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Dragonslayer (1981) by Matthew Robbins

A 400 year old creature has been terrorizing the local people of the small kingdom of Urland for decades. After several attempts of killing their terrible enemy has failed miserably, the weak and corrupted king has decided that the only way to keep the evil creature away from further destruction of his kingdom and its citizens, is to have a yearly lottery, where the "winner", a young female virgin will be given away as a peace offering. So the people will be safe, for another year or so. But not everyone are happy with this kind of living, and decides to seek out a mighty sorcerer, but instead what they get are a young wizard apprentice, Galen Bradwarden (Peter MacNicol) who accepts the impossible task, to go out and destroy the legendary dragon, Vermithrax Pejorative.

Dragonslayer is one of the best made/looking fantasy/adventure films of the early 80s. The special effects still look amazing, and this dragon is pure 100 % evil. A truly terrifying creature. And one of the best looking dragons on the big screen, that I've ever seen. The landscape is beautifully shot, and makes for a fantastic and magical atmosphere.

The only thing I did not like was the lead act, Peter MacNicol. His character comes off as just too smug/cocky most of the time, and there are little development throughout the film. I would rather have the lovely Caitlin Clarke as the lead instead. Another thing that bugged me, is that the most interesting character disappears very early on, and in such a dramatic way that the story falls a bit flat afterwards, as the now leading man MacNicol is not a very "sympathetic" one, and for me it kind of ruins the story.

Anyway, the film was made in what many calls "the dark days of Disney" as many of their pictures were bombing in the box office, and still they continued to hand out very "mature" material and as in Dragonslayer that included some rather graphic scenes such as humans limbs being teared off/cut off, blood, nudity and a dragon that probably would even today, traumatize young kids.

I have always been weak when it comes to 80s Disney, such as The Black Caulderon, and even though this was a co-product with Paramount, 80s Disney really kicked some major ass, and I would love to see the reaction these days by parents, if the uncut version that I saw of Dragonslayer were to be shown on the Disney channel.

 7,5/10

 

Edited by ArtieRollins

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Matt5
2 hours ago, ArtieRollins said:

85e9c163-ee2e-49e9-be3f-62041b33de65_zps

Dragonslayer (1981) by Matthew Robbins

A 400 year old creature has been terrorizing the local people of the small kingdom of Urland for decades. After several attempts of killing their terrible enemy has failed miserably, the weak and corrupted king has decided that the only way to keep the evil creature away from further destruction of his kingdom and its citizens, is to have a yearly lottery, where the "winner", a young female virgin will be given away as a peace offering. So the people will be safe, for another year or so. But not everyone are happy with this kind of living, and decides to seek out a mighty sorcerer, but instead what they get are a young wizard apprentice, Galen Bradwarden (Peter MacNicol) who accepts the impossible task, to go out and destroy the legendary dragon, Vermithrax Pejorative.

Dragonslayer is one of the best made/looking fantasy/adventure films of the early 80s. The special effects still look amazing, and this dragon is pure 100 % evil. A truly terrifying creature. And one of the best looking dragons on the big screen, that I've ever seen. The landscape is beautifully shot, and makes for a fantastic and magical atmosphere.

The only thing I did not like was the lead act, Peter MacNicol. His character comes off as just too smug/cocky most of the time, and there are little development throughout the film. I would rather have the lovely Caitlin Clarke as the lead instead. Another thing that bugged me, is that the most interesting character disappears very early on, and in such a dramatic way that the story falls a bit flat afterwards, as the now leading man MacNicol is not a very "sympathetic" one, and for me it kind of ruins the story.

Anyway, the film was made in what many calls "the dark days of Disney" as many of their pictures were bombing in the box office, and still they continued to hand out very "mature" material and as in Dragonslayer that included some rather graphic scenes such as humans limbs being teared off/cut off, blood, nudity and a dragon that probably would even today, traumatize young kids.

I have always been weak when it comes to 80s Disney, such as The Black Caulderon, and even though this was a co-product with Paramount, 80s Disney really kicked some major ass, and I would love to see the reaction these days by parents, if the uncut version that I saw of Dragonslayer were to be shown on the Disney channel.

 7,5/10

 

Great review thankyou for posting !

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ArtieRollins

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F/X: Murder By Illusion (1986) by Robert Mandel

Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) is the best special effect wizard in the movie business and the Department Of Justice knows all about it. They want to make sure his skills and service can be used in order to help create a fake murder scene on one of the most notorius mobsters in the country. But when the job gets finished, there's no paycheck or gratitude waiting, instead there is only a bullet and a cold grave. 

When Tyler finds out he's been set up all along and with no one else to turn to, he decides to use every trick in the F/X artist manual, to make sure that the bad guys are gonna get the scare of their life.

Brain over brawn, F/X: Murder By Illusion is one of the finest suspense action/thrillers of the mid 80s, and still stands out in a time were the macho over-the-top manly "one-man hero" with big muscles, even bigger guns was dominating the screens, and here you have a guy who comes of as a cross between, Paul Kersey (Death Wish), James Bond and MacGyver. And speaking about MacGyver, the main character Rollie has a lot in common with the famous TV character, as he is also not really much of a gun/fist type of hero, but instead more of the impulsive, creative type, who rely more on the enviroment around him, to help overthrow and take his enemies by surprise.

Bryan Brown might not be the ordinary action hero, but that is what I enjoyed with the film, as one of the greatest fight sequences in it, show that even though Brown is towering in size/shape over one of his enemies, it doesn't always mean you are going to win a fight. Instead he ends up a desperate fight for his life, using everything he can get his hands on. Almost a bit like the older Bond movies with Sean Connery. 

I wish more movies would go back to this kind of action scenes nowdays, instead of just having the typical "perfect" ice cold killing machine, who almost looks bored when showing of his fantastic fighting skills, while you already know before the fight begins, that it will end just like all the other. The hero dominates and is never in any danger at all. Easily knocking down 8-10 grown men, within seconds. 

Brian Dennehy is once again used well as the grumpy but likeable sidekick and even though the two main characters dont share much time together, Dennehy always delivers the goods, and of course a couple of years later, a sequel came out, not as good as the first one, but still fairly entertaing and they get more screen time together, but it lacks the "surprise" momemnts that this film had. 

Jerry Orbach does a fine job as the sleazy mobster and the lovely Diane Venora has a smaller part here too. Look out for a young Tom Noonan, who the same year would get a much bigger party in the classic Michael Mann film, Manhunter. Josie de Guzman plays the helpul and sweet cop, who helps Leo (Dennehy) with police information, and she had a small but memorable role in the Miami Vice pilot episode as the heartbroken wife of the late Eddie Rivera.

The movie is far from perfect, as it does contain some scenes/moments that feel rather rushed, like when one of the more dominant bad guys, suddenly is no longer heard of, and for the last 10-15 minutes it gets a bit to over-the-top like any other action film of the time, and even though you are satisfied seeing the bad guys being taken down, It feel a bit "clumsy" like, they just said, "well screw this, lets do one take and go home". 

Anyway, it still is a very well made film, and one I can watch over and over again. I think a 8/10 is right. 

Also a fine score by Bill Conti, and of course great use of the song Just An Illusion in the end credits.

 

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agent 47

The Nice Guys (2016)

Finally got around to this one. Gotta say this was a blast to watch and Gosling gave a surprisingly lively and funny performance as the alcoholic P.I. whose young daughter has to often has to get him out of jams (only in a seventies-set film would you see an underaged daughter having to drive her alcoholic Dad home from the bar in the middle of the afternoon). Russell Crowe was also solid as the enforcer who winds up just wanting to do the right thing and Matt Bomer especially good as the steely-eyed John Boy who's in the Mr. Joshua camp of scary psychos. The plot was very Chinatown-esque due to the environmental aspect of it but thankfully like Chinatown wasn't preachy or heavy about it and like Lethal Weapon there's plenty of great action scenes mixed in with humor especially John Boy's assault on Gosling's house and the car show climax. The music used here is also terrific especially "Love and Happiness" by Al Green over the end credits. Overall I'm giving it an 8/10 and hoping this isn't the last we see of these two characters.

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

Also rewatched an eighties classic. William Friedkin's dark, violent, and thrilling crime drama is probably one of the best of it's kind taking cop-movie conventions and turning them into a dark and realistic tale about an obsessed, thrill-loving secret service agent played by Manhunter's William Peterson who alongside his new partner (played by John Pankow) hunts down a slick and ruthless counterfeiter (Willem Dafoe giving an excellent early performance) who murdered his old partner just before his retirement. I cannot give enough praise to this film as everything from the cinematography to the acting to Wang Chung's pulse-pounding score to the great San Andreas-inspiring car chase and the grim, somewhat surreal climax (I've watched this film at least thirty times this year and that big bust scene before the confrontation is still one of film's biggest gut-punches) is just plain perfect. Also have to note the awesome supporting cast such as Debra Feuer, Dean Stockwell who is one of my favorite "he's in everything" actors, and just getting around to realizing that's Robert Downey Jr's Dad as Peterson's chief. The new Shout Factory Blu-ray is a radically different looking film from the MGM DVD with a heavily saturated look which feels more vintage and drenched in orange and red hues throughout. One of cinema's finest. 10/10.

 

 

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Stinger390X

I just saw "The Nice Guys" at the theatre a while ago and thought it was pretty good. I agree with what Agent 47 said and it was a good period piece for the seventies. The chemistry was good between Gosling and Crowe. Not your typical buddie movie but very well done!

As for "Live and Die in LA" I first saw that when it came out in theatres back in the day. I bought the special edition DVD and it has great inside clips of the chase scene and lots of inside info. The movie stands the test of time and the story line was extremely good! I love this movie and take it out once a year for a rainy day viewing. Fabulous movie and recommend it highly!

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Vincent Hanna

"The Nice Guys" was cool, Another good 70s period film starring Russell Crowe is "American Gangster".

Edited by Vincent Hanna
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Matt5

The "Miles Ahead" Miles Davis biopic id recommend although no mention of Miami Vice which I had hoped for !:D

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Daytona74

Here's one that's one of my secret favorites... The Reincarnation of Peter Proud:

 

I watched it again the other night. It's a 1970s B-movie suspense thriller based on a novel by Max Ehrlich. It's really not bad, if you can get over certain distinct 1970s clichés... :)

It's a movie about a guy who has nightmares about a past life and then begins to investigate who he was in that former life.

(contains gun violence and nudity)

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Vincent Hanna

THX-1138 (1971)

This is a weird-ass movie made by George Lucas pre-Star Wars. This was back when he was making artsy, new wave stuff instead of subjecting us to horrific Star wars "Prequels". It's a shame Lucas didn't make more films like this and American Graffiti because their awesome.

The film is set in this dystopian world similar to Brave New World/1984, the protagonist (played by Robert Duvall) becomes disillusioned with his rigidly controlled existence and rebels, he stops taking his mandatory medication and illegally falls in love with his roommate "LUH". As a consequence they both are imprisoned for "sexual indecency". In the white-outed prison/limbo, he comes across a fellow inquisitive soul (played by Donald Pleasance) and they both try to escape the prison and the society in general.

The film reminded me a little of mad max: road warrior (in tone only). There's very little dialogue from the main characters (other than the gobbledegook/newspeak chatter you overhear from the oppressors). It's all very stylised and cool looking. The society in this has got be one of the most depressing worlds realised on film. I'd rather live in the Blade Runner world a 100x longer than this sterile, non-existence. This pic pretty much sums up the whole film. Everything is white. literally EVERYTHING:D

10202006_06.jpg

(Oh and yes Lucas has gone back and added CGI to this film like he did with Star Wars, so just try to ignore the obvious CGI effects that look blatantly out of place In an early 70s movie.).

The film can be annoyingly abstract and esoteric at times but stick through it and you might find it interesting if not obviously entertaining. I'll give this 10/10 for creativity and effort put into it.

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James

Fun fact about THX-1138 - George Lucas actually left a little THX-1138 easter egg in American Graffiti. John Milner's license plate reads "THX-138".

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Stinger390X

Holy cow! Great observation!!!

I have THX and love pulling it out once a year to watch it. Fabulous movie and well reviewed Vincent and I agree with everything. Very sci-fi futuristic indeed!

I never made the correlation with Milner's plates though. I have the directors cut and anniversary edition of AG and it never even mentioned this in the "extras" Must have been Lucas's little private secret and joke on everyone.

Good eye!

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Daytona74

Does anybody like movies with Christopher Walken?

I watched "Brainstorm" yesterday. Pretty interesting movie, in that it anticipated much of what is now called "virtual reality". Except in "Brainstorm", they're kind of doing it by directly stimulating a person's brain.

Also, it's Natalie Wood's last movie before her death. In fact, she died during filming, which meant that parts of the script had to be rewritten.

 

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Tommy Vercetti

I do! Great actor. Just a legend. He would have been rather good as Lewis McCarthy in The Great McCarthy. Way better than that forgettable actor that played the part

On the whole I think Pulp Fiction is way overpraised but Walken's appearance is an undoubted highlight
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1ukjdwLAIc

Another great scene from True Romance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3yon2GyoiM

He's great in as a pimp in Pennies From Heaven. Great film. I don't know why it wasn't a hit back in '81 because it was one of the best of that year. Thankfully it's gained a cult following
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54iR0xFkEfQ

He was a great Bond villain in A View To A Kill, which I think is one of the best Bond films. Yes, it's big complaint was Roger Moore was way too old but it's great apart from that. Timothy should've played Bond in it
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEGSjiQq998

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Daytona74

Yeah, Christopher Walken just seems naturally disposed to playing psychopaths or other weird characters, so playing Max Zorin in "A View To A Kill" was just  perfect for him. Not really the best Bond movie, but definitely one of Christopher Walken's best perforances.

Not sure he would have been right to play the Great mcCarthy... maybe more something along the lines of Willie Nelson in "El Viejo".

Or a mentally unstable version of Al Lombard... that New York accent of his would have been just as good as Dennis Farina's Chicago accent...

 

You are now reading this in a Christopher Walken voice:

"Listen, Crawkett, it wasn't my idea. It was bad for business, it cawsed a lawda heat"

:p

Edited by Daytona74
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Stinger390X

I think Christopher Walken was absolutely brilliant in "At Close Range" a true story starring a young Sean Penn as his son. This was an awesome performance and sadly a true tale of a Pennsylvania thief.

Another movie I liked with him is called "Communion" where he plays the apparent true life guy who claims to be abducted by aliens. The aliens are now coming after his son too and he is a bit distraught that they will hurt him as well but I won't ruin the story for you. Check it out!

I met Walken on set here in Niagara on the Lake when he filmed the "Dead Zone" I was working security on the film when they were doing the scenes downtown and in the park. The movie was very good I thought and was a good thriller.

"Dogs of War" was a great action packed thriller about some guerillas that invade a small African country but Walken's character has a crisis of conscience and the plot twists.

Another one I like is "Heavens Gate" where he was involved with corrupt Politian's in a land grab scheme. It was based on true events about a massacre of immigrants in the 1890’s called the Johnson County War.

Now who could forget "Deerhunter" All I can say is WOW! That movie really broke ground when it came out.

I saw him on Saturday Night Live when he did the sketch with the Hungarian Count! This was unique as the camera man followed him around in a strange manner and he kept saying "SHAPAGNIA" for Champaine with a cheezy accent. One of the best SNL sketches of all time! Funny as heck...you have to youtube it. The camera work was mimicking old SCTV with John Candy from the 70's.

Edited by Stinger390X

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Tommy Vercetti

I didn't like At Close Range. I thought it was a poor film despite Penn and Walken.
I don't like Heaven's Gate. There's a really stupid bit where the skating rink is packed with dozens of people then Kris Kristofferson takes Jeff Bridges outside for a few seconds then when he goes back in all the people are gone. What the hell? Where did they go? I found that to be a movie killing moment of stupidity. Plus the animal abuse that went on during the making of that film was appalling. It rightly bombed because of that.

Walken's best role IMO was Frank White. The King.

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Vincent Hanna

My favourite Walken performance is in A View to a KIll.

"I'm the happ-iest….in the saddle" :) Zorin and Mayday are as good as a team as Goldfinger and Oddjob imo.

 

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Stinger390X

Yes Vincent Walken was cool with that odd looking bleached white hair. Made him very "villainous"

However that is not one of the better Bond films but Walken's performance held it up.

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agent 47
On 12/4/2016 at 8:07 PM, Tommy Vercetti said:

I didn't like At Close Range. I thought it was a poor film despite Penn and Walken.
I don't like Heaven's Gate. There's a really stupid bit where the skating rink is packed with dozens of people then Kris Kristofferson takes Jeff Bridges outside for a few seconds then when he goes back in all the people are gone. What the hell? Where did they go? I found that to be a movie killing moment of stupidity. Plus the animal abuse that went on during the making of that film was appalling. It rightly bombed because of that.

Walken's best role IMO was Frank White. The King.

King of New York is tremendous and next to Scarface as one of the best gangster films ever made. Every aspect of Walken's abilities was on display as Frank White from the otherwordly aura to the cold stare to the dancing to the bursts of craziness. Even in his worst films though he at least makes his scenes watchable even Heaven's Gate or the notorious bomb Gigli.

 

 

 

On 12/4/2016 at 8:32 PM, Vincent Hanna said:

My favourite Walken performance is in A View to a KIll.

"I'm the happ-iest….in the saddle" :) Zorin and Mayday are as good as a team as Goldfinger and Oddjob imo.

 

Max Zorin certainly is one of the most unique Bond villains. The eighties Bond films all had villains that were different from earlier eras with Max Zorin being one of the biggest differences. While Zorin has his maniacal scheme like old-school villains did he was a Bond villain who not only did his own dirty work but enjoyed it. Blofeld and others tended to let the lackeys do everything but Zorin got kicks out of doing all the evil things even it meant going out of his way to do so. That scene in the mine for instance when he's gunning down all of Conley's men with an Uzi while laughing. It also shows in Bond how he interacts with Zorin as well as Bond seemed to be more wary and disturbed by him more than other villains. Granted this also due to Zorin being a product of Nazi engineering as well which makes it all the more creepier when thinking about it.

As far as Bond's age go. As much as people complained about it I think it actually worked in a way. Moore's Bond was of a certain era with a certain type of villain and with the eighties the villains were changing. The seventies while lacking Spectre after Diamonds Are Forever the villains for the most part didn't seem too far off from Blofeld and his minions even drug baron Kananga but the eighties as mentioned above changed things. Kristatos from For Your Eyes Only, Kamal from Octopussy, and Koskov from The Living Daylights were more desperate, money-grubbing weasels than supervillains. Zorin is pretty much a sociopath who delights in bloodshed more than his schemes and Sanchez from Licence to Kill while a drug baron like Kananga isn't as crafty but is more paranoid and Tony Montana-ish especially his relations with women in contrast to his business. Having an aging Bond of the golden years of the series makes for a bit of a contrast. In the first two he remains the suave and gentleman Bond who ultimately winds up putting the first two weasels to shame while the third and last time we see him in the eighties he encounters a villain he really hasn't encountered except in a few of the books and reacts differently than he had to other villains. It made for an easier transition to Dalton and for a good send-off of the old Bond. Dalton would then bring the right amount of grit and ruthlessness needed to combat the new breed of villains.

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Matt5

Gigli - forgotten all about that bomb :D

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Vincent Hanna

The Verdict (1982) with Paul Newman. Pretty good courtroom drama. Newman plays a washed up lawyer who begrudgingly takes a medical mis-practice from his friend and former mentor. Newman's lawyer starts out uninterested in the case but becomes revitalised when the judge and the doctors in question want the case swept under the rug, so he has this one chance to redeem himself and defend the rights of his comotose client in court when nobody else will.

James Mason is fantastic as the villainous defense lawyer, with his entourage of lackeys at his side battling it out against Newman and his sole friend/partner. Mason was the best thing in this, maybe he's too charming and entertaining to be hated though but the whole film was really awesome, was gripped throughout. 10/10

 

The Offence (1972). This is really dark film, relentlessly so. Sean Connery plays a burnt out Sergeant (sense a theme here?) searching for a serial rapist/pedophile at large. A suspect is taken into custody (who may or may not have done it) and before he can be questioned, he is murdered in the interrogation room by Connery in blind rage. The rest of the film is shown in flashbacks as we find out the motivations for Connery's sergeant's actions.

I really love the look of 70s movies, Sidney Lumet's in particular look especially gritty and awesome like this, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon etc. Nowadays these digital cameras make everything look too "clean" and sterile looking. We need more gritty and dark films.:cool: 9/10

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Daytona74

I watched "Sin City" again last night.

 

This movie is just a work of art in its own way. Mind blowing visuals, and a pretty convincing take on classic Film Noir. If you've never seen it, you've been missing out :thumbsup:

Edited by Daytona74
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summer84

I can't recall much from the movie, but I did watch "Sin City" once long time ago on television. Also stars Alexis Bledel from "Gilmore Girls." I'll definitely look it up to watch again. And always wanted to see the sequel. :) 

Edited by summer84

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Daytona74
vor 1 Minute schrieb summer84:

I can't recall much, but I did watch "Sin City" once long time ago on television. Also stars Alexis Bledel from "Gilmore Girls." I'll definitely look it up to watch again. And always wanted to see the sequel. :) 

 

Some people think the sequel isn't that great. But if you liked part one, then the second part will give you more of what you probably liked about part 1. The story is a little weaker though, that's true.

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Daytona74
Am 6.12.2016 um 04:50 schrieb agent 47:

As far as Bond's age go. As much as people complained about it I think it actually worked in a way. Moore's Bond was of a certain era with a certain type of villain and with the eighties the villains were changing.

I never really liked Roger Moore in the Bond movies. He isn't a bad actor, it just never really seemed to be the best role for him. I think he said in an interview once that he always tried to play Bond with a certain kind of irony, so that it didn't appear that James Bond was taking himself too seriously. And that's fine. But the Roger Moore Bond movies pretty much just ended up being spy comedies. Timothy Dalton wasn't noteworthy at all as his successor, but I think Pierce Brosnan was a great fit for the role. He still had a bit of the wry irony of Moore, but without appearing quite as daft.

Speaking of Roger Moore... does anybody remember the short lived TV series The Persuaders?

That actually was a fun role for Roger Moore. Kind of a pity it got canceled after one season.

Coincidentally, John Barry, who wrote the famous Bond Theme, also created the title theme of The Persuaders.

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