Octopussy (United Artists, 1983)

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

★ ★ ★1/2 The thirteenth James Bond film produced by Albert R. Broccoli. US release date: June 10, 1983. Budget: $27.5 million. Worldwide box office gross: $187.5 million (Domestic gross: $67.9 million; international gross: $119.6 million).[1] Running time: 131 minutes.

The Setup

There are many ways to initiate World War III. Renegade Soviet General Orlov (Steven Berkoff) wants to make sure the Americans are blamed. His nefarious plan is to detonate a nuclear bomb on a US Air Force base in West Germany. He then predicts that this “accident” will force the West to dismantle its nuclear deterrent, allowing Soviet forces to overrun Europe. To fulfill this dream of Russian conquest, he offers up a fortune in Russian state jewels to renegade Afghan prince Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan), who convinces a group of female circus performers and acrobats led by Octopussy (Maud Adams) to participate in the scheme. However, when one of the jewels—a Fabergé egg—is stolen by a mortally wounded 009 (Andy Bradford) and delivered to the British ambassador in East Berlin, British intelligence launches into the fray—sending James Bond (Roger Moore) to India on Operation Trove.

Behind the Scenes

Continuing the 007 revival that began with The Spy Who Loved Me three films earlier, Octopussy ranked just behind its predecessor Moonraker at the US box office. Thanks to a risqué title, another inspired marketing campaign, and an interesting blend of Goldfinger glitz and From Russia with Love intrigue, it’s an excellent entry that keeps up the momentum despite its excessive length.

Comfortably directed by John Glen, the film is filled with memorable set pieces that keep the plot moving, such as the mini jet pre-credits teaser, 009’s final, fatal mission in East Germany, and Bond’s attempts to disarm the A-bomb while dressed as a circus clown. Like the previous film, For Your Eyes Only, it’s filled with henchmen and other characters with mystique, including Kamal Khan’s deadly twin assassins, portrayed effectively by twins David and Tony Meyer, and Kabir Bedi’s awesome Gobinda.

Low points: Maud Adams’s Octopussy serves little purpose in the plot and takes a backseat to Kamal Khan’s treachery. Kristina Wayborn’s Magda actually steals the film out from under her. Although the sequences in India are suitably exotic, the chase through the streets of Udaipur is too silly, featuring another double-taking animal—this time, a camel. But once the film gets to Germany, it takes off, building incredible drama inside the circus tent as Bond disarms the nuclear bomb. Other high points include Steven Berkoff’s strutting General Orlov, the John Barry score, and Rita Coolidge’s opening-titles song, “All Time High.”

The Cast
James Bond Roger Moore
Octopussy Maud Adams
Kamal Khan Louis Jourdan
Magda Kristina Wayborn
Gobinda Kabir Bedi
General Orlov Steven Berkoff
Mischka (Twin No. I) David Meyer
Grischka (Twin No. 2) Anthony Meyer
Q Desmond Llewelyn
M Robert Brown
Miss Moneypenny Lois Maxwell
Penelope Smallbone Michaela Clavell
General Gogol Walter Gotell
Vijay Vijay Amritraj
Sadruddin Albert Moses
Minister of Defense Geoffrey Keen
Jim Fanning Douglas Wilmer
009 Andy Bradford
Auctioneer Philip Voss
General Bruce Boa
U.S. Aide Richard Parmentier
Soviet Chairman Paul Hardwick
Gwendoline Suzanne Jerome
Midge Cherry Gillespie
Kamp Dermot Crowley
Lenkin Peter Porteous
Rublevitch Eva Rueber-Staier
Smithers Jeremy Bullock
Bianca Tina Hudson
Thug with Yo-Yo William Derrick
Major Clive Stuart Saunders
British Ambassador Patrick Barr
Borchoi Gabor Vernon
Karl Hugo Bower
Colonel Toro Ken Norris
Francisco the Fearless Richard Graydon
Circus Performers The Hassani Troupe
The Flying Cherokees
Carol and Josef Richter
Vera and Shirley Fossett, Barrie Winship
Barrie Winship
Octopussy Girls Mary Stavin
Carolyn Seaward
Carole Ashby
Cheryl Anne
Julie Martin
Joni Flynn
Julie Barth
Kathy Davies
Helene Hunt
Gillian De Tervillet
Safira Afzal
Louise King
Tina Robinson
Alison Worth
Janine Andrews
Lynda Knight
Gymnasts Suzanne Dando (supervisor)
Teresa Craddock
Kirsten Harrison
Christine Cullers
Lisa Jackman
Jane Aldridge
Christine Gibson
Tracy Llewellyn
Ruth Flynn
Thugs Ravinder Singh Reyett
Gurdial Sira
Michael Moor
Sven Surtees
Peter Edmund
Ray Charles
Talib Johnny

The Crew
Crew Membe<
Director John Glen
Screenplay by George MacDonald Fraser
Richard Maibaum
Michael G. Wilson
Executive Producer Michael G. Wilson
Producer Albert R. Broccoli
Associate Producer Tom Pevsner
Director of Photography Alan Hume
Music by John Barry
“All Time High” performed by Rita Coolidge
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Production Designer Peter Lamont
Second-Unit Direction and Photography Arthur Wooster
Camera Operator Alec Mills
Vehicle Stunt Coordinator Remy Julienne
Title Designer Maurice Binder
Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson
Editor John Grover

[1] “Octopussy (1983),” The Numbers, accessed June 18, 2020, https://www.the-numbers.com/movie/Octopussy.


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