Live and Let Die - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Live and Let Die Reviews

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½ June 26, 2017
A decent entry for Roger Moore. More comical the the others.

7.0/10
½ June 25, 2017
Three MI6 agents, including one "on loan" to the American government, are killed under mysterious circumstances within 24 hours of each other in the United Nations, New Orleans and a Caribbean nation, San Monique, while monitoring the operations of the island's dictator Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto). James Bond (Roger Moore), agent 007, is sent to New York City to investigate the first murder. Kananga is also in New York, visiting the United Nations and representing San Monique. Just after Bond arrives, his driver is shot dead by Whisper, one of Kananga's men, while taking Bond to meet Felix Leiter of the CIA. Bond is nearly killed in the ensuing car crash. A trace on the killer's licence plate eventually leads Bond to Mr. Big, a ruthless gangster who runs a chain of Fillet of Soul restaurants throughout the United States. It is here that Bond first meets Solitaire (Jane Seymour), a beautiful tarot expert who has the power of the Obeah and can see both the future and remote events in the present. Mr. Big, who is actually Kananga in disguise, demands that his henchmen kill Bond, but Bond overpowers them and escapes unscathed. Bond flies to San Monique, where he meets Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry), a CIA double agent. They meet up with a friend of Bond's, Quarrel Jr., who takes them by boat near Solitaire's home. Bond suspects Rosie of working for Kananga. She is shot dead, remotely, by Kananga, to stop her confessing the truth to Bond. 007 needs to find out the truth about Dr. Kananga and Mr. Big and try to stay alive in the process...

"Live and Let Die" was released during the height of the blaxploitation era, and many blaxploitation archetypes and clichés are depicted in the film, including derogatory racial epithets ("honky"), black gangsters, and pimpmobiles. It departs from the former plots of the James Bond films about megalomaniac super-villains, and instead focuses on drug trafficking, a common theme of blaxploitation films of the period. It is set in African American cultural centres such as Harlem and New Orleans, as well as the Caribbean Islands. It was also the first James Bond film featuring an African American Bond girl to be romantically involved with 007, Rosie Carver, who was played by Gloria Hendry. The film was a box office success and received generally positive reviews from critics. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Live and Let Die", written by Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by their band Wings.

Ian Nathan of Empire magazine wrote " This is good quality Bond, managing to reinterpret the classic moves - action, deduction, seduction - for a more modern idiom without breaking the mould. On one side we get the use of alligators as stepping stones and the pompous pitbull of rootin' tootin' Sheriff Pepper caught up in the thrilling boat chase. On the other, the genuine aura of threat through weird voodoo henchman Tee Hee and the leaning toward - what's this? - realism in Mr Big's plot to take over the drug trade from the Mafia." He concluded that " Moore had got his feet under the table." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times stated that Moore "has the superficial attributes for the job: The urbanity, the quizzically raised eyebrow, the calm under fire and in bed". However, he felt that Moore wasn't satisfactory in living up to the legacy left by Sean Connery in the preceding films. He rated the villains "a little banal", adding that the film "doesn't have a Bond villain worthy of the Goldfingers, Dr. Nos and Oddjobs of the past." Chris Nashawaty similarly argues that Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big is the worst villain of the Roger Moore James Bond films. BBC Films reviewer William Mager praised the use of locations, but said that the plot was "convoluted". He stated that "Connery and Lazenby had an air of concealed thuggishness, clenched fists at the ready, but in Moore's case a sardonic quip and a raised eyebrow are his deadliest weapons". Reviewer Leonard Maltin rated the film two and a half stars out of four, describing it as a "barely memorable, overlong James Bond movie" that "seems merely an excuse to film wild chase sequences". Danny Peary noted that Jane Seymour portrays "one of the Bond series's most beautiful heroines" but had little praise for Moore, whom he described as making "an unimpressive debut as James Bond in Tom Mankiewicz's unimaginative adaptation of Ian Fleming's second novel...The movie stumbles along most of the way. It's hard to remember Moore is playing Bond at times - in fact, if he and Seymour were black, the picture could pass as one of the black exploitation films of the day. There are few interesting action sequences - a motorboat chase is trite enough to begin with, but the filmmakers make it worse by throwing in some stupid Louisiana cops, including pot-bellied Sheriff Pepper." IGN ranked Solitaire as 10th in a Top 10 Bond Babes list. In November 2006, Entertainment Weekly listed "Live and Let Die" as the third best Bond film.

With "Live And Let Die" Roger Moore entered as 007 and the character changed a bit with him. Moore had not the same style nor violent appearance as Connery had, but he had more of a humourous take on the character that works in the first films which eventually became ridiculous in his last Bond films. And he also played the character as a suave, sophisticated English gentleman compared to Connery and Lazenby for that matter. What I love about "Live And Let Die" is that this film dared to go blaxploitation with a storyline portraying a Bond villain that is not after world domination in that classic Bond way. Yaphet Kotto is great as Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big and his closest henchman Tee Hee with a metal arm and claw is a great addition as as well (even if they could´ve made the metal arm and claw a bit more believable as you can see how abnormally long his arm is...). Baron Samedi is a great supporting role as well. The lovely Jane Seymour as Solitaire is as solid in the cast and I do love Gloria Hendry as Rosie Carver despite her being written as a too scared and not maybe too bright character. Yes, the somewhat ridicoulous treatment of female characters in the Bond universe is there, but you can either go with it or try to ignore it. However, Solitaire has depth with her melancholy and fatalistic nature. "Live And Let Die" has a great boat and bus chase sequence, exotic locations, beautiful Bond women, solid villains, great supporting characters, memorable music with Paul McCartney & Wings excellent title song "Live And Let Die", a bit of violence/ thrills and a tad bit humour. Love the scene when one of the MI6 agents is watching a traditional New Orleans funeral and a man emerges next to his side. The agent asks the man "Whose funeral is it?" and is told "Yours" and he is immediately stabbed to death and picked up with the coffin by the funeral procession. I like that there´s not that much gadgets and things that is there to just amuse the audience. "Live And Let Die" is a straightforward and entertaining Bond film (despite flaws) and clearly one of Moore´s best ones.

Trivia: Sean Connery turned down the then astronomical sum of $5.5 million to play James Bond. Connery gave Roger Moore his personal seal of approval for inheriting his role, calling him "an ideal Bond".

Ross Kananga (credited as "stunt coordinator") was the owner of the alligator/crocodile farm in which Bond escapes some hungry reptiles. Kananga did this stunt by himself wearing Roger Moore's clothes and shoes made of crocodile skin. The crocodile shoes were a fun idea of Roger Moore. It took five attempts to complete the stunt. During the fourth attempt, one of the crocodiles snapped at one of the shoes as it went by. The producers (while scouting locations) first took notice of Ross Kananga's farm from the sign out front which read: "WARNING; TRESPASSERS WILL BE EATEN." This sign can be seen in the finished film. They liked Ross Kananga so much that the movie's villain, Dr. Kananga, was named after him.

Roger Moore should not have been available for the part since at the time he was committed to The Persuaders! (1971), but when the show flopped in the U.S. he was prematurely released from his contract.
June 15, 2017
Fueled by its vast array of diversity, Live and Let Die manages to pull in the crazy stunts, the comedy and most importantly of all the action.
June 13, 2017
Roger Moore takes over here. I liked this new version of James Bond myself. The whole jungle voodoo thing was rather campy but silly fun. It wasn't meant to be serious. I think the producers wanted to appeal to an entirely new audience. They succeeded.
June 4, 2017
there's not much of a action packed adventure, all I see is just a raciest bond film. Although Live and Let Die does have some nice gadgets and fantastic but the way the film is executed is just weak, that and the fighting and chase scenes are more of a mix ,there all do weak but most of the time they go nowhere, well at least is still racist
May 28, 2017
In retrospect, a fresh change of pace is the key.
May 27, 2017
A bizarre film memorable for many strange elements, the series continues its comedic turn, but this works better with Moore stepping into the role. The slapstick and comic relief characters are still out of place (although these are mercifully small roles, unlike in later films). Moore shows promise in his first appearance, as long as you can accept this different style of Bond, but he's not really given much to do beyond the one-liners. Jane Seymour is also under-utilised, suffering from being written as one of the weakest ever Bond girls and fuels a side plot that is not just weird, but downright creepy. The villain isn't bad, Yaphet Kotto's performance is good, but like Connery's last film he seems too small fry for Bond to be dealing with and he's mostly upstaged by several henchmen, who may be the film's real highlight. The plot is unfocused, constantly dropping threads along the way, and while the series is often far-fetched the reliance on mysticism and tarot predictions make it fanastical in a completely different way to the other films. Ultimately, the scale and the vibe feel more Starsky and Hutch than international super spy; it's not clear why we should care about... whatever it is that's at stake, nor does it feel like Bond does, and there's little drama at all for the audience to get invested in.
May 26, 2017
Not the strongest 007 story for Moore's first entry, but still an enjoyable entry into the series along with Moore's instant and accepted success as 007.
May 24, 2017
With the incredibly sad and untimely passing of the legend that was Roger Moore, I have decided to review my three favourite films from his seven film run as the titular character that is James Bond. Live and Let Die is not only my first favourite of Moore's but also is his first Bond film and gave him a strong (albeit less than what Sean Connery got) start in the role and not only does Moore play the character different but the film itself is tonally different to the last official Bond film starring Connery. The theme song is one of the best of the series, the action is great (features three different chases that are all action packed in varying ways), Moore makes a great first impression and holds his own throughout, Yaphet Kotto is a solid villain (with his voodoo henchmen and metal claw arm bodyguard) and the plot and script though not exactly the deepest are still engrossing enough and are more than able to sustain the film throughout its runtime.
May 23, 2017
Part Bond/Part Don Shaft, Live And Let Die represents a change of tone for the Bond series. It is a new world in which the secret agent is now a light-hearted playboy with a penchant for safari suits and ill-advised attempts at kung fu fighting. A world where this same playboy is a stand-up comedian and is recognised wherever he goes- a feat for a British spy! Say what you like about Roger Moore's interpretation of Bond, there is no denying that he was his own Bond from the moment he boinked Miss Caruso in his London apartment! Moore's first Bond 'entry' shall we say is deals with a drug lord called Mr Big aka Kananga. Bond's pursuit of Kananga leads him through Harlem, a crocodile farm, and a thrilling boat chase along the bayous of Louisiana. There is voodoo, black magic, a priestess played by a budding Jane Seymour-and for better or worse- Clifton James as Sherrif J W Pepper. Those reared on Connery's Bond would have cynically viewed this film as 'The Saint In America'. It does admittedly feel more like a TV movie than the usual gilt-edged Bond production. Having said that, the wit is a lot sharper to accomodate Moore's lighter touch and it feels like a tighter, more cohesive movie than 'Diamonds Are Forever'. The villains are camp and entertaining but the situations we find them in are usually ludicrous but to his credit, Roger never takes this seriously which unhinges a good deal of tension and danger from the plot but hey, this was the '70s. It was time for the other fella!
½ May 16, 2017
Roger Moore debuted as James Bond in this entertaining tale of voodoo and drug smuggling. Moore plays the role very differently from his two predecessors being far more arch and knowing when it comes to the corny one-liners and sexism and, although he stayed with the role too long, here, he is a welcome breath of fresh air. Much of the characterisation sits uncomfortably with the modern viewer with a stereotypical 'Blacksplotation' take on New York and the portrayal of a Caribbean Banana Republic. It is very firmly of the era in which it was made and you have to forgive and get over the excesses. There's also a staggering amount of sexism that simply wouldn't be allowed today. However, looking through all that, we have an entertaining and vibrant story with some cracking scenes and set-pieces. Jane Seymour got her big break as the main Bond girl, Solitaire, in this movie. To be honest, she doesn't have to do a great deal apart from provide a canvas for some make-up that would not have been out of place in an old episode of Star Trek, flip over a few tarot cards and simper and whimper at an appropriate moment. She manages to do this well enough to be able to launch a career flogging cheap perfume and appearing in second-rate TV melodramas for a couple of decades....and good luck to her. Compared to some of the excessive ambitions of previous and subsequent Bond villains, Yaphet Koto's Kananga is relatively small time and all the better for it. The gadget count has also been curtailed and is pretty much confined to an improbably magnetic wristwatch and a communicator hidden in the largest hairbrush imaginable. The action is complimented by one of the best known theme tunes of the series provided by Paul McCartney and Wings however, there seemed to me to be surprisingly little music during the film. One of the stand out characters in the movie is the late Clifton James and Sheriff Pepper who makes for the comic relief during the showpiece boat chase through the Louisiana bayous and proved so popular, he returned in the next movie. Live and Let Die stands as an enjoyable piece of early 1970s escapism. It's not challenging or complex but it sure is fun.
May 14, 2017
the first time we see Roger Moore step into the shoes of James Bond 007
with this movie he works with a black cast alongside Jane Seymour
this was during the blaxploitation cinema era
Yaphett Kotto makes for a cool villain, too running a heroin operation
the climax is very quiet but Moore is one of my fav actors giving the series a classy but still goofy feel
Baron Samedi, the man who can't die is a fun henchman, too
not a strong film but a good start for Moore to get into the game
½ April 9, 2017
The eighth James Bond film and the first of seven for Roger Moore, replacing Sean Connery after his second retirement from the 007 role, and also Director Guy Hamilton's last of three (Goldfinger/Diamond's are Forever).

007 is sent to New York City after the disappearance of several agents investigating Kananga, the Prime Minister of the small Caribbean country of San Monique and his connection with American gangster Mr. Big (both played by Yaphet Kotto), both believed being involved in international drug smuggling. This film also marks the introduction of the beautiful Jane Seymore as Kananga's psychic fortune teller Solotaire. Paul McCartney and Wings provide the stellar theme.
April 8, 2017
Well, for a start, I have to say that Roger Moore's first Bond outing was more enjoyable than the last Connery one for me, so that;s something, right? This one feels very much of its time and I kinda dig it for that, as if somehow paying lip service to the action films or Blaxploitation fare of the time adds to the charm of it all.

Well worth a look, give it a rental.
January 28, 2017
Roger Moore takes over as super spy James Bond. While Moore doesn't possess the grit and charm of Connery, he does an admirable job of giving us his version of 007. Throw the beautiful Jane Seymour's Solitaire into the mix and Live and Let Die manages to "live" instead of "die".
January 23, 2017
A great sense of fun and adventure to counteract some of the less ageless elements. As a piece of film, this is a truly silly piece of work. However, as a Bond film, this one is certainly ticking all of the quintessential boxes.
January 4, 2017
8th Bond Film. This has always been one of my favorite Bond movies. Jamaica, Voodoo and Sheriff J.W.Pepper; who could ask for more.
October 31, 2016
WHAT I LIKED: To bring in a new Bond, they shook up everything. Here we get something much more light-hearted and fun, but luckily this first Moore entry is more charming than silly. As a result, we see the benefit of it taking itself less seriously - a film that's charming and enjoyable and makes you smile. Sure it's less refined than previous Bonds, but the last few were getting a touch stale. This a a nice breath of fun fresh air, and a much-needed one too.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: As I said, it takes away some of the refinement and grittiness of Sean Connery's more developed Bonds. And it does mark the beginning of the goofy humour we know is yet to come...
VERDICT: An altogether lighter Bond film that's just a bit of fun. How nice it was before Moore went over the top.
September 27, 2016
Great Bond movie. Super performances. Great scenes and adventure.
September 13, 2016
As a kid, I remember my parents giving me permission to stay up late when TNT was having a Bond Marathon. I would literally start watching the movies from the beginning of the marathon right down to the end.

It's this reason why I'll admit that my rating is definitely influenced by the nostalgic effect this film has on me. The last time I saw this film I was probably 7 or 8. I found it incredible, how 15 years later, I was able to remembered most of the movie in detail. While now its admittedly silly, the scene where Bond hops over the crocodiles always captivated me. Also, the dude with a metal claw for an arm has always been a memorable child hood "bad guy".

So what did I think of it this time around?

Roger Moore's first foray as 007, is an action packed thrill ride and a solid addition to the Bond franchise. While it's undeniably silly and the plot is preposterous, it's a Bond movie and that's to be expected. It has everything a 007 film should have; action, espionage, explosions, car chases, romance, humor, and charm. Oh and we can't forget the eternally awesome "Live and Let Die" original song by Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Linda :).
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