy clinic and what it's a cover for.

While interesting the story is a little lackluster with the entire "Marry my daughter" storyline feeling a little pushed. The cast is adequate, though being a child that remembers Kojak it's a bit difficult for me to see Telly Savalas as Blofeld. The film ends up being an average Bond/espionage film that delivers on action (Lazenby is probably the biggest ass kicker out of all the Bonds). Even with Connery I don't think OHMSS would have been better than Goldfinger or From Russia With Love.

Which brings us to Lazenby because any review of On Her Majesty's Secret Service is essentially a review of Lazenby as Bond. Is he better or worse than Connery? The answer is he's different. Just like Roger Moore was different. And Timothy Dalton. And Pierce Brosnan. And Daniel Craig. And Barry Nelson. And David Niven. Bonds are like General Motors. Yeah, there's a bunch of different styles and makes, but they're all built essentially on the same frame. The character is the frame. The actor is the one who fills it out.
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2008
Some Spoilers here*****************************

If Sergio Leone, maker of those gritty '60s spaghetti westerns, had ever made a 007 film, it would look like OHMMS. (That's a compliment.)

The sixth installment in the James Bond film franchise is the most experimental of the lot. It's cinematography, with an abundance of close-ups and quasi-surreal quick-cut editing, makes it a uniquely visual movie. It even has a built-in music video for the song "(We Have) All The Time In The World" sung by the great Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong.

The producers' most obvious experiment was casting. This is the first 007 film without Sean Connery. The coveted role went to George Lazenby, a rugged square-jawed Australian who does a very competent and believable job as the secret agent, and does a lot of athletic action never seen done by the older actor he replaced.

Connery announced while making the 1967 film "You Only Live Twice", that he was walking away from the character that made him world-famous. Hoping to do Oscar-worthy roles with far less pop culture publicity, he swore to hang up his tuxedo and never do another 007 film. His loss. OHMSS is a great script.

Connery messed up by not doing OHMSS for it doesn't have the exaggerated super-hero space-race gadgetry that he's known to have despised about some of the previous Bond movies.

OHMSS is a rough & tough thinking-man's espionage thriller with a lot of heart.

But the film, and Lazenby, first in a long line of other Bond actors, arrived with mixed reviews.

The movie-going public of 1969 were not so pleased that Connery was gone. Plus the film's running time (2 1/2 hours) scared many people away from the theaters.

A Christmas holiday winter theme in its third act, and having a real love story develop and unfold throughout the whole thing, were elements foreign to the established 007 style people expected. It isn't a Bahamas summer beachparty bikini/scuba type of film. Far from it.

It's Autumn...It's Winter...It's Cold. The One Romance Noir, and The One Dark Drama, of the whole 007 canon.

Oh, it has humor, enthralling chase sequences, and a great music score, and those familiar faces of M, Q and Miss Moneypenny, but it has a grim underbelly to its epic-sized bastion of cloak & dagger pursuits.

Only in hindsight, as time has passed, has OHMSS received the appreciation it deserves.

Lazenby, unfortunately no second outing as 007, did a job well done for Her Majesty's Secret Service, and he can take pride in doing an original Fleming story, and not a spy-composite new script like the Bond films since 1985.

The OHMSS script was a faithful adaptation of Ian Fleming's 1963 book, a book Fleming wrote, incidentally, at a time when he already knew what a fan that President Kennedy was of the Bond books/films.

Had Fleming, who died in 1964, lived to see OHMSS, he might've been very happy with the resulting film. No matter who played Bond.

Of course, it wouldn't be a true 007 film without sexy girls. And decorated with a bevy of beauties, they are relevant to the plot:

Young female patients in a high-security Swiss Alps allergy clinic are being brainwashed. They're becoming naive pawns who'll secretly traffic pocket-sized WMDs into their homelands.
It's a biological warfare scheme orchestrated by the sinister evil genius Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Bond, undercover and unarmed (no Q gadgets either), infiltrates the mountaintop complex by invitation. Masquerading as a geek-like geneologist, Bond is intent on capturing Blofeld after a two-year search for the elusive criminal mastermind.

Telly Savalas (as Blofeld) is a dry macho villain, a sharp contrast to the effeminate squeaky-voiced Blofeld of the previous Bond film.

Personally this is one of my favorite films out of the James Bond film series. A series that for me is more miss than hit.
Super Reviewer
February 14, 2006
My fave 007 movie..great story,nice christmassy settings and an unusually downbeat ending for a Bond film..everybody get off Lazenby's back,he's faultless!
Super Reviewer
September 29, 2008
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) in my opinion was the best film of the series. I felt that George Lazenby was unfairly slagged by the critics for his performance. He did the best that he could. His acting fit very well for his character.

The direction moved the film at an even pace. The action set pieces were impressive and Diana Rigg was hot. Telly Savalas was excellent as Blofield, he gave the character a suave touch. But you call tell that underneath his mack daddy act he was all business, and violent business indeed.

Everything about this movie had a cool aura to it. The stunt scenes were amazing (for it's era) and the cinematography was beautifully shot. I had one bone to pick with the film. The in jokes got a bit heavy handed. Other than that it's a fun film. Too bad George Lazenby was demoted to B-Movie hell after this flick (at least he got a three picture deal with Golden Harvest where he made three classic action films).

I have to give this movie a high recommendation. If you love the James Bond series you'll enjoy this one.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2007
Oops. Forgot to rate this one, but I remember thinking it was okay. Lazenby was fine as bond, and there was some good old fashion bond stuff. They certainly like to put bond into 'snowy' situations.
Page 1 of 146