Live and Let Die

Directed by
Guy Hamilton
Produced by
Albert R. Broccoli
Harry Saltzman
Screenplay by
Music by
George Martin
Roger Moore
Yaphet Kotto
Jane Seymour
David Hedison
Bernard Lee
Live and Let Die James Bond 007 Movie Poster

Live and Let Die is the eighth spy film in the James Bond series to be produced by Eon Productions, and the first to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent 007 James Bond. Live and Let Die departs from the former plots of the James Bond films about megalomaniac super-villains, and instead focuses on drug trafficking, depicted primarily in blaxploitation films. It is set in African American cultural centres such as Harlem and New Orleans, as well as the Caribbean Islands. It was also the first James Bond film featuring an African American Bond girl to be romantically involved with 007.

Three British MI6 agents, including one "on loan" to the American government, are killed within 24 hours, under mysterious circumstances, while monitoring the operations of Dr. Kananga, the dictator of a small Caribbean island, San Monique. James Bond (agent 007) is sent to New York to investigate the first murder. Kananga is also in New York, visiting the United Nations. Just after Bond arrives, his driver is shot dead by a passing motorist, while taking Bond to meet Felix Leiter of the CIA. Bond is nearly killed in the ensuing car crash.

A trace on the killer's licence plate eventually leads Bond to Mr. Big, a ruthless and cunning gangster who runs a chain of Fillet of Soul restaurants throughout the United States. It is here that Bond first meets Solitaire, a beautiful virgin tarot expert who has the uncanny ability to see both the future and remote events in the present. Mr. Big, who is actually Kananga in disguise, demands that his henchmen kill Bond, but Bond overpowers them and escapes unscathed. Bond flies to San Monique, where he meets Rosie Carver, a CIA double agent. They meet up with a friend of Bond's, Quarrel Jr., who takes them by boat to Solitaire's home. Bond suspects Rosie of working for Kananga. She is shot dead, remotely, by Kananga, to stop her confessing the truth to Bond. Inside Solitaire's house, Bond uses a stacked tarot deck of cards, that show only "The Lovers", to trick her into thinking that seduction is in her future, and then seduces her. Solitaire loses her ability to foretell the future when she loses her virginity to Bond and is forced into cooperating with Bond to bring down Kananga.

Bond and Solitaire escape by boat and fly to New Orleans. There, Bond is captured by 'Mr. Big', who reveals himself to be Kananga. It transpires that Kananga is producing two tons of heroin and is protecting the poppy fields by exploiting locals' fear of voodoo and the occult. Through his alter ego, Mr. Big, Kananga plans to distribute the heroin free of charge at his Fillet of Soul restaurants, which will increase the number of addicts. Kananga also believes that other drug dealers, namely the Mafia, cannot compete with his giveaway, to which Kananga can later charge high prices for the heroin, after he has simultaneously cultivated huge drug dependency and bankrupted his competitors.

Kananga asks Bond if he has slept with Solitaire. When he finds out that he has, Kananga turns Solitaire over to Baron Samedi to be sacrificed, as her ability to read tarot cards is gone. Meanwhile, Kananga's one-armed henchman, Tee Hee Johnson, leaves Bond to be eaten by crocodiles at a farm in the Louisiana backwoods. Bond escapes by running along the animals' backs to safety. He sets the farm on fire and steals a speedboat. He is then pursued by Kananga's men, as well as local Sheriff J.W. Pepper and the Louisiana State Police.

Back in San Monique, Bond rescues Solitaire from the voodoo sacrifice with a .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver and throws Samedi into a coffin of snakes. Bond and Solitaire escape below ground into Kananga's lair. Kananga captures them both and proceeds to lower them into a shark tank. Bond escapes and forces a shark gun pellet into Kananga's mouth, causing him to blow up like a balloon, float to the top of the cave, and explode.

After the job is done, Felix puts Bond and Solitaire onto a train and out of the country. Tee Hee Johnson follows Bond and Solitaire onto the train and tries to kill Bond, but loses his prosthetic arm in a fight with him and is flung out of the window. As the film ends, Bond comforts Solitaire, and a laughing Samedi is revealed perched on the front of the speeding train.