You Only Live Twice (1967)


Action | Thriller


Lewis Gilbert




Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Donald Pleasence, TetsurĊ Tamba, Tsai Chin, Teru Shimada, Karin Dor, Bernard Lee, Charles Gray, Burt Maxwell, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Ronald Rich


When an American space capsule is swallowed up by what they believe to be a Russian spaceship, the British Government suspect that other powers are at work as the spacecraft went down near Japan. The only hope to prevent World War 3 is James Bond (Sean Connery) who must find and stop the true mastermind behind the space jackings.


After taking a year off after the release of "Thunderball", James Bond returned under the direction of Lewis Gilbert. A quite tough challenge for the British director because after four solid films it's not easy to live up to people's expectations. Unfortunately, the pressure got the better of him.

Still very enjoyable and entertaining, "You Only Live Twice" works as an action flick, but lacks tension and James Bond's charm.

Most of the flaws have to be imputed to the screenplay. The plot is pretty illogical and silly: the abduction of space shuttles belonging to the United States and Russia in the hope of provoking a war between these two major powers is rather bizarre, even more if behind the manipulation there's the SPECTRE organization. It has been made clear that they are doing it for the money, but it still is one of the most ridiculous ideas ever! Also, most of the lines Bond has to deliver are worst than ever. 

For the first time Blofeld steps in as chief villain - the guy with the cat just in case you didn't know it already. He is probably the most iconic villain and stands out in the series with his unforgettable sinister look, and he is a good reason to watch the film.

The action is more abundant than the previous films, we get car chases, explosions, and many fist fights but most of them don't contain much excitement.

The theme song is memorable: Nancy Sinatra does a great job with the title song, but it is John Barry's work that stands out. The string section is what makes the song stuck in your head.

If most of the flaws come from the screenplay, the other big one is Sean Connery. He looks completely uninterested, visibly aged - maybe he put on some weight too - and exhausted. Also, he doesn't deliver the lines as he usually does. When it comes to acting they may not be the best actresses on the planet, but both Akiko Wakabayashi as Aki and Mie Hama as Kissy deliver the Japanese beauty, and the first also has a good chemistry with Connery. Donald Pleasence does a good job as Blofeld despite the limited screen time.


  1. I love the song and , you are right, about the violins sticking with you long after. Donald Pleasence makes a great villain which he often played but I always loved him as the sweet tea drinker in The Great Escape(he was a POW survivor). I can't wait until you get into the Roger Moore times. I look at all the James Bonds as if they are brothers with a different style

    1. I liked Pleasence the most in The Great Escape and he also played my favourite character. I can't wait to see Roger Moore's Bond, I feel I'm gonna love him.