James Bond 007

Ian Fleming

The James Bond series focuses on a fictional British Secret Service agent created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short-story collections.

Sean Connery

The Bond films are renowned for a number of features, including the musical accompaniment, with the theme songs having received Academy Award nominations on several occasions, and two wins. Other important elements which run through most of the films include Bond’s cars, his guns, and the gadgets with which he is supplied by Q Branch. The films are also noted for Bond’s relationships with various women, who are sometimes referred to as “Bong Girls”.

Ian Fleming created the fictional character of James Bond as the central figure for his works. Bond is an intelligence officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond is known by his code number, 007 (pronounced “double-oh-seven”), and was a Royal Naval Reserve Commander.

When Fleming wrote the first one in 1953, he wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; he wanted him to be a blunt instrument … when he was casting around for a name for his protagonist he thought by God, [James Bond] is the dullest name I ever heard.

Whilst serving in the Naval Intelligence Division, Fleming had planned to become an author and had told a friend, “I am going to write the spy story to end all spy stories. On 17 February 1952, he began writing his first James Bond novel during the months of January and February each year.

George Lazenby

He started the story shortly before his wedding to his pregnant girlfriend, Ann Charteris, in order to distract himself from his forthcoming nuptials.

In 1962 Eon Productions, the company of Canadian & American released the first cinema adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel, Dr No, featuring Sean Connery as 007.

Sean Connery starred in a further four films before leaving the role after You Only Live Twice, which was taken up by George Lazenby for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Lazenby left the role after just one appearance and Connery was tempted back for his last Eon-produced film Diamonds Are Forever.

Roger Moore

In 1973 Roger Moore was appointed to the role of 007 for Live And Let die and played Bond a further six times over twelve years before being replaced by Timothy Dalton for two films. After a six-year hiatus, during which a legal wrangle threatened Eon’s productions of the Bond films.

Irish actor Pierce Brosnan was cast as Bond in Golden Eye, released in 1995; he remained in the role for a total of four films, before leaving in 2002. In 2006, Daniel Craig was given the role of Bond for Casino Royale which rebooted the series.The twenty-third Eon produced film, Skyfall, was released on 26 October 2012. The series has grossed almost $7 billion to date, making it the 3rd highest grossing film series jest behind Harry Potter and the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the single most successful adjusted for inflation.

Year Title Actor
1.9.6.2 Dr No
1.9.6.3 From Russia With Love
1.9.6.4 Goldfinger Sean Connery
1.9.6.5 Thunderball
1.9.6.7 You Only Live Twice
1.9.6.9 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service George Lazenby
1.9.7.1 Diamonds Are Forever Sean Connery
1.9.7.3 Live And Let Die
1.9.7.4 The Man With The Golden Gun
1.9.7.7 The Spy Who Loved Me
1.9.7.9 Moonraker Roger Moore
1.9.8.1 For Your Eyes Only
1.9.8.3 Octopussy
1.9.8.5 A View To A Kill
1.9.8.7 The Living Daylights Timothy Dalton
1.9.8.9 Licence To Kill
1.9.9.5 Golden Eye
1.9.9.7 Tomorrow Never Dies Pierce Brosnan
1.9.9.9 The World Is Not Enough
2.0.0.2 Die Another Day
2.0.0.6 Casino Royale
2.0.0.8 Quantum Of Solace
2.0.1.2 Skyfall Daniel Craig
2.0.1.5 Spectre
2.0.1.9 Bond 25

Music

The “James Bond Theme” was written by Monty Norman and was first orchestrated by the John Barry Orchestra for 1962’s Dr. No, although the actual authorship of the music has been a matter of controversy for many years.

Timothy Dalton

Guns

For the first five novels, Fleming armed Bond with a Beretta 418 until he received a letter from a thirty-one-year-old Bond enthusiast and gun expert, Geoffrey Boothroyd, criticising Fleming’s choice of firearm for Bond, calling it “a lady’s gun – and not a very nice lady at that!” Boothroyd suggested that Bond should swap his Beretta for a Walter PPK 7.65mm and this exchange of arms made it to Dr. No. Boothroyd also gave Fleming advice on the Berns-Martin triple draw shoulder holster and a number of the weapons used by SMERSH and other villains.

In thanks, Fleming gave the MI6 Armourer in his novels the name Major Boothroyd and, in Dr. No, M introduces him to Bond as “the greatest small-arms expert in the world”.

Pierce Brosnan

Bond also used a variety of rifles, including the savage Model 99 in “For Your Eyes Only” and a Winchester .308 target rifle in “The Living Daylights”. Other handguns used by Bond in the Fleming books included the Colt Detective Special and a long-barrelled cOLT 45 army Special.

The first Bond film, Dr. No, saw M ordering Bond to leave his Beretta behind and take up the Walther PPK, which the film Bond used in eighteen films. In Tomorrow Never Dies and the two subsequent films, Bond’s main weapon was the Walther P99 Semi-Automatic Pistol.

Vehicles

Daniel Craig

In the early Bond stories Fleming gave Bond a battleship-grey Bentley 4.5 litre with an Amherst Villiers Supercharger. After Bond’s car was written off by Hugo Drax in Moonraker, Fleming gave Bond a Mark II Continental Bentley, which he used in the remaining books of the series then during Goldfinger, Bond was issued with an Aston Martin DB Mark III with a homing device, which he used to track Goldfinger across France. Bond returned to his Bentley for the subsequent novels.

The Bond of the films has driven a number of cars, including the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, during the 1980s, the V12 Vanquish & DBS during the 2000s, as well as the Lotus Esprit; the BMW Z3/ BMW 750iL and the BMW Z8. He has, however, also needed to drive a number of other vehicles, ranging from a Citroen 2cv to a Route master bus, amongst others.

Bond’s most famous car is the silver grey Aston Martin DB5, first seen in Goldfingerit later featured in Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, Skyfall and SpectreThe films have used a number of different Aston Martins for filming and publicity, one of which was sold in January 2006 at an auction in the US for $2,090,000 to an unnamed European collector. 

Gadgets

Dame Judi Dench

Fleming’s novels and early screen adaptations presented minimal equipment such as the booby-trapped attache case in From Russia with Love, although this situation changed dramatically with the films. However, the effects of the two Eon-produced Bond films Dr. No and From Russia with Love had an effect on the novel The Man with the Golden Gun, through the increased number of devices used in Fleming’s final story. 

Watch out for the New Bond Film

For the film adaptations of Bond, the pre-mission briefing by Q Branch became one of the motifs that ran through the series. Dr. No provided no spy-related gadgets, but a Geiger counter was used; industrial designer Andy Davey observed that the first ever onscreen spy-gadget was the attaché case shown in From Russia with Love, which he described as “a classic 007 product”. The gadgets assumed a higher profile in the 1964 film Goldfinger. The film’s success encouraged further espionage equipment from Q Branch to be supplied to Bond, although the increased use of technology led to an accusation that Bond was over-reliant on equipment, particularly in the later films.

Davey noted that “Bond’s gizmos follow the zeitgeist more closely than any other … nuance in the films” as they moved from the potential representations of the future in the early films, through to the brand-name obsessions of the later films. It is also noticeable that, although Bond uses a number of pieces of equipment from Q Branch, including the Little Nellie autogyro, a jet pack and the exploding attaché case, the villains are also well-equipped with custom-made devices, including Scaramanga’s golden gun, Rosa Klebb’s poison-tipped shoes, Odd job’s steel-rimmed bowler hat and Blofeld’s communication devices in his agents’ vanity case.