Release Details - Credits - Music - Cast - Notes
Date of release: 12 June 1967 (UK), 13 June 1967 (US)|
Running time: 116 mins
Aspect ratio: 2.35 : 1
Classification: PG (UK), PG (US)
Alternative titles: A Man Lives Only Twice (Germany),
One Doesn't Live More Than Twice (France),
007 Dies Twice (Japan),
It Only Lives Twice (Latin America).
Directed by: Lewis Gilbert|
Produced by: Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli
Screenplay by: Roald Dahl
Additional story material by: Harold Jack Bloom
Production designed by: Ken Adam
Director of photography: Freddie Young BSC
Second unit director and supervising editor: Peter Hunt
Special effects: John Stears
Action sequences by: Bob Simmons
Main title designed by: Maurice Binder
Music composed and conducted by: John Barry|
Main theme: "You Only Live Twice"
The secondary Bond theme known as "007" is used for the sequence when Bond flies Little
Nellie; it was previously heard in From Russia With Love and Thunderball.
James Bond: Sean Connery|
Aki: Akiko Wakabayashi
Kissy: Mia Hama
Tiger Tanaka: Tetsuro Tamba (dubbed by Robert Rietty)
Mr Osato: Terli Shimada
Helga Brandt: Karin Dor
Ernst Stavro Blofeld: Donald Pleasence
M: Bernard Lee
Miss Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
Dikko Henderson: Charles Gray
Chinese Girl in Hong Kong (Ling): Tsai Chin
Car Driver: Peter Fanene Maivia
SPECTRE Number 3: Burt Kwouk
SPECTRE Number 4: Michael Chow
Blofeld's Bodyguard (Hans): Ronald Rich
Bond's Masseuse: Jeanne Roland
Bedroom Assassin: David Toguri
Submarine Captain: John Stone
Astronauts (1st American spacecraft): Norman Jones, Paul Carson
Astronauts (Russian spacecraft): Laurence Herder, Richard Graydon
Astronauts (2nd American spacecraft): Bill Mitchell, George Roubicek.
The footage introduced in Thunderball is reused, although it is
in black and white. The arrangement of
the music is faster than in that film and uses a regular guitar instead of
electric. The theme is also in the key of f minor, rather of e minor as most
of the other films.
Using the title:
The title is justified by the faking of Bond's death at the start of the
film. The title is then used explicitly later in an exchange between
Blofeld and Bond:
The novel approach: You Only Live Twice was the first film to radically depart from its source novel. Fleming's version of the story is a brooding affair exploring the aftermath of the death of Bond's wife in the previous book, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Since this had not happened within the chronology of the movies, it was necessary for the adaptation of "You Only Live Twice" to jettison most of the plot. It only retained the Japanese setting, various characters (Tiger Tanaka, Henderson and the presence of Blofeld) and Bond going undercover as a Japanese fisherman, involving his marriage to Kissy.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service:
For the first time there are no scenes at the Secret Service headquarters. Instead
M is operating from a submarine ("M1") due to the seriousness of the situation. M
is seen in naval uniform, indicating that he is an admiral (a reference to the M
of Fleming's novels, who was named as Admiral Sir Miles Messervy). Moneypenny
is also wearing uniform. She is referred to as "Penny" by Bond, but it is unclear
whether this is just a nickname or actually her first name.
Locations: The main action starts off in Hong Kong, before moving to various locations in Japan, including Tokyo and the island of Matsu. There are also brief scenes in outer space, Cape Cod US mission control, a tracking station in Hawaii, the Pentagon, a Russian launch site, and a conference centre in an unidentified (but snowy) location.
The villain: After the build-up in From Russia With Love and Thunderball
we finally get to meet Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE. In a nice touch,
Blofeld is shown as a shadowy figure as in the earlier films up until the point where
Bond meets him. Blofeld is revealed to be bald and to have a nasty scar over his eye,
although no reason for this is given.
The girl: You Only Live Twice is unusual in that the role of the Bond
girl is split between two characters. The first is Aki, a Japanese SIS agent who
is Bond's contact in Tokyo. We don't find out much about her, other than that she
drives a neat white Toyota sports car, but Bond seems very taken with her and
keen to marry her as part of his fisherman's cover. However, she doesn't make it
to the end of the film since she is killed by a
SPECTRE assassin with poison intended for Bond.
Bond's conquests: Three - Aki, Helga Brandt and Kissy (assuming that he wasn't interrupted too soon by Moneypenny at the end of the film). He appears to start early in the film, with Ling, the girl in Hong Kong, but he is interrupted by machine gun fire before he has the chance to sample her "Peking duck".
Gadgets: The main gadget used by Bond is Little Nellie, an autogyro that can
be transported in four large suitcases and then assembled into a formidable aircraft. She
is equipped with two fixed machine guns (synchronised to a range of 100 yards),
smoke emitters, air-to-air missiles, a flame thrower (with a range of 80 yards)
and aerial mines. Bond has clearly used Little Nellie before, although that was before
Q had fitted some of the armaments.
Recurring characters: As mentioned above, Blofeld is finally revealed as the main villain of the movie after previously featuring as a supporting character in From Russia With Love and Thunderball. In a neat continuity touch Blofeld wears an octopus ring as he did in those two films. Donald Pleasence was a late choice for the role when the original actor, Jan Werich, fell ill.
Continuity: The main element of continuity is of course the presence of SPECTRE.
Bond is clearly suspecting to become involved with them again since he suggests that
they are behind the plot to abduct spacecraft on the basis of little evidence.
I didn't catch the name?: Bond doesn't give his trademark introduction. This is understandable given the fact that he is operating undercover following his supposed death.
Vodka Martinis: Henderson provides Bond with Russian vodka, "stirred not shaken". Bond comments that it is perfect, but seems to be humouring him. Later, 007 samples some bad Siamese vodka when searching Osato's office. He also drinks some Dom Perignon during his official visit to Osato, plus Saki with Tanaka (served at the correct temperature of 98.4 degrees Farenheit).
Bond tells Moneypenny that he took a first in Oriental languages at Cambridge.
This is contrary to what we know about Bond from the novels and Raymond
Benson's novelisation of Tomorrow Never Dies suggests that he was lying
to impress Moneypenny. However, the fact that Bond was at Cambridge was confirmed
in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Bond does indeed speak Japanese in You Only Live
The narrative of the film takes place over the course of 20 days (the time between
the two American space missions).
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.