I don’t think anyone can argue that Roger Moore was the best Bond – Sean Connery was too indelible in the role and Daniel Craig has been giving him a run for his money (though he is too frequently let down by his scripts). And I don’t think anyone can argue he was in the best Bond films (Goldfinger, Casino Royale, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and From Russia with Love are just so damn good, despite the greatness of ). But when I was a kid, growing up in the ‘80s, Roger Moore was my Bond.
Moore brought a totally different energy to Bond. Affable, goofy, charming – his Bond was a killer by profession, not by nature. Moore’s Bond could be avuncular even – think of him gently turning down the advances of too-young skating prodigy Bibi in For Your Eyes Only and try to imagine Connery’s Bond declining. And Moore was legitimately funny, not just spitting out one-liners after dispatching villains, but carrying genuinely comedic scenes.
And his films were just plain enjoyable. Sure, Live and Let Die was waded into some uncomfortable racial waters, and Octopussy and A View to a Kill felt ludicrously geriatric, but his stretch from 1974 to 1981 was a blast, including both the aforementioned Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only, the Christopher Lee joint The Man with the Golden Gun, and my personal childhood favorite, Moonraker, with its silly space battles, colorful costumes, and comic book plotting. Certainly Richard Kiel’s Jaws ranks alongside Oddjob as the greatest Bond henchman.
For all that, whatever history may ultimately say, I will always judge Roger Moore kindly. Cheers, and thanks for all the fun.