After three British MI6 agents are killed in mysterious circumstances within 24 hours James Bond (Roger Moore) is called in by M to investigate these deaths and find out what their connections are with Kananga (Yaphet Kotto).
On his arrival, while being driven to meet CIA man Felix Leiter (David Hedison), Bonds driver is shot and killed by one of Kananga’s men but Bond luckily escapes from the subsequent car wreck.
The killer then leads Bond to Mr Big, a ruthless gangster who runs the Fillet of Soul chain of restaurants throughout the US. It’s here that he meets Solitaire (Jane Seymour), a beautiful virgin tarot expert, who is able to see future events and also things that are happening elsewhere in the present. Mr Big orders his henchmen to kill Bond but he escaped unharmed after overpowering them.
Bond flies to San Monique and meets Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry) a CIA double agent. After meeting with Bond’s friend Quarrel Jr (Roy Stewart), who takes them by boat to Solitaire’s home, Rosie is murdered by Kananga to stop her confessing to Bond after he suspects that she is working for Kananga.
Bond tricks Solitaire using a stacked deck of tarot cards which show only ‘The Lovers’ so that she thinks a seduction is in her future. He then seduces her which causes her to lose her powers and so has to help Bond bring down Kananga.
Bond escapes the island, with Solitaire, on Quarrel Jr’s boat. On arrival in Louisiana he escapes Kananga’s men and meets up with Leiter and they go to the New Orleans Fillet of Soul. When Leiter leaves the table for a moment it drops down through the floor taking Bond with it and he comes face to face with Mr Big who, it turns out when he removes his prosthetic makeup, is Kananga. He goes on to explain that he’s producing two metric tonnes of heroin which he plans to distribute free on the market. This he says would drive the drug cartels out of business while the number of addicts would increase. Kananga will then have the monopoly on the drug market.
Bond is escorted from the room after Kananga conducts a test using the serial number on Bond’s watch to test Solitaires powers. She fails and Kananga hands her over to Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder), a voodoo priest, to be used for a ritual sacrifice.
Bond is handed over to Tee Hee Johnson (Julius Harris), a mechanical armed thug, who takes him to the Farm in Louisiana which is filled with alligators and crocodiles and home to one of Kananga’s heroin labs.
After escaping from the small island on which he was left, by jumping on the backs of the reptiles, he sets fire to the Farm killing some of Kananga’s men in the process. Bond then steals a speedboat and is pursued but Kanangas’ men, the local sheriff, J W Pepper and the Louisiana State Police. He manages to evade them all and is met by Leiter who tells him that Kananga, Samedi and Solitaire have gone to San Monique.
Bond rescues Solitaire from the sacrifice but has to fight Samedi who ends up falling into a coffin of poisonous snakes and is presumably bitten to death. Bond and Solitaire go underground into Kananga’s lair. They find him but are tied to a small crane over a shark pool and Bond’s arm is gashed drawing blood to attract the sharks. However, Bond uses some of his gadgets and manages to free himself. A fight with Kananga ensues which Bond, of course, wins.
Thinking that their job is finished Leiter leaves and Bond and Solitaire leave the country by train. Unexpectedly, TeeHee is on the train and tries to kill Bond but ends up being thrown off the speeding train. The film ends showing Baron Samedi in his voodoo outfit sat on the front of the train laughing.