A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that sex and spying go together here, in almost comical degrees. The tone is set when James Bond and his counterpart, the Russian woman superspy, are introduced with matching bedroom scenes. She even goes by the code-name XXX, which was a common ad hype (not an official MPAA rating) used for pornography. There are numerous deaths from bombs and machine guns, and a giant assassin who kills people by biting.
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What's the story?
Stromberg (Curt Jurgens), a shipping tycoon who dwells in a fantastic amphibious complex and has secretly developed technology to track and disable submarines, hijacks missile-laden submarines belonging to Britain as well as the USSR. London and communist Moscow set aside their enmity, charging James Bond (Roger Moore) and one of his Soviet counterparts, the Russian woman superspy Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach), to work together to find out who is responsible.
Is it any good?
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME was conceived as the biggest James Bond movie ever made, and indeed no expense was spared. A vast soundstage built in England for the ocean-going villain's lair set a world's record for size and was actually dedicated with great ceremony by the British prime minister. Even three decades later, in an era of digital landscapes and countless computer-generated extras, this movie looks impressively huge and also moves with a brisk pace, despite the bulk.
Of course, it is a Bond movie, and sex and spying go together here, almost comically so. That tone is set early on as both Bond and Anya are roused away from their respective bedmates by summonses from headquarters. The pre-AIDS era glamorous, casual sex was as inseparable from the Bond landscape as the action sequences, and comes across as much an unrealistic fantasy as the supervillain's world-domination plans. Still, some parents may find it makes The Spy Who Loved Me unsuitable for smaller kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the image that James Bond cast over real-life espionage; his fanciful, widescreen globetrotting adventures looking nothing like most real-life secret agents in the headlines. You might watch more realistic cloak-and-dagger thrillers like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold or The Falcon and the Snowman, with their unglamorous spies and informants, and wonder if 007 has attracted a lot of people to intelligence work who were disappointed at the lack of glamorous perks. They can also talk about 007's appeal, and why he continues to be so popular today.
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