With Daniel Craig’s tenure as the sixth actor to depict the iconic James Bond now over, the legacy of Great Britain’s most famous spy has once again been reimagined, having gone through several eclectic iterations throughout the years. From Sean Connery’s classically stylish portrayal to Pierce Brosnan’s hammy version of Bond, the character has stayed largely the same, with subtle changes of style and sentiment.
No doubt the strangest portrayal of James Bond, however, came from Roger Moore, who appeared in seven separate 007 films, each as bizarre as the last. Taking the character to the bombastic heights of space in Moonraker before unfurling all the series’ innate campness in Octopussy, Moore’s Bond would expose the character to endless satire in films such as Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
Riding the line between gentleman and jester, Roger Moore’s Bond remains an endearing figure in the series’ legacy, however, embodying all the fun and nonsense that the franchise has since lost. Whilst he may be a long way away from Daniel Craig’s action-packed version of the character, there are several moments in the Roger Moore era that are unforgettable, though not for good reasons.
Roger Moore’s five strangest James Bond moments:
5. Crocodile Submarine – Octopussy (John Glen, 1983)
Perhaps Q had popped out for a quick puff of wacky backy when he created this bizarre contraption that places Moore’s Bond in a one-man submarine made to look like a placid crocodile.
Not entirely covert, nor at all practical, this hilarious gadget from Roger Moore’s penultimate Bond film is a joyous illustration of the actor’s eccentric era as the character.
We’d love to know how this contraption works, as it looks as though Bond is standing up in the clip, or if he is lying down, it must have been a tight squeeze for the 55-year-old actor. Either way, the gadget seemed to work…somehow.
4. Bond defeats Nick Nack with a suitcase – The Man with the Golden Gun (Guy Hamilton, 1974)
Roger Moore’s era as James Bond was crammed full of strange henchmen, and Nick Nack was no exception, a dwarf with immaculate hair, white gloves and a particular passion for throwing knives.
The butler for Christopher Lee’s villain Francisco Scaramanga, Nick Nack was played by Herve Villechaize in an especially memorable role in the history of James Bond. Unclear whether the scene was played for comedy or genuine thrill, when the henchman comes into contact with Bond, bottles and furniture are destroyed before 007 shoves Nick Nack into a suitcase.
“You big bully!” Nick Nack’s muffled voice shouts before Bond tosses the suitcase in the ocean; “Shut up!”.
3. Jaws falls in love with Dolly – Moonraker (Lewis Gilbert, 1979)
Perhaps the most notorious James Bond film, featuring the very peak of the series’ nonsensical themes, this particular scene in Moonraker happens on solid ground and doesn’t actually feature Roger Moore’s 007 at all.
Though Jaws may be one of James Bond’s most iconic villains, sporting large metal teeth and towering stature, he is perhaps the character’s least terrifying adversary, particularly after he meets Dolly in Moonraker.
Punctuated by the clichéd sound of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo and Juliet Overture’, in one bizarre scene, Jaws emerges from a pile of rubble only to set eyes on the young Dolly and walk off with her hand-in-hand. With no impact on the wider story, it’s a truly strange scene that only adds to Moonraker’s compelling mystery.
2. Bond ‘pops’ Kananga – Live and Let Die (Guy Hamilton, 1973)
The James Bond series is well known for its creativity when it comes to the dispatching of lead villains, from Max Zorin falling off the Golden Gate Bridge to Franz Sanchez being burnt alive. Though no final death is quite as strange as Kananga’s from Live and Let Die, a character who ‘pops’ to death.
God bless Q who came through with his compressed gas pellet, a gadget that makes a starring role in the climax of Live and Let Die when James Bond goes hand-to-hand with nemesis Kananga. Finding themselves brawling in a shark tank, Bond forces the gas pellet into Kananga’s mouth before the villain blows up like a balloon, flies into the sky and explodes.
What does Bond have to say to such a surreal spectacle? “He always did have an inflated opinion of himself”. Classic.
1. James Bond space marine – Moonraker (Lewis Gilbert, 1979)
It’s back to Roger Moore’s camp adventure Moonraker to cap off this list where James Bond turns into bombastic science fiction, depicting a low-budget space battle between government space marines and ambitious terrorists.
Hilariously put together, the space battle that bookends Moonraker is a bizarre, static fight consisting of aimless soldiers floating in the ether and flashes of blue light from nondescript guns. The soldiers don’t look like they know what they’re doing and the film itself isn’t entirely sure what to capture or where. Soldiers float off into the cosmos, others explode into the space station.
It’s a mess… but a beautiful one at that.