You Only Live Twice


1h 56m 1967
You Only Live Twice

Brief Synopsis

James Bond investigates a series attacks in space that could lead to nuclear war.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Spy
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Jun 1967
Production Company
Danjaq, S. A.; Eon Productions, Ltd.
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United Kingdom
Location
Tokyo, Japan; Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming (London, 1964).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

While orbiting the earth, a U. S. space capsule is intercepted and drawn into the nose of a mammoth spaceship. The Russians are blamed for the incident, but the real culprit is SPECTRE, an international crime syndicate engaged in provoking a third world war. When Allied missile tracking stations reveal the ship has landed somewhere in Japan, secret agent James Bond is sent to investigate. To convince the enemy he is dead, an elaborate murder and sea burial are staged, enabling Bond to sneak into Japan; despite the precaution, however, Bond's Tokyo contact is killed. Aided by Tiger Tanaka's secret service, Bond learns that Osato Engineering is somehow involved and takes along Tanaka's beautiful secretary, Aki, to investigate the company's shipping enterprises. He is captured by Osato's sadistic but seductive accomplice, Helga Brandt, and left alone in an airborne, pilotless plane, which he somehow manages to land. Bond then surveys the Japanese coastline in his miniature helicopter and pinpoints the center of enemy operations in the vicinity of an extinct volcano. After Aki is murdered by a poison intended for Bond, a Russian space capsule disappears. With the world on the brink of nuclear war, Bond disguises himself as a native fisherman with a beautiful wife, Kissy Suzuki, and moves toward the volcano while Tanaka prepares his commandos for attack. As another U. S. spaceship is launched, Bond and Kissy make their way into the volcano and discover the gigantic headquarters of SPECTRE. Quickly freeing the captured American and Russian astronauts, Bond fights his way to SPECTRE mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who has just thrown Helga into a pool of piranhas for failing to kill the secret agent. As Tanaka's commandos rush into the volcano, Blofeld sets off a series of tremendous explosions before being knocked into the pool and devoured. The crater and SPECTRE stronghold are destroyed, but Bond and Kissy escape by tunnel in a rubber dinghy and land atop a surfacing British submarine.

Photo Collections

You Only Live Twice - Movie Posters
Here are a few different styles of American 1-Sheet movie posters for You Only Live Twice (1967), starring Sean Connery as James Bond. Included is the Teaser poster. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Spy
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Jun 1967
Production Company
Danjaq, S. A.; Eon Productions, Ltd.
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United Kingdom
Location
Tokyo, Japan; Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming (London, 1964).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

You Only Live Twice


Though only four years had passed since the character of James Bond, Agent 007 of Her Majesty's Secret Service, had made him famous and assured the former bricklayer, milkman and leisurewear model a personal fortune, Sean Connery balked when Eon Pictures partners Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli pitched him their next Bond adventure, You Only Live Twice (1967) in the spring of 1966. Connery's dissatisfaction with the annual gig had grown with each new film, as intrigue and intelligence were more and more supplanted in the scripts by gimmicks and an over-reliance on technical gadgetry. Connery also groused about the time commitment required to promote each film and there was also a question of the money. Although the franchise had lifted Connery from the depths of obscurity and poverty to a level of affluence the Scottish actor had never known (as late as the mid-60s, Connery's parents continued to live, by choice, in a two-bedroom tenement flat in Edinburgh), he remained irritated that the sum total of profits earned by the Bond films was not being distributed evenly. Connery was also annoyed that other film stars (namely Richard Burton), whose projects didn't generate nearly the revenue as the Bond films, enjoyed a larger profit share. Connery eventually relented and took the paycheck but by the time cameras rolled on You Only Live Twice in Japan that summer, he was no longer on speaking terms with "Cubby" Broccoli and was quick to tell junket journalists this would be his final mission.

Fresh from his success with Alfie (1966), which had made a star at last of jobbing British actor (and Connery pal) Michael Caine, director Lewis Gilbert was approached to take the reins of You Only Live Twice. Not keen on being handed a protagonist whose story had been told four times already, Gilbert refused the offer – twice. To sweeten the deal, Broccoli and Saltzman assured Gilbert that they welcomed fresh ideas at this point in the arc of the franchise and the partners put their money where their collective mouth was; the film was budgeted at a then-extravagant $6 million, with a sixth of that amount going to sets alone. This budget was fully six times the cost of the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962), double the budget of Goldfinger (1964) and half a million more than was spent on the last entry, Thunderball (1965), the first of the series to be shot in Panavision. Further, novelist Roald Dahl had been retained to write the screenplay, rounding out a roster of newcomers to the Bondwagon whose number also included Academy Award® winning cinematographer Freddie Young, DP of choice for David Lean. Gilbert also was allowed to bring aboard his own editor, Thelma Connell, although she was let go by Eon after turning in a three-hour rough cut of You Only Live Twice. Peter Hunt was brought in to pare the film down to a manageable 117 minutes and was retained by Saltzman and Broccoli to direct the next Bond chapter, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), for which Sean Connery was conspicuous in his absence.

Known principally (if perhaps unfairly) as a children's book author, Roald Dahl might have seemed an unlikely choice to pen a necessarily formulaic James Bond scenario. Yet the film's syllabus of intrigue, mystery, revelation and heroic action mirror any number of Dahl's fictions - and what is Ernst Stavro Blofeld's hollow volcano headquarters but a reconfiguration of Willie Wonka's labyrinthine chocolate factory, whose beavering, nameless Oompa-Loompas might be considered brothers-in-arms to the white cover-alled S.P.E.C.T.R.E. drones in Blofeld's employ? Yet despite what seem to be obvious parallels, Dahl claimed to find the prospect of writing You Only Live Twice "extremely distasteful." He was a friend and confidante of author Ian Fleming; both had wartime service in their resumes and shared a fondness for gambling and travel. Fleming died the year the source novel was published and Dahl, whose overhaul of the material (by consensus one of the weaker Bond novels) was extensive, may have felt the job was in some way a betrayal of a man he hero-worshipped. Dahl eventually warmed to the project (and enjoyed the money, particularly in light of the debilitating strokes suffered by his wife, actress Patricia Neal) and later claimed authorship of all the script elements, even scenes others involved in the production have attributed to original writer Harold Jack Bloom (The Naked Spur, [1953]), producer Broccoli and even Broccoli's wife Dana. Before his death in 1998, Bloom (who receives only an "additional dialogue" credit) was vocal in claiming all the film's significant plot points as his own and maintaining that his lack of a screenwriting credit was due to the producers' insistence on the Bond films being distinctly British.

By the time Eon released You Only Live Twice in June of 1967, the international spy business had become a bull market. The major Hollywood studios were offering up stiff competition to the Bond franchise in the form of Twentieth Century Fox's Our Man Flint (1966) and its sequel In Like Flint (1967), vehicles for rising star James Coburn, and Columbia's quartet of Matt Helm films (beginning with The Silencers in 1966) starring Dean Martin. On television, NBC's The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968) and CBS' Mission: Impossible (1966-1973) attempted to beat Bond at his own game once a week, while CBS' The Wild Wild West (1965-1969) was closer kin to Goldfinger than Rawhide. (The foreign market cash-ins are another story entirely and include the Italian Operation Kid Brother [1967], starring Sean Connery's brother Neil, abetted by legitimate Bond regulars Bernard "M" Lee and Lois "Moneypenny" Maxwell and one-off villains Anthony Dawson and Adolfo Celi.) Nonetheless, You Only Live Twice counted as another unqualified success for Eon, earning back over $100,000,000 in international profits.

If You Only Live Twice is not as warmly remembered or even as respected as Connery's earlier go-rounds, it has proved surprisingly influential. Mike Myers' mega-hit spoof Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and its two sequels were patterned principally in the mold of You Only Live Twice, with Myers' chrome-domed villain Dr. Evil a dead ringer for Donald Pleasence's malevolent genius Blofeld, from his gray Nehru jacket and signet ring to his distinctive facial scarring and white lap kitty.

Producers: Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Screenplay: Roald Dahl; Harold Jack Bloom (additional story material); Ian Fleming (novel, uncredited)
Cinematography: Freddie Young
Art Direction: Harry Pottle
Music: John Barry
Cast: Sean Connery (James Bond), Akiko Wakabayashi (Aki), Mie Hama (Kissy Suzuki), Tetsuro Tamba (Tiger Tanaka), Teru Shimada (Mr. Osato), Karin Dor (Helga Brandt), Donald Pleasence (Ernst Stavro Blofeld), Bernard Lee (M), Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Charles Gray (Dikko Henderson), Tsai Chin (Ling, Chinese Girl in Hong Kong), Peter Fanene Maivia (car driver), Burt Kwouk (SPECTRE #3), Michael Chow (SPECTRE #4), Ronald Rich (Hans, Blofeld's Bodyguard), Jeanne Roland (Bond's Masseuse), David Toguri (assassin in bedroom), John Stone (submarine captain).
C-116m.

by Richard Harland Smith

Sources:
James Bond: The Secret World of 007 by Alastair Dougall
Arise Sir Sean Connery: The Biography of Britain's Greatest Living Actor by John Parker
Sean Connery: A Biography by Bob McCabe
Roald Dahl: A Biography by Jeremy Treglown
You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice

Though only four years had passed since the character of James Bond, Agent 007 of Her Majesty's Secret Service, had made him famous and assured the former bricklayer, milkman and leisurewear model a personal fortune, Sean Connery balked when Eon Pictures partners Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli pitched him their next Bond adventure, You Only Live Twice (1967) in the spring of 1966. Connery's dissatisfaction with the annual gig had grown with each new film, as intrigue and intelligence were more and more supplanted in the scripts by gimmicks and an over-reliance on technical gadgetry. Connery also groused about the time commitment required to promote each film and there was also a question of the money. Although the franchise had lifted Connery from the depths of obscurity and poverty to a level of affluence the Scottish actor had never known (as late as the mid-60s, Connery's parents continued to live, by choice, in a two-bedroom tenement flat in Edinburgh), he remained irritated that the sum total of profits earned by the Bond films was not being distributed evenly. Connery was also annoyed that other film stars (namely Richard Burton), whose projects didn't generate nearly the revenue as the Bond films, enjoyed a larger profit share. Connery eventually relented and took the paycheck but by the time cameras rolled on You Only Live Twice in Japan that summer, he was no longer on speaking terms with "Cubby" Broccoli and was quick to tell junket journalists this would be his final mission. Fresh from his success with Alfie (1966), which had made a star at last of jobbing British actor (and Connery pal) Michael Caine, director Lewis Gilbert was approached to take the reins of You Only Live Twice. Not keen on being handed a protagonist whose story had been told four times already, Gilbert refused the offer – twice. To sweeten the deal, Broccoli and Saltzman assured Gilbert that they welcomed fresh ideas at this point in the arc of the franchise and the partners put their money where their collective mouth was; the film was budgeted at a then-extravagant $6 million, with a sixth of that amount going to sets alone. This budget was fully six times the cost of the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962), double the budget of Goldfinger (1964) and half a million more than was spent on the last entry, Thunderball (1965), the first of the series to be shot in Panavision. Further, novelist Roald Dahl had been retained to write the screenplay, rounding out a roster of newcomers to the Bondwagon whose number also included Academy Award® winning cinematographer Freddie Young, DP of choice for David Lean. Gilbert also was allowed to bring aboard his own editor, Thelma Connell, although she was let go by Eon after turning in a three-hour rough cut of You Only Live Twice. Peter Hunt was brought in to pare the film down to a manageable 117 minutes and was retained by Saltzman and Broccoli to direct the next Bond chapter, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), for which Sean Connery was conspicuous in his absence. Known principally (if perhaps unfairly) as a children's book author, Roald Dahl might have seemed an unlikely choice to pen a necessarily formulaic James Bond scenario. Yet the film's syllabus of intrigue, mystery, revelation and heroic action mirror any number of Dahl's fictions - and what is Ernst Stavro Blofeld's hollow volcano headquarters but a reconfiguration of Willie Wonka's labyrinthine chocolate factory, whose beavering, nameless Oompa-Loompas might be considered brothers-in-arms to the white cover-alled S.P.E.C.T.R.E. drones in Blofeld's employ? Yet despite what seem to be obvious parallels, Dahl claimed to find the prospect of writing You Only Live Twice "extremely distasteful." He was a friend and confidante of author Ian Fleming; both had wartime service in their resumes and shared a fondness for gambling and travel. Fleming died the year the source novel was published and Dahl, whose overhaul of the material (by consensus one of the weaker Bond novels) was extensive, may have felt the job was in some way a betrayal of a man he hero-worshipped. Dahl eventually warmed to the project (and enjoyed the money, particularly in light of the debilitating strokes suffered by his wife, actress Patricia Neal) and later claimed authorship of all the script elements, even scenes others involved in the production have attributed to original writer Harold Jack Bloom (The Naked Spur, [1953]), producer Broccoli and even Broccoli's wife Dana. Before his death in 1998, Bloom (who receives only an "additional dialogue" credit) was vocal in claiming all the film's significant plot points as his own and maintaining that his lack of a screenwriting credit was due to the producers' insistence on the Bond films being distinctly British. By the time Eon released You Only Live Twice in June of 1967, the international spy business had become a bull market. The major Hollywood studios were offering up stiff competition to the Bond franchise in the form of Twentieth Century Fox's Our Man Flint (1966) and its sequel In Like Flint (1967), vehicles for rising star James Coburn, and Columbia's quartet of Matt Helm films (beginning with The Silencers in 1966) starring Dean Martin. On television, NBC's The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968) and CBS' Mission: Impossible (1966-1973) attempted to beat Bond at his own game once a week, while CBS' The Wild Wild West (1965-1969) was closer kin to Goldfinger than Rawhide. (The foreign market cash-ins are another story entirely and include the Italian Operation Kid Brother [1967], starring Sean Connery's brother Neil, abetted by legitimate Bond regulars Bernard "M" Lee and Lois "Moneypenny" Maxwell and one-off villains Anthony Dawson and Adolfo Celi.) Nonetheless, You Only Live Twice counted as another unqualified success for Eon, earning back over $100,000,000 in international profits. If You Only Live Twice is not as warmly remembered or even as respected as Connery's earlier go-rounds, it has proved surprisingly influential. Mike Myers' mega-hit spoof Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and its two sequels were patterned principally in the mold of You Only Live Twice, with Myers' chrome-domed villain Dr. Evil a dead ringer for Donald Pleasence's malevolent genius Blofeld, from his gray Nehru jacket and signet ring to his distinctive facial scarring and white lap kitty. Producers: Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman Director: Lewis Gilbert Screenplay: Roald Dahl; Harold Jack Bloom (additional story material); Ian Fleming (novel, uncredited) Cinematography: Freddie Young Art Direction: Harry Pottle Music: John Barry Cast: Sean Connery (James Bond), Akiko Wakabayashi (Aki), Mie Hama (Kissy Suzuki), Tetsuro Tamba (Tiger Tanaka), Teru Shimada (Mr. Osato), Karin Dor (Helga Brandt), Donald Pleasence (Ernst Stavro Blofeld), Bernard Lee (M), Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Charles Gray (Dikko Henderson), Tsai Chin (Ling, Chinese Girl in Hong Kong), Peter Fanene Maivia (car driver), Burt Kwouk (SPECTRE #3), Michael Chow (SPECTRE #4), Ronald Rich (Hans, Blofeld's Bodyguard), Jeanne Roland (Bond's Masseuse), David Toguri (assassin in bedroom), John Stone (submarine captain). C-116m. by Richard Harland Smith Sources: James Bond: The Secret World of 007 by Alastair Dougall Arise Sir Sean Connery: The Biography of Britain's Greatest Living Actor by John Parker Sean Connery: A Biography by Bob McCabe Roald Dahl: A Biography by Jeremy Treglown

Quotes

Well, I won't need these.
- James Bond
I've got you now.
- Helga Brandt
Well enjoy yourself.
- James Bond
Oh the things I do for England.
- James Bond
I think I will enjoy very much serving under you.
- Aki
You wouldn't touch that horrible woman, would you?
- Aki
Oh heaven forbid.
- James Bond

Trivia

The budget was the then astronomic sum of $9,500,000 ($1,000,000 of of which was spent by Ken Adam in his crater set). The crater set was so large that crew members kept misreading Adam's dimensions as being in feet when they were support to be meters.

For the first time the story of a 007 film bears little resemblance to the novel it is based on.

The face of Ernst Blofeld is revealed for the first time.

The female leads Mie Hama and Akiko Wakabayashi both appeared in Kingukongu tai Gojira (1962).

Whilst in Japan, Sean Connery and his wife are hounded by the international press. During news conferences the press insisted on referring to Connery as James Bond. The last straw comes when local newsmen attempted to photograph him in a rest room. To ease the tension the producers remove his contractual obligation to do one more 007 movie, despite being offered $1 million.

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Japan. Opened in London in June 1967.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States April 1996

Released in United States on Video August 1983

Released in United States Summer June 13, 1967

Re-released in United States on Video November 7, 1995

Re-released in United States on Video September 1988

Formerly distributed by CBS/Fox Video.

Began shooting July 1966.

Completed shooting March 1967.

Released in United States April 1996 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade) as part of program "6 With 007: Sean Connery's James Bond" April 7-10, 1996.)

Released in United States Summer June 13, 1967

Released in United States on Video August 1983

Re-released in United States on Video September 1988

Re-released in United States on Video November 7, 1995