It’s very hard to stand up to the die-hard Sean Connery fans, where there is no question who the top Bond is. But even they have a tough time dismissing Roger Moore…
A bit of general trivia among Bond fans is that Moore was considered to play Bond first, but he had television obligations as the main character in The Saint. In fact, he was at the peak of a strong TV career: The Saint followed on from Maverick, The Alaskans and The Persuaders.
During that period Moore established his character credentials of the suave Englishman who is not scared of getting the job done. The Saint did put a cherry on that portrayal, but two of his previous roles cast him as a Brit in cowboy country. He also actually played James Bond twice before becoming the movie character: he once pretended to be Bond in The Saint and he also portrayed 007 on vacation for a satirical skit show. In the short clip he and a Russian spy happen to be at the same resort and become convinced each was sent to spy on the other. (It’s quite funny)
This comedy skit may have been more of a prelude to Moore’s 007 years. Sean Connery once commented that Moore’s films were a bit like parodies of his own era. Moore’s Bond was more of a playboy than a fixer, less inclined to get physical but more likely to think his way out of a situation. He was an action man too, but Moore added most to Bond’s reputation as a manipulator of people with a lucky streak to match.
The parody element came with the overkill of gadgets: the Moore era will forever be the pinnacle of Bond spy tools (including the submersible Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me). But this was a sensibility of the Seventies and did not hurt the franchise one bit. If anything, Moore’s dry wit and intellectual Bond added the parts Connery could never quite project – future Bonds owe him as much as Connery.
Moore’s era sadly came to a low point: between his rising age and the series’ detachment from the grittier cinema of the late Seventies and early Eighties, this tenure ended with a Bond that was more Cold War relic than saviour of the world. Still, that’s not really on Moore, but it goes to show how much a Bond actor is held against the era they work in.
Last Updated: November 25, 2015