(Note:  All timings quoted refer to the PAL releases, unless otherwise stated)


Roger Moore’s debut, and a surprisingly dark one at that, given what was to follow. This is another film that looked a little tired and worn on its first DVD outing, the UE sees it burst back onto the market in a bright, colourful, if slightly cropped, edition, with a powerful 5.1 mix, but no mono.

Left unscathed by the BBFC, it is worth noting that the only theatrically projected print I have seen of Live and Let Die actually had the word “shit” removed from the soundtrack. Where this print might have come from, I don’t know, but it’s certainly not a BBFC imposed edit. The first film in the series to employ location captions, all versions to date have presented these burnt-in, as intended.


Comparative Live and Let Die screen-grabs

TOP: Region 1 Special Editions  (2000)         BOTTOM: Region 2 Ultimate Editions  (2006)

Note: the first grabs demonstrate the superior skin-tones of the Ultimate Edition transfer. However, the shot of the funeral procession shows that the Ultimate Edition has lost detail that was present in the Special Edition: note the sky in the background, and the white feathers on the brown and white umbrella.



A much-maligned film, but one not without both its virtues and its fans, the widescreen VHS and SE DVD versions were framed roughly the same, and that ratio has not been altered to any noticeable degree for the UE. Nothing of note report here, except the lack of a mono track on the UE. Completists will no doubt be aware that the teaser trailer contains some footage removed from the final cut of the film.


An inexplicably popular entry, The Spy Who Loved Me is another film in the series that never seems to have been represented particularly well on home video. The SE DVD in particular was a dull looking, muddy affair, although it was at least correctly framed at around 2.35:1. The new version has more vibrant colours, and is brighter too, though which colour scheme is the most accurate to the original intentions, is for others to determine. The UE cleans up the image somewhat, but the framing doesn’t look significantly different. The Special Edition contained only a 5.1 Dolby mix, and now, with the UE, we also have a DTS mix to go with it. The location captions are burnt-in on all versions, as far as I am aware.


A somewhat uneven entry into the series, one with flashes of brilliance, but also moments that tend to instil little more than derision in many viewers' eyes, Moonraker was already quite well served by its original appearance on disc (even though some of the music cues suffered from a distracting amount of wow in places), the UE alters the framing a tad, brightens the image slightly and adds a DTS mix (the Special Edition already contained 5.1 Dolby mix).

It has been noted that the end credits are subtly different on the UE, when compared with the SE, though which is the most “accurate” representation is open to question. Whereas the SE had a continuous credits scroll, the UE has a scroll, then a static page containing “Filmed in Panavision / Technicolor”, and “Dolby Stereo” credits, followed by the rest of the end credits, which scroll up as before.

Also, it would appear that the title sequence has been horizontally squeezed, presumably to prevent any credit information being lost to overscan. Most other films in the series get around this potential problem by windowboxing the title sequence, which is far more preferable.


A distinct return to form for the series, For Your Eyes Only is another film for which the original audio mix has been lost to the mists of time: the 5.1 mix on the new DVD is significantly different in places, when compared with the original DVD. For instance, the brass section heard playing on the soundtrack during the bike / ski chase on the UE, is mixed to the front speakers, whilst it is mixed into the rears on the SE.

The picture quality of the Ultimate Edition is quite a dramatic improvement over the old SE, not least with regard to the colours, which are far more vibrant, with sunnier shades (as I suspect should be the case, given the locations), when compared with the overcast, grey skies to be found on the SE. Overall, worthy of upgrading.


Comparative For Your Eyes Only screen-grabs

TOP: Region 1 Special Editions  (2000)         BOTTOM: Region 2 Ultimate Editions  (2006)



Better framed than the widescreen VHS, the DVD version nevertheless suffered from being the first (chronologically speaking) in the series to include player-generated captions and subtitles translations. The original R1 pressing of the SE was missing these captions, and had to be repressed. Sadly, whilst the R2 SE avoided this problem, it has somehow found its way onto the UE. So, if you want the captions intact, either stick with your VHS copies, or hunt out the old R2 DVDs. The picture has been significantly improved on this new edition, however, so it is not a total loss, and the surround track from the SE has been replaced with, by now, ubiquitous 5.1 DD/dts tracks.


Although not a popular entry in the series, to be sure, and one which deserves re-evaluation, A View To A Kill was nevertheless treated with great respect upon its DVD debut. One of the few SE releases to retain its original logo at the start of the film, and perfectly framed at approximately 2.35:1, the SE looked glossy, with strong colours and little in the way of print damage, had an enveloping 5.1 mix, and even contained a deleted scene for our consumption. Well, this time out, the Dolby track has been given a DTS track for company, and even more deleted scenes have found their way out of the archives (one of which necessitated that the overall rating for the package be raised to a “12”). Sadly, this would appear to be the first of two films that have been appallingly treated for the UE re-release. Not only is the image cropped to a frankly alarming degree for quite a lot of the film, but the colour also appears to be much subdued, when compared with previous releases.

The only official BBFC mandated change to this film was a darkening of the image at one point during the title sequence, which otherwise revealed rather too much of a semi-nude woman.

However, I stumbled across some more information on another site recently, which suggested that the BBFC were also shown a rough cut of A View To A Kill, at which point, certain recommendations were made for cuts to be implemented to remove, quote, a 'heavy crotch kick and a double neck chop in a fight in a cellar under a building'. Presumably, this is a reference to the fight sequence under the stables, starting at 38’ 12” on the SE. This fight has always seemed somewhat choppier than Glen’s usual style, and contains one or two odd-looking cutaways to Sir Godfrey and the conveyer belt at a couple of points. These cutaways were presumably employed to facilitate the removal of the said kicks and chops, without resorting to jump cuts.

Also of note, there's an awkward jump-cut at 41’ 50” in the scene where May Day climbs into bed with Bond (either to combine two separate takes or, more likely, to remove some accidental nudity). This is still present in the UE.


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