You Only Live Twice is a 1967 film and is the fifth spy film in the James Bond series and the fifth to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's screenplay was written by Roald Dahl, and loosely based on Ian Fleming's 1964 novel of the same name. It is the first James Bond film to discard most of Fleming's plot, using only a few characters and locations from the book as the background for an entirely new story.
During the Cold War, American and Russian spacecrafts go missing, leaving each superpower believing the other is to blame. As the world teeters on the brink of nuclear war, British intelligence learns that one of the crafts has landed in the Sea of Japan. After faking his own death, secret agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to investigate. In Japan, he's aided by Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba) and the beautiful Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), who help him uncover a sinister global conspiracy.
Critical response today is mostly positive, with Rotten Tomatoes giving a 72% rating. But most reviews pointed out various flaws in the film. James Berardinelli said that the first half was good, but "during the second half, as the plot escalates beyond the bounds of preposterousness, that the film starts to fragment", criticising Blofeld's appearance and stating "rockets that swallow up spacecraft are a bit too extravagant.
Roger Ebert criticised the focus on gadgets, declaring that the James Bond formula "fails to work its magic". John Brosnan in his book James Bond in the Cinema compared the film to an episode of Thunderbirds with a reliance on gadgetry but admitted it had pace and spectacle. Christopher Null considered the film one of James Bond's most memorable adventures, but the plot "protracting and quite confusing".
- Sean Connery as James Bond: An MI6 agent.
- Akiko Wakabayashi as Aki: An agent with the Japanese SIS who assists Bond.
- Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki: An Ama diving girl who replaces Aki after her death.
- Donald Pleasence as Ernst Stavro Blofeld: The megalomaniacal head of the terrorist syndicate known as SPECTRE. He intends to ignite a global nuclear war.
- Tetsurō Tamba as Tiger Tanaka: Head of Japanese secret service.
- Teru Shimada as Mr. Osato: A Japanese industrialist secretly affiliated to SPECTRE.
- Karin Dor as Helga Brandt/No. 11: Osato's secretary and a SPECTRE assassin.
- Bernard Lee as M: The head of MI6.
- Charles Gray as Dikko Henderson: British contact living in Japan.
- Burt Kwouk as Spectre 3: one of Blofeld's henchmen.
- Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny: M's secretary.
- Desmond Llewelyn as Q: Head of MI6 technical department.