For Your Eyes Only
For Your Eyes Only marked the beginning of a new decade and the return of Roger Moore as James Bond, for his fifth portrayal of the iconic character. The film, directed by John Glen, was the 12th installment in the James Bond franchise and premiered in 1981, capturing the zeitgeist of the era with its distinctive 1980s aesthetic.
The plot revolves around Bond’s mission to locate a lost communication device before the Soviets can get their hands on it. Along the way, 007 encounters a cast of memorable characters, including the beautiful Melina Havelock, who’s seeking revenge for her parents’ deaths, and the villainous Kristatos, who tries to play Bond and his rival against each other with the hope of taking him out.
For Your Eyes Only was a commercial and critical success, grossing over $195 million worldwide. It also marked a return to a more realistic and grounded storyline for the Bond franchise, following the more fantastical elements of the previous film, Moonraker.
The film’s 1980s aesthetic is evident in its soundtrack, which features a theme song by Sheena Easton, and the Bond theme jazzed up 80s style. For Your Eyes Only perfectly captures the mood and style of the era, making it a classic for both Bond fans and lovers of ’80s cinema.
So, join us as we take a closer look at For Your Eyes Only, the plot, its unforgettable characters, thrilling action sequences, and its enduring legacy in the world of cinema.
As James Bond visits his deceased wife Tracy’s grave, he receives a call summoning him back to MI6, London headquarters. He’s taken by helicopter, but on the way back the pilot is electrocuted through his headset.
Bond then hears the voice of his old enemy, Blofeld, taunting him over the loudspeaker as he has control of the chopper by remote control. Bond struggles to control the helicopter as he sees down below a bald man in a wheelchair.
Bond finally manages to take control of the chopper and then flies after Blofeld and hooks his wheelchair onto the its landing skid. Despite Blofeld’s pleas for mercy, Bond drops him down a nearby chimney.
Meanwhile in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Albania, a fishing ship covertly equipped with British defense technology, is trawling the sea. Onboard is the valuable ATAC (Automatic Targeting and Attack Communicator) device that the Soviet Union is eager to obtain.
As the ship’s fishing crew hauls in a net, they accidentally bring up an old anti-warship mine that detonates, causing a massive explosion and sinks the ship. The commander orders a technician to destroy the ATAC, but it isn’t possible and so the ship sinks to the bottom of the sea, taking the ATAC device with it.
At MI6 headquarters, Bill Tanner assigns the task to a British underwater archaeologist named Timothy Havelock to discretely find the ATAC. However, the KGB’s General Anatole Gogol is also aware of the situation and instructs someone to get the device for him.
Later, Melina Havelock visits her parents on their yacht near the site of the sunken St. Georges. She is brought by a seaplane, and as she’s catching up with her parents, the plane suddenly strafes the yacht with machine-gun fire, killing both of her parents.
Back in London, Bond is tasked with finding the ATAC device, with his first lead being Hector Gonzales, a Cuban pilot who’s responsible for the Havelocks’ deaths.
Bond heads to Gonzales’ home near Madrid, Spain, where the pilot is throwing a party. While observing Gonzales, Bond notices him meeting with a mysterious man who’s paying Gonzales for the Havelock assassination.
However, Bond is captured by a security guard and brought to Gonzales, who identifies him as a British Secret Service agent and orders his capture. But then Gonzales is struck by a crossbow, allowing Bond to escape.
The shooter is revealed to be Melina Havelock, who’s been seeking revenge for her parents’ deaths and had hired a private detective to locate Gonzales. Bond and Melina escape in Melina’s Citroen through a small town and an olive orchard while evading Gonzales’ men.
Back in London, Bond reports to MI6, and with the help of Q and the Identigraph, Bond identifies and locates the mysterious payoff man as Emile Leopold Locque, an assassin who’s worked for various crime syndicates.
Intelligence suggests that Locque is currently operating in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Northern Italy, and so Bond heads there. He meets up with ally Luigi Ferrara, an Italian Secret Service agent who informs him that Locque may be connected to an organization called the White Dove, identified by the symbolic pin worn by its members.
Ferrara directs Bond to his contact, Aris Kristatos, who reveals Milos Columbo as the leader of the White Dove and the kingpin of Greece’s heroin underworld. Bond is then asked to escort Kristatos’ young ice skating protégé Bibi Dahl to a biathlon. Bibi comes onto Bond but he refuses her advances.
After leaving the biathlon, Bond is attacked by a group of thugs on winterized motorcycles. One of the attackers is Eric Kriegler, a man Bibi Dahl had just introduced him to. Despite being outnumbered, Bond manages to fend off the attackers and kills several of them in the process.
Bond is attacked again, this time by three hockey players at the ice rink. Bond defeats and returns to his car, only to discover that Ferrara has been murdered, and he’s clutching a White Dove pin.
The next day, Bond spots Melina and they’re both attacked by men on motorcycles, but Bond manages to kill both attackers. Bond then convinces Melina to go back to her father’s yacht as her will for revenge may disrupt the investigation and put her in danger.
Bond then heads to Greece to investigate Columbo. At a nightclub, he meets up with Kristatos and asks him to arrange a meeting with Columbo, but the two are unaware their discussion is being recorded.
Bond notices Columbo sitting with a woman named Lisl von Schlaf, a countess, who quickly leaves after he says something to upset her. Bond approaches Lisl and offers to drive her back to her hotel. She accepts and the two end up spending the night together.
The following morning, Bond and Lisl take a walk on the beach, but they’re attacked by Locque and another member of the White Dove, Claus. Lisl is killed and Bond is taken captive by the two henchmen.
But as they’re driving off, Claus is suddenly shot by a harpoon and a group of men wearing the White Dove emblem emerge from the sea to capture Bond.
Bond is then taken to Columbo’s yacht, where Columbo tries to persuade him that Kristatos is the true villain and the mastermind behind the search for the ATAC device. To prove his point, he takes Bond to Albania to show him Kristasos’ heroin warehouse.
Bond then travels to the coast where the Havelocks’ yacht is anchored and finds Melina. He discovers that her father had been diving in an unusual underwater location. So, Bond and Melina set off to the location in her father’s mini-submarine and eventually find the sunken St. Georges.
Inside the wreck, they find the ATAC attached to an explosive charge that failed to detonate. Bond disarms the bomb and takes the ATAC. Suddenly, they’re attacked by a diver in a JIM suit with claw hands.
Bond manages to escape and attaches the bomb to the JIM suit, destroying it. Bond and Melina manage to get back to the mini-sub but are attacked again, this time by another mini-sub, but they manage to evade the attacker and return to the surface.
Getting back to her father’s yacht, Bond and Melina discover that Kristatos, Kriegler, and Apostis have taken it over and murdered the crew. Kristatos seizes the ATAC with the intention of selling it to the Soviet government, with Kriegler as his KGB contact.
Kristatos then ties Bond and Melina to some rope to use as bait, towing them behind his yacht in the hope that sharks will attack them. But Bond manages to snap the line as they manage to get away. Kristatos can’t see them so he assumes they’re dead, and he leaves the scene.
Bond and Melina return to their yacht and hear her father’s parrot tell them the location of the ATAC – a place called “St. Cyril’s,” a monastery located in the northern mountains of Greece.
It’s only accessible from the ground by a cabled basket, so Bond sets off to scale the cliff. On the way up, Bond is attacked by henchman Apostis, but manages to get the better of him and continues to climb.
Bond reaches the hoist controlling the basket and is able to lower it for the rest of the crew to come up. At the monastery, Bond confronts Kristatos and Kriegler, and a vicious fight ensues. In the end, Kristatos is killed, and Kriegler meets his end after being hurled off the cliff.
Bond manages to retrieve the ATAC just in time as General Gogol arrives to buy it from Kristatos. But instead of handing over the device, Bond tosses it over the cliff’s edge.
Gogol is taken aback, but realising that it is now in neither the hands of the British nor the Soviets, it offers a moment of détente between the two Cold War powers, and so he and Bond share a moment of friendship.
Later Bond and Melina share a romantic evening on board the Havelock yacht when Bond’s wristwatch suddenly rings. It’s a call from MI6, and Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, who has requested to speak to Bond personally.
Jokingly, Bond gives the watch to the parrot and pretends to still be on the line allowing the PM to talk to Melina’s parrot while he joins Melina for a nude moonlight swim.
Roger Moore as Bond in For Your Eyes Only
Roger Moore’s performance in For Your Eyes Only was a standout portrayal of a more serious and grounded version of James Bond. With the film’s departure from the over-the-top and fantastical nature of previous Bond movies, Moore was able to showcase a more restrained performance.
Not that we didn’t have the raised eyebrow, or even some unbelievable moments, because we did. I mean come on, it’s James Bond we’re talking about. That said, Roger Moore’s ability to balance the seriousness and humour of his character was one of the highlights of For Your Eyes Only.
He delivered his one-liners with impeccable timing, but also showed a more vulnerable side to Bond, particularly in the opening scene where he visits his wife’s grave. Moore’s portrayal of Bond as a more human and relatable character was a refreshing departure from the more cartoonish versions of the character he had played, especially in Moonraker.
The film’s stripped-down approach to gadgets and gimmicks also allowed Moore to focus on his performance and showcase his acting chops. We even see Moore refuse the advances of the beautiful Bibi Dahl, as it would interfere with his investigation [insert I’m old enough to be your father].
His chemistry with co-star Carole Bouquet was particularly strong, however, and even though she was probably the same age as Bibi, it didn’t stop him after his mission was complete. ALways the professional.
With the job done, Bond received a personal call from Margaret Thatcher to wish him a job well done. Bond wasn’t interested and his handing the call to Melina’s parrot while he could enjoy a skinny dip with the beautiful Melina added some typical Moore tomfoolery to the end, and no doubt satisfaction to most of the British voters.
Aristotle “Aris” Kristatos is the main villain in Bond 12, For Your Eyes Only. He’s portrayed as a Greek smuggler, a former intelligence operative, but it soon becomes apparent he’s a double agent looking to obtain the ATAC.
Played by Julian Glover, Kristatos is introduced to Bond as a respected businessman from the island of Kefalonia who was awarded the King’s Medal for bravery during World War II and the Greek Civil War. However, Bond soon learns that Kristatos has been involved in heroin smuggling and is working for the Soviets.
Kristatos is hired by General Anatol Alexis Gogol, head of the KGB, to obtain the ATAC device. He plans to steal it by having marine archaeologist Sir Timothy Havelock murdered by Cuban hitman Hector Gonzales.
Bond meets Kristatos at an Olympic ice rink, where he is introduced to Kristatos’ niece Bibi Dahl, a young ice-skating champion. Kristatos shows Bond a picture of his rival, Milos Columbo, whom he claims is a heroin smuggler. Bond later meets Columbo, who tells him that Kristatos is actually the heroin smuggler and that he has been working for the Soviets.
Bond and Columbo team up to retrieve the ATAC and stop Kristatos. They break into Kristatos’ warehouse, where they find his heroin stash. Kristatos’ men attack them, and during the ambush, the warehouse is blown up, and Kristatos’ henchman Locque is killed by Bond.
Kristatos eagerly awaits the exchange with Gogol at the remote monastery. However, Bond and Melina arrive and disrupt the exchange. Kristatos tries to reach the helicopter with the ATAC but is attacked by Columbo and killed with a knife.
Portrayed by Carole Bouqet, Melina Havelock is a strong and determined young woman and the main Bond girl in For Your Eyes Only. Born to British marine archaeologist, Sir Timothy Havelock, and his Greek wife, Iona, Melina is introduced to the world of espionage from a young age. Her parents are both operatives for the British Secret Service, and Melina grows up with an appreciation for adventure and danger.
Melina’s life takes a tragic turn when her parents are killed while investigating the sinking of the St. Georges, an electronic surveillance vessel. Determined to avenge their deaths, Melina identifies their killer as a Cuban hitman named Hector Gonzales and tracks him down to his villa near Madrid. Melina takes matters into her own hands and assassinates Gonzales with a crossbow, but her thirst for revenge is not quenched.
When Bond crosses paths with Melina, he initially tries to dissuade her from pursuing her quest for vengeance. However, Melina is determined to see justice served and follows Bond to Cortina, where she narrowly escapes being run over by a couple of Yamaha motorcycles. Bond convinces Melina to return to the Triana in Corfu and let him investigate, but she is soon back in the game.
Bond and Melina eventually discover the location of the St. Georges, and they travel underwater in a two-man submarine to disarm the ATAC transmitter. During a fight with a man in a JIM diving suit, Melina’s air hose is ruptured, and she has to rush back to the boat. Bond deals with the impostor and, with Melina’s help, takes on a mini submarine sent by Aristotle Kristatos.
After recovering the ATAC and killing Kristatos, Bond and Melina return to the Havelock’s family yacht, where Melina suggests a moonlight swim. They go skinny dipping together, which brings an end of their mission and the beginning of a romantic connection.
Countess Lisl von Schlaf
Countess Lisl von Schlaf is a beautiful and alluring woman who exudes a sense of aristocracy and sophistication. Her relationship with the smuggler Milos Columbo is both passionate and tumultuous, with the two often engaging in staged arguments to draw attention to themselves.
Despite her glamorous facade, however, Lisl is not actually a member of Austrian nobility as she claims, but rather hails from Liverpool, England.
When Lisl is tasked with extracting information from James Bond at a casino in Corfu, she uses her feminine wiles to seduce him. After a night of passion with Bond, Lisl is tragically killed by Aris Kristatos’ enforcer, Locque, while walking along the beach with Bond.
Countess Lisl von Schlaf is played by Cassandra Harris, who at the time was married to future Bond Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan was actually on set and met with producers here, and it’s believed that they wanted him in for the next film Octopussy.
Bibi Dahl isn’t quite a Bond girl, but not through the want of trying. She’s a highly talented ice skater, determination to win the gold medal at the upcoming Olympics. Under the strict guidance of her coach, Jacoba Brink, and with financial support from Aris Kristatos, Bibi spends most of her time training tirelessly for the competition.
However, Bibi’s focus on skating takes a backseat when she meets James Bond at an ice rink in Cortina. Despite being introduced as a proud sponsor by Kristatos, Bond piques Bibi’s interest, and she becomes infatuated with him almost immediately.
Bibi Dahl is played by professional ice skater Lynn-Holly Johnson and she seems to bring trouble with her everywhere she goes. Bibi later visits Bond in his hotel room, naked in his bed, hoping to seduce him. However, Bond resists her advances, surprising Bibi with his refusal.
Best Scenes in For Your Eyes Only
Citroën 2CV Car Chase
James Bond is synonymous with sports cars, so a scene in which he has to rely on a yellow Citroën 2CV to get away from determined henchmen makes for a scene with a difference.
Bond and Melina are chased in her Citroën 2CV and it’s an exhilarating and intense moment in For Your Eyes Only. Director John Glen sought to create a more grounded feel to the movie, emphasizing Bond’s wit and intelligence over his gadgets and technology. This scene perfectly symbolizes this shift in focus.
The scene begins with Bond driving his flashy Lotus, equipped with all the latest gadgets, including being able to self-destruct, which it does. This leaves Bond stranded leaving Melina’s Citroën 2CV as the only way to escape.
Watch the scene
With no other options, Bond and Melina hop into the car and take off. They do and are quickly pursued by henchmen in Peugeot 504s. As they race through the Spanish countryside, Melina even turns the car on the roof, luckily the henchmen are stuck behind a bus.
With the help of locals, they managed to get the yellow Citroën 2CV upright and running, but it still required a push start to get going, and eventually drive away to safety.
Not only was the car’s bright yellow color eye-catching, but the scene also showcased the ingenuity and wit of the producers. It showcased some exquisite driving through narrow alleyways and winding streets, and some always wlecome with and classy cinematography.
For Your Eyes Only – A New Era for an Old Bond
For Your Eyes Only is a classic spy thriller and certainly one of Roger Moore’s best films. The cast delivers an engaging and action-packed storyline that keeps the audience hooked from start to finish.
The film is a perfect example of the Bond formula, blending thrilling action sequences with moments of humour and the added bit of romance – not as much as usual. The exotic locations, stunning visuals, and impressive stunt work make for a visually stunning cinematic experience.
For Your Eyes Only also marks a departure from the over-the-top gadgets and gimmicks that had become a hallmark of the Bond franchise. Instead, the film focuses on realistic spy craft and espionage, something we don’t usually associate with Moore’s Bond.
Overall, For Your Eyes Only is a must-watch for any Bond fan or anyone who loves a good spy thriller. It’s a classic early eighties film that has stood the test of time and is certainly worth watching again and again.