Octopussy – A Complex Businesswoman and Bond Girl
Octopussy, an affluent businesswoman and gem trafficker who leads the Octopus Cult, is a character in the world of James Bond. Simultaneously a primary Bond girl and secondary villain, she was brought to life by Swedish actress Maud Adams in the 1983 film, Octopussy.
Originating from the 1983 movie adaptation of Ian Fleming’s short story of the same name, Octopussy’s character diverges from its initial inspiration. In Fleming’s narrative, Octopussy referred to the beloved pet octopus of Major Dexter Smythe. Throughout the film adaptation, the character of Octopussy holds substantial symbolic significance, ultimately becoming a crucial component in the story’s conclusion.
Octopussy, an Indian-based jewel smuggler, leads a luxurious life and collaborates with corrupt Afghan prince Kamal Khan and the nefarious Soviet military officer, General Orlov. The nickname “Octopussy” stems from her father, Dexter Smythe, who studied octopuses. Her pet, the Blue-Ringed Octopus, holds enough venom to kill up to 50 people.
She inhabits her own island, the “floating palace,” where many beautiful women, including her second-in-command Magda, reside as members of her Octopus Cult. Octopussy is also a highly successful businesswoman, owning legitimate ventures in shipping, hotels, carnivals, and circuses.
Alongside Magda and Kamal, she aims to acquire a counterfeit Fabergé Egg for General Orlov and engage in what she perceives as jewelry smuggling, swapping real items for fakes and transporting them through her circus.
When Khan first presents the egg to Octopussy, her face remains unseen. As he informs her about Bond, Khan insists on killing him, but Octopussy advises against it. Her head’s backside is briefly visible when she is seen swimming and exiting the pool.
Bond, hiding in a crocodile disguise, infiltrates her floating palace and catches a glimpse of her.
When meeting Bond for the first time, Octopussy discloses her sense of obligation towards him. Bond had exposed her British father as a traitor, but she’s grateful that Bond allowed her father the time to commit suicide and save face before arrest and conviction.
Octopussy announces Bond as her ally in front of Khan, and after failing to bribe him, the two become intimate. The next night, they defend her palace from attackers. Bond feigns his death during the fight and leaves for Karl-Marx-Stadt.
Together with Orlov and Kamal Khan, Octopussy plots to transport the genuine pieces of the counterfeit jewelry from East Germany to Switzerland using her circus. However, Orlov and Khan plan to detonate a nuclear bomb inside a US airbase while passing through West Germany, prompting widespread disarmament of the United Nations.
Bond follows Octopussy to the circus, attempting to stop the bomb of which she’s unaware of. Bond is disguised as a clown to fit in, and after revealing his identity and informing Magda and Octopussy of their betrayal by Orlov and Khan, Octopussy shoots the lock off the bomb’s case. Bond defuses the bomb just in time.
Back in India, Octopussy’s group storms Khan’s palace to avenge his betrayal but Octopussy is kidnapped and rendered unconscious by Gobinda.
She wakes up on Khan’s private plane and, seeing Gobinda trying to kill Bond, slaps him but is knocked back. When Khan loses control of the plane, Bond rescues Octopussy and jumps out, leaving Khan to crash.
Octopussy nearly falls off a cliff but is saved once more by Bond, and the two become intimate again aboard Octopussy’s boat during his recovery.
Maud Adams, born on February 12, 1945, is a Swedish model and actress who gained international recognition for her roles in James Bond films.
She first appeared as Francesco Scaramanga‘s mistress in the 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun, and later starred as the main Bond girl and title character, Octopussy, in the 1983 film. Adams also made a cameo appearance in A View to a Kill in 1985. She also appeared in a Playboy issue on Bond girls in 1987.
Throughout her career, she appeared in various films and TV series, including Hawaii Five-O, Kojak, and That ’70s Show. Adams has been married twice and has no children from either marriage.