Review: You Only Live Twice (1967)

You Only Live Twice (1967) dvd cover

“As you can see, I am about to inaugurate a little war. In a matter of hours after America and Russia have annihilated each other. We shall see a new power dominating the world.”
– Ernst Stavro Blofeld

New drama arises between the East/West when an American spacecraft gets hijacked in space. The United States is positive it is the Russians, who in turn have nothing to do with it. The British are sure that it has nothing to do with their little Cold War, but more to do with someone else, after all, it appears to have something to do with the Japanese.

MI6 agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to Tokyo to fake his own death, which goes down well. The papers report the news, and his enemies seem to breathe. He meets up with M (Bernard Lee) on a submarine, and is advised that he needs to find out what the hell happened to the missing spacecraft and soon – the Americans are to deploy another spacecraft soon, and the Russians before them even. Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) gives Bond the things that he needs, and the passcodes set up with Japanese intelligence agencies. Bond sets out for Tokyo, and is met by Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), who works for Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba), Bond’s elite Japanese contact. Tanaka puts Bond onto Dikko Henderson (Charles Gray), the local MI6 operative. He claims that he has evidence of the rogue craft that is picking off the spacecraft, but is killed.


Bond takes it upon himself to investigate Osato Chemicals, and escapes with stolen documents that lead him further along the way to finding out what is going on. Bond finally meets Tanaka in person, and they further their investigation. Bond returns to Osato Chemicals to meet with Mr Osato (Teru Shimada) himself as a potential new buyer. Osato orders his secretary, Helga Brandt (Karin Dor), to dispose of Bond the moment he walks out the door. Bond checks out the docking lead that he and Tanaka have, and is imprisoned by Helga. He bribes his way out, and Tanaka rescues him. Q (Desmond Llewellyn) supplies some toys to assist Bond in his mission. Bond establishes that their is an island with nothing happening on it, but he now knows that SPECTRE is behind the missing spacecraft, headed up by Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence), aka SPECTRE Number 1.


“James Bond. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ernst Stavro Blofeld.” – Blofeld

This new information means that Bond needs to go deep undercover – he needs to become Japanese to get onto the island for infiltration and find out where SPECTRE is doing what before the United States and Russia go to war. His undercover wife, Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama), shares critical information with Bond that will lead them to the location of the SPECTRE base. Will Bond be able to pull it off in time? Can he stop Ernst Stavro Blofeld in his tracks, throw a spanner in the works and save the day again as always?


“No honeymoon. This is business.” – Kissy Suzuki

You Only Live Twice scores only a 6/10. I don’t know, the content was not particularly gripping, and I know the movies are old and the special effects are sometimes questionable, but they were downright dubious and ludicrous in this one. It just looked terrible. The acting struck me as stiffer than usual, and there seemed to be a lot of filler stuff crammed into the movie to give it some body. Overall, not my favourite Bond film, and it left a lot to be desired. It was good to finally have a look at Number 1, though, so props to that at the very least. I must say, the script was very superficial, and not much was given forth about anything in You Only Live Twice, not even more about SPECTRE, really. There was again some cheese to it, but this cheese just didn’t seem to gel so nicely with the movie overall. Not the worst Bond so far, but definitely did not excite me at all.

16 thoughts on “Review: You Only Live Twice (1967)

  1. You may remember that I’ve only seen one or two Bond movies but damn I love Donald Pleasence. Might have to give this one a go. Great work, as always!!


  2. I agree with your take. You Only Live Twice has a cool opening and a great finale in the volcano, but there is a lot of filler in the middle. Bond also has some painful treatment of women, which shouldn’t be surprising but seems worse this time. I think that Connery was ready to leave after this one and phoned in his performance for the most part.


    • Yeah too much fluff. Really, the treatment of the women was bad (I don’t know, maybe it had a lot to do with the times), but this one was particularly rough, you are right. So much fell flat on this one.


    • Thank goodness you checked out a redeeming Bond! There are some good ones and there are some bad ones, this one falling into the latter category!


  3. This was a weak Connery entry but still had it’s moments. Doesn’t really hold up that well like his earlier efforts. I actually enjoyed Never Say Never Again more than this one.

    Good work on the write up, Zoe!


  4. It were the Bond girls that ruined this one for me. I get that Bond is meant to be irresistible, but Connery doesn’t even try here. He just looks at women and they kiss him. I mean, come on! (Totally not jealously talking…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I am sure! I could never understand the obsession with him, especially here. That was an issue that I had with some of the Bond films, how insipid the women were. And some of the major abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

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