I finally picked up Live and Let Die on Blu Ray and watched it yesterday. I hadn't watched the movie in years, but my memory was that it was a fairly cheesy movie that was poorly written and acted.
Then I saw that several people here rated the movie fairly highly so I thought I'd watch it again with an open mind.
You know what? While it isn't bad I still rate it at the bottom of my Bond movie list. Why?
For all the people who say that Licence To Kill looks like a TV movie it looks like Skyfall compared to Live and Let Die. Live and Let Die looks like a 70's TV show in production style. The dialogue is of TV caliber, and the acting is pretty poor, too (outside of Moore and David Hedison) - especially Gloria Hendry as Rosie Carver. The character of Rosie Carver is pretty poorly thought out as well. First off, she's incompetent. Would the CIA really put someone THAT incompetent out in the field? I don't think so. Second, it's her 2nd assignment and she's ALREADY been turned by the bad guys? Really???
The 2nd rate Blaxploitation elements in the movie ring hollow (at least with the Blaxploitation movies they came across as more genuine). And Yaphet Kotto is pretty bad as Kananga/Mr. Big.
Having said that, there are some good things in the movie. Bond's escape from, "The farm," and the ensuing boat chase is excellent, and Jane Seymour is good as well.
It just doesn't feel like a Bond movie to me. The voodoo elements are incredibly cheesy, the Harlem/New Orleans stuff is incredibly cheesy, and naming the mob boss, "Mr. Big," was unbelievably cheesy.
And Guy Hamilton did an absolutely awful job of directing the movie for the most part. It really does look like a TV movie from that era, and most of the actors overact and are completely cheeseball. Hamilton did them no favors. Looking back, his work on Goldfinger was weak, and every Bond movie he did after that looked like glorified TV movies. After watching LALD I'm inclined to say that Hamilton was a hack. Other than Battle of Britain (a fairly good movie) I'm not real familiar with his work outside of Bond movies, but based on what I've seen I'd say that he's the weakest director that Eon ever hired.
So, summing it all up, I'd say that LALD isn't quite as bad as I had remembered (and my daughter really liked it), but it's still bottom of the barrel for the Bond movies in my estimation. Not bad, but not all that good, either. Like all Bond movies, though, it IS entertaining...