Dr. No was originally a screenplay for producer Henry Morgenthau III in 1956 for what would have been a half-hour television show titled Commander Jamaica. When those plans came to naught, Fleming adapted the screenplay, originally titled The Wound Man. In 1962, the novel Dr. No was adapted as the first official James Bond film of the EON Productions James Bond 007 series by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkeley Mather, it was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, it featured Sean Connery in the first of his six official portrayals of British Secret Service agent Commander James Bond.
The plots of the novel and the film are similar, differing when events from the previous novels, From Russia with Love and Live and Let Die, are referred to. The cinematic Dr. Julius No, is a member of SPECTRE, while the literary villain is an operative of the U.S.S.R.; literarily, SPECTRE was not introduced until Thunderball (1961).
From Russia with Love ended in a cliffhanger with the status of James Bond unknown. Bond was poisoned by SMERSH agent Rosa Klebb and collapsed at the end of the novel. In Dr. No, M learns from the firm's neurologist that the poison was tetrodotoxin, which is obtained from the sex organs of the Japanese fish fugu. Tetrodotoxin paralyses the muscles of the victim while they stay fully conscious until eventually they die from asphyxiation. Bond is given first aid treatment by his friend Rene Mathis, while a doctor is urgently summoned (Klebb, we learn, is captured and has died). The Doctor had spent time in South America and had dealt with various poisons. He diagnoses curare poisoning and treats Bond accordingly. But his chances of survival are extremely slim...
Nonetheless, Bond survives. When he returns to duty, he is sent by M on a rest cure to Jamaica, a simple assignment to investigate the disappearance of Strangways, the head of Station J in Kingston, who had previously appeared in Live and Let Die. He learns that Strangways had been investigating the activities of Doctor Julius No, a reclusive Chinese-German who lives on an island called Crab Key that is said to be the home of a vicious dragon. Bond is aware that his hotel room has been secretly searched, and an attempt is made on his life when a deadly centipede is placed in his bed while he is sleeping.
With help of old friend Quarrel (also previously in Live and Let Die), as well as the beautiful Honeychile Rider, who visits the island to collect valuable shells, Bond discovers that Doctor No, who ostensibly operates a business harvesting and exporting guano, is in fact working with the Russians. Dr. No has lost both hands to amputation by a rival criminal group intent on leaving his body as a message against stealing. Shot through the chest in a final execution wound, he survived due to having dextrocardia (heart on the right side of the chest), but was left with artificial hands and an even more twisted disposition. The Russians have supplied the claw-handed Doctor with several million dollars' worth of equipment to sabotage nearby American missile tests. Bond and Honey are captured by No, and Quarrel is burned to death by the Doctor's dragon – actually a flamethrower-equipped armoured swamp buggy to keep away trespassers.
Doctor No's speciality is torture, and he tortures Bond to discover and record his powers of endurance. Bond is forced to run an obstacle course of air ducts, under regular observation, suffering burns and attacks by spiders at various stages. The ordeal ends in a fight against a captive giant squid, which Bond defeats through his ingenuity at improvised and stolen objects made into weapons, as well as physical toughness. After his escape he rescues Honey from her own "ordeal" – she had been pegged out to be eaten by crabs but found them harmless. Bond finally kills Doctor No in a unique way, by commandeering a loaded machine at the docks and diverting the guano flow from it to bury the villain alive in bird dung. Bond and Honeychile then escape from Dr. No's complex in the dragon buggy.
Dr. No's physical appearance changes in the film. In the book, Honey Rider appears nude save her belt with a knife. In the movie, she wears a bikini. In the book she is pegged out to be eaten by beach crabs. In the film, she is tied to drown in a water pool. Bond's fight with a giant squid is excluded from the film; the cinematic characters Felix Leiter, Sylvia Trench, and Professor Dent were introduced to the story and the series. The film adds the radiation-induced loss of Dr. No's hands and his nuclear-powered island. In the novel, his hands were cut off in punishment for stealing from a Tong. Also Dr No in the movie is an operative of SPECTRE, which was not mentioned in the novel.