For Your Eyes Only (1981) is the twelfth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fifth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It marked the directorial debut of John Glen, who had worked as editor and second unit director in three other Bond films.
The screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson takes its characters and combines the plots from two short stories from Ian Fleming's For Your Eyes Only collection: the title story and "Risico". In the plot, Bond attempts to locate a missile command system while becoming tangled in a web of deception spun by rival Greek businessmen along with Melina Havelock, a woman seeking to avenge the murder of her parents. Some writing elements were inspired by the novels Live and Let Die, Goldfinger and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
After the over-the-top, science fiction-focused Moonraker, the producers wanted a conscious return to the style of the early Bond films and the works of 007 creator Fleming. For Your Eyes Only followed a more gritty, realistic approach, and an unusually strong narrative theme of revenge and its consequences. Filming locations included Greece, Italy, Spain and England, with underwater footage being shot in The Bahamas.
For Your Eyes Only was released on 24 June 1981 to a mixed critical reception; the film was a financial success, generating $195.3 million worldwide. This was the last Bond film to be distributed solely by United Artists; the studio merged with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer soon after this film's release.
The British spy boat St Georges, which holds the Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator (ATAC), the system used by the Ministry of Defence to communicate with and co-ordinate theRoyal Navy's fleet of Polaris submarines, is sunk by a naval mine in the Ionian Sea. MI6 agent James Bond, code name "007", is ordered by the Minister of Defence, Sir Fredrick Gray and MI6 Chief of Staff, Bill Tanner, to retrieve the ATAC before the Soviets, as the transmitter could order attacks by the submarines' Polaris ballistic missiles.
The head of the KGB, General Gogol has also learnt of the fate of the St Georges and already notified his contact in Greece. A marine archaeologist, Sir Timothy Havelock, who had been asked by the British to secretly locate the St Georges, is murdered with his wife by a Cuban hitman, Hector Gonzales. Bond goes to Spain to find out who hired Gonzales.
While spying on Gonzales' villa, Bond is captured by his men, but manages to escape as Gonzales is shot with an arrow. Outside, he finds the assassin was Melina Havelock, the daughter of Sir Timothy and the two escape. With the help of Q, Bond identifies a hitman in Gonzales' estate as Emile Leopold Locque, and then goes to Locque's possible base in Italy. There Bond meets his contact, Luigi Ferrara, and a well-connected Greek businessman and intelligence informant, Aris Kristatos, who tells Bond that Locque is employed by Milos Columbo, known as "the Dove" in the Greek underworld, Kristatos' former resistance partner during the Second World War. After Bond goes with Kristatos'protégée, figure skater Bibi Dahl, to a biathlon course, a group of three men which includes East German biathlete Eric Kriegler chases Bond, trying to kill him. Bond escapes, and then goes with Ferrara to bid Bibi farewell in an indoor ice rink where he fends off another attempt on his life by men in hockey gear. Ferrara is killed in his car, with a dove pin in his hand. Bond then travels to Corfu in pursuit of Columbo.
At a nightclub, he meets with Kristatos and asks how to meet Columbo, not knowing that Columbo's men are secretly recording their conversation. After Columbo and his mistress, Countess Lisl von Schlaf, argue, Bond offers to escort her home with Kristatos' car and driver. The two then spend the night together. In the morning Lisl and Bond are ambushed by Locque and Lisl is killed. However, before Locque can kill Bond, he is captured by Columbo's men, who then tells him that Locque was actually hired by Kristatos, who is working for the KGB to retrieve the ATAC. Bond accompanies Columbo and his crew on a raid at one of Kristatos' opium-processing warehouses in Albania, where Bond uncovers naval mines similar to the one that sank the St Georges, suggesting it was not an accident. After the base is destroyed, Bond chases Locque and kills him.
Afterwards, Bond meets with Melina, and they recover the ATAC from the wreckage of the St Georges, but Kristatos is waiting for them when they surface and he takes the ATAC. After the two escape an assassination attempt, they discover Kristatos' rendezvous point when Melina's parrot repeats the phrase "ATAC to St. Cyril's". With the help of Columbo and his men, Bond and Melina break into abandoned mountaintop monastery, St. Cyril's. While Bond is climbing, Apostis attacks him, but is killed. As Columbo confronts Kristatos, Bond disposes of the biathlete Kriegler.
Bond retrieves the ATAC system and stops Melina from killing Kristatos after he surrenders. Kristatos tries to kill Bond with a hidden flick knife, but is killed by a knife thrown by Columbo. Gogol arrives by helicopter to collect the ATAC, but Bond destroys it first, saying "Détente, comrade. You don't have it; I don't have it." Bond and Melina later spend a romantic evening aboard her father's yacht.
- Roger Moore as James Bond: MI6 agent 007, who is sent to retrieve a stolen "ATAC" system that could be misused for controlling British military submarines. For Your Eyes Only was the fifth of seven outings for Moore as Bond.
- Carole Bouquet as Melina Havelock: The daughter of marine archaeologists who are murdered while tracking down the ATAC's whereabouts. Bouquet had auditioned for the role of Holly Goodhead in Moonraker, but was unsuccessful.
- Julian Glover as Aristotle Kristatos: Initially shown as an ally, later as the main villain. A smuggler planning to expand his fortune by selling the ATAC to the KGB. Glover had been shortlisted as a possible Bond for Live and Let Die, eventually losing out to Moore. Glover would go on to appear opposite previous Bond Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as Nazi sympathiser Walter Donovan.
- Chaim Topol (credited as "Topol") as Milos Columbo: Kristatos' former smuggling partner who assists Bond in his mission. Named after Gioacchino Colombo, the Ferrari engine designer, specifically Ferrari 125, which Fleming admired.Topol suggested the pistachios as a trademark of the character, which are used in a scene to orient Columbo's men on where to shoot.
- Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl: An ice-skating prodigy who is training with the financial support of Kristatos. Johnson was an ice skater before turning to acting, and achieved second place at the novice level of the 1974 United States Figure Skating Championships.
- Michael Gothard as Emile Leopold Locque: A hired killer and associate of Kristatos.
- Cassandra Harris as Countess Lisl von Schlaf: Columbo's mistress. At the time of filming Harris was married to future Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and the couple lunched with Albert Broccoli during filming.
- John Wyman as Erich Kriegler: An Olympic class athlete and Kristatos' henchman/KGB contact. Writer Jeremy Black said that he resembles Hans of You Only Live Twice and Stamper of Tomorrow Never Dies.
- Desmond Llewelyn as Q, the head of MI6's technical department. For Your Eyes Only was the tenth of 17 Bond films in which Llewelyn appeared. He appeared in more Bond films than any other actor and worked with the first five Bond actors in the Eon-produced series.
- Jill Bennett as Jacoba Brink: Bibi's skating coach.
- Jack Hedley as Sir Timothy Havelock: A marine archaeologist hired by the British Secret Service to secretly locate the wreck of St. Georges.
- Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny, M's secretary. Maxwell played Moneypenny in fourteen Eon-produced Bond films from Dr. No in 1962 to A View to a Kill in 1985; For Your Eyes Only was her twelfth appearance.
- Geoffrey Keen as Fredrick Gray: The British Minister of Defence, a minister in the British government. The role, along with Bill Tanner as Chief of Staff, was used to brief Bond in place of M, following the death of Bernard Lee.
- James Villiers as MI6 Chief of Staff Bill Tanner. The role of Tanner first appeared on film in The Man with the Golden Gun, although in an un-credited capacity. Villiers presumed he would play the role of M in subsequent films and was disappointed not to be asked: the producers thought him too young for the role and wanted an actor in his 70s.
- John Moreno as Luigi Ferrara: 007's MI6 contact in northern Italy.
- Walter Gotell as General Gogol: Head of the KGB and previous ally of MI6 in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.
- Jack Klaff as Apostis: One of Kristatos's henchmen and chauffeur.
- Stefan Kalipha as Hector Gonzales: A Cuban hitman hired by Kristatos to kill the Havelocks.
- Charles Dance as Claus, an associate of Locque. The role was early in Dance's career; in 1989 he would go on to play Ian Fleming in Anglia Television's Goldeneye: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming, a dramatised portrayal of the life of Ian Fleming.
- Janet Brown as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who appears in the closing scene alongside John Wells as Denis.
- John Hollis as the "bald villain in wheelchair", voiced by Robert Rietti. The character appears in the pre-credits sequence and is both unnamed and uncredited. The character contains a number of characteristics of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but could not be identified as such because of the legal reasons surrounding the Thunderball controversy with Kevin McClory claiming sole rights to the Blofeld character, a claim disputed by Eon.
- Bob Simmons, who previously portrayed Bond in the gun barrel sequences in the first three films and SPECTRE agent Colonel Jacques Bouvar in Thunderball, cameos as another villain as Gonzales' henchman who falls victim to Bond's exploding Lotus.