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James Bond

For other uses, see James Bond (disambiguation).
The James Bond 007 gun logo

James Bond, also known as 007 ("double-oh seven"), is a sophisticated fictional character and British spy created by writer Ian Fleming. Introduced in 1953, Bond is the main protagonist in numerous novels and short stories by Fleming, and after Fleming's death further literary adventures were written by Kingsley Amis, John Pearson, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and Charlie Higson.

James Bond is best known from the EON Productions film series. As of (2005) twenty official and two unofficial films have been made, with a twenty-first official film now in pre-production for release in 2006. Bond has been officially portrayed by actors Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan, with a sixth actor to be appointed in 2005. The majority of the films were produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; Broccoli's daughter and stepson, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, later became the producers.

Independently of EON, two other James Bond films were made: Casino Royale (1967) and Never Say Never Again (1983), starring David Niven and Connery, respectively. Since the mid–1970s, Danjaq, L.L.C. (Broccoli's family company), has co-owned the James Bond film series with United Artists Corporation; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (owners of United Artists) currently distributes the series.

In addition to novels and films, Bond is featured in many games based upon the films or upon original scripts, comic strips and comic books, and has been the subject of numerous parodies.

Table of contents

Overview

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 character

Commander James Bond is secret agent 007—the 'double-oh' prefix indicates his discretionary 'licence to kill' in the performance of his duties for the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6 (which has a real counterpart).

Ian Fleming named 007 after the American ornithologist James Bond; he explained to Mrs. Bond that her husband's: "brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon, and yet very masculine name was just what I needed." The real James Bond had written Birds of the West Indies, and Fleming, a keen bird watcher while in Jamaica, had a copy of Bond's bird manual and chose its author's name for the hero of his first novel, Casino Royale in 1953.

Fleming based elements of Bond upon himself—noted for his glamorous lifestyle, which included relationships with many women. Fleming was inspired by his contemporaries in British Intelligence during World War II. The Estoril Casino, in Estoril, Portugal, is James Bond's credited birthplace; its atmosphere inspired Fleming, as European royalty openly mingled with the world's spies. In neutral Portugal, the casino was home away from home for spies of the warring regimes. Moreover, other inspirations for James Bond have been suggested.

The cinematic Bond's polymathy (endless knowledge of everything) was introduced early on and later abandoned. It was first demonstrated in Goldfinger, wherein he calculates how many trucks it would take to transport all the gold in Fort Knox, after waiting in his cell after his capture by Goldfinger, and instantly calculates for how long the gold would be radioactive after Goldfinger's bomb had exploded. Bond's "genius" became a running joke during Roger Moore's era, reaching its height in Moonraker; it was scaled back, if not eliminated, during Timothy Dalton's tenure as James Bond.

Bond is a moderate-to-heavy drinker. According to a website detailing the character's drinking habits, he consumed 102 alcoholic beverages in his films (through 2002), and well over 300 in Fleming's novels alone. In the films, he drinks champagne 32 times, and 20 vodka martinis. In the novels, he has a strong preference for bourbon whiskey. The literary 007 is also a heavy cigarette smoker, at one point smoking up to 70 a day. In several films, most notably those featuring Roger Moore, Bond also smoked cigars. The literary Bond gave up smoking during the John Gardner era, while on film he gave up the habit effective in Tomorrow Never Dies (at least until he indulged in a cigar in Die Another Day).

The franchise

For fifty years, the James Bond novels and movies have varied from realistic spy drama to outright science fiction. The Bond franchise has entered popular culture.

Many of the original books by Fleming are dark, with few fantasy elements and gadgets. But they did establish the formula of unique villains, sexy women (most of whom become lovers of Bond's), and outlandish plots. The films expanded upon this, adding the Q-Branch gadgets, and death-defying stunts. Having little to do with the activities of real intelligence agencies, James Bond's adventures are usually violent derring-do in saving the world from apocalyptic madmen. Invariably, such madmen try killing Bond with deathtraps (from which he escapes), after the villain tells him the information critical to thwarting his plot. Despite the films' description as "thrillers", James Bond rarely is troubled, regardless of the odds facing him.

The first actor to play secret agent James Bond was American Barry Nelson, in a 1954 CBS television production of Casino Royale, however, the agent's name was "Jimmy Bond". Later, in 1956, Bob Holness played Bond in a South African radio dramatisation of Moonraker. Over the next fifty years, six actors (Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan) would play the role of James Bond (a seventh actor is expected to be named to the role in early 2005).

The official cinema series from producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman began in 1962, with Dr. No, starring Sean Connery as James Bond. With few exceptions, the films have been box office successes and continue earning money decades after release in other forms of media such as videotape and DVD as well as television broadcasts. In the UK, Bond holds three of the top five top spots for most-watched television movies.

According to some critics, the films began looking outdated by the 1980s: the character's anachronistic sexism, the glamorous locales grown stale, and the secret agent's unruffled exterior had become incongruous when compared to movies such as Die Hard. After the unsuccessful, adult, hard-edged James Bond of Timothy Dalton, the 1990s revival of the series with Pierce Brosnan succeeded due to his mix of Dalton and Connery's hard edges tempered with Moore-ish humour.

As a household name, James Bond (arguably the most successful fictional character, ever) has had a definitive impact on the cinematic spy genre extending into parodies such as Casino Royale (1967), the Austin Powers series, and Johnny English (2003) (see: James Bond parodies). In the 1960s, the success of the Bond films inspired television imitators such as I Spy, Get Smart, The Wild Wild West, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which became popular successes in their own right. Fleming contributed to the creation of U.N.C.L.E.; the show's lead character, "Napoleon Solo", was named after a character in Fleming's novel Goldfinger.

Character's biography

James Bond is the son of a Scottish father, Andrew Bond, and a Swiss mother, Monique Delacroix, both of whom died in a mountain climbing accident in the Aiguilles Rogues, when Bond was only eleven years old. Due to this James went to live with his Aunt, Miss Charmian Bond in Kent. Bond's family motto, which was later adopted by James Bond during "Operation Corona" (previously "Operation Bedlam") in the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service is "Orbis non sufficit" ("The world is not enough" in Latin).

Bond's birth date is much debated; according to John Pearson's Authorized Biography of 007, James Bond was born near Essen, Germany, on November 11, 1920; no Fleming novel supports either this date or location. According to an obituary of James Bond in the novel You Only Live Twice, Bond left school when he was seventeen years old and joined the Ministry of Defence in 1941. If Bond is seventeen in 1941, then he was born in 1924. Fleming also establishes that Bond bought his first car, a Bentley (driven in several early novels and the second Bond film, From Russia With Love), in 1933, contradicting both birthdates—he would have been too young to buy a car had he been born in either 1920 or 1924. Many Fleming biographers agree that Fleming never really intended to write as many James Bond adventures as he did and to keep writing the novels he had to "tinker with Bond's early life" and change dates to ensure Bond was the appropriate age for the service. The issue of the car is one such example. Ian Fleming Publications recognized this issue for their new series of novels featuring Bond as a teenager in the 1930s (Young Bond) and along with its author, Charlie Higson, defined Bond being born in the year 1920.

Bond briefly attended Eton College starting at the age of twelve, but was expelled after two halves when some "alleged" troubles with one of his maids came to light. It should be noted that in Fleming's short story "From a View to a Kill", Bond admits to losing his virginity on his first visit to Paris at the age of sixteen. John Gardner's novel Brokenclaw also references this moment in Bond's life. After Eton, Bond attended and continued his education in the prestigious Fettes College in Edinburgh, Scotland. In Octopussy Fleming also writes that Bond briefly attended the University of Geneva. Bond's attendance at these schools parallels Fleming, who also attended these same schools.

In 1941, Bond (17, born in 1924) lied about his age (19) in order to enter the Royal Navy's Volunteer Reserve during World War II, from which he emerged with the rank of Commander at war's end—before joining MI6. During his tenure writing James Bond novels in the 1980s and 1990s, John Gardner promoted Bond to Captain, but he was subsequently demoted in later books, without explanation.

In both the literary and cinematic versions of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, James Bond marries (1962 novel, 1969 film), but his bride, Tracy Draco, is killed on their wedding day by his archenemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld; the event resonates in both versions of the character thereafter. In the novels, however, Bond gets revenge immediately in the following novel, You Only Live Twice, when he by chance comes across Blofeld in Japan.

Unbeknownst to Bond, he apparently had one child, with Kissy Suzuki in You Only Live Twice. The mention of this fact comes from a thought by Suzuki in which she was going to inform him of this prior to his leaving for Russia at books end. Information on this child is later expanded on by Raymond Benson in the mid-1990s in the short story "Blast From the Past"

Ian Fleming described James Bond's physical resemblance to singer Hoagy Carmichael; actor Timothy Dalton (who twice played the character in the late 1980s), is said to most closely resemble Fleming's description of James Bond. In the literature (notably From Russia, With Love), Bond's physical description has generally been consistent: a three-inch, vertical scar on his left cheek (absent from the cinematic version); blue-grey eyes; short-cut, dark hair, a comma of which falls on his forehead (greying at the temples in John Gardner's novels), and (after Casino Royale) the faint scar of the Russian cyrillic letter "SH" on the back of one of his hands (carved by a SMERSH agent).

The literary and cinematic secret agent's attitude towards his job is similar. Although licensed to kill, James Bond dislikes killing—resorting to flippant jokes and off-hand remarks as after-the-fact relief, often misinterpreted as cold-bloodedness. Pearson's biography (of disputed canonicity) suggests Bond first killed as a teenager. The novel Goldfinger begins with Bond's memory haunted by the small-time, Mexican gunman he had killed with his bare hands days earlier. In the films, there is a subtle hint in GoldenEye that he might be haunted so, and, in The World Is Not Enough, he admits that cold-blooded killing is a filthy business. Nonetheless, James Bond kills when needed, and, in the cinema, commits acts that may be murder in other circumstances (i.e. in Dr. No, shooting Prof. Dent in the back; killing unarmed Elektra King in The World Is Not Enough). The literary James Bond was reserved in his licensed killing; there are Fleming works in which Bond does not kill anyone.

The cinematic Bond is famous for ordering his vodka martinis "shaken, not stirred". The literary Bond prefers vodka, but also drinks gin martinis, and in Casino Royale orders a martini that includes both types of liquor. Bond initially calls it "The Vesper" martini, after his lover in that book, Vesper Lynd. Throughout the novels, 007 orders his martinis with a slice of lemon peel (Fleming felt that olives were added by bartenders to decrease the amount of liquor in the drink), though this only occurs on film in Dr. No. In real life, martini bars often dub a martini made "shaken, not stirred" as a "Martini James Bond". See martini cocktail for a detailed description of how a shaken martini differs from a stirred one. In the novels, most of the drinks, beyond Casino Royale, that Bond has aren't martinis at all.

Age is the notable difference between the literary and the cinematic versions of James Bond. Per Fleming's novel Moonraker, agent 007 faced mandatory retirement from active duty at age 45, while many of the films feature a considerably older hero. Assuming the correctness of either the 1920 or 1924 birthdates, Bond would have been retired between 1964 (when Fleming died) and 1969 (after Colonel Sun's 1968 publication). Pearson's biography suggests Bond continued working for MI6 as a special agent, beyond retirement age, and continued serving as agent 007 into the 1970s. John Gardner's version of James Bond is a man born after Fleming's version, since he remains an active agent in the 1980s and the 1990s, but depicted as not much older than 50. Raymond Benson's version of Bond appears based upon Pierce Brosnan's cinematic portrayal, suggesting Bond was born in the 1950s.

The cinematic James Bond (introduced in 1962) already had a history with MI6. In Dr. No, when reluctantly re-equipped with a 7.62 mm Walther PPK pistol replacing his under-powered .25 calibre Beretta automatic pistol, agent 007 protests, telling M that he has used the weapon for ten years, suggesting he has been a secret agent for at least that long. In the cinematic Dr. No, James Bond has just returned from six months in hospital, recovering from wounds suffered in his last job when the Beretta jammed.

James Bond in the films is a graduate in Oriental Languages from Cambridge University, as stated in You Only Live Twice—contradicting the novels, and Tomorrow Never Dies, wherein he cannot use a Chinese computer keyboard. Raymond Benson's Tomorrow Never Dies novelisation suggests Bond lied to Moneypenny about his languages degree in the earlier film. In The World Is Not Enough, he speaks Russian fluently, claiming he studied at Oxford (while he was impersonating a Russian scientist). Bond can also be seen in other films speaking a variety of different languages.

Although never stated outright, in his books, Fleming drops hints that Bond was smuggled into Hungary during its anti-Soviet uprising in 1956. A popular legend holds that a British secret agent was sent to Hungary to attempt to train the rebels, although they eventually lost. Using his literary license, Fleming implies that Bond was this agent.

Books

By Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming. Photo: Horst Tappe.

In January 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 house, "Goldeneye" to write a James Bond novel.

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

Between 1953 and 1966, Ian Fleming had twelve James Bond novels and two short story collections published, with one novel and one short story collection published 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, "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 Ian 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, Ian Fleming biographer John Pearson was commissioned by Glidrose to biograph the fictional character James Bond. Pearson wrote James Bond: The Authorized 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 Authorized Biography of 007 is debated among fans—some consider it apocryphal, though at least one publisher issued it as an official novel along with the rest of Fleming's series. 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 the first 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.

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

In 1996, John Gardner retired from writing James Bond books due to ill health, and American Raymond Benson quickly replaced him. As a James Bond novelist, Raymond 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)
1997Zero Minus Ten
1997Tomorrow Never Dies (novelisation)
1998The Facts of Death
1999"Midsummer Night's Doom" (short story)
1999"Live at Five" (short story)
1999The World Is Not Enough (novelisation)
1999High Time to Kill
2000Doubleshot
2001Never Dream of Dying
2002The Man with the Red Tattoo
2002Die Another Day (novelisation)

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.

Young James 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 would feature James Bond as a thirteen-year-old boy attending Eton College. Written by Charlie Higson (The Fast Show) the series is expected to align 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.

The series is currently planned out for five novels according to Charlie Higson.

2005SilverFin
2006Title TBA (working title: Double M)

Other Bond-related fiction

In 1967, Glidrose authorised publication of 003½: The Adventures of James Bond Jr. 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).

An early 1990s animated television series, James Bond Jr., ran for 65 episodes and spawned a six-episode novelisation series written by John Peel under the pseudonym "John Vincent". (There appears to be no connection between this series and the 1967 book by Marshall).

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 Field 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. By some literary Bond fans, it is considered the "Holy Grail" of Bond literature because Bond is murdered in the shock ending; the text of The Killing Zone is available on the Internet and can be found here.

Official films

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

Since Dr. No, every official James Bond film begins with what is known as the "gun barrel shooting scene", which introduces agent 007. The gun barrel is seen from the assassin's perspective—looking down at a walking James Bond, who quickly turns and shoots; the scene reddens (signifying the spilling of the gunman's blood), the gun barrel dissolves to a white circle, and the film begins.

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in the gun barrel sequence

In the first three films, stuntman Bob Simmons played the role of James Bond in the gun barrel sequence (making Simmons, technically, the first actor shown playing James Bond in a movie). Starting with Thunderball in 1965, every actor to portray Bond would be filmed in the scene. For the first film, Dr. No, opening credits designer Maurice Binder achieved the look with a pin hole camera shooting through a real gun barrel. In addition to Simmons, Sean Connery and George Lazenby were the only actors who would film the sequence while wearing a hat, while Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan would wear tuxedos for their renditions. Beginning with 1995's GoldenEye, the gun barrel was computer-generated and later Die Another Day, being the twentieth Bond film, introduced an actual CG bullet being shot from Bond's gun and zooming towards the viewer.

After the gun barrel scene, every film starting with From Russia with Love (1963), would start with a pre-credits teaser. Usually the scene features 007 finishing up a previous case before taking on the case from the film, and does not always relate to his main mission. Some of the teasers tie in with the plot of the film. Many teasers include a huge action sequence, which from film to film would get larger, crazier, and add more special effects than each previous film. The 1999 film The World Is Not Enough currently holds the record as the longest Bond teaser ever, running more than 15 minutes; most teasers run for less than five minutes.

Title credits from GoldenEye illustrating the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War

When the teaser sequence is finished, the opening credits begin during which an arty display of scantily clad and even nude females can be seen doing a variety of activities from dancing, jumping on a trampoline, to shooting weapons. This sequence, initially designed by Maurice Binder for fourteen 007 films, is a trademark and a staple of the James Bond films. Since Binder's death in 1991, Daniel Kleinman has designed the credits and has introduced CG elements not present during Binder'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 credits are unrelated to the plot of the film, although the design may reflect an overall theme (i.e. You Only Live Twice uses a Japanese motif as well as images of a volcano, both of which are elements of the movie itself. Die Another Day was unusual in that the images shown in that film's opening credits advance the storyline. Beginning in the mid-1990s, it has become common for most films to be released without opening credits sequences; the Bond films are among the few exceptions.

Agent 007's famous introduction, "Bond. James Bond" became a catch phrase after it was first muttered 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. Although it is one of the most popular lines in cinema history, it was rarely used in the novels, said for the first time in the sixth novel, Dr. No.

Every aficionado has a favourite James Bond: Sean Connery—the tough, his machismo ready beneath the polished persona, George Lazenby—the controversial ultra-macho man, equally loved and despised, Roger Moore—the sophisticate, rarely mussing his hair whilst saving the world, Timothy Dalton—the hard-edged literary character, and Pierce Brosnan—the polished, hard-edged man. In 2005, EON Productions will announce the sixth official actor to play the role of secret agent 007.


No. Title Year James Bond Worldwide Box Office Gross
1 Dr. No 1962 Sean Connery $59,600,000
2 From Russia With Love 1963 Sean Connery $78,900,000
3 Goldfinger 1964 Sean Connery $124,900,000
4 Thunderball 1965 Sean Connery $141,200,000
5 You Only Live Twice 1967 Sean Connery $111,600,000
6 On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969 George Lazenby $82,000,000
7 Diamonds Are Forever 1971 Sean Connery $116,000,000
8 Live and Let Die 1973 Roger Moore $161,800,000
9 The Man with the Golden Gun 1974 Roger Moore $97,600,000
10 The Spy Who Loved Me 1977 Roger Moore $185,400,000
11 Moonraker 1979 Roger Moore $210,300,000
12 For Your Eyes Only 1981 Roger Moore $195,300,000
13 Octopussy 1983 Roger Moore $187,500,000
14 A View to a Kill 1985 Roger Moore $152,400,000
15 The Living Daylights 1987 Timothy Dalton $191,200,000
16 Licence to Kill 1989 Timothy Dalton $156,200,000
17 GoldenEye 1995 Pierce Brosnan $353,400,000
18 Tomorrow Never Dies 1997 Pierce Brosnan $346,600,000
19 The World Is Not Enough 1999 Pierce Brosnan $390,000,000
20 Die Another Day 2002 Pierce Brosnan $456,000,000
21 Casino Royale 2006 To be announced

Every film, except Dr. No (1962), has the line: "James Bond will return. . ." or "James Bond will be back" during or after the final credits. Up until A View to a Kill (1985) the end-credit line would also name the next title in the film series ("James Bond will return in..."). Over the years the films have incorrectly named the sequel three times. The first, 1965's Thunderball, in early prints announced Bond to return in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, however, the producers changed their mind shortly after release and subsequently made the correction in future prints of the film. In 1977, The Spy Who Loved Me stated Bond would return in For Your Eyes Only, however, EON Productions had decided to instead take advantage of the Star Wars space craze and release a film adaptation of Fleming's Moonraker, which was changed to a plot involving outer space. Thirdly, Octopussy (1983) incorrectly states the title of the next film as From A View To A Kill, the original literary title of A View to a Kill.

Music

Main article: James Bond music

"The James Bond Theme" was written by Monty Norman and was first orchestrated by the John Barry Orchestra for 1962's Dr. No. Barry went on to compose the soundtracks 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 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.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the only Bond film with a completely instrumental 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.

During the title credits a popular artist usually sings the theme of the film. Shirley Bassey has performed the most with three theme songs. Some other performers include Tina Turner, Duran Duran, Sheryl Crow, Garbage and Madonna.

Trivia

  • Many people assume the Bond producers would never hire an American to portray the character in the official film series, but American actors have been hired on two occasions and asked on several others. Adam West was offered the chance to appear in On Her Majesty's Secret Service when Sean Connery chose not to return to the role, but turned down the offer. John Gavin was hired in 1970 to replace George Lazenby, but Connery was lured back at the eleventh hour and it was he who appeared in Diamonds Are Forever instead of Gavin. James Brolin was hired in 1983 to replace Roger Moore, and was preparing to shoot Octopussy when the producers convinced Moore to return. Several other American actors, including Robert Wagner, claim to have been offered the role only to turn it down.
  • Roger Moore is the only English actor to have played Bond in the official film series. Sean Connery is Scottish, George Lazenby is Australian, Timothy Dalton is Welsh, and Pierce Brosnan is Irish.
  • While initially sceptical about Sean Connery being chosen to play Bond, Ian Fleming liked his portrayal so much that he eventually changed the background of the character in the novels so that his father was Scottish.

Unofficial films

In 1954, CBS paid Ian Fleming $1,000 US 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", who was 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. For more information, see the history of Casino Royale

When plans for a possible James Bond television series 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 novel only credited Fleming. McClory filed a lawsuit that would eventually earn him the right to be executive producer on the 1965 film adaptation. In addition, McClory was given the rights to produce a second adaptation of Thunderball after a set period of time had elapsed. McClory made good on this agreement by producing the 1983 film, Never Say Never Again, which featured Sean Connery for a seventh and final time as 007. Due to Never Say Never Again not being made by Broccoli's production company, EON Productions, it is not considered a part of the official film series. A third attempt by McClory to remake Thunderball in the 1990s was halted by legal action which resulted in EON receiving the full rights to Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. For more information, see the controversy over Thunderball.

Title Year James Bond Worldwide Box Office Gross
Casino Royale — TV episode 1954 Barry Nelson not applicable
Casino Royale — Film spoof 1967 David Niven $44,000,000
Never Say Never Again 1983 Sean Connery $160,000,000

Bond characters

Main articles: List of James Bond allies, List of James Bond villains, Bond Girls

The James Bond series of novels and films have a plethora of interesting allies and villains. Bond's superiors and other officers of MI6 are generally known by letters such as M and Q. 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. Despite Bond's male chauvinism towards women, most end up, if not in love with him, at least subdued by him.

A number of notable stars and character actors have appeared in the films, many before they were widely known. They include Christopher Walken, Grace Jones, Robbie Coltrane, Carey Lowell, Robert Carlyle, and Famke Janssen (as the aforementioned villainess Onatopp) to name but a few.

Desmond Llewellyn played Q, the MI6 gadget-master who supplied Bond with cutting-edge gadgets, from 1963's From Russia With Love until his death in after the release of The World Is Not Enough in 1999 (excluding the 1971 film Live and Let Die). His assistant, known previously as "R" was portrayed by John Cleese, who replaced Llewellyn as Q in 2002's Die Another Day.

A constant in the literary Bond's life is his elderly, Scottish housekeeper, May, who appeared in numerous Fleming novels, but proved as ageless as Bond by appearing in several John Gardner novels. May is one of a small number of recurring characters from the literary canon who has yet to appear on film.

Vehicles & 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 cloak itself. 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. In Fleming's books, Bond has a penchant for "battleship grey" Bentleys, while Gardner awarded the agent a modified Saab Turbo.

Video games

Main article: James Bond games
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 till 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.

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 Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, although several previous games have used Brosnan's likeness as Bond. In 2005, Electronic Arts will release a video game adaptation of From Russia With Love, which will allow the player to play as Bond with the likeness of Sean Connery. This will be only 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 will be recording new voiceovers for the game, the first time the actor has played Bond in 22 years.

Comic strips and comic books

Many illustrated adventures of James Bond have been published since the Evening Standard newspaper began publishing a daily comic strip in 1958, eventually adapting every Ian Fleming novel and most of his short stories. Later, the comic strip produced original stories, continuing until 1983. Several comic book adaptations of the James Bond films have been published through the years, as well. Details of such adaptations are discussed in the articles dedicated to the relevant novels and movies.

Other films pertaining to James Bond

Main article: James Bond parodies

The James Bond films and novels have been repeatedly parodied and copied since the introduction of the onscreen character in 1962. Some of these parodies have been successful box office draws such as the Austin Powers series of films by writer and actor Mike Myers and the "Flint" series starring James Coburn as Derek Flint in films such as Our Man Flint (1966) and In Like Flint (1967).

There have also been various films that have attempted to copy Bond's successful features such as the most recent xXx

A reunion television movie, The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1983) starred George Lazenby as James Bond from On Her Majesty's Secret Service; for legal reasons, his character was credited as "JB"). Ian Fleming helped create the original The Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV series in the 1960s, so "JB's" appearance is a tribute.

See also

References

External links

Official sites

Fan sites


James Bond
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