Moonraker (1979) is the eleventh spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The third and final film in the series to be directed by Lewis Gilbert, it co-stars Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Corinne Cléry, and Richard Kiel. Bond investigates the theft of a space shuttle, leading him to Hugo Drax, the owner of the shuttle's manufacturing firm. Along with space scientist Dr. Holly Goodhead, Bond follows the trail from California to Venice, Rio de Janeiro, and the Amazon rainforest, and finally intoouter space to prevent a plot to wipe out the world population and to re-create humanity with a master race.
Moonraker was intended by its creator Ian Fleming to become a film even before he completed the novel in 1954, since he based it on a screenplay manuscript he had written even earlier. The film's producers had originally intended to film For Your Eyes Only, but instead chose this title due to the rise of the science fiction genre in the wake of the Star Wars phenomenon. Budgetary issues caused the film to be primarily shot in France, with locations also in Italy, Brazil, Guatemala and the United States. The soundstages of Pinewood Studios in England, traditionally used for the series, were only used by the special effects team.
Moonraker was noted for its high production cost of $34 million, spending almost twice as much money as predecessor The Spy Who Loved Me, and it received very mixed reviews. However, the film's visuals were praised, with Derek Meddings being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and the film eventually became the highest grossing film of the series with $210,300,000 worldwide, a record that stood until 1995's GoldenEye.
A Drax Industries Moonraker space shuttle on loan to the United Kingdom is hijacked in mid-air and MI6 operative, James Bond, agent 007, is recalled from Africa to investigate. En route in a small charter plane, Bond is attacked by the pilot and crew and is pushed out of the plane by the mercenary assassin Jaws. Bond survives by stealing a parachute from the pilot, whilst Jaws lands on a circus tent.
Bond proceeds to the Drax Industries shuttle-manufacturing complex where he meets the owner of the company, Hugo Drax, and henchman Chang. Bond also meets an astronaut, Dr. Holly Goodhead and survives an assassination attempt via a centrifuge chamber. Bond is later aided by Drax's personal pilot, Corinne Dufour, as he finds blueprints for a glass vial made in Venice. Bond then foils another attempt on his life, using a hunting shotgun to shoot a sniper. Upon discovering that Dufour assisted Bond's investigations, Drax has her killed.
Bond again encounters Goodhead in Venice where he is chased through the canals by Drax's henchmen. He discovers a secret biological laboratory, and by accidentally poisoning the scientists there, he learns that the glass vials are to hold a nerve gas deadly to humans, but harmless to animals. Chang attacks Bond and is killed, but during the fight, Bond finds evidence that Drax is moving his operation to Rio de Janeiro. Rejoining Goodhead, he deduces that she is a CIA agent spying on Drax. They promise to work together, but quickly dispense with the truce. Bond has saved one of the vials he found earlier, as the only evidence of the now-empty laboratory, giving it to M for analysis, who permits him to go to Rio de Janeiro under the pretence of being on leave.
In Rio, Bond meets his Brazilian contact Manuela. Drax hires Jaws to finish Chang's job of eliminating Bond. Bond meets Goodhead at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, where they are attacked by Jaws on a cable car. After Jaws' car crashes he is rescued by Dolly from the rubble, and the two fall in love. Bond and Goodhead are captured by henchmen, but Bond escapes and reports to an MI6 base in Brazil and learns that the toxin comes from a rare orchidindigenous to the Amazon jungle. Bond travels the Amazon River looking for Drax's research facility and again encounters Jaws and other henchmen. Bond escapes from his boat just before it hits the Iguazu Falls, and finds Drax's base. Captured by Jaws again, Bond is taken to Drax and witnesses four Moonrakers lifting off. Drax explains that he stole the Moonraker because another in the fleet had developed a fault during assembly. Bond is reunited with Goodhead; they escape and successfully pose as pilots on the sixth shuttle. The shuttles dock with Drax's space station, hidden from radar by a cloaking device.
Once on board the station, Bond and Holly disable the radar jamming cloaking device, resulting in the US sending a platoon of Marines to intercept the now-visible space station. Jaws captures Bond and Holly and brings them to Drax.
Drax plans to destroy human life by launching fifty globes containing the toxin into the Earth's atmosphere. Before launching them, Drax also transported several dozen genetically perfect young men and women of varying races, to the space station. They would live there until Earth was safe again for human life; their descendants would be the seed for a "new master race". Bond persuades Jaws and Dolly to switch their allegiance by getting Drax to admit that anyone not measuring up to his physical standards would be exterminated and Jaws attacks Drax's guards.
A laser battle ensues both inside and outside the space station, in which Drax's guards and his master race are all killed. During the battle, Bond shoots Drax with a cyanide-tipped dart, then pushes him into an airlock and ejects him into space.
In order to destroy the three already launched globes and return to Earth, Goodhead and Bond use Drax's personal shuttle - at the same time observing Jaws and Dolly escape from the disintegrating space station.
- Roger Moore as James Bond: An MI6 agent assigned to look into the theft of a shuttle from the "Moonraker" space programme.
- Lois Chiles as Holly Goodhead: A CIA agent and astronaut who joins Bond and flies with him to Drax's space station.
- Michael Lonsdale as Hugo Drax: Main antagonist. An industrialist who plans to poison all humans on earth, then repopulate the planet from his space station.
- Toshiro Suga as Chang: Drax's original bodyguard.
- Richard Kiel as Jaws: Drax's replacement bodyguard after Chang is killed, afflicted by giantism and with a set of stainless steel teeth.
- Corinne Cléry as Corinne Dufour: Drax's personal pilot.
- Bernard Lee as M: The head of MI6. This was Bernard Lee's final appearance as M.
- Geoffrey Keen as Frederick Gray: The British Minister of Defence.
- Desmond Llewelyn as Q: MI6's "quartermaster" who supplies Bond with multi-purpose vehicles and gadgets useful for the latter's mission.
- Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny: M's secretary.
- Emily Bolton as Manuela: 007's contact in Rio.
- Michael Marshall as Colonel Scott: U.S. Space Marines commander.
- Walter Gotell as General Gogol: The head of the KGB.
- Blanche Ravalec as Dolly: Jaws' girlfriend.