For Your Eyes Only (1981) Movie Review


The cold open to For Your Eyes Only is immediate action. James Bond (Roger Moore) is taken on a helicopter ride from Hell. The pilot is inexplicably murdered and the plane becomes remotely piloted by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who commandeers the vehicle toward Bond’s demise. Or so it seems. Bond takes control of the cockpit, flies the chopper to Blofeld, picks the arch-nemesis up, and drops him from a high altitude. It seems an unfitting death for such a pivotal franchise villain, Blofeld having appeared in more Bond films than any other of the spy’s adversaries.




After this diversion, which seems to only serve as an answer to the question as to when Blofeld will return (the answer given is never), we get the real opening to the film. A British naval boat is sunk by an underwater mine, and Bond is sent to investigate. He does, and is promptly captured. The action sequence that follows is fast-paced and visually appealing, as opposed to those we saw in Moonraker, the previous Bond installment. Immediately after this, we get a wonderfully effective car chase scene. Clearly, this film wants to get off to a faster start than the other Moore Bond films.


For what it’s worth, For Your Eyes Only trades in the grand spectacle of films like Moonraker for action set pieces such as a hockey rink fight and an extended ski chase. This ski chase, in particular, is worth noting for its choreography.


Given its fast start, the film still lingers heavily on exposition-laden scenes. One underwater scene is particularly laborious and culminates in a pitifully slow action sequence.


For Your Eyes Only may not be the most memorable Bond film. This is both good and bad. For the most part it is unremarkable in its action moments, but it also is not absurd in its narrative thread. The script isn’t overly campy with groan-worthy one-liners, and the acting front is solid. Unfortunately, it just isn’t one of those Bond films that you come back to for multiple viewings.




For Your Eyes Only: C


As always, thanks for reading!


What do you think? What’s your favorite Roger Moore Bond film? Who’s your favorite Bond actor? Let me know in the comments!


For Your Eyes Only is currently available to rent/buy on Amazon Video here.


  • For Your Eyes Only: C
  • Moonraker: D
  • The Spy Who Loved Me: B-
  • The Man With the Golden Gun: C+
  • Live and Let Die: C+
  • Diamonds Are Forever: C-
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: B+
  • Casino Royale (1967): D+
  • You Only Live Twice: C+
  • Thunderball: C-
  • Goldfinger: A-
  • From Russia With Love: A-
  • Dr. No: B


—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)

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