The Spy Who Loved Me is mainly regarded as the film that resurrected the franchise after a brief slump following lukewarm reaction to the film adaptation of The Man With The Golden Gun. The film upped the stakes and scale of the adventure, featuring a world-spanning plot instead of the relatively small operations of Kananga and Scaramanga from the previous films two films, as Bond works with a rival agent to recover missing submarines from a deranged shipping magnate. It also featured Roger Moore relaxing more into the role, playing up more Bond’s wit instead of trying to match Connery’s machismo. However, it shares very little with the novel which shares it’s name, although there was a later novel adaptation of the film itself (but with several differences)
The novel is set instead in a motel in Upstate New York, and told in the first person (Hence the title) by a troubled Canadian woman, Vivienne, who is running the night shift there. She and the motel are threatened by two gangsters, but Bond arrives and is able to outsmart the gangsters and save her. This is the main element the film borrows from the book, apart from the title-the villains Sluggsy and Horror are pretty much Jaws and Sandor from the film, Stromberg’s henchmen. Although Sluggsy is far more vocal than the mostly quiet Jaws (It’s established in the film version of “Moonraker” that he can speak, though). Jaws of course, would become of the series’s most iconic henchvillains alongside others such as Red Grant and Oddjob, also appearing in the next film, “Moonraker”-and surviving that film too!
I actually think that perhaps “Spy” shares more similarities with the Colonel Sun novel, in which Bond also works with a rival agent. “Sun” was the first post Fleming original Bond novel. In particular that character Ariadne Alexandrou-sounds a lot like the Spy film’s Anya Amasova.
There’s also a scene in that novel where Bond faces off with two henchmen near the Greek acropolis. In the film of “Spy Who Loved Me”, Bond faces off against two of Amasova’s men-Ivan and Boris-near the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.
For some reason I couldn’t find any good pics of the actual fight, but here’s the next scene, where Bond and Anya have this exchange.
Anya: “I’m sorry about Ivan and Boris-they exceed their orders.”
Bond: “Good staff is hard to find these days…”
Next: You Only Live Twice, Bond’s final confrontation with Blofeld in the novel world, and his first in film, leading to some interesting story changes.