|James Bond film series|
The official film logo of James Bond (007).
|James Bond||Sean Connery
Barry Nelson (unofficial)
David Niven (unofficial)
|Directed by||Terence Young
Peter R. Hunt
|Produced by||Albert R. Broccoli
Michael G. Wilson
|Novel/Story by||Ian Fleming|
|Screenplay by||Joanna Harwood
|Music by||Monty Norman
|Main theme||James Bond theme|
|Distributed by||EON Productions
Orion Pictures (unofficial)
Warner Bros. (unofficial)
|Release date(s)||1962 – present|
The James Bond film series are film adaptations inspired by Ian Fleming's novels about the fictional MI6 agent James Bond (codename 007). The franchise remains as one of the longest continually running film series in history, having been in ongoing production from 1962 to 2010 with a six-year hiatus between 1989 and 1995. In that time EON Productions has produced 22 films, at an average of about one every two years, usually produced at Pinewood Studios. The films have grossed just over US$ 5 billion at the worldwide box office, being the second most-successful film series ever. In addition, there are two independent productions and an American television adaptation of the first novel. Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman co-produced the EON films until 1975, when Broccoli became the sole producer. Since 1995, Broccoli's daughter Barbara and stepson Michael G. Wilson have co-produced them. Six actors have portrayed 007 in the official EON series so far (not counting stunt doubles, authorised video game voiceovers, etc.)
Broccoli's (and until 1975, Saltzman's) family company, Danjaq, has held ownership of the James Bond film series through EON, and maintained co-ownership with United Artists since the mid-1970s. From the release of Dr. No (1962) up to For Your Eyes Only (1981), the films were distributed solely by UA. When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought UA in 1981, MGM/UA Entertainment Co. was formed and distributed the films until 1995. MGM solely distributed three films from 1997 to 2002 after UA retired as a mainstream studio. From 2006 to present MGM and Columbia Pictures co-distribute the franchise, as Columbia's parent company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, (in a consortium including Sony, Comcast, TPG Capital, L.P. and Providence Equity Partners) bought MGM in 2005.
Previous attempts to adapt the James Bond novels resulted in a 1954 television episode of Climax!, based on the first novel, Casino Royale, and starring American actor Barry Nelson as "Jimmy Bond". Ian Fleming desired to go one step further and approached Alexander Korda to make a film adaptation of either Live and Let Die or Moonraker, but Korda was not interested. On 1 October 1959, it was announced that Fleming would write an original film script featuring Bond for producer Kevin McClory. Jack Whittingham also worked on the script. However, Alfred Hitchcock and Richard Burton turned down roles as director and star respectively. McClory was unable to secure the financing for the film, and the deal fell through. Fleming used the story for his novel Thunderball (1961).
In 1959, producer Albert R. Broccoli expressed interest in adapting the Bond novels, but his colleague Irving Allen was unenthusiastic. In 1961, Broccoli, now partnered with Harry Saltzman, purchased the film rights to all the Bond novels (except Casino Royale) from Fleming. However, numerous Hollywood film studios did not want to fund the films, finding it "too British" or "too blatantly sexual". The producers wanted US$1 million to either adapt Thunderball or Dr. No, and reached a deal with United Artists in July 1961. The two producers set up EON Productions and began production of Dr. No.
A contest was set up to 'find James Bond', and six finalists were chosen and screen-tested by Broccoli, Saltzman, and Fleming. The winner of the contest was a 28-year-old model named Peter Anthony, who, according to Broccoli, had a Gregory Peck quality, but proved unable to cope with the role. The producers turned to Sean Connery, who ended up playing Bond for five consecutive films (and more subsequently). According to one story, Connery had been suggested by Polish director Ben Fisz, a friend of Saltzman. Saltzman viewed Connery in On the Fiddle (also called "Operation Snafu"), the actor's eleventh film. By other accounts, Broccoli first saw Connery in a screening of Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959). Connery had worked as a milkman, truck driver, bricklayer, coffin polisher, and life guard, among other jobs, before getting a break as a dancer in the chorus line of South Pacific in 1950.
Broccoli and Fleming were cool on Connery, but accepted him after rejecting Richard Johnson, James Mason, Rex Harrison, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Patrick McGoohan, and Broccoli's friend Cary Grant. As Broccoli later said, "I wanted a ballsy guy…Put a bit of veneer over that tough Scottish hide and you've got Fleming's Bond instead of all the mincing poofs we had applying for the job". (Ironically, the rejected David Niven would play an aging Bond in the 1967 parody of Casino Royale in just that mincing way.) Already balding, Connery wore a toupee in all his Bond films. Connery stated that "the character is not really me, after all". Ian Fleming, after seeing the preview screening of the first film, Dr. No, told his research assistant, "Dreadful. Simply dreadful." Dr. No received mixed reviews, some quite hostile, and even received a rebuke by the Vatican. Fleming eventually warmed up to Connery sufficiently to establish a Scottish ancestry for Bond in the late novels.
The role of Dr. No went to Joseph Wiseman, who had played a similar character in a The Twilight Zone episode One More Pallbearer, after Noel Coward, Christopher Lee, and Max von Sydow were suggested. (Both Lee and Sydow played Bond villains later.) With just two weeks to go before filming, the part of the first principal Bond girl, Honey Ryder, had yet to be cast. Director Young had seen a picture of Swiss-born actress Ursula Andress, then wife of John Derek, when visiting Darryl F. Zanuck over at Fox, and he borrowed the photo and showed it to the producers, who quickly approved the deal.
On the next film, From Russia with Love, the producers doubled the budget, and shot locales in Europe, which had turned out to be the more profitable market for Dr. No. Much of the team from the first film returned. The film was the first to feature the pre-title sequence and the first to feature Desmond Llewelyn as Major Boothroyd, now called the Equipment Officer, who finally becomes Q in the third film. Llewelyn appears in a total of seventeen Bond films, the most for any actor playing the same role. The final confrontation between Bond and assassin Donald Grant (Robert Shaw) takes place on the Orient Express and Bond owes his life to Major Boothroyd's deadly attaché case. It is also the second and last film to feature the role of Sylvia Trench, who was supposed to continue through the series as Bond's somewhat regular bed partner between assignments. The violence of the second film was decidedly pumped up from the previous film, with more than double the homicides.
Adding to the appeal of mounting the picture, From Russia with Love was also cited by President John F. Kennedy as one of his ten favourite books. It was likely the last film Kennedy saw before his death. Some critics still resisted the Bond allure on the second Connery film, branding From Russia with Love "a movie made for kicks", but audiences loved it and some critics raved, such as Bosley Crowther who proclaimed "Don't Miss It!". It is the first of the series to have virtually all the elements that appear throughout the series.
For the next film, Goldfinger, Guy Hamilton took over as director from Terence Young, putting more humour into Bond's character and more double entendres on the table. For the important role of Pussy Galore, Honor Blackman was lured away from her role on the Avengers television series, which later offered up Diana Rigg as well. For Auric Goldfinger, Theodore Bikel was considered but the role went to Gert Fröbe, a well-known actor in Europe, whose heavy accent required that his voice be dubbed.
Goldfinger is the most noted Bond film by popular culture. The use of a menacing laser, newly invented just years before and not widely known to the public, was a cutting edge demonstration of real technology, and a set-up to perhaps one of the most memorable lines of the Bond films:
BOND: Do you expect me to talk?
GOLDFINGER: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!
The premiere in the UK created a near riot. In America, it became the fastest-grossing film ever to date. It was the first Bond film to win an Oscar (category: Best Effects, Sound Effects). Ian Fleming died before getting to see the film.
By 1961, the Fleming Thunderball novel had become the biggest hit in the Bond novel series and was the project that re-attracted Cubby Broccoli to consider producing Bond projects in 1961 — most rights to which Harry Salzman held, for he had acquired an option to the most of the Bond movie rights — with the notable exception for Thunderball, which was turned into a script in that year which became the center of a legal dispute between screenwriters and Fleming. Consequently the production of the fourth Bond film by EON, Thunderball, was delayed by those legal disputes between writers. In a court case, McClory sued Fleming, because Fleming had used Thunderball's story and characters without permission. He won the film rights to Thunderball, so when Broccoli and Saltzman made Thunderball, it was a co-production with McClory. Part of the deal they made ensured McClory was unable to make Thunderball into a film for ten years.
Apart from Connery, the principal parts were hotly contested. For the lead Bond girl, Domino, a slew of top female actresses were considered including Raquel Welch, Julie Christie, and Faye Dunaway but the role went to former Miss France Claudine Auger. Always with an eye toward European audiences, the producers gave the part of supervillain Emilio Largo to popular Italian actor Adolfo Celi. Connery was eager to start but admitted in a pre-production interview that "My only grumble about the Bond films is that they don't tax one as an actor. All one needs is the constitution of a rugby player to get through 18 weeks of swimming, slugging, and necking…I'd like to see someone else tackle Bond."
Connery would later state that Thunderball was his personal favourite performance as Bond (though in later statements, he claims that his favourite is From Russia with Love). Thunderball was the most successful Bond film to date, based on total box office, earning nearly $US1 billion (inflation-adjusted to 2008 US dollars). It also inspired other spy films of the 1960s, including the "Harry Palmer" trilogy featuring Michael Caine, the "Derek Flint" series with James Coburn, the "Matt Helm" series with Dean Martin.
For the fifth Bond film with Connery, You Only Live Twice, Bond comes face-to-face for the first time with arch-nemesis Blofeld (played by Donald Pleasance) Number One in SPECTRE, the world's most powerful criminal organization. The title comes from a pseudo-haiku written by Fleming in the book, "You only live twice/Once when you're born/And once when you look death in the face." The Bond films are hugely popular in Japan and when the crew arrived for shooting, they were treated exuberantly. Connery, however, was somewhat resigned to the project, lacking the enthusiasm he sported for Thunderball. Glimpses of Japanese culture were progressive (again a smart bow to Asian audiences by the producers) and the martial arts and ninja sequences novel for the time.
You Only Live Twice is the very first James Bond film to jettison the plot premise of the Fleming source material, although the film retains the title, setting the plot entirely in Japan, the use of Blofeld as the main villain and a Bond girl named Kissy Suzuki — the backplot, plot and narrative were entirely screenwriter creations, and based in part on having already scouted locations such as Ninja castles and the volcanic mountains. This would be common during the Roger Moore era, but this is the only Connery film to do so this radically, as the series began to grow beyond Fleming, who had died almost three years before the the release of You Only Live Twice.
After You Only Live Twice, and despite the posters boasting that "Sean Connery is James Bond", Connery announced that it was his last film as Bond. The producers had no desire to give up the series. He was then replaced by George Lazenby, who starred in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Australian model George Lazenby became the new 007 in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). Timothy Dalton, a later Bond, declined: he claimed he was too young for the role. Lazenby had little acting experience beyond a series of chocolate advertisements. His screen tests were satisfactory, and he was offered a contract for seven films. However, convinced by his agent that the secret agent would be archaic in the 1970s, Lazenby left the series after one film.
Lazenby's reviews were generally underwhelming. Many felt that he was physically convincing but looks foolish in his many loud costume changes and delivers his lines poorly. The film also featured the only breaking of the "fourth wall" in the official EON-produced Bond series. (This also occurs in the unofficial film Never Say Never Again (1983) when Sean Connery winks to the audience.) In the pre-credit teaser Lazenby cracks, in reference to Connery's Bond: "This never happened to the other fellow."
In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, a conscious attempt was made to establish continuity with previous Bond films by showing scenes from several previous Bond films during the title sequence. Furthermore, when Bond is packing up items in his office, several mementos of previous cases, such as the breathing device from Thunderball, are shown, while the score plays musical motifs from those previous films.
After Lazenby turned down Diamonds Are Forever (1971), the producers decided to return to the formula of Goldfinger. Director Guy Hamilton returned, as well as the regular cast. John Gavin was offered the role of Bond and accepted, but the producers were simultaneously attempting to bring Sean Connery back to the role. To clinch the deal, Connery received a remarkable contract: a record US$1.25 million salary, plus 12.5 percent of the gross profits, and an additional US$145,000 per week overtime if filming extended beyond 18 weeks. Connery admitted, "I was really bribed back into it...But it served my purpose...Playing James Bond again is still enjoyable." The original idea was to bring back Auric Goldfinger for a sequel, but that was abandoned. In Fleming's novels, Bond attempts to get revenge for the death of his wife in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in You Only Live Twice. But since the latter had been filmed prior to the former, Blofeld (played by English actor Charles Gray) is put into the story of Diamonds Are Forever to give Bond an opportunity to give Blofeld his comeuppance. This results in expanding Fleming's "Blofeld trilogy" into a tetralogy. Connery returned to the role 12 years later in Never Say Never Again. For more see Non EON-series column below.
In early 1972, the search for Connery's replacement began once again. Jeremy Brett, Michael Billington, and Julian Glover (who would later play Aristotle Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only) were considered for the next film in the series, Live and Let Die (1973), with the forty-five year old Roger Moore getting the nod. Moore would become the longest-serving Bond, spending twelve years in the role and making seven official films. Moore tried not to imitate either Sean Connery or his performance as Simon Templar in The Saint, and depicted Bond in a more light-hearted and comedic way. In sharp contrast to the way Lazenby was introduced, the first two Moore films actually avoided common Bond film motifs, having him smoke cigars instead of cigarettes, and drink a bourbon instead of a martini. One critic noted, "Roger Moore has none of the gravitas of Sean Connery…he does fit slickly into the director's presentation of Bond as a lethal comedian".
Roger Moore's third film, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), became a turning point for the series in two ways: it was the first film produced by Broccoli alone, as Harry Saltzman was forced to sell his half of the Bond film franchise in 1975 for twenty million pounds following huge debts; and also the first to include a completely original storyline, as Ian Fleming had given permission to use only the title of the novel.
Moore's fourth film, Moonraker, was the last Bond film to use the title of a Fleming novel until 2006's Casino Royale. The next two films, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy, used both of the titles of Bond short story anthologies and each incorporated material from multiple stories in those anthologies. The film Octopussy can be read as a sequel to Fleming's short story of the same name.
Moore showed interest in departing the series after 1981's For Your Eyes Only, and a string of younger actors, including James Brolin, Oliver Tobias, and Michael Billington, screen-tested for the part. However, EON eventually persuaded him to return in 1983's Octopussy, due to the non-EON Bond film, Never Say Never Again, being released in the same year. Because he was rather old for the required action and the demands of the character (Moore was 55 at the time), stunt doubles were employed often (over a hundred stuntmen in total), and only the close-ups are surely Moore. Moore would only regret his last film, A View to a Kill (1985), which was poorly received by critics.
In undertaking the challenge of creating his own version of Bond, Moore merged some of the characteristics of his role in his series The Saint with the Bond persona. Critics thought this Bond more of a charmer, more debonair, more calculating, and more casually lascivious in a somewhat detached but amused manner. He appears just as strong physically as Connery (at least in the early pictures), but not quite as graceful in action. Moore's adaptation applied more fantasy and humour than other Bonds. The series managed to stay afloat by adding contemporary material and new characters to shore up the dated Fleming plots.
Timothy Dalton had been considered to replace Sean Connery in 1968, but he walked away from his screen test feeling, at the age of 22, that he was too young for the role. 12 years later, Dalton was approached again to possibly replace Roger Moore in For Your Eyes Only but the producers did not have a script and he feared being asked to do a Spy Who Loved Me/Moonraker type of film which "Weren't my idea of Bond films." Dalton was the first actor to be offered The Living Daylights but initially had to turn it down as the original shooting date clashed with commitments on the film Brenda Starr. Pierce Brosnan was then cast, but when his cancelled television show Remington Steele was renewed in 1986, he was prevented from continuing. Several actors were screen-tested, including Sam Neill and Lewis Collins, before Dalton was offered a revised production date which he was able to accommodate, and no sooner than he wrapped shooting on Brenda Starr than Dalton found himself in the shoulder holster for The Living Daylights.
Best known for his stage and television roles and trained in the British Shakespearean tradition, Dalton's Bond differs noticeably from his predecessors. The Guardian remarked, "Dalton hasn't the natural authority of Connery nor the facile charm of Moore, but Lazenby he is not." The film returned to "realism" and a more credible plot, with less fantasy and gratuitous humour.
To save on production costs and taxes, Eon decided to shoot the next Bond film, Licence to Kill, in Mexico rather than at Pinewood Studios in the UK. The film's darker and more violent plot elicited calls for cuts by the British Board of Film Classification. Licence to Kill is the first Bond film by EON to not use the title of any Fleming novel or short story (although it uses material from the Fleming short story "The Hildebrand Rarity" and novel Live and Let Die). It and subsequent Bond films were novelised. Reviews for the film were mixed. With box office admissions close to that of The Man with the Golden Gun, the worst attended Bond film to date, some thought that replacing the basic style and elegance of a Bond film with "realism" was a mistake.
In 1989, the same year of Dalton's second and last appearance, MGM/UA was sold to the Australian based broadcasting group Quintex, which wanted to merge the company with Pathé. Danjaq, the Swiss based parent company of EON, sued MGM/UA because the Bond back catalogue was being licensed to Pathé, who intended to broadcast the series on television in several countries worldwide without the approval of Danjaq. These legal disputes engendered a six-year hiatus in the series. Nonetheless, official pre-production of another film began in May 1990, for release in late 1991. Generic promotional materials for "Bond 17" were unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival at around the same time. A detailed story draft, widely available online and spread over 17 pages, was written by Alfonso Ruggiero Jr. and Michael G. Wilson. The 'Imagineering' division of Walt Disney Studios were also involved in the film's development at some point, specifically in the development of the high-tech robots prominent in that early treatment.
Owing to the legal disputes, the production of Dalton's third film was postponed several times. In an interview in 1993, Timothy Dalton said that Michael France was writing the story for the film, which was due to begin production in January or February 1994. It never began and in April 1994, Dalton resigned from the role.
To replace Dalton, the producers cast Pierce Brosnan, whom they had met on the set of For Your Eyes Only when he came to visit his wife, Cassandra Harris (who had a small part as Countess Lisl von Schlaf), but had been prevented from taking over the role from Roger Moore in 1985 because of his contract for Remington Steele. By then, the world had changed drastically and Brosnan had gone through changes as well. Shortly after Remington Steele was cancelled in 1987, Brosnan's wife was diagnosed with cancer and he cared for her until she died in 1991. In the next three years he worked only occasionally, so by 1994 he was ready to take on the Bond role. He stated his hopes for remaking Bond: "I would like to see what is beneath the surface of this man, what drives him on, what makes him a killer. I think we will peel back the onion skin, as it were". He also relished the fact that Goldfinger was the first film he had ever seen and now he would get to play Bond, "Little did I think I would be playing the role someday."
Although little attention had been paid in the past to the Scottish background of Connery, Lazenby's Australian background, or the Welsh ancestry of Timothy Dalton, some British fans thought there was something odd about an Irishman playing Bond, and some referred to Pierce Brosnan as "James O'Bond".
The new Bond smokes cigars and he favours Italian-made suits. More importantly, Brosnan's GoldenEye was the first film of the series to be produced since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. This cast doubt over whether Bond was still relevant in the modern world, as many of the previous films pitted him against Soviet adversaries. Gone is state-sponsored crime, now replaced by Russian mobs and gangsters. Another major change was casting Judi Dench as M, reflecting that MI5 (the UK Security Service) was now headed by a female, Dame Stella Rimington. Actress Samantha Bond was cast as Miss Moneypenny.
Some of the film industry felt that it would be "futile" to make a comeback for the Bond series, and that it was best left as "an icon of the past". However, when released, the film was viewed as a successful revivification that effectively adapted the series for the 1990s. The film had the highest admissions since Connery's You Only Live Twice. Tom Shone commented, "Brosnan shares none of Connery's virtues but has also been careful to avoid Moore's vices. It doesn't give him much room for maneuver, but then maneuvering in tight corners is the one thing Brosnan is quite good at." Another critic stated, "The film is located precisely on the cusp between fantasy and near reality. For the first time in a Bond film there is something that could be called emotion." And another, "Bond is back with a bang."
After the triumph of GoldenEye, there was pressure to recreate success in its follow-up, Tomorrow Never Dies, also at MGM. The studio had recently been sold to billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who wanted the release to coincide with their public stock offering, and the worldwide audience. Co-producer Michael G. Wilson said, "You realise that there's a huge audience and I guess you don't want to come out with a film that's going to somehow disappoint them." The rush to complete it meant the budget spiralled to around $US110 million. Most of the locales were in Asia. Breaking completely with Fleming, with no direct references to the novels, the plot is nevertheless reminiscent of The Spy Who Loved Me. The incorporation of stealth technology and cruise missiles makes the story somewhat up-to-date.
Brosnan portrayed Bond in two more films, The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002), and a video game, Everything or Nothing, before it was announced by EON that Brosnan was no longer required as the film series was about to be rebooted and the search for a new 007 (eventually Daniel Craig) was on. Though strong in its action scenes, production values, and acting, some critics found the final two Brosnan films to be too hyperkinetic with little time to savour the characters.
Following the success of GoldenEye, Kevin McClory also attempted to remake Thunderball again as Warhead 2000. Liam Neeson and Timothy Dalton were considered for 007, while Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin were developing the film at Sony Pictures. MGM launched a $US25 million lawsuit against Sony, and McClory claimed a portion of the $US3 billion profits from the Bond series. Sony backed down after a prolonged lawsuit, and McClory gave up. In exchange, MGM paid $US10 million for the rights to Casino Royale, which had come into Sony's possession after its acquisition of the companies behind Climax! years before.
Pierce Brosnan had originally signed a deal for three films, with an option for a fourth, when he was cast in the role of James Bond. This was fulfilled with the production of Die Another Day in 2002. However, at this stage Brosnan was approaching his 50th birthday, and speculation began that the producers were seeking to replace him with a younger actor. Brosnan kept in mind that both aficionados and critics were unhappy with Roger Moore playing the role until he was 58, but he was receiving popular support from both critics and the franchise fanbase for a fifth instalment. For this reason, he remained enthusiastic about reprising his role. Throughout 2004, it was rumoured that negotiations had broken down between Brosnan and the producers to make way for a new and younger actor. This was denied by MGM and EON Productions. In July 2004, Brosnan announced that he was quitting the role, stating "Bond is another lifetime, behind me"; this is thought by some to be a failed negotiating ploy.
Casting involved a widespread search for a new actor to portray James Bond, despite Brosnan having proven to be a very popular Bond. Throughout 2004 and 2005, a whole legion of potential new actors to portray James Bond were speculated on by the media, ranging from established Hollywood actors, such as Eric Bana, Hugh Jackman, James Purefoy, Goran Višnjić, Julian McMahon, Gerard Butler, and Clive Owen, to many unknown actors from a number of different countries, including Sam Worthington, Alex O'Loughlin, and Rupert Friend. At one point producer Michael G. Wilson claimed there was a list of over 200 names being considered. English actor Colin Salmon, who had played the role of MI6 operative Charles Robinson in earlier Bond films alongside Pierce Brosnan, was also considered for the role and raised speculation that he might become the first black Bond. According to Martin Campbell, however, Henry Cavill was the only actor in serious contention for the role. But being only 22-years-old at the time, he was considered too young.
In May 2005, Daniel Craig announced that Sony & MGM and producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli had assured him that he would get the role of Bond, but EON Productions at that point had not yet approached him. Later, Craig stated that the producers had indeed offered him the role, but he had declined until a script was available for him to read.
Bolstered by the success of Universal Pictures’ rival Jason Bourne franchise (as well as Warner Bros.’ reboot of the Batman franchise with Batman Begins), the decision was made at MGM and EON to "bring Bond back to his roots" by eliminating the increasingly silly gadgets and outlandish fantasy elements that had begun to define the series, and introducing a tougher, darker, and more realistic Bond that was more in line with the Bond of Ian Fleming's original novels than with any of his previous screen incarnations. Thus, the 21st Bond film, Casino Royale (2006), in addition to being the first film adaptation of a Fleming novel since 1974's The Man with the Golden Gun, was to be a reboot of the franchise, establishing a new timeline and narrative framework not meant to precede any previous film. This not only freed the Bond franchise from more than forty years of continuity, but allowed the film to show a less experienced and more vulnerable Bond. As with the previous introductions of new Bonds, the film provided the opportunity to remove production excesses and to get back to basics.
By August 2005, speculation was high that the then 37-year-old Daniel Craig was being seriously considered, although full casting for the role was not actually done until September. Then, on 14 October 2005, EON Productions and Sony Pictures Entertainment confirmed to the public at a press conference in London that Daniel Craig, who would soon become one of the stars of Steven Spielberg's Munich, would be the sixth actor to portray James Bond. Significant controversy followed the decision, as it was doubted if the producers had made the right choice. Throughout the entire production period Internet campaigns such as
danielcraigisnotbond.com expressed their dissatisfaction and threatened to boycott the film in protest. Craig, unlike previous actors, was not considered by the protesters to fit the tall, dark, handsome and charismatic image of Bond to which viewers had been accustomed. The Daily Mirror ran a front page news story critical of Craig, with the headline, The Name's Bland — James Bland. However, reviews for Casino Royale were favourable and the film became the highest grossing of the series. Roger Ebert commented, "Daniel Craig makes a superb Bond: leaner, more taciturn, less sex-obsessed, able to be hurt in body and soul, not giving a damn if his martini is shaken or stirred."
As production of Casino Royale reached its conclusion, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced that pre-production work had already begun on the 22nd Bond film. After several months of speculation as to the release date, Wilson and Broccoli officially announced on 20 July 2006 that the follow-up film, Quantum of Solace, would be released on 2 May 2008 and that Craig had been signed to play Bond, with an option for a third film. Quantum of Solace was eventually released on 31 October 2008 in the UK and 14 November 2008 in North America, changed from its original release date of 7 November 2008 after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was pushed back to summer 2009. Upon its opening in the UK, it grossed £4.9 million, breaking the record for the largest Friday opening (31 October 2008) in the UK. The film then broke the UK opening weekend record, taking £15.5 million in its first weekend, surpassing the previous record of £14.9 million held by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The film grossed $27 million on its opening day in 3,451 theatres in Canada and the United States. It was the #1 film for the weekend, with $US67.5 million and $US19,568 average per theatre. It was the highest-grossing opening weekend Bond film in the US and Canada, and tied with The Incredibles for the biggest November opening outside of the Harry Potter series.
Columbia Pictures co-financed and distributed Craig's first two films because they bought MGM in 2005. However, MGM chose to cease the distribution deal with Columbia following the success of Casino Royale (for which Columbia provided 75% of the budget). In the agreement, Columbia chose to finance one more Bond film, Quantum of Solace.
Writers were hired to begin work on the next film in early 2009, set for release in 2011. Bond 23 is now in pre-production. The film will be set after Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, and Daniel Craig will be James Bond (he is also contracted for a fourth film). MGM hoped the film would be out in 2010, but the 22nd film left Michael G. Wilson exhausted. In June 2009, Peter Morgan signed to co-write the film with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. In December 2009, Morgan commented that the film would have a "shocking" story. Sam Mendes has been in negotiations to direct, although no official statement is confirmed.
Broccoli intends Quantum to reappear and hopes Camille Montes will come back as well. Judi Dench and Jeffrey Wright will most likely return as M and Felix Leiter, respectively. Jesper Christensen will not be reprising his role as the villainous Mr. White of the Quantum organization in the next James Bond film. Craig and Barbara Broccoli expressed interest in filming in New York City for Bond 23. Craig added, "The relationship between Bond and M is secure and Felix is secure. Let's try and find where Moneypenny came from and where Q comes from. Let’s do all that and have some fun with it." Daniel Craig told fans outside the Schoenfeld theatre in New York after his performance in the play, A Steady Rain, that Bond 23 will begin filming in late 2010.
|Title||Year||Bond actor||Director||Synopsis||Actual (Millions)||Adjusted (Millions)|
|Dr. No||1962||Sean Connery||Terence Young||James Bond traces a mysterious murder to a Chinese doctor living on a small Jamaican island who, working for SPECTRE, plans to disrupt American rocket launches.||59.6||1||419.35||8.44|
|From Russia with Love||1963||SPECTRE hires a seductive young female Russian agent to act as a fake defector in a plot to assassinate James Bond; Bond in turn uses her to get a Soviet decoding machine.||78.9||2||547.835||17.35|
|Goldfinger||1964||Guy Hamilton||Bond battles gold magnate Auric Goldfinger, who plans to irradiate the gold supply of Fort Knox making it worthless, increasing the value of Goldfinger's supply.||124.9||3||853.2||23.9|
|Thunderball||1965||Terence Young||Bond is sent by his boss to a health farm where he gets a valuable lead in his next mission: to track down the villain in a SPECTRE robbery of nuclear weapons.||141.2||9||955.27||37.9|
|You Only Live Twice||1967||Lewis Gilbert||After faking his own death, Bond investigates the hijacking of American and Russian manned spacecraft from orbit. Bond's cover includes a fake marriage to Kissy Suzuki.||111.6||9.5||716||61|
|On Her Majesty's Secret Service||1969||George Lazenby||Peter R. Hunt||Removed from hunting Blofeld, Bond almost resigns, but Moneypenny alters his letter to a request for leave. He pursues Blofeld on his own. Incognito as Blofeld's hired genealogy expert, Bond discovers SPECTRE's plan for biochemical terror. Meanwhile, Bond falls in love with and marries a crime lord's suicidal daughter.||82||8||518.2||41.5|
|Diamonds Are Forever||1971||Sean Connery||Guy Hamilton||Bond traces a diamond smuggling operation first to Holland and Las Vegas and then to a SPECTRE plot to build a satellite with laser beams capable of destroying weapons on the ground.||116||7.2||615.2||38.2|
|Live and Let Die||1973||Roger Moore||Bond fights voodoo priests and heroin smugglers in New York, New Orleans and San Monique in a film imitating the conventions of "blaxploitation" movies of the era.||161.8||7||801.7||38.7|
|The Man with the Golden Gun||1974||While trying to locate a missing solar expert, Bond is led to believe the world's top assassin is aiming for him. Bond soon learns that the expert's disappearance and the assassin's appearance are related.||97.6||7||442||31.7|
|The Spy Who Loved Me||1977||Lewis Gilbert||Bond teams up with a female Russian agent to locate two missing nuclear submarines; he winds up dealing with a man whose dream is an undersea empire.||185.4||14||669||50.5|
|Moonraker||1979||Bond investigates the mid-air hijacking of one of the Moonraker space shuttles. The shuttle's maker, Hugo Drax, is using his shuttle fleet to help in wiping out every human on Earth and re-populating it with a hand-picked racial rainbow of superior human pairs.||210.3||31||650||77.3|
|For Your Eyes Only||1981||John Glen||Bond's investigation of the murder of a marine archaeologist working for the British Secret Service leads him to a race against the Soviets for a submarine attack computer in a sunken ship.||195.3||28||474||68|
|Octopussy||1983||The murder of Agent 009 and a forgery of a Fabergé egg leads Bond to Kamal Khan and Octopussy, the leader of an all-female 'octopus cult'. Khan has betrayed Octopussy, who also owes Bond a favour for having helped her father long ago. They ally against Khan, who with General Orlov is plotting to "accidentally" detonate a nuclear device on a US air base in Germany, hoping NATO will disarm and the Soviets can take over Europe in record time.||187.5||27.5||404.7||75.5|
|A View to a Kill||1985||Bond investigates a high-tech firm, Zorin Industries, and uncovers a plot to corner the market on microchips by manufacturing an earthquake that would drown Silicon Valley (and all of Zorin's competition).||152.6||30||304.9||60|
|The Living Daylights||1987||Timothy Dalton||Bond deliberately misses when the Russian agent he must shoot turns out to be a civilian (and an attractive female cellist) who was asked to impersonate a (fictitious) spy. They investigate the fake defector for whom she was allegedly working, leading them to a weapons-for-drugs smuggling scheme.||191.2||40||363||76|
|Licence to Kill||1989||Bond resigns from the secret service to avenge the attempted murder of his CIA friend, Felix Leiter.||156.2||32||272.2||73.2|
|GoldenEye||1995||Pierce Brosnan||Martin Campbell||Bond fights to prevent an arms syndicate from using the GoldenEye satellite weapon against London to cause a global financial meltdown.||356.4||60||496.3||84.2|
|Tomorrow Never Dies||1997||Roger Spottiswoode||Bond investigates media mogul Elliot Carver, who aims to start a war between the UK and China so he can be guaranteed exclusive coverage for his new cable news channel.||339.5||110||459.8||145.9|
|The World Is Not Enough||1999||Michael Apted||Bond is asked to play bodyguard to an oil heiress whose father was murdered in MI6 headquarters. The heiress was once a captive of a terrorist who is slowly dying and cannot feel pain, but Bond soon learns the two still have a connection...and a plan.||361.7||135||501||173.4|
|Die Another Day||2002||Lee Tamahori||Bond is captured by North Koreans after he kills Colonel Moon. When released, his 00 status is revoked. Bond goes out on his own to discover who betrayed him, teaming up with a female American agent. Moon's henchmen have ties to a mysterious diamond dealer, Gustav Graves.||431.9||142||543.5||169.2|
|Casino Royale||2006||Daniel Craig||Martin Campbell||Bond, in his first assignment as a '00' agent, attempts to frustrate the schemes of terrorist financier Le Chiffre by defeating him at a high-stakes game of Texas hold 'em poker at Casino Royale in Montenegro.||596.4||102||632.5||138.4|
|Quantum of Solace||2008||Marc Forster||Bond goes after the Quantum organization behind Le Chiffre to get revenge for Vesper's death, while wondering what Vesper's final feelings towards him actually were. Assisted by Camille, a woman also out for revenge, he uncovers an attempted coup in Bolivia motivated by the need to control the water supply. M sends MI6 operative Strawberry Fields to get Bond sent back to London but he disobeys her and goes after Quantum.||586.1||230|
|Casino Royale (Climax! TV episode)||1954||Barry Nelson||William H. Brown, Jr.||American spy Jimmy Bond attempts to frustrate the schemes of Soviet agent Le Chiffre by defeating him at a high-stakes game of baccarat at an expensive French casino.||Not applicable||unknown|
|Casino Royale (parody)||1967||David Niven||Ken Hughes
|Sir James Bond 007 comes out of retirement to investigate the deaths of international spies. With the aid of Bond impersonators he battles the mysterious Dr. Noah and SMERSH.||$44.4||$12||$274.2||unknown|
|Never Say Never Again||1983||Sean Connery||Irvin Kershner||Remake of Thunderball, with added element of Bond coming out of retirement.||$160||$36||$331.4||unknown|
The end of the Dalton era in the late 1980s marked the end of the era of a common creative team that had worked on the Bond films from the beginning in 1962, including Albert Broccoli as producer, who died shortly after the release of the first Brosnan film. Over the course of sixteen Bond films, all had been produced or co-produced by Albert Broccoli, fourteen had title sequences designed by Maurice Binder, thirteen had been scripted or co-scripted by Richard Maibaum, eleven had been scored by John Barry, and seven had set designs by Ken Adam. All films except Lazenby's On Her Majesty's Secret Service had been directed by either Terence Young (three films), Guy Hamilton (four), Lewis Gilbert (three), or John Glen (the final five). None of these people worked on a Bond film again after the last Timothy Dalton film.
In contrast to the pre-Brosnan era, Bond films since 1995 have rarely re-used directors — the only exception being that the producers of Casino Royale rehired director Martin Campbell, who had earlier directed GoldenEye. However, four out of the six films from 1995 to 2008 have had screenplays by Neal Purvis, four times collaborating with Robert Wade, and five out of six have been scored by David Arnold. (In 1997, Arnold released an album of new interpretations of Bond music from films scored during the John Barry era.)
It is only with the advent of the Brosnan era that film directors outside of Great Britain have been used, but were all from the Commonwealth, until 2008's Quantum of Solace which is the first Bond film by a non-United Kingdom or Commonwealth director, German-Swiss Marc Forster. In the late 1970s, Steven Spielberg wanted to direct a James Bond film, but was rejected since he would want a percentage of the profits which usually directors of Bond films do not get.
The early Bond films incorporate much of Fleming's storyline, but later ones — especially those featuring Roger Moore — borrow only character names or locales. While the film The Spy Who Loved Me bears the title of a Fleming novel (in this case due to a contract point in the rights to the Bond books by Flemming who wanted to have no part of the original story in the film version)  , and A View to a Kill and Quantum of Solace are named after short stories, they use none of the author's original material (although A View to a Kill did include the same location as the short story).
The last film prior to Casino Royale to use the title of a Fleming novel was Moonraker, after which the series used the titles of short stories until (and including) 1987's The Living Daylights. However, material from the story "Risico" (as well as the title story) is used in For Your Eyes Only, parts of "The Property of a Lady" (and the title story) feature in Octopussy, and elements of "The Hildebrand Rarity" are included in the first original-titled film, Licence to Kill. Although already adapted as a film, unused plot devices from the novel Live and Let Die show up in both the film For Your Eyes Only and Licence to Kill, as do plot elements from the novel Moonraker in the film Die Another Day. The last Dalton film and all four Brosnan films all had original titles, leaving four Fleming titles that had yet to be used in the official series. However, Licence to Kill and The World Is Not Enough are phrases from Ian Fleming novels and GoldenEye was both the name of Fleming's estate in Jamaica and an operation he planned during World War II. As such the only film titles that do not derive from Fleming at all are Tomorrow Never Dies and Die Another Day from the official series, plus the unofficial film Never Say Never Again.
As of 2008, the remaining four short story titles yet to be used as film titles are Risico, The Hildebrand Rarity, The Property of a Lady and 007 in New York. Prior to the announcement of the title of the 22nd Bond film, media reports from sources such as Variety and other entertainment industry publications speculated at that Risico and The Property of a Lady were being considered for what was eventually titled Quantum of Solace; The Property of a Lady was also a title apparently considered for Timothy Dalton's planned third Bond film.
All of the official EON Bond films feature the unique gun barrel sequence, created by graphic artist Maurice Binder. As Bond walks across the screen, he is viewed by the audience through the barrel of a gun trained on him by an unknown assailant. Bond wheels around and shoots directly at the gun/viewer, followed by the assassin's blood spilling down the barrel/screen. This is accompanied by the opening bars of the "James Bond Theme", composed by Monty Norman, orchestrated by trumpeter and composer John Barry and Burt Rhodes. After Maurice Binder's death in 1991, Daniel Kleinman was responsible for the gun barrel sequence up to and including Casino Royale. Design house MK12 supervised the graphics for Quantum of Solace.
There have been several variants of the sequence regarding Bond's attire, posture, the sound of the gunshot, the colour of the blood, the speed at which the blood falls, etc. The early sequences showed Bond in a suit and tie (with Bob Simmons, Connery, and Lazenby also wearing a hat), until Roger Moore re-filmed his sequence for a new aspect ratio with 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me, which from then on showed Bond wearing a dinner jacket and bow tie. However, the sequences for Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace feature Daniel Craig in an open-necked shirt and business suit respectively.
Starting with the Pierce Brosnan films, the gun barrel was rendered with CGI allowing the shadows inside it to move. The sequence was traditionally placed at the start of each film until Casino Royale (2006), where it appears after the cold open and is incorporated into the plot; in Quantum of Solace (2008), it occurs at the end of the film and incorporates the film's title in its design. Royale is a reboot of the franchise, establishing a new timeline and narrative framework; and many of the conventions of the series were either omitted or introduced in a new way.
In Dr. No, the gun-barrel sequence is followed by the main titles, but in all subsequent films the titles are preceded by a pre-title sequence or "teaser" that is loosely connected (The World Is Not Enough, Casino Royale), fully pertaining (You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty´s Secret Service, Die Another Day) or not at all related (Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only) to the film's plot. Since Thunderball the gun barrel sequence segues into the pre-title sequence by having the opening shot be sighted through the barrel. The pre-title sequences are mini-films that set the emotional mood and heighten the anticipation for the action to come. When they are not related to the main story, Bond is usually seen wrapping up a mission, or effecting an extraordinary escape. In three of the teasers, the films' villains are shown committing their evil acts with Bond absent (though Connery plays a Bond impersonator in the pre-title sequence of From Russia with Love). Beginning with The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, the teasers emphasised not only action sequences but death-defying stunts, a practice that prevailed until Casino Royale. The sequence for The World Is Not Enough is unusually long: at over 20 minutes it is two to three times the length of most others. Likewise, the sequence for Quantum of Solace is the first in the franchise to pick up directly from the ending of the previous installment, Casino Royale.
The main title sequences incorporate visual elements reflecting each film's theme and often (but not always) silhouettes of nude or provocatively clad women set against swirling images that usually (but not always) reflect the general theme of the film; for example, Thunderball features deep-sea diving and this is reflected in the associated opening sequence; the opening sequence for Casino Royale (2006) featured, appropriately, a casino motif. Maurice Binder is the title designer for thirteen Bond films. A contemporary artist usually sings during this sequence (starting with Goldfinger), and an instrumental version of the main track may also be featured as a leitmotif during the film, which repeats in various moods (tense, romantic, adventurous, etc.).
The title song does not always match the name of the film. The Spy Who Loved Me featured Carly Simon singing "Nobody Does It Better" (which contained the film's title in one line); the songs for Octopussy ("All Time High" sung by Rita Coolidge), Casino Royale ("You Know My Name" sung by Chris Cornell) and Quantum of Solace (Another Way to Die sung by Jack White and Alicia Keys) don't reference the title at all. With regard to the latter Jack White was quoted as saying, "The title is quite hard to rhyme with!", though there is a single use of the word "solace" during the second verse. John Barry provided the title song music on ten of the eleven films for which he composed the musical score.
The core of the Bond films are the agent's personality, tastes, and skills, evolved and interpreted from the Fleming James Bond character by the various actors who have played the role. Terence Young, the director of Doctor No, set the image for Bond instructing Connery how to dress and walk during the first film's production. Much of the films' appeal is watching Bond be Bond. In personality, Bond is tough, ruthless, detached, and egotistical — a man of action given to few words. This is similar to the earlier Fleming novels, while in later novels Bond develops a more introspective side which is glimpsed only rarely in the films. Physically, Bond is athletic, graceful, and quick-acting. Aesthetically, he thoroughly enjoys good food, fine liquor, and beautiful women. In appearance, he is stylish and well-groomed.
There are modest variations on a theme between actors, which is attributable to how the script-writers write for the actors. Moore's Bond is slightly softer and a bit more romantic than either his predecessors or successors. Craig's Bond is slightly more stoic and introverted, while Dalton's is particularly cynical and angry, while retaining Moore's romantic qualities. However, all Bonds commonly share witty one-liners in particular situations.
Bond's prowess as a lover is well-established in the films. There are numerous double-entendres in the series referring to the size and potency of Bond's penis, and his use of aphrodisiacs, especially when he is in the arms of a Bond girl. He is frequently "rising to the occasion". His sexual skills turn enemies into allies, as is the case with Pussy Galore. A few women manage to resist Bond's charms but overall over fifty women have had sex with Bond in the series so far, ranging from one girl (rarely) to four (A View to a Kill) per film.
With the exception of Daniel Craig's first two films, every Bond film has a sequence in which Bond interacts with Miss Moneypenny, the personal assistant to M, Bond's superior. Lois Maxwell portrayed Miss Moneypenny opposite Connery, Lazenby, and Moore. She was followed by Caroline Bliss and Samantha Bond, who played opposite Dalton and Brosnan respectively. The three have arguably divergent interpretations of Moneypenny's personality, as do the six actors who have played Bond. A running joke throughout the film series is Moneypenny's unrequited love for Bond and his playful flirting with her. She flirts back, jokes and sometimes pouts, hoping to wrangle a proposal and a wedding ring out of him. A fantasy sequence in Die Another Day marks the only occasion in the EON film series in which Moneypenny was actually shown in a romantic embrace with Bond.
The character was dropped from the reboot film Casino Royale, the first Bond film (official or unofficial) in which Moneypenny did not appear, and the character does not appear in Quantum of Solace either. However, oblique reference is paid to the Moneypenny character in Casino Royale during the scene were Bond meets Vesper Lynd (Vesper: "I'm the money"; Bond: "Every penny of it").
In many of the films, established in Dr. No, the tossing of Bond's hat onto a coat rack in M's office signals the start of another adventure. There have been several variations on this theme. As Bond leaves the office in Goldfinger, Miss Moneypenny takes the hat from him and tosses it herself, hoping to induce him to stay. In Thunderball, he is cut off in mid-toss when Moneypenny announces that he is late. In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, after Bond is married, he throws his hat, which is caught by a tearful Moneypenny. In A View to a Kill, Bond has a brand new hat of Moneypenny's and almost throws it but is quickly stopped. And when Bond is in Venice in Moonraker, he tosses his gondolier's hat onto a vacant gondola. The traditional sequence was even exported to a wardroom hatrack on the bottom-sitting submarine in You Only Live Twice where M, Moneypenny and Bond are all in Naval Dress Uniforms.
Bond is early on called in to see M, the head of the UK's Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) in his or her office to receive his assignment. In several films, Bond receives the assignment at a secret headquarters or out of the office. Bond enters, often finding M in a subdued state of agitation over a new threat to world peace. M typically shows confidence in his/her best agent but feels a need to rein Bond in for his risky methods and often chides him for his indiscretions.
Universal Exports is used as a cover name for the British Secret Service in the films. It has been featured repeatedly in the films in various ways such as a direction sign in Dr. No, the abbreviation "UnivEx" in From Russia with Love, a brass name plate in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond's helicopter in For Your Eyes Only, a building with a sign in The Living Daylights, an identity card in The World Is Not Enough, a folder in Casino Royale, and a business card in Quantum of Solace. Bond has also given his introductions as a Universal Exports employee in You Only Live Twice, Octopussy, Licence to Kill, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.
The character of M does not appear in For Your Eyes Only, which was made shortly after the death of long-time M actor, Bernard Lee. Bond gets his briefing in this film from M's Chief of Staff, Bill Tanner, and the Minister of Defence, Frederick Gray. Beginning with the Brosnan series, M was a woman played by Judi Dench, a Shakespearean actress well-known for playing authority figures. Altogether, three actors have played M: Bernard Lee for Connery, Lazenby, and earlier Moore films; Robert Brown for the last two Moore films and the two Dalton films; Judi Dench for all the Brosnan and Craig films to date.
After getting his assignment, Bond is often sent to Q Branch for the technical briefing in which he receives special equipment to be used in his mission. Originally, in the novels, gadgets were relatively unimportant. This did not change in the first Bond film, Dr. No. However, they took on a higher profile in the film version of From Russia with Love (a key example where a gadget, the trick briefcase, is used in the original source novel), and their use has continued ever since, exceptions being On Her Majesty's Secret Service and For Your Eyes Only in which Bond was given few gadgets. In Dr. No, the head of Q Branch is the Armourer, Major Boothroyd (not yet called Q), who instructs Bond on a new firearm, the Walther PPK. Beginning with From Russia with Love the briefings involve various gadgets and technology, and Boothroyd is referred to as Q starting in Goldfinger. Each Bond film thereafter up until Die Another Day contains a technical briefing of some kind, usually given by Q, with the exception of Live and Let Die, in which Q does not appear and Bond himself describes his mission equipment to M and Moneypenny, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service in which Q does not brief 007 but is demonstrating to M.
Q is sometimes shown joining Bond in the field, taking with him a portable workshop and his staff. These workshops are established in unusual locations, such as an Egyptian tomb in The Spy Who Loved Me and a South American monastery in Moonraker. On two occasions, in Octopussy and Licence to Kill, Q takes active roles in Bond's missions. With the 2006 Casino Royale reboot and the subsequent instalment, Quantum of Solace, the character of Q was, like Moneypenny, dropped, and although Bond still receives a supply of mission equipment, no technical briefing is shown on screen.
There are several running jokes in the lab. Established in Goldfinger is Q's continuing disgust at how his equipment is often lost, damaged or destroyed by Bond during missions (though Q's expectations of the "pristine" return of his equipment are clearly unrealistic). Another is how easily distracted Bond is in the lab ("Now pay attention") as Q rattles off details about the use of the equipment which Bond needs to commit to memory. Another running joke is Bond's amused reaction to the latest devices and the Quartermaster's indignant response ("I never joke about my work"). There are also sight gags showing prototype equipment. In the field, however, Bond always remembers the details and takes full advantage of the tools supplied.
Desmond Llewelyn played Q in every pre-Craig film except for Dr. No (Q's first appearance), Live and Let Die (from which Q is absent) and Die Another Day (in which the character has been replaced). Llewelyn was due to return with a cameo in Die Another Day, but due to his death this did not happen. Llewelyn is the only actor to have appeared opposite five actors playing James Bond. After appearing as Q's assistant R in The World Is Not Enough, John Cleese appears as Q in Die Another Day.
Throughout the series, Q provides Bond with a variety of useful automobiles. However, 007's most famous car is the Aston Martin DB5, seen in Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and Casino Royale . The production team have used a number of DB5s for filming and publicity, one of which was sold in January 2006 at an auction in Arizona for $2,090,000 to an unnamed European collector. It was originally sold for £5,000 in 1970. Bond also shows his taste for aircraft: a gyrocopter features in You Only Live Twice and an Acrostar Jet in Octopussy. Marine vehicles include a submersible Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me and others that resemble an iceberg (A View to a Kill) or an alligator (Octopussy). One of the Lotuses was sold in December 2008 for £ 111,500.
For the most part, Bond is sent to do his work in attractive, exotic locales. Occasionally he will be assigned to war-torn or gloomy locations, but at some point his villains will be encountered in sunny paradises like Nassau, Jamaica, or Greece, or in exotic places like Istanbul, Thailand, India, or Japan. He averages about three foreign countries per film. In all, Bond's adventures have taken him to over 60 countries (not including the UK), as well as outer space.
Once in the field, Bond frequently meets up with a local ally upon arrival. These can be his foreign counterparts like Tiger Tanaka in Japan, Vijay in India, CIA operatives like Felix Leiter, or his own staff in a secret location. Such characters can also be female, some of whom succumb to Bond's charms. Some allies recur through an era, such as the Western-friendly KGB chief, General Gogol, and Sir Frederick Gray, the Minister of Defence.
Just fewer than half the films prior to Pierce Brosnan have James Bond teaming up with Felix Leiter. Leiter also plays a smaller role in these films than he does in Fleming novels. Specifically, he appears in four out of the six official Connery films, only the first of seven Roger Moore films, both Timothy Dalton films, and none of the four Pierce Brosnan films, but returned for Daniel Craig. He is also not in Lazenby's sole Bond film. He appears both in Connery's unofficial film, Never Say Never Again (1983), and in the early non-EON television Casino Royale adaptation as Clarence Leiter. In the official EON series, there were no Leiter film appearances between 1973 and 1987 and no Leiter appearances between 1989 and 2006.
In the novels, Leiter gets bitten by a shark and loses his right arm and half his left leg quite early in the series. He has a wooden leg and a steel hook to replace his hand in most of the other novels in which he appears. After the shark incident he is pensioned out of the C.I.A. and works for the Pinkerton's Detective Agency until recalled to the C.I.A. as a reserve in the ninth book Thunderball. This incident was postponed in the films until the second and last Timothy Dalton movie, after which Leiter was never seen again until the reboot of the franchise with Casino Royale.
Jack Lord played Leiter in the very first Bond film, Dr. No, but was unavailable for Goldfinger, in which Leiter was played by Cec Linder, an actor who appeared much older than Lord (though in reality Lord was older than Linder). Since then, Leiter has almost always been played by a different actor, being played by the same actor more than once only by David Hedison prior to Quantum of Solace. Hedison's two appearances as Leiter were years apart from each other; 1973's Live and Let Die and 1989's License to Kill. Leiter has been played by an African-American actor three times, for the first time in the non-EON film Never Say Never Again by Bernie Casey, and in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace by Jeffrey Wright.
Wright's reprise of Leiter in Quantum of Solace marks the second time that the character is reprised by the same actor, the first time in successive films, and the third time Leiter is portrayed by an African-American (including non-EON films).
Fleming wrote twelve novels, of which Leiter appears in six. Leiter also appears in six of the official films adapted from novels. However, in the films he was dropped from The Man with the Golden Gun and added to Dr. No. His appearance in the Timothy Dalton films brings Leiter's film appearances in the official series to eight prior to Quantum of Solace. Aside from the Dalton film The Living Daylights and Quantum of Solace, Leiter appears in no other films with Fleming short story titles (the last three Roger Moore films), and he never appears in any Fleming short stories.
More often than not the Bond villain is a megalomaniacal supervillain, some sort of industrialist or mad scientist with schemes of world domination. They are often charismatic and intelligent but also arrogantly over-confident, inviting a comeuppance. Frequently, Bond has an early sparring match with them which is verbal or over some sport (such as golf) or a casino game. Bond's victory heightens the supervillain's hatred for 007. Often, Bond brazenly tries to lure away and seduce a supervillain's mistress, both to save her and to validate his male superiority over his enemy. Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the Number One of worldwide criminal organisation SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), who appears in six films of the franchise, is Bond's archenemy.
On occasion, the Bond villain is a more down-to-earth character such as a drug/weapons smuggler or a supplier of money to other criminals. For example, neither of Timothy Dalton's two Bond films had a typical Bond supervillain.
At some point on the mission, Bond meets the principal Bond girl, a character portraying Bond's love interest or one of his main sex objects. There is always one Bond girl central to the plot, and often one or two others who cross his path, helpful or not. They may be victims rescued by Bond, or else ally agents, villainesses, or henchwomen. Many partner with Bond on the assignment, while others such as Honey Ryder are solely passive participants in the mission. More generally, the degree to which Bond girls are pivotal to propelling the plot forward varies from one film to the next. Five of the Bond girls are "bad" girls (or at least working for the villain) who turn "good" (or switch sides) usually due to Bond's influence. (Octopussy's motives for switching sides are, however, more complex). In some cases, Bond attempts to get a girl to switch to his side and fails. In The World is not Enough, the villain is a woman who fails to seduce Bond to her side.
Two of Fleming's Bond girls - Gala Brand and Vivienne Michel - appear only in the novels. They were replaced by different Bond girl characters in their respective films, along with most or all of the book's original plot.
Sylvia Trench is the only recurring Bond girl (unless Moneypenny is counted) as well as Bond's off-assignment girlfriend. Swedish actress Maud Adams has played two different Bond girls in two films, The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy. She would later have a cameo role in A View to a Kill. Bond has fallen in love with only Tracy di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, but both of them die at or near the end of the respective films.
Bond girls often have highly suggestive names of which the most notorious was Goldfinger's Pussy Galore. Others included Holly Goodhead from Moonraker, Mary Goodnight from The Man with the Golden Gun, Honey Ryder from Dr. No, Plenty O'Toole from Diamonds Are Forever, Xenia Onatopp from GoldenEye, and Christmas Jones from The World Is Not Enough.
An entire book and subsequent hour-long documentary entitled Bond Girls Are Forever devoted just to the history of Bond girls were created by former Bond girl actress Maryam D'Abo in 2002, 15 years after her appearance in a Bond film.
Although Bond sleeps with fellow secret service operative Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace, it is the only Bond film in which he does not sleep with the female lead during the course of the film, and which closes neither with her in his arms nor with her dead.
Keeping with the greater Hollywood tradition, every Bond film features chase scenes, usually more than one per film. Bond and his allies prove their evading skills in a wide variety of vehicles, from custom aircraft and watercraft to buses, trucks, even tanks and moon-buggies. Perhaps the most unusual is the gondola sequence from Moonraker, which leaves the canals of Venice to continue on land. Notable others include: the original gadget-car chase in the Aston-Martin DB5 in Goldfinger; the ski sequence in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and the tank pursuit in GoldenEye. All such sequences in Casino Royale involve Bond following the villain instead of vice versa.
Bond encounters many colourful characters who do the dirty work for the supervillain. The first henchmen introduced in the film series are the three assassins (the "Three Blind Mice") who are featured in the title sequence of Dr. No even before Bond appears. The blond muscleman henchman, of which there are six, is introduced in From Russia with Love in the guise of Donald Grant (Robert Shaw) who fights Bond to the death in the tight confines of the Orient Express. Bond also battles an array of femmes fatales, who first seduce and then try to kill Bond, such as Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye. Another notable henchman is Oddjob, the karate expert with the deadly bowler hat with the hidden metal that he throws at the neck of his enemies like a Frisbee. Jaws (7'2" actor Richard Kiel) with his superhuman dentures is one of only three undefeated henchmen in the series as well as the only henchman to battle Bond in two films. Another surviving henchman of note is Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder), the voodoo villain with one of the most distinctive voices in the acting industry.
The main villain often attempts to kill Bond in some kind of slow and protracted way such as abandoning him to sharks or alligators, or having him strapped to a table with a laser beam or a buzz saw. This convention was parodied in a card game entitled "Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond" (later retitled "Totally Renamed Spy Game" due to a cease and desist order from MGM) in which players had the choice to kill a spy quickly and easily or in a protracted way. The latter was less likely to succeed but got the player more points if it did. The same convention was parodied in a Saturday Night Live sketch, in which a talk show host asked three Bond villains what was the best way to kill James Bond. They all answered, "Just shoot him. Don't mess around with laser beams or sharks. He'll figure a way out of it. Just shoot him." This was further parodied in the most successful of the Bond spoofs, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, when Dr. Evil tells his son Scott that he is "going to place Austin Powers in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death" and then orders his henchmen to activate the "unnecessarily slowly moving mechanism".
The climax of most Bond films is the final confrontation with the supervillain and his henchmen, sometimes an entire army of cohorts, often in his hard-to-reach lair. While the novels typically climax with a terrible ordeal for Bond — usually a heinous torture, which he survives to then confront the villain for the last time — the films have tended to tone down the violence/sadism of the last act, preserving the inventively gruesome fate for the villain and leaving Bond conspicuously intact. The supervillain's retreat can be a private island (Dr. No, The Man with the Golden Gun and, effectively, Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me), mountaintop retreat (On Her Majesty's Secret Service and For Your Eyes Only) or underground base (You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, Licence to Kill), a ship (Thunderball and Tomorrow Never Dies) an oil rig (Diamonds Are Forever) or even a space station (Moonraker) — among other variations. Bond usually sabotages the lair and, with time ticking down, dispatches the supervillain, rescues the principal Bond girl and they escape as the place blows up. In some cases, the supervillain or their primary henchman escapes either to return in another film (notably Blofeld in many films of the 1960s, Jaws and Mr White) or to launch a final attack on Bond and his lover in the final scene (Goldfinger, Live and Let Die and several others).
So far only two Bond films, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Casino Royale, have ended with the central Bond girl deceased. In all other films, except Quantum of Solace, Bond is kissing her, making love, or implying that he will do so. Sometimes an embarrassed M catches Bond during his embraces. Most endings feature a double entendre, and in many of the films, the Bond girl purrs, "Oh, James." Every film except Dr. No (1962) and Thunderball (1965) has either the line "James Bond will return..." or "James Bond will be back" at the end of the closing credits. Until Octopussy (1983), the title of the next film to be produced was also named, although these were sometimes incorrect. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) promised James Bond would return in For Your Eyes Only. But after the success of Star Wars, producers decided to make Ian Fleming's Moonraker (1979) instead. For Your Eyes Only followed in 1981.
The famous introduction, "[My/The name is] Bond, James Bond", became a catchphrase after it was first uttered by Sean Connery in his opening scene in the first film, Dr. No, when Bond meets Sylvia Trench:
|“||I admire your courage, Miss...?
Trench, Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mister...?
On 21 June 2005, the line was honoured as the 22nd historically greatest cinema quotation by the American Film Institute, in its 100 Years Series. To date, From Russia with Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Quantum of Solace are the only films in which Bond does not give his trademark introduction — although in Thunderball, the villainous character Fiona Volpe mocks him by saying it to him (as does Valentin Dmitrovitch Zukovsky in The World Is Not Enough). Similar in-jokes see Bond's introduction being rudely interrupted (in Goldfinger) or greeted with disdain (The Spy Who Loved Me) or even lethal disinterest (in Live and Let Die, when Mr. Big shoots back: "Names is for tombstones baby… waste him!"). In the 2006 film Casino Royale that reboots the franchise, Bond does not utter this line until the end of the film, whereas in Quantum of Solace the phrase was not said at all.
In the 1990 television film The Secret Life of Ian Fleming, allegedly based on Fleming's own World War II spy experiences, Fleming (played by Sean Connery's son, Jason Connery) says his name is "Fleming, Ian Fleming".
Bond usually evinces a preference for vodka martinis, and his instruction on how it must be prepared, "Shaken, not stirred", quickly became another catchphrase. This line was honoured by the AFI as the 90th most-memorable cinema quotation. The description is first said by Doctor No in the 1962 film (demonstrating to Bond that he is familiar with his tastes). Bond himself first uses the line in 1964's Goldfinger. In You Only Live Twice, when Bond is offered a martini "stirred, not shaken" and asked if that is right, he politely says, "Perfect. Cheers." In GoldenEye, Zukovsky mockingly describes Bond as being "shaken, but not stirred" by his recent abduction. In Die Another Day, when handed a Vodka Martini on a turbulent airplane, he says, "Lucky I asked for it shaken." In Casino Royale, the in-joke is a furious Bond's reply — "Do I look like I give a damn?" — to a bartender's innocent query of "Shaken or stirred?". As originally devised by Fleming in his novel Casino Royale, Bond's martini of choice originally had a more complex recipe; this recipe was recited on screen for the first time in the 2006 adaptation of the novel, and repeated in Quantum of Solace. Prior to this the closest thing to a "recipe" given on screen is in Dr. No when the eponymous villain mentions Bond's martini as having a slice of lemon peel.
|Film||Year||James Bond||M||Moneypenny||Q||Felix Leiter|
|Dr. No||1962||Sean Connery||Bernard Lee||Lois Maxwell||Peter Burton||Jack Lord|
|From Russia with Love||1963||Desmond Llewelyn||none|
|Thunderball||1965||Rik Van Nutter|
|You Only Live Twice||1967||none|
|On Her Majesty's Secret Service||1969||George Lazenby|
|Diamonds Are Forever||1971||Sean Connery||Norman Burton|
|Live and Let Die||1973||Roger Moore||none||David Hedison|
|The Man with the Golden Gun||1974||Desmond Llewelyn||none|
|The Spy Who Loved Me||1977|
|For Your Eyes Only||1981||none|
|A View to a Kill||1985|
|The Living Daylights||1987||Timothy Dalton||Caroline Bliss||John Terry|
|Licence to Kill||1989||David Hedison|
|GoldenEye||1995||Pierce Brosnan||Judi Dench||Samantha Bond||none|
|Tomorrow Never Dies||1997|
|The World Is Not Enough||1999|
|Die Another Day||2002||John Cleese|
|Casino Royale||2006||Daniel Craig||none||none||Jeffrey Wright|
|Quantum of Solace||2008|
|Bond 23 (In pre-production)||2011|
Prior to Eon's start in 1961, Casino Royale was adapted as a one-hour television episode of CBS's series Climax!. The nationalities of James Bond and Felix Leiter were reversed making Bond American and Leiter British. Bond was nicknamed "Card sense Jimmy Bond". After Eon's formation, only two James Bond films were produced without the company's consent, due to the production rights of two Ian Fleming novels being lost.
In 1955, Ian Fleming sold the film rights of Casino Royale to producers Michael Garrison and Gregory Ratoff. These were later sold to producer Charles K. Feldman. Feldman initially went to Broccoli and Saltzman with a proposition to produce the film; however, due to their negative experiences with Kevin McClory on Thunderball they declined. Feldman decided to start his own production and approached Connery who offered to do the film for $1 million dollars, which Feldman rejected. Since his previous film, the madcap comedy What's New, Pussycat?, had been a success, Feldman decided to make a satirical Bond film in similar vein. Problems ensued, however, when the star, Peter Sellers, walked off the project with scenes uncompleted, and script re-writes and directorial changes (the film ended up with five) caused the budget to escalate far beyond that of any Bond picture hitherto. The Casino Royale spoof was released in 1967. The plot involves multiple impersonators of James Bond as the real one played by David Niven is now elderly. Thus Peter Sellers' character carries action performed by James Bond in Fleming's novel. Woody Allen was allowed to write most of his own dialogue for this film. He plays an inept nephew of James Bond, called Jimmy Bond, just as in the straight 1955 adaptation 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 in 1965. The deal stipulated that McClory could not 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. The film was a worldwide box-office success, but since it was not made by Broccoli's production company, Eon Productions, it is 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 a legal dispute resulting in the studio abandoning its aspirations for a rival James Bond series.
MGM later acquired the rights for both films. Never Say Never Again was bought from Warner Bros. in 1997, and Casino Royale was traded with Sony, along with the adaptation rights of the novel, in exchange for $10 million and the filming rights of Spider-Man (coincidentally, McClory died on 20 November 2006, a mere six days after the release of Eon's official version of Casino Royale).
The films have been awarded two Academy Awards: for Sound Effects (now Sound Editing) in Goldfinger (1964) and for Visual Effects in Thunderball (1965). In 1982, Albert R. Broccoli received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. Additionally, several of the songs, including Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die", Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better", and Sheena Easton's "For Your Eyes Only", have been nominated for Academy Awards for Original Song.
The spy novelist John le Carré was severely critical of the character of James Bond, regarding Bond as potential traitor material. LeCarre created his spy George Smiley as the antithesis of Bond. Smiley is shy, cerebral, and shabbily dressed; his spy work is mostly mundane and plodding; he gets caught up in morally ambiguous situations, and his wife is cheating on him. Both LeCarre's novel The Honourable Schoolboy and Fleming's Japan-based book You Only Live Twice have a character based on real journalist Richard Hughes.
Film critic Mick LaSalle notes many believe the older Bond films were superior to the later films, which he disagrees with, arguing many of the older film "[benefit] mainly from a certain James Bond atmosphere and from a built-up sense of audience expectation". He also feels every James Bond actor was "first rate". Upon rewatching all the films, LaSalle was surprised by how rough Connery's Bond was, and felt it was Moore "who [brought] radiant narcissism and [an] effete quality" to the character. He added "Brosnan was superb [for] combining Moore's self-satisfaction with Dalton's sensitivity," while Craig became his favourite Bond by his second film for "reconceiv[ing] the role for himself as a young tough guy with a lot of pain going on inside".
Sean Connery's version of James Bond was ranked #11 on Empire's 100 Greatest Movie Characters.
The success of the James Bond series in the 1960s led to various spy TV series, both comical as in Get Smart or straight thriller series such as I Spy, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the last having enjoyed contributions by Fleming towards its creation. There was also an increase in the market for spy films such as the Harry Palmer, films which starred Michael Caine.
Bond has also received many homages and parodies in popular media. Especially notable is the Austin Powers series by writer, producer and comedian Mike Myers as many characters in it are parodies of specific characters in the Bond films. Other notable parodies include Spy Hard (1996), Johnny English (2003), Bons baisers de Hong Kong, OK Connery, Undercover Brother (2002), the "Flint" series starring James Coburn as Derek Flint, and the "Matt Helm" films starring Dean Martin.
EON productions or MGM have been known to issue file suit in one form or another if they think the copying of Bond is too close. A suit against the producers of the third Austin Powers film ended in a settlement in which the distributors of the latter agreed to show a parody of the forthcoming Bond film in theaters prior to their film. A season 4 episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine entitled Our Man Bashir featured a virtual-reality game on the holodeck with multiple James Bond references in sufficient amount to raise the ire of MGM.
George Lucas has said on various occasions that Sean Connery's portrayal of Bond was one of the primary inspirations for the Indiana Jones character, a reason Connery was chosen for the role of Indiana's father in the third film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies were the first in the series to be released on DVD in 1998. Following The World Is Not Enough on 22 May 2000, the series proper was issued chronologically in single disc "special editions" over the next ten months until 26 March 2001. At first, three boxed sets with the films up to Tomorrow Never Dies were released. In 2003, following the DVD release of Die Another Day, all films were available in both a twenty-film case or three box sets.
In July 2006, the entire series was re-released in "Ultimate Edition" two-disc sets that featured frame-by-frame digitally restored picture by Lowry Digital and remixed DTS sound. Throughout 2007 these editions were released in four non-chronological boxed sets, each containing five titles. They were eventually combined in an "ultimate collector's set" that included the two-disc widescreen edition of Casino Royale.
On 20 October 2008, to tie in with the theatrical debut of Quantum of Solace, six non-consecutive titles in the series were released on Blu-ray Disc, along with a special edition re-release of Casino Royale. On March 2009, both a third pack with three other films was released on March 29, 2009, and Quantum of Solace became available. Never Say Never Again was also released in this format.
James Bond has starred in many video games, with a few being direct adaptations of the films. Between 1985 and 1990, Mindscape made text adventure versions of Goldfinger and A View to a Kill, and Domark produced side scrolling shooter games based on Licence to Kill, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Living Daylights, Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill.
The popularity of the James Bond video game didn't really take off, however, until 1997's GoldenEye 007, a Nintendo 64 first-person shooter developed by Rare based on GoldenEye, along with additional and extended missions. It received the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment "Games Award" and is widely considered one of the best games ever. Electronic Arts released two tie-in games, the third-person shooter Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, PlayStation) and The World Is Not Enough (2000, PlayStation, N64 and Game Boy Color) before starting original games, such as Agent Under Fire (2001, PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube) and Nightfire (2002, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Windows, Macintosh and Game Boy Advance), which were the most similar games to the style of GoldenEye, and GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (2004, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and Nintendo DS), which bears no relation to the film GoldenEye, nor the game of the same title. EA also released Everything or Nothing (2004, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and Game Boy Advance), a third-person shooter starring Pierce Brosnan in his fifth and final appearance as 007. The success of this game led to a follow-up based on From Russia with Love (2005, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation Portable), which even included Sean Connery's likeness and voice acting.
Activision Studios, Treyarch, Beenox, Eurocom, and Vicarious Visions developed Quantum of Solace which is based on both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. The game was released in November 2008 on six different platforms to coincide with the later film.