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How Sean Connery viewed Moore’s 007 ?

What were Sean Connery’s true sentiments regarding Roger Moore’s portrayal of James Bond, the character Connery had immortalized as “Bond 1”? As Connery concluded his stint as 007 with “Diamonds Are Forever” in 1971, he initially refrained from publicly discussing his successor’s take on the iconic role.

This reluctance was understandable, given Connery and Roger Moore’s close friendship that had spanned since the early 1960s. Moreover, Connery had grown weary of the Bond character and worried about being forever typecast. Money disputes with EON producers had also soured his Bond experience. As far as Connery was concerned, his Bond days were firmly behind him, and he sought fresh acting challenges.

Every Sean Connery James Bond Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best
Sean Connery

Nevertheless, as the 1970s unfolded and Connery entertained the idea of returning as Bond in an independent, non-EON Bond film, his cautious diplomacy regarding the official 007 movies began to wane.

While Connery remained careful not to offer personal comments about his friend Roger Moore, he did harbor strong opinions about how he viewed the character of James Bond and what he believed the official series was missing. An illuminating example of this shift occurred in 1981 when Connery granted a rare interview to Tony Crawley for the popular British magazine Starburst (Issue No. 42). This interview took place in Deauville, France, where Connery was promoting his new sci-fi film “Outland” and where he had just opened the seventh annual American film festival.

Roger Moore in "Live And Let Die"
Roger Moore in “Live And Let Die”

Crawley initiated the interview by inquiring about the status of Kevin McClory’s independent remake of “Thunderball” (then titled “Warhead”). Connery responded, “No… Well, yes, it does. But there’s so many legal entanglements that they haven’t resolved yet.”

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In the interview, Connery explained how he had been drawn back into the Bond project with McClory, initially attracted by the prospect of working with Len Deighton on the screenplay and the possibility of reprising the role himself. However, legal issues had forced him to “walk away” from the project two years prior.

When asked if he had enjoyed making the original Bond films, Connery remarked, “Yeah… The trouble with them was that they got progressively longer to do, which made it more and more difficult to even consider other work.” Interestingly, Connery was also queried about Roger Moore’s tenure as Bond: “How do you feel the Bonds have developed since you quit Her Majesty’s Secret Service? For Your Eyes Only seemed to try, at least, to revert to your style, more direct physical action.”

Connery responded, “I’d agree about that. I went to see it last week in San Moritz… It was very kinda pacey and modern and it’s obviously a huge success with all the people going to it, which I think is very good both for the film industry and for Roger.” However, he added, “But my reservations about it, for my choice, it’s too flippant in the sense of humor. For the sake of a couple of very—I think—cheap jokes, they spoiled a lot of very good sequences. For me. That’s my view. But I’m obviously wrong for the film is fantastically successful. That’s the direction it’s gone in—one that I don’t appreciate.”

Caroline Munro,Roger Moore and Barbara Bach in "The Spy Who Loved Me."
Caroline Munro,Roger Moore and Barbara Bach in “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

Continuing on “For Your Eyes Only,” Connery shared another example: “There’s a very, very good sequence of a car chase. You see three or four villains in a car with guns. They come alongside Roger—and he gives them a wave! Well, there’s nothing to stop them blowing him away if they wished. So it defeats the whole purpose of the car chase. You take that wave out of it and it suddenly becomes quite realistic and thrilling and another dimension—from my point of view.”

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When asked about the enduring appeal of the Bond films, Connery opined, “Yeah, I think that the basic theme, which is still there, goes back to how one person wins through, however extreme and high the odds are… The lone person has to resolve it. With assistance now, of course, of lots of hardware, as they call it.” He hinted that there might be too much focus on gadgets and technology, expressing a preference for a more humanistic approach.

Sean Connery in "Never say never Again"
Sean Connery in “Never say never Again”

In a noteworthy turn of events, Connery eventually returned as James Bond in McClory’s independent 007 movie, “Never Say Never Again.” This decision was reached after legal issues were resolved. Production began shortly after Roger Moore commenced filming “Octopussy,” his sixth official EON series Bond film. Despite media hype around a “Battle of the Bonds,” Connery and Moore agreed not to let any rivalry become personal. They made it clear in interviews that they remained good friends and respected each other’s work. Moreover, they chose not to release both films simultaneously to avoid potentially harming box-office revenue.

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