Bond films and the Roger Moore humor controversy

An earlier post on Bond Actors and Humor drew more comment than any other post I’ve ever made. For that reason, I thought it was worth revisiting.

Fans were sharply divided in comments. There were the pros:

John Smith
Roger Moore’s the best

Carton of Milk
(i personally WANT my bond films to have half-corny half-clever quips).

Roger Moore is king!

Sergio M. Says:
I can’t believe what I’m reading. Roger Moore was the best Bond by far. And the best thing about it is the fact that he didn’t take the role serioulsy. Guys, get real. The character is a beautiful over the top charade. A representation of each man’s fantasies… luxury, lust, danger, sex, cars, guns, casinos, more beautiful women, saving the world…and license to kill. If you got it all, well…go with a smile. And Roger did it.

And the cons:

Mark Stevens:
Roger Moore is the reason I quit watching Bond films…he never seemed to be worried that he could die (I think that the “Tango and Cash” characters acted the same way). That takes away from the suspense; and in a film where you KNOW the main character is going to live – you need some suspense.

Henry Hubbard:
I truly believe Roger Moore is the weakest of all the Bond actors. His tongue-in-cheek take on the character did not appeal to me at all and his movies left me yawning.

Some of this is age-based. I’ve done extensive fan surveys (my book publishes the results), and it’s pretty clear that the Bond you grew up with shaped your experience of who the character should be. If you’re a child of the 70s or 80s, you probably prefer the light-hearted approach.

Now, I grew up in the 70s, but my dad took me to second-run theaters and I saw all the Connery movies, which he preferred. I like my light-hearted with a healthy dose of sex and danger. And like most women, I tend to prefer the whiff of danger to the well-manicured gentleman (which is undoubtedly why Daniel Craig is causing such major swoonage among female audiences). I think too much humor takes something essential away from the character of 007.

But this controversy will never really go away. Some Bond fans are fans of funny movies starring James Bond, and some Bond fans are fans of espionage movies starring James Bond, and rarely if ever do the twain meet. I think Roger Moore will continue to be the touchstone for this controversy for years to come.


7 Responses to “Bond films and the Roger Moore humor controversy”

  1. Zippertuck Says:

    Might as well jump in. Connery, while not being the first choice to play Bond, turned out to be the closest to the Fleming Bond. The Fleming Bond was a hard drinking, hard smoking, womanizing professional spy who loved good food, fast cars and even faster women. While Moore had the womanizing part down pat, he is not in my book even close to the Fleming Bond. He doesn’t even smoke cigarettes! He smoke cigars and that just isn’t Bond. He’s far too cheeky, far too feminine and far too neat. I realize the producers wanted to take Bond in a different direction with Moore to make him stand apart from Connery, but I say he stands apart too far from Bond. He’s not horrible, but he just isn’t what I think of when I think of James Bond. Read the books folks and then tell me if you picture Connery or Moore. I picture any of the other Bonds before I picture Moore! BTW, I think the reason Bond Actors and Humor drew so many responses is because you were Farked.

  2. Deborah Lipp Says:

    Was I Farked? That’s cool. I thought it might have been IMDb of the day. I had 20x my normal hit count that day. And of course I was on vacation and had left the post to go up in my absence, so I missed it.

  3. Zippertuck Says:

    You were indeed Farked! That’s how I found this site, and I’m even a huge bond nut. Love and love it even more that it sent me to your site.

  4. Deborah Lipp Says:

    Well, I’m sure glad you’re here. You’ve been contributing a lot.

  5. I think Dalton was probably the best, but I didn’t like LTK, so I don’t have much reason behind me. Lazenby could have been good and Craig could be good, but again, not enough film to tell. So I guess I’d say Connery is best too, despite having started watching the films with Moore’s Bond.

    I’ve a lot of admiration for Moore as a very English Bond, but he was a better Saint (colour re-runs in the UK on itv4 Wednesdays 6pm) than he was a Bond.

    Brosnan? A mixed bag. (BTW, Remington Steele just finished rerunning at lunchtimes in Europe on Zone – I expect they’ll run it again soon)

  6. Deborah Lipp Says:

    Dalton had flaws, but I think he could have been the best. LTK was poorly-made; the script was full of clichés and the lower budget showed in a hundred small ways. Dalton needed a more talented director. The best thing the Bond franchise ever did was part ways with John Glen.

  7. amod, south africa Says:

    I think Roger Moore was the best Bond – even Ian Fleming said so himself. We all can argue but he had this vision of bond and Moore portrayed him to the tilt – the humour , grace , style , englishness , suaveness, most handsome of all the bonds , … . He may not have had the aggression of connery , but did he need to ? Even if he was about to be shot , he would make a joke. Now thats what Bond is about rather than doing a craig or connery and smash villains to smithereens. The only other bond that has come close to Moore is Brosnan.
    I rather despise craig – does not come anywhere near Moore. There’s no charm , doesnt even say the name bond – identity crisis – thought i was watching the Bourne identity 4 !! Moore rules supreme !!

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