RETRO REVIEW: You Only Live Twice (1967)

James Bond (Sean Connery) watches a sumo wrestling match in Japan in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE — Photo: United Artists / Eon Productions.

Directed by Lewis Gilbert — Screenplay by Roald Dahl.

After having released a Bond-film for every year from 1962 to 1965, Eon Productions and United Artists took a year-off before the next film in the franchise was released. Filmed mostly in Japan, You Only Live Twice was the second-to-last official Sean Connery Bond-film (and his last Bond-film before George Lazenby took over for one film). This fifth official Bond-film was the first Bond-picture to be directed by Lewis Gilbert who was hot off the heels after having won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival the year before for his film Alfie. Interestingly, 1967 also marked the first time that an unofficial/Non-Eon Bond-film, the David Niven-led Casino Royale, was released. Niven’s film was released a few months prior to the release of You Only Live Twice, and it may have had a negative impact on the box office potential of Connery’s fifth Bond-film.

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RETRO REVIEW: Dr. No (1962)

Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No — Photo: United Artists / Eon Productions.

Directed by Terence Young — Screenplay by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, Berkely Mather.

Though it makes references to other Bond stories, Terence Young’s Dr. No was the very first James Bond film. With a small budget of just $1 million, Terence Young created many of the cinematic trademarks we know the franchise for. Like, the gun-barrel introduction, the iconic theme, the MI6 cast of characters, or SPECTRE. And, of course, it also features Sean Connery, one of the most iconic James Bond-actors. Looking at it today in 2021, Dr. No does seem a tad dated, and it definitely looks like a small-budget Bond film. However, it is a solid introduction to a now-iconic cinematic character.

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