"Never Say Never Again" was Sean Connery's last and perhaps best interpretation of James Bond-- older, wiser, a bit more wry and self deprecating, yet still an action hero and a man's man. A reworking of Connery's 1965 (has it really been THAT long?) "Thunderball," it explores Bond as an ageing spy having to prove himself in a world where he's regarded almost as a dinosaur.
Because the movie was not produced by EON and the Broccoli people, it received mixed and sometimes shrill reviews by the media and the fans, especially those who preferred the "formula" Bond with its well-worn stock of characters and known personalities.
All that changed with "Never" -- different actors, different attitudes and, yes, even a different(read "mature")007.This Bond was more vulnerable and accessible than previous (and most subsequent) episodes in the franchise, full of sly references to the past and the character's well-known personna. I found it a refreshing rethinking of who James Bond might grow up to be.
The soundtrack was also a refreshing departure, written by Michele Legrand rather than John Berry who, at eleven films, has almost a lock on the musical side of the franchise. Among Legrand's better known scores was the original "Thomas Crown Affair," so his reputation as a soundtrack composer is definitely secure. This score gets in the spirit of the film -- witty, sophisticated and subtle in keeping with the attitude of the film and its star's interpretation of his character. Gone is the swaggering brass, replaced by guitar, piano and strings, a far more intimate and human musical take on the Bond character.
I found the score a pleasant surprise, and the first Bond score I could actually remember anything more than the theme to. Yes, I love the Barry scores, but this musical interpretation, like the movie, is well worth the time and trouble to find. If you saw and liked the movie, by all means get the score!