17 reasons why A View To A Kill (1985) is not the worst Bond movie

Critics and today’s audiences tend to give the 1985 Bond movie A View To A Kill a hard time. The complaints often center on Roger Moore as a 57-year-old 007, who admittedly was getting too old to be plausible in the role of James Bond. Another critique was the lack of gadgets which audiences had come to expect. In many ways the film marked the end of an era. It was Roger Moore’s last outing as Bond, and also Lois Maxwell’s final turn as M’s ever-dependable secretary, Miss Moneypenny. The people who grumble about their age forget that the reason these characters are coming back is because we actually cared about them from the previous movies. Perhaps to avoid creepiness it should have ended with Lois Maxwell and Roger Moore hooking up? They both looked the appropriate age to be a couple.
Roger Ebert is right that Max Zorin’s Silicon Valley scheme makes no sense, as the chip manufacturers are in Japan, I’m willing to forgive that aspect, as it wasn’t something that I noticed until Ebert brought it up.

Here are 17 reasons why I love A View To A Kill:

1.)  It’s just so entertaining and rewatchable and there’s never a dull moment

2.) The song A View to a Kill by Duran Duran in the opening credits. It was the last music they wrote before the group broke up, and it remains the only James Bond theme song to have reached number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. An 80s classic.

3.) The pre-credits action sequence and the iceberg submarine

4.) Recreating the Ascot horse race

5.) This Bond movie has some of the most amazing locations in the entire series. The Eiffel Tower had never been so exciting before. The chase through the streets of Paris is a highlight too.

6.) Zorin’s beautiful French estate Chateau Chantilly. The secret lab at the stables, the scene when Zorin appears to pick Bond’s horse from the computer, and the thrilling horse race that would follow.

7.) Flamboyant model and recording artist Grace Jones as the memorable and feisty henchwoman May Day. I actually believed she could beat up Bond, and Jones steals every scene she’s in. The story arc of her character was also something which was interesting. Her character scared and fascinated me as a kid. Her costumes are bizarre and unforgettable.

8.) Tanya Roberts. Even if people say she gave a poor acting performance and to many was just a helpless barbie doll, she is for me the most beautiful of the Bond girls, those eyes, wow. To her credit Stacey Sutton is actually not a dumb rich girl, and majored in earth science in college, which becomes evident in the dialogue scene in the mine. It’s a shame she suffered the “Bond girl curse” and never made it big in subsequent years. Roberts was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award as Worst Actress.

9.) The first time a Bond villain was played by an Academy Award winning actor. Christopher Walken was born to play a Bond villain and he brings his own particular menace and quirkiness to the role as the highly intelligent yet psychopathic Max Zorin. Who can forget his laugh at the end.

10.) Patrick Macnee as the race horse trainer and undercover agent Sir Godfrey Tibbett. Bond’s driver and the banter between Tibbett and Bond is amusing. They have great chemistry. Again, Macnee is probably too old for the role, but it’s nice to see him again having enjoyed the cult tv-series The Avengers. (Not the Marvel Avengers)

11.) Bond producer Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli’s silver Rolls-Royce which he had driven specially from London to Paris to be be used in the shoot. A classy car which is not talked about enough.

12.) Using the air from the car tire while the henchmen wait for Bond to drown.

13.) The beautiful score by John Barry. My favorite is That Fatal Kiss, which can stir the emotions, and the score also works great in the action scenes.

14.) City Hall on fire. Critics point to Stacy Sutton’s screaming “James!!”as annoying, yet it’s a well-made scene and I believed the fire was a threat.

15.) The fire engine chase and San Francisco in general. What a fun action sequence. The police captain is so funny. “Yeah, And I’m Dick Tracy and you’re still under arrest!”

16.) The spectacular Golden Gate Bridge scenes. Before it became somewhat of a cliché to use the bridge in action movies, the air ship sequence in San Francisco was a memorable and iconic climax.

17.) Finally, I admit I’m biased in that Roger Moore for nostalgic reasons is my favorite Bond actor. You could argue Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig give a more realistic and gritty portrayal of James Bond, yet I personally prefer the humor and light-heartedness of the 70s and 80s Moore films. I grew up on them and can’t be objective.

Have you seen A View To A Kill (1985)? Agree or disagree? What do you like or dislike about the film?

23 thoughts on “17 reasons why A View To A Kill (1985) is not the worst Bond movie

  1. The number one reason that A View to a Kill is not the worst Bond movie is Moonraker.

    (I like A View to a Kill a lot. It may be CRAZEE but it's never boring.)


  2. @Tony: I like all the Roger Moore Bond film. Even though Moonraker is pretty silly, I still prefer rewatching it over Quantum of Solace, the latter I consider the worst of the series. A View To A Kill is a bit over the top and campy, but I agree it’s never boring.


  3. I don't think it's the worst Bond film ever. It's decent as I enjoyed Grace Jones as Mayday. I just Christopher Walken would've added more camp to the role. Plus, it's got one of my favorite Bond theme songs ever. After all, if you have read my list of the James Bond films ranked. You probably know what is the worst film of the series so far.


  4. I'll concede that Quantum might be worse than Moonraker just because I don't remember much of Quantum. The day after I watched it, I seemed to have two hours missing from my life where the only thing I could remember was Olga Kurylenko is TOTES HAWT!

    But Moonraker – I remember how awful the first two hours were and the last two hours were almost as bad, but the worst part was that agonizing six hours in between!


  5. @Tony: Quantum of Solace was indeed unmemorable, the shakycam made it confusing what was going on, and Quantum has arguably the worst theme song of the whole series.
    Moonraker at least has some entertaining scenes and a good score, even though the story is ridiculous.


  6. @thevoid99: I rewatched A View To Kill, the way the story develops with Bond by accident noticing Stacey at City Hall is too convenient. The fact she doesn’t recognize him from the Chateau Chantilly is also odd. But I still love it as entertainment, and it isn’t the worst Bond film. The Duran Duran song and May Day are highlights for sure, I heard she did more with the role than was on the page.
    I just checked your ranking. Die Another Day would also be among my worst Bond films. At least the flooding in A View To A Kill is plausible. The ice palace and invisible car in Die Another Day is not realistic to me.


  7. Love this post! I wouldn't call it the worst Bond film, which I'd reserve for Moonraker. (Though, I haven't seen Octopussy yet.) Still, I haven't seen A View to Kill in over a decade, and now I really want to give it another look. 🙂


  8. Totally agree with Tony up there – Moonraker is by far the worst of the worst when it comes to Roger Moore era Bond films! A View to A Kill is ridiculous, but so were all of the Roger Moore Bonds! Glad you highlighted the Duran Duran song – so catchy, one of my fave Bond themes.

    Think this is actually one of the few Moore Bonds I can sit through.


  9. @Josh: Glad you enjoyed reading my defense of A View to A Kill ! I can’t guarantee you’ll end up loving it. I’m in the minority when it comes to A View To A Kill and Octopussy. Both are in my top 100 because I grew up with them like others did with Star Wars.
    I do feel the 85 outing gets unfairly put down. I would far prefer rewatching this one than the Brosnan Bond films.


  10. @Jaina: I can’t dislike any of the Roger Moore Bond films, because they are part of my childhood. I realize a lot of people don’t look at them with rose-tinted glasses as I do 🙂
    It’s worth a rewatch and if you see it with an open mind and forget about Roger Moore’s age, it’s actually very well-paced and entertaining, with some terrific locations.


  11. I expect to see more of these kinds of posts as we ramp up to SPECTRE. Die Another Day and Moonraker keep A View to A Kill off the very bottom of my list. Christopher Walken and Duran,Duran managed that.


  12. Oh I agree it's not the worst, I mean Grace Jones is still quite entertaining. The WORST of all Bond movies has got to be Die Another Day!!


  13. @TheVern: There are things to like about A View To A Kill for sure, love the theme song, and it's a film I have watched more times than any other Bond I think.
    Thanks for nominating me!


  14. I'm nearly done revisiting the series — most of the pre-Brosnan films I hadn't seen. This was my second Bond after Never Say Never Again. Moonraker was actually a lot of fun and QOS is definitely at the bottom of Bond for me too.


  15. @Jeffrey Lyles: I've watched them all! I just reviewed Spectre (2015) today, and would rank it third of the Daniel Craig Bond outings. Agree Quantum is among the worst Bond films.
    Moonraker is fun if you accept the silliness.


  16. With this scheme of Zorin's (flooding a faultline to trigger an earthquake), do you think the writers came up with fracking before it even had a name?


  17. @Anonymous: I can’t answer, I don’t know when fracking got its name.
    Your theory is interesting though, and I’m always glad when others can find value in this often-dismissed Bond entry.


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