Composer of the month Franchises John Barry month

Soundtrack review: James Bond – A view to a kill (John Barry – 1985)

Among James Bond movies, “A view to a kill” is one very special to me. It’s the first James Bond I ever saw and it was one of the very few video tapes we had at home and watched over and over again. I grew up amazed by how strangely Grace Jones looked and impressed with how chillingly efficient Christopher Walken was as a villain. I never forgot Zorin or his zepellin. I never forgot the ice submarine opening or the chase scene from the Eiffel tower and Grace Jones’ jump or what was left of James Bond’s car at the end of that scene. 30 years ago I wasn’t really noticing film music but a James Bond theme is always special. And Duran Duran’s “A view to a kill” still is in my top 3 Bond songs ever. It was their golden period when they were the new Beatles and the video which I watched countless times saw the band members interfere with the action of the movie. And of course, that cheesy “Bon, Simon le Bon” ending. Ah, the memories… As years went by and I watched the movie again I found enough flaws to make me laugh but the memories remain. This review is part of “John Barry month”.

The backbone of a John Barry Bond score is that respective main theme in instrumental form. So it’s very easy to enjoy the album when the main theme is as good as this one. Just listen to “Bond meets Stacy” which presents it in a tender flute version that makes me picture a fireplace in a remote cabin somewhere. “A view to a kill” works excellent integrated throughout this score and with this and the legendary James Bond motif, the score could only be a winner. The excitement of cues like “Snow job” and “May Day jumps” make me want to go and watch the movie again. The hide and seek between action and tenderness keep the score exciting and enjoyable in its first half. “He’s dangerous” is one of the most flamboyant moments form this score and

The other very important motif in this score is the “Pegassus theme” which represents the bulk of the action music from “A view to a kill”. It’s fresh and exciting and helps put this score very close to the top in my personal rankings of Bond scores. There are no filler moments and every piece of music John Barry wrote here has something to offer. Even if you’re not a fan of this particular movie, I think the score will please everyone.

I listen to “A view to a kill” quite often because of that gorgeous main theme and how powerful it is even without Simon Le Bon’s voice. I listen to it quite often because it’s one of the more serious Barry compositions and the action moments are some of the most special. Usually I praise Barry because of his romantic compositions but this time it’s different. And yes I listen to it because it’s part of my childhood bag of memories. If Zorin’s evil grin and dead eyes were what usually drew me back to the movie, it was John Barry’s music that made me watch it again so many years later.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 20 / 38

Album excellence: 52%

Highlights:

Main title – A view to a kill

Snow job

May Day jumpers

Bond meets Stacey (A view to a kill)

He’s dangerous

Wine with Stacey (A view to a kill)

Destroy Silicon Valley

End title – A view to a kill

 

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

1 Comment

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  • I have a problem! I can hear one music in the movie, but i dont know that who is the performer. That song when Chuck Lee getting in the car and after Bond and Stacey leaving the house! Sounds like rock and roll. I looking for the song since a 1000 years!