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"007, on an island surrounded exclusively by women?
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A VIEW TO A KILL

A View to a Kill (1985) is the fourteenth spy film of the James Bond series, and the seventh and last to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Although the title is adapted from Ian Fleming's short story "From a View to a Kill", the film is the fourth Bond film after The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker and Octopussy to have an entirely original screenplay. In A View to a Kill, Bond is pitted against Max Zorin, who plans to destroy California's Silicon Valley.

The original plot in Fleming short story, "From a View to a Kill", Bond investigates the murder of a motorcycle dispatch-rider and the theft of his top-secret documents by a motorcycle-riding assassin. The rider was en route from SHAPE, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, then located in Versailles, to his base, Station F, in Saint-Germain in France. Since Bond is already in Paris, his superior, M, sends him to assist in the investigation in any way he can. To unravel the mystery, Bond disguises himself as a dispatch-rider and follows the same journey to Station F as the previous rider. As expected, the assassin attempts to kill Bond. Bond, however, is ready and kills the assassin. He then uncovers the assassin's hidden base of operations.

The film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who also wrote the screenplay with Richard Maibaum. It was the third James Bond film to be directed by John Glen, and the last to feature Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny. At the end of Octopussy during the "James Bond Will Return" sequence, it listed the next film as "From a View to a Kill", the name of the original short story; however, the title was later changed.

Despite being a commercial success, with the Duran Duran theme song "A View to a Kill" performing well in the charts and earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Song, the film received a mixed reception by critics and was disliked by Roger Moore. Christopher Walken, however, was praised for portraying a "classic Bond villain" Max Zorin, head of Zorin Industries. When a company with a name similar to Zorin (the Zoran Corporation) was discovered in the United States, a disclaimer was added to the start of the film affirming that Zorin was not related to any real-life company. This is the first Bond film to have a disclaimer (The Living Daylights had a disclaimer about the use of the Red Cross.)

Early publicity for the film in 1984 included an announcement that David Bowie would play Zorin. He turned it down, saying, "I didn't want to spend five months watching my stunt double fall off cliffs." The role was offered to Sting and finally to Christopher Walken (above). Other cast members included Bond Girl Tanya Roberts as Stacey Sutton, the granddaughter of an oil tycoon whose company is taken over by Zorin. Grace Jones (above) as May Day, Zorin's lover and chief henchwoman. She also possesses superhuman strength. And, Patrick Macnee (pictured below center with Moore) as Sir Godfrey Tibbett, Bond's ally who helps him enter Zorin's villa and stable. Roberts' performance was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award as Worst Actress. With Patrick Macnee (John Steed of TV's The Avengers) appearing in a Bond film he would be the fouth Avengers cast member to do so, following Honor Blackman in Goldfinger (1964), Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and Joanna Lumley (New Avengers) who had a small part in OHMSS as well.

Dolph Lundgren has a brief appearance as one of General Gogol's KGB agents. Lundgren, who was Grace Jones's boyfriend, was visiting her on set when one day an extra was missing so the director John Glen then asked him if he wanted to get a shot at it. Lundgren appears during the confrontation between Gogol and Zorin at the racetrack, standing several steps below Gogol.

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Theatrical Trailer for A View to a Kill (1985) starring Roger Moore. This would be Moore's last Bond film.
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The film was shot at Pinewood Studios in London, Iceland, Switzerland, France and the United States. Several French landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, its Jules Verne Restaurant and the Château de Chantilly were filmed. The rest of the major filming was done at Fisherman's Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The Lefty O'Doul Bridge was featured in the fire engine chase scene. The horse racing scenes were shot at Ascot Racecourse.

Production of the film began on June 23rd 1984 in Iceland, where the second unit filmed the pre-title sequence. On June 27th 1984, several leftover canisters of petrol used during filming of Ridley Scott's Legend caused Pinewood Studios' "007 Stage" to burn to the ground. The stage was rebuilt, and reopened in January 1985 (renamed as "Albert R. Broccoli's 007 Stage") for filming of A View to a Kill. Work had continued on other stages at Pinewood when Roger Moore rejoined the main unit there on August 1st 1984. The crew then departed for shooting the horse-racing scenes at Royal Ascot Racecourse. The scene in which Bond and Sutton enter the mineshaft was then filmed in a waterlogged quarry near Staines and the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum in West Sussex.

On October 6th 1984, the fourth unit, headed by special effects supervisor John Richardson, began its work on the climactic fight sequence. At first, only a few plates constructed to resemble the Golden Gate Bridge were used. Later that night, shooting of the burning San Francisco City Hall commenced. The first actual scenes atop the bridge were filmed on October 7th 1984.

In Paris it was planned that two stunt men, B.J. Worth and Don Caldvedt, would help film two takes of a parachute drop off a (clearly visible) platform that extended from a top edge of the Eiffel Tower. However, sufficient footage was obtained from Worth's jump, so Caldvedt was told he would not be performing his own jump. Caldvedt, unhappy at not being able to perform the jump, parachuted off the tower without authorisation from the City of Paris. He was subsequently sacked by the production team for jeopardising the continuation of filming in the city.

Airship Industries managed a major marketing coup with the inclusion of their Skyship 500 series airship in the film. At the time Airship Industries were producing a fleet of ships which were recognisable over many capitals of the world offering tours, or advertising sponsorship deals. As all Bond films have included the most current technology, this included the lighter than air interest.

The ship used in the climax was a Skyship 500, then on a promotional tour of Los Angeles after its participation in the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympic Games. At that time, it had "WELCOME" painted across the side of the hull, but the word was replaced by "ZORIN INDUSTRIES" for the film. During the 1984 season, the ship was painted green and red as a part of Fujifilm's blimp fleet; it was subsequently coloured white. In real life, inflating it would take up to 24 hours, but during the film it was shown to take two minutes.

The soundtrack was composed by John Barry, and published by EMI/Capitol. The theme song, "A View to a Kill", was written by Barry and Duran Duran, and performed by the band. "May Day Jumps" is the only track that uses the James Bond theme. Barry's composition On Her Majesty's Secret Service was modified for use in the songs "Snow Job", "He's Dangerous" and "Golden Gate Fight" of A View to a Kill. "A View to a Kill" was second in the British charts and first in the American charts, thus becoming the peak song in the James Bond series.

Duran Duran was chosen to do the song after bassist John Taylor (a lifelong Bond fan) approached producer Cubby Broccoli at a party, and somewhat drunkenly asked "When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?"

During the opening sequence, a cover version of the 1965 Beach Boys song "California Girls", performed by Gidea Park with Adrian Baker (a tribute band), is used during a chase in which Bond snowboards; it has been suggested that this teaser sequence helped initiate interest in snowboarding.

This was the first Bond film with a premiere outside the UK, opening on May 22nd 1985 at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. The British premiere was held on June 12th 1985 at the Odeon Leicester Square Cinema in London. It achieved a box office collection of US $152.4 million worldwide with $50.3 million in the United States alone. On its opening weekend in the US it earned $10.6 million.

Although its box office reception was excellent, the film's critical response was mostly negative. One of the most common criticisms was that Roger Moore was 57 at the time of filming and had visibly aged in the two years that had passed since Octopussy. The Washington Post critic said "Moore isn't just long in the tooth, he's got tusks, and what looks like an eye job has given him the pie-eyed blankness of a zombie. He's not believable anymore in the action sequences, even less so in the romantic scenes, it's like watching women fall all over Gabby Hayes." Sean Connery declared that "Bond should be played by an actor 35, 33 years old. I’m too old. Roger’s too old, too!". In a December 2007 interview, Roger Moore remarked, "I was only about four hundred years too old for the part."

Moore has also stated A View to a Kill as his least favourite film and mentioned that he was mortified to find out that he was older than his female co-star's mother. He was quoted saying "I was horrified on the last Bond I did. Whole slews of sequences where Christopher Walken was machine-gunning hundreds of people. I said 'That wasn't Bond, those weren't Bond films.' It stopped being what they were all about. You didn't dwell on the blood and the brains spewing all over the place".

Pauline Kael of The New Yorker said "The James Bond series has had its bummers, but nothing before in the class of A View to a Kill. You go to a Bond picture expecting some style or, at least, some flash, some lift; you don't expect the dumb police-car crashes you get here. You do see some ingenious daredevil feats, but they're crowded together and, the way they're set up, they don't give you the irresponsible, giddy tingle you're hoping for."

Yet, Lawrence O'Toole of Maclean's believed it was one of the series' best entries. "Of all the modern formulas in the movie industry, the James Bond series is among the most pleasurable and durable. Lavish with their budgets, the producers also bring a great deal of craft, wit and a sense of fun to the films. Agent 007 is like an old friend whom an audience meets for drinks every two years or so; he regales them with tall tales, winking all the time. The 15th and newest Bond epic, A View to a Kill, is an especially satisfying encounter. Opening with a breathtaking ski chase in Siberia, A View to a Kill is the fastest Bond picture yet. Its pace has the precision of a Swiss watch and the momentum of a greyhound on the track. There is a spectacular chase up and down the Eiffel Tower and through Paris streets, which Bond finishes in a severed car on just two wheels. But none of the action prepares the viewer for the heart-stopping climax with Zorin's dirigible tangled in the cables on top of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge." And although O'Toole believed that Moore was showing his age in the role, "there are plenty of tunes left in his violin. James Bond is still a virtuoso, with a licence to thrill."

On the other hand, Brian J. Arthurs of The Beach Reporter said it was the worst film of the Bond series. C. Pea of the Time Out Film Guide said, "Grace Jones is badly wasted." It also appeared on the worst lists of Norman Wilner of MSN, IGN and Entertainment Weekly.

Danny Peary had mixed feelings about A View to a Kill but was generally complimentary: "Despite what reviewers automatically reported, [Moore] looks trimmer and more energetic than in some of the previous efforts ... I wish Bond had a few more of his famous gadgets on hand, but his actions scenes are exciting and some of the stunt work is spectacular. Walken's the first Bond villain who is not so much an evil person as a crazed neurotic. I find him more memorable than some of the more recent Bond foes ... [The film] lacks the flamboyance of earlier Bond films, and has a terrible slapstick chase sequence in San Francisco, but overall it's fast-paced, fairly enjoyable, and a worthy entry in the series."

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Content intended for informational and educational purposes under the GNU Free Documentation Areement
and is not affiliated with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Eon Productions, Danjaq LLC, Ian Fleming Publications or any other official production companies. James Bond logos, content and images copyright © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Eon Productions, Danjaq LLC, Ian Fleming Publications, United Artists Corporation.

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