“The name’s Bond. James Bond.” And we all know it. Agent 007 is a timeless icon spanning over half a century. The quintessential British spy has been going on missions to save the world under the direction of M16, the British Secret Intelligence Service for decades. Get ready to relive the 24 films of the James Bond franchise (and then some) and see how the spy movie genre has been revolutionized!
The Man Who Birthed Bond
“I am going to write the spy story to end all spy stories,” said English author Ian Fleming, who wrote the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952.
The James Bond character was inspired by individuals Fleming encountered while serving in the Naval Intelligence Division during WWII, telling The Times in 2008, “[Bond] was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war.”
Bond Was Supposed To Be Boring
For the quintessential spy that he is, James Bond was not actually supposed to be as cunning and debonair as we all know him to be. Fleming told The New Yorker in 1962, “When I wrote the first one in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument… when I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought by God, [James Bond] is the dullest name I ever heard.”
The character was named after an American ornithologist who wrote Birds of the West Indies.
The Real First Bond Wasn’t Sean Connery
Shortly after the success of Fleming’s Bond novels in the ’50s, you can bet that there were people out there who thought the Bond stories would make for good cinema. That’s why in 1954, CBS paid Ian Fleming $1,000 for the rights to his first novel, Casino Royale.
At the time, Climax Mystery Theater was a dramatic anthology series that ran on CBS from 1954 to 1958. Casino Royale was used as the basis for an hour-long episode of the series. The episode featured American actor Barry Nelson in the role of James Bond, making him the first actor (and only American) to portray the character. While the episode itself was bereft of a lot of important details from the novel (it was only an hour long, after all) it was still action packed and filled with violence.
Bringing Bond To Life
After reading Fleming’s seventh Bond novel, Goldfinger, producer Harry Saltzman knew he wanted to make a movie out of it. In 1961, Fleming sold the film rights of all his published and future Bond novels to Saltzman, with the exception of Casino Royale. Meanwhile, producer Albert R. Broccoli also wanted to bring James Bond to the big screen but had found out that the film rights already belonged to Saltzman. Saltzman wouldn’t hand over the rights, but instead became partners with Broccoli so they could both co-produce the films. As a result, Eon Productions was formed.
Eon Productions released the first official James Bond film, Dr. No, in 1962. Although the film was made with a low budget of around $1 million, it was a huge financial success grossing almost $60 million in box offices worldwide.
Sean Connery Had A Lot Of Shaping Up To Do
Dr. No introduced the world to British Secret Service agent James Bond who was portrayed by Scottish actor Sean Connery. Connery wasn’t the first choice to take on the role and even Ian Fleming said that “He’s not what I envisioned of James Bond looks… I’m looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stunt-man.” But perhaps Connery owes his success to Broccoli’s wife Dana, who insisted that Connery was who they needed. Even Ian Fleming’s girlfriend at the time agreed that Connery possessed a certain “sexual charisma.”
Terence Young was brought on to direct Dr. No and was tasked with refining Sean Connery. Actress Lois Maxwell, who played Miss Moneypenny in the first 14 Bond films, was quoted as saying that, “Terence took Sean under his wing. He took him to dinner, showed him how to walk, how to talk, even how to eat.” Young reportedly Connery to his tailor and hairdresser, and introduced him to the high life.
He Wouldn’t Let Cancer Stop Him From Filming
In From Russia With Love, Bond is sent to Turkey to assist Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova, who plans to defect from her home country. Meanwhile, evil organization SPECTRE is also in Turkey with plans to avenge Dr. No’s death.
Mexican actor Pedro Armendáriz was cast in the role of Ali Kerim Bey, Istanbul’s British Intelligence chief. Visibly in pain, Armendáriz is limping in most of his scenes due to terminal cancer that had started in his hips. Years earlier, Armendáriz had a role in Howard Hughes’s The Conquerer, which was filmed in Utah. At the time, the U.S. ran nuclear tests in neighboring Nevada and as a result, many people who worked on The Conquerer contracted cancer. Production for From Russia with Love was shuffled around so that Armendáriz could film his scenes and work for as long as he could, but upon returning home to Los Angeles, he took his own life with a gun he smuggled into the hospital in 1963, months before the second Bond film was released.
007 Goes For The Gold
Goldfinger was the first of the Bond films to get a big budget that was equal to that of the first two films combined. Bond films were still a huge hit and Goldfinger, in particular, grossed almost $125 million worldwide. It was the first Bond film to win an Academy Award, when in 1965, Norman Wanstall won the Oscar for Best Sound Effects Editing.
Goldfinger puts Bond at odds with Auric Goldfinger, a gold smuggler who has plans to contaminate the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. While actress Honor Blackman was featured as iconic Bond girl Pussy Galore, she was heavily overshadowed by the also iconic Jill Masterson (played by Shirley Eaton), Goldfinger’s assistant who is seduced by Bond and is punished by getting painted completely in gold to die from “skin suffocation.” Keep in mind that this was in 1964, a time when it was widely believed that we breathed through our skin and that blocking out all our pores would lead to instant death.
Shirley Eaton Now
Before appearing in Goldfinger, Shirley Eaton was a performer on TV variety shows in the UK, singing and acting. She was extremely active in the entertainment business in the ’50s and ’60s and stole the spotlight from Honor Blackman in Goldfinger. After this, she appeared on the cover of Life Magazine dressed up as the gold-painted Jill Masterson.
After her role as Jill Masterson in the 1964 James Bond film, Eaton decided that it was time to leave her acting career and focus on raising her two sons, Jason and Grant. She told Starlog magazine, “A career is a career, but you’re a mother until you die”.
Speaking On Behalf Of All Bond Girls
While she has stated that she enjoyed the role at the time, actress Honor Blackman didn’t like being cast as a “Bond girl” for the rest of her career. In 2015, she spoke on behalf of all actresses who played Bond girls, telling Daily Mail, “Stop calling us Bond girls, we are women and actresses!” When Blackman played Pussy Galore, she was the oldest woman to play a Bond girl until that designation was given to Monica Bellucci, who was cast as a Bond girl at age 50, for the more recent Spectre.
“I just don’t understand why we are still obsessed with age. Or rather, I don’t understand why MEN are still so obsessed with the age of women,” Blackman went on, “Because that’s really what we’re talking about.” Blackman died of natural causes in April 2020, at the age of 94.
The Fight For The Rights
The fourth Bond film, Thunderball, follows Agent 007 on an underwater mission as he tries to prevent SPECTRE from destroying Miami after they steal two NATO atomic bombs. Thunderball was the first Bond film to be over two hours but had a complex production being shot underwater and in widescreen Panavision.
A few years prior to its release, there was a legal battle over the rights to the film. Bond creator Ian Fleming collaborated with screenwriters Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham in an effort to bring Bond to the big screen before the first movie came out. After Ian Fleming published the novel version of Thunderball, McClory sued Fleming for plagiarism. They settled out of court and McClory was granted certain rights to the Thunderball story, but fearing that McClory would make a rival movie, Saltzman and Broccoli offered him the sole producer credit for the movie.
Sean Connery Thinks You Only Live Once
After a spacecraft manned by the U.S. and the Soviet Union mysteriously disappears in orbit causing even more of a rift between the two countries (during the Cold War era), Agent 007 clandestinely travels to Japan to investigate the cause, finding that SPECTRE is behind the whole thing. SPECTRE is working for an unnamed power to provoke full on war between the U.S. and the Soviets.
By the fifth Bond film, Sean Connery had grown tired of playing James Bond. Not only was the promotion tour and filming becoming exhausting, Connery feared being typecast in the James Bond role. By this time he and Broccoli weren’t even on speaking terms over salary disputes as well. He announced his retirement from the role and the producers prepared to look for their next Bond.
The Affair That Never Was
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE, who threatens to sterilize the world’s food supply using his “angels of death.” Blofeld’s angels of death consist of 12 women from all over the world that Blofeld brainwashes to spread the Virus Omega. In this film, Bond marries Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, played by Diana Rigg.
George Lazenby, who played James Bond in this film, reportedly wanted to pursue an affair with his co-star Diana Rigg. However, it didn’t work out. Lazenby told Entertainment Weekly, “We were going to have an affair as long as I didn’t mess around with other girls. I was screwing around with a girl in the stunt tent, and Diana was walking past and I was busted. So the deal was off.”
The Forgotten Bond
Yes, you read the previous slide right—a new James Bond. Australian actor George Lazenby was the second actor to portray James Bond throughout the film franchise. Lazenby was relatively unknown and was doing modeling and commercial work in London when Albert R. Broccoli discovered him at a barber shop. At his audition, Lazenby accidentally punched a stunt coordinator in the face, which impressed Broccoli.
Despite his good looks, Lazenby’s portrayal of Bond received mixed reviews. The biggest complaint was his ability to act. During filming, Lazenby declared that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service would be the only Bond film he would act in, telling Los Angeles Times, “[The producers] made me feel like I was mindless. They disregarded everything I suggested simply because I hadn’t been in the film business like them for about a thousand years.” Lazenby’s attitude and his being an inexperienced actor at the time also lead to criticism.
What Happens In Vegas…
James Bond impersonates a diamond smuggler in an effort to infiltrate a smuggling ring that leads him to Blofeld, who is using the diamonds for a laser weapon. Due to the mixed criticism over Lazenby’s performance (he is known as the “worst” Bond), Eon Productions wanted to bring Sean Connery back for Diamonds Are Forever, offering him a record-breaking salary of $1.25 million.
A lot of the seventh Bond film takes place is Las Vegas and this was something Connery took advantage of while filming. Playing the slots in between shots, Connery was reportedly late to filming once because he was collecting his winnings! He said told The Montreal Gazette in 1971, “The first week I didn’t get any sleep at all. We shot every night, I caught all the shows and played golf all day. On the weekend I collapsed – boy, did I collapse. Like a skull with legs.”
This Movie Probably Wouldn’t Fly Today
In the eighth Bond film, Live and Let Die, 007 gets caught up with a corrupt Caribbean dictator who poses as a drug lord to put rival drug lords out of business. The movie came out in 1973 at the height of the “blaxploitation” era of film, in which filmmakers got away with depicting African-American archetypes and clichés in a derogatory manner.
Live and Let Die featured actress Gloria Hendry who played Rosie Carver. She became the first African-American girl to have romantic relations with Bond. The film also featured Jane Seymour as another Bond girl named Solitaire. Seymour told People in 1983, “I was the only Bond girl who was accidental.” Although she wasn’t interested in doing the film, she took the job as a way to get extra cash.
Gloria Hendry Now
Before appearing in Live and Let Die Gloria Hendry was a model for Playboy and worked in the Playboy Club. She had a wide range of talents to offer the entertainment industry, including acting, singing, and modeling. This beauty has aged graciously and has a diverse background of Seminole Indian, Chinese, Creek Indian, Irish, and African.
When Live and Let Die was released in South Africa her love scenes with Roger Moore were censored by the Apartheid government. Born in Florida, Hendry’s popularity grew in England and beyond with her role in the Bond film.
Bringing “Moore” Humor To Bond
Eon Productions tried to convince Sean Connery to keep playing Bond, but he declined the role a final time. United Artists, the studio that helped produce the Eon Bond films, had a whole lineup of American actors to take on the James Bond role, but many parties insisted that James Bond had to be played by a British actor.
Roger Moore was a well-established actor who already found success acting in, producing, and directing The Saint. Moore has stated that he never thought he’d be considered for the James Bond role and only accepted the offer to play him in the ’70s after he was certain that Connery was done. Although he resented having to cut his hair and lose weight to transform into James Bond, he is the longest serving actor to play James Bond throughout the entire franchise.
Their Partnership Was Not Quite So Golden
Ninth in the Eon-produced Bond franchise is The Man With The Golden Gun. Although the original novel is mostly set in Jamaica, the producers decided to take this film to the Far East since Jamaica was a primary location for two previous films. “The man with the golden gun” is assassin Francisco Scaramanga, who 007 pursues in an effort to obtain the Solex Agitator, a harmful weapon that harnesses the power of the sun.
This film ended with a dissolution of Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman’s partnership (and friendship) after Saltzman sold half of his stake in Eon Productions and their holding company to United Artists due to his financial struggles at the time. This resulted in legal disputes over Bond property which halted production of the next Bond film.
Driving James Bond In A New Direction
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Roger Moore’s third Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, follows 007 who teams up with the Russian Anya Amasova (played by Barbara Bach) to defeat supervillain Karl Stromberg, who wants to create an underwater civilization, but not before he destroys the rest of the world.
Not only was this the first Bond film to only be produced by Albert Broccoli, but it is also the first film in which Ian Fleming’s name was removed from the film’s main title since Fleming only permitted Eon productions to use the title of his novel and not the actual plot. The Lotus Esprit that Bond drives—which converts into a submarine—was auctioned off for £616,000 in 2013 to none other than Elon Musk.
James Bond Was Out Of This World
Roger Moore’s fourth Bond film is 1979’s Moonraker, in which Bond pursues the owner of a firm that manufactured a stolen space shuttle, Hugo Drax. The mission then has Bond trying to prevent Drax from obliterating the world’s population in order to re-create humanity with a superior race.
Ian Fleming originally wrote Moonraker as a manuscript for a screenplay before he published it as a novel in the ’50s. The next film after The Spy Who Loved Me was originally supposed to be For Your Eyes Only, but after the success of Star Wars and popularity of the science-fiction genre, Eon producers decided to make a film for Moonraker the eleventh film in the franchise.
Don’t Be Mistaken By Their On-Screen Romance
For Your Eyes Only takes 007 on a mission to locate a missile command system. He is joined by Bond girl Melina Havelock, who is played by French actress Carole Bouquet. Cross-bow-wielding Havelock is more or less an equal to Bond, as she is on a tireless mission to avenge the murder of her parents.
Carole Bouquet had originally auditioned for the role of Dr. Holly Goodhead in the preceding Bond film but didn’t get the role. She was only 23 years old at the time of filming and of working with her co-star, a then-55-year-old Roger Moore, Bouquet told People magazine in 1983, “He’s very nice. He reminds me of my father.”
The Name That Embarrassed Reporters
In 1983’s Octopussy, 007 is after a jewel and relic thief who is stealing from the Soviet Union. Bond goes after an Afghan prince named Kamal Khan and along the way, meets a woman named Octopussy who runs a cult. His mission reveals a more sinister plot in which his enemies want to force disarmament in Europe using a nuclear weapon.
Following the filming of the previous film, Roger Moore wanted to retire from playing James Bond. Producers began a search for the new Bond but were prompted to re-contract Moore for another film after a rival Bond film was announced to premiere the same year, starring none other than the original Bond, Sean Connery.
Sean Connery’s Scandalous Comeback
Remember the previously mentioned legal battle over the rights to Thunderball? Well, screenwriter Kevin McClory still owned most of the rights and decided to come back and produce his own Bond film, independent of Eon Productions. Sean Connery was enlisted to help write the script for the film and somehow got roped into reprising the role that made him famous. Never Say Never Again is a nod to Connery’s statement following Diamonds Are Forever, when he said that “never again” will he play James Bond.
Because Connery was slated to star in this independent Bond film, Roger Moore was urged to play Bond for Octopussy because the producers at Eon feared that a film with the original Bond actor would fare better. The results were quite the contrary, however. While both films were financially successful, Octopussy was received better than Never Say Never Again, which for the most part is forgettable these days.
Who Is The Better Bond?
There is much debate over who plays a better Bond. While Connery portrays a harder and grittier 007, Moore is thought to bring a bit more personality to the character. But this doesn’t mean the two are at odds, even after the awkward moment when they both came out with Bond films at the same time.
In an interview with People, when asked if there was competition between the two actors, Moore said, “No more than two jockeys who are going to be paid anyway for running the race… Sean and I are friends.”
Giving James Bond A New Personality
Moore knew that when he took on the role of James Bond, he wanted to give the part his own flair since fans were used to seeing Sean Connery. In the same interview, Moore said, “I tried to find out what Bond was all about but you can’t tell much from the books. There’s the line that says ‘He didn’t take pleasure in killing, but took pride in doing it well.'”
So that’s what I did. But the other side of me was saying, This is a famous spy—everyone knows his name, and every bartender in the world knows he likes martinis shaken, not stirred. Come on, it’s all a big joke! So most of the time I played it tongue-in-cheek.”
Too Old For One More Mission
1985’s A View to a Kill follows James Bond on a mission to recover a microchip from the body of fellow agent 003 after it is discovered that the microchip has potentially disastrous capabilities. The creator of the chip and the villain of this film is Max Zorin, played by Christopher Walken, who has a sinister plan to eliminate his competition in California’s Silicon Valley.
By the end of the year that A View to a Kill was released, Roger Moore was 58 years old and he announced his official retirement from portraying James Bond. Although he’s been criticized for portraying Bond with light-hearted humor, he has never let the accusation get the best of him. He was famously quoted as saying, “My acting range has always been something between the two extremes of ‘raises left eyebrow’ and ‘raises right eyebrow.'”
Remembering Roger Moore
After a wonderful 89 years, Roger Moore sadly passed away on May 23, 2017, after a brief battle with cancer. The news came suddenly after his children confirmed his passing that day through their father’s official Twitter account. Original Bond actor Sean Connery said in a statement, “I was very sad to hear of Roger’s passing we had an unusually long relationship by Hollywood standards, that was filled with jokes and laughter, I will miss him.”
Pierce Brosnan—who took on the role ten years after Moore retired from it—said on Facebook: “Dear Sir Roger Moore, It is indeed with a heavy heart that I hear the news of your passing this morning. You were a big part of my life, from The Saint to James Bond. You were a magnificent James Bond and one that led the way for me, the world will miss you and your unique sense of humor for years to come.”
Reluctant To Take On The Role
After Moore’s retirement from James Bond in 1985, producers once again went on the search for a new 007. By 1986, the producers had the choices dwindled down to Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton. Brosnan was initially offered the role but was contracted by NBC for the show Remington Steele. The show was failing but upon hearing Brosnan was slated to play James Bond, NBC ordered new episodes since Brosnan as Bond sparked new interest for their series. Unfortunately, Albert Broccoli didn’t want any contemporary characters to be associated with James Bond, so Brosnan was dropped.
Although Broccoli had little interest in Dalton, his wife urged him to give Dalton a shot. Dalton was actually offered the role of James Bond in 1968 for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service but turned down the role because he said he was too young. He also didn’t want to have to fill in the shoes of Sean Connery telling Good Morning America in 1987, “He was far too good, he was wonderful… when you’ve seen Bond from the beginning, you don’t take over from Sean Connery.”
Trying To Take Bond More Serious
For the fifteenth movie in the Bond franchise, 007’s initial mission is to assist in the defection of a KGB officer, who informs Bond that a new KGB policy is to assassinate all defectors. While avoiding the threat, Bond gets caught up with a shady American arms dealer and female bombshell Russian assassins.
Dalton was well-received as the new Bond and The Living Daylights, in particular, fared far better at the box office than A View to a Kill and Octopussy combined. Dalton brought a newfound grittiness to the character, saying in a 1989 interview: “I think Roger was fine as Bond, but the films had become too much techno-pop and had lost track of their sense of story. I mean, every film seemed to have a villain who had to rule or destroy the world. if you want to believe in the fantasy on screen, then you have to believe in the characters and use them as a stepping -stone to lead you into this fantasy world. That’s a demand I made, and Albert Broccoli agreed with me.”
License To Kill, Permission To Quit
In Eon’s sixteenth film, Licence to Kill, 007 is suspended from M16 while he pursues a drug lord named Franz Sanchez (played by Robert Davi) who is out to get CIA agent Felix Leiter and his wife on their honeymoon. The original title for this Bond film was supposed to be “License Revoked” since Bond is suspended from his job as a spy, but supposedly the title was changed due to people not knowing what “revoked” meant.
License to Kill was Timothy Dalton’s last film as James Bond. According to an interview with The Week, Dalton was in line to do a third Bond film but then Eon Productions got into a legal dispute with MGM studios. “Because of the lawsuit, I was free of the contract,” Dalton explained in 2014, “And Mr. Broccoli… asked me what I was going to do when it was resolved. I said, ‘Look, in all honesty, I don’t think that I will continue.'”
Bringing Bond Into The New Millennium
As mentioned earlier, Pierce Brosnan was supposed to take on the role of James Bond after Roger Moore, but his commitment to an NBC show prevented him from doing so. While Timothy Dalton was supposed to star in the next Bond film, even doing interviews and some promotion for it, the legal battle between Eon and MGM halted production of the film for six years.
By the time they were back on track and Dalton decided he wasn’t coming back, producers again offered the 007 role to Pierce Brosnan. Broccoli actually discovered Brosnan in the early ’80s on the set of For Your Eyes Only, in which Brosnan’s then-wife, Cassandra Harris, played Countess Lisl von Schlaf.
An Homage To Ian Fleming
GoldenEye sees 007 as he goes head to head with a former M16 agent who has gone rogue. Bond has to prevent them from acquiring a satellite weapon that was designed and launched by the Soviets, which the Janus crime syndicate plans to use to cause a global financial meltdown. The story was written by Michael France and it is the first Bond film that isn’t based off one of Ian Fleming’s Bond stories.
But that doesn’t mean that producers still didn’t pay homage to Fleming. The film is named GoldenEye because when Fleming was a lieutenant commander for the British Naval Intelligence he was on an operation that was codenamed “Operation Goldeneye,” in which he liaised with the U.S. to monitor developments in Spain following the Spanish Civil War.
Tomorrow Never Dies, But Sadly People Do
In Tomorrow Never Dies, James Bond is sent after evil media mogul Elliot Carver (played by Jonathan Pryce), who plans to engineer world events in order to instigate a third world war just do that he could boost sales and ratings of his products.
Tomorrow Never Dies is the 18th Bond film in the franchise and it is also the first Bond film that was not produced by the original producers. The film pays tribute to Albert R. Broccoli, who passed away a year before the film’s release. Before his passing, Broccoli passed ownership of Eon Productions over to his daughter Barbara and his stepson Michael G. Wilson, who both still run Eon Productions to this day.
Behind The Scenes Resentment
While filming Tomorrow Never Dies, Pierce Brosnan was rumored to not get along with actress Teri Hatcher, who played Paris Carter, the trophy wife of villain Elliot Carver. Brosnan reportedly fumed every time Hatcher left him waiting on set, but apparently, she had a very good reason—she was three months pregnant! Whether or not her morning sickness got in the way of production, Hatcher’s publicist insisted that her pregnancy wasn’t affecting the schedule.
But there was someone Brosnan did get along with and that was his co-star Michelle Yeoh, who played Chinese spy Wai Lin. Brosnan reportedly referred to Yeoh as a “female James Bond” and a “wonderful actress who was serious and committed about her work.” Yeoh even wanted to perform her own stunts, but the directors wouldn’t allow it due to safety and insurance reasons.
She Wasn’t Aware Of The James Bond Legacy
The year 1999 gave us the 19th Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. 007 is on a mission to protect Elektra King (played by Sophie Marceau) after her father, billionaire Sir Robert King is assassinated by a terrorist named Renard (played by Robert Carlyle). All the while, Bond discovers that Renard and his associates have a more sinister motive to increase petroleum prices by waging a nuclear meltdown in Istanbul.
Denise Richards, who played Bond’s accomplice physicist Dr. Christmas Jones, apparently wasn’t aware of how big a deal the James Bond franchise was when she got the part. In a 2012 interview with USA Today, Richards said, “The biggest part I got out of it was being part of something so iconic. I couldn’t look at how big it was, though, because that would have been to much pressure.”
The Most Iconic Bond Girl Scenes
Die Another Day was released in 2002 as the 20th Bond film in the franchise. After 007 is betrayed on a mission in North Korea, he is captured and imprisoned for over a year. Released as a part of a prisoner exchange, James Bond sets out to redeem himself by tracking down his betrayer, whom he believes is part of M16.
Brosnan’s co-star and Bond girl for this movie was none other than Halle Berry, who played NSA agent Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson. Die Another Day‘s release marked the 40th anniversary of the James Bond franchise and Berry recreated the iconic scene in which she emerges from the surf in nothing other than a bikini and a knife as she is greeted by Bond. The scene pays homage to the first film, Dr. No, in which the same scene is filmed with Sean Connery and Bond girl Ursula Andress.
He Was Kicked To The Curb
After the release of Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan was steadily approaching his 50th birthday. Knowing that many were concerned about the fact that Roger Moore played James Bond until he was nearly 60, Brosnan considered the idea that he should retire from the role. However, the success of his latest Bond film had fans and producers wanting him to do a fifth film, which he was happy to oblige.
Unfortunately, while negotiations were being made for contracts, Brosnan was “unceremoniously” informed that he had been dropped from the franchise. Brosnan disappointedly confirmed to the media in later years, “I was in the Bahamas… and my agents called me up and said, ‘Negotiations have stopped. [The producers] are not quite sure what they want to do…’ That was it. I was utterly shocked and just kicked to the curb with the way it went down.”
Everyone Doubted Him
During the search for a new James Bond, producer Michael G. Wilson said that there were over 200 people that they were considering. They ended up choosing English actor Daniel Craig. At first, Craig expressed that the Bond films were too formulaic and he only became interested in the role after reading the script for Casino Royale. In order to prepare, Craig read all of the Ian Fleming novels and told media that while he “was aware of the challenges” and that the Bond franchise was “a big machine that makes a lot of money,” he wanted to bring more “emotional depth” to the role.
Many James Bond purists were dismayed at Eon Productions’s decision to cast Craig, who was relatively unknown at the time. Bond fans started an “anti-Craig” protest after Brosnan was fired at the height of his popularity and because Daniel Craig did not fit the bill of how James Bond should look, mostly for the fact that Craig is blonde and that he wasn’t as handsome as previous Bonds.
Bringing Back Bond’s Origins
2006’s Casino Royale is considered a total reboot to the James Bond franchise. Not meant to precede or succeed any of the Bond films that came before it, Casino Royale establishes a new timeline as writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade aimed to bring back the essence of the original Fleming novels, staying relatively true to Fleming’s first Bond novel of the same name.
Casino Royale takes viewers back to Bond’s career beginnings as Agent 007 as he earns his license to kill. After preventing a terrorist attack at the Miami International Airport, Bond falls for Vesper Lynd (played by Eva Green) who is assigned to assist Bond in bankrupting the terrorist financier Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker game. The subsequent Bond films starring Craig branch off of this story arc.
Being Bond Is Physically Demanding
Quantum of Solace sees James Bond avenging the death of Vesper Lynd. With the help of Bolivian agent Camille Montes (played by Olga Kurylenko), who is avenging the murder of her family, Bond must stop businessman Dominic Greene (played by Mathieu Amalric) who plans to overthrow the Bolivian government to gain control of their water supply. Greene is revealed to be a member of the sinister organization Quantum.
While Casino Royale portrays a love story, Quantum of Solace is a revenge story. Daniel Craig revealed to media that filming Casino Royale was a “walk in the park” compared to Quantum of Solace, which was more physically demanding. To physically train for the 22nd film, Craig placed more emphasis on running and boxing.
Would You Have Expected These Awards?
2012’s Skyfall was a phenomenal success, being the first Bond film to gross over $1 billion worldwide. Most of its accolades went to the film’s theme song, which was sung by Adele. Skyfall won the Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Sound Editing, while also winning two Grammy’s for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media and Best Song Written for Visual Media.
In Skyfall, M16 is attacked by former agent Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem). Silva has a vendetta against M16 leader M, as he seeks to kill her for betraying him in the past, and of course, James Bond is on a mission to stop the attack.
The Return Of Blofeld
The previous three films lead to a big reveal in 2015’s Spectre. James Bond goes head to head with the criminal organization Spectre and their leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Christoph Waltz) after he discovers that they were behind the events in the previous films. It is the first time that Spectre and Blofeld are reintroduced into the Bond franchise since 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever.
During production, the film was criticized for securing $14 million in tax incentives and rebates from the Mexican government, so long as the film portrayed Mexico City in a positive light. Many Mexican citizens argued that that money could have been spent better by supporting those in the city who are in need and disenfranchised.
At Least He Had His Blessing
Because the James Bond films in which Daniel Craig starred take fans back to Bond’s origins, this allows for a more vulnerable and less experienced Bond, which in a way Craig was set up for. Despite the initial protests, his portrayal of Bond after Casino Royale was well-received by critics, with some media outlets comparing his performance to that of Sean Connery’s.
Despite his disappointment at being fired from the role, Pierce Brosnan initially offered his support to Craig. In 2017, however, he warned: “There is a definite point where you have to say enough’s enough for sure. I’m not going to put a number on it. It’s [Craig’s] for the taking for sure. Go for it man. He’s brilliant.”