Release Details - Credits - Music - Cast - Notes

release details
Date of release: 6 June 1983 (UK), 10 June 1983 (US)
Running time: 131 mins
Aspect ratio: 2.35 : 1
Classification: PG (UK), PG (US)

Alternative titles: Operation Octopus (Italy), Octopussy: 007 Against The Deadly Girls (Latin America).

Directed by: John Glen
Produced by: Albert R Broccoli
Screen story and screenplay by George MacDonald Fraser and Richard Maibaum & Michael G Wilson
Executive producer: Michael G Wilson
Associate producer: Thomas Pevsner
Production designed by: Peter Lamont
Director of photography: Alan Hume
Second unit directed and photographed by: Arthur Wooster
Supervising editor: John Grover
Special visual effects: John Richardson
Action sequences arranged by: Bob Simmons
Main title designed by: Maurice Binder

Music composed and conducted by: John Barry

Main theme: "All Time High"
Performed by: Rita Coolidge
Music by: John Barry
Lyrics by: Tim Rice
Highest chart position: Did not chart (UK), 36 (US)

Musical notes: "All Time High" is the only theme song that does not contain the title of the film within its lyrics.

James Bond: Roger Moore
Octopussy: Maud Adams
Prince Kamal Khan: Louis Jordan
Magda: Kristina Wayborn
Gobinda: Kabir Bedi
General Orlov: Steven Berkoff
Twins (Mishka and Grishka): David Meyer, Anthony Meyer
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
M: Robert Brown
Miss Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Penelope Smallbone: Michaela Clavell
General Gogol: Walter Gotell
Vijay: Vijay Amritraj
Sadruddin: Albert Moses
Minister of Defence (Frederick Gray): Geoffrey Keen
Jim Fanning: Douglas Wilmer
009: Andy Bradford
Auctioneer: Philip Voss
US General: Bruce Boa
US Aide: Richard Parmentier
Gwendoline: Suzanne Jerome
Midge: Cherry Gillespie
Kemp: Dermot Crowley
Lenkin: Peter Porteous
Rubelvitch: Eva Rueber-Staier
Smithers: Jeremy Bulloch
Bianca: Tina Hudson
Thug with Yo-Yo: William Derrick
Major Clive: Stuart Saunders
Soviet Council Chairman: Paul Hardwick
British Ambassador: Patrick Barr
Borchoi: Gabor Vernon
Karl: Hugo Bower
Colonel Luis Toro: Ken Norris
Mufti: Tony Arjuna
Bubi: Gertan Klauber
Schaizi: Brenda Cowling
Petrol Pump Attendant: David Grahame
South American VIP: Brian Cobourn
South American Officer: Michael Halphie

The Octopussy Girls: Mary Stavin, Carolyn Seaward, Carole Ashby, Cheryl Anne, Jani-Z, Julie Martin, Joni Flynn, Julie Barth, Kathy Davies, Helene Hunt, Gillian de Terville, Safira Afzal, Louise King, Tina Robinson, Alison Worth, Janine Andrews, Lynda Knight

The Thugs: Ravinder Singh Reyett, Gurdial Sira, Michael Moor, Sven Surtees, Peter Edmund, Ray Charles, Talib Johnny

The Circus:
Ringmaster: Roberto Germains
Francisco the Fearless: Richard Graydon
Acts: The Hassani Troupe, The Flying Cherokees, Carol and Josef Richter, Vera and Shirley Fossett, Barrie Winship

Bidder at Sotheby's: Lenny Rabin
Fakir: Ishaq Bux
Fisherman in Boat: Reg Harding

The gunbarrel: Unusually, the film opens with a caption reading "United Artists present" before the gunbarrel. However, after the caption we are back on familiar ground with the same Moore footage and a Barry arrangement of the Bond theme that is similar to the one used for Moonraker.

Using the title: The film shares its name with that of the main female character. Magda also refers to her octopuss tattoo as her "little octopussy".

The novel approach: The early part of the film takes its inspiration from "Property Of A Lady", a short story which Fleming wrote in 1963 for a collection about Sotherby's auction house but later included in the "Octopussy and The Living Daylight"). The story concerns Bond's mission to observe an auction at Sotheby's in order to identify a KGB agent who it is suspected will be pushing up the bidding on a Fabergé emerald sphere. Its influence on Octopussy is clear, with the Fabergé egg even being described as 'Property of a lady' in the Sotherby's auction programme. The character of Jim Fanning, the Service's arts advisor, is also taken from the story. The film of course takes its title from another short story, although its influence is slight, merely providing some backstory to the character of Octopussy (see "The Girl").

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Robert Brown makes his first appearance as M following the death of Bernard Lee. It has been speculated that Brown is not simply playing a recast Miles Messervy, but is actually intended to be Admiral Hargreaves, the character that Brown played in The Spy Who Loved Me (see this article for more on this discussion).
Octopussy also features another new character in its MI6 scenes - an assistant for Miss Moneypenny called Penelope Smallbone. The character was created when it was thought that Roger Moore would not be continuing as Bond and a younger secretary was needed to flirt with a new Bond. However, the charmingly named Miss Smallbone is not seen, or even mentioned, in any of the following films.
The film also features other MI6 personnel, including an antiquities adviser called Jim Fanning (who knows Bond prior to the events of the film). Q's team again includes Smithers (seen in For Your Eyes Only) as well as a woman called Karen.
We see the exterior of the MI6 headquarters for the first time since On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It is in Whitehall in London; it is actually a Ministry of Defence building called The Old War Office. Bond works with Station I (India) which is headed by Sadruddin and whose staff includes Vijay.
MI6 is still using Universal Exports as a cover name - Bond refers to it in conversations with both Penelope Smallbone and Vijay.

The Double 0 Section: We see another Double 0 agent proprely for the first time when the film opens proper with the death of 009, who has been working on Operation Trove. A number of ancient antiquities have appeared on the markets from unknown sources and the British suspect this to be a Russian ploy in order to raise currencies. 009 ends up undercover as a clown in Octopussy's circus in East Berlin, where he is killed by the knife-throwing twins. He is replaced on the mission by Bond.

Locations: An un-named South American republic; East Berlin and Karl-Marx-Stadt in East Germany; London; Moscow; India; West Berlin and Feldstadt (where there is a US Air Force base) in West Germany.

The villain: The film features two characters who could be considered the main villain. However, the closest to the archetype is Prince Kamal Khan, an exiled Afghan prince who lives in the Monsoon Palace in an un-named Indian city. He plays polo, cricket and tennis and has shares in a hotel, as well as owning a Rolls Royce and a private jet. He is selling stolen Russian antiquities on behalf of General Orlov, a Russian hard-liner who doesn't want peace with NATO. Orlov and Khan have also been plotting to explode a nuclear bomb in a US Air base in West Germany in an attempt to trigger nuclear disarmament in the West, allowing Orlov's forces to invade unmolested. Khan has a large manservant called Gobinda. Both are killed in a final mid-air battle with Bond.

The girl: A woman known only as Octopussy who is Khan's smuggling partner, although she is not involved in the nuclear bomb scheme. She lives in a floating palace in India, where no men are allowed. She is the daughter of one Major Dexter Smythe, a British army officer who was seconded to MI6. He was sent to recover some Chinese gold in Korea but disappeared. Twenty years later Bond was sent to arrest him and tracked him to Sri Lanka, but allowed him time to commit suicide rather than face the disgrace of a court martial. Octopussy is grateful to Bond for this and she becomes his ally. Dexter Smythe was an authority on octopi, and Octopussy was his nickname for his daughter. We never learn her real name. Following her father's death, she made some contacts and got involved in smuggling, reviving the ancient "octopus cult", a secret order of female smugglers and bandits. She has also a number of legitimate interests - shipping, hotels, carnivals and circuses.

Bond's conquests: Only two - Magda and Octopussy.

Gadgets: An small aircraft that can be carried in a horsebox; a Mont-Blanc fountain pen that dispenses a mix of nitric and hyrdrocloric acid that dissolves all metals and contains an earpiece that receives from the listening device that Q plants in the Fabergé egg; a crocodile submarine; and two special watches (one has a tracking device receiver and the other a liquid crystal video screen).

Recurring characters: Geoffrey Keen and Walter Gotell appear again as the Minister of Defence and General Gogol respectively. Eva Rueber-Staier also appears again as Gogol's secretary Rubelvitch (after previously appearing in The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only), although the character now appears to be working for the wider Soviet security council. As mentioned previously, Q's assistant Smithers returns from For Your Eyes Only. Smithers is played by Jeremy Bulloch, who was Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. Bulloch was uncredited in For Your Eyes Only, but here he gains an on-screen credit.

Cameos: Executive producer and co-writer Michael G Wilson appears in the film as a member of the Soviet security council. He is also on the tour boat which picks up Bond after his escape from Khan's palace.

I didn't catch the name?: Bond gives his trademark introduction when he meets Kamal Khan.

Vodka Martinis: None.

Gambling: Bond plays backgammon against Kamal Khan, who uses loaded dice in order to win. Bond makes use of Khan's dice and wins 200,000 rupees.

Bond bits: At the start of the film, Bond is on a mission in an un-named South American republic to sabotage a prototype aircraft. As part of this he pretends to be a Colonel Luis Toro. He then plans to meet Bianca in Miami. Bond speaks German and is said to be English (rather than British). When he is operating in East Germany he is given the identity of Charles Morton, a manufacturer's representative from Leeds who is visiting furniture factories. Bond seems to have some sort of sixth sense - he has a "feeling" as Vijay is killed and the thugs approach Octopussy's island.

Anything else?: Vijay is a part-time tennis pro at a hotel; this is a reference to the fact that Vijay Amritraj was actually a professional tennis player who was making his film debut in Octopussy (he is given an "introducing" credit). When Vijay first meets Bond he is disguised as a snake charmer and identifies himself by playing a few notes of the Bond theme.
Bond's gun in the last part of film is not his famous Walther PPK. He starts off with a PPK, which he misplaces in India, so he ends up with a more modern Walther P5. There is no reference to this change and he would be back with a PPK in the following film. Curiously, the unofficial film Never Say Never Again, which was released in the same year as Octopussy, also saw Bond using a P5.
When Octopussy's girls attack the Monsoon palace at the end of the film, one of the guards looks at a bottle of wine in surprise. This joke had been used in each of the three previous films, although for once it is not actually the same person who is surprised!
The closing credits of the film identify its successor as From A View To a Kill, which would be slightly changed by the time that the film was released. This is also the last occurrence of the next film being named since this tradition was established in From Russia With Love.

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.

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