Updated:
Original:
Year
1977
Month Day
August 03

“The Spy Who Loved Me” released in theaters

On this day in 1977, “The Spy Who Loved Me,” starring Roger Moore as the suave superspy James Bond, known for his love of fast cars and dangerous women, is released in theaters across America. The film features one of the most memorable Bond cars of all time–a sleek, powerful Lotus Esprit sports car that does double duty as a submarine. 

As “The Spy Who Loved Me”begins, Bond is sent to investigate the hijacking of British and Soviet submarines loaded with nuclear warheads. To defeat his adversary, shipping tycoon Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens), and avert global nuclear war, Bond must free the captured submarines. In one of the film’s key sequences, Bond skillfully maneuvers his Lotus Esprit in order to save himself and his Soviet counterpart, the beautiful KGB agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach), from the attacks of Stromberg’s henchmen. With the sultry helicopter pilot Naomi (Caroline Munro) in pursuit along the coastal roads of Sardinia, Bond drives the Lotus off a pier into the ocean. The car transforms into a submarine, complete with tail fins and a periscope, and Bond is able to blast Naomi’s helicopter out of the sky with a sea-to-air missile. 

Two different Lotus Esprits were used in the production of “The Spy Who Loved Me,” including a specially modified model, dubbed “Wet Nellie,” for the filming of the underwater scenes, in Nassau, Bahamas. At the time of filming, the Lotus Esprit was the latest innovation by the Lotus Engineering Company, founded in 1952 by the British engineer and race car driver Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman. After debuting the original styling concept at the Turin Motorshow in 1972, Lotus unveiled the Esprit at the Paris Motor Show in October 1975 and launched its production the following year. Renowned designer Giorgetto Giugiaro (chosen by more than 100 automotive journalists around the world as the winner of the Car Designer of the Century award in 1999) provided the Esprit’s sleek styling. While critics praised the car’s lightweight frame and superior steering and handling, they gave it lesser marks for power, noise and other more minor points.

In 1980, Lotus launched the Esprit Turbo, which made its own star turn in the 1981 Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only.” The company made continued improvements to the Esprit line throughout the next two decades, and in 1992 celebrated the 20th anniversary of the car’s initial introduction in Turin and its place among the world’s fastest and most respected sports cars. Esprit production ended in 2003. 

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Sir Roger Casement hanged

Sir Roger David Casement, an Irish-born diplomat who in 1911 was knighted by King George V, is executed for his role in Ireland’s Easter Rising. Casement was an Irish Protestant who served as a British diplomat during the early part of the 20th century. He won international ...read more

Columbus sets sail

From the Spanish port of Palos, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sets sail in command of three ships—the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina—on a journey to find a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. On October 12, the ...read more

Nautilus submarine travels under North Pole

On August 3, 1958, the U.S. nuclear submarine Nautilus accomplishes the first undersea voyage to the geographic North Pole. The world’s first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus dived at Point Barrow, Alaska, and traveled nearly 1,000 miles under the Arctic ice cap to reach the top ...read more

TV news shows Marines burning village

CBS-TV news shows pictures of men from the First Battalion, Ninth Marines setting fire to huts in the village of Cam Na, six miles west of Da Nang, despite reports that the Viet Cong had already fled the area. The film report sparked indignation and condemnation of the U.S. ...read more

NBA is born

On this day in 1949, after a damaging three-year battle to win both players and fans, the rival Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball League (NBL) merge to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). The BAA incorporated in 1946, challenging the ...read more

Donner Party encounters first delay

An ominous sign of the troubles to come, the Donner Party finds a note warning the emigrants that their expected route through the mountains ahead is nearly impassable. The Donner Party had left Springfield, Illinois, three months earlier. Led by two wealthy brothers, Jacob and ...read more

Sodomy arrest sparks controversy

Michael Hardwick is arrested for sodomy after a police officer observes him having sex with another man in his own bedroom in Georgia. Although the district attorney eventually dropped the charges, Hardwick decided to challenge the constitutionality of Georgia’s law. “John and ...read more