Bond Girl: Holly Goodhead

Dr. Holly Goodhead is a fictional American CIA intelligence operative tasked with investigating billionaire industrialist Hugo Drax’s operations. A main Bond girl and Ally portrayed by American actress Lois Chiles, the character appeared in the 1979 James Bond film, Moonraker.


The CIA became suspicious of Hugo Drax when some unknown person hijacked a Moonraker space shuttle right off the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on which it was riding, killing its RAF crew and destroying said aircraft. The problem: not a trace of the Moonraker remained. The British, realizing their own embarrassment, sent an expert operative of their own: Commander James Bond, alias Agent 007.

Meeting Bond

Investigating the theft of the Drax Industries Moonraker, Bond proceeds to the Drax Industries shuttle-manufacturing complex, where he meets Hugo Drax and his henchman Chang. It is there that James Bond meets Goodhead and survives an assassination to Chang attempt via a centrifuge chamber.

Bond again encounters Goodhead in Venice, where he is chased through the canals by Hugo Drax’s henchmen. He discovers a secret biological laboratory. By accidentally poisoning the scientists there, he learns that the glass vials hold a nerve gas that is deadly to humans but harmless to animals. Bond also finds evidence that Drax is moving his operation to Rio de Janeiro. Rejoining Goodhead, he deduces that she is a CIA agent spying on Drax. They promise to work together but quickly dispense with the truce. Bond has saved one of the vials he found earlier as the only evidence of the now-empty laboratory, giving it to M for analysis, which permits him to go to Rio de Janeiro.

Fighting Jaws

In Rio, Bond meets Goodhead at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, where Jaws attack them on a cable car. After dispatching Jaws, Bond and Goodhead are captured by henchmen, but Bond escapes and reports to an MI6 base in Brazil. Bond travels the Amazon River looking for Drax’s research facility and, after finding it, is captured by Jaws again. Bond is taken to Drax and witnesses four Moonrakers lifting off. Drax explains that he stole the Moonraker because another in the fleet had developed a fault during assembly.

In space

Moonraker Six had a pre-programmed flight plan and thus carried Bond and Goodhead to their destination. Bond is later reunited with Goodhead, and Drax announced that she and James would be incinerated by the engines of a Moonraker-marked Moonraker Five, the fifth of six that were taking off that day from that secret base. But of course, Drax couldn’t hang about to see his work through. That gave Bond, who had some self-defense equipment of his own, time to blow off a ventilation grille and lead her into a ventilation duct before Moonraker Five took off. They then made their way to the service tunnels, where they ambushed two henchmen, knocked them unconscious, and took the places of the pilot and co-pilot of Moonraker Six. 

Happily, Goodhead knew how to fly a Moonraker shuttle. So it was easy for her to manage the jettisoning of the solid-rocket boosters and then the external tank at the proper time. Bond, however, sat before that part of the pilots’ console that included the cargo-bay monitors. He switched one on and discovered they were carrying no cargo but only passengers.

Their destination is a city-sized space station that Goodhead could see but did not register on the radar. That could mean the station had a radar jammer on board, making the station invisible to the world below.

Eventually, they docked with the station, and Drax explained his plan. He intends to destroy human life by launching fifty spheres containing a nerve gas derived from orchids that would kill humans but not other species. Before launching the globes, Drax says that he has transported several dozen genetically perfect young men and women of various ethnic backgrounds to the space station.

In due time, the poisons extracted from the orchids would dissipate into the mesosphere, and the attractive couples would return to Earth, most having likely become impregnated while in space, where Drax believes would make a perfect Earth free that is peaceful, pollution-free, and one of income equality.

Drax also sees these babies as growing up to look to the space god who bestowed on them this perfect world – clearly himself, and also says these attractive couples will breed out medical problems such as Down Syndrome or Multiple Sceloris. If a baby is deformed, it will be euthanized, as it will be unfit for Drax’s eugenicist utopia. However, this megalomania causes Jaws to realize the truth and defect to Bond and Goodhead’s side.

Bond and Goodhead free themselves from Drax’s henchmen and disable Drax’s jamming equipment. With the radar jammer disabled, Drax’s station becomes visible to Washington. After getting confirmation from General Gogol that Moscow did not authorize that station, the U.S. government deployed a space shuttle full of United States Marines to capture or destroy Drax’s station. Dr. Goodhead pilots Moonraker Five, and they use the shuttle’s laser to destroy the deadly globes that Drax had already launched. Drax is blown out of an airlock during the ensuing battle, and the station begins tearing itself apart.

After their task is complete, Bond suggests they could land either at Vandenberg, White Sands, or Edwards AFB; but Holly begs Bond to “take her around the world one more time.” So they do one ninety-minute orbit and celebrate their victory in a most intimate fashion.

Behind the scenes

Lois Chiles had initially been offered the role of Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) but had turned down the part when she decided to take temporary retirement. Chiles was cast as Holly Goodhead by chance when she was given the seat next to director Lewis Gilbert on a flight, and he believed she would be ideal for the role of the CIA scientist. Jaclyn Smith was initially offered the Holly Goodhead but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with Charlie’s Angels as the role of the CIA scientist. Jaclyn Smith was initially offered the Holly Goodhead but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with Charlie’s Angels.