The first Bond movie I saw in an actual theater was just a little over ten years ago in 2006’s Casino Royale with Daniel Craig as James Bond, however I do remember seeing previews for Die Another Day (2002) in movie theaters before that. Even though the first Bond film that came out in my lifetime was GoldenEye in 1995 with Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, I was exposed to the earlier Bond films with my older brother beforehand, much like how he and I saw the original Star Wars trilogy before the prequels (like most people who were alive when the trilogy came out in the seventies, but unlike a lot of people in my generation). It’s been touching to hear and read some of the former Bond actors, actresses and filmmakers’ tributes to Sir Roger Moore, who recently passed away on May 23 at the age of 89.
I think my brother and I started watching some of the Bond films when I was ten or twelve years old, primarily the Sean Connery and Roger Moore films to start off with until we were old enough to watch some of the later films. Once we had seen a majority of the films and realized how much we got a kick out of watching them, Bond films certainly had their place at our house. Almost every Friday night for dinner we would fix tacos and burritos, and then adjourn to the basement to watch a Bond movie, later on having our dad fix incredible, homemade popcorn from the stove to enjoy with the last hour or so of the movie. My brother and I grew up with Bond.
One of the first ones I watched, and the first one I watched with Roger More as 007 was For Your Eyes Only (1981). To this day, it is still my favorite film of Roger Moore’s outings. While my personal favorite Bond is Timothy Dalton, I still had and have a strong appreciation for Roger Moore. I always liked Sean Connery (the first Bond I ever saw), but I still remember enjoying Roger Moore’s lighthearted approach to James Bond, and that probably comes with the territory of my age. I loved me some action but little comical situations like Roger Moore and the late Clifton James as Sheriff J.W. Pepper’s rambunctious chases and Moore’s sarcastic delivery of lines left me entertained, knowing that I didn’t have to take everything on screen too seriously. Despite his more cavalier attitude, Roger Moore still had an amazing presence on screen, and could certainly be serious when called to be. The sophistication, charm, and suave persona were still present, just that it usually came with more jokes. It was a different Bond for a different time, and he delivered in all seven of his films. It was maybe five years later that I was exposed to Moore in The Saint (1962-69) British television series, where he was much like Bond but a little more serious. I enjoyed that show immensely and still do; it was like watching 45-minute Bond movies, and that theme music just emanates excitement and mystery. It was just a few years ago that I watched a documentary on Moore’s life, and found I had even more interest and respect for this man and his career than before.
I was lucky enough in 2006 to participate in the Voyageurs International Colorado Ambassadors of Music, where several musicians across the state submitted and were chosen to tour in bands and choirs across Europe. When we were in the little mountain town of Crans-Montana, Switzerland, my brother and I learned that Roger Moore lived in that very town, at least, during the ski seasons. We didn’t get to see him, but we were able to get a hold of his driver and have him drive us by his modest auburn house in the hills (PICTURED BELOW is the community of Crans-Montana, Switzerland).
Just a couple of years ago, being the fan that I am, I also sought out Bond girl Stacey Sutton’s (Tanya Roberts) house (aka the Dunsmuire Estate) from Roger Moore’s last film, A View to a Kill (1985), which is located not far from San Francisco in Oakland, California (PICTURED BELOW).
Even though I cannot say I knew him personally, I don’t think it is an exaggeration in the slightest to say that Roger Moore was a large part of my childhood and adolescence. Like so many other people, we just assume these people are going to be around forever, especially James Bond for crying out loud. It’s a strange feeling knowing that we’ve lost our first Bond, when they have all been around for so long. I love all of the Bond actors and all of the Bond films, and I will miss you terribly, Sir Roger Moore. It’s hard to believe you’re gone. Thank you for your special role in the James Bond legacy and for entertaining a little boy who still laughs at your quips and still gets excited when he sees you in action on screen. Thank you, Mr. Bond.