James Bond

From WOI Encyclopedia Italia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The James Bond 007 gun logo

James Bond, also known as 007 (pronounced "double-oh seven"), is a fictional British spy created by writer Ian Fleming in 1953. Fleming wrote numerous novels and short stories based upon the character and, after his death in 1964, further literary adventures were written by Kingsley Amis (pseudonym "Robert Markham"), John Pearson, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and Charlie Higson. In addition, Christopher Wood wrote two screenplay novelisations and other authors have also written various unofficial permutations of the character.

Although initially made famous through the novels, James Bond is now probably best known from the EON Productions film series. Twenty films have been made as well as two that were independently produced and one American television adaptation of Fleming's first novel under legal licence. However, it is generally considered that only the EON films are "official". Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman produced most of these up until 1975, when Broccoli became the sole producer. From 1995, his daughter, Barbara Broccoli, and his stepson, Michael G. Wilson, jointly continued production duties.

To date, five actors have portrayed Bond in the official series, and a sixth made his appearance. They are:

List of James Bond's
Sean Connery (1962–1967; 1971)
George Lazenby (1969)
Roger Moore (1973–1985)
Timothy Dalton (1987–1989)
Pierce Brosnan (1995–2002)
Daniel Craig (2006–present)

In addition, Barry Nelson portrayed Bond in an unofficial TV episode in 1954, Bob Holness portrayed James Bond, in a 1956 South African radio adaptation of Moonraker, David Niven played the role in an non-EON film in 1967, and Connery reprised the character in another non-EON film in 1983.

The twenty-first official film, Casino Royale, with Daniel Craig as Bond, is in production and is scheduled for a November 17, 2006 release.

Broccoli's family company, Danjaq, LLC, has co-owned the James Bond film series with United Artists Corporation since the mid-1970s, when Saltzman sold UA his share of Danjaq. Currently, Columbia Pictures and MGM (United Artists' parent) co-distribute the franchise.

In addition to novels and films, Bond is a prominent character in many computer and video games, comic strips and comic books, and has been the subject of many parodies.


Fleming's commissioned impression of 007 used as an example to aid the Daily Express comic strip artists.

The character

Commander James Bond, CMG, RNVR is an agent of the international arm of the British Secret Service headquartered in London in a tall, grey building overlooking Regent's Park. Under the cover name "Universal Exports" and later "Transworld Consortium", Bond's fictional British Secret Service starting in 1995 takes on the actual name of the UK's Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. As an agent of the Secret Service, Bond holds code number "007". The 'double-O' prefix indicates his discretionary licence to kill in the performance of his duties.

Bond is the consummate womaniser, drinker, and heavy cigarette smoker, at one point reaching 70 cigarettes a day. On average, however, Bond smokes 60 a day, although in certain novels Bond does attempt to cut back so that he can accomplish certain feats such as swimming underwater. He is also forced to cut back after being sent to a health farm per his superior's order. Regardless, the literary incarnation continues to smoke through many continuation novels. On film, Bond has been off and on. During the films starring Connery, Lazenby and Dalton, Bond was a smoker, while during Moore's and Brosnan's tenure he doesn't smoke cigarettes, although he does occasionally smoke cigars. The last time Bond smoked a cigarette on film was in 1989. In the opening sequence of the 1997 film Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond approaches a seated terrorist who has a cigarette in his mouth, and offers him a light. After the cigarette is lit, the terrorist looks up, Bond punches him out and remarks, "Filthy habit!"

James Bond is famous for ordering his vodka martinis "shaken, not stirred", although the literary Bond also drinks gin martinis, champagne, and bourbon.

James Bond does have a quirk of being a "know-it-all," more so on film. In Goldfinger, he is able to calculate in his head how many trucks it would take to transport all the gold in Fort Knox, and how long the gold would be radioactive after Auric Goldfinger's atomic bomb detonates inside the vault. Bond's "genius" became a running joke during Roger Moore's era; afterwards, such references were scaled back.

Ian Fleming's creation and inspiration

James Bond was created in February 1952 by Ian Fleming while on vacation at his Jamaican estate called Goldeneye. The hero of Fleming's tale, James Bond, was named after an American ornithologist of the same name who was an expert on Caribbean birds and had written a definitive book on the subject: Birds of the West Indies. Fleming, a keen birdwatcher, owned a copy of Bond's field guide at Goldeneye. Of the name, Fleming once said "I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, James Bond was much better than something more interesting like 'Peregrine Maltravers.' Exotic things would happen to and around him but he would be a neutral figure — an anonymous blunt instrument wielded by a Government Department."

After completing the manuscript for what would later be titled Casino Royale, Fleming allowed his friend William Plomer, a poet and later Fleming's editor, to read it. Plomer liked it enough that he gave the manuscript to Jonathan Cape, who did not like it as much, but published it anyway due to the fact that Ian was the younger brother of Peter Fleming, an established travel writer who also put in a good word for Ian.

Since the fictional James Bond's creation, hundreds of reports by various news outlets have suggested names for Ian Fleming's inspiration of Bond. Usually these people have a background of some kind in espionage or other covert operations. Although some names share similarities with Bond, none have ever been confirmed by Fleming, Ian Fleming Publications or any of Ian Fleming's biographers such as Fleming's assistant and friend, John Pearson. Most researchers agree that James Bond is a highly romanticised version of Fleming himself; the author was known for his jetsetting lifestyle and reputation as a womaniser. Both, for the most part, went to the same schools, like the same foods (e.g., scrambled eggs), have the same habits (e.g., drinking and smoking), share the same view on women (e.g., how they should look and how they should dress), and have similar education and military careers both rising to the rank of Commander. Although the character of Bond is not known to be based on anyone but Fleming himself, the look of James Bond, famed for being "suave and sophisticated," is based on a young Hoagy Carmichael. In Casino Royale the character Vesper Lynd says of Bond, "He reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless." Other characteristics of Bond's look are said to be based on Fleming, such as his height, his hairstyle and his eye colour.

Fleming has, however, admitted to being inspired by true or partially-true events that took place during his career at the Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty. Most notably, and the basis for Casino Royale, was a trip to Lisbon that Fleming and the Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Godfrey, took during World War II en route to the United States. While there they went to the Estoril Casino in Estoril, which, due to the neutral status of Portugal had a number of spies of warring regimes present. Fleming claimed that while there he was cleaned out by a "chief German agent" at a table playing Chemin de Fer; however, Admiral Godfrey tells a different story, that Fleming only played Portuguese businessmen and that afterwards Ian had fantasised about them being German agents and the excitement of cleaning them out.

The franchise

From Russia with Love is the novel credited with sparking the James Bond craze when it was listed as one of John F. Kennedy's favourite books.

The James Bond franchise is currently the second all-time highest grossing film franchise in history, after Star Wars, and one of the longest running film series in history, spanning 20 official films, 2 unofficial films, 1 TV episode based on Casino Royale, and a cartoon television series spinoff. A new film, Casino Royale, is currently in production and will be released in November 2006. Every Bond film has been a box office success to a lesser or greater degree. They continue to earn substantial profits after their theatrical run via videotape, DVD, and television broadcasts. In the UK, Bond holds three of the top five spots of the most-watched television movies.

The first actor to play Bond on-screen was American Barry Nelson, in the 1954 CBS television production of Casino Royale in which the character became a U.S. agent named "Jimmy Bond." In 1956, Bob Holness provided the voice of Bond in a South African radio adaptation of Fleming's third novel, Moonraker.

Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli started the official cinematic run of Bond in 1962, with Dr. No starring Sean Connery. The films made by their production company, EON Productions are regarded as the "official films" by all parties, although the 3 "unofficial" adaptations were "authorised" to be made.

The official series had set up a semi-regular schedule of releases: initially annually, then usually once every two years, although there have been a couple of times where the gap was larger, usually due to external events.

Since Bond's peak of popularity in 1965, with the release of Thunderball, critics have often predicted that his successful run would come to an end, usually believing that the films were out of touch with the times. After the release of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, George Lazenby quit the lead role for this very reason, even though he was offered a seven-film contract. By the 1980s, some critics had grown tired of the series, commenting that the perennial sexism and glamorous locales had become outdated, and that Bond's smooth, unruffled exterior didn't mesh with competing movies like Die Hard. The hard-edge of Timothy Dalton in the Bond films of the late 1980s met a mixed response from moviegoers: some welcomed the earthier style reminiscent of Fleming's character, while others missed the light-hearted approach which characterised the Roger Moore era. While Dalton's final outing, Licence to Kill (1989), was financially successful, it did not prove as popular as previous installments. Its relative failure is usually blamed on a poor promotional campaign in the United States, Dalton's darker portrayal of Bond, and its status as the first Bond film to be rated PG-13 in the U.S. and "15" in the UK. Regardless, a new Bond film was scheduled for release in 1991. However, legal wrangling over ownership of the character led to a protracted delay that would keep Bond off movie screens for the next six years, during which time Dalton had moved on.

The 1990s saw a revival and renewal of the series beginning with GoldenEye in 1995. Pierce Brosnan filled 007's shoes with an elegant mix of Sean Connery cool and Roger Moore wit. The combination saw Bond's success return to a level it hadn't enjoyed since 1979's Moonraker. In all, Brosnan made 4 films before being replaced in 2006 by Daniel Craig, who will star in a reboot of the series. Although Craig's Casino Royale is the 21st film of the series, it will be Bond's first mission after obtaining his double-O status from MI6.

The James Bond novels and films have ranged from realistic spy drama to science fiction. The original books by Fleming are usually dark — lacking fantasy or gadgets. Instead, they established the formula of unique villains, outlandish plots, and voluptuous women who tend to fall in love with Bond at first sight — the feeling often being mutual. The films expanded on Fleming's books, adding gadgets from Q Branch, death-defying stunts, and often abandoning the original plotlines for more outlandish and cinema-friendly adventures. The cinematic Bond adventures were initially influenced by earlier spy thrillers such as North by Northwest, Saboteur, and Journey Into Fear, but later entries became formulaic dramas where Bond saves the world from apocalyptic madmen. Inevitably, Bond's nemesis tries to kill him with a deathtrap, during which the villain reveals vital information. Bond later escapes and uses this intelligence to thwart the evil plot. In many cases, Bond then kills his opponent himself, although early films often ended with the enemy either escaping or dying by someone else's hand.


By Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming. Photo: Horst Tappe.

In February 1952, Ian Fleming began work on his first James Bond novel. At the time, Fleming was the Foreign Manager for Kemsley Newspapers, an organisation owned by the London Sunday Times. Upon accepting the job, Fleming asked that he be allowed two months vacation per year. Every year thereafter until his death in 1964, Fleming would retreat for the first two months of the year to his Jamaican estate, Goldeneye, to write a James Bond novel.

1953 Casino Royale (1967 film)
1954 Live and Let Die
1955 Moonraker
1956 Diamonds Are Forever
1957 From Russia with Love
1958 Dr. No
1959 Goldfinger
1960 For Your Eyes Only
1961 Thunderball
1962 The Spy Who Loved Me
1963 On Her Majesty's Secret Service
1964 You Only Live Twice
1965 The Man with the Golden Gun
1966 Octopussy and The Living Daylights

Between 1953 and 1966, twelve James Bond novels and two short story collections by Fleming were published, with one novel and one short story collection issued posthumously. To this day, it is still debated whether Fleming himself actually finished 1965's The Man with the Golden Gun, as he died very soon after completing the book. His first anthology of short stories, For Your Eyes Only, mostly consisted of converted screenplays for a CBS television series based on the character. When the project fell through, Fleming turned them into short stories: (i) "From a View to a Kill", (ii) "For Your Eyes Only", (iii) "Risico", plus two additional stories, "The Hildebrand Rarity" and "Quantum of Solace", which were previously published. The second anthology, Octopussy and The Living Daylights (in many editions titled only Octopussy), originally only contained two short stories, "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights"; a third story, "The Property of a Lady" was added in the 1967 paperback edition, and a fourth, "007 in New York", was added in 2002.

Post-Fleming James Bond novels

After Fleming's death, Glidrose Productions attempted to continue the Bond series with Colonel Sun.

Following Fleming's death in 1964, Glidrose Productions, publishers of the James Bond novels, planned a new book series, credited to the pseudonym "Robert Markham" and written by a rotating series of authors. Ultimately, only one Markham novel saw print, 1968's Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis. Amis had previously written two books on the world of James Bond, the 1964 essay The James Bond Dossier and the tongue-in-cheek 1965 release The Book of Bond, or Every Man His Own 007 (written under the pseudonym "Lt.-Col. William ("Bill") Tanner", a recurring character in the Bond novels. Amis had also been claimed for many years as the ghost writer of The Man with the Golden Gun, although this has been debunked by numerous sources. See The controversy over The Man with the Golden Gun.)

In 1973, Fleming biographer John Pearson was commissioned by Glidrose to biograph the fictional character James Bond. Pearson wrote James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007 in the first person as if meeting the secret agent himself. The book was well-received by aficionados—readers and viewers, alike. Since the book has many discrepancies with Fleming's Bond (for example his birth year), the canonical status of James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007 is debated among fans—some consider it apocryphal, though at least one publisher, Pan Books, issued it as an official novel along with the rest of Fleming's series for its first paperback edition. Glidrose reportedly considered a new series of novels written by Pearson, but this did not come to pass. Prior to writing this, Pearson had written an early biography of Ian Fleming, The Life of Ian Fleming.

In 1977, the film The Spy Who Loved Me was released and was subsequently novelised and published by Glidrose due to the radical difference between the script and Fleming's novel of the same name. This would happen again with 1979's Moonraker. Both novelisations were written by screenwriter Christopher Wood and were the first official novelisations, although technically, Fleming's Thunderball was a novelisation having been based on scripts by himself, Kevin McClory, and Jack Whittingham (although it predated the movie), and the For Your Eyes Only collection was also, for the most part, based upon unproduced scripts.

In the 1980s, the series was finally revived with new novels by John Gardner; between 1981 and 1996, he wrote fourteen James Bond novels and two screenplay novelisations, surpassing Fleming's original output. The biggest change in Gardner's series was updating 007's world to the 1980s; however, it would keep the characters the same age as they were in Fleming's novels. Generally Gardner's series is considered a success although their canonical status is disputed.

1981 Licence Renewed
1982 For Special Services
1983 Icebreaker (novel)
1984 Role of Honour
1986 Nobody Lives For Ever
1987 No Deals, Mr. Bond
1988 Scorpius
1989 Win, Lose or Die
1989 Licence to Kill
1990 Brokenclaw
1991 The Man from Barbarossa
1992 Death is Forever
1993 Never Send Flowers
1994 SeaFire
1995 GoldenEye
1996 COLD (novel)

In 1996, Gardner retired from writing James Bond books due to ill health, and American Raymond Benson quickly replaced him. As a James Bond novelist, Benson was initially controversial for being American, and for ignoring much of the continuity established by Gardner. Benson had previously written The James Bond Bedside Companion, a book dedicated to Ian Fleming, the official novels, and the films. The book was initially released in 1984 and later updated in 1988. Benson also contributed to the creation of several modules in the popular James Bond 007 role-playing game in the 1980s. Benson wrote six James Bond novels, three novelisations, and three short stories.

1997 "Blast From the Past" (short story)
1997 Zero Minus Ten
1997 Tomorrow Never Dies
1998 The Facts of Death
1999 "Midsummer Night's Doom" (short story)
1999 "Live at Five" (short story)
1999 The World Is Not Enough
1999 High Time to Kill
2000 Doubleshot
2001 Never Dream of Dying
2002 The Man with the Red Tattoo
2002 Die Another Day

Benson's three short stories remain uncollected, unlike previous short stories from Ian Fleming. Benson also wrote a fourth short story entitled "The Heart of Erzulie" that was rejected for publication.

Benson abruptly resigned as Bond novelist at the end of 2002, despite having previously announced plans to write a short story collection. Low sales figures for the books, and plans by Ian Fleming Publications to focus on reissuing Fleming's original novels for the 50th anniversary of the character, were among reasons speculated by fans as to why Benson departed. The year 2003 marked the first year since 1980 that a new James Bond novel had not been published.

On August 28, 2005, Ian Fleming Publications confirmed it is planning to publish a one-off adult Bond novel in 2008 to mark what would have been Ian Fleming's 100th birthday. This would feature the adult version of the character as opposed to the "Young Bond" character of the recent Charlie Higson books (see below). Although it has been suggested a "big name" author might take on the task, the publishers have yet to approach anyone about this project [1].

Young Bond

In April 2004, Ian Fleming Publications (Glidrose) announced a new series of James Bond books. Instead of continuing from where Raymond Benson ended in 2002, the new series featured James Bond as a thirteen-year-old boy attending Eton College. Written by Charlie Higson (The Fast Show) the series is intended to align faithfully with the adult Bond's back-story established by Fleming and Fleming only. Since the concept was announced the series has taken heavy criticism for being aimed at the "Harry Potter audience" and has been seen by some as a desperate attempt to find a new audience for Bond. Regardless, the first novel became a bestseller in the United Kingdom and was released to good reviews. A second novel was released in the UK in January 2006. The series is currently planned out for five novels according to Charlie Higson.

2005 SilverFin
2006 Blood Fever
2007 Young Bond Book 3
2008 Young Bond Book 4
2009 Young Bond Book 5

The Young Bond series is expected to add graphic novels in 2006. It is currently unknown whether these will be adaptations of Higson's books.

The Moneypenny Diaries

A new trilogy of novels "edited" by Samantha Weinberg under the pseudonym Kate Westbrook entitled The Moneypenny Diaries was released by John Murray publishers that centres on the character of Miss Moneypenny, M's personal secretary. The first installment of the trilogy, subtitled Guardian Angel, was released on October 10, 2005. Weinberg is the first woman to write officially licensed Bond-related literature (although Johanna Harwood had previously co-written the screenplay for Dr. No).

The novels had originally been touted as the secret journal of a "real" Miss Moneypenny and that James Bond was a possible pseudonym for a genuine intelligence officer, an idea shared by John Pearson's earlier biography, James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007. John Murray admitted on August 28, 2005 that the books were a spoof after an investigation by The Sunday Times of London. Ian Fleming Publications, who had previously refused to comment as to whether the book was authorised, officially confirmed the book was and always had been a project by them on the day of the book's publication.

A second volume has been tentatively scheduled for publication in October 2006.[2]

Other Bond-related fiction

In 1967, Glidrose authorised publication of 003½: The Adventures of James Bond Junior written by Arthur Calder-Marshall under the pseudonym R D Mascott. This book is for young-adult readers, and chronicles the adventures of 007's nephew (despite the inaccurate title).

In 1991 an animated television series, James Bond Jr, ran for 65 episodes. The series was mildly successful and spawned six novelisations published in 1992 by John Peel writing as John Vincent, a 12 issue comic book series by Marvel Comics published in 1992, as well as a video game developed by Eurocom for the NES and the SNES in 1991.

Russians were often the villains in Fleming's Cold War-era novels in at least some form. In 1968, they hit back with a spy novel of their own called Avakoum Zahov vs. 07 by Andrei Guliashki, in which a communist hero finally and forcefully defeats 007.

In addition to numerous fan fiction pieces written since the character was created, there have been two stories written by well-known authors claiming to have been contracted by Glidrose. The first in 1966, was Per Fine Ounce by Geoffrey Jenkins, a friend of Ian Fleming who claimed to have developed with Fleming a diamond-smuggling storyline similar to Diamonds Are Forever as early as the 1950s. According to the book The Bond Files by Andy Lane and Paul Simpson, soon after Ian Fleming died, Glidrose Productions commissioned Jenkins to write a James Bond novel. The novel was never published. Some sources have suggested that Jenkins novel was to be published under the Markham pseudonym. The second story, 1985's The Killing Zone by Jim Hatfield goes so far as to have been privately published as well as claim on the cover that it was published by Glidrose; however it is highly unlikely that Glidrose contacted Hatfield to write a novel since at the time John Gardner was the official author. The text of The Killing Zone is available on the Internet and can be found here.

In 1997, the British publisher B.T. Batsford produced Your Deal, Mr. Bond, a collection of bridge-related short stories by Phillip King and Robert King. The title story features James Bond, M, and other characters and features an epic bridge game between Bond and the villain, Saladin. No credit is given to Ian Fleming Publications, suggesting this rare story may have been unauthorised; a photo of Sean Connery as Bond is featured on the cover of the book.

In Clive Cussler's novel, "Night Probe", there is a character named Brian Shaw, whom the hero, Dirk Pitt suspects to be James Bond. Brian Shaw's choice of pistol, a .25 caliber, echoes that of James Bond's preference for the .25 caliber Beretta. Shaw's old office was located in Regent Park, and he was supposed to have been on SMERSH's hit list.

Lance Parkin's Doctor Who novel Trading Futures features a Bond-like character named Jonah Cosgrove, described by the author thus: "Cosgrove is (and I mean 'is' here in the very precise, non-trademark violating, sense of the word) the Sean Connery Bond, but one who never retired and who's been a secret agent for fifty years. So he's about eighty, and all the time he's just been piling on more muscles and getting more wrinkled, and ever more set in his ways and bitter and anachronistic. He's Sean Connery in The Rock, as drawn by Frank Miller, and by now he's been promoted to M."



The James Bond film series has its own traditions, many of which date back to the very first movie in 1962.

Since Dr. No, each film begins with what is known as the James Bond gun barrel sequence, which introduces agent 007. A gun barrel is seen from the assassin's perspective — a side-on view of Bond walking, who quickly turns and shoots. The scene then reddens (signifying the spilling of the would-be assassin's blood), the gun barrel dissolves to a white circle, and the film begins.

File:Kleinman gunbarrel.jpg
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in the gun barrel sequence

After this introduction, every film (with the exception of Dr. No) would start with a pre-credits teaser, also popularly known as the "opening gambit". Usually the scene features 007 finishing up a previous mission before taking on the case from the film, and does not always relate to his main objective. Some of the teasers tie in with the plot (as in Live and Let Die). Since The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, they have often involved attention-grabbing action sequences, which have tended to become larger and more elaborate with each film. The World Is Not Enough (1999) holds the record for the longest, running more than 15 minutes, whereas most are under five.

File:Kleinman titlecredits.jpg
Title credits from GoldenEye representing the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War

After the teaser sequence, the opening credits begin, during which an arty display of scantily clad and even (discreetly) naked females can be seen doing a variety of activities from dancing, jumping on a trampoline, to shooting weapons. This title sequence is a trademark and a staple of the series. The best known of the Bond title designers is Maurice Binder, who created them for fourteen films from 1962 to 1989. Since Binder's death in 1991, Daniel Kleinman has designed the credits and has introduced CG elements not present during his predecessor's era. While the credits run, the main theme of the film is usually sung by a popular artist of the time. For the most part, the backdrop is unrelated to the plot of the film, although the design may reflect an overall theme (e.g., You Only Live Twice uses a Japanese motif as well as images of a volcano, both of which are elements of the movie itself). Goldfinger uses short glimpses of the film projected on to women's bodies. For Your Eyes Only begins with Sheena Easton singing the title song on-screen. Die Another Day's titles are unusual in that the images advance the storyline by depicting Bond's torture following his capture by the North Koreans. The credits for GoldenEye depict the fall of the Soviet Union and thus provide a transition from the pre-fall era of the opening sequence to the post-fall setting of the rest of the narrative. The Bond films are unusual in retaining full opening and closing credits: since the late 1980s it has become common for most 'blockbuster' films to save detailed credits for the end, with only the title shown at the beginning.

Agent 007's famous introduction, "Bond. James Bond", became a catchphrase after it was first muttered (with a cigarette in the corner of his mouth) by Sean Connery in Dr. No. Since then, the phrase has entered the lexicon of Western popular culture as the epitome of polished, understated machismo. On June 21, 2005 it was honoured as the 22nd greatest quotation in cinema history by the American Film Institute as part of their 100 Years Series. Bond's customary beverage order, "A martini. Shaken, not stirred", which was first uttered by him in Goldfinger (although it is actually first said on screen by the villain in Dr. No), was also honoured as #90 on the same list.

Every film, except Dr. No (1962) and Thunderball (1965), has the line: "James Bond will return..." or "James Bond will be back" during or after the final credits. Up until Octopussy (1983) the end-credit line would also name the next title to be produced ("James Bond will return in..."). Over the years, the sequel has been incorrectly named three times. The first, 1964's Goldfinger, announced in early prints that Bond would return in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. However, the producers changed their mind shortly after release and subsequently corrected future editions of the film. In 1977, The Spy Who Loved Me stated that 007 would be back in For Your Eyes Only, but EON Productions decided to instead take advantage of the Star Wars craze and release Moonraker, whose plot was changed to involve outer space. Thirdly, Octopussy incorrectly states the next film as being From a View to a Kill, the original literary title of A View to a Kill.

Every aficionado has a favourite James Bond: Sean Connery — the tough guy, his machismo ready beneath the polished persona; George Lazenby — the controversial ultra-macho man, equally loved and despised; Roger Moore — the sophisticate, a perfect gentleman, rarely mussing his hair while saving the world; Timothy Dalton — the hard-edged literary character; and Pierce Brosnan — the polished man of action. On October 14, 2005, EON Productions announced that Daniel Craig would be the sixth official James Bond and will star in the latest adventure, Casino Royale, in 2006. Work is also already underway on the script for the follow-up, currently referred to by its working title, Bond 22.

There is also lively debate on the best Bond movie, with most major film critics giving the top mark to either From Russia with Love (Connery's favourite, as he re-asserted in a 2002 ABC interview with Sam Donaldson) or its brassy follow-up, Goldfinger. Despite George Lazenby's short tenure in the tuxedo, some reviewers have also warmed to On Her Majesty's Secret Service (with Leonard Maltin's Movies on TV review book stating it might have been the best Bond film ever had Connery appeared in it).

All the actors who portrayed James Bond in official EON films in order, from top left to bottom right: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

No. Title Year James Bond U.S. Box Office Total Box Office Total Admissions
1 Dr. No 1962 Sean Connery $16,100,000 $59,600,000 72.1 million
2 From Russia with Love 1963 Sean Connery $24,800,000 $78,900,000 95.3 million
3 Goldfinger 1964 Sean Connery $51,100,000 $124,900,000 130.1 million
4 Thunderball 1965 Sean Connery $63,600,000 $141,200,000 166 million
5 You Only Live Twice 1967 Sean Connery $43,100,000 $111,600,000 81.7 million
6 On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969 George Lazenby $22,800,000 $87,400,000 62.4 million
7 Diamonds Are Forever 1971 Sean Connery $43,800,000 $116,000,000 70.3 million
8 Live and Let Die 1973 Roger Moore $35,400,000 $161,800,000 91.6 million
9 The Man with the Golden Gun 1974 Roger Moore $21,000,000 $97,600,000 51.6 million
10 The Spy Who Loved Me 1977 Roger Moore $46,800,000 $185,400,000 83.1 million
11 Moonraker 1979 Roger Moore $70,300,000 $210,300,000 85.1 million
12 For Your Eyes Only 1981 Roger Moore $54,800,000 $195,300,000 70.3 million
13 Octopussy 1983 Roger Moore $67,900,000 $187,500,000 59.5 million
14 A View to a Kill 1985 Roger Moore $50,300,000 $152,400,000 42.9 million
15 The Living Daylights 1987 Timothy Dalton $51,200,000 $191,200,000 48.9 million
16 Licence to Kill 1989 Timothy Dalton $34,700,000 $156,200,000 39.1 million
17 GoldenEye 1995 Pierce Brosnan $106,400,000 $353,400,000 81.2 million
18 Tomorrow Never Dies 1997 Pierce Brosnan $125,300,000 $346,600,000 75.5 million
19 The World Is Not Enough 1999 Pierce Brosnan $126,900,000 $390,000,000 77.1 million
20 Die Another Day 2002 Pierce Brosnan $160,900,000 $456,000,000 78.6 million
21 Casino Royale 2006 Daniel Craig


In 1954, CBS paid Ian Fleming $1,000 USD for the rights to adapt Casino Royale into a one hour television adventure as part of their Climax! series. The episode featured American Barry Nelson in the role of "Jimmy Bond", an agent for the fictional "Combined Intelligence" agency. The rights to Casino Royale were subsequently sold to producer Charles K. Feldman who turned Fleming's first novel into a spoof featuring actor David Niven as one of six James Bonds. The instrumental theme music was a hit for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. For more information, see the history of Casino Royale.

When plans for a James Bond film were scrapped in the late 1950s, a story treatment entitled Thunderball, written by Ian Fleming, Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham, was adapted as Fleming's ninth Bond novel. Initially the book was only credited to Fleming. McClory filed a lawsuit that would eventually award him the film rights to the title in 1963. Afterwards, he made a deal with EON Productions to produce a film adaptation starring Sean Connery. The deal specifically stated that McClory couldn't produce another adaptation until a set period of time had elapsed, and he did so in 1983 with Never Say Never Again, which featured Sean Connery for a seventh time as 007. Since it was not made by Broccoli's production company, EON Productions, it is therefore not considered a part of the official film series. A second attempt by McClory to remake Thunderball in the 1990s with Sony Pictures was halted by legal action which resulted in the studio abandoning its aspirations for a rival James Bond series. To this day, McClory claims to own the film rights to Thunderball, though MGM and EON assert they have expired. For more in-depth information, see the controversy over Thunderball.

Title Year James Bond U.S. Box Office Total Box Office Total Admissions
Casino Royale — TV episode 1954 Barry Nelson not applicable not applicable not applicable
Casino Royale — Film spoof 1967 David Niven $25,000,000 $44,000,000 36.1 million
Never Say Never Again 1983 Sean Connery $55,400,000 $160,000,000 50.8 million

Other films pertaining to James Bond

James Bond has long been a household name and remains a huge influence within the cinematic spy film genre. The Austin Powers series by writer and actor Mike Myers and other parodies such as Johnny English (2003), the "Flint" series starring James Coburn as Derek Flint, and Casino Royale (1967) are testaments to Bond's prominence in popular culture. 1960s TV imitations of James Bond such as I Spy, Get Smart, The Wild Wild West, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. went on to become popular successes in their own right. The latter having had contributions by Fleming towards its creation; the show's lead character, "Napoleon Solo," was named after a character in Fleming's novel Goldfinger and Fleming also suggested the character name April Dancer, which was later used in the spinoff series The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.. A reunion television movie, The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1983), is notable for featuring a cameo by George Lazenby as James Bond; for legal reasons, his character, a tribute to Ian Fleming, was credited as "JB".


"The James Bond Theme" was written by Monty Norman and was first orchestrated by the John Barry Orchestra for 1962's Dr. No, although the actual authorship of the music has been a matter of controversy for many years. However, in 2001, Norman won £30,000 in libel damages when he sued The Sunday Times for suggesting that Barry was entirely responsible for the composition.

Barry did go on to compose the scores for eleven Bond films in addition to his uncredited contribution to Dr. No, and is credited with the creation of "007", which was used as an alternate Bond theme in several films, and the popular orchestrated theme "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Both "The James Bond Theme" and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" have been remixed a number of times by popular artists, including Art of Noise, Moby, Paul Oakenfold, and the Propellerheads.

Barry's legacy was followed by David Arnold, in addition to other well-known composers and record producers such as George Martin, Bill Conti, Michael Kamen, Marvin Hamlisch, and Eric Serra. Arnold is the series' current composer of choice, and was recently signed to compose the score for the his fourth consecutive Bond film, Casino Royale.

The Bond films are known for their theme songs heard during the title credits, sung by well-known popular singers (which have included Tina Turner, Paul McCartney and Wings, Tom Jones, Madonna, and Duran Duran, among many others.) Shirley Bassey performed three themes in total, and is the only singer to have been associated with more than one film. On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the only Bond film with a solely instrumental theme, though Louis Armstrong's ballad "We Have All the Time in the World", which serves as Bond and his wife Tracy's love song and whose title is Bond's last line in the film, is considered the unofficial theme. The main theme for Dr. No is the "James Bond Theme", although the opening credits also include an untitled bongo interlude, and concludes with a vocal Calypso-flavoured rendition of "Three Blind Mice" entitled "Kingston Calypso" that sets the scene. From Russia with Love also opens with an instrumental version over the title credits (which then segues into the "James Bond Theme"), but Matt Monro's vocal version also appears twice in the film, including the closing credits; the Monro version is generally considered the film's main theme, even though it doesn't appear during the opening credits.

Video games

File:Everything or Nothing.jpg
Everything or Nothing was Pierce Brosnan's final appearance as James Bond

In 1983, the first Bond video game, developed and published by Parker Brothers, was released for the Atari 2600, the Atari 5200, the Commodore 64, and the Colecovision. Since then, there have been numerous video games either based on the films or using original storylines.

Bond video games, however, didn't reach their popular stride until 1997's GoldenEye 007 by Rare for the Nintendo 64. Subsequently, virtually every Bond video game has attempted to copy GoldenEye 007's accomplishment and features to varying degrees of success. In 2004, Electronic Arts released a game entitled GoldenEye: Rogue Agent that had nothing to do with either the video game GoldenEye or the film of the same name, and Bond himself plays only a minor role in which he is "killed" in the beginning during a virtual mission similar to the climax at Fort Knox in the film Goldfinger.

Electronic Arts has to date released seven games, including the popular Everything or Nothing, which broke away from the first-person shooter element found in GoldenEye and went to a third-person perspective. It was also the first game to feature well known actors including Willem Dafoe, Heidi Klum and Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, although several previous games have used Brosnan's likeness as Bond. In 2005, Electronic Arts released another game in the same vein as Everything or Nothing, this time a video game adaptation of From Russia with Love, which allowed the player to play as Bond with the likeness of Sean Connery. This was the second game based on a Connery Bond film (the first was a 1980s text adventure adaptation of Goldfinger) and the first to use the actor's likeness as agent 007. Connery himself recorded new voiceovers for the game, the first time the actor has played Bond in 22 years.

Comic strips and comic books

In 1957 the Daily Express, a newspaper owned by Lord Beaverbrook, approached Ian Fleming to adapt his stories into comic strips. After initial reluctance by Fleming who felt the strips would lack the quality of his writing, agreed and the first strip Casino Royale was published in 1958. Since then many illustrated adventures of James Bond have been published, including every Ian Fleming novel as well as Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun, and most of Fleming's short stories. Later, the comic strip produced original stories, continuing until 1983.

Titan Books is presently reprinting these comic strips in an ongoing series of graphic novel-style collections; by the end of 2005 it had completed reprinting all Fleming-based adaptations as well as Colonel Sun and had moved on to reprinting original stories.

Several comic book adaptations of the James Bond films have been published through the years, as well as numerous original stories.

Bond characters

The James Bond series of novels and films have a plethora of interesting allies and villains. Bond's superiors and other officers of the British Secret Service are generally known by letters, such as M and Q. In the novels (but not in the films), Bond has had two secretaries, Loelia Ponsonby and Mary Goodnight, who in the films typically have their roles and lines transferred to M's secretary, Miss Moneypenny. Occasionally Bond is assigned to work a case with his good friend, Felix Leiter of the CIA. In the films, Leiter appeared regularly during the Connery era, only once during Moore's tenure, and in both Dalton films; however, he was only played by the same actor twice. Absent from the Brosnan era of films, Felix will return in Craig's first James Bond film Casino Royale in 2006.

Bond's women, particularly in the films, often have double entendre names, leading to coy jokes, for example, "Pussy Galore" in Goldfinger (a name invented by Fleming), "Plenty O'Toole" in Diamonds Are Forever, and "Xenia Onatopp" (a villainess sexually excited by strangling men with her thighs) in GoldenEye.

Throughout both the novels and the films there have only been a handful of recurring characters. Some of the more memorable ones include Bill Tanner, Rene Mathis, Felix Leiter, and Jack Wade.

Vehicles and gadgets

Main articles List of James Bond vehicles and List of James Bond gadgets

The Aston Martin DB5 is the most famous and recognised Bond car

Exotic espionage equipment and vehicles are very popular elements of James Bond's literary and cinematic missions; these items often prove critically important to Bond removing obstacles to the success of his missions.

Fleming's novels and early screen adaptations presented minimal equipment such as From Russia with Love's booby-trapped attaché case; in Dr. No, Bond's sole gadgets were a geiger counter and a wristwatch with a luminous (and radioactive) face. The gadgets, however, assumed a higher, spectacular profile in the 1964 film Goldfinger; its success encouraged further espionage equipment from Q Branch to be supplied to 007. Some films, in the opinion of many critics and fans, have had excessive amounts of gadgets or extremely outlandish gadgets and vehicles, specifically 1979's science fiction-oriented Moonraker and 2002's Die Another Day in which Bond's Aston Martin could become invisible due to a technology Q refers to as adaptive camouflage. Since Moonraker subsequent productions struggled with balancing gadget content against the story's capacities, without implying a technology-dependent man, to mixed results.

Bond's most famous car is the silver grey Aston Martin DB5 seen in Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, and Tomorrow Never Dies. Although the films used a number of different Aston Martin DB5s on film and for publicity one of them was sold in January 2006 at an auction in Arizona for $2,090,000 (USD) to an unnamed European collector. That specific car was originally sold for £5,000 in 1970.

In Fleming's books, Bond had a penchant for "battleship grey" Bentleys, while Gardner awarded the agent a modified Saab 900 Turbo nicknamed the Silver Beast and later a Bentley Mulsanne Turbo.


  • Many people assume the Bond producers would never hire an American to portray the character in the official film series. However, US actors have been employed on two occasions, and approached about playing Bond on several others. Adam West was offered the chance to appear in On Her Majesty's Secret Service when Connery chose not to return, but turned it down. John Gavin was hired in 1970 to replace Lazenby, but Connery was lured back at the eleventh hour and it was he who appeared in Diamonds Are Forever instead. Burt Reynolds was also asked by Cubby Broccoli in the early 1970s to replace Connery after Diamonds Are Forever, but turned him down. James Brolin was contracted in 1983 to replace Moore, and was preparing to shoot Octopussy when the producers convinced Moore to return. Several other American actors, including Robert Wagner, have been offered the role only to decline it. To date, the only American to play the role is Barry Nelson, albeit unofficially with the Americanised version of the character in the 1954 TV adaptation of Casino Royale.
  • Irish actor Patrick McGoohan was also offered the role of James Bond.
  • Michael Gambon, who co-starred with current Bond actor, Daniel Craig, in Layer Cake and Sylvia, was asked by Cubby Broccoli to audition for the role in 1970 to replace Lazenby. Gambon spoke of the situation in an interview:

'When he told me he was considering me for the part of 007 himself, I was amazed. I objected, "But I'm bald."

"So was Sean — we'll get around it," he replied.
"But I've got breasts like a woman," I continued.

"Then we'll use ice packs before the love scenes like we did with Sean," he replied.' [3]

  • While initially sceptical about Connery being chosen to play Bond (at one point dismissing him as an "overgrown stuntman"), Fleming liked his portrayal so much that he eventually added background to the character in the novels so that his father was Scottish.
  • Accounts vary wildly in regards to which actor was Fleming's initial choice for the film version of his creation. Sources have suggested that the author favoured Roger Moore, James Mason, and Cary Grant, among others. According to Sir John Morgan, Ian Fleming's step son-in-law, Fleming liked little-known actor Edward Underdown, who played an Air Vice Marshall in Thunderball. [4]
  • Dalton was originally contracted for three films, with the third film planned for release in 1991. Although never officially confirmed, numerous sources have suggested the title was to be The Property of a Lady, after the short story from the collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Legal wranglings over ownership of the Bond franchise, however, led to the series being put on hiatus until 1994.
  • With the release of Casino Royale, Craig will become the first actor with blond hair to have portrayed Bond. Although Roger Moore did sport sandy-coloured hair in his first few 007 films, he is not considered a blond.
  • Joe Don Baker played Brad Whitaker, the villain in The Living Daylights. Baker shows up in later James Bond films, portraying Jack Wade, one of the spy's allies in both Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies.
  • Desmond Llewelyn holds a record, appearing in 17 of the films as "Q," aka Major Boothroyd, and head of Q-branch. In The World is Not Enough, John Cleese is introduced as Q's assistant, whom Bond teasingly refers to as "R". Despite Cleese receiving a credit as R, there is no hint in the dialogue that this is an official title. In Die Another Day, Cleese becomes the new Q, his predecessor having presumably retired. In fact, Llewelyn had been killed in a car crash shortly after the release of the previous film.
  • Five Ian Fleming titles have thus far never been used as film titles: The Property of a Lady, Quantum of Solace, Risico, The Hildebrand Rarity, and 007 in New York.
  • Sean Connery starred in the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which has a 'supposed' link to the roots of James Bond's ancestry.
  • Steven Spielberg greatly wished to direct a James Bond film, however, EON Productions was unwilling to give Spielberg the creative control on the film (The Spy Who Loved Me) he demanded. Spielberg later directed Raiders of the Lost Ark based on an idea by friend and collaborator George Lucas. Lucas has said on multiple occasions that Connery's portrayal of the character was one of the primary inspirations for the Indiana Jones character. As a tribute to this, when casting the third outing for the adventurer, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lucas and Spielberg chose Connery for the role of Indiana's father, their reasoning being, "Who else could play Indiana Jones' father, but the guy who inspired all of this in the first place: James Bond himself?"
  • Colin Salmon, who played Bond's colleague Charles Robinson in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, played Bond himself in screen tests for actresses auditioning for Die Another Day. Costar Pierce Brosnan suggested that Salmon would make an excellent Bond, and Salmon was open to the idea. If chosen, Salmon would have been the first black actor to play Bond.


See also

External links

Official sites
Fan sites

The James Bond films
Official films
Dr. No | From Russia with Love | Goldfinger | Thunderball | You Only Live Twice | On Her Majesty's Secret Service | Diamonds Are Forever | Live and Let Die | The Man with the Golden Gun | The Spy Who Loved Me | Moonraker | For Your Eyes Only | Octopussy | A View to a Kill | The Living Daylights | Licence to Kill | GoldenEye | Tomorrow Never Dies | The World Is Not Enough | Die Another Day | Casino Royale | Quantum of Solace
Unofficial films
Casino Royale (1954 TV) | Casino Royale (1967 spoof) | Never Say Never Again