1. All Time High: 'Octopussy' Celebrates 25 Years

    By Devin Zydel on 2008-06-08

    James Bond’s All Time High

    25 Years Of Octopussy

    Nobody does it better… 13 times.

    Hitting An All Time High: 'Octopussy'

    Hitting An All Time High: Octopussy

    Octopussy, the film marketed as James Bond’s all time high, celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. Debuting at London’s Odeon Leicester Square on Monday, 6 June 1983, Roger Moore’s penultimate 007 adventure featured a little bit of everything including the return of a Bond girl, exotic locations in India, Tarzan yells, clown suits and more.

    Opening in the US a few days later on the 10th of June, Octopussy eventually proved to be another winner for the Bond series at the box office. With a final worldwide gross of $183.7 million dollars, it took the top spot in the famous ‘battle of the Bonds’ with Sean Connery’s unofficial Never Say Never Again, released later that year.

    Taking into account the 25th anniversary of the film asked our forum members to recall their first (or most memorable) time seeing Octopussy

    Octopussy – manfromjapan

    Octopussy was the first Bond film I ever saw at the cinema. I was only 10 going on 11. It blew my mind, and set in stone my love for the cinematic 007.

    I think my late father summed up the appeal of the film and Bond films in general. He said you pay a few pounds for your ticket, and for a few hours you forget about your everyday troubles. You get value for your money. You get taken on a trip to foreign locales, action, humour, beautiful women (but don’t tell your Mom I said that!) etc etc. He is absolutely right. That’s why I think I love the Bond films. When I watch any Bond film, I am not thinking about anything else. They hold my attention. I don’t know if I can say that about other films or series. The Bond films have made me a harsh critic: I hate to be bored. And that’s why the uncommonly boring parts of certain Bond films are cardinal sins for me.

    Octopussy is very much a mixed bag of a film, but it is one of the most purely entertaining. It’s underrated because there is alot of good in the film thast people pass over because of the sillier aspects of the production. That said, the humour and treatment of India does shoot the film in the foot at times.

    My first and later impressions? The pre-credits scene is awesome. It’s one of the most colourful Bonds. The plot is strong and feels Flemingian for the most part. Moore has his best chemistry with Maud ‘Mud’ Adams. It’s one of the most action-packed. Eon put a lot of effort into making a visually and dramatically dynamic Bond picture, and they succedded for the most part. Hence the strong US box-office take.

    Octopussy – RJJB

    I remember liking the following scenes when I saw Octopussy on the day it premiered:

    The opening scene in Berlin in which the clown is pursued until he crashes through the glass door and releases the egg from his dying hand. A nice mysterious hook to introduce the movie. Very similar in style to The Avengers TV show.

    The Russian War Room. Nice set and great intro for General Orlov as the strong villainous presence to the movie.

    General Orlov’s final encounter and death scene. A good ending to his desperate plan.

    At the time, I was 30 years old. I had enjoyed For Your Eyes Only at the time and felt that Octopussy was a tremendous letdown after the quality of its immediate predecessor.

    Octopussy – hilly

    Octopussy was the first film I rented when our family got its first ever VHS player. I’d somehow missed it when it was on at the cinema, so was pretty desperate to see it (the gap between cinema release and video release was 12 months+ in the mid eighties). I managed to get the house to myself for an afternoon and watched it.

    When the film had had its premiere, I was on a family holiday in Greece. I can remember reading a so-so review in the paper, but, when I finally saw it, I thought the film was fantastic and it whetted my appetite for the next one…which, alas, turned out to be A View to a Kill

    Once we’d gotten a VHS player, I began diligently taping and keeping Bond films when they were shown on ITV. The premiere of a Bond film was a big TV event in the 70s and 80s, and when Octopussy was first shown, around 1988, it was quite a big thing. I can remember watching it repeatedly (and sadly, I still do, although the original tape has long since departed this world!)

    Its still one of those Bond films that I think is sorely under-rated. Maybe I’ll dig out the dvd this weekend…

    Octopussy – Turn

    Octopussy will always be a special Bond for me. It was the first film since I became a hardcore fan that I was somewhat able to follow during its production. It wasn’t like today where you can follow blogs and have 10 different entertainment shows to watch it on. But I was a member of the American Bond fan club and they sent out quarterly newsletters that gave updates. Entertainment Tonight had occasional features on the set. And the most memorable was Starlog‘s Double Bond issue that came out in February of 1983 with behind the scenes pictures and information on Octopussy and Never Say Never Again. I was ready.

    Friday, June 10 1983 was a huge day. In my town, Octopussy was being shown at a drive-in theater. I saw For Your Eyes Only at one and it kind of lost something. Luckily, there was a cinema in the next town that was showing Octopussy at a matinee. My mom and dad piled my brother and I into the car to see it as they knew how Bond obsessed I was at the time.

    One of my favorite amusing memories was the Urbana Twin Cinema had two theaters and the theater manager must have been embarassed by the title as the marquee simply read “James Bond.” Although this theater was older and mostly showed second-run features, it was just fine for Octopussy. I loved the film from beginning to end and it remains one of my favorites.

    It had the best blend of everything of that era. I don’t recall anybody hooting any particular moment or how packed the hall was, just having a great time.

    After the film, we went to a nearby bookstore where I got a couple of film magazines profiling Octopussy, which I still have. It was a great day and one I will never forget.

    I would go on to see Octopussy again at the drive-in cinema, where I took a boom box to record the film on cassette tapes as you were able to listen to the sound in your car (I guess that made me an early film pirate) and twice more in a cinema in my town while my brother went to see Return of the Jedi again. I was 16 and just had my driver’s license for a few months. When I saw For Your Eyes Only at 14 I remembered thinking when I had my license I would go see a new Bond film every night. Not quite, but a lot.

    And just as good back at that time was we still had Never Say Never Again yet to hit theaters. 1983 was possibly the best year ever to be a Bond fan.

    Octopussy – Chula

    Saw it opening night in New York:

    • place was packed
    • could feel the sense of disappointment from audience when film ended (the crowd sure wasn’t bouncing like after The Spy Who Loved Me or Moonraker)
    • huge laugh from the crowd was towards the end when Khan tsk-tsked Octopussy with the line “Octopussy….Octopussy.” All in the audience suddenly realized just how silly and funny the title of the film really was.
    • Moore had the audience in the palm of his hands. If you saw Moore’s Bonds in the theaters, you just always got a sense of that.

    Octopussy was certainly not the best Bond movie-going experience. Rather sluggish and not very exciting movie. I have since gone on to love the film via repeated viewings at home, but in the theater it was part of the slow descent of Bond films.

    Octopussy – David_M

    Octopussy premiered the day I graduated high school, so I tend to remember it. At the time I was living just outside Lynchburg, VA, home of Dr Jerry Falwell and the then-powerful “Moral Majority.” Just two years earlier, skittish Lynchburg newspapers had run ads for For Your Eyes Only with a pair of shorts drawn over the girl’s skimpy underpants, so I couldn’t resist taking delight in EON’s return salvo: a film the very title title of which made people blush! Take that, you nervous Nellies: try advertising a movie without using the name!

    I remember standing in line at the Pittman Plaza theater behind a group of Japanese tourists (or maybe exchange students). The appointed leader of the group stepped up to the box office and said, “Uh…five tickets for…OctoPUSSY!” At which point the entire crew erupted in a giggling fit.

    I often wonder if those guys were disappointed with what they got, which was far from porn and which indeed I would rate as one of the tamest of Bond entries (though hugely enjoyable)…the title was the only provocative part of the entire enterprise.

    A couple months later I saw the film with my parents in a dollar theater (remember when movies hung around for months?), and my Mom loved it. I have to say something went out of the franchise for me at that moment. Bond had always been a slightly naughty indulgence for me; I remember feeling awkward whenever a seduction scene came up in a Bond film on TV and my folks were in the room, and they always gave me a lecture before each broadcast that “we don’t approve of James Bond’s lifestyle.” For my Mom — whose favorite show was Hart to Hart and who always wanted Robert Wagner to be Bond — for her to so enjoy Octopussy was surprisingly unsettling for me. When your hero becomes your Mom’s hero, it’s hard to leave the theater feeling as cool as went you went in.

    I should add here that while I found the film uneven on my first viewing, and the title song positively somnabulent, Octopussy has emerged as the Bond film I watch the most often, first on VHS and now on DVD. Why, I couldn’t begin to tell you. There’s just something comfortable about it. I wish it had been Roger’s swan song.

    Octopussy – DR76

    I really enjoyed it a lot. I especially loved the action sequence in which Bond tried to stop the bomb from exploding on that Air Force base. But my biggest thrill came from the fight scene at Kamal Khan’s palace. Happy 25th anniversary, Octopussy!

    Octopussy – dee-bee-five

    I was at the premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square in London. It was the second Bond premiere I’d been to (after For Your Eyes Only). I’d collected my tickets from Cubby and Dana Broccoli at Eon’s then-offices in South Audley Street in the afternoon (long story and one I’m not making up), so it was already a special day. The premiere itself did not disappoint as it was, up to that point, the most star-studded night of my life. I walked up the stairs to the circle just behind Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve and Liza Minnelli!

    The film was extremely well-received and, as a previous poster has said, Roger Moore seemed absolutely at the top of his game. I loved it that night, and I’ve loved it ever since.

    At that point, I hadn’t learned that it’s terribly naff to request autographs at such events (actually, I now feel it’s naff to ask for autographs at any time, but that’s because I work in the “business” and am cynical). Still, it does mean that I have an Octopussy premiere ticket (complete with card tentacles) signed by Roger Moore and a premiere brochure signed by, amongst others, Lois Maxwell (with a sweet personal message), Desmond Llewelyn, and Liza with a “Z”… I’ve often wondered what they might be worth.

    Octopussy – DaveBond21

    I missed it in the cinema, as my parents took me and my friends to see Never Say Never Again at the cinema for my birthday.

    I remember missing Octopussy on TV, even though my Dad was telling me how great the last 40 minutes were with chases on cars, trains and planes.

    I think I finally saw it all the way through in 1991 on TV, and I loved it. The haunting stalking of a clown, all the creatures that 007 faces in the Indian jungle (elephants, snake, tiger, leech, spider, crocodile), killing the twins, fighting Gobinda on the plane, it’s great entertainment.

    Leonard Maltin gives it ***1/2 in his movie review book. The most he gives for a Bond film along with Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds are Forever and The Spy Who Loved Me.

    Octopussy – dogmanstar

    I never saw it in the theater but saw it first on HBO. A bunch of my friends and I watched it over and over again when it came on cable because we were all big Bond fans but even moreso for my friends, a bunch of adolescent boys, we has seen The Wild Geese, The Dirty Dozen, The Guns of Navarone, Destination Tokyo and so many others.

    We loved Octopussy. It had everything 14 year old boys could want! And there was a sense that this film worked on the adult level, too. (We didn’t understand much about Sotheby’s or Faberge eggs . . . . but we thought they had something to do with adults.) And at this time of the Cold War, the East German locations seemed especially exotic to us.

    Octopussy – saint007

    I was 14 when I saw Octopussy at the movies. It was the second 007 movie I had gone to see at the theater. I went with my mom and dad on that first Friday night. I remember the place being packed. From the pretitles to the end it was blast. This was during all the Bond vs. Bond stuff in the media. I remember the Starlog issue with Rog and Sean on the front. ’83 was a great year for a 007 fan!

    Octopussy – Simon

    Octopussy was for me probably the height of Bond interest and mania, if only inside my head.

    If one gets a feeling of how a film will play out due to news reports (no internet in those days so just newspapers) it did seem very colourful, and so it was.

    Stand out moment was the precredits where the noise of the plane engines thumped out and the speed of the aircraft was very evident. From that moment I was ‘in’ the movie and I never left it.

    It never got any better since then as the ageing process created a bit of healthy distance which then turned to the cynicism of today.

    Octopussy – jaguar007

    The best Bond movie experience for me was the world premeiere of GoldenEye, but seeing Octopussy rates up there. I was in high school at the time and my parents and I were on vacation in Nassau. We had missed re shoots of Never Say Never Again by two weeks. Being the Bond fan I was, I insisted that we go see Octopussy on opening day (my parents wanted to wait until we got back home, but they understood). Our taxi cab driver was telling us stories about the filming of Never Say Never Again that we just missed and how they blew up a room at the hotel right next to ours.

    People in Nassau really get into the movies unlike Americans. My mom really remembers how the audience cheered for Bond during the movie.

    Octopussy – ACE

    Shards of memory for Octopussy.

    Early 1983, my parents were moving house and prospective buyers visiting the property always got a cup of tea at the end of their tour. Strangely, I was called to meet one prospective buyer once. He was a costumier for the new Bond. He told me excitedly about the circus finale and Bond dressing up as a clown.

    I groaned.

    See, in the previous year, I’d popped my Fleming cherry and was now oh so serious about Bond. For Your Eyes Only had been a treat for me (on second viewing) and now I thought, more Moore shenanigans.

    CUT TO:
    A relative of mine had a key role in a Steven Spielberg film being prepped at the time. His family had been on the Octopussy set and he told me all about it, how it was being shot in India and Germany and featured a big battle in a palace! I was incredulous at how he knew so much but he did!

    CUT TO:
    A BBC 2 show called Entertainment USA hosted by (now convicted kiddie fiddler) Jonathan King. Suddenly, one episode ended with the trailer for Octopussy with that beautiful tentacular O that the late great Maurice Binder created.

    CUT TO:
    6th June 1983 – Dundundun Daaah – it really was the longest day! The premiere of Octopussy was being televised way past my bedtime. However, the shores of Bond had already been shelled with the Roger Moore-hosted 21 Years of Bond and I had negotiated a waiver to stay up late. Crowds screamed for Princess Diana outside, while inside the hot Odeon auditorium, incompetent interviews took place. An overtanned Roger Moore denying having eye surgery to an overtanned Judith Chalmers and Kabir Bedi defending his role in Ashanti after being told it was crap by a tactless Chris Kelly!

    OK, my appetite was whetted but I had to wait until August when the film played at my local suburban cinema. One of the first things said visitors from Moscow did was see Octopussy at the Odeon Leicester Square, the world’s most expensive cinema in the heart of town. My parents would not make a special trip there just to see a film! Oy vey! I was taunted with a two month wait until August 1983 when the film crawled its way to my local, suburban Granada cinema.

    August and everything after. I queued with my family probably the first Saturday it was on locally. Sure I was eager, but somehow my excitement was leavened the image of Moore as a clown. However, I was blown away by the film. A taut Cold War spy thriller (with a plot borrowed from General Sir John Hackett which in turn was borrowed by Frederick Forsyth for The Fourth Protocol) with gorgeous women (on whom a sari is the most perfect gift-wrapping!), beautiful, exotic locations, big villainy, thrilling earthy action, a clever adaptation of Fleming’s short stories The Property Of A Lady and Octopussy, some fantastic action, fun, gadgets and one-liners. Oh, and that slide down the bannister to the James Bond theme still sends me!

    I left the cinema on an all time high.

    Summer 1983 was the Battle of the Bonds. 007 fever was everywhere. The king across the water, Sir Sean was returning and I thought Bond could never get bigger than this.


    Octopussy – MarkA

    I saw Octopussy twice in one day for my sins. On 6th June 1983. World Premier Day. I saw it in the morning at the Press Show and then in the evening at the Premier at the Odeon Leicester Square. I disliked it when I first saw it, and I dislike now. In fact along with a A View to a Kill and Never Say Never Again I consider it the worst Bond.

    Octopussy – Roebuck

    I remember the crowd in my local Odeon being really psyched up to enjoy this film. There was actual applause from the audience during the pre-titles. One woman stood up and shrieked as the Acrostar was heading for the closing hanger doors.

    Ignoring the tiger hunt and the clown suit, it’s pretty much my favorite Moore Bond.

    Octopussy – BlackFelix

    I wasn’t old enough to see Octopussy in the theaters… and if I were my parents would have resisted that title! Anyhow, I was at the latter half of high school when I rented Octopussy. And it was the first time I remember really being enthused about Roger Moore! I thought he was fun without being totally silly and the film had a decent plot and it was fast paced! I rank it near Goldfinger in terms of a fun Bond-film! It opened my eyes to Roger Moore, and since then I was able to watch and enjoy a few other of his films!

    Octopussy – mattjoes

    I first watched Octopussy sometime during the late nineties, when I was no more than ten years old. At the time, my father had been renting the Moore films for me. He wasn’t a big Bond fan, though, and didn’t remember which film came first, so I got to watch them out of order. Needless to say, I was able to deduce the proper order as I got around to watching the films.

    However, as the credits of For Your Eyes Only rolled through the TV screen, I was certain that A View to a Kill would be the upcoming Bond film announced at the end. You can imagine my surprise when another title showed up on the screen.

    Octopussy? I had never heard of it.

    English not being my first language, I had always found these single-word Bond titles intriguing, and I was able to find out from my father that the film took place in India. I was very excited about the movie and asked dad to rent it. He said he would on Friday. I had to wait a whole week to see it!
    When Friday finally came, I put the tape in the VCR and had a terrific time. Even though the plot went way over my head, I still loved the film, with its exotic locations and breathtaking action. It was just great to see Roger Moore as 007 one more time, and he remains, to this day, my favourite Bond.

    The film holds up for me as well; it is among the ones I watch the most. The scenes that stand out for me are 009’s death, the auction at Sotheby’s, the whole part involving the train and the race to stop the nuclear bomb, and Bond rescuing Octopussy.

    Even though I didn’t have to wait for too long to see it, I can think of very few films that I anticipated as much as Octopussy. Only very recently have I been as excited about a film, and, boy, was Indy 4 a disappointment.

    Interested in sharing your own experience of seeing Octopussy for the very first time? Simply register for the CBn Forums and then visit this thread!

    As always, stay tuned to the CBn main page for neverending James Bond coverage.