Archive: The Man With the Golden Gun (1974) A Review

Definitely one of my top 5 favourite Bond films, MWTGG has one of the best villains, played by one of Britain’s most well known actors, there is little here not to love.

Certificate: PG

Director: Guy Hamilton

Screenwriter: Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz

Starring: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland

Genre: Action, Thriller

Runtime: 125 Minutes

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Scaramanga is a hitman who charges one million dollars per job, using golden bullets. He becomes linked to the death of a scientist working on a powerful solar cell, and James Bond is called in to investigate. As he tracks down Scaramanga, he realizes that he is highly respected by the killer, but will this prove to be an advantage in the final showdown? – From IMDB

The seventies were an interesting time for the James Bond franchise.  Some of the films come off as cheesy at best, and damn right unbelievable at worst.  Luckily this one leans more towards the first than the second.  There is just something about Roger Moore’s seventies Bond that makes me cringe a little.  His kind of suave and his attempts at romance are just a little eye rolly, complete on suitably cringey saxophone music.  You don’t get much more seventies than that.

The villains are greatly megalomaniacal and some of the plots are just outrageous.  The plot here though is fairly realistic to what could happen in real life and other than henchman Knick-Knack, no character seems to be too blown out of proportion.  The dwarf henchman of Scaramanga is one of the best parts of the film, his morality flipping from one second to the next and you are never really sure whose side he is on.

Here we start to see the end of the demure and useless bond girls as they start to get actual stories, personalities and be more than just mindless sex objects.  This one doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head, portraying Britt Ekland’s Goodnight as incompetent and ditzy, but I suppose they are taking a step in the right direction.

There are many great moments in this film, many of which are some of Bond’s most notable.  The summersault of the red car during a car chase and the fantastic gun fight towards the end of the film are the tow that immediately come to my mind.  But it is one of those great Bond classics, and despite the fact that it hasn’t aged the best, there is still a lot here that bond fans will recognise and love.   I for one still prefer the older films to the new ones.

If you are used to the newer flashier Bond films, there older ones may disappoint you.  But they are classics for a reason, and most Bond fans will be happy to go back over the older titles and see where the great action franchise started.  Man with the Golden Gun is widely available to buy and rent at any good online retailer.

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