Misanthropic, impatient, obsessed with life under the sea (he even has webbed fingers), Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens) is one of the richest men in the world. Unlike other Bond adversaries he is not looking for riches. Instead his plan is to orchestrate global nuclear destruction, destroy humanity and rebuild a more civilised world beneath the waves. It’s a plan only thwarted by the sometimes testy collaboration between James Bond (Roger Moore) and KGB agent Major Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach).
Stromberg lives in a submersible ocean laboratory known as Atlantis and owns a shipping line, including the Liparus, a huge tanker, capable of swallowing up submarines whole. He hires scientists Professor Markovitz (Milo Sperber) and Dr. Bechmann (Cyril Shaps) to develop a tracking system that he uses to trace and capture the ballistic missile-equipped submarines, Britain’s HMS Ranger and the Soviet Potemkin. His plan: to use them to launch strikes against Moscow and New York to initiate nuclear warfare.
When Markovitz and Bechmann come to discuss their payment ($10 million each), Stromberg asks his assistant (Marilyn Galsworthy), who has placed a microfilm detailing the tracking system up for sale, to leave them in private. When she enters the elevator, Stromberg presses a button and the lift drops her into a shark tank. After the two scientists leave, Stromberg instructs his henchman Sandor (Milton Reid) and Jaws (Richard Kiel) to kill anyone who comes into contact with the microfilm. To prove his point, he lets the two scientists survive a nervy lift journey but coldly dispatches them by blowing up their helicopter. He asks their families be informed the pair were “buried at sea”.
The microfilm catches the attention of Bond and Amasova, who visit Atlantis under the guise of marine biologist Robert Sterling and his wife. Stromberg sees through their disguise and orders the pair to be killed, the instruction starting numerous attempts on their life. Bond and Amasova go aboard the submarine USS Wayne which is sent to attack the Liparus. Stromberg captures the Wayne, kidnaps Amasova and sets the HMS Ranger and the Potemkin to launch their missiles.
As Stromberg returns to Atlantis to enjoy the fruits of his nefarious endeavours, Bond joins forces with British, American and Soviet sailors and takes over the Liparus to foil the missile strike. Using a Wetbike, Bond travels to Atlantis to confront Stromberg. Sending the lethal elevator to collect Bond, Stromberg intends to drop 007 in the shark tank. Yet Bond evades the trap door by keeping his feet off the floor. The two men sit at a long table. Stromberg tries to shoot Bond with a hidden torpedo gun attached to the underside of the table. Bond evades the missile and returns with four shots from his Walther PPK.