Octopussy (1983)

Watch Octopussy (1983), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie


Octopussy (1983)

A fake Fabergé egg, and a fellow Agent’s death, lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.

Octopussy is a 1983 British spy film and the thirteenth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions; the sixth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It was directed by John Glen and the screenplay was written by George MacDonald Fraser, Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson.

The film’s title is taken from a short story in Ian Fleming’s 1966 short story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights, although the film’s plot is mostly original. It does, however, contain a scene adapted from the Fleming short story “The Property of a Lady” (included in 1967 and later editions of Octopussy and The Living Daylights). The events of the short story “Octopussy” form part of the title character’s background and are recounted by her in the film.

In Octopussy, Bond is assigned the task of following a megalomaniacal Soviet general (Steven Berkoff) who is stealing jewellery and art objects from the Kremlin art repository. This leads Bond to a wealthy exiled Afghan prince, Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan), and his associate, Octopussy (Maud Adams), and the discovery of a plot to force disarmament in Western Europe with the use of a nuclear weapon.

Octopussy was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson; it was released four months before the non-Eon Bond film Never Say Never Again. The film earned $187.5 million against its $27.5 million budget and received mixed reviews. Praise was directed towards the action sequences and locations, with the plot and humour being targeted for criticism; Maud Adams’s portrayal of the title character also drew polarised responses.



Octopussy (1983) Trailer

Octopussy (1983) Reviews

It’s probably just a coincidence, but the two Bond films that Maud Adams appeared in — The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy — are easily the silliest entries in the long-running series (not counting the intentional spoof Casino Royale). In a duel of dumb storylines, Octopussy loses, but only by a length. There’s a fine line between wit and absurdity, and this particular movie too often falls on the wrong side.

1983 was the year of competing Bonds — Connery against Moore; Never Say Never Again against Octopussy (the thirteenth “official” entry). Even though Connery’s return was a remake of Thunderball and didn’t have the John Barry/Monty Norman theme music, it was still better than Octopussy. After twelve years off, Connery was up for playing 007 again. Moore, on the other hand, had been at it for a decade, and was just going through the motions. Fatuousness replaced flair. Bond, never the most rounded character at the best of times, had become a caricature of himself.

The plot for Octopussy is so circuitous and convoluted that it doesn’t make much sense. Bond movies are at their best when they have a straightforward storyline — viewers don’t want to piece together different aspects of the film. However, even deep thought won’t resolve all of Octopussy‘s tangled plot knots. This movie mixes jewel smuggling, counterfeiting, a circus traveling through East Germany, and a maverick Soviet general bent on setting off an atomic bomb. Who else can the British government call upon than 007 to get to the bottom of matters?

There are two “top” villains in Octopussy: Kamal (Louis Jourdan), the smooth head of the smuggling/counterfeiting operation, and General Orlov (Steven Berkoff), the cold warrior who believes the time is ripe for a Soviet invasion of the West. While Jourdan is deliciously cool, Berkoff gives the worst performance, bar none, of any Bond bad guy. While a certain element of over-the-top acting is expected from everyone in a 007 adventure, Berkoff does an offensively bad job that renders every scene he’s in almost unwatchable.

Despite having the title role, Maud Adams doesn’t have much more to do than in The Man with the Golden Gun. The film’s second Bond girl, Magda (Kristina Wayborn) is equally in the background. This isn’t a film where 007 is especially concerned with the women, except to slip into and out of their beds. The on-screen camaraderie shared by Moore and his leading ladies since The Spy Who Loved Me died with Octopussy.

The film moves from India to Cuba to Germany. The most foolish elements of the film include a bizarre chase through the streets of New Delhi, Bond doing a Tarzan imitation, and an attack by circus performers on the villain’s hideout. 007 has a variety of disguises here, including a mechanical crocodile, a gorilla suit, and a clown costume. Octopussy has its funny moments, but there are a few too many times when we’re laughing at the movie rather than with it.

Ultimately, it’s the extravagant stunts and chases that save Octopussy from the scrap heap. The pre-credits episode features a stunning race between a 12-foot long jet and a heat-seeking missile. Later in the film, there’s a pulse-pounding chase-and-battle sequence that takes place on the roof of a moving train. The climactic struggle manages to top that, transpiring on a plane in flight.

After Octopussy, Roger Moore announced his intention to retire from the role. Considering his lackluster performance here, which is at least partially responsible for this film’s absence of flair and energy, the decision seemed appropriate. Ultimately, however, Moore returned for one more outing, and, while that film (A View to a Kill) wasn’t a positive triumph, it at least gave the actor a better story with which to depart.

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Octopussy (1983) Credits



Octopussy (1983) Plot

After fleeing knife-throwing twin assassins Mischka and Grishka in East Berlin, mortally wounded British agent 009, dressed as a circus clown and carrying a counterfeit Fabergé egg, crashes into the British ambassador’s residence and dies. MI6 immediately suspects Soviet involvement and, after the genuine Fabergé egg is to be auctioned in London, sends James Bond to identify the seller.

At the auction, Bond swaps the fake egg for the real one and subsequently engages in a bidding war with an exiled Afghan prince named Kamal Khan, forcing Khan to pay £500,000 for the counterfeit. Bond follows Khan to his palace in India. Bond defeats Khan in a game of backgammon using Khan’s loaded dice. Bond and his MI6 contact, Vijay, escape Khan’s bodyguard Gobinda.

Later, Khan’s associate Magda seduces Bond. Bond permits Magda to steal the real Fabergé egg, which is fitted with Q’s listening and tracking device. Gobinda knocks Bond unconscious and takes him to Khan’s palace. After Bond escapes, he listens in on the bug and discovers that Khan works with Orlov, a Soviet general seeking to expand Soviet domination to Western Europe.

Bond infiltrates a floating palace in Udaipur and meets its owner, Octopussy, a wealthy businesswoman, smuggler and Khan’s associate. She also leads the Octopus cult, of which Magda is a member. Octopussy has a personal connection with Bond: her father is the late Major Dexter-Smythe, whom Bond arrested for treason. Octopussy thanks Bond for allowing the Major to commit suicide rather than face trial, and invites Bond to be her guest.

Earlier in Khan’s palace and later in Octopussy’s palace, Bond discovers that Orlov has been supplying Khan with priceless Soviet treasures, replacing them with replicas while Khan has been smuggling the genuine objects into the West via Octopussy’s circus troupe. Orlov is planning to meet Khan at Karl-Marx-Stadt in East Germany, where the circus is scheduled to perform. Khan’s assassins break into the palace to kill Bond, but Bond and Octopussy thwart them. Bond learns from Q that the assassins have killed Vijay.

Travelling to East Germany, Bond infiltrates the circus and discovers that Orlov has replaced the Soviet treasures with a nuclear warhead, primed to explode during the circus performance at a US Air Force base in West Germany. The explosion would force Europe into seeking unilateral disarmament in the belief that the bomb belonged to the US and was detonated at the airbase accidentally, leaving the unprotected borders open to a Soviet invasion. Bond takes Orlov’s car, drives it along the railroad tracks and boards the moving circus train.

Orlov gives chase, but is killed by border guards after he tries to rush a checkpoint. Bond kills Mischka and Grischka, and after falling from the train, commandeers a car to get to the airbase. Bond penetrates the base and disguises himself as a clown to evade the West German police. He convinces Octopussy that Khan has betrayed her, and realizing that she has been tricked, she assists Bond in deactivating the warhead.

Some time later, with the plan foiled, Khan has returned to his palace and prepares to flee. Bond and Octopussy also return separately to India. Bond arrives at Khan’s palace just as Octopussy and her troops launch an assault on the grounds. Octopussy attempts to kill Khan, but is captured by Gobinda. While Octopussy’s team, led by Magda, overpower Khan’s guards, Khan and Gobinda abandon the palace, taking Octopussy as a hostage.

As they attempt to escape in their airplane, Bond clings to the fuselage and disables an engine and the elevator panel. Struggling with Bond, Gobinda plummets off the plane’s roof to his death, and Bond and Octopussy jump off the plane onto a nearby cliff only seconds before Khan fatally crashes into a mountain. While the Minister of Defence and General Gogol discuss the transport of the jewelry, Bond recuperates with Octopussy aboard her private yacht in India.

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Octopussy (1983) Box office

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Octopussy (1983) Critical Response

Octopussy was the first Bond film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which had absorbed United Artists, the previous distributor of Eon Bond films. Octopussy premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square on 6 June 1983, with Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales in attendance.[26] The film earned slightly less than For Your Eyes Only, but still grossed $187.5 million, with $67.8 million in the United States and Canada.[27] In the United Kingdom, the film grossed £8.3 million ($14.9 million).

Other large international grosses include $15.7 million in Germany, $15.1 million in Japan and $9.1 million in France.[29] The film also performed better than Never Say Never Again, the non-Eon Bond remake of Thunderball which was released a few months later and grossed $55 million in the United States and Canada.[30] At the 11th Saturn Awards, Maud Adams was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

The film won the Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing.[32] In Germany, it won the Golden Screen Award for selling over 3 million tickets.


Contemporary reviews

Gary Arnold of The Washington Post felt Octopussy was “one of the snazziest, wittiest productions” of the film series, in which he praised John Glen’s direction, Louis Jourdan’s performance, and the screenplay. Writing for The New York Times, Vincent Canby praised the film, but noted how “much of the story is incomprehensible”. Gene Siskel, reviewing for The Chicago Tribune, awarded the film three stars out of four, stating the film was “surprisingly entertaining—surprising because in his previous five Bond appearances Roger Moore has always come off as a smug stiff.

In Octopussy Moore relaxes a bit and, just as important, his role is subordinated to the film’s many and extremely exciting action scenes. Octopussy has the most sustained excitement in a Bond film since You Only Live Twice.” However, he felt that the character Octopussy was detrimental to the film and that the action “blunts a script that is weak on characterization and long on male chauvinism”. 

Variety felt the film’s strong points were “the spectacular aerial stuntwork marking both the pre-credits teaser and extremely dangerous-looking climax. The rest of the action scenes are well-executed but suffer from a sense of deja vu, as in a speeding train that recalls Sean Connery’s derring-do in The Great Train Robbery“. Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times felt the film proved “to be business as usual, no better or worse than most of its predecessors.

After all this time, it’s amazing that the same old formula still plays: the gadgetry, gorgeous girls, travelogue locales and the shameless double-entendres—in this instance, octo-entendres.” He complimented Glen’s direction, but further remarked that the screenwriters had “given him too much to unravel. At 2 hours and 10 minutes, Octopussy seems a good 20 to 30 minutes too long for light escapist fare. The familiar chases and old-time serial-type cliff-hanging crises come fast but a mite too thick.” 

Retrospective reviews 

James Berardinelli claimed that the movie was long and confusing, and strongly criticised Steven Berkoff’s performance, describing it as “offensively bad” and the worst performance of any Bond villain. A particular point of contention are comedic scenes where Bond is dressed in a clown costume, a gorilla outfit and doing a Tarzan yell during a jungle chase.

As a result, it frequently ranks low in rankings of James Bond films, such as the ones by Entertainment Weekly,[41] MSN, and IGN. C.J. Henderson reviewed Octopussy in The Space Gamer No. 65.[44] Henderson commented that “there isn’t a moment in the movie when we worry for the slightest instant that anything could happen to suave ol’ James. Predictably, it doesn’t.

To kill Bond would be to lose the most bankable genre character ever brought to the movies.”[44] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 43% based on 49 reviews with an average rating of 5.20/10. The website’s critical consensus reads: “Despite a couple of electrifying action sequences, Octopussy is a formulaic, anachronistic Bond outing.”[45]

By contrast, the elegance of the film locations in India, and the stunts on the aircraft and train were appreciated. GQ writer David Williams said Octopussy was “one of the best ‘Bad Films’ of the franchise”, praising the entertaining characters but finding the silliness and Moore’s advanced age problematic. Danny Peary wrote that Octopussy “has slow spots, little humour, and villains who aren’t nearly of the calibre of Dr. No, Goldfinger, or Blofeld.

Also, the filmmakers make the mistake of demeaning Bond by having him swing through the trees and emitting a Tarzan cry and having him hide in a gorilla suit and later disguise himself as a clown (who all the kids at the circus laugh at). It’s as if they’re trying to remind us that everything is tongue-in-cheek, but that makes little sense, for the film is much more serious than typical Bond outings – in fact, it recalls the tone of From Russia with Love.”


Character reviews

In 2006, Fandango ranked the character Octopussy as one of the top-10 Bond girls, and described her as “a powerful, impressive woman”. Entertainment Weekly, however, ranked her as the 10th-worst Bond girl in one list in 2006[50] but as the best “babe” of the Roger Moore James Bond films in another list in 2008. A poll by Bond fans in 2008 elected Octopussy as the tenth-worst Bond Girl. Yahoo! Movies included the character in a 2012 list of the best Bond girl names, commenting: “This Bond girl moniker was so good, they named the film after her!”


Octopussy (1983) Accolades


Octopussy (1983) Movie Info

James Bond (Roger Moore) may have met his match in Octopussy (Maud Adams), an entrancing beauty involved in a devastating military plot to destroy détente. From the palaces of India to a speeding circus train in Germany and a mid-air battle on the wing of a high-flying jet, only Agent 007 can stop the nightmarish scheme!

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