From Russia with Love (1963)


Action | Thriller


Terence Young




Sean Connery, Daniela Bianchi, Pedro Armendáriz, Lotte Lenya, Robert Shaw, Bernard Lee, Walter Gotell, Vladek Sheybal, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Eunice Gayson, Francis de Wolff, George Pastell, Fred Haggerty, Aliza Gur, Nadja Regin, Eric Pohlmann


The evil SPECTRE organization has hatched a plan to steal a Russian machine known as Lektor, a decoder that will access Russian state secrets and irrevocably unbalance the world order. It is up to James Bond (Sean Connery) to seize the device first, but he must confront enemies that include Red Grant (Robert Shaw) and former KGB agent Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya).


My journey into the James Bond world continues with "From Russia with Love", an excellent spy-movie, and another case where the student surpasses the teacher, not significantly though.

The ingredients are the same of the first James Bond: a charming British spy, a gorgeous Bond Girl, and a villain. In addition to that, the Bond gadgets make an entrance, and so does the mask - I don't know if it will be a recurring thing, but I see where Mission: Impossible took inspiration from.

The plot is more likely, free of improbable rescues, and more complex that it was in "Dr. No", and despite there isn't a lot of action - although it has increased - the film manages to keep you glued to the screen until the very end. Maybe the villain, Rosa Klebb, should have had more screen time -- the final confrontation with Bond was quite entertaining though, and the SPECTRE organization begins to be feared --, and to reveal all the cards on the table since the beginning came at the expense of tension and twists.

Once again that lucky man James Bond is, as well as having all the women at his feet, finds himself in wonderful locations: from Istanbul to Venice, the locations are stunning and fascinating.

The sequence on the Orient Express, the fight between 007 and Red Grand is fantastic, and the film also benefits from a great musical score and a great song, John Barry's "From Russia with Love".

As for the cast, Sean Connery seems more confident and relaxed, has really grown into the role, and pulls off an ever better performance. Robert Shaw almost steals the show as the psychopathic assassin Grant. Lotte Lenya may not be a great pleasure for the eyes, but she does a good job as the former Soviet Colonel. Daniela Bianchi does a fine job in the role of new Bond girl.

There's one thing buzzing in my head: why is the film called "From Russia with Love"? It doesn't even take place in Russia.


  1. Ahh but the main gal is Russian and Bond takes more than just a quick liking to her. You should look up Lotte Lenya-she was a big star in the 30 with Kurt Weill and she was a singer. This is one of my favourite Bond films

  2. Read the original novel to understand the title. The novel was the fifth in the series.

    In the novel "From Russia With Love", the whole "konspiracy" is portrayed as a KGB op through its assassination directorate SMERSH (Smiert Spionam, meaning Death to Spies).

    The purpose of the op was to demoralize the British Secret Service by honey-trapping and filming their most famous and admired agent James Bond. SMERSH was the villain in the first seven Bond novels

    By the end 1950s, the US and the Soviets were on the road to peace, even before the Cuban Missile Crisis, so Fleming started to replace SMERSH with SPECTRE from Thunderball onwards. All the films feature SPECTRE and not SMERSH, except The Living Daylights, which came at the height of the Afghan War in the 1980s.

    1. I read the novel twice (once in Italian and the second time in English). I hated it both times and I still think the title doesn't make a lot of sense.