From Russia with Love (1963)
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I agree. The novel is even better. The movie is a bit convoluted to insert SPECTRE into the plot, whereas Ian Fleming simply had the Soviets set the trap for 007. Still, Connery was never better, Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana remains one of my favorite Bond Girls, John Barry's score is spot-on and that fight on the Orient Express is just brutal. What's more is that all of those things pale in comparison to the charismatic performance given by the dying Pedro Armendariz as Kerim Bey. I am stunned that this movie isn't on any of the lists collected by ICM to date!
Although i liked Dr. No better, this is still a really great Bond movie.
From Russia with Love is, in even more down to earth than Dr. No. Though the locations are more varied (Turkey is especially well used) and SPECTRE is involved, there's no mad science on show, even when you consider Q Branch's first official appearance. This is about Bond "turning" a Russian agent to get his hands on a cypher machine, not realizing that both he and the girl are playing into SPECTRE's hands. Plenty of twists, and as a consequence of the added realism, the final fight is dirty and edgy. A special prize must go to Pedro Armendáriz, however, whose Ali Kerim Bey is a most delightful and zesty character. It was his last role and having been recently diagnosed with an illness, he knew it and brought everything to it. Very funny, and I'd love it if his army of sons showed up in a Bond film some day.
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In 2 official lists
View all lists this movie is in
This movie ranks #63 in Action! The Action Movie A-Z
This movie ranks #544 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown