Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

(March 6, 1920–February 23, 2018): British director, actor, and documentary filmmaker who helmed You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker. Having originally turned down You Only Live Twice, Gilbert was persuaded to accept the assignment when producer Albert R. Broccoli convinced him that a huge audience was waiting to see his work. Said Gilbert, “When you make an ordinary film, you never know what your audience is going to be like. You have no idea. It may be twenty people or twenty million. But when you make a Bond, you know that whether the film is good or bad, there is going to be a huge audience waiting to see it. To me, that became an important challenge.”[1]

A native of London, Gilbert made his feature directorial debut on the dance drama The Little Ballerina (1947), which featured future Bond player Sydney Tafler (the captain of the Liparus in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Gilbert’s brother-in-law). Gilbert later directed Sink the Bismarck! (1960), one of the great World War II films, during which he collaborated with future Bond editor Peter Hunt. Prior to You Only Live Twice, Gilbert produced and directed Alfie (1966), which starred Michael Caine and was nominated for five Oscars, including one for Gilbert for Best Picture. Gilbert’s additional feature directing credits include Damn the Defiant! (1962), The 7th Dawn (1964), Educating Rita (1983), and Shirley Valentine (1989).

[1] Lewis Gilbert, interview by Steven Jay Rubin, London, June 15, 1977.


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