A View to a Kill
Artist: John Barry
Genre: Film Soundtrack

Original CD Release:
Year: 1985
Record Label: EMI-Toshiba
Catalog Number: CP32-5076
     (Japanese import)
CD running time: 38:25

Remastered CD Release:
Year: 2003
Record Label: Capitol-EMI
Catalog Number: 72435-41448-2-0
CD running time: 38:25

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A View To a Kill, Roger Moore's swansong as James Bond, took a hold of the computer age as he recovers a chip from the body of Agent 003 in Siberia only for Q (Desmond Llewelyn) to discover that it comes from Zorin Industries, headed by manic madman Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), where the microchips can be manufactured to withstand the magnetic pulse damage from a nuclear explosion. It's with this tactic that he plans to take over the world by dismantling the strangehold that Silicon Valley has and rendering every other company's tools useless with a flick of the wrist.

Whilst having dinner together, Bond witnesses M. Aubergine (Jean Rougerie) being killed at their table after he plans to expose Zorin's horseracing sale scam of the century, causing Bond to head off after his killer, May Day (Grace Jones), although by that point he does not yet know her identity.

The rest of the cast fills out with Bond girls Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) and Pola Ivanova (Fiona Fullerton), a character who was a jockey in the original novel but became racehorse trainer Sir Godfrey Tibbett for the film and was played by Patrick Macnee, whose Avengers co-star Diana Rigg was briefly married to Bond, in his Lazenby incarnation, for On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones co-stars in films two and three respectively, David Yip and Alison Doody, also make an appearance. (Synopsis from dvdfever.co.uk.)

Damned Rodan's Album Review
Rating (out of 5):

Given the number of inferior Bond films produced during Roger Moore's tenure, it's sometimes difficult to determine which is the absolute worst. Many bestow that dubious honor on A View to a Kill, but I still have to give the nod to Moonraker, which is by far the most consistently insipid of the lot. A View to a Kill rises at least a notch above the worst because the first half of the film features some fine, suspenseful storytelling, with the distinctive air of a serious Bond thriller. Unfortunately, after the death of Tibbett (Patrick Macnee) and Bond's arrival in San Francisco, the film rapidly falls apart, becoming little more than a series of ridiculous stunts, bad acting, and contrived plot devices. The exception would be Bond's climactic fight with Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) atop one of the girders of the Golden Gate bridge. It's extremely well-choreographed and, although some of the matte shots are obvious, it gives the distinct, unsettling impression that it's actually happening at dizzying heights. It's a rare, excellent moment in a film so flawed that it's no wonder so many fans hold it in contempt.

Barry's musical score, however, is one of the best in years, with several touches derived from his most masterful composition—On Her Majesty's Secret Service. "Snow Job" (Track 2) features an action theme that is appealingly reminiscent of "Ski Chase," with its swirling bass rhythms and soaring brass, yet it manages to forge new ground with the addition of screaming electric guitars and hammering percussion. The cut is one of the highlights of any Bond album; and yet, in the film, the piece is spoiled by a disastrous filmmaking decision: the insertion of the chorus from the Beach Boys' "California Girls" when Bond turns a snowmobile skid into a personal snowboard to escape from his pursuers. As with the slide whistle effect during "Let's Go Get 'Em" in The Man With the Golden Gun, and the Tarzan yell during Bond's escape in Octopussy, the entire mood of the scene is ruined by the insertion of such idiotic, inappropriate humor. Thank God the album is devoid of this unnecessary interlude and we can hear Barry's superb music as it was meant to be.

Initially, my impression of the title song, performed by Duran Duran, was none too favorable, since it reeked of mid-80s cliches, laden with electronic burps that made one think the stereo was on the fritz (sadly, an effect repeated all-too-recently in Madonna's piece-of-shit hit Die Another Day.) However, with the passage of time, "A View to a Kill" has managed to hold up, despite its almost nonsensical lyrics*, as a decent, action-oriented piece that shines like the Akhbar Shah in comparison to many other pop soundtrack pieces that have surfaced in the interim.

"May Day Jumps" builds up in characteristic Barry form, culminating in a soaring brass chorus as May Day (Grace Jones) leaps gracefully from the Eiffel Tower and parachutes to safety, while Bond is left to pursue her in a stolen, half-broken-down cab—which by the time he is finished with it is half the car it used to be.

"Bond Meets Stacy" and "Wine With Stacy" offer Stacy Sutton (Tanya Roberts), our ostensible heroine, more dignity than she deserves, given her wooden acting job. These tracks utilize flute and strings to interpret the main title theme, and the arrangement of the former sounds almost as much like a theme by Ennio Morricone as John Barry. The latter is somewhat more mellow, with a hint of darkness amid the deeper string melodies.

Strains of Thunderball underlie the woodwind-and-string based "Pegasus's Stable," which scores a scene that begins suspensefully enough but ends with the Bond's adversaries being dispatched in ridiculous fashion—presaging the tone that will soon come to dominate the film. "Tibbett Gets Washed Out" is a clever title for a sad moment in the film—the demise of Patrick Macnee as Bond's closest ally. Heavy drums and stuttering horns dominate the composition, reminiscent of "Hip's Trip" from The Man With the Golden Gun.

The majestic action theme from "Snow Job" is reprised in "He's Dangerous," again reminding the listener how strongly the music of a scene can affect its visual impact. "Bond Underwater" has a definite Thunderball-like atmosphere, comprising low, heavy percussion and melancholy but suspenseful strings, ending with a strong brass build-up. More suspense with a Thunderball-like edge resounds in "Airship to Silicon Valley" and "Destroy Silicon Valley," the location being the object of Max Zorin's catastrophic designs. "May Day Bombs Out" features clamoring trumpets above the whirling strings to highlight May Day's change of heart when she realizes she has been betrayed by Zorin; in revenge, she foils his plan by riding to her death atop the bomb that was meant to initiate an earthquake and cause a devastating flood in Silicon Valley.

"Golden Gate Fight" brings back the "Snow Job" action theme for the third and final time to highlight the excellent, climactic fight atop the Golden Gate Bridge. The arrangement is a bit shorter than the previous two, with a heavier, martial beat and more prominent guitars. It's a rousing finale for the album's action music, leading into an abbreviated version of Duran Duran's theme song for the closing titles.

Until recently, the CD soundtrack of A View to a Kill was only available as a Japanese import, usually quite expensive. Now, with the remastered editions available from Capitol-EMI, it can be picked up at a very reasonable price (usually under $15.00). Unfortunately, the new release does not feature any extended or previously unreleased tracks. 

By the time A View to a Kill saw its theatrical release in 1985, Roger Moore had gone well past his prime as the cinematic James Bond, and it's a shame he wasn't given a more respectable vehicle—something with the integrity of For Your Eyes Only—for his final fling. While John Barry's score was a triumph, it seemed that the movies had just about run out of steam, and until The Living Daylights came out in 1987 with a new cast and new direction, everyone had begun to wonder if James Bond truly would return.

Revised 12/27/12 16:43:36

Film Credits
Producer: Albert R. Broccoli & Michael G. Wilson
Associate Producer: Tom Pevsner
Director: John Glen
Screenplay: Richard Maibaum & Michael G. Wilson
Cinematography: Alan Hume
Film Editor: Peter Davies
Production Designer: Peter Lamont
Title Designer: Maurice Binder
Music: John Barry; Monty Norman (James Bond Theme); Duran Duran (Title Song)
Title Song Performed by Duran Duran
Film Running Time: 131 minutes
James Bond: Roger Moore
Maximillion Zorin: Christopher Walken
Stacey Sutton: Tanya Roberts
May Day: Grace Jones
Sir Godfrey Tibbett: Patrick Macnee
Scarpine: Patrick Bauchau
Chuck Lee: David Yip
Pola Ivanova: Fiona Fullerton
Bob Conley: Manning Redwood
Jenny Flex: Alison Doody
Dr. Carl Mortner/Hans Glaub: Willoughby Gray
M: Robert Brown
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
General Anatol Gogol: Walter Gotell
Sir Frederick Gray, Minister of Defense: Geoffrey Keen
Achille Aubergine: Jean Rougerie
W. G. Howe: Daniel Benzali
Klotkoff: Bogdan Kominowski
Papillon Soo: Pan Ho
San Francisco Police Captain: Joe Flood
Auctioneer: Gérard Buhr
Venz, KGB Heavy: Dolph Lundgren
Mine Foreman: Tony Sibbald
O'Rourke: Bill Ackridge
Stables Guard #1: Ron Tarr
Stables Guard #2: Taylor McAuley

CD Tracks

1.  Main Title: A View to a Kill (3:35)
2.  Snow Job (2:28)
3.  May Day Jumps (2:51)
4.  Bond Meets Stacy (2:30)
5.  Pegasus's Stable (3:23)
6.  Tibbett Gets Washed Out (1:42)
7.  Airship to Silicon Valley (2:32)
8.  He's Dangerous (2:16)

9.  Bond Underwater (2:35)
10.  Wine With Stacy (1:54)
11.  Bond Escapes Roller (1:24)
12.  Destroy Silicon Valley (2:23)
13.  May Day Bombs Out (3:01)
14.  Golden Gate Fight (3:31)
15.  End Title: A View to a Kill (2:04)


A View to a Kill

Lyrics by John Barry & Simon Lebon
Performed by Duran Duran

Meeting you with a view to a kill
Face to faces, secret places, feel the chill

Nightfall covers me
But you know the plans I'm making
Still oversee
Could it be the whole earth opening wide?
A sacred Y...a mystery gaping inside
The weekend's why...until we...

Dance into the fire
That fatal kiss is all we need
Dance into the fire
To fatal sounds of broken dreams
Dance into the fire
That fatal kiss is all we need
Dance into the fire

The choice for you is the view to a kill
Between the shades assassination standing still
The first crystal tears
Fall as snowflakes on your body
First time in years
To drench your skin with lover's rosy stain
A chance to find a phoenix for the flame
A chance to die...but can we...

Dance into the fire
That fatal kiss is all we need
Dance into the fire
To fatal sounds of broken dreams
Dance into the fire
That fatal kiss is all we need
Dance into the fire
When all we see is a view to a kill