The James Bond film series are spy films inspired by Ian Fleming's novels about the fictional MI6 agent Commander James Bond (codename 007). EON Productions have produced twenty-one films between 1962 and 2006, and another film is planned for 2008. 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 remained the sole producer. Since 1995, Broccoli's daughter Barbara and stepson Michael G. Wilson have co-produced them. Six actors have portrayed 007 so far.
Broccoli's and 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. Beginning in 2006 with Casino Royale, MGM and Columbia Pictures co-distribute the franchise, as Columbia's parent company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, bought MGM in 2005. The twenty-one Bond films have grossed over $4 billion dollars in the worldwide box office, being the second most profitable film series ever after Harry Potter.
|Box Office||Budget||Box Office||Budget|
|Dr. No||1962||Sean Connery||Terence Young||$59.6M||$1.2M||$419.35M||$8.44M|
|From Russia with Love||1963||$78.9M||$2.5M||$547.835M||$17.35M|
|You Only Live Twice||1967||Lewis Gilbert||$111.6M||$9.5M||$716M||$61M|
|On Her Majesty's Secret Service||1969||George Lazenby||Peter R. Hunt||$87.4M||$7M||$518.2M||$41.5M|
|Diamonds Are Forever||1971||Sean Connery||Guy Hamilton||$116M||$7.2M||$615.2M||$38.2M|
|Live and Let Die||1973||Roger Moore||$161.8M||$7M||$801.7M||$38.7M|
|The Man with the Golden Gun||1974||$97.6M||$7M||$442M||$31.7M|
|The Spy Who Loved Me||1977||Lewis Gilbert||$185.4M||$14M||$669M||$50.5M|
|For Your Eyes Only||1981||John Glen||$195.3M||$28M||$474M||$68M|
|A View to a Kill||1985||$152.4M||$30M||$304.9M||$60M|
|The Living Daylights||1987||Timothy Dalton||$191.2M||$40M||$363M||$76M|
|Licence to Kill||1989||$156.2M||$42M||$272.2M||$73.2M|
|GoldenEye||1995||Pierce Brosnan||Martin Campbell||$353.4M||$60M||$496.3M||$84.2M|
|Tomorrow Never Dies||1997||Roger Spottiswoode||$346.6M||$110M||$459.8M||$145.9M|
|The World Is Not Enough||1999||Michael Apted||$390M||$135M||$501M||$173.4M|
|Die Another Day||2002||Lee Tamahori||$456M||$142M||$543.5M||$169.2M|
|Casino Royale||2006||Daniel Craig||Martin Campbell||$594M||$130M||$632.5M||$138.4M|
|Quantum of Solace||2008||Marc Forster||$230M|
Up to 1987's The Living Daylights, the James Bond films bore titles from the original novels and short stories of Ian Fleming. Following this, the next five films all had original titles, leaving six Fleming titles that had yet to be used in the official series. (However, material from the story "Risico" is used in the story of the film For Your Eyes Only and material from "The Property of a Lady" is used in the film Octopussy, and material from "The Hildebrand Rarity" appears in the film License to Kill.)
With the announcements of Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008), the remaining four to be used 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; Property of a Lady was also a title considered for a never-made early-1990s Bond film.
Licence to Kill and The World Is Not Enough were lines from Ian Fleming novels and GoldenEye was the name of Ian Fleming's estate in Jamaica as well as an operation he planned during World War II. The only titles that did not come from Ian Fleming were Tomorrow Never Dies and Die Another Day.
In 1956, 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 $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.
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”. 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, after Noel Coward, Christopher Lee, and Max von Sydow were suggested. 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. It is also the only film where the supervillain's face is hidden. 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 humor 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 Goldfinger, Theodore Bikel was considered but the role went to Gert Frobe, 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 setup to perhaps one of the most memorable lines of the Bond films:
BOND: Do you expect me to talk?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.
GOLDFINGER: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”
The production of the fourth Bond film Thunderball was delayed by legal disputes. In 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 $1 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 setting the plot entirely in Japan and the use of Blofeld as the main villain and a Bond girl named Kissy Suzuki. This would be common during the Roger Moore era, but this is the only Connery film to do so this radically.
Lazenby's reviews were generally underwhelming. Many felt that he is 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" (the actor talking directly to the audience) in the entire Bond series. 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. This device would never be used again in introducing a new Bond actor.
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. Sean 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 "Goldfinger" for a sequel, but that was cancelled.
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 this had been filmed prior to On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 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.
In strong contrast to the laborious attempts to establish George Lazenby as being the same character as Connery via office momentos and short clips from earlier films, Live and Let Die goes to some length to make Moore a different character. He does not drink a martini that is shaken not stirred. He gets no office briefing from Q, and he smokes a cigar instead of cigarettes. Over the course of the Moore films, classic Bondisms would creep back in. In particular, fans would demand the return of "Q".
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. Production was plagued by McClory, who in 1975 leapt as his chance to create his rival Bond franchise, hiring Len Deighton to write and Connery to star once more. Their script, entitled James Bond Of The Secret Service, had to be changed to Warhead because of EON's objections. Filming was to begin in February 1977, and Paramount Pictures would back the film with a $22 million budget. Moore's second film, The Man With The Golden Gun, was a box office disappointment, and Broccoli was determined not to be upstaged. Their battle resulted in SPECTRE being replaced by Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me, as McClory claimed ownership of SPECTRE (who were introduced in Thunderball). Nonetheless, Broccoli launched lawsuits against Warhead, and the script was dumped. Eventually, Connery starred in Never Say Never Again (1983).
Moore's fourth film Moonraker was the last Bond film to use the title of a Fleming novel before 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 a 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 58 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 to 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 humor than other Bonds. The series managed to stay afloat by adding contemporary material and new characters to shore up the dated Fleming plots.
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 creditable plot, with less fantasy and less gratuitous humor.
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"). It and subsequent Bond films were novelised.
Reviews for the film were generally negative. 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.
Dalton had signed for three films, but in 1989, the same year of his second appearance, Licence to Kill, 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. Owing to the disputes, Dalton's third film's production was postponed up to 1994. It never began and in April 1994, Dalton resigned from the role.
The end of the Dalton era 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 16 Bond films, all had been produced or co-produced by Albert Broccoli, 14 had title sequences designed by Maurice Binder, 13 had been scripted or co-scripted by Richard Maibaum, 11 had been scored by John Barry, and 7 had set designs by Ken Adam. All films except Lazenby's On Her Majesty's Secret Service had been directed by either Terence Young (3 films), Guy Hamilton (4 films), Lewis Gilbert (3 films), or John Glen (the final 5 films). None of them worked on a Bond film again after the last Timothy Dalton film.
In keeping with changing times, the new Bond is a non-smoker 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 criminality, now replaced by Russian mobs and gangsters. Another major change was casting Judi Dench as “M”, reflecting that MI5 (another UK intelligence agency) was now headed by a female, Dame Stella Rimington. Incidentally, 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 $110 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 one video game, Everything or Nothing (2004), before it was anounced 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 savor the characters.
Following the success of GoldenEye, 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 $25 million lawsuit against Sony, and McClory claimed a portion of the $3 billion profits from the Bond series. Sony backed down after a prolonged lawsuit, and McClory gave up. In exchange, MGM paid $10 million for the rights to Casino Royale, which had come into Sony's possession after its acquisition of the companies behind Climax! years before.
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, 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 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.’s reboot of the Batman franchise), 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 1979's Moonraker, 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. On 25 October 2007, MGM CEO Harry Sloan revealed at the Forbes Meet II Conference that Craig had signed on for four more Bond films, through to Bond 25. However, when later asked by reporters if this was true, Craig responded, "Well, that's what's been said, it's not that it's not true, because I haven't signed up. What I've done is I've signed up on the next movie, after that we'll see. That's the way I'm doing it, and certainly it's not four more - that's the truth. It's certainly not four more.
Quantum of Solace (2008) is set to be 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.
Each Bond film begins with the unique gun barrel sequence, accompanied by the opening bars of the James Bond theme. Graphic artist Maurice Binder created the gun barrel sequence. The view is of Bond as seen through the barrel of a gun that is being trained on him by an unknown assailant. Bond wheels around and shoots directly at the gun/camera, followed by the assassin's blood spilling across the barrel. Accompanying the action is the highly recognizable James Bond theme. It was composed by Monty Norman, orchestrated by trumpeter and composer John Barry and by Burt Rhodes, and played by Barry's orchestra (the guitar riff being played by session guitarist Vic Flick). In Casino Royale, the gunbarrel sequence appears at the end of the pre-title sequence and is incorporated into the plot.
The title song doesn't always match the name of the film, as in The Spy Who Loved Me where Carly Simon sings "Nobody Does It Better" (which does contain the film's title in one line) and in Octopussy where Rita Coolidge sings "All Time High" (which contains no reference to the film's title). Of the title songs, John Barry composed ten.
Besides Dr. No, the lone film to vary from this combination of sequences, to date, has been Casino Royale (2006). This film is a reboot of the franchise, establishing a new timeline and narrative framework; and many of the conventions of the series were consciously left out of the film, or are re-introduced. To this end, the gun barrel sequence is not used to start the film, but is instead re-introduced to conclude the pre-title sequence that depicts Bond's qualifying for "00" status, leading directly into the opening credits. The upcoming Bond film, Quantum of Solace will reinstate the gun barrel introduction.
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 male organ, 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 about fifty-five women have had sex with Bond in the series to date, about three per film on average.
Only 3 actresses have played Moneypenny, as Lois Maxwell was Moneypenny opposite Connery, Lazenby, and Moore. She was followed by Caroline Bliss, who was Dalton's Moneypenny, and Samantha Bond, who was Brosnan's Moneypenny. The three have arguably divergent interpretations of the role, just as do the six actors who have played Bond.
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, and a folder in Casino Royale. 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. This film was made shortly after the death of long-time “M” actor, Bernard Lee. Bond gets his briefing from the Minister of Defence in this film. 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 was “M” for Connery, Lazenby, and earlier Moore films. Robert Brown was “M” for the last two Moore films and the two Dalton films. Judi Dench was “M” for all the Brosnan films and is Daniel Craig's “M”.
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, 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, 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. It has been announced that Quantum of Solace will not feature “Q”, either.
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 “Q” latest devices and “Q's” indignant response (“I never joke about my work”). There are also sight gags showing new equipment being worked on which are not quite ready for field use. In the field, however, Bond always remembers the details and takes advantage of the equipment to the fullest.
Desmond Llewelyn played “Q” in every film except for Doctor No (“Q's” first appearance), Live and Let Die (from which "Q" is absent) and Die Another Day (“Q's” final appearance). Llewelyn is the only actor to have appeared opposite as many as five actors playing James Bond. John Cleese played the role of "Q" in Die Another Day after appearing as Q's assistant in The World is Not Enough.
Neither of the two Timothy Dalton films has a typical Bond supervillain. Some consider this a possible cause of Dalton's failure to catch on with American audiences.
Sylvia Trench is the only recurring Bond girl (Bond's off-assignment girlfriend) while Swedish actress Maud Adams has played two different Bond girls in two films, The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy. 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 Doctor No, Plenty O'Toole from Diamonds Are Forever, and Xenia Onatopp from GoldenEye.
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?".
In most films, Q designs a variety of automobiles that are useful in Bond's missions, with the models of Bentley, Aston Martin, Lotus, BMW and Ford being driven frequently. The most famous car is the Aston Martin DB5, seen in Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and Casino Royale. The films have used a number of different Aston Martin 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, like a gyrocopter in You Only Live Twice and an Acrostar Jet in Octopussy, as well as marine vehicles such as a Lotus Esprit that could convert into a submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me and other submarines resembling an iceberg (A View to a Kill) or an alligator (Octopussy).
Prior to Eon's start in 1961, Casino Royale was adapted as a one-hour television episode of CBS' series Climax!. 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.
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. 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.
Eon 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).
|Title||Year||James Bond||Total Box Office||Budget|
|Casino Royale (Climax! episode)||1954||Barry Nelson||Unknown||Unknown|
|Casino Royale (Comedy)||1967||David Niven||$44,400,000||$12,000,000|
|Never Say Never Again||1983||Sean Connery||$160,000,000||$36,000,000|
In October 2007, MGM chief Harry Sloan stated Craig was signed on for Bond 24 and Bond 25. EON Productions signed on Craig after $100,000 worth of worldwide market research, which showed the actor to be a highly popular casting choice. Craig said he would stand to earn about $100 million for a total of four films. When asked whether he had signed on for four more Bond films (rather than four total), he made clear this was false.
The success of the James Bond series in the 1960s led to various spy TV series, such as I Spy, Get Smart, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the last having enjoyed contributions by Fleming towards its creation. Bond has also received many homages and parodies in popular media, in works such as the Austin Powers series by writer, producer and comedian Mike Myers, Johnny English (2003), Bons baisers de Hong Kong, OK Connery, the "Flint" series starring James Coburn as Derek Flint, and the "Matt Helm" films starring Dean Martin.
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.
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 Bond. 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 are developing Quantum of Solace which is based on Casino Royale and the new upcoming movie Quantum of Solace. The game will be released in November to coincide with the movie.