This is super easy because the short story “From a View to a Kill” has absolutely nothing to do with the movie “A View to a Kill.” They basically just coopted the title, dropped the word ‘from,’ and called it good. There are literally no similarities between both other than that title and the presence of James Bond.
The Book Version
When a dispatcher for SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) is killed during a run on his motorcycle, M sends James Bond (who happened to be nearby in Paris) to assist the investigation. Actually, M’s motives are a bit murkier. SHAPE and MI6 have been having a sort of Cold War over whose purpose is more relevant to the world at large. If an agent from MI6 can show up the officers from SHAPE by cracking the case and eliminating the threat, it will deal a crucial blow against them and prove MI6’s worth. Naturally, when 007 shows up on scene he is met with polite resistance. Still, since the investigation appears to be a dead end, he is allowed to have a look. And naturally again, even faced with what seems to be a dead end James find a lead that will take him right into the lair of three assassins.
You can get a full review of the story and the collection it comes from here.
The Movie Version
The movie is simply batshit crazy. Roger Moore’s Bond movies had a definite trend toward the ridiculous and they adored camp, and you can consider A View to a Kill the apex of that trend–and it’s most successful result. To be clear: A View to a Kill is a trainwreck, but it’s a trainwreck you can’t help but watch and enjoy. There’s a full rundown here, but let’s have a brief overview.
Christopher Walken (!) plays Max Zorin, a tech millionaire who wants to dominate the world’s microchip market. Naturally, his plan to accomplish this is to cause an earthquake that will utterly destroy Silicon Valley. He’s assisted by his henchwoman friend/lover May Day, an androgynous killer who dresses like an avante garde disco goddess. I mean of course, because she’s played by none other than Grace Jones. It’s up to James Bond and geologist Stacey Sutton, played by everyone’s fifth favorite Charlie’s Angel, to stop Zorin and save Silicon Valley. It all leads to a battle royale in a zeppelin that lands on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Seriously.
Which is Better?
The story is decent but I definitely give the edge to the movie here. If you want serious entertainment the movie isn’t even an option–go with the story and be proud of your impeccable taste. The movie is just so much fun that I can’t deny it. It’s the kind of movie you want to invite friends over to watch, make popcorn, and shout “can you BELIEVE this shit?!” at the screen.