You Only Live Twice (1967)

You Only Live Twice (1967)

“Kill Bond — now!”

After faking his own death, James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to Japan to investigate the mysterious disappearance of American and Soviet spacecrafts. Once there, he is assisted by the head of the Japanese Secret Service (Tetsuro Tamba) and a beautiful agent (Akiko Wakabayashi); is nearly killed by a feisty SPECTRE agent (Helga Brandt); is ceremonially wedded to another lovely Japanese agent (Mie Hama); and comes face to face in a volcano with his number one SPECTRE enemy: Blofeld (Donald Pleasence).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Cold War
  • Donald Pleasence Films
  • James Bond Films
  • Sean Connery Films
  • Spies
  • World Domination

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that the “fifth James Bond film” is “not a bad Bond film, but it doesn’t compare to its predecessors.” He argues that “the formula had become a little stale,” and that it “should have been about twenty minutes shorter” — but I actually find this a more relevant criticism for Thunderball (1965), which most definitely lags. The storyline for You Only Live Twice — very loosely scripted by Roald Dahl (!) from Ian Fleming’s novel — moves along at a reasonable clip:

… and the last twenty minutes feature what may be the most exciting sequence in the series to that point: ninja warriors descending into a hidden volcano base and wreaking absolute havoc on operations while Blofeld struggles to hold onto his white cat at all costs.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Donald Pleasence as Blofeld
  • Impressive sets (by Ken Adam)

  • Freddie Young’s Panavision widescreen cinematography

  • The fantastic finale

Must See?
No, though it’s a worth a look for the brilliant finale.


3 thoughts on “You Only Live Twice (1967)

  1. This is where the sillier, more overblown style shows its head and this film plus both Thunderball (1965) and Casino Royale (1967) were the big influences on the Austin Powers series.

    Doesn’t really make much sense and it’s obvious Dahl has no time for the female characters. That said, it’s flashy, funny, colourful and an impressive achievement in its scale which has been drastically increased on prior entries in the series.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  2. Admin, you need to check the synopsis coz although the late Tampa would probably feel flattered as being described as a beautiful agent, I think you meant to include Mie Hama instead.

    Tampa plays Tiger Tanaka, one of the hold overs from the 1963 novel and the head of the Japanese secret service.

  3. Not must-see – however… although I’m not a Bond fan, I find this to be among the better entries in the series. It’s entertaining, consistently watchable and (to me) reads like it places Bond squarely in the more-traditional spy mode. It also boasts Pleasence as a very smooth villain. A satisfying popcorn flick.

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