Does For Your Eyes Only have the weakest ending scene of the series?

Overall I find FYEO to be one of Roger Moore's better films. Notwithstanding, however I do think the finale scene is tonally jarring and poor. Bond's romance with Melina seems to come out of nowhere given that Bond's previous interactions with Melina have depicted him more as a paternalistic mentor figure; Melina throughout the film comes across more as Bond's ally and sidekick than his eventual love interest.


The scene is also strange from a plot standpoint- why is Bond being called up for congratulations by the Prime Minister when he has (arguably) failed his mission by failing to retrieve the ATAC in good working order? Surely there are larger-scale missions in 007's career, like The Spy Who Loved Me, more deserving of prime ministerial praise than this one?


Finally, the inclusion of Margaret Thatcher raises a chuckle in the moment but is also self-indulgent and eccentric-it's odd to see Bond interact with supposedly 'real' political figures from our world. Sean Connery didn't meet a comedic Lyndon B. Johnson impersonator aboard the presidential jet in Goldfinger...


What do others think of the ending scene of FYEO? Do you find the sequence funny, or just facetious? Is it a true contender for one of the worst ending scenes in any Bond film?

"The spectre of defeat..."

Comments

  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,572MI6 Agent

    It's one of my favourite Bond films, but I agree that the ending is poor. The romantic aspect is not earned and is awkward. And while I find the Prime Minister part amusing, it's out of place. But I have no idea how it could have been better. Imagine if they showed everyone watching Bibi win a gold medal at a skating competition? That would be a more natural conclusion to the story, but it sure would have been awful.

    The end scene of A View to a Kill is equally awkward.

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  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,703MI6 Agent
    edited June 2

    On the Margaret Thatcher skit at the end of FYEO:- something about that seems to me to get to the essence of humour in the John Glen Bond films of the 80s... and also to a problem with that.

    Janet Brown was a familiar face to British TV audiences at the time, an impersonator featuring in many light entertainment shows in the 70s, including 'Who Do You Do?', and in her own show between 80 and 82, 'Janet and Company'. She was best known for her Thatcher impression, which of course she gives in FYEO.

    The problem with Brown's cameo, I think, is that British audiences who went to the cinema to enjoy a Bond film didn't really want to be reminded, in that context, of the small screen style of entertainment that they'd left behind for the evening; I remember groans mixed with laughter among original audiences where I was. And I'm not sure what global audiences would have made of it, either.

    The other problem, which could have been foreseen, is that Bond movies have decades of life in them, meaning that odd bits of pop-cultural reference thrown in - any that are overly specific - can date badly or become obtuse. Another case in point is the reference, in the OP safari sequence, to eccentric TV dog-handler Barbara Woodhouse, whose catchphrase was "Siiit!!" ('Training Dogs The Woodhouse Way', 1980.) Not every bit of pop-cultural reference has the longevity of Bond's humourously disparaging remark about the Beatles in GF!

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  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent

    I saw the film when it came out, and had no idea who this impressionist was, never heard of her til now. So if the joke was we were supposed to recognise the impressionist, rather than the subject of the impression, then it was a joke that definitely do not work outside the UK.

    These last three Roger Moore films all have problems like this, where they're trying to take a more serious realistic tone yet still balance with the expected slapstick and nudge-nudge-wink-wink of the 70s films. Maybe of theyd hired Dalton early they wouldnt have bothered with the comedy?

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,722MI6 Agent

    You say that but rumour has it that a Prince Charles lookalike was cast for The Living Daylights' finale, scuppered when it emerged the actor had some conviction of an unseemly nature too late and too pissed for me to go into on line.

    The Thatcher scene was a big hoot at the boisterous Odeon Leicester Square showing I attended, just as Blofeld being dropped down a chimney, it's what they came out for, that kind of stuff.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,722MI6 Agent

    But re the ending overall, well, to this day and even having seen it recently I don't recall if Kristatos died, it's neither here not there almost.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • HardyboyHardyboy Posts: 5,842Chief of Staff

    It was pretty much part of the Moore era to end the films on a laugh; for what it's worth, this doesn't involve Bond stuffing a little person into a suitcase or having Q blissfully say "I believe he's attempting re-entry!"--both of which, I would contend, are weaker gags on which to end a film.

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  • MI6_HeadquartersMI6_Headquarters Posts: 37MI6 Agent

    I would also argue for License To Kill, the winking fish statue anyone?

    Ranking of Ian Fleming Novels/Books

    1. Moonraker 2. Casino Royale 3. From Russia With Love 4. Thunderball 5. You Only Live Twice 6. Dr. No 7. Diamonds Are Forever 8. Goldfinger 9. Live And Let Die 10. On Her Majesty's Secret Service 11. The Spy Who Loved Me 12. The Man With The Golden Gun

    Ranking the Short Stories:

    1. The Living Daylights 2. From A View To A Kill 3. For Your Eyes Only 4. The Hildebrand Rarity 5. Risico 6. Quantum Of Solace 7. Octopussy

  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 3,267Quartermasters

    @Hardyboy, you'll never convince me that "I think he's attempting re-entry" isn't the best end gag of all time. 😋

    As for FYEO, I am not very fond of the 'Thatcher' scene, or the stripping off for a midnight swim. However, while on one hand I'd favour ending the film on top of the mountain without any unneccesary humourous/romantic coda, it would end up feeling really dull and the film probably wouldn't be better off for the change. After all, the film's climax didn't offer anything like a big set exploding in spectacular fashion. All the film gave us was a little box of electronics smashing on a rock.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,775MI6 Agent

    I thought this thread was about the climax on top of the monastery, which is never one I really love- it's a bit dry and once they're up there the sets are a bit uninspiring. The film reaches its high point way before this I'd say.


    But the final gag scene itself I think is all pretty fun: it's proper cheese stuff but it's all rather enjoyable I'd say, whereas the romantic bit actually is quite romantic for a change.

    I think the reverse is true of Octopussy in fact: the climax is pretty great and very exciting, whereas the final gag scene with Bond in a load of fake plaster casts is a bit too naff and looks like they came up with it in an afternoon to me!

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,703MI6 Agent

    It might have been a nice twist if Melina had perforated Gogol and his men after Gogol's hearty, smug shrug to Bond over "detente". Then she could have told Bond what to do with his old Chinese proverb!

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  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,072MI6 Agent

    Oddly, it wasn't until Moore joined as Bond that these flippant codas involving the MI6 crew began. We had a pop-up version in YOLT between M and Moneypenny ["Tell OO7 to come aboard and report"] which must have taken all of twenty seconds to film, but this kind of rot doesn't set in until, as Hardyboy reminds us, TMWTGG. Although it isn't the amusing fight with Nick Nack which grates as the completely daft telephone call from M - not only is it ridiculous that the head of the secret service has Scaramanga's personal number - perhaps it was M all along who decided to eradicate his errant agent - but he doesn't even want to speak to his top OO, but the secretary ["Goodnight? Goodnight?"]. There then follows film to film an absurd list of scenes which on one level or other fail to impress. TSWLM, a treat for voyeurs and a horrible male voice choir. MR probably works the best chiefly by lowering the tone to a point everyone can understand the inference. Napoleon Plural rightly points out how well received the Thatcher coda was in FYEO, but it grates now, and as Caractacus says, how successful would this be outside of the UK? I'm not even sure I can remember OP. Isn't that the one where OO7 pretends he's broken a leg to get his leg-over? Bad Bond. Bad. AVTAK is horrible. Q acting a peeping tom and Bond giggling like a schoolboy. Gracious. TLD has everyone left standing turn up to Kara's concert recital, guns and horses and all it appears. This is simply appalling. It's exactly the sort of nonsense you'd have seen in Charlie's Angels or some seventies / eighties cop show, where the cast aren't so much required to tie off loose ends as congratulate themselves on what a splendid job they've all done. Ditto, LTK and I can't forgive that winking fish. It doesn't get any better with Brosnan embarrassing ["Christmas comes... etc"] and completely unfunny endings to a T. Craig-Bond never had a decent ending to any of his movies: the underlying melancholy destroyed any hope of even a twinge of a smile. I don't like the end of FYEO, but it isn't any worse than any of the others. Many of the subsequent efforts make it look like genius.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,722MI6 Agent

    Comedy genius in TWINE compared to say GE, what the hell? Brosnan - it's not Bond - saying 'What could possibly go wrong?' a non-liner of which there are many in that film. Fade into an awful song to leave everyone on a low. Ditto TND as Bond and his squeeze are floating out on a sea which brings unfavourable comparisons with that year's Titanic... and Brozzer sends the rescue ship away, maybe that's how poor Jack snuffed it in that film, he thought he'd get his end away again with Rose so he told the rescue ship, 'Twice around the iceberg, come back here in 20 minutes....'

    Thatcher was big news in the early 80s being a rare female leader and she had her brand - not sure the Falklands War had happened yet, but she was known outside the UK thanks to being mates with Reagan. But these films shouldn't be judged by our own standards but by their own and they were fun at the time, contrast Craig's endings - actually they're not too bad, only QoS jars.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • RevelatorRevelator Posts: 411MI6 Agent

    I've never had a problem with the winking fish. It's a very brief gag that arrives after the film has all but ended--there's no more dialogue or dramatics left. It's the film's way of saying "Show's over folks! We can stop being grim now." By contrast, the Thatcher scene takes forever and upstages anything Melina and Bond get up to.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 4,767MI6 Agent

    I remember the ending of FYEO getting huge laughs and applause in the cinema. Thatcher was popular at the time (indeed her next two elections she fought ended in landslide victories) and Janet Brown’s impersonation of her was already popular in the UK, so I think it’s a great ending to one of the two more serious Bond’s that Roger Moore did. Young audiences today may even take it as the Thatcher’s being fictional characters anyway, so I do to think it dates the film at all. Also it was made for the current market, not for reflection decades later. In fact after LALD, it’s the only decent ending until LTK (the winking fish is fine, it’s a fun ending for a very serious Bond adventure - the MR re-entry gag notwithstanding).

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,622MI6 Agent

    Hmmm, I watched FYEO in the theater as a 14-year old, and coming after what a 14-year old thought was the greatest and “baddest” Bond movie of all time, MR, I was more preoccupied by my disappointment at the lack of cool gadgets thinking, after a space-battle involving multiple space shuttles and a secret space station, all they came up with was a watch?!?

    Anyway, in the following years the impression that grew on me from the ending, was a cameo from the British PM (I was really naive then), a gorgeous girl, who rightfully in the end falls into James Bond’s arms for a nude dip into a beautiful aquatic paradise, strangely more inviting than the one just a couple of movies earlier.

    Was the romantic development artificial? I realized that only now, because of this thread that had me thinking about it more. But again, it’s James Bond, the ending was just natural and inevitable, just as the congratulatory transmission from M and the Prime Minister, despite the fact that Bond didn’t save the world again this time around. Even the parrot’s complicity was to be expected because this was 007, not 004 or 009. This is the way Bond movies are supposed to end, and everything else becomes okay in the world.

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  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,992MI6 Agent


    I've always liked that ending and never understood why some have issues with it. Why wouldn't Sanchez have a fish by the pool in a house with fish imagery, and why not have a mechanism where it winks at parties? Pablo Escobar told Robert Davi he had white horses walking around in his house, and a fish statue that can wink is somehow too outlandish?

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 2,636MI6 Agent

    I think I'm more disappointed with ending of TLD. The shootout with Whitaker, Kamran Shah and his men bursting into the Opera House foyer, and Bond and Kara and the key-ring. It's just never done it for me.

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,992MI6 Agent
    edited June 9

    That ending isn't good. Not terrible, but not good. I like the part with Bond and Kara, but not the Afghans visiting the concert hall.

  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,622MI6 Agent

    Correct. If that sequence had just a fraction of realism, that would have resulted with some serious police activity and perhaps even casualties. Timothy Dalton adjusted the tone for the entire movie, but taking the scene with the Afghans by itself, it was in the same vein as the climax of Charles Feldman’s CR.

    "...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,775MI6 Agent
    edited June 10

    I think TLD's ending is functional, but not hugely memorable perhaps. M gets a nicely droll gag, and we got to see Gogol for the last time, which is nice. I guess it's good that it shows what's happened to Kara, so it does function as an epilogue- I can't think of any other Bond film where we get a glimpse of what the Bond girl's life will be like after James has left her. He's essentially just visiting for a quick shag! 😁

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 2,636MI6 Agent

    And no-one can begrudge him that!😄

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent

    good point about DaltonBond actually being curious what happens to his leading lady after the adventures over, unprecedented.

    Tonally and as a gag, the closing dialog, is a big step down from Moore's series of naughty sexpuns. Though beyond expected BondTropes, in terms of society's standards its an improvement from Q sending a mobile spycam into Stacey's shower. That was indefensible , shocking even me once I thought about what was going on, yet much more consistent with how these films usually go. The ending of Dalton's first film is more acceptable behaviour for cinematic heroes, but nonetheless very weak.

    Brosnan tried to revive the Moore style punchline endings, but I thought "Christmas comes only once a year" was the only one that came close to being funny.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,775MI6 Agent

    Though beyond expected BondTropes, in terms of society's standards its an improvement from Q sending a mobile spycam into Stacey's shower. That was indefensible , shocking even me once I thought about what was going on, yet much more consistent with how these films usually go.

    Heh! Yeah, what exactly was he expecting to find in there? 😄 Pretty much exactly what he found, I'd suggest!

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