Meet the Cast of You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice Cast

Sean Connery as Bond in You Only Live Twice

Sean Connery as James Bond

Donald Pleasance as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice

Donald Pleasence  as Ernst Stavro Blofeld

you only live twice Akiko Wakabayashi

Akiko Wakabayashi  as Aki

Mie Hama

Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki

Tetsurō Tamba

Tetsurō Tamba as Tiger Tanaka

Karin Dor as Helga Brandt

Karin Dor as Helga Brandt

Lois Maxwell

Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny

you only live twice Teru Shimada

Teru Shimada as Mr. Osato

Charles Gray as Dikko Henderson in You Only Live Twice

Charles Gray as Dikko Henderson

Ling, Chinese Girl who sets Bond up in You Only Live Twice

Tsai Chin as Ling

burt kwouk you only live twice

Burt Kwouk as Spectre 3

You Only Live Twice Cast

In the cannon 007 adventures, none shimmer quite like the cinematic outing brought to life by the You Only Live Twice cast. The year was 1967, and the silver screen bore witness to a spectacle of theatrical alchemy – where a bevy of brilliant actors merged to form a pantheon of filmic greats.

At the centre, Sean Connery, in a twist worthy of a Bond escapade itself, reprised his role as the quintessentially debonair spy, James Bond. This, despite swearing off the Walther PPK just two years earlier post-Thunderball.

Yet, thanks to the magnetic allure of cinematic prestige and, dare I say, a plumper pay packet, the wily producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli lured Connery back. But was it just a swansong? A transient dance before the hunt for a new 007?


Yet, Connery’s on-screen magnetism was but one note in this symphonic masterpiece, even if the plot meandered into territories deliciously over-the-top – think secret volcanic lairs and a needless Japanese makeover.

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Every lift of an eyebrow, every sardonic quip seemed to underscore his command over the character. And when he finally came face to face with Pleasence’s Blofeld, the resulting tango was nothing short of legendary. Their duel, a dance of words and wills, was the keystone of the movie, and a reminder of why Connery’s Bond remains an eternal beacon in the sprawling 007 universe.

Equally compelling was Donald Pleasence’s transformation into the shadowy Ernst Stavro Blofeld. A role, interestingly first earmarked for Jan Werich, but a swift twist of directorial fate and perception found Pleasence at its helm.

His vision for Blofeld underwent a carousel of ideas, from humps to limps, from beards to lame hands. Yet, it was the facial scar – now carved indelibly into cinematic lore – that triumphed.

Watch the first ever meeting between James Bond and Blofeld

Akiko Wakabayashi, as Aki, wove together the grace of a Japanese SIS agent with the daring needed to stand alongside Bond. A delightful twist of fate – or was it language barriers? – led her to swap roles with Mie Hama, who eventually portrayed the enchanting Kissy Suzuki. One can’t help but tip a hat to the voice magic of Nikki van der Zyl, the unsung chanteuse behind Kissy’s dialogue.

Tetsurō Tamba’s portrayal of Tiger Tanaka, the linchpin of the Japanese secret service, shimmered with authority, even if Robert Rietty lent him his vocal cords. Lewis Gilbert’s discerning eye, having previously cast Tamba in ‘The 7th Dawn’, knew precisely what he was doing.

As for Teru Shimada’s Mr. Osato – a businessman with a penchant for covert alignments, and Francesca Tu’s evocatively subtle turn as his secretary – they added layers of intrigue.

Karin Dor’s Helga Brandt was a fiery spectacle. A SPECTRE assassin with panache, and in a quirk of international cinema, her German tones were shrouded by another’s voice in her homeland’s release.

The old guard was in fine form as well, with Bernard Lee’s stalwart M, Lois Maxwell’s ever-present Miss Moneypenny, and Desmond Llewelyn’s indispensable Q. Charles Gray’s brief stint as Dikko Henderson was but a teaser of his more formidable role as Blofeld in a later Bond escapade.

While Tsai Chin’s enigmatic portrayal as the Hong Kong-based MI6 agent and Burt Kwouk’s reprisal from a previous Bond caper added layers of texture to this labyrinthine cinematic tapestry. Ah, the beauty of a cast meticulously woven together – ‘You Only Live Twice’ indeed.

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Problems With the Cast of You Only Live Twice

The casting process for You Only Live Twice wasn’t without its challenges. Picture this: Toshiro Mifune, the samurai screen legend, being primed to infuse his gravitas into the role of Tiger Tanaka. Alas, the allure of the Grand Prix circuit proved too intoxicating, leaving the role tantalisingly out of grasp.

Then came the quest for the film’s Japanese sirens. Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama, both luminaries under the Toho Studios banner, emerged as the chosen ones. Yet, even they had their dance with the linguistics, whisked away to the British isles to fine-tune their English nuances.

Filming unfurled from July 1966 to March 1967, nestling itself predominantly in the heart of Japan. Such geographical fidelity wasn’t merely whimsical, but a loving nod to Ian Fleming’s literary tapestry, which revelled in its ode to Japanese culture and traditions.

Against this backdrop, the You Only Live Twice cast found themselves navigating the undulating terrain of movie-making. It wasn’t just about assembling an ensemble but ensuring each member harmonised seamlessly with the other.

The resultant cocktail – a blend of seasoned veterans and fresh faces, all stirred with the inherent challenges of the casting process – was intoxicating. A legacy was born, as You Only Live Twice carved its niche, a memorable entry in the cinematic cosmos of Bond, James Bond.

Watch the official trailer

The Cast of You Only Live Twice

  • Sean Connery – James Bond
  • Akiko Wakabayashi – Aki
  • Karin Dor – Helga Brandt
  • Mie Hama – Kissy Suzuki
  • Donald Pleasence – Ernst Stavro Blofeld
  • Desmond Llewelyn – Q
  • Lois Maxwell – Miss Moneypenny
  • Tetsurō Tamba – Tiger Tanaka
  • Charles Gray – Henderson
  • Teru Shimada – Mr. Osato
  • Bernard Lee – M
  • Tsai Chin – Ling
  • Burt Kwouk – Spectre #3
  • Jeanne Roland – Bond’s Masseuse
  • Michael Chow – Spectre Number 4
  • Ronald Rich – Hans, Blofeld’s bodyguard
  • Peter Fanene Maivia – Car Driver
  • David Toguri – Henchman
  • John Stone – Submarine Captain
  • Norman Jones – Astronaut
  • Paul Carson – Astronaut
  • Laurence Herder – Cosmonaut
  • Richard Graydon – Cosmonaut
  • Bill Mitchell – Astronaut
  • George Roubicek – Astronaut
  • Alexander Knox – US President
  • Ed Bishop – NASA technician
  • Shane Rimmer – NASA technician
  • Richard Marner – Soviet Controller
  • Anthony Ainley – Hong Kong Policeman

More Info

Who directed You Only Live Twice?

You Only Live Twice was directed by Lewis Gilbert.

Who produced You Only Live Twice?

You Only Live Twice was produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli.

Who wrote the screenplay for You Only Live Twice?

The screenplay for You Only Live Twice was written by Roald Dahl.

Who was responsible for the cinematography for You Only Live Twice?

The cinematography for You Only Live Twice was done by Freddie Young.

Who edited You Only Live Twice?

You Only Live Twice was edited by Peter R. Hunt.

Is You Only Live Twice based on a book?

Yes, it’s based on You Only Live Twice novel by Ian Fleming.

Who composed the music for You Only Live Twice?

The music for You Only Live Twice was composed by John Barry.

Who sang the theme song for You Only Live Twice?

The You Only Live Twice theme was sung by Nancy Sinatra.

When was You Only Live Twice released?

You Only Live Twice premiered in London on 12 June 1967 and was released in the UK and USA on 13 June 1967.

What was the budget for You Only Live Twice?

The budget for You Only Live Twice was $9.5 million.

How much did You Only Live Twice earn at the box office?

You Only Live Twice earned $111.6 million at the box office.