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James Bond Movie - You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice Poster


Release Date (UK)June 12th, 1967
Release Date (US)June 13th, 1967
DirectorLewis Gilbert
Film Number5 of 25
Running Time117 Minutes
Previous FilmThunderball
Next FilmOn Her Majesty's Secret Service


Tiger TanakaTetsuro Tamba
AkiAkiko Wakabayashi
Kissy SuzukiMie Hama
Helga BrandtKarin Dor
Dikko HendersonCharles Gray
Mr. OsatoTeru Shimada
HansRonald Rich
LingTsai Chin


James BondSean Connery
MBernard Lee
QDesmond Llewelyn
Miss MoneypennyLois Maxwell
BlofeldDonald Pleasence


Two American and Russian space capsules are hijacked in outer space, by a larger craft that intercepts them and swallows the smaller capsules into its large hull. The American and Russian governments each assume that the other was responsible, and fear that a war may break out.

The UK government however believes that the craft landed in the sea of Japan, and they send James Bond to investigate. Bond goes to meet Dikko Henderson, a fellow MI6 agent who has a theory about who really hijacked the capsules. But just before he reveals the information, he is stabbed by a masked henchman.

Bond kills the henchman, takes his coat and surgeons mask, and gets into the enemy agents car, pretending to be hurt. He's driven to Osato Chemicals, but his cover is blown after he gets inside. Bond manages to escape, taking some secret papers from the company safe before leaving. As he leaves the building, he is rescued by Aki, who takes Bond to the head of the Japanese Secret Service, Tiger Tanaka.

Bond and Tiger study the stolen documents, which reveal that a tourist was liquidated for taking a picture of the Ning-Po cargo ship. Bond travels to the docks to investigate, and discovers that the ship was carrying liquid oxygen, a rocket fuel oxidizer. He reports back to Tiger, and the two realize that SPECTRE is behind the hijacking, and is attempting to start a war between the Americans and the Soviets.

Bond trains with Tiger's elite ninja force and gets ready to search for Blofeld's base. While he is training, Aki is mistakenly killed in an assassination attempt against Bond. Bond sets out with one of Tanaka's students Kissy Suzuki, who tells him that a villager had died when rowing into a cave near the mountains. They investigate, and discover a volcano in the mountains, with an iron roof.

Bond sneaks into the hollowed out volcano, sending Kissy to get backup from Tiger. The USA has launched another capsule into space, and Blofeld prepares to send his craft up after it. Bond locates one of the astronauts and knocks his unconscious, intending to take his place on the flight. However, when he gets to the space craft, he breaks a procedure by putting his air-conditioning unit in before him. Blofeld notices the mistake and imprisons Bond in the control room.

Tiger's ninja team try to storm the volcano roof, but it is too strong for them to penetrate and many of the men are killed by Blofeld's crater turrets. Bond uses a missile cigarette he got from Q, to cause a distraction for long enough for him to operate the crater door lever. Blofeld quickly regains control and closes the door, but one of Tigers men manages to slip in, and blows a hole in the structure with a limpet mine. Tigers men storm the volcano and Blofeld is forced to escape, losing his prisoner in the process.

Bond kills a henchmen and takes a key that will initiate the self-destruct sequence on Blofeld's space craft. He turns the key just in time, rescuing the American capsule and preventing a full scale nuclear war. Before he gets a chance to celebrate, Blofeld reappears and initiates the self-destruct sequence for the volcano. Bond and Kissy manage to escape just in time, and climb into a life raft that Tiger had arranged for. Just as the two start to get comfy, M's submarine rises below them and Miss Moneypenny is sent out to ruin the mood.


You Only Live Twice was John Barry's fourth time around as the lead composer for the 007 series. The title track was a phenomenally beautiful piece, with soft precise strings building up to the full expanse of John Barry's orchestra. The soundtrack was given an authentically influenced Japanese theme, and was a perfect match for the soft and harmonic vocals of Nancy Sinatra.

It has often been said by many fans, to be one of John Barry's best works. However, surprisingly, the soundtrack had very low sales when it was initially released. But it has since risen in popularity, and the main title song has been covered by many artists and musicians, including, many years after her Bond contributions, Shirley Bassey.

I have quite an interesting story for those who question how authentically Japanese the album really is. I was once up late watching TV with some friends, when a relatively new, but low budget, Japanese fighting film came on. The scores were quite traditional, and I have to say, better than the film itself. But imagine my surprise when during the dramatic closure, the You Only Live Twice theme itself came blasting from the TV! Can't say any fairer than that.

Track #SongAuthor
1You Only Live Twice (Main Title)Nancy Sinatra, Leslie Bricusse, John Barry
2Capsule in SpaceJohn Barry
3Fight at Kobe Dock/HelgaJohn Barry
4Tanaka's WorldJohn Barry
5A Drop in the OceanJohn Barry
6The Death of AkiJohn Barry
7Mountains and SunsetsJohn Barry
8The WeddingJohn Barry
9James Bond - Astronaut?John Barry
10Countdown for BlofeldJohn Barry
11Bond Averts World War ThreeJohn Barry
12You Only Live Twice (End Title)Nancy Sinatra, John Barry
13James Bond in JapanJohn Barry
14Aki, Tiger and OsatoJohn Barry
15Little NellieJohn Barry
16Soviet CapsuleJohn Barry
17Spectre and VillageJohn Barry
18James Bond - NinjaJohn Barry
19Twice Is the Only Way to LiveJohn Barry


Every movie has a few interesting and sometimes funny mistakes, but most lists of movie goofs are full of duplicates, and pick apart the tiniest details, like a speck of dandruff disappearing between shots! Here we try to list the best of the bunch, short and sweet.


Box Office

Opened in # TheatresUnknown
Production Budget$9.5 Million (~$61.3M with inflation)
Worldwide Gross$111.6 Million (~$720.4M with inflation)


DirectorLewis Gilbert
EditorPeter Hunt
ProducersAlbert R. "Cubby" Broccoli
Harry Saltzman
WritersIan Fleming (Original Novel)
Roald Dahl (Screenplay)
Harold Jack Bloom (Aditional material)
MusiciansJohn Barry
Production DesignerKen Adam


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