Sir Roger Moore, KBE, passed away after a short battle with cancer yesterday at the age of 89. The British actor was most famous for proudly carrying the Walther PPK of Britain’s most deadly MI6 operative, Commander James Bond, a/k/a Agent 007.
Sir Roger leaves behind an impressive body of work in action movies and television that featured his wit, finesse, and acting talent. As a result, he can be seen carrying much more than just the underpowered little Walther.
So, with the Internet Firearms Movie Database in one hand, and the Victory Games Q Manual in the other, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at three of his films that you may not have seen, and the guns that he wielded.
Octopussy – Walther P5
Did I say James Bond carried a PPK during Sir Roger’s tenure? He did, but in 1983’s Octopussy, 007 carried the 9mm P5. Word on the street is that Walther wanted to market the P5 to German police agencies, and asked the producers of the film to have 007 carry the larger-bore handgun to highlight it.
Unfortunately for Walther, the fact that Bond wielded a P5 was never made clear. After meeting up with Q at a MI6 safe house in India, Bond mentions that he’s “misplaced his PPK,” but there’s no follow-up. When he’s later seen with the P5, well, most people probably just assumed that it was another PPK, since at a glance, as the two look so similar.
The film itself involved a Soviet general’s plot to subvert the NATO alliance in concert with a group of jewel thieves and circus performers from India. (It makes more sense in context.) It’s not a bad Bond flick, although, befitting its sophomoric title, it isn’t afraid to go lowbrow for humor’s sake. It also represents one of the last times that the Russians were treated as the Big Bad Guys in a major British work of fiction prior to the rise of Louise Mensch.
But Bond uses his unidentified P5 to good effect, taking down quite a few Red Army soldiers and assorted other henchmen.
Unfortunately for Walther, although around 100,000 copies of the P5 were made, production was ended in 1993 and the German armsmaker followed the path cut by its neighbor in Austria, focusing on striker-fired plastic fantastics.
The Wild Geese – Walther P38 (with suppressor)
The Wild Geese was one of those movies that looked like it was fun to make, is actually fun to watch (if you don’t mind not thinking too hard about it) and everyone involved tries to pretend that it didn’t happen after the fact.
Not a James Bond movie, it centered on a group of mercenaries sent to Central Africa to rescue a western-friendly African politician who had been kidnapped. The film was shot in pre-entertainment-industry-boycott apartheid-era South Africa.
Wikipedia reveals that the story was based in part on rumored events involving a mercenary from British India called “Mad Mike” Hoare, a pro-western politician from the Congo named Moise Tshombe, and what was then known as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). As a result, the film has a somewhat politically incorrect air about it. Your mileage may vary if you think that’s a fun in these politically correct times.
For this outing, Sir Roger sported another Walther, this time a 9mm P38 equipped with a suppressor. He played the role of mercenary pilot Shawn Fynn and drew the gun while trying to take over an old Douglas Dakota plane at an airfield in the bush.
The casting is also worth a mention — one has the sense that the director asked for (and got) the most manly, testosterone-laden actors left in Britain in the 1970s, some people from Southern Africa (please, throw in at least one Afrikaner,) and one gay guy. Overall, it’s a decent action flick featuring a heartwarming scene where the musclebound Boer mercenary ultimately realizes that all men are brothers regardless of the color of their skin.
Ffolkes – M1911A1
Sir Roger had been playing dashing, suave, secret agent ladies man types in the 1960s, and he became even more typecast when he got the Bond role in 1973’s Live and Let Die. Ffolkes turned all of that on its head.
The titular lead character, played by Moore, was a woman-hating, cat-loving, bearded eccentric that people only put up with because he was good at what he did: counter-terrorism tactics. Lloyds of London hires him to help secure oil platforms in the North Sea against terrorist attacks.
As you’d expect, terrorists inevitably attack, and Ffolkes is called in to save the day. The character is such an iconoclast that I think he had to carry an American 1911. Somehow the movie just wouldn’t have worked with a stylish European sidearm.
I grew up with Roger Moore as Bond, and only later was exposed to the earlier Connery flicks. Although I have to say that Connery made it his own, and will for most be the definitive Bond, when Moore played it more “straight” and less tongue-in-cheek, he could match Connery, or at least come very close.
If only 007 were able to fend off cancer cells as well as he does the bad guys.
R.I.P. Sir Roger. Hail and farewell.
RIP Roger Moore. Nice tribute…
Very nice story. 007 films are the best. IMO, Roger Moore was the only Bond able to carry Sean Connery’s water.
You forgot THIS picture:
So what do you do with a elephant after you shoot it and take the tusks?
Donate the meat to local villagers who need it, as sport hunters are often required to do by the nation hosting the hunt.
I have long wanted to I have long wanted to organize a group of hunters in California who would hunt for support but donate the meat to homeless missions
Waffen nailed this. In fact, I’m not aware of a legal elephant hunt in Africa that doesn’t require this kind of donation unless the hunt is for scientific reasons.
It’s also worthy of note that elephants, in general, are not as endangered as the Greenies want you to think. Botswana actually has so many elephants that they’re trying to get their neighbors to take 30,000 of the beasts off Botswana’s hands. Yes, there are species of Elephant that are critically endangered but Botswana’s HUNTING program has produced funding for such an effective protection/conservation program that they literally have tens of thousands of elephants more than the entire country can handle.
Don’t forget the Colt Python he carried in his first outing as Bond in “Live And Let Die”.
EDIT: I remembered wrong. It was a Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum.
I’ll always remember Sir Moore as Simon Templar, a.k.a. The Saint.
Godspeed, Sir Moore.
A long time ago (1969 as a start), but a fun series.
To me he will always be Mr. Bond. Sean Connery played the role very well too but the others just don’t work for me.
Daniel Craig is acceptable but somehow just not quite right. Oh, well, at least they ditched Pierce.
Pierce was not a bad Bond. He simply had the worst writers to grace the series.
Brosnan seemed destined to play Bond some day. It seems like back in his 1980s “Remington Steele” days, we were all just waiting for him to reach that seasoned James Bond age.
Problem is, he reached that age in the insufferably PC 1990s, by which time the Bond character was essentially gelded. Brosnan got hosed in his turn as Bond, owing to inherently bad scripts wrapped in political correctness. He deserved better, but his Bond failed for reasons beyond his control.
I really like Bronson Pinchot as bond. Wait, that’s not the right guy, is it?
The 80s were worse than the 90s, especially License to Kill. I like Timothy Dalton in other things he’s done, but he was a pretty mediocre 007. I really liked Pierce Brosnan in 3 out of his 4. Die Another Day was okay, but it was just another ripoff of Diamonds are Forever, and he already did that once with Goldeneye.
Moore was always a bit too fey for Bond, at least he seemed so after the relentlessly macho Sean Connery. However, as Simon Templar (the Saint), driving around in his hot little Volvo P1800, he was Da Man. Unfortunately, as a big-mouth anti-gun Brit in real life, he was appalling.
Still, I’m sad to see him go. RIP.
Thanks for pointing out his anti-gun stance.
Don’t forget Cannonball Run
Moore was the worst Bond, IMHO. He played it far too broadly. Connery was the man when I was young. After reading “Casino Royale”, I liked Dalton. Bond in CR was very cool and suave, but he in over his head. Le Chiffre didn’t give a rat’s ass about British customs and protocol and Bond wasn’t ready for such ruthlessness. Dalton showed that sense of “I’m actually not completely in control”.
Moore was good in “The Sea Wolves” as well.
Mike Hoare’s “Congo Mercenary” is a thumping good read.
The title probably is “The Road to Kalamata: A Congo Mercenary’s Personal Memoir.” To my surprise, my public library has a copy.
Yeah, he’s a legend. When I worked in Africa it seemed all I heard were Mad Mike stories and the older guys who worked for him obviously loved the guy.
“ffolkes” is still one of my go-to movies. Perkins is great and James Mason is James Mason-y as always. Solid suspense and action. They don’t make ’em like that any more.
I can’t remember why they didn’t capitalize the first “f” in his name… but I do remember that is was, in fact, lower case.
I once shared a house with a British woman (lush) that was previously Roger Moore’s next door neighbor back in England. She confirmed that it was true that he only drank champagne and by the gallon. I like champagne too but, just saying.
a hypocrite; he was anti-gun in real life but made shitloads of money portraying gun-toting good guys.
The Wild Geese was pretty good, it was on Netflix last year (haven’t looked today). But you forgot his turn in The Sea Wolves where he used a Browning Hi-Power and a Smith and Wesson Revolver.
Interesting trivia about Mad Mike Hoare, he was a chartered accountant (British version of a CPA) as well as a mercenary and always made sure to keep up on his licensing requirements and fees. He only lost his license in 1983, after years of people demanding it be revoked after he was arrested as part of the Seychelles affair.
Enjoyed Roger Moore as Bond, he was a great counter-weight to the Bond as Heavy played by Sean Connery, but Connery will always own the role. He left quite an impression on my 13-year-old self when I saw him in Dr. No on Memorial Day Weekend 1963, like 54 years ago this weekend, phew! By the way, Ursula Andress also left a lasting impression on me when she stepped out of the surf in that white bikini in Dr. No. James Bond, like many of the characters John Wayne and Clint Eastwood played, represented Man as protector and righter of wrongs, not some of the politically correct, intellectualized, oh-so-sensitive male characters being thrust upon young males today by the media.
Don’t forget that every James Bond actor who has said anything about guns basically hates them and doesn’t think any of us should have them.
While I never cared for Moore’s version of Bond, I see nothing hypocritical in actors portraying someone that believes differently from their real-life selves. Actors get paid to play a role. They portray someone other than themselves when they do so.
While I never cared for Moore’s version of Bond, I see nothing hypocritical in actors portraying someone that believes differently from their real-life selves. Actors get paid to play a role. They usually portray someone other than themselves when they do so.
I’ll have to look, but I seem to recall he played a brother to Bret and Bart MAVEICK.
He always was fun to watch even when he was playing just a part.
“The Wild Geese” was a great movie and a lot of fun to watch. It was made back when real mercenaries were real – it was “a thing” back then. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it – just don’t take it too seriously.
Years ago my wife asked me which Bond I liked the most, Sean Connery or Roger Moore as she was going to buy me a boxed set of Bond movies. Tough decision. I went with Connery but Moore is the “other” Bond I think of when the “best” Bond comes to mind. RIP Sir Roger.
In Live and Let Die, Bond used a nickel Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum revolver during the rescue of Solitaire (Jane Seymour).
“…….although around 100,000 copies of the P5 were made, production was ended in 1993……”
Walther P5 production continued well past 1993.
I own a KG (1996) date code P5, S/N is in the 103,*** range. The dated factory test target that came with this P5 is dated July 17, 2002.
The P5 production S/Ns almost reached 106,000. The P5 Compact S/Ns pick up where the standard P5 S/Ns ended.
Based on this P5 example in my collection, the Walther factory in Ulm was releasing P5 over one year into the 21st century.
Oh, and Sean Connery was the ultimate Bond.