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Live and Let Die (1973)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Three British agents are killed in 24 hours; one in New York, one in New Orleans and one on the Caribbean island of San Monique. James Bond, interrupted at home by M, is sent to America to investigate the killings, which appear to be connected to Dr Kananga, Prime Minister of San Monique.

Bond's arrival is prophesied by Solitaire, Kananga's personal tarot reader. Upon arriving in New York, Bond is nearly killed when his driver is shot by a black assassin. Meeting up with Felix Leiter, his friend from the CIA, Bond discovers that Kananga is under CIA surveillance. Following a lead, he travels into Harlem to the Fillet of Soul bar where he is captured by a group of thugs working for Mr Big, a prominent gangster who is connected to Kananga. Also present is Solitaire, who warns Bond that he is in danger but is perturbed to find that her forecast for his future is not Death but Love. Mr Big orders Bond's death but he is saved from being shot by a black CIA agent who has been tailing him.

Travelling to San Monique to discover more about Kananga's links to Mr Big, Bond narrowly avoids being bitten by a poisonous snake. He meets Rosie Carver, an inexperienced CIA agent who is eager to help him. She agrees to take him to the location where the British agent was killed, but is frightened by a voodoo warning. Boarding a boat belonging to Quarrel Jr., son of Quarrel who worked for Bond in Jamaica, the two agents travel to an island where Kananga is based. Rosie is revealed as a double agent, but Kananga has her killed before she can reveal any information to Bond.

Solitaire, troubled by her forecasts of love with Bond, is warned by Kananga that she will be killed if her powers fade. Confirming her fears, Bond hang-glides to her room and seduces her. After they make love, Solitaire realises that her psychic powers have been taken away along with her virginity. The two lovers escape but are being watched by Kananga's men, who pursue them. After a strange encounter with Baron Samedi, the Voodoo trickster, Bond discovers that the island is home to acres of poppy fields, a priceless source of heroin concealed and protected by the ancient voodoo legends. He steals a bus and escapes from the island with Solitaire, pursued by his enemies.

Arriving in New Orleans, Bond manages to evade Kananga's men but Solitaire proves willing to return to Kananga, despite his threats. Bond meets Leiter and they go to another Fillet of Soul restaurant but Bond is captured by Mr Big and his henchman Tee-Hee, who has a metal arm with a powerful claw. Mr Big removes his make-up and is revealed as Kananga in disguise. Kananga explains that he is planning to distribute free heroin around the world, putting other gangsters out of business and leaving him with a monopoly. Discovering that Bond has deflowered Solitaire, he plans to dispose of her.

Bond is taken to a crocodile farm which houses one of Kananga's heroin processing plants. Tee-Hee reveals that his arm was bitten off by a crocodile some years before. Bond is nearly eaten but escapes. He steals a speedboat and is chased through the waterways of Louisiana by Kananga's men. This chase is complicated by the involvement of armies of police, led by redneck sheriff J.W. Pepper, who is disappointed to discover that Bond is a secret agent rather than a criminal.

Kananga returns to San Monique with Solitaire, pursued by Bond, who manages to blow up the poppy fields. He rescues Solitaire from death during a voodoo ceremony and they infiltrate Kananga's underground distribution centre. Kananga tries to kill the pair but is himself killed when Bond forces him to swallow a compressed-air bullet.

Returning to New York by train, Bond and Solitaire are surprised by Tee-Hee, who breaks into their cabin. The two men fight and Bond successfully disarms his enemy by cutting the wires of his arm and throwing him through the window. The lovers retire to bed but, on the back of the train, Baron Samedi is waiting.