June 28, 1979 in UK cinemas: Moonraker

“Where all the other Bonds end…this one begins!”

Moonraker-1979Moonraker is the eleventh spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The third and final film in the series to be directed by Lewis Gilbert, it co-stars Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Corinne Cléry, and Richard Kiel. Bond investigates the theft of a space shuttle, leading him to Hugo Drax, the owner of the shuttle’s manufacturing firm. Along with space scientist Dr. Holly Goodhead, Bond follows the trail from California to Venice, Rio de Janeiro, and the Amazon rainforest, and finally into outer space to prevent a plot to wipe out the world population and to re-create humanity with a master race.

Moonraker was intended by its creator Ian Fleming to become a film even before he completed the novel in 1954, since he based it on a screenplay manuscript he had written even earlier. The film’s producers had originally intended to film For Your Eyes Only, but instead chose this title due to the rise of the science fiction genre in the wake of the Star Wars phenomenon. Budgetary issues caused the film to be primarily shot in France, with locations also in Italy, Brazil, Guatemala and the United States. The soundstages of Pinewood Studios in England, traditionally used for the series, were only used by the special effects team.

Moonraker was noted for its high production cost of $34 million, almost twice as much Cinema-UK-06-28-1979money as predecessor The Spy Who Loved Me, and it received mixed reviews. However, the film’s visuals were praised with Derek Meddings being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and it eventually became the highest-grossing film of the series with $210,300,000 worldwide, a record that stood until 1995’s GoldenEye. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the Movieclips Trailer Vault YouTube Channel.

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