Never Say Never Again

 Release Details - Credits - Music - Cast - Notes

release details
Date of release: 7 October 1983 (US)
Running time: 134 mins
Aspect ratio: 2.35 : 1
Classification: PG (UK)

Presented by: Jack Schwartzman & Kevin McClory
Directed by: Irvin Kershner
Produced by: Jack Schwartzman
Executive producer: Kevin McClory
Screenplay by: Lorenzo Semple Jr
Based on an original story by: Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming
Associate producer: Michael Dryhurst
Production designers: Philip Harrison, Stephen Grimes
Director of photography: Douglas Slocombe BSC
Second unit director: Michael Moore
Supervising film editor: Robert Lawrence
Supervisor of special visual effects: David Dryer
Stunt co-ordinator: Vic Armstrong

Music by: Michael Legrand

Main theme: "Never Say Never Again"
Performed by: Lani Hall
Trumpet solo by: Herb Alpert
Music by: Michael Legrand
Lyric by: Alan & Marilyn Bergman
Highest chart position: Did not chart

Additional: "Un Chanson D'Amour"
Sung by: Sophie Della
Music by: Michael Legrand
Words by: Michael Legrand & Jean Drejac
Usage: During the scenes of Domino arriving for her massage and meeting Bond.

James Bond: Sean Connery
Maximillian Largo: Klaus Maria Brandauer
Ernst Stavro Blofeld: Max Von Sydow
Fatima Blush: Barbara Carrera
Domino Petachi: Kim Basinger
Felix Leiter: Bernie Casey
Q (Algernon): Alec McCowen
M: Edward Fox
Miss Moneypenny: Pamela Salem
Nigel Small-Fawcett: Rowan Atkinson
Lady in Bahamas: Valerie Leon
Dr Kovacs: Milow Kirek
Lippe: Pat Roach
Lord Ambrose: Anthony Sharp
Patricia Fearing: Prunella Gee
Captain Jack Petachi: Gavan O'Herlihy
Elliott: Ronald Pickup
Italian Ministers: Robert Rietty, Guido Adorni
Culpepper: Vincent Marzello
Number 5: Christopher Reich
Captain Pederson: Billy J Mitchell
General Miller: Manning Redwood
Kurt: Anthony Van Laast
Nicole (Agent 326): Saskia Cohen Tanugi
French Minister: Sylvia Marriott
Bouncer at Casino: Dan Meaden
Doctor at Shrublands: Michael Medwin
Nurse at Shrublands: Lucy Hornak
Porter at Shrublands: Derek Deadman
Cook at Shrublands: Joanna Dickens
Auctioneer: Tony Alleff
Ship's Steward: Paul Tucker
Masseuse: Brenda Kempner
Receptionist at Health Spa: Jill Meager
Communications Officer: John Stephen Hill
Girl Hostage: Wendy Leech
Ship's Captain: Roy Bowe

Hostage Guard: Rocky Taylor

Background: As explained in the article on Thunderball, Ian Fleming's 8th Bond novel had been the subject of a court case due to the fact that Fleming had based the story on a film treatment that he had produced in collaboration with Jack Whittingham and Kevin McClory. The outcome of this was that the film rights to the book had been assigned to McClory. Realising the futility of competing with the established Bond series in the 60s, McClory had teamed up with EON productions in order to produce Thunderball in 1965. However, he still retained the film rights to the story, and following a 10 year re-make exclusion period he started work on producing a new Bond movie in the late 70s. After much legal wrangling this resulted in Never Say Never Again in 1983, with the added interest of Sean Connery returning to the role, some 12 years after Diamonds Are Forever. During the 90s, McClory was attempting to launch another film based on the story, but this was thwarted by legal action launched by MGM, home of the official movies.

Using the title: The title of the movie was suggested by Sean Connery's wife, Micheline (and her contribution is credited in the end titles). It is not actually given in its full form in the movie, but in the last lines of the movie Bond says "Never again" on receiving a request to return to the Secret Service.

The novel approach: The legal complexities shadowing the movie meant that it was forced to retain the basic storyline of Fleming's novel. There is some change in the details, particularly the method in which SPECTRE hi-jack the nuclear missiles. Some character names have been changed - it is Maximillian Largo not Emilio and Domino Petachi rather than Derval. Largo's yacht is called the Flying Saucer, the literal translation of its name in the book and earlier film. The Fiona Volpe character from the Thunderball movie has been retained in the form of Fatima Blush. In addition, much of the action is relocated from the Bahamas to the south of France.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Never Say Never Again portrays a very different Secret Service to that seen in the EON series at the time. Edward Fox plays a new M who has recently taken over and does not hold Bond in as much regard as his predecessor. Some 10 years later, the official movies would follow a similar approach with Judi Dench's M in GoldenEye. Fox's M has had little use for the Double 0 section, and he is forced to reacivate it by the Home Secretary following the theft of the nuclear weapons.
Miss Moneypenny is present in the form of Pamela Salem and is portrayed as slightly dimmer than the Lois Maxwell version. She only appears briefly; apparently most of her scenes were cut from the finished film.
A character called Q also appears in the film, although again the movie avoids comparisons with the EON series with a very different portrayal of the character. Here, Q (who is named as Algernon) is shown battling with budget cuts and bureaucracy. He is positively delighted to see Bond back on duty ("Good to see you Mr Bond. Things have been awfully dull round here...Now you're on this, I hope we're going to have some gratuitous sex and violence.")

Locations: South America; England (MI6 HQ, Shrublands Heath Farm and Swadley US Air Force Base, near London); SPECTRE HQ, apprently somewhere in France; Nassau and the Bahamas; Monte Carlo and the south of France; North Africa and the Middle East oil fields.

The villain: SPECTRE provides the villainy. Although Ernst Stavro Blofeld appears as its Supreme Commander (see Recurring Characters), it is Maximillian Largo (Number 1) who is in charge of the plot to steal 2 W80 thermo-nuclear devices and hold NATO to ransom (a plot called the Tears of Allah). Largo was born in Bucharest in 1945 and is apparently a billionaire industrialist and philantropist. He has no criminal record and donates money to many worthy causes. He resides in the Bahamas, on the Flying Saucer ("the biggest boat in the Caribbean") and has an estate called Palmerya. His interests include marine biology and designing computer games. And he is also certifiably mad. At least until he is killed by Domino. Largo's main support comes in the form of Fatima Blush, SPECTRE Number 12, who seems equally mad as well as voluptuously sexual.

The girl: Domino Petachi, the sister of Jack Petachi, a US Air Force captain who SPECTRE have got hooked on heroin and blackmailed into assisting in the hi-jacking of the nuclear weapons. She is also the lover of Largo, who takes delight in having total control over her.

Bond's conquests: Four - Patricia Fearing, Fatima Blush, the un-named lady in the Bahamas and Domino.

Gadgets: A fountain pen with a Union Flag design whose nib is an exploding rocket (Q notes that it is not perfected yet, but it still does the job in killing Fatima). A watch containing a laser beam; this is a prototype that has been designed by a KGB defector who was a whizz-kid in their technical sector. A motorcycle with a rocket motor. Strange missile like transporters called XT-7Bs, which are apparently top secret but are carried on-board US submarines.

Recurring characters: As noted above, Blofeld makes his first proper appearance since Diamond Are Forever. The image of Blofed from the earlier films is ignored, and he is potrayed as a dapper bearded gent rather than a balding mad-man. Curiously, he retains his white Persian cat, despite this being an invention of the earlier movies rather than the novels. An interesting touch is that Blofeld's demands to NATO take the form of a video transmission dwelling just on his hands (and the cat) in the same was as Blofeld's first appearances in From Russia With Love and Thunderball.
Felix Leiter appears in the movie, played by Bernie Casey, who became the first black actor to play the part. This casting was apparently deliberate in an attempt to make Leiter more memorable.

Cuts: The British DVD release has a compulsory cut due to alleged cruelty to animals - when Bond and Domino jump of the cliff, the shot of the horse entering the water is missing.

I didn't catch the name?: Bond gives his trademark introduction when he meets Domino properly in the casino. When he meets Fatima in Nassau he just introduces himself as "James".

Vodka Martinis: Martinis are mentioned many times - M notes that Bond enjoys too many of them. Later, Bond confirms this by stating that he always has one at 5 o'clock. However, he never actually orders one that is shaken, not stirred.

Gambling: Although there is a sequence that is set in Monte Carlo casino, Bond does not gamble as such. Instead, he plays Largo at his computer game, Domination. He still manages to win $267,000, but exchanges his winnings in return for a dance with Domino.

Bond bits: The movie makes virtue of Connery's age by showing an older Bond. He has been out of action for a while and has been teaching (an interesting throw-away reference that is not dwelt on), although immediately before the movie he has been taking part in some war games for M. However, he still retains some noteriety since he is recognised by Fatima. Bond drives a vintage Bentley and has tattoos (Connery's real-life tattoos are visible at times, particularly when he boards the Flying Saucer). He still enjoys the good things in life, such as smoking cigars, leading to M to send him to Shrublands Health Farm. At the end of the movie he has retired from the Secret Service, but M is pleading for him to return.

Other trivia: SPECTRE plans to use the stolen nuclear weapons to destroy Washington and the Middle East oil fields. They demand a sum equivalent to 25% of the NATO countries' oil purchases and give a time limit of 7 days. The Secret Service has an emergency code, Tango Zero.

Anything else?: The gun used by Bond is not his famous Walther PPK. It is actually a Walther P5, which was also used by Roger Moore in the same year's EON movie, Octopussy.

The Bond Film Informant was compiled by Matthew Newton. © Copyright MJ Newton. No part of this site may be reproduced without permission unless otherwise stated.

Main Page
The Movies