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"Let his death be a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one."
—Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of SPECTRE
After the President of the United States announced that From Russia, With Love was his 9th favourite book, it became clear to EON which novel they were going to adapt next.
Notable scenes in this film:
- The very first appearance of Blofeld, complete with hidden face and white Persian cat.
- Tatiana's seduction of Bond by entering his hotel room and getting into his bed. Wearing only a black ribbon around her neck and a pair of black stockings.
- The love scene used for screen-testing Bonds.
- A Cat Fight between two gypsies, sometimes removed from TV broadcasts, which serves nothing more than to have two scantily-clad women fighting each other.
- A long, drawn-out fight between Bond and Red Grant on the Orient Express. Sean Connery and Robert Shaw did most of the fight scene themselves.
- A helicopter chase.
- A boat chase that ends with a wall of fire.
- Rosa Klebb's shoe dagger.
This film and its title are so well known that variations on the title are common as newspaper headlines for articles to do with Russia. A London exhibition of pre-Red October Russian art, sponsored by the Russian government, couldn't resist a gag, calling itself From Russia.
The movie is typically considered one of the best, if not the best of the Bond franchise. One filmmaker notes that almost every Bond movie production starts out trying to make the next From Russia With Love and ends up being the next Thunderball.
The film was also adapted into a videogame for 6th-generation consoles, almost 50 years later, with Sean Connery reprising his iconic role for the first time in decades.
This film contains examples of:
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Klebb gives Tatiana the choice of either participating in her honey trap of James Bond, or get shot.
- Bad Boss
- Belly Dancer: In the gypsy camp.
- Blatant Lies: Bond tells Moneypenny he'd never look at another woman.
- Blofeld Ploy
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Red Grant is one of the iconic ones.
- Grant led to this trope being used over and over again in the Bond series in the form of the muscular blonde brute henchman.
- Bond One-Liner: "She should have kept her mouth shut"; "She's had her kicks."
- There's also "I'd say one of their aircraft is missing", which for younger viewers falls almost nonsensically flat, but it's a reference to One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, or at least to the wartime phrase it's based on. It was still a relevant and clever reference in 1963, and that was the target audience.
- Cat Fight: The fight between two Gypsy girls.
- The Chessmaster: Kronsteen, who is a literal chessmaster.
- In the book, scenes from his point of view feature him thinking of everyone as chess pieces.
- Continuity Nod: In a SPECTRE meeting, Kronsteen mentions "the killing of our operative, Dr. No"; in the book, he lists off the deaths of Le Chiffre, Mr. Big, and Hugo Drax.
- Sylvia Trench reappears, once again denied a romance with Bond as he's called away on a mission. This was meant to be a Running Gag throughout the series, but the character was dropped after this film. One could argue that Moneypenny played out that gag, in her own way.
- Deadly Training Area: A villainous example:
Rosa Klebb: Training is useful, but there is no substitute for experience.
- Dirty Communists: Subverted. The original Fleming story had them, but most were changed to agents of the supranational criminal union SPECTRE, running a False-Flag Operation.
- The Dragon: Red Grant is one for Rosa Klebb, who in turn is one for Blofeld.
- Evil Gloating: Lampshaded, by the gloater himself no less.
Grant: I don't mind talking. I get a kick out of watching the great James Bond find out what a bloody fool he's been making of himself.
- Evil Lesbian: Rosa Klebb in the book, and implied in the movie when she caresses Tatiana's hair while saying "a labour of love".
- The Faceless: Blofeld. According to Lucky Number Slevin, this is what makes him the best Blofeld - "That's when the villain is most effective - when you don't know what he looks like." The credits even refuse to tell us the actor's name, and simply feature a question mark. For the record, the body is Anthony Dawson (Professor Dent from the previous film) and the voice was Eric Pohlmann.
- False-Flag Operation: Formerly SPECTRE's speciality. They pretend to be the KGB to steal the Lektor and destroy Bond.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: Tatiana Romanova.
- Fan Service: The catfight between the Gypsy women and the belly dance are purely for the male audience's viewing pleasure. In the book, it turns into Full-Frontal Assault.
- Five-Bad Band:
- A Glass of Chianti: Bond first grows suspicious of Red Grant when he orders a glass of red Chianti (nonspecific red wine in the videogame adaptation) with fish, a major faux pas for wine lovers.
- Honey Trap: Tatiana's purpose. Of course, because it's James Bond, she falls in love with him anyway.
- Hot Gypsy Woman: Two of them. They end up together in James's bed.
- Just Between You and Me: Bond actually works out SPECTRE's plan entirely by himself, but Red Grant is perfectly happy to fill in the details while he has him cornered at gunpoint.
- Kneel Before Zod: Grant orders Bond to be on his knees when he has him at his mercy.
- The Lancer: Kerim Bay, to Bond.
- Latex Perfection: A part of the opening tow show that the Bond Grant just killed was actually live practice.
- MacGuffin: The Lektor.
- Nebulous Evil Organization: SPECTRE.
- Noodle Incident: Something embarrassing involving M while he was in Tokyo. M immediately pauses the recording and excuses Moneypenny from the room.
- One Last Smoke
- Orient Express
- Panty Shot: Tatiana Romanova uncrosses her legs briefly while being briefed by Rosa Kleb.
- Pistol Pose
- Pocket Protector: In the book, Bond takes Grant's bullet in his book; it still penetrates him, but not enough to disable him.
- Ready for Lovemaking: One of the all-time classic examples of this trope.
- Red Scare
- Revised Ending: The original novel had Bond struck by Rosa Klebb's poison-stained stiletto due to his Beretta jamming on him and brought to what was his death until Ian Fleming wrote Dr. No. The film has him survive and has Tatiana do away with Klebb, and ends with Bond and Tatiana riding triumphantly down Venice's Grand Canal. This was arguably for the better, to avoid a maudlin Downer Ending.
- Besides which: Since Dr. No was the first Bond film, and M ordered Bond at the beginning of the film to replace his Beretta with the Walther PPK because of the Beretta jamming up on him (in an unseen incident that caused Bond to get injured), Bond didn't have the Beretta in the film version of From Russia with Love anyway.
- Serendipity Writes the Plot: Rosa Klebb was fighting James Bond using a poisoned shoe knife. The script called for her to be accidentally killed by her own weapon, but the director couldn't figure out a way to film it that didn't look ridiculous. Then someone realized that a) there was a gun on the floor from when Bond had disarmed Klebb and b) the heroine, who had been an enemy agent recruited by Klebb before falling in love with Bond, was just standing there watching the fight. So the director changed the script to have the heroine pick up the gun, and after some hesitation, shoot Klebb.
- Shoe Phone: This film is the first to have gadgets, although they are rather mundane compared to later versions. Specifically, the tear-gas bomb disguised as a tin of talcum powder, and Rosa Klebb's shoe-dagger.
- Shooting Gallery
- Sniper Rifle
- Spy Speak: Exchanged between Bond and one of Kerim's sons when he arrives in Istanbul.
- Supervillain Lair: SPECTRE Island.
- Surprise Checkmate: The Chessmaster Kronsteen doesn't quite manage checkmate, but his opponent has his king pinned down to a single square. He sees that it's hopeless and surrenders.
- Title Drop: Bond writes "From Russia, with love" on the photo of Tatiana that he gives to Moneypenny.
- Tranquil Fury: Bond's reaction to the death of Kerim Bey. Notable in the fact that it is one of the few times we ever see Bond mad at all.
- Unbuilt Trope: The film was made before the conventions of the series had become rote, and as such has a very different feel to later Bond films. The big Trope Codifier for the Bond films was the next film: Goldfinger.
- Video Inside Film Outside: during an external shot of Venice, a preemptive reference appears to the Monty Python sketch;
Tatiana: Behave yourself, James! We're being filmed...
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Averted (or rather, Unbuilt Trope): Bond's gear is nothing like as outlandish as it would become in later films. The most "gadgety" equipment he has is the suitcase, containing hidden strips of gold coins, a knife, and a tear gas booby trap.
- Would Not Hit a Girl: Averted: Bond is very willing to hit Tatiana when he thinks she has something to do with the death of Kerim Bay.
- You Have Failed Me