From Russia With Love, is a James Bond film created in 1963. It pits James Bond, the British secret agent at his best against the Russian organization SPECTRE.
From Russia With Love is the second film in the long running Bond series of films. This film is the successor to Dr No, and many critics argue that these two are among the best of the Bond films, with memorable scenes, solid storyline, memorable villains and acting (Sean Connery as James Bond especially).
James Bond was the creation of Ian Fleming, who began writing his first story ‘Casino Royale’ while on his Jamaican hideaway. After almost a decade, his stories were turned into a movie, Dr. No in 1962 which was directed by Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, although Ian Fleming still had an influence on the movies.
Ian Fleming described Bond as “an interesting man to whom extraordinary things happen”. This is why he chose the name James Bond, as it seems anonymous, even though James Bond is far from anonymous symbolizing a very upper class person with a good taste in cars, cigarettes and wines.
The movie, From Russia with Love, was created in 1963, in the middle of the car war. Thus, it was very much influenced by the historical happenings at the time.
At the time, tensions were quite high with the allies and the communists, particularly between the USA and the USSR.
At the time, the USSR was viewed on by the western world as communist, and communist was seen as evil. Therefore the USSR was seen as evil by most of the western world. This is shown in the movie quite deliberately, as the Russians are depicted as the bad guys, while the British are shown as the heroes and the good guys.
The movie is a typical good against bad scenario. However, unlike megalomaniacs seen in other Bond films, the villains, the Russians, aren’t after world domination, but something significantly less – a decoding device.
The plot is fairly complicated, but basically involved the SPECTRE organization, which is after the decoding device, use Bond and cipher clerk Tatiana Romanova as pawns. Once Bond has obtained the decoding device from Tatiana, SPECTRE thug Red Grant is to take it from him, leaving behind him a corpse.
This shows that the Russians will go to any lengths, even using their own people to achieve the end result – even when its just to get a decoder. This again makes them look evil and ruthless.
The movie begins with a chess tournament, between one of SPECTRE’s operatives – Kronsteen, a chess master who has meticulously plotted every move and weighed all alternatives. He plays a British opponenet, which shows that during the Cold War competition took many different forms, and that conflict wasn’t through battles but rather each country proving themselves, as the Russians try to prove themselves superior in chess to establish credibility. So competition took the form of many things such as sports, however it also took the form of the technology or arms race.
Both Russia and the allies wanted to prove that their technology was more advanced and were all trying to get ahead.
This can be seen in Qs technology, as the British are shown as far more advanced with all the spy technology being used. This is being used as propaganda, to show the Russians as inferior.
The film as a whole can be seen as propaganda in many ways. The British are continually shown as superior to the inferior Russians, through technology and tactics. The Russians plans are quickly foiled by Bond, while the Russians are made to look “thick” at times, for example not noticing the periscope in the office. Or they look inferior in any fight scene, with James Bond easily dispatching on any assailants.
Apart from looking inferior the Russians also look evil, as they are bad guys as mentioned before. However, all the Russians are dressed in black or dark clothes when compared to the light clothes the British wear. The west, in the form of Bond is made to look suave while the Russians are incompetent and “thick” at times.
Further more the Russians are shown to be without morals. They use their own people to gain an advantage, as seen is using Tatiana. However, they also use the Bulgarians.
The Bulgars are their allies, however the Russians use them to attack the British allies, the Turks. When in the gypsy town, the Bulgars launch an attack simply to kill one man. This shows that the Russians don’t care about them, as they simply use them to achieve one goal showing no morals.
The Turks, and the gypsies are also a representation of satellite states.
Although the movie seems to be full of propaganda, the movie was also made for the purpose of entertainment which can be seen from the eccentric villains and the exaggerated fight scenes, as well as the spy theme and all the gadgets on offer such as the suitcase. The movie is a classic Bond movie, with all the gadgets, the somewhat complex plot and of course the Bond girl – Tatiana, something no Bond movie would be without.
Overall, the movie is a blend of entertainment and propaganda. From exaggerated fight scenes, to the British constantly foiling every Russian move. There is no doubt that the cold war had significance on this movie, as it is reflected throughout it in many ways.
The film tries to legitimise the ideology of capitalism and democracy, trying to show communism as being bad or evil. Although the film is fantasy, fantasy can very easily be interpreted as reality.