AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Alternate Title: Ian Fleming's Moonraker
Director: Lewis Gilbert (Dir)
Release Date:   29 Jun 1979
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles and New York openings: 29 Jun 1979
Production Date:   14 Aug 1978--Feb 1979 in Paris, France; Venice, Italy; Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Guatemala; and Florida
Duration (in mins):   126
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Cast:   Roger Moore (James Bond/[agent 007]) as
  Starring Lois Chiles (Holly Goodhead)  
  Starring Michael Lonsdale ([Hugo] Drax) as
  Starring Richard Kiel (Jaws) as
  and Corinne Clery (Corinne Dufour)  
  Featuring: Emily Bolton (Manuela)  
    Geoffrey Keen (Frederick Gray)  
    Toshiro Suga (Chang)  
    Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny)  
    Irka Bochenko (Blonde beauty)  
    Nicholas Arbez (Drax's boy)  
  [And] Bernard Lee ("M") as
  And: Desmond Llewelyn ("Q")  
    Blanche Ravalec (Dolly)  
    Anne Lonnberg (Museum guide)  
    Michael Marshall (Col. Scott)  
    Jean Pierre Castaldi (Pilot private jet)  
  [And] Leila Shenna (Hostess private jet)  
    Walter Gotell (General Gogol)  
    Douglas Lambert (Mission control director)  
    Arthur Howard (Cavendish)  
    Alfie Bass (Consumptive Italian)  
    Brian Keith (U.S. shuttle captain)  
    George Birt (Captain Boeing 747)  
    Kim Fortune (R.A.F. Officer)  
    Lizzie Warville (Russian girl)  
    Johnny Traber's Troupe (Funambulists)  
    Guy Di Rigo (Ambulanceman)  
    Chris Dillinger (Drax's technician)  
    Claude Carliez (Gondolier)  
    Georges Beller (Drax's technician)  
    Denis Seurat (Officer Boeing 747)  
  Drax's girls: Chichinou Kaeppler    
    Christina Hui    
    Francoise Gayat    
    Nicaise Jean Louis    
    Catherine Serre    
  [and] Beatrice Libert    

Summary: After an American Moonraker space shuttle is stolen while on loan to England, the British secret service, known as MI6, summons top agent James Bond, code name “007,” to investigate. During the briefing at M16 headquarters in London, England, Bond suggests a visit to the shuttle’s manufacturer, Drax Industries, based in California. Before departing, Bond is provided with the latest MI6 gadget, a small dart gun concealed on the wrist. In the California desert, a beautiful employee at Drax named Corinne Dufour escorts Bond to the sprawling chateau and estate of aerospace tycoon Hugo Drax, located near the Moonraker construction facility. Welcoming Bond, the shrewd Mr. Drax remarks that 007’s visit is England’s way of apologizing for the loss of the U.S. shuttle. As Bond departs on a tour of the Moonraker complex, Drax whispers to his henchman, Chang, to assassinate the agent. Corinne leads Bond to the research facility where he meets the attractive Dr. Holly Goodhead, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut on loan to Drax Industries. Holly shows Bond a centrifuge trainer, which simulates the gravity force of an outer space launch. Curious, Bond climbs in the trainer for a ride, and Holly explains that the instructor in the control room will keep the speed at a tolerable intensity. As Holly temporarily leaves to make a phone call, however, Chang takes over from the instructor and increases the speed of the centrifuge to a dangerous level. Unable to activate the emergency off switch, Bond uses the wrist dart to cut the power. As the agent stumbles out of the machine, Holly assumes the centrifuge malfunctioned, but Bond notices the culprit Chang leaving the control room. That evening, Bond seduces Corinne and gleans from her the location of a safe in Drax’s study. After unlocking the code, Bond photographs classified blueprints illustrating a cylinder made of Venini glass, containing three vials. Before leaving the estate, Bond thwarts another assassination attempt at a pheasant shoot. Meanwhile, Drax has Corinne killed for her betrayal. Next, Bond travels to Venice, Italy, to visit the Venini Glass factory, a subsidiary of Drax Industries. There, he is surprised to encounter Holly, who claims she is in town for a conference. Along the Venetian canals, Bond relies on MI6’s high-tech amphibious gondola to dodge Drax’s hired killers. In the evening, he breaks into the factory and infiltrates a secret laboratory. When the technicians walk out of the room, Bond confiscates one of three glass vials containing a clear liquid. Hearing voices return, he quickly hides inside an airtight control chamber and leaves the other two vials perched on top of a globe apparatus in the laboratory. When a technician accidentally knocks over the vials causing them to shatter, Bond observes that the spilled liquid becomes a lethal gas that immediately kills the men, but has no effect on the laboratory mice. Leaving, Bond is confronted by Chang, an experienced Samurai fighter, and the two men duel through the empty factory. Reaching the attic clock tower, Bond outwits Chang and sends the henchmen careening through the glass clock face to his death. Meanwhile, Bond notices the attic contains Drax crates marked “C and W Rio De Janeiro, Brazil." At the Hotel Danieli, Bond rendezvouses with Holly and confirms that she is a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative spying on Drax Industries. After agreeing to pool their resources, the two agents make love. When Bond returns to the factory the next day wearing a gas mask, the laboratory has already been dismantled and transformed into an elegant suite. However, Bond still has the vial evidence, which he gives to his MI6 superior, “M,” for analysis. Following the clue on the crates, Bond arrives in Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile, Drax hires the gigantic henchman with the steel teeth, known as “Jaws,” to replace Chang. MI6’s Brazilian contact, Manuela, informs Bond that “C and W” stands for the import-export company, Carlos and Wilmsberg, which operates as Drax Air Freight from a local Rio airport. The next day, Bond finds a viewpoint on Sugarloaf Mountain to observe the airport activity. While looking through the telescope, he sees Holly next to him, following the same trail of evidence. The agents agree that Drax is moving his operation to an unknown location. As Bond and Holly take a cable car down the mountain, Jaws attempts to kill them. The agents narrowly dodge the threat by gliding down the cable on a chain until they can drop safely to the ground. However, they are then kidnapped by a team of Drax henchmen, disguised as an emergency medical crew. Bond escapes from the ambulance, but is unable to free Holly. Meanwhile, the cable car transporting Jaws crashes, but the hoodlum survives, and amid the wreckage, he befriends a quirky woman half his size, named Dolly. Later, Bond arrives at a covert MI6 training base in Brazil and is informed that the liquid in the vial is a toxic nerve gas, lethal to humans, but not to animals. The formula was extracted from a rare orchid, indigenous to an area in the Brazilian rainforest. Entrusted with a special-equipped motorboat, Bond navigates the Amazon River in search of Drax’s outfit. A chase ensues when Bond once again encounters Jaws, who is assisted by a crew of henchmen with explosives. Approaching the vertical drop of a waterfall, Bond escapes on a hang glider while Jaws and the others tumble over the rapids. From there, Bond lands in the rainforest and is lured to Drax’s secret compound by a beautiful woman. Once inside, however, a python attacks. As Bond breaks free, Drax arrives and expresses disappointment that his plans for the agent’s “amusing death” have been foiled once again. The tycoon then leads Bond to an underground command center as four Moonraker shuttles are launched into outer space. Drax confirms that he stole the Moonraker that was on loan to the British after one of the shuttles on the assembly line developed a defect. Drax instructs Jaws, who endured the waterfall plunge, to take Bond to a large chamber where the agent is reunited with Holly. Suddenly, the ceiling of the chamber opens to reveal the exhaust jets of Moonraker Five, about to launch. To avoid being incinerated, Bond opens an air vent using an explosive inside his watch, and the two agents crawl to safety. Meanwhile, Drax blasts off for outer space on board Moonraker Five. Bond and Holly then assault two shuttle pilots, don their spacesuits, and hijack Moonraker Six, which is on an automatic flight path following the previous shuttles. Once in orbit, the agents notice that the cabin passengers are young, attractive couples holding hands, which reminds Bond of Noah’s Ark. The six Moonraker shuttles dock at a giant space station, undetectable on radar, which is why Drax’s orbiting city has remained a secret to authorities on Earth. Entering the space station, Bond sees the same globes containing vials of nerve gas. Unrecognized in their spacesuits, he and Holly listen as Drax addresses the passengers, describing them as a new super-race of perfect human specimens whose offspring will re-populate Earth. Next, Bond and Holly locate the station’s radar jamming system and disable it. As soon as the U.S. military detects the orbiting station, they launch a space shuttle to investigate. Meanwhile, Drax begins sending globes of nerve gas toward Earth’s atmosphere to destroy mankind. Elsewhere, Bond and Holly are captured by Jaws and brought to Drax. In the presence of Jaws, Bond makes Drax reiterate that humans who do not meet the “standards of physical perfection” will be eliminated. The odd-looking Jaws realizes the consequences and revolts against Drax, but the guards subdue him, as well as Holly and Bond. Determined to fulfill his plan, Drax fires a laser at the approaching U.S. shuttle, but Bond is able to hit an emergency switch in time to deactivate the weapon. As Marines from the U.S. shuttle infiltrate the station and overpower Drax’s crew, Bond pursues the criminal mastermind and surprises him with a dart fired from the wrist gadget. Through an air-lock door, Bond expels Drax into outer space. As the station begins to disintegrate, Bond and Holly escape in Moonraker Five with help from Jaws and his girl friend Dolly, who are later rescued. Next, Bond and Holly track three nerve gas globes heading toward Earth and destroy them. Later, the U.S. command center contacts the two agents through an audio-video transmission, only to find Bond and Holly making love on the Moonraker shuttle. 

Production Company: Les Productions Artistes Associes  
  Eon Productions Ltd.  
Production Text: Albert R. Broccoli presents
Distribution Company: United Artists (An MGM Company)
Director: Lewis Gilbert (Dir)
  Ernest Day (2d unit dir)
  John Glen (2d unit dir)
  Jean-Pierre Spiri-Mercanton (Prod mgr)
  Terence Churcher (Prod mgr)
  Robert Saussier (Unit mgr-France)
  Chris Kenny (Unit mgr-U.K.)
  Michel Cheyko (Asst dir)
  Peter Bennett (Asst dir-2d unit)
  Meyer Berreby (Asst dir-2d unit)
  Gareth Tandy (Asst dir-Models)
  Chris Carreras (2d asst dir)
Producer: Albert R. Broccoli (Prod)
  William P. Cartlidge (Assoc prod)
  Michael G. Wilson (Exec prod)
Writer: Christopher Wood (Scr)
Photography: Jean Tournier (Dir of photog)
  Jacques Renoir (2d unit cam)
  Alec Mills (Cam op)
  Michel Deloire (Cam op)
  Guy Delattre (Cam op)
  John Morgan (Cam op)
  James Devis (Cam op)
  Chunky Huse (Cam grip)
  Rene Strasser (Key grip)
  Jacques Touilland (Gaffer)
  Patrick Morin (Stills photog)
  Panavision® (Filmed in)
  Laboratoires Franay-L.T.C. (Film processing by)
  Technicolor® (Film processing by)
Art Direction: Ken Adam (Prod des)
  Max Douy (Art dir)
  Charles Bishop (Art dir)
  Harry Lange (Space art dir)
  Marc Frederix (Asst art dir)
  Jacques Douy (Asst art dir)
  Serge Douy (Asst art dir)
  Ernie Archer (Asst art dir)
  John Fenner (Asst art dir)
Film Editor: John Glen (Ed)
  John Grover (Assembly ed)
  Michael Round (Asst ed)
  Peter Davies (Asst ed)
  Luce Gruenwaldt (Asst ed)
Set Decoration: Peter Howitt (Set dec)
  Pierre Charron (Set dresser)
  Andre Labussiere (Set dresser)
  John Lanzer (Buyer)
  Alain Guyard (Buyer)
  Jean Nossereau (Buyer)
  Louis Duquenne (Const mgr)
  Michael Redding (Const mgr)
  Raymond Le Moigne (Props)
  Pierre Roudeix (Props)
Costumes: Jacques Fonteray (Cost des)
  Jean Zay (Ward master)
  Colette Baudot (Ward mistress)
Music: John Barry (Mus)
  Studio Davout Paris (Mus rec at)
Sound: Catherine Kelber (Dial ed)
  Daniel Brisseau (Sd mixer)
  Gerard De Lagarde (Sd asst)
  Jean Labourel (Sd asst)
  Jean Pierre Lelong (Sd eff)
  Allan Sones (Dubbing ed)
  Colin Miller (Dubbing ed)
  Dino Di Campo (Dubbing ed)
  Gordon K. McCallum (Chief re-rec mixer)
  Graham V. Hartstone (Re-rec mixer)
  Nicholas Le Messurier (Re-rec mixer)
  John Iles (Dolby consultant)
  S.I.M.O. Paris (Sd re-rec by)
  Pinewood Studios London (Sd re-rec by)
Special Effects: Paul Wilson (Visual eff cam)
  Robin Browne (Opt eff cam)
  Derek Meddings (Visual eff supv)
  Peter Lamont (Visual eff art dir)
  Maurice Binder (Main title des)
  Bill Hansard (Process consultant)
  Michel Francois Films (Opt eff-France)
  Louis Lapeyre (Process eff-France)
  Jean Berard (Visual eff - France)
  John Evans (Spec eff)
  John Richardson (Spec eff)
  Rene Albouze (Spec eff)
  Serge Ponvianne (Spec eff)
  Charles Assola (Spec eff)
Make Up: Monique Archambault (Make-up artist)
  Paul Engelen (Make-up artist)
  Pierre Vade (Hairdresser)
  Mike Jones (Roger Moore's hair by)
Production Misc: Vernon Harris (Scr ed)
  Bob Simmons (Action seq arr by)
  Reginald A. Barkshire (Prod controller)
  Brian Bailey (Prod accountant)
  Paul Beugin (Prod accountant-France)
  Frank Ernst (Loc mgr-Brazil)
  Philippe Modave (Loc mgr-Italy)
  John Comfort (Loc mgr-U.S.A.)
  Andy Armstrong (Asst loc mgr-Brazil)
  Elaine Schreyeck (Continuity)
  Josie Fulford (Continuity)
  Gladys Goldsmith (Continuity)
  Margot Capelier (Casting dir)
  Weston Drury, Jr. (Casting dir)
  Eric Burgess F.R.A.S. (Space consultant)
  Robert Boulic (Asst unit mgr-France)
  Simone Escoffier (Prod secy)
  Marguerite Green (Prod asst)
  Dominique Bach (Prod's secy)
  Steve Swan (Unit pub)
  Gilles Durieux (Unit pub)
Stand In: Claude Carliez (Stunt arranger-France)
  Claude Carliez (Stunt team)
  Martin Grace (Stunt team)
  Richard Graydon (Stunt team)
  Dorothy Ford (Stunt team)
  Michel Berreur (Stunt team)
  Daniel Breton (Stunt team)
  Guy Di Rigo (Stunt team)
  Paul Weston (Stunt team)
MPAA Rating: PG
Country: Great Britain, France and United States
Language: English
Series: James Bond

Music: The James Bond theme written by Monty Norman; Theme from The Magnificent Seven composed by Elmer Bernstein, published by United Artists.
Songs: "Moonraker," performed by Shirley Bassey, composed by John Barry, lyrics by Hal David.
Composer: John Barry
  Elmer Bernstein
  Hal David
  Monty Norman
Source Text: Based on the novel Moonraker by Ian Fleming (London, 1955).
Authors: Ian Fleming

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
United Artists Corporation 9/7/1979 dd/mm/yyyy PA38138

PCA NO: 25614
Physical Properties: Sd: Recorded in Dolby Stereo
  Lenses/Prints: Filmed in Panavision®

Genre: Adventure
Sub-Genre: Espionage
Subjects (Major): Assassins
  Experiments, Human
  Secret agents
Subjects (Minor): Airplanes
  Amazon River Region
  Doberman pinscher dogs
  Experiments, Human
  Gases, Asphyxiating and poisonous
  Glass factories
  Gondolas and gondoliers
  Human race
  Jumps from heights
  Laser weapons
  Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  Skydivers and skydiving
  Space travel
  Venice (Italy)

Note: End credits include the following information: “A Franco-British co-production made by Les Productions Artistes Associes (Paris) and Eon Productions Ltd. (London) at Studios de Boulogne, Paris-Studios-Cinema, Eclair Studios (Paris) and Pinewood Studios (London) and on location in Italy, Brazil, Guatemala, U.S.A. and outer space!” End credits also contain the statement: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the assistance and cooperation of: Rockwell International Space Division; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; U.S. Air Force; U.S. Marine Corps; Department of National Parks (Brazil); Government of Argentina; Florida State Film Commission; Paris Airport; Glastron Boat Company; Seiko Watches; Bollinger Champagne; Air France; Seven Up; Marlboro; Christian Dior; Canon Cameras; British Airways; Varig Airways.” The final title to appear onscreen contains the following statement: “James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only.
       As announced in a 10 May 1978 Var brief, Moonraker became the eleventh production in the “James Bond” film series, after For Your Eyes Only (1981, see entry) was postponed.
       Articles from the 23 Aug 1978 Var and the 15 Oct 1978 LAT explained that the filmmakers shifted principal photography from the traditional Bond stages at Pinewood Studios near London, England, to soundstages in Paris, France, to take advantage of financial aid from the French film industry. Special effects work was still housed at Pinewood, which permitted the production to benefit from British tax credits. The film represented one of the most ambitious co-productions between Britain and France to date. Producer Albert R. Broccoli stated that the French company, Les Productions Artistes Associes, owned fifty-five percent of the film, while the British firm, Eon Productions Ltd., held a forty-five percent share. A 4 Jul 1979 Var article noted that the original $25 million production budget escalated to $30 million. Promotional expenses and prints were estimated at $10 million.
       According to the 23 Aug 1978 Var article, principal photography began in Paris on 14 Aug 1978. For a period of six to eight months, the production reserved the stages of three major Paris-area studios: Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris Studios Cinema, and Epinay Studios, also known as Eclair Studios. The coalition of soundstages represented the first time the competing studios had pooled their resources to service a single production. Location work took place for three weeks in Venice, Italy, followed by another three weeks in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. In Venice, the production shot at the St. Mark’s Square clock tower and the monastery of St. Nicolo, as noted in the 15 Oct 1978 LAT article. Additional locations included Guatemala and the Florida Everglades, according to the 4 Jul 1979 Var article. A 25 Oct 1978 HR brief reported that the production was expected to complete after six months of shooting in Feb 1979.
       In the 15 Oct 1978 LAT article, producer Albert R. Broccoli mentioned that the filmmakers received research assistance, as well as script approval, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
       On account of an eyesight impairment, the cinematographer originally hired, Claude Renoir, was replaced just prior to the start of production by director of photography Jean Tournier, as a reported in a 14 Aug 1978 DV item.
       At the box-office, Moonraker set new records for a Bond film, earning almost $58 million worldwide after eight weeks in release, as reported in a 29 Aug 1979 Var article.
       While critical reaction was mixed, several reviewers noted that the film suffered from a sense of repetition and déjà vu. The 29 Jun 1979 LAHExam described the problem as “pre-nostalgia – the filmmakers not only rip themselves off silly but do it without invention, as if we could be satisfied by the memories of the originals.” However, the 29 Jun 1979 NYT wrote that Moonraker was “one of the most buoyant Bond films of all.” The reviewer described the picture as “the unimaginable most satisfactorily imagined,” and compared it to early adventure serials and the “movie-making of the kind [silent filmmaker] Georges Méliès pioneered.”
       The film received an Academy Award nomination in the category of Visual Effects for Derek Meddings, Paul Wilson, and John Evans. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   14 Aug 1978.   
Hollywood Reporter   25 Oct 1978.   
Hollywood Reporter   27 Jun 1979   p. 3.
LAHExam   29 Jun 1979   Section B, p. 1, 9.
Los Angeles Times   15 Oct 1978   Calendar, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times   29 Jun 1979   Section F, p. 1.
New York Times   29 Jun 1979   p. 3.
Variety   10 May 1978.   
Variety   23 Aug 1978   p. 51, 53.
Variety   27 Jun 1979   p. 18.
Variety   4 Jul 1979.   
Variety   29 Aug 1979.   

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