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The Charming Mr Bond: A Roger Moore Guide To Being A Gentleman

“Maybe I misjudged Stromberg. Any man who drinks Dom Perignon ’52 can’t be all bad.”

When Sir Roger Moore took the Bond mantle from Sean Connery in 1973, he made the most famous fictional spy of all time distinctively his own. With his witty one-liners and clever repartee, Sir Roger played Bond as a fashionable dandy spy focused only on his license to kill. As the definitive debonaire Bond, Moore brought together ‘70s iconicism and old-fashioned noble behaviour (with a few bullets thrown in for good measure). Using quotes, clothing and Sir Roger’s most iconic moments, we’ve taken a retrospective look at how the late actor came to embody the modern gentleman.


Tip #1: Anything can look good – if it’s well tailored

Sir Roger is remembered as the series’ most fashion daring (and successful) Bond. Despite working as Bond in one of fashion’s most questionable decades, Moore’s looks remain iconic and well executed. The abundance of flare trousers and roll neck sweaters makes these costumes distinctively seventies – but in a well-tailored suit, Roger Moore proves that even the cringiest men’s fashions can be style wins.

Moore’s Bond was flamboyant (remember that grey, black and red plaid jacket in The Man With The Golden Gun); a strong contrast with the slick Tom Ford minimalism of Daniel Craig’s turn in the character. But he mastered the made-to-measure fit and paired his bold fashion choices with excellent minimalism. A black tie, crisp white shirt and dashing good looks can make a safari suit gentlemanly attire.


Tip #2: A great suit will get you into the finest of parties

Upon retirement, Sir Roger Moore became the most dapper dressed chap in Monaco. On one occasion, his fashion gravitas was enough to help Bono gain entry to a Jay-Z party, as the U2 singer recounted in a 2009 issue of Rolling Stone.

Bono had been sitting in a pizza joint, dressed down in a vest and jeans. He was approached by some broad-shouldered men with American accents, members of Jay-Z’s entourage, who informed him that the rapper and his wife Beyonce were in the grill room and he was welcome to join them. Knowing of the strict dress code in the venue, a favourite of Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, Bono declined the invitation.

Then he looked over and spied Sir Roger with his wife, Kristina ‘Kiki’ Tholstrup. “If I arrived with Sir Roger Moore, there’s no way, even if it all went wrong, there’s no way they’re going to throw me out. He’s the sharp-dressed man of sharp-dressed men, and he’s with his beautiful wife.”

So Bono invited them along to the party. They were immediately welcomed by the guests, who shouted: “James Bond! It’s James Bond, I’m hanging out with James Bond!’” Roger Moore, however, didn’t know Jay-Z, or the hip-hop genre, at all.


roger moore style

Tip #3: Treat the heroine well and she’ll help you out in return

Throughout his career, Sir Roger stated that Sean Connery played Bond as a killer, whilst he played him as a lover. Though Bond cannot, of course, give his heart to any one woman, Moore’s irresistible charm meant he could never be cast off as a cad. As the author Jackie Collins puts it in the 1995 documentary Roger Moore: A Matter Of Class: “When Sean Connery played James Bond, he played him as the bad boy womaniser. When Roger Moore played Bond, he played him as the man who maybe would marry the heroine, if the circumstances were right.”

And being a gentlemanly lover is a great skill for a top spy. In Octopussy, Moore’s smooth charm with Magda leads him into the very heart of the Octopus clan. In the end, teamwork makes the dream work when they pull down Khan together.


Tip #4: Having good manners can help you save the world

Bond is a clever chap. But Roger Moore’s Bond based his cleverness on being debonaire and polite. The greatest weakness of a villain is his ego, so obsessed with impressing her majesty’s greatest spy that he forgets to shoot 007 on the spot. Ever the gentleman, Moore never interrupted, allowing the villain to explain his plans for world domination in full before making any attempts to escape. This patience is a virtue when he uses the intel to stop catastrophe.

For example: do you remember the scene in The Spy Who Loved Me when Karl Stromberg tells 007 of his plans to detonate two nuclear missiles triggering a global armageddon? “Within minutes New York and Moscow will cease to exist, global destruction will follow and a new era will begin. I’m not interested in extortion, I want to change the face of history. Today, civilisation as we know it is corrupt and decadent. Inevitably it will destroy itself – I’m merely accelerating the process.”

Sadly for Stromberg, a few minutes is plenty of time for Bond to reprogram the missiles, free the captured submarinas and save the day.


roger moore style
Image from James Bond Wikia

Tip #5: Dining etiquette is essential – even when your host plans to kill you

Sir Roger needs no bullets to prove himself the gentleman spy.

In The Man With The Golden Gun, Moore and Francisco Scaramanga enjoy some gentlemanly verbal sparring about the nature of killing, over mushrooms. When Scaramanga lays out his plans to hold a gun duel with Bond, Moore rightly disparages the idea for being a little unstylish. “Sounds a bit old-fashioned, doesn’t it? Pistols at dawn, that sort of thing?”

“Indeed it is, Mr Bond. But it remains the only true test for gentlemen,” Scaramanga replies.

Bond agrees to the shoot, “As soon as I finish this delicious lunch Knick Knack has prepared for us.”


Dress Like Sir Roger Moore

roger moore style
roger moore style
roger moore style
roger moore style

The MI6-Worthy Briefcase: