James Bond is a fictional character, a sophisticated British secret agent spy invented by and and appearing in books by Ian Fleming (and later Kingsley Amis, John Gardner and Raymond Benson). Bond has an identity number of 007, pronounced: double-oh seven. The 'double-oh' prefix indicates a 'license to kill' in the course of his duty. There are a series of films, and some notable videogames about the character.
James Bond has become a household name in Britain, with references flying about about "our little James Bond" and "James Bond style security" and so on.
Personal InformationJames Bond is the son of a Scottish father and a Swiss mother, both of whom are dead from a climbing accident by the time of the books and movies. He went to school briefly at Eton College. In the movies he has a degree in Oriental Languages from Cambridge University, although this contradicts the information in the novels. He served in the Royal Navy before joining the Secret Service, and holds the rank of Commander. In both the book and movie of On Her Majesty's Secret Service he marries, but his wife is killed the same day.
OverviewBond movies are known for their cartoonish villains, beautiful women (most of whom end up in bed with Bond), amazing gadgetry manufactured by "Q", and outrageous stunts. Most had little to do with the real activities of intelligence agencies, involving Bond in violent acts of derring-do to save the world from various apocalyptic madmen. The madmen invariably attempt to kill Bond using rather improbable and elaborate methods, from which Bond escapes after the gloating villain gives him the critical information necessary to thwart his fiendish plot. Despite the films' description as "thrillers," Bond's cocky character is rarely troubled, regardless of the odds facing him. Many of the original books have a much darker tone however, with fewer fantastic elements and gadgetry.
Bond is employed by the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, a real-life institution. His superiors are known by single letters such as M and Q, a practice which is also used in the real institution where the chief, for example, is known as C.
Bond's female companions, as well as being beautiful, are often given names that are double entendres, leading to a succession of corny jokes. Examples include "Pussy Galore" in Goldfinger, "Plenty O'Toole" in Diamonds Are Forever, and "Xenia Onatopp" (a villain who gets sexually excited by strangling men between her shapely thighs) in GoldenEye. Despite Bond's patronising attitudes towards women, most of these leading ladies end up, if not in love with him, at least subdued by him.
Bond films began to look increasingly outdated throughout the 1980s, with the main character's sexism and the fixation with glamorous locations looking anachronistic and his unruffled exterior increasingly incongruous when compared to movies such as Die Hard. After a relatively unsuccessful attempt to turn Bond in a harder-edged direction with Timothy Dalton as the main character, the successful 1990s revival with Pierce Brosnan in the lead role has increasingly turned the series into self-parody.
At least a little of the Bond character was based on the life of its creator, who was noted for his glamorous lifestyle (including a fair number of female companions). The character is also believed to have been inspired by several of Fleming's contemporaries in British Intelligence during World War Two. The famous Casino in Estoril, Portugal is credited as the birthplace of Bond. The Casino was a home away from home for many spies operating during WW2, with Portugal operating as a neutral ground during the conflict. Fleming was inspired by the atmosphere at the Casino, where much of Europe's royalty mingled openly with many of the world's covert agencies.
The first actor to play Bond was American Barry Nelson, in a 1954 CBS TV production of Casino Royale. In 1956, Bob Holness played the spy in a South African radio dramatisation of Moonraker.
James Bond is a moderate to heavy drinker, having consumed 100 alcoholic beverages in his films up to 2002, and more than 250 in Ian Fleming's novels. In the films, he has champagne 32 times, and drinks 20 vodka martinis.
James Bond is a household name (arguably the most successful fictional character ever) and has had a definitive impact on the spy genre, including some parodies like Casino Royale (1967), the Austin Powers movies, and Johnny English (2003). In the 1960s, the success of the 007 films inspired numerous television imitators, including The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I Spy, Get Smart, and The Wild Wild West.
Video games have been released based on all the movies from A View to a Kill (1985) onwards. There was also a generic Bond game based on the Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening engine.
Fleming saw the cover of a book on ornithology by an American author named "James Bond", and thought it would be a good name for his spy, since he wanted a name that sounded 'as ordinary as possible'.
- Bond's boss, M
- Bond's Quartermaster, Q
- Felix Leiter - Bond's CIA liaison
- Miss Moneypenny - secretary to M.
- Ernst Stavro Blofeld - head of S.P.E.C.T.R.E.
- Bond girls - miscellaneous female companions or enemies of Bond, invariably beautiful and rarely appearing in more than one movie.
BooksFleming himself wrote twelve Bond novels. In order of publication, they are:
- Casino Royale (1953)
- Live and Let Die (1954)
- Moonraker (1955)
- Diamonds are Forever (1956)
- From Russia with Love (1957)
- Dr. No (1958)
- Goldfinger (1959)
- Thunderball (1961) - with others. Because of controversy surrounding Thunderball's conception, this led to film-rights wranglings
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1962) - Not exactly a Bond adventure
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963)
- You Only Live Twice (1964)
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1965)
- For Your Eyes Only. Five Secret Occasions in the Life of James Bond (1960), including "For Your Eyes Only", "From A View To Kill", "Quantum of Solace", "Risico", and "The Hildebrand Rarity"
- Octopussy and The Living Daylights (1966), including "Octopussy", "The Property Of A Lady" and "The Living Daylights"
Other writers have written sequels since the death of Fleming, the first being Colonel Sun, by Kingsley Amis (writing as Robert Markham).
FilmsEvery Bond fan has their own favourite actor who has played the part. Connery played him as the tough guy, always ready with the clenched fist beneath the polished exterior. Moore's Bond was much smoother and more sophisticated, rarely getting a hair out of place while saving the world. The films of Timothy Dalton attempted to take Bond back to the darker roots of the books, making him a more complex and troubled character.
Starring Sean Connery
- Dr. No, 1962. Also starring Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman and Jack Lord. Director: Terence Young.
- From Russia with Love, 1963. Also starring Daniela Bianchi and Robert Shaw. Director: Terence Young.
- Goldfinger, 1964. Also starring Honor Blackman and Gert Frobe. Director: Guy Hamilton.
- Thunderball, 1965. Also starring: Claudine Auger and Adolfo Celi. Director: Terence Young.
- You Only Live Twice, 1967. Also starring: Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama), Donald Pleasence and Tetsuro Tamba. Director: Lewis Gilbert. Writer: Roald Dahl.
- Diamonds Are Forever, 1971. Also starring: Jill St. John and Charles Gray. Director: Guy Hamilton.
- Never Say Never Again, 1983. Also starring: Klaus Maria Brandauer, Kim Basinger, Barbara Carrera, Rowan Atkinson, Edward Fox and Max von Sydow. Director: Irvin Kershner. (Not a United Artists version)
Starring David Niven
- Casino Royale, 1967. Also starring: Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Jacqueline Bisset, Deborah Kerr, Daliah Lavi, Joanna Pettet, Woody Allen, William Holden, Charles Boyer, Jean-Paul Belmondo, John Huston, George Raft, Burt Kwouk and Orson Welles. (A spoof released by Columbia Pictures)
Starring George Lazenby
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969. Also starring: Diana Rigg and Telly Savalas. Director: Peter R. Hunt.
Starring Roger Moore
- Live and Let Die, 1973. Also starring: Jane Seymour and Yaphet Kotto. Director: Guy Hamilton.
- The Man with the Golden Gun, 1974. Also starring Christopher Lee, Hervé Villechaize, Britt Ekland and Maud Adams). Director: Guy Hamilton.
- The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977. Also starring: Barbara Bach, Richard Kiel and Curt Jurgens. Director: Lewis Gilbert.
- Moonraker, 1979. Also starring: Lois Chiles, Richard Kiel and Michael Lonsdale. Director: Lewis Gilbert.
- For Your Eyes Only, 1981. Also starring: Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson and Julian Glover. Director: John Glen.
- Octopussy, 1983. Also starring: Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan and Steven Berkoff. Director: John Glen.
- A View to a Kill, 1985. Also starring: Christopher Walken, Patrick Macnee, Tanya Roberts, Patrick Bachau and Grace Jones. Director: John Glen.
Starring Timothy Dalton
- The Living Daylights, 1987. Also starring: Maryam D'Abo, Jeroen Krabbe, Joe Don Baker and John Rhys-Davies. Director: John Glen.
- Licence to Kill, 1989. Also starring: Talisa Soto, Robert Davi, Wayne Newton, Benicio Del Toro, Everett McGill and Carey Lowell. Director: John Glen.
- The Property of a Lady, 1991. Never made due to the legal issues surrounding EON (the production company) at this time. Director: most likely John Glen.
Starring Pierce Brosnan
- GoldenEye, 1995. Also starring: Izabella Scorupco, Alan Cumming, Sean Bean, Robbie Coltrane, Joe Don Baker and Famke Janssen. Director: Martin Campbell.
- Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997. Also starring: Jonathan Pryce, Vincent Schiavelli, Joe Don Baker, Teri Hatcher, and Michelle Yeoh. Director: Roger Spottiswoode.
- The World Is Not Enough, 1999. Also starring: Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Robbie Coltrane and Denise Richards. Director: Michael Apted.
- Die Another Day, 2002. Also starring: Halle Berry, Michael Madsen, Rick Yune, Toby Stephens, Madonna and Rosamund Pike. Director: Lee Tamahori.
- As yet untitled, 2005. Two possible titles are "The Man with the Red Tattoo" and "Everything or Nothing".
Other James Bond films
- Casino Royale, 1954. Starring: Barry Nelson, Linda Christian, Michael Pate, and Peter Lorre. Made for CBS television.
- La Resurrection du Dragon, 1978. Starring: Alexander Grant. An unofficial, French-made Bond movie.
- The Green Jade Mahjongg, 1980's. Bond actor unknown. A very obscure, Asian-made Bond movie. Incidentally, the actor playing Bond was American.