On Tuesday, cinema lost one of its most iconic Bond actors: Sir Roger Moore, who stepped into the role of secret agent 007 after Sean Connery’s tenure, died at the age of 89, leaving behind an unmatched Hollywood legacy.
Daniel Craig has his edgier Bond, Connery had his poise, and Moore gave new meaning to the eyebrow raise, leaning into the levity of the films (for better or worse) more so than others.
“I tried to find out what Bond was all about, but you can’t tell much from the books,” the actor told EW in a 2008 interview. “There’s the line that says ‘He didn’t take pleasure in killing, but took pride in doing it well.’ So that’s what I did. But the other side of me was saying, This is a famous spy — everyone knows his name, and every bartender in the world knows he likes martinis shaken, not stirred. Come on, it’s all a big joke! So most of the time I played it tongue-in-cheek.”
Moore’s time as 007 featured iconic car chases, death-defying stunts, and classic zingers, and he went about it with a wink and a smile. Here are some of his most memorable moments as the character.
1. He played Bond before becoming Bond
Moore made his first appearance as agent 007 about nine years before his first Bond movie, 1973’s Live and Let Die. Guesting on the British sketch comedy show, Mainly Millicent, in the summer of 1964, the actor portrayed the secret agent in a Bond bit. Actress Millicent Martin played Sonia Sekova, a Russian operative, who encounters Bond while he’s trying to enjoy his holiday. Witness the beginning of what would come to define Moore’s signature styling for the character.
2. Double-decker bus chase
It’s no Aston Martin, but the British super spy handles a double-decker bus with (mostly) ease during what is one of the most memorable moments from Live and Let Die. Bond and Solitaire (Jane Seymour) commandeer the vehicle as they struggle to evade police, who are in the pocket of Dr. Kananga. At one point, the bus barrels under a low-hanging bridge, tearing the top portion of the bus clean off and causing one of the cops to skid into a pond.
3. Parachute ski jump
Dodging bullets and the terrible CGI of 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond propels down a snow-covered mountain slope as Russian agents pursue (remarkably well balanced on their skis). A few acrobatic maneuvers later and Bond shoots off a cliff to escape. His death seems imminent until a parachute emerges from his pack. Cue the trumpet blare from the Bond theme.
4. Extreme skydiving
1979’s Moonraker nominally ranks as one of Moore’s worst Bond stints (it’s Bond in space!) but his high-skies tussle with a thug makes for one enjoyable fight sequence. Jaws, one of the agent’s best villains from this era, pushes Bond from a plane without a parachute. As he gets closer and closer to smashing into the ground, 007 sweeps in to snatch an assailant’s parachute. Jaws, however, isn’t far behind.
5. Fun house fight
Another classic bad guy from the age of Moore is Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga, who challenges Bond to a duel on his island hideout in 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun. It begins on the beach and spills into a fun house, with the carnival mind trip heightening the tension as our hero makes his way through a hall of mirrors. Tormented by trickster sounds, images, and animatronics, Bond manages to work Scaramanga’s own illusions against him.
6. “Can you swim?”
Moore brings the spy swagger in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, where he famously asks Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach), “Can you swim?” It also marks one of 007’s coolest gadgets, an advanced car that seamlessly transitions into a submarine with special tricks getting rid of “unwanted guests.”
7. Kick the car
Bond isn’t always so forgiving. With Locque (Michael Gothard) teetering on the edge of a cliffside drop, 007 doesn’t just let the man fall towards the rocks, he gives him a little kick to send him on his way.
8. Car barrel roll
The gents from Top Gear tried recreating this epic movie stunt in The Man With the Golden Gun and failed miserably, though they had much better luck with a second go. “Ever heard of Evel Knievel?” Bond asks his terrified passenger at the end of a car chase. The resulting barrel roll is one of the better stunts from the long-running franchise. If only it wasn’t for that sound effect.
9. Killer crocs
A classic source of error is when villains leave the scene before witnessing the hero’s demise. Wouldn’t they want to be sure beyond a reasonable doubt of their plan’s success? Kananga makes this mistake when he just assumes Bond will be torn to shreds by a bunch of hungry gators, but 007, ever agile, skips across the water on the backs of these beasts to safety.
10. Walken off a bridge
In 1985’s A View to Kill, Bond chases Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. When his henchman becomes incapacitated, the blonde baddie must take matters into his own hands, leading to a fight on one of the bridge’s suspenders. Even in the face of his own death, Zorin offers a cackle before plummeting towards the water.