By on May 23, 2017

MGM

You’ll have to forgive this author. It’s hard to see your heroes die, and today brought yet another sad moment, another painful departure of a silver screen idol. Roger Moore — Sir Roger Moore, to be exact — has died at the age of 89.

As an admittedly Bond-obsessed youth, a great childhood moment was walking up and touching the white submersible Lotus Esprit from the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me at a car show. The signs said no touching, but screw that. I wanted to touch a car Roger Moore touched.

Roger Moore was my hero. With honorable mentions to Sean Connery and Clint Eastwood, no one was cooler. The man’s British wit, even if it came in the form of a lewd or eye-rolling one-liner, made a lasting impact. And what a dresser. But it was the addition of very cool cars to Moore’s combination of suave confidence and self-deprecating humility that made the man so iconic.

For a man once quoted as saying, “My acting range? Left eyebrow raised, right eyebrow raised,” Moore was allowed no shortage of fun behind the wheel. Let’s enjoy some of those moments.

While I consider For Your Eyes Only as Moore’s best turn as James Bond (the franchise was in dire need of some seriousness after Moonraker), the campiness of his first two outings contain worthwhile moments. For one thing, is there a more obvious product placement than the Chevrolets filling every minute of Live and Let Die or the awkward AMCs of The Man With the Golden Gun?

Honestly, I can imagine an impoverished Caribbean police force with a fleet of Chevy Novas. Harlem in the early 1970s? Maybe every vehicle was an Impala. What’s less easy to believe is a high-flying secret agent and a millionaire assassin with three nipples preferring the confines of a Hornet and Matador.

No, the Lotus Esprit and Esprit Turbo in The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only were much more tasteful. Never mind the scene where Bond rolls down the window after his submarine adventure and hands a fish to a dumbfounded beachgoer (causing every thinking person in the audience to realize there’s no way that fish could have got there unless both he and Agent XXX drowned, or he stashed it in the glove box for just such an opportunity).

Because Bond is perfectly capable behind the wheel of anything with an engine, even with no prior experience, the double decker bus chase is another notable mention. Especially that slick 180 — who knew a bus was so stable in a slide?

The classic Volvo P1800 Moore drove in the TV series The Saint or the Aston Martin DBS from The Persuaders! deserve mentions, as does the Citroen 2CV in his 1981 Bond film (which is tarnished only by comedic scenes that bookend the movie). C’mon, Margaret Thatcher? Really?

Still, that particular movie showed Moore — often characterized as a lover, not a fighter — being a pretty ruthless Bond, as well as being fairly good at hitting moving targets with a .32-caliber Walther. Just look at what he does to this baddie and his S-Class!

While there’s no shortage of other vehicles Moore drove as Bond, these are the scenes which stand out in my childhood memories. You’ll probably remember others.

The B&B might have other plans tonight, but I plan to sit back, put my feet up, crack a beer and enjoy a full-length Moore movie. Here’s to you, Sir Roger.

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39 Comments on “Sir Roger Moore: Remembering the Man, and the Cars Behind the Eyebrow...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Thankfully you did not forget his early 1970’s TV series, The Persuaders in which he co-starred with Tony Curtis. A tremendously campy and tongue in cheek ‘private detective’ show. It was a hit in most of Europe but not in North America.

    Top Gear hilariously parodied it as ‘The Interceptors’.

    The opening credits are worth watching as they tell the entire backstory and set the tone in just over 1 minute. Jensens, F1, and women randomly walking around in bikinis.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I enjoyed The Persuaders. IIRC, it ran on Saturday nights (like 10/9 Central) on ABC. When I read about Roger’s passing yesterday, I thought about that show, and I had the theme song (“In the avenues and alleyways…”) stuck in my head.

      • 0 avatar
        rcx141

        You’re thinking about Gerry Anderson’s “The Protectors” theme sung by Tony Christie! “The Persuaders” had a John Barry theme with no words.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “For Your Eyes Only” certainly was Roger Moore’s best movie as James Bond. I thought the so-called campy scenes in that movie were perfectly fine and broke up the mood a bit, especially the ending.

    I never watched “The Saint”, as I didn’t watch much TV growing up – music and the radio was my forte’.

    See ya later, Roger. Well done!

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      One of the oldies TV digital side channels (MeTV or Antenna TV) was running “The Saint” for awhile, and may still be. I love that show, and “Secret Agent”, with Patrick McGoohan.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    What, no linky to ‘The Persuaders’ ? .
    .
    R.I.P. Mr. Moore, thanx for the movies .
    .
    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      I posted a link but “the website ate it”.

      Go to Youtube and look for “The Persuaders – Main Title HD ( John Barry )”.

      It catches the zeitgeist perfectly, particularly after the 35 second mark. Prior to that you get an outline of the characters personal histories (which is also probably worth watching).

      Then you can check out the Top Gear parody also on Youtube at: “top gear the interceptors”.

  • avatar
    Hamilton Guy

    And no mention of him as Simon Templar in “The Saint” driving that awesome Volvo P1800?

  • avatar
    omer333

    You forgot Cannonball Run.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Not a great movie, but one I enjoy. Since I was allowed to watch Cannonball Run before any Bond film (?), I knew Roger Moore from that film than from Bond. I knew enough to know he was playing a caricature of his Bond from the films, but I never saw his Bond until I was much older.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I loved the little Bede BD-5 jet in Octopussy, too. I even enjoyed Moonraker! Thanks for the memories, Roger.

    • 0 avatar
      Beemernator

      Octopussy also has what is for me the best car chase scene in all of the Bond movies. It has 007 stealing an Alfa Romeo GTV6 to get to an air force base and stop a nuclear explosion. No outlandish gadgets here, just some old fashioned high speed driving. The police give chase in their BMW E28 5-series and we are treated to lots of opposite lock action from all that are involved. I was surprised and disappointed not to see this one in the list.

      For all that, my favorite Bond movie is The Spy Who Loved Me. The Esprit submarine was just the coolest thing. But Barbara Bach made the movie special, for me at least. Her charming looks just stole every scene that she appeared in.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    Rodger flies a Dakota in The Wild Geese.

  • avatar
    Menloguy

    I never understood why Sheriff JW Pepper of the Louisiana State Police was checking out an AMC Hornet in Thailand. Weren’t there any AMC dealers in New Orleans or Baton Rouge? Also, I thought it strange that they were using left hand drive municipal police vehicles in a right hand drive country…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Roger Moore was the Bond I grew up with, and he remained my favorite until Daniel Craig came along.

    That chase scene in The Man With the Golden Gun has to be the only one ever filmed with all AMC products – surely a high moment for the AMC Hornet, which made a pretty good showing for itself in the film despite the Malaise Era curse on every car back then.

    But the Lotus Esprit has to rank as one of the prettiest and most memorable Bond cars ever.

    Thanks for posting this one.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      The Hornet looked ok but that Matador coupe. Oof. It looked flaccid and completely unstable. Had you ever seen brake dive like that? I think the front bumper nearly buried itself 2 feet in the dirt when Tatoo and the baddie had to come to a sudden stop at that intersection.

    • 0 avatar
      Yaris Revenge

      “Nobody does it better.” than Sir Roger Moore. Been a fan of this site for a while now, and this article got me to register. Moore was Bond when I was young, and to me, is still the quintessential Bond. The BMW that Pierce drove is my favorite Bond car, but the Lotus is awesome. It even had the glorious Anti-Theft Self-Destruct feature!

  • avatar
    JohnB

    The Man With The Golden Gun – I just never thought a backwoods, deep south, yahoo sheriff would be vacationing with his wife in Thailand… That never made sense to me.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    OK, after watching the Charlie Dart scene I will cut some of the Toyota “unintended acceleration” people some slack since even the greatest spy ever didn’t have the sense to put the car in neutral or shut the car off.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I did love the prosthetic nipple scene in “Man With The Golden Gun” but only because of the comely young lass who was swimming in the pool.

    Lucky son of gun Roger Moore also got to share passionate scenes with a 20 year old Jane Seymour.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    C’mon, guys, everyone’s missing the ultimate Bond ride: the freakin’ Space Shuttle! With laser guns!

    (OK, maybe he never drove it, but he sure drove the driver.)

    And I’m nominating “Moonraker” as having the coolest Bond villain lair. Ever. Brilliant Ken Adam sets.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    The Dart scene would’ve been more believable if there were more than just Impalas and Eldorados on the road, AND if the other drivers behaved even remotely like real drivers. Those people would’ve had accidents whether Bond was there or not.

  • avatar

    As I remember it, the mathematics for the Astro-Spiral Jump had all been figured for an AMC Hornet, which is what the stunt team used to perform the jump in stadium shows. When they wanted to use the jump in The Man with the Golden Gun, the challenge was then to write Bond into an AMC Hornet. This led to the product placement deal with AMC that put Scaramanga in the Matador. This also worked out well for the police chase scenes, since the LAPD was using AMC Matador sedans at this time, and they were easily made up into the Thai cop cars.

    Strangely, the “Flying Matador” rig was actually capable of short flights of about 500 meters.

  • avatar
    James2

    I may have missed it but no mention of the 2CV or the Renault that got chopped in half?

    I’m kind of glad Moore’s James Bond got to drive a variety of cars, compared to the Aston Martin-only rule imposed on Daniel Craig.

  • avatar
    russification

    I came to know roger moore as The james bond, having been born after the sean connery run at the series. A great bond and the best one in my opinion. they rotated him out in 1987 and the series never recovered its prestige. great looking lotus esprit. never noticed how much it looked like a 308. and knew how to stay down after the run was over. class act. great actor who carried the bond badge well, well liked in his role as a secret british agent meeting lovely assistants

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Was never a huge fan of Moore’s, but did appreciate his self-deprecating humor. There was a very bad Pink Panther movie made after Peter Sellar’s demise, and at the end we learn *SPOILER ALERT* that Clouseau is not dead but has had plastic surgery so he now looks like Roger Moore…who spends 5 or 10 minutes stumbling around in the classic Clouseau manner. Worth seeing if you like Moore…but skip to the end.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      That is exactly what made me love the guy way back with The Maverick TV show as Beau Maverick.
      Even then he was, like James Garner’s brother Bret character, always having and making fun of himself, his role and life.

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