That's No Moonraker: You Only Live Twice

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June 20th, 2020


Alex and Pete are stirred, not shaken, by the 5th James Bond film.





  • 5th movie based on the 12th book (11th full-length novel).
    • The novel takes place after a later film: events of the book are based on plot points from the previous novel.
    • This book is the first to come out after Dr. No was in theaters.
    • Last book published in Fleming's lifetime (ironic). He wrote it to be more like Sean Connery's Bond.
    • Final part of the "Blofeld trilogy".
      • They thought about filming the Blofeld trilogy in order and doing "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" next but didn't feel like going to the mountains to film.
  • The screenplay.
    • They tried to work with stuff from the novel but then threw it all out and had Ian Fleming's friend Roald Dahl write the screenplay.
      • This was his first produced screenplay.
      • He stripped it down to only four or five plot points from the book and pinned them to the skeleton of the plot from Dr. No, borrowing its plot arc.
      • He was instructed by the producers that he couldn't change the "girl formula" (see below).
  • First film in the franchise where we actually see anybody in space.
  • Directed by Lewis Gilbert, who we will see again directing The Spy who Loved Me. and Moonraker. All space stuff.
  • The newspaper is clearly fake and is just some paper pasted over a real newspaper.
  • Nikki van der Zyl is back voicing Kissy Suzuki.
  • Aki (played by Akiko Wakabayashi).
    • Also was a mystical princess in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.
    • She was originally cast in the role that Mie Hama (Kissy Suzuki) ended up taking, but they switched her at the last minute because Hama had trouble learning her lines in English.
  • Henderson gives Bond his martini stirred, not shaken.

Other casting notes

  • The guy who gives Bond his ticket at the Sumo match is not one of the wrestlers we see later but he was a real Sumo champion at that time.
    • Equivalent to a Hulk Hogan cameo.
  • The driver who picks up Bond take him to the secret base is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's grandfather.
    • Also a big wrestling star in his day.
  • Henderson will back in Diamonds are Forever playing Blofeld.
    • Was also the narrator for Rocky Horror.
  • One of the cosmonauts is the Russian desk clerk from FRWL.
  • William Sylvester is doctor Hayward Floyd from 2001.
  • When Blofeld meets with the Chinese agents, the one that gets fed to the piranhas is Kao Kan from Temple of Doom. Mentioned: Han Solo fever dream.
  • At the very end: another submarine that rescues Bond and Lady (recurring theme), a submarine technician is played by Burnell Tucker.


  • The film is very different from the book (shout out to Andy Robinson).
  • The "girl formula": there must be three women for Bond to "seduce".
  1. An ally, who gets killed.
  2. An enemy who gets killed.
  3. The main "Bond girl".
  • During filming in Japan, Sean Connery announced his retirement from the role of James Bond.
    • "Somehow, James Bond has returned" (referenced: The Rise of Skywalker).
    • This is the third time they tried to trick you into thinking James Bond is dead. "The death of Spock" in Star Trek 2 mentioned (again).
  • Remastering the special effects, like they did with "Star Trek: TOS".
    • Re-shooting the scenes of Jerry's father on Seinfeld once they changed actors.
  • Racial sensitivity of this movie: it's better than we would expect.

The opening theme

  • They say the name of the movie (both in the song and in the actual movie) so it counts.
    • They wrote the song specifically for the movie and got Julie Rogers to record it.
    • They weren't happy with it and brought in Lorraine Chandler to re-record.
      • That version was lost in a vault until the 90s when it was rediscovered.
    • John Barry was friends with people at Atlantic Records who would just signed Aretha Franklin, they were going to get her to do it.
    • But Cubby Broccoli was friends with Frank Sinatra and said he'd ask him.
      • He didn't want to but suggested his daughter could do it.
      • She had a really tough time with it, and the final version was a hack job of 25 different takes put together.
  • Pan still life cover.
  • Comparison between James Bond fans and Star Wars fans (there is some overlap there).
  • Things we'd like to see: a movie that actually was based on the book.
  • Who is the main Bond girl of this movie?
  • The organizational structure at SPECTRE.
  • In the book James Bond gets some time out from being 007 and is 7777.
  • Mentioned: Revenge of the Nerds.
  • Noticeable lack of gadgets in this movie.
    • Odd because it was criticized at the time for focusing too much on the gadgets.
  • Bond shoots a random guy instead of killing Blofeld.
  • Most of Bond's success is complete luck, not necessarily skill.
  • In order to be driven to the bad guys' HQ, James Bond is pretending he got roughed up by James Bond.
  • Everyone on the submarine (including M) is wearing shorts with their uniforms.

Star Wars crossovers

  • One of the astronauts is Commander Praji.
  • In Superman 2, we also have a spacecraft being attacked and guys calling back to Houston mission control. The guy who says "Hooston" is the same guy as in this movie (Shane Rimmer) who was sitting next to John Ratzenberger.
    • He was also in Superman 3 as a state trooper.
    • He'll be back for many other Bond movies.
    • He's an engineer in the Massassi temple hooking up a tube to one of the X-wings.
  • The two cops who find the dead James Bond in the cold open.
    • Anthony Ainley was one of the Masters in Dr. Who throughout the 80s.
    • The other officer is Patrick Jordan who played Imperial officer Siward Cass (the guy who tells Tarkin the Rebel base on Dantooine has been abandoned.

Other notes

  • Creepy institutional sexism.
  • Interest in/fetishizing of Japanese culture in America.
  • It's super obvious Connery is wearing a toupee. Shout-out to former guest of the show with perfect wigdar Matt Gourley.
  • Second time a bad guy tries to extort their partner at the last minute (see also: Thunderball).
  • No safety rails
  • What is Bond's plan to disrupt the rocket launch? To go on the rocket and into space (odd since there are 4 other astronauts/Cosmonauts just sitting around)?.
  • Paintings in Blofeld's evil lair: callback to Dr. No?
  • James Bond will return in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but Sean Connery won't

Meta Notes

  • In Skyfall, Bond is "killed" but is back to life by the end of the opening credits.
  • Pete does eventually end up reading (at least a few) of the novels.
  • The scene where the villain's car is dropped into the bay was filmed on location in Tokyo Bay, so presumably the filmmakers would have needed to retrieve the car once they were done filming.
  • Pete previously mentioned that Shane Rimmer was one of his favorite actors to be in both James Bond and Star Wars (SWM:WE 29).


  • Alex: (as Sean Connery) "trying to 'shhynergize ' it".
  • Alex: No's Ark.
  • Pete: the competent one always gets killed.
  • Pete: Isn't that what the old Canaveral guys call a comet with an east–west trajectory?

Star Wars names

Star Wars pun names for You Only Live Twice 
  • All three are done in Yoda-ese
    • You only live twice: once as an apprentice, once as a master.
    • Live twice, you only.
    • Live or live not; there is no twice.
  • Completely forgot (he came up with these on the spot).
  • You only live Twi'lek.
  • U-3PO only live twice.

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