You Only Live Twice Trivia: 8 Fun Facts About the James Bond Movie

James Bond 007 and Blofeld stroking his cat

Eon Productions

Sean Connery’s fifth outing as James Bond saw him travel to Japan to foil another plot by the dastardly Blofeld. Here’s some trivia about this 1967 spy thriller…

1) Bond fights The Rock’s grandfather

In Osato’s office, Bond comes to blows with a henchman. The hechman was actually played by Peter Fanene Maivia – a Samoan pro wrestler who is actually the grandfather of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson 

2) The main producers nearly died in a plane crash 

Infamous 007 producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were on a location-scouting trip in Japan. They had seats booked back to London on BOAC flight 911. However, luckily for them, they agreed to accept an invitation to a ninja demonstration, and they missed the flight. Just 25 minutes after take-off, the plane exploded and all passengers died. 

3) The volcano set cost nearly as much as Dr No’s whole budget 

You Only Live Twice’s volcano set is one of the most memorable and iconic lairs from the entire 007 series – and it cost the production a pretty penny. Costing a million dollars, it almost matched the entire budget of Dr No. The enormous structure used 700 tons of metric steel, 200 miles of tubular steel and 200 tons of plaster. 

4) Connery wouldn’t act if the producers were on set 

The relationship between Connery and the 007 producers really broke apart during the filming of You Only Live Twice. So much so, that the actor refused to do his lines if the producers were on-set. Famously, Connery took a break from the role after this fifth outing, and George Lasenby took his place in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. However, he returned for Diamonds Are Forever after Laseby exited a 7-film deal. 

Sean Connery in Japanese make-up in You Only Live Twice
Eon Productions

5) Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay

Fellow spies during the war, Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming were great friends. Dahl was approached to adapt Fleming’s novel into the movie’s screenplay. Dahl hated the book, and called it Fleming’s worst. The following year, Dahl adapted another of Fleming’s novels for the big screen – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. 

6) The rocket pistol and cigarette rockets were product placements 

Whilst you’d be forgiven for thinking that the rocket pistol and cigarette rockets were fictional Q-branch movie magic, they were both actually real-life weapons. The company that produced them paid for product placement in the movie. 

7) Little Nellie was included because of a radio interview 

Little Nellie is based on the Wallis Autogyro – an invention by K.H. Wallis. The movie’s production designer Ken Adam heard a radio interview with Wallis, where he was discussing the Autogyro invention. Adam knew the machine would be perfect for the movie. In the scenes where we see Bond flying Little Nellie, it’s actually Wallis piloting the machine. It took 85 flights to complete the sequence. 

8) They had to cut the roof off the Toyota 2000GT

In this film, Bon is seen driving a topless Toyota 2000GT. However, the car wasn’t actually a convertible. The actor was too big to fit in the car, so the production team had to cut the roof off. 

9) The cat soiled Blofeld’s trousers

According to Donald Pleasance, who played the iconic villain Blofeld, the cat that was given to him to stroke throughout many of his scenes actually dirtied his trousers on several occasions. Whenever the cat was scared, it would soil the actor’s lap. 

There you have it – 9 pieces of trivia about You Only Live Twice! 

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