Bond 13 Octopussy saw Roger Moore don the iconic tuxedo for an impressive sixth time, equaling the record at the time. While this particular installment may not be hailed as one of the finest in the Bond franchise, it undoubtedly delivers some unforgettable classic moments that continue to resonate with fans.
Directed by John Glen and based on a screenplay by George MacDonald Fraser, Richard Maibaum, and Michael G. Wilson, Octopussy takes inspiration from Ian Fleming’s 1966 short story collection, weaving together an original plot with elements from Fleming’s works.
Octopussy was released around the same time as unofficial Bond movie Never Say Never Again which saw Sean Connery star as Bond. With a $27.5 million budget and raking in an impressive $187.5 million at the box office, Octopussy was a commercial success and beat Never Say Never Again, despite receiving mixed reviews.
The plot see Bond sent on an action-packed mission from London to Delhi to Berlin to stop a megalomaniacal Soviet general, as he uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen treasures, a wealthy exiled Afghan prince, and a beautiful yet mysterious woman named Octopussy.
In this post, we’ll be exploring the captivating storyline of Octopussy, discussing Roger Moore’s iconic portrayal of James Bond. We’ll also delve into the film’s cast, looking at main villain and the enigmatic Bond girls, and end up reminiscing over some of the best scenes that have left a lasting impact on the franchise.
Following a narrow escape from Mischka and Grishka, a pair of knife-wielding assassins in East Berlin, severely injured British agent 009, disguised as a circus clown and in possession of a forged Fabergé egg, crashes into the British ambassador’s residence and dies.
MI6 suspects Soviet involvement and assigns James Bond to identify the vendor once news breaks that the authentic Fabergé egg will be up for auction in London.
At the auction, Bond exchanges the phony egg for the genuine one and proceeds to enter into a bidding war with an exiled Afghan prince named Kamal Khan, ultimately forcing him to pay a staggering £500,000 for the fake.
Bond is assigned the case to find Khan and tails him to Delhi, India. He heads to a nightclub at his hotel in hopes of meeting him. While playing backgammon, Khan appears to have an unbeatable streak until Bond suggests a wager involving the authentic egg.
Bond comes under attack by Khan’s henchmen and his personal bodyguard, Gobinda. With the help of his Indian Secret Service ally, Vijay, Bond evades them on a rickshaw through a busy market and eventually arrives at Q’s lab at MI6’s secret Indian location.
Q installs a tracking device on the egg, which Bond synchronizes to his wristwatch, and provides him with a Walther P5 pistol as a replacement for the PPK he lost earlier. Q also hands Bond with a pen that contains a potent acid capable of dissolving any metal.
Later, Bond meets Magda, one of Khan’s operatives, at his hotel, who proposes an offer for Bond to trade the egg to save his own life. Aware of her intentions to steal the egg, Bond makes love with her. Later, she makes off with the egg and is picked up by Khan, while Gobinda enters Bond’s room and knocks him out.
Bond awakens in Khan’s palace, where Gobinda informs him that he’s to attend a dinner at 8 pm. At the dinner, Khan questions Bond about his affiliation with the British agency and plans to torture him for information.
After dinner, Bond uses the acid pen given to him by Q to dissolve the bars on his window and escapes. He finds Khan meeting with General Orlov in the lower chambers of the palace, where he overhears vague references to the egg’s value and the city of Karl-Marx-Stadt.
Orlov orders Khan to kill Bond, and then he smashes the fake egg with his pistol butt. Khan notices the miniature tracking device and commands Gobinda to get Bond, but Bond manages to get away.
Later, Bond manages to infiltrate a floating palace in Udaipur and meets Octopussy, a wealthy and beautiful businesswoman and smuggler who’s also associated with Khan. She’s the leader of the Octopus cult, of which Magda is a member.
Bond discovers a personal connection with Octopussy, as he arrested her father for treason. Octopussy expresses gratitude to Bond for allowing her father to end his life rather than undergo trial and invites Bond to be her guest.
While at Octopussy’s palace, Bond uncovers evidence that Orlov has been providing Khan with authentic Soviet treasures, which Khan smuggles into the West using Octopussy’s circus troupe, while Orlov substitutes them with replicas.
Orlov is set to rendezvous with Khan at Karl-Marx-Stadt in East Germany during the circus’s performance. Khan’s henchmen break into the palace to kill Bond, but Bond and Octopussy work together to beat them.
Bond then heads to West Berlin to discuss the situation with M. He then travels into East Germany and covertly attends Octopussy’s circus. Bond assumes the guise of a circus worker and learns that the Fabergé egg is part of a collection of priceless jewels used to compensate Orlov for a stolen Soviet nuclear bomb that will be deployed at the American airbase in Feldstadt, West Germany.
Meanwhile, Orlov has already delivered the counterfeit jewellery to the Moscow Ministry of Antiquities as a substitute for the stolen items. Realising the jewels in Moscow are fake, Orlov’s superior, General Gogol, sets out to the East-West German border to arrest Orlov.
Bond successfully locates the train carriage containing the cannon and the smuggled jewelry. He uncovers that Khan and Orlov have been working together from the start, and they plan to double-cross Octopussy.
Bond kills one of the knife-throwing twins and disguises himself in his clothes. He then interrogates Orlov when he arrives to oversee the jewellery’s transfer. He learns about his plan to utilize a nuclear bomb in a human cannonball stunt to ignite a false flag operation that will result in nuclear disarmament throughout Europe, allowing him to launch an invasion of Western Europe.
Soviet guards come to Orlov’s aid, forcing Bond to flee, but he manages to escape with Orlov’s car. During a pursuit, Bond drives onto the train tracks and boards the train, with Orlov in pursuit.
To hide, Bond puts on a gorilla suit inside the cannon carriage as the train arrives at the West/East German border, where border guards from both countries conduct a thorough search. Bond remains undetected, and the bomb in the stage cannon isn’t discovered.
Orlov attempts to escape by chasing the train on foot, but he is gunned down by border guards, just as Gogol arrives. On the train, Khan and Gobinda arm the bomb to detonate in four hours at 3:45 pm when the stage cannon is used.
Gobinda discovers Bond and pursues him to the train’s rooftop, where they engage in a brief fight. The twin brother of the slain knife thrower joins the fight but is killed by Bond. Bond falls off the train, and then has to hitchhike and steal a car to reach the airbase at Feldstadt, with the police hot on his trail.
Bond rushes onto the airbase while being pursued by security guards. He then changes from his clothes into a clown suit and goes in search of the cannon. He finds the base commander, who’s with Octopussy at the performance.
Khan and Gobinda have already evacuated the area, leaving Octopussy behind. Bond implores the commander to assist him in preventing the bomb’s detonation and presents fake jewelry to Octopussy to convince her. Eventually, she helps Bond in opening the box containing the bomb, and he disarms it just moments before it’s about to explode.
Bond and Octopussy follow Khan back to his palace in Delhi, where the women of Octopussy’s cult infiltrate the palace and overcome Khan’s men. Khan captures Octopussy, and Bond follows them to a waiting plane.
With Q’s help, Bond boards the aircraft, where he battles Khan and Gobinda. Bond disables the tail mechanisms, sending the plane into a fatal dive. He rescues Octopussy and escapes just as the plane crashes into a cliff, killing Khan.
Back in London, M meets with Gogol, who wishes to congratulate Bond for stopping Orlov. M lies and tells Gogol that Bond is still recuperating in India, but really he’s enjoying a romantic cling with Octopussy on her yacht.
Roger Moore as James Bond in Octopussy
Octupussy isn’t Roger Moore’s best Bond film, not by a long shot. He delivers some great action scenes, particularly the spectacular aerial stuntwork in the pre-credits teaser and the dangerous-looking climax. On the other hand, however, there’s a lot of silliness that’s a bit too much tongue in cheek.
Throughout the film, Moore is dressed up as a gorilla, a clown, and even swinging with vines like Tarzan. While this may appeal to some viewers, it’s hard to take the film seriously at times. The plot, which involves Bond infiltrating a circus to uncover a nuclear bomb, is also a bit weak and feels somewhat contrived.
Despite these shortcomings, Moore’s performance is still entertaining, and he manages to inject humour into even the most serious scenes. His portrayal of Bond is charming and charismatic, and he delivers his lines with a cheeky grin that’s hard to resist.
Overall, if you’re a fan of the Roger Moore era of Bond films, Octopussy is definitely worth a watch. It may not be the most serious or sophisticated film in the franchise, but it has its moments of fun and excitement. Just don’t expect too much from the plot or take it too seriously when Bond disarms a nuclear bomb while dressed in a clown suit!
Bond Villains in Octopussy
Kamal Khan is a complex and intriguing Bond villain. Played by Louis Jourdan, he’s a wealthy and sophisticated Afghan prince who lives in India, where he runs a forgery business from his Monsoon Palace. Khan’s love for fine food, drink, and precious artifacts is matched only by his ambition and greed.
He’s an excellent player of Backgammon, often cheating with loaded dices in the casino. He associates himself with General Orlov, a power-hungry Russian military officer, in their plan to detonate a nuclear bomb inside a US airbase in West Germany, using Octopussy’s traveling circus as a cover.
Khan’s willingness to risk countless lives to achieve his goals shows his cold and calculating nature. However, his plans go awry when James Bond and Octopussy interfere. Despite his attempts to kill them Bond, 007 always outwits him and his henchmen.
In the finale, Kamal Khan takes to the skies in his own plane to escape Bond’s pursuit. With Khan at the controls, Bond climbs onto the roof of the aircraft in a last-ditch effort to stop the villainous Afghan prince.
Khan orders his henchman Gobinda to deal with Bond, but Bond outwits him in a brutal confrontation, giving him the opportunity to board the plane. Just as the plane hurtles towards a catastrophic crash, Bond and Octopussy make their escape, leaving Khan to meet his explosive fate.
Played Kabir Bedi, Gobinda is a menacing presence who loyally serves Kamal Khan, often accompanying him as his personal security detail. Bond first encounters the tall and imposing henchman when he’s acting as Khan’s chauffeur during an auction in Sotheby’s.
Later, in India, Gobinda demonstrates his fierce loyalty when he destroys rigged dice with his bare hands after Bond wins a game of backgammon against Khan at the hotel casino.
During a tense chase through the streets of Agra, Gobinda and Khan’s other henchmen attempt to take down Bond and his Indian ally, Vijay, but fail to shoot them. Gobinda ultimately captures Bond after Magda seduces him and steals the real Fabergé Egg, taking him to stay as Khan’s ‘guest’ at the Monsoon Palace.
In a brutal fight on Octopussy’s train in Germany, Gobinda attempts to kill Bond but fails when Bond falls off the train. Gobinda then informs Khan of Bond’s escape from the circus, leading to a dramatic confrontation on a plane.
Khan instructs Gobinda to fight Bond on the plane’s roof, and Gobinda reluctantly agrees. However, Bond proves to be too skilled for Gobinda, and during the intense struggle, 007 manages to use the plane’s antenna to knock Gobinda off the plane, causing him to plummet to his death.
Bond Girls of Octopussy
Octopussy is a complex and intriguing Bond girl played by Maud Adams, who’s playing her second Bond girl character after being in the The Man with the Golden Gun cast. She’s a jewel smuggler based in India who lives a life of luxury and works alongside Kamal Khan and General Orlov.
Octopussy is an extremely successful businesswoman who owns many legitimate enterprises, including shipping, hotels, carnivals, and circuses. She is also a member of the Octopus Cult, and she keeps a Blue Ringed Octopus as a pet.
When Octopussy meets Bond, she reveals that she feels indebted to him for exposing her father as a traitor. She declares Bond her ally in front of Khan and, after unsuccessfully trying to bribe him, the two make love in the evening. The following night, they defend her palace against Khan’s henchmen.
Octopussy later schemes to smuggle the originals of the faked jewelry from East Germany to Switzerland using her circus. However, she’s unaware that Orlov and Khan plan to use the contraband as a disguise for detonating a nuclear bomb inside a US airbase on their route through West Germany.
Bond follows her to the circus and tries desperately to stop the bomb, which Octopussy is unaware of. When he reveals his identity, disguised in a clown suit, and tells Octopussy and Magda they had been betrayed, Octopussy helps Bond disarm the bomb.
Later, Octopussy is kidnapped by Gobinda, and she wakes up in Khan’s private plane. As she sees Gobinda go out to kill Bond, she slaps him but gets knocked back into her seat. After Bond saves her and jumps out, leaving Khan to crash, Octopussy nearly falls off the cliff but is saved by Bond. They make love on board Octopussy’s boat during his recuperation.
Played by Kristina Wayborn, Magda is a beautiful and cunning woman who works alongside Kamal Khan, aiding him in his illegal operations. She is first seen bidding on the Fabergé Egg at Sotheby’s auction in London, and it becomes clear that she is a trusted confidante of Khan’s.
Bond is immediately intrigued by her presence and charm, and follows her to India where he discovers her role as Khan’s henchwoman. Magda is a master of disguise and deception, as seen when she successfully seduces Bond in order to steal the authentic Fabergé Egg.
After spending the night with Bond, she steals the Fabergé Egg, and does a gymnastic flip from the balcony, leveraging her shawl to roll down and land perfectly on the ground.
Magda’s loyalty is tested when she discovers the true intentions of Khan and General Orlov, and she eventually joins Bond in his mission to stop their plot. Despite her initial reluctance to change sides, Magda proves to be a valuable ally in the fight against Khan.
One of Magda’s unique traits is her skill as a performer, as she is seen as both the ringmaster and a magician in the Octopussy circus. She uses her talents to deceive and distract others, such as when she performs a seductive belly dance to help take over Khan’s palace.
Best Scene in Octopussy
For a movie loaded with silliness, there are some high quality scenes. None more so than the opening pre-title credits scene
It satrs with Bond in South America somewhere and he has to fly a homebuilt Bede BD-5J aircraft through an open hangar to get away from his pursuers. The scene is a masterful display of practical stuntwork that highlights the incredible talents of Hollywood stunt pilot and aerial co-ordinator J.W. “Corkey” Fornof.
Despite the risk involved, Fornof expertly pilots the nimble aircraft at speeds of over 150 miles per hour, weaving in and out of the hangar with impressive precision. The use of a collapsible wing design adds to the excitement of the scene, with Bond revealing the hidden aircraft from a horse trailer before taking off into the air.
Watch the scene
The filming of the scene is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the Bond production team. To achieve shots inside the hangar, the aircraft is attached to an old Jaguar car with a steel pole, which is then driven with the roof removed. The second unit is able to add enough obstacles inside the hangar to hide the car and pole, giving the impression that Moore is flying inside the base.
In addition to the practical stunts, the scene also features a miniature model of the hangar, which is used to capture the explosive climax of the sequence. The result is a heart-pounding scene that combines practical effects with impressive visual effects to create an unforgettable moment in Bond history.
Octopussy – Clowns, Gorillas, and Tarzan
While Octopussy certainly has moments of over-the-top silliness, it is still offers some classic James Bond moments. The film offers a fun and entertaining ride, filled with action, adventure, and the classic Bond charm.
From the iconic opening sequence to the stunning locations and exciting plot twists, Octopussy remains a beloved entry in the James Bond franchise. With memorable characters like Octopussy herself and henchman Gobonda, it’s at least varied in its approach.
So, while it may not be the most serious Bond film out there, it is still fun to watch and a must-see for any fan of the series.