My Nominations: Star Wars. Stunts. Grand Theft Auto. Smokey And The Bandit. The Spy Who Loved Me. Viva Knievel!
Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a clean sweep for Star Wars. While that film does indeed include some great stunts, it’s more of a Special Effects vehicle and would feel false given the other films which use a great array of practical stunts this year. Like I alluded to in previous years, the stuntman was at his commercial peak here, with a number of movies released each year featuring the world or actors portraying stuntmen. Mark Lester’s Stunts (the clue’s in the title) is one such movie, a film starring Robert Forster as a Stuntman investigating the suspicious death of his brother – also a stuntman. It’s more of a mystery, but Lester cranks up the tension and allows for a number of cool stunts – it was one of those movies which always seemed to turn up when I was younger. In a similar vein, Viva Knievel takes an interesting look at the lives and gambles of the people who put their bodies on the line for our entertainment and stars probably the most famous stunt guy of them all (the clue’s in the title). The stunts here are still exhilarating as always but maybe less interesting due to a lack of variety.
Taking things on a more varied route is Grand Theft Auto (clue’s in – you get the idea). It’s a bit of a farce and a not-quite-satire on the media as a young couple steal a car and head for Vegas followed by a increasing number of chasers in different vehicles who want to win a reward for apprehending them. Lots of car action though. Keeping it on four wheels is of course Smokey And The Bandit – which features Burt Reynolds zipping about in a TransAm and jumping over rivers. It’s maybe the most authentic of the bunch given the second most famous stuntman ever Hal Needham was the director. It remains one of the most famous car chase movies, for good reason. Finally, we have 007 and The Spy Who Loved Me featuring more car antics – underwater, over bending roads, and one of the most ambitious one man stunts seen till that point, in the intro, as Bond skies away from a bunch of gun toting villains only to leap off a cliff edge and parachute to safety.
My Winner: The Spy Who Loved Me
Let us know your winner in the comments!
6. The Man With The Golden Gun (from The Man With The Golden Gun) – Lulu
Most people hate this one with a passion, but it’s easily one of the most catchy, fun, energetic Bond songs. It’s funky with a rock and disco manic edge, great guitars, a blistering performance by Lulu. We even get a bizarre, soft, slow brief break in the middle where Lulu does a Bassey for a few moments. I’ve never quite understood why people, or so many people despise this – it hits all the right notes in my ears. I love love love each ‘golden shot’ that she sings, great stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSbj2Mx2By8
5. For Your Eyes Only (from For Your Eyes Only) – Sheena Easton
I’ve always had a soft spot for this one, partly because it’s from one of my favourite films in the series, and partly because I’m a sucker for ballads. It may get awfully cheesy, but it still does the job for me. This one also gets deathly close to being dated due to the instrumentation. But it’s just so lovely and so tragic. The film begins with Bond visiting the grave of his dead wife, we see one of the series’ most brutal killers dispatch a number of other likeable characters, and a rare somber turn by Moore. I love the verse and bridge, but I feel the chorus vocals could have been reined in a little, or would be better with a different singer. I’d love to hear some covers of this – I’m sure I’d love it even more if sung by one of my favourite singers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN1WBgS9u_E
4. Nobody Does It Better (from The Spy Who Loved Me) – Carly Simon
Beginning like a forgotten ballad by Queen, Simon again may not have been the best choice to perform this, but aside from that it’s a superb song and close to stealing that definitive Bond song crown. Naturally Radiohead’s version is better, but the song itself it so good that you’d be hard pushed to find a bad version of it. Again it’s super sexy, I love the combination of piano and violin, and it’s one of the few Bond songs that doesn’t have the typical blasts of string and horn – and doesn’t miss them for a second. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNA7DcVppEs Radiohead bonus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfmQe_eBvrc
Let us know below what you think of these Bond songs as I rarely see two of these in other lists of favourites.