James Bond

James Bond and The Devil are old friends. Cinema heroes are often bland conservatives who are more concerned with proper social behavior than they are with successfully completing their vitally important goals. This was particularly true in the '30s and '40s. If the protagonist violated societal norms, as defined by prudish men with sexual issues and old women in hats, the production code required that he be punished. But things had loosened up enough by 1962 to allow for the appearance of my friend Bond, James Bond.

Sean Connery
Bond #1

What he brought to the screen was sin without consequences, and that was a revolution. He's not treading on the edge of acceptable movie behavior any more, nor is he important in this new century, but I still love the guy. Of the nine vital sins, he is an icon of seven of them, and gives viewers a chance to indulge an eighth (wraith). Bennett and Woollacott, in their book Bond and Beyond, connect Bond's appeal to  "the scope they (the stories) offer for the gratification of repressed desires or for the realization, by proxy, of otherwise unattainable pleasures"). That's my boy.

Not that Bond has always had the same traits, but I'm willing to ignore the anomalies. So, in general, let's take a look at him on a sin by sin basis.  He's a Proud man. He likes himself, even when he's foolish, and rarely doubts his abilities (this isn't false Pride; he's as good as he thinks he is). He's self confident, and everyone around him can see it.

George Lazenby
Bond #2

He's not very good with the sin of sloth. He doesn't seem capable of relaxing, but if you are going to be so extreme with the others, this is the sin that's going to suffer.

He has a much better handle on avarice and gluttony. He likes expensive suits, fast cars, fine hotels, gourmet food, and the best wines. He has refined tastes in all these areas. He doesn't care about money, but the things that money can buy. His lifestyle is extravagant and is generally paid for by someone else, which is always the best way to do it.

As mentioned previously, he's not a man who indulges in Wraith, not generally. From time to time he's gotten angry, and that has given him a bit of a kick to finish his task, but that is rare. Bond, particularly in his earlier incarnations, is cool and calm. At times, he's cruel, but more often because that's fun for him or he just doesn't care. Wraith really shows up not to help him, but as a gift to you, the viewer. He kills, a lot, so you don't have to. He beats up villains and from time to time, drops them off buildings or cliffs when technically he should have turned them over to the law, but what fun is that? He is marvelously violent, and it's very satisfying. His sexual conquests are also forceful, and he'd be up on charges in some localities should any of his companions choose to report him (but that wouldn't happen). Time after time, he does what you can't and shouldn't, but want to.

Roger Moore
Bond #3

As for beauty, well, Bond is a man of culture. He enjoys fine art. However it is his globetrotting that allows him, and us, to better exercise this sin.  His life is a travelogue of the most beautiful places on Earth, both natural and man-made. Be it pacific islands, undersea reefs, Indian palaces, or even outer space, he's been there.

You might believe that thought would be out of place in a Bond movie, but you'd be wrong. The films may not make you think, but they do promote intelligence, education, and the use of both of those. Bond is a clever man, who thinks fast, and shows that's a great thing to do if you want to have fun (and stay alive). He has a huge knowledge base which continually annoys his boss, but lets him be in charge of any situation.

Timothy Dalton
Bond #4

Bond is also a funny man. He's always ready with a quip. He knows that any situation, particularly a tragic or  painful one, is a little better with humor. Since he's around so much death, a good sense of humor is a necessity. That doesn't mean he's not up for a gag when things are quiet and safe.

Which brings us to lust. That is where my man really excels. He wants sex and he wants it a lot, and he's not too picky about how he gets it. Sure, he can fall in love, and does, but sex isn't about love (ah, how many of you humans make that mistake). He seduces and is seduced. He charms women and blackmails them. He fucks them to gain information, or for fun, or just for the Hell of it. Before Bond, the only ones who slept around in films were low-lifes who always came to a bad end. Bond changed that.

Pierce Brosnan
Bond #5

Six actors have portrayed 007 in the twenty-four official films (made by Eon productions; non-Eon pictures include a TV movie, a spoof, and Never Say Never Again): Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. Connery not only was first, but is the only one to quit and then come back after another actor had given it a shot. Connery quit a second time, and returned yet again for a non-Eon film. He seemed to hate playing Bond, but he kept coming back.

Each actor had his own take on the character. Connery's was a smart-ass with a twinkle in his eye. Moore's was an elegant superman. Brosnon's was an suave enigma. Those differences didn't matter. What was important is that James Bond be someone that all men want to be and all women want to be with. That is the essence of Bond. The few films where that wasn't the case suffered for it.

Daniel Craig
Bond #6

While it is popular for people to state their opinions of the movies based on the actor playing Bond, it is a foolish way to consider the series. For several of the actors (Moore, Brosnan), their films have a similar tone and world view.  But for others (Connery, Dalton), the entire Bond universe shifts from movie to movie. Can the nearly-straightforward From Russia With Love take place in the fantasy world of Thunderball or the bizarro plane of You Only Live Twice? None-the-less, I have placed my reviews on pages grouped by actor just because...

Reoccurring Characters

In addition to 007, the films have a cast of reoccurring characters. Sometimes this aids in continuity while at least as often it twists his reality into a pretzel. (Couldn't they get the same guy to play Blofeld more than once? If not, couldn't they have the new actor at least watch the old ones and maybe have similar make-up?).  A few of the most prevalent supporting characters are:

  • His boss, M (played by Bernard Lee, then by Robert Brown who may be playing a different character, then by Judi Dench who is playing a different character, and then by Ralph Fiennes, who is probably a different character, but an argument could be made for him being the same as Bernard Lee's. John Huston and Edward Fox played some version of M in non-canonical films)
  • The secretary, Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell, Pamela Salem, Caroline Bliss, Samantha Bond, Naomie Harris)
  • The gadget expert, Q (Peter Burton, Desmond Llewelyn, Alec McCowen, Ben Whishaw; John Cleese originally played "R" but took the name "Q" when he was promoted)
  • CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jack Lord, Cec Linder, Rik Van Nutter, Norman Burton, David Hedison, Bernie Casey, John Terry, Jeffrey Wright)
  • Soviet General Gogol (Walter Gotell)
  • The villain Ernst Blofeld (Anthony Dawson, Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray, John Hollis, Christoph Waltz, and non-EON Max von Sydow)


The Bond Table

Each of my reviews end with a table that recounts how sinful the film is. Hey, if you don't have sin, what's the point? But I find that Bond films need a little more. Those sins cover the killings and the womanizing and all that fun stuff, but they don't cover the essential absurdity that is at the heart of these movies. So, I've added a Bond table that covers three important items:

Gadgets low, average, or high
Absurdity of evil plot low, average, or high
Killer fish Yup, nope, or close enough




Bond films wallow in their gadgets. It's good to know if you're in for a booby trapped briefcase, a mini-jet in a trailer, or an invisible car. They also live on ridiculous evil plots. No plot in a Bond film is ever reasonable, so even those with a "low" rating are outlandish.  But there are levels of insanity. Replacing the Russian crown jewels with fakes so that you can persuade a smuggler to take a large case across a boarder, and then switching the jewels out for a nuclear bomb may sound pretty nutty, but not when you compare it to tricking English girls into coming to your secret clinic on a mountaintop where you can brainwash them with psychedelic lights and give them a perfume set that includes a deadly crop virus that you'll have them release if you aren't given a noble title. Now that's an absurd evil plot.

Why the concern with killer fish? Because Bond films love them. More people have run into sharks in these films than have ever seen them for real. Someone is always getting dangled over some nasty fish. It happens even more than shoot-outs on skis, and we all know that's a constant occurrence for any spy. "Close enough" covers other water-bound killer animals that pop up such as alligators and octopi.


Following the Fads

I have also included a "Following the Fads" list at the end of some of the reviews. Bond films reflect their time period. Whatever's popular pops up in that era's Bond movie. More blatant than the "borrowing" from current events is the tendency to mimic other films. When science fiction rockets filled cineplexes, Bond found some. When black pimps with afros were making the rounds at grind houses and drive-ins, Bond traveled to a fictitious Harlem. When every action film involved a pissed-off guy heading to South America to fight "the war on drugs," Bond joined in. And when tough guys became filled with angst and torture was popping up in network TV shows, Bond got grumpy and took a whipping. 


My Bond Film Reviews


Buy Them



My Bond Reviews

The Connery Films
The Lazenby Film
The Moore Films
The Dalton Films
The Brosnan Films
The Craig Films



Bond Girls

Dr. No
Ursula Andress: Honey Ryder
Eunice Gayson: Sylvia Trench
From Russia with Love
Daniela Bianchi: Tatiana Romanova
Eunice Gayson: Sylvia Trench
Honor Blackman: Pussy Galore
Shirley Eaton: Jill Masterson
Tania Mallet: Tilly Masterson
Claudine Auger: Domino
Luciana Paluzzi: Fiona Volpe
You Only Live Twice
Akiko Wakabayashi: Aki
Mie Hama: Kissy Suzuki
Karin Dor: Helga Brandt
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Diana Rigg: Tracy di Vicenzo
Angela Scoular: Ruby Bartlett
Diamonds Are Forever
Jill St. John: Tiffany Case
Lana Wood: Plenty O'Toole
Live and Let Die
Jane Seymour: Solitaire
Gloria Hendry: Rosie Carver
The Man with the Golden Gun
Britt Ekland: Mary Goodnight
Maud Adams: Andrea Anders
The Spy Who Loved Me
Barbara Bach: Anya Amasova
Caroline Munro: Naomi
Lois Chiles: Holly Goodhead
Corinne Clery: Corinne Dufour
For Your Eyes Only
Carole Bouquet: Melina Havelock
Cassandra Harris: Lisl von Schlaf
Lynn-Holly Johnson: Bibi Dahl
Maud Adams: Octopussy
Kristina Wayborn: Magda
Never Say Never Again
Kim Basinger: Domino Petacchi
Barbara Carrera: Fatima Blush
A View to a Kill
Tanya Roberts: Stacey Sutton
Grace Jones: May Day
Fiona Fullerton: Pola Ivanova
The Living Daylights
Maryam d'Abo: Kara Milovy
Virginia Hey: Rubavitch
Licence to Kill
Carey Lowell: Pam Bouvier
Talisa Soto: Lupe Lamora
Izabella Scorupco: Natalya Simonova
Famke Janssen: Xenia Onatopp
Tomorrow Never Dies
Michelle Yeoh: Wai Lin
Teri Hatcher: Paris Carver
The World Is Not Enough
Denise Richards: Christmas Jones
Sophie Marceau: Elektra King
Die Another Day
Halle Berry: Jinx
Rosamund Pike: Miranda Frost
Casino Royale
Eva Green: Vesper Lynd
Caterina Murino: Solange
Quantum of Solace
Olga Kurylenko: Camille Montes
Gemma Arterton: Strawberry Fields
Bérénice Marlohe: Sévérine
Naomie Harris: Eve Moneypenny
Léa Seydoux: Dr. Madeleine Swann
Monica Bellucci: Lucia Sciarra



Bond Villains

Dr. No
Dr. Julius No (Joseph Wiseman)
From Russia with Love
Ernst Blofeld (Anthony Dawson)
Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya)
Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe)
Ernst Blofeld (Anthony Dawson)
Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi)
You Only Live Twice
Ernst Blofeld (Donald Pleasence)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Ernst Blofeld (Telly Savalas)
Diamonds Are Forever
Ernst Blofeld (Charles Gray)
Live and Let Die
Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto)
The Man with the Golden Gun
Scaramanga (Christopher Lee)
The Spy Who Loved Me
Karl Stromberg (Curd Jürgens)
Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale)
For Your Eyes Only
Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover)
Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan)
General Orlov (Steven Berkoff)
Never Say Never Again
Ernst Blofeld (Max Von Sydow)
Maximilian Largo (Klaus Brandauer)
A View to a Kill
Max Zorin (Christopher Walken)
The Living Daylights
Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé)
Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker)
Licence to Kill
Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi)
Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean)
Tomorrow Never Dies
Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce)
The World Is Not Enough
Elektra King (Sophie Marceau)
Renard (Robert Carlyle)
Die Another Day
Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens)
Casino Royale
Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen)
Quantum of Solace
Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric)
Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem)
Ernst Blofeld (Christoph Waltz)