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You Only Live Twice [VHS]
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Product Description

The film boasts the best of the Bond title songs (this one sung on a dreamy track by Nancy Sinatra), but the movie itself is one of the weaker ones of the Sean Connery phase of the 007 franchise. The story concerns an effort by the evil organization SPECTRE to start a world war, but the not-so-super villain behind the plot is the awfully civilized Donald Pleasence. The thin script is by Roald Dahl (shouldn't we have expected a better Bond nemesis from the creator of mad genius Willy Wonka?), and direction is by British veteran Lewis Gilbert (Alfie). But the movie can't hold a candle to Dr. No, From Russia with Love, or Goldfinger. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews:

  • Super Reader
    Bond is pretty depressed after the death of his wife. One of M's contemporaries suggests a crazy mission to snap him out of it, so M sends him to Japan.

    Tiger Tanaka is head of Japanese Intelligence, and will give Bond what M wants if he will rid them of a local villain called Dr. Shatterhand.

    Hiding in a deadly garden, Shatterhand is really Blofeld, living with his assistant.

    The girl in this book is Kissy Suzuki, who ends up taking care of Bond after he is injured in a final duel with Blofeld, and loses his memory. ...more info
  • JAMES BONDs Dichotomy of Styles East meets West
    YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE contained elements of espionage, action, thrills, adventure and science fiction. Looking back it somehow worked loosely when put together yet till this day I can not determine what the cohesive element was. Looking at it closely the film is a real dichotomy of styles. The first hour is excellently filmed and works very well. We get to see James Bond the spy, working with recognition codes, breaking into safes, going under cover and the like. There is an excellently choreographed fight scene between Bond and a sumo wrestler. This is also the first time he developed a good working relationship with a fellow intelligence head, Tiger Tanaka, similar to that of Kerim Bey in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. We also see that "M" has absolute confidence in his man. "This is the big one," he tells Bond knowing that 007 is the only one capable of pulling off this assignment. There is also quite a bit of very witty dialog in the first hour of this film. In the first hour the pace is deliberate, but never boring or unentertaining. It ends with Bond flying "Little Nellie," delivered by "Q," into an aerial dogfight with four helicopters. As it moves into the second hour more of the science fiction and fantasy elements start to take center stage. The film starts to look untidy and meanders along till it gets to the excellently filmed battle between Tanaka's ninjas and Blofeld's private army in his Volcano lair. It's not a bad Bond film, but it should have been a lot better. I think the culprit was the editing. Russian and American manned space capsules were being snatched out of orbit by an "intruder missile." Bond had to find the location and the identity of those responsible before World War III breaks out. The filmmakers decided not to surprise us at the end of the film, but instead show us, not Bond, that this "intruder missile" is in fact owned by SPECTRE and is being launched from Blofeld's Volcano lair in Japan. That comes a little past the hour mark. That being the case there was a good opportunity to develop suspense, as Bond has to locate the launch site. When Bond finally does find the volcano he has very little reaction to his discovery. He in fact seems to have come prepared with suction cup kneepads, which he uses to climb upside down and into the volcano. Tanaka shows up with his men, the battle ensues and Bond saves the day. It just could have been done much better considering how well the first half of the film was handled. The massive sets designed by Ken Adam were highly innovative and stylized and are probably the best of the entire series. M's office aboard the submarine, M-1, was also pretty innovative incorporating furniture and decorations from his office from the Ministry of Defense back in London. John Barry wrote a brilliant score. His music for the "Capsule in Space" was eerily ominous. He also incorporated sections of the "James Bond Theme" very effectively subsequent to Henderson's death and the fight in Osato's office. Barry's "Mountains and Sunset" went beautifully with Freddie Young's Cinematography. This and his score for ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE were the last to contain his best action pieces for the series. These were little snippets here and there written to give the action a little more punch. I thought Sean Connery gave some his best performances as James Bond in this film. Bond's scene with Henderson was very good. His repartee with Moneypenney was one of his best. Sean Connery did return as James Bond in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER but one era had already ended with ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE and a new one would begin with his return.
    ...more info
  • The most enjoyable of the Connery films
    You Only Live Twice is a Bond film only Connery could have pulled off without the film falling into the lowest pits of camp. In a movie that includes spaceship eating spaceships, a miniature attack helicopter, a man-eating piranha tank, rocket-bullet firing guns, and pistol toting ninjas; this is a case where only Sean Connery's charm could save a film from being dominated by its cheese...Even when he's wearing poor make-up to make him "Japanese."

    The film begins with James Bond's untimely death, but don't fall for that trap! That clever Agent 007 has faked his own death and funeral at sea so as to pull away from the evil SPECTRE organization, which is now operating out of Japan. What could they do in Japan? How about attack American and Soviet spacecrafts and send to Cold War in to an all out nuclear war between The United States and Soviet Union? That sounds evil enough for one movie!

    Since they now believe Bond to be dead he is able to infiltrate their infrastructure and discover their plans for World War III. With the help of Tiger Tanaka (head of Japanese Special Forces), his army of modern ninjas, and the beautiful Aki, Bond is set to take down this sinister plot.

    Of course this time SPECTRE isn't holding any punches, for their faceless leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, is in Japan personally overseeing this operation (a great performance by Donald Pleasance). The criminal mastermind is determined to eliminate his pesky foe once and for all. Whether it be by submerging the smooth talking agent in a manmade lake filled with flesh-eating piranhas, poison taken in through the mouth, or a simple shot to the head.

    This entire film is built on a series of elaborate actions sequences, including two stand-out scenes in which Bond engages multiple SPECTRE helicopters with "Little Nellie" (the newest gift from Q) and a massive firefight between Tiger Tonaka's modern ninjas and the forces of SPECTRE in their hollowed out volcano lair.

    If you haven't noticed by this brief summary You Only Live Twice could very well could have been the one to set the foundation for the camp-filled Bond films of the 1970s. The exotic locations and over the top ideas are things that would be exaggerated and expanded upon in Diamonds Are Forever (Connery's last film) and all throughout the Roger Moore era of the character.

    So for these reasons You Only Live Twice is probably Sean Connery's most enjoyably fun entry in his run as the character.
    ...more info
  • JAMES BONDs Dichotomy of Styles East meets West
    YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE contained elements of espionage, action, thrills, adventure and science fiction. Looking back it somehow worked loosely when put together yet till this day I can not determine what the cohesive element was. Looking at it closely the film is a real dichotomy of styles. The first hour is excellently filmed and works very well. We get to see James Bond the spy, working with recognition codes, breaking into safes, going under cover and the like. There is an excellently choreographed fight scene between Bond and a sumo wrestler. This is also the first time he developed a good working relationship with a fellow intelligence head, Tiger Tanaka, similar to that of Kerim Bey in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. We also see that "M" has absolute confidence in his man. "This is the big one," he tells Bond knowing that 007 is the only one capable of pulling off this assignment. There is also quite a bit of very witty dialog in the first hour of this film. In the first hour the pace is deliberate, but never boring or unentertaining. It ends with Bond flying "Little Nellie," delivered by "Q," into an aerial dogfight with four helicopters. As it moves into the second hour more of the science fiction and fantasy elements start to take center stage. The film starts to look untidy and meanders along till it gets to the excellently filmed battle between Tanaka's ninjas and Blofeld's private army in his Volcano lair. It's not a bad Bond film, but it should have been a lot better. I think the culprit was the editing. Russian and American manned space capsules were being snatched out of orbit by an "intruder missile." Bond had to find the location and the identity of those responsible before World War III breaks out. The filmmakers decided not to surprise us at the end of the film, but instead show us, not Bond, that this "intruder missile" is in fact owned by SPECTRE and is being launched from Blofeld's Volcano lair in Japan. That comes a little past the hour mark. That being the case there was a good opportunity to develop suspense, as Bond has to locate the launch site. When Bond finally does find the volcano he has very little reaction to his discovery. He in fact seems to have come prepared with suction cup kneepads, which he uses to climb upside down and into the volcano. Tanaka shows up with his men, the battle ensues and Bond saves the day. It just could have been done much better considering how well the first half of the film was handled. The massive sets designed by Ken Adam were highly innovative and stylized and are probably the best of the entire series. M's office aboard the submarine, M-1, was also pretty innovative incorporating furniture and decorations from his office from the Ministry of Defense back in London. John Barry wrote a brilliant score. His music for the "Capsule in Space" was eerily ominous. He also incorporated sections of the "James Bond Theme" very effectively subsequent to Henderson's death and the fight in Osato's office. Barry's "Mountains and Sunset" went beautifully with Freddie Young's Cinematography. This and his score for ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE were the last to contain his best action pieces for the series. These were little snippets here and there written to give the action a little more punch. I thought Sean Connery gave some his best performances as James Bond in this film. Bond's scene with Henderson was very good. His repartee with Moneypenney was one of his best. Sean Connery did return as James Bond in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER but one era had already ended with ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE and a new one would begin with his return.
    ...more info
  • Leaves you feeling empty.
    Most people are familiar with the films of James bond, agent 007, licensed to kill, but the novels written by Ian Fleming can be very different from the books that provide their names. Certainly this is the case in "You only Live Twice." Both the film and the book are set in Japan but beyond that they part ways quickly.

    In the book James Bond is nearly finished. 8 months after the murder of his wife Tracy at the end of "On Her Majesties Secret Service" he has gone from M's best man to the dregs of the service. M, considering his dismissal is prevailed upon to give Bond one last chance.

    Bond is promoted out of his beloved 00 section and transferred to the diplomatic branch with the code number 7777, and given a near impossible mission. He is go to Japan and convince the head of the Japanese Secret Service to share with Great Britain their decrypts of top secret Soviet messages. The problem is that post WW2 the United States views Japan as its private preserve and does not like poachers.

    The rather more serious problem is that Bond does not have much to bargain with and when it is quickly revealed that the Japanese are not interested in his one bargaining chip he is left with very little to go on.What he has is his own life and skills, and in return for these magic decrypts, Japan requires Bond to kill a Swiss botanist named Dr. Shatterhand, a man of evil intent and deed who, for political reasons the Japanese police cannot move against but a gaijan whose arrest if he fails cannot be tied to the government? This is acceptable.

    This is actually one of Fleming's weaker outings for Bond. Although he is in full force in his pacing and plotting and character development, part of what is missing is the setting. During the Second World War was deeply involved in the planning and control of British and American espionage units and his writing carries the flavor of how things really work, a far cry form the gadgets and gizmos of the films,

    However part of the charm of the books is his descriptions of the places where Bond's missions take him. Fleming knew France, Jamaica and the United States well and this carries over in his descriptions of the places. The reader truly gets a feel of the casinos, the beaches, the hotels and the streets. But Fleming did not know Japan and this is reflected in his writing, details that are common in other books are lacking here.

    If this is the first Bond book you've read, it is highly enjoyable but if you are well familiar with the books by Fleming, this will be a little disappointing. James bond is still in effect with all his prowess but the world he is moving in, compared with earlier books, is empty and unfulfilling.


    ...more info
  • The First Final James Bond Novel
    I refer to YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE as the "first final 007 novel" because this was the last novel Ian Fleming finished, polished and shipped off to his publisher before his death (I don't think he lived to see it in print). The second final novel was THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN and from what I understand, Fleming finished a draft but did not rewrite or polish it before he died of a heart attack.

    As his health was fading, Fleming had traveled to Japan and it looks like a lot of that trip wound up in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. It was interesting to me that he chose to research a culture that had such a different outlook on death even as if he own body was fading. The exchanges between James Bond and Tiger Tanaka about the mindset of WWII kamikaze pilot and the honor of hari kari suicides become more interesting when you realize where Fleming was in his life--and where he knew he was soon going.

    Fleming had become disenchanted with Bond, having already tried to kill him off at the end of FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE and vowing with each new book to finally destroy his world-famous spy. I only wish that Fleming had spent more time in Bond's head since it read as if all of his inner turmoil was left to M and others to discuss--instead of letting the novel show.

    Sent on an "impossible mission" to Japan, 007 meets Dikko Henderson, a big, loud Austrailian, and Tiger Tanaka, the enigmatic head of the Japanese Secret Service. But it's when Tanaka asks Bond as a favor to kill the mysterious "Dr. Shatterhand" in his Castle of Death that the novel gets back some of Fleming's wild flair of dark fun and surrealism. An elusive European has created and hid himself inside a deadly garden of natural poisons and venoms. Deadly snakes and pirhanas infest a forest of poisonous trees and plants--and the Japanese can't get enough of throwing themselves into it to kill themselves! Even Dr. Shatterhand himself is a little perplexed that he has so many visitors regularly killing themselves on his property. Now that's vintage Fleming!

    But the end comes somewhat swiftly and neatly. Since I've been rereading all of the James Bond novels in order, I can see where Fleming could relate to 007 as he kept churning out mission after mission: Fleming could use the formula to get Bond out of a jam...but Fleming couldn't get himself out of the formula.

    His heart weakening and his life fading, Fleming's writing did shift from the heroic close-calls with doom in the earlier novels to looking Death right in the face in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. You could see the darkness closing in from chapter to chapter and, while James Bond may make another thrilling escape, Ian Fleming could not....more info
  • A favorite Bond Movie
    This is one of the best James Bond movies. Sean Connery is truly special in this movie. The adventure in Hong Kong demonstrates a unique quality of the "James Bond" series. There is true excitement and intrigue in every scene. ...more info
  • Q introduces 'Little Nellie,' a flying version of the Aston Martin...
    Throughout Bond's career, the SPECTRE chief had lurked behind the scenes, masterminding horrific crimes and dispensing ruthless punishments to those who disappointed him... The "You Only Live Twice" mission revealed that evil had a human face... Blofeld's love of animals extended beyond his white Persian cat: he also kept piranhas... His fishy friends, capable of stripping a person to a skeleton in minutes, were not just for show...

    'You Only Live Twice' takes place entirely in Japan... The script is a return to a 'From Russia with Love' type plot in which SPECTRE, backed by Red China, enters the space race by playing off the Russians and Americans... The agent of his plans is a specially designed Intruder rocket which captures spacecraft and returns them to SPECTRE chief Blofeld's secret Japanese volcano hideout...

    To trick SPECTRE into lowering his guard on British Secret Service activities in Japan, Bond manages to fake his own death... Under the eye of SPECTRE agents, he is given a proper Naval burial at sea aboard a destroyer in Hong Kong, and his body is sent to the bottom of the harbor where a team of frogmen recover it and bring it to a waiting submarine...

    Bond, wearing his full Commander's uniform, is alive, thanks to a special aqualung, and he reports to M aboard the submarine...To avoid further detection, he is placed in one of the submarine's torpedo tubes and fired towards the Hong Kong shore to investigate the missing satellites...

    His contact is Henderson (Charles Gray--who later played Blofeld in 'Diamond Are Forever'), who informs Bond of Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba), the youthful head of the Japanese Secret Service... Tanaka forged a strong working relationship with Bond... The centers of his operation were an underground Tokyo HQ with its own subway train, an ancient castle, and a training school for his Ninja force...

    Although the film does develop a flavor for the Far East--with its beautiful women, emerging technology, and ancient customs--the movie's story is a less than compelling one... Impressive set pieces take over center stage at the expense of a sustained dramatic structure... And "You Only Live Twice" jumps up from villain to villain, escapade to escapade, until the final assault on the volcano rocket base puts 007 up against Blofeld for the first time...

    In spite of pushing aside a bowl of oysters, and drinking his favorite martini 'stirred, not shaken,' plus Russian vodka and Japanese sake, Bond--lacking his usual charm-- is given little to do in the story... The women in the film are actually much more interesting than him... Aki and Kissy are the advance guard of the new Bond girl--less breathless females who have more equality on the firing line... In other words, they hold their own with Bond and help him out of more than a few scrapes with death...

    Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi) is 007's guardian angel in Tokyo... She drives an exotic Toyota 2000 sports car, and wears fancy Western outfits... Kissy (Mie Hama) managed to resist Bond's advances--at least until the mission was accomplished...

    Helga Brandt (Karin Dor) turns out to be totally unaffected by Bond's charm... Schooled in the Fiona Volpe-style of assassination, she decides to give Bond a taste of what she has to offer before leaving him to figure a way to escape the falling plane...

    Nevertheless 'You Only Live Twice' isn't a bad film, and it does star the best Bond... It also holds off high points: John Barry's most romantic musical sequences, Freddie Young's cinematography, and Moneypenny--very smart in naval uniform--connives to have Bond say 'I love you,' a password chosen for this mission... ...more info
  • You can watch more than twice.
    You only live twice is not one of the best Bonds, but it was a big budget spectacular. There are loads of gadgets, great fights, sexy women, and the orient. James Bond may only live twice, but you can watch him live over and over again with this fun action packed movie.
    Who doesn't love modern ninjas fighting inside of a volcano?...more info
  • Great Bond film
    Connery does it again, great Bond movie....more info
  • Megabudget Japanese Ken Adam extravaganza.
    Of all the classic James Bond films, this is the one I had not seen in the longest time. I remembered this was where the series really lost its spark and went into absurd Austin Powers territory.

    Although some of the criticism is still valid, YOLT is actually one hell of a mid-60s Albert Cubby Broccoli affair. For one thing, virtually the entire film takes place in Japan and makes impressive use of many locations, e.g. the ninja training academy is on the lawn of Himeji castle. Ken Adam was given about ten sets to design, one of them simply gargantuan. My opinion is that they are are a far stretch from his finest work but still spectacular. John Barry's music is gorgeous as always, with just the perfect asian influence.

    Yet like so many Bonds the film is a pretty jumbled affair, with an on-again off-again plot that never rises much above a simmer. Donald Pleasance is a big letdown as Blofeld, as is his henchman. The romance is non-existent. So, not really a good film by any stretch. But for sheer eye candy it's outstanding. And the DTS sound is incredible....more info
  • Enjoyable Epic With The Beauty of Good Ol' Japan
    It is very fun to watch the Bond film in which some of the beautiful locations of my country were shown. Particularly the idea that the secret specter base is located under the crater pond of an active volcano SHINMOEDAKE part of KIRISHIMA volcanic range in KYUSHU was fascinating. And views of major volcanoes in Kyushu including Aso and Sakurajima. When HIMEJI castle popped up from screen I could not contain my chuckles. It is indeed a fitting place for modern ninjas... As Japanese samurai movie fans know well, HIMEJI castle is often used in samurai dramas as a substitute of Edo castle which had had similar strucrure.

    I suspect Bond strictly followed a Japanese agent Tanaka's advice to become a real Japanese though. Could have used more subtitles for local language and let Bond show his achievement of language skill courses in Cambridge.

    On the whole really enjoyable both in plot and actions.

    Verdict: Neatly describing good old Japan with the exception of Ninja.
    Rating: 90 out of 100. James Bond being a Japanese not that convincing enough.
    Recommended for Ninja movies and action movies fans as well as Bond movie fans....more info
  • You Only Live Twice
    Another 007 winner. Been watchig these since they first cameout in the 60's and I love them just as much now as I did the first time....more info
  • Did not receive product
    I was refunded my money because the Third party seller did not have it in stock....more info
  • THIS IS IT THE MASTERPIECE BOND MOVIE
    I believe after watching almost all the Bond films, this is the one masterpiece from beginning to end in this genre. There were no mistakes, no farcical annoyances like you find in Roger Moore's or modern Bond films. No mistakes, this film does not play in anyway, perfect from beginning to end--- as a 007 movie should be. This in fact should be what every Bond movie strives for, alas they all fall short. Perfect like well-cut diamond this is the real McCoy. ...more info
  • Cheesy, But One of My Favorite Bond Films
    With a screenplay by Roald Dahl (the author of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach), "You Only Live Twice" has got to be one of the strongest in the series. Although, I can't say I'm completely qualified to say that since I've seen only one James Bond film (Thunderball). When the movie opens, we watch as a mysterious rocketshhip seizes a spaceship which pushes the country to the brink of war. And who better to stop it than Bond...James Bond. When we see Bond (Sean Connery) for the first time in this film he is snuggling up to a Japanese girl who gets up to leave and lets in a bunch of assassins who shoot Bond. It appears Bond is dead, but there's of course no mystery there...He's not. His death was faked so he could go on his next mission without being noticed much. It appears to me though, that if you were dead and someone saw you they would be more likely to report it someone than not. Anyway, in a Bond film there's not much to give away or anything...But I'll cut to the chase. Eventually, Bond gets married to Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama) and joins forces with some ninja warriors to infiltrate the mastermind's lair. The mastermind is Ernst Blofeld (Donald Pleasence, 'Halloween'), who is clearly the inspiration for Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers films. This guy has got to be one of the goofiest looking supervillains, I mean there's one scene where even the cat is trying to escape his grasp (look closely, it's pretty humorous). Anyway, as with most Bond films (as I said, I've only seen one but I know about them); The film is short on character development, but heavy on action scenes. Out of the two I've seen, this one is definitely more entertaining. If you're looking for a good, entertaining action film or just a good Bond film...See this, it's really good.

    GRADE: A
    ...more info
  • Good entertainment, but very little of the original novel is here
    "You Only Live Twice" features exotic Japanese locations, a fine Japanese cast (I love the actor who plays Tiger Tanaka), and of course, the great Sean Connery, who will always be THE James Bond. Also in this film's favor is the music--"You Only Live Twice" by Nancy Sinatra is widely acknowledged to be the best of all of the superb James Bond theme music. The script is all right, but it has little in common with the Ian Fleming novel of the same name save the Japanese venue. This is unfortunate because "You Only Live Twice" is among the very finest of all of the James Bond novels and contains some of Ian Fleming's best writing. Further, in my opinion the best James Bond flicks are those which hew faithfully to the Ian Fleming novels, as indeed several of them do (Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball come to mind).

    Overall, this film does provide excellent entertainment for 007 afficianados, and it holds the viewer's interest throughout. The special effects are great fun. James Bond purists will possibly not like the storyline as well as that of the novel, but still, this one rates four stars because it is, at a minimum, fine entertainment if not to be taken too seriously. That ain't bad....more info