James Bond (character)

James Bond (character)
James Bond
James Bond, 007 character
Ian Fleming's image of James Bond; commissioned to aid the Daily Express comic strip artists.
First appearance Casino Royale, 1953 novel
Last appearance Quantum of Solace, 2008 film
Created by Ian Fleming
Portrayed by

Barry Nelson (1954)
Sean Connery (1962–1971 & 1983)
David Niven (1967)
George Lazenby (1969)
Christopher Cazenove (1973)
Roger Moore (1973–1985)
Timothy Dalton (1986–1993)
Pierce Brosnan (1995–2002)

Daniel Craig (2006–Present)
Voiced by

Bob Holness (1956)
George Baker (1969)
Michael Jayston (1990)

Toby Stephens (2008–2010)
Gender Male
Occupation 00 Agent
Title Commander (Royal Naval Reserve)
Family Andrew Bond (Father)
Monique Delacroix Bond (Mother)
Spouse(s) Teresa di Vicenzo (widowed)
Kissy Suzuki (invalid)
Harriett Horner (invalid)
Children James Suzuki Bond (son with Kissy)
Relatives Charmian Bond (Aunt)
Max Bond (Uncle)
Nationality British

Royal Navy Commander James Bond, CMG, RNVR is a fictional character created by novelist Ian Fleming in 1953. He is the main protagonist of the James Bond series of novels, films, comics and video games. He is portrayed as an SIS agent residing in London.

He has been portrayed on film by Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, the last interpretation being the only one with an official fictional biography of the character. However, Bond was first portrayed by Barry Nelson in a 1954 American television film based on the novel Casino Royale and then by Bob Holness in a 1956 South African radio series based on the novel Moonraker. David Niven played Bond in Casino Royale, a 1967 satire, which was loosely based on the Bond novel of the same name. Several other actors, including Peter Sellers, were also designated as James Bond in the satire.


Literary Bond

Fleming's concept of Bond

In Ian Fleming's stories, James Bond is in his mid-to-late thirties, but does not age.[1] In Moonraker, he admits to being eight years shy of mandatory retirement age from the 00 section—forty five— which would mean he was thirty seven at the time.[2] Fleming did not provide Bond's date of birth, but John Pearson's fictional biography of Bond, James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007, gives him a birth date on 11 November 1920,[3] whilst a study by Bond scholar John Griswold puts the date at 11 November 1921.[4]

You Only Live Twice reveals Bond is the son of a Scottish father, Andrew Bond, of Glencoe, and a Swiss mother, Monique Delacroix, of the Canton de Vaud. The boy James Bond spends much of his early life abroad, becoming multilingual in German and French because of his father's work as a Vickers armaments company representative. When his parents are killed in a mountain climbing accident in the Aiguilles Rouges near Chamonix, eleven-year-old James is orphaned.[5]

In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the Bond family motto might be Orbis non sufficit (Latin for "The world is not enough"). The coat of arms and motto belonged to the historical Sir Thomas Bond; his relation to James Bond is unclear and neglected by the latter. In fact, he is indifferent to his potential genealogical relationship to Sir Thomas Bond, demonstrated by his abrupt response to Griffin Or on being told of the motto:

Griffin Or broke in excitedly, 'And this charming motto of the line, "The World Is Not Enough". You do not wish to have the right to it?'

'It is an excellent motto which I shall certainly adopt,' said Bond curtly. He looked pointedly at his watch. 'Now I'm afraid we really must get down to business. I have to report back to my Ministry.'

After the death of his parents, he goes to live with his aunt, Miss Charmian Bond, in Pett Bottom village, where he completes his early education. Later, he briefly attends Eton College at "12 or thereabouts" (13 in Young Bond), but is removed after four halves because of girl trouble with a maid. He reminisces about losing his virginity at sixteen, on a first visit to Paris, in the short story "From a View to a Kill". Bond is removed from Eton and sent to Fettes College in Edinburgh, Scotland, his father's school. Per Pearson's James Bond: The Authorised Biography and an allusion in From Russia, with Love, Bond briefly attended the University of Geneva.[6] Some of Bond's education is based on Fleming's own, both having attended Eton, and the University of Geneva. Additionally, in You Only Live Twice he remarked to Moneypenny that he took a Double First in Oriental Languages at Cambridge.

World War II service with the Royal Navy

In 1941, Bond lies about his age in order to enter the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during World War II, from which he emerges a Commander. He retains that rank while in the British Secret Service of Fleming's novels, John Gardner's continuation novels, and the films. Continuation novelist John Gardner promoted Bond to Captain in Win, Lose or Die. Since Raymond Benson's novels are a reboot, Bond is a Commander, and a member of the RNVSR (Royal Naval Volunteer Supplementary Reserve), an association of war veteran officers.[7]

After joining the RNVR, Bond is mentioned travelling in the U.S., Hong Kong, and Jamaica, and that he joined another organisation, such as the SOE or the 00-Section of the SIS or as leader of a Royal Marine unit on secret mission behind enemy lines in the war or in (Fleming's) "Red Indians" 30 Commando Assault Unit (30 AU). One supporting fact is Bond in the Ardennes firing a bazooka in 1944.[8] The 30 AU were the only British small unit attached to the US Army in Europe. In Bond's obituary, his commanding officer, M, alludes to the rank as cover:

"To serve the confidential nature of his duties, he was accorded the rank of lieutenant in the Special Branch of the R.N.V.R., and it is a measure of the satisfaction his services gave to his superiors that he ended the war with the rank of Commander." – You Only Live Twice, chapter 21: "Obit"

In the SIS

Bond is a civil servant, working in the Ministry of Defence as a Principal Officer,[9][10] a civilian grade equivalent to a Captain in the Royal Navy.[11]

Bond is introduced as a veteran 00-agent in Casino Royale. It is never stated when Bond became a 00-agent, though references in Casino Royale suggest during World War II while Goldfinger suggests 1952.

Bond earns his 00 status with two tasks, outlined in Casino Royale. The first was his assassination of a Japanese spy on the 36th floor of the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center in New York City; the second, his assassination of a Norwegian double agent who had betrayed two British agents. Bond had travelled to Stockholm to stab and kill the man in his sleep. In James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007, Pearson suggests Bond first kills as a teenager. Bond's assignments prior to Casino Royale are sometimes reflected through the novels. Through this time Bond had assignments in Monte Carlo, Hong Kong, Jamaica, etc. In 1954, according to the Soviet file on him cited in From Russia, With Love, Bond is made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, supposedly only awarded upon retirement from the Service; in The Man With The Golden Gun, he rejects an offer of investiture as a Knight Commander in that order, extended as a reward for his having successfully carried out his assignment to kill the Soviet assassin Francisco Scaramanga, as he does not wish to become a public figure.

The literary James Bond is reserved in his licensed killing, sometimes disobeying kill orders if the mission might be accomplished otherwise, as in "The Living Daylights" where he makes a last-second decision to disobey orders and not kill a female assassin. Instead, he shoots the assassin's gun and accomplishes the mission. Later, he feels so strongly about that decision that he hopes M will fire him for it.

In the novel Goldfinger, James Bond is haunted by memories of a Mexican gunman he killed with bare hands days earlier. There are Fleming works in which Bond does not kill anyone. Bond hates those who kill non-combatants, especially women. Nonetheless, he kills when needed:

It was part of his profession to kill people. He had never liked doing it and when he had to kill he did it as well as he knew how and forgot about it. As a secret agent who held the rare Double-O prefix – the licence to kill in the Secret Service – it was his duty to be as cool about death as a surgeon. If it happened, it happened. Regret was unprofessional – worse, it was a death-watch beetle in the soul." – Goldfinger, chapter 1: "Reflections in a Double Bourbon"

Bond has a cavalier attitude toward his death, accepting that he most likely will be killed if captured, and expects MI6's disavowal of him. He withstands torture in Casino Royale without talking.

In the novels preceding Dr. No, Bond uses a .25 ACP Beretta automatic pistol carried in a light-weight chamois leather holster; however, in From Russia, With Love, in the draw, the gun snags in Bond's jacket, and, because of this incident, M and Major Boothroyd order Bond re-equipped with a Walther PPK and a Berns-Martin triple-draw holster made of stiff saddle leather. This is the weapon he is equipped with on all assignments since the film Dr No. He continues using this pistol until John Gardner's Licence Renewed, where he uses different weapons, choosing the ASP 9 mm in later books. According to Gardner in the novelisation for Licence to Kill, the Walther PPK is not Bond's favourite weapon. With Raymond Benson, Bond begins using the PPK again until being updated in both the film and novelisation Tomorrow Never Dies with the Walther P99.

James Bond: The Secret World of 007 reports that Bond is a judoka and knows other martial arts. The file on him cited in From Russia, With Love, Chapter 4: "Death Warrant," confirms this first, saying that he "knows the basic holds of judo."

Description and personal life

In the novels (notably From Russia, with Love), Bond's physical description has generally been consistent: slim build; a three-inch long, thin vertical scar on his right cheek; blue-grey eyes; a "cruel" mouth; short, black hair, a comma of which falls on his forehead (greying at the temples in Gardner's novels); and (after Casino Royale) the faint scar of the Russian cyrillic letter "Ш" (SH) (for Shpion: "Spy") on the back of one of his hands (carved by a SMERSH agent). In From Russia, With Love, he is also described as 183 centimetres (6 feet) in height and 76 kilograms (167 lb) in weight.

Fleming compares Bond's appearance to Hoagy Carmichael.

Also, Bond physically resembles the composer Hoagy Carmichael. In Casino Royale, the heroine Vesper Lynd remarks, "Bond reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless." Likewise, in Moonraker, Special Branch Officer Gala Brand thinks that Bond is "certainly good-looking . . . Rather like Hoagy Carmichael in a way. That black hair falling down over the right eyebrow. Much the same bones. But there was something a bit cruel in the mouth, and the eyes were cold."[12]

When not on assignment or at headquarters, Bond spends his time at his flat off the King's Road in Chelsea. His flat is looked after by an elderly Scottish housekeeper named May, who is very loyal and often motherly to him. According to Higson's Young Bond series, May previously worked for Bond's aunt, Charmian. Bond hardly ever brings women back to his home: it happens only once between the novels Diamonds Are Forever and From Russia, With Love when he briefly lived with Tiffany Case;[13] and twice in the film series: in Dr. No, Sylvia Trench is waiting for him dressed only in his shirt when he comes home to pack before leaving for Jamaica; and in Live And Let Die, M and Moneypenny visit Bond at his flat, forcing him to hide his female company in the wardrobe. According to Pearson's book and hinted at in From Russia, With Love, Tiffany often gets into arguments with May and eventually leaves. At his home, Bond has two telephones. One for personal use and a second red phone that is a direct line between his home and headquarters; the latter is said always to be ringing at inopportune moments.

Bond is famous for ordering his vodka martinis "shaken, not stirred." In the novel Moonraker, he drinks a shot of vodka straight, served with a pinch of black pepper, a habit he picked up working in the Baltic region. He also drinks and enjoys gin martinis, champagne, and bourbon. In total, Bond consumes 317 drinks in the novels, of which 101 are whisky, 35 sakes, 30 glasses of champagne and a mere 19 vodka martinis. This is an average of one drink every seven pages.[14] Bond occasionally supplements his alcohol consumption with the use of other drugs, for both functional and recreational reasons. For instance, in Moonraker, Bond consumes a quantity of the amphetamine benzedrine accompanied by champagne, in order to gain extra confidence and alertness during his bridge game against Hugo Drax; and in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, he consumes the barbiturate derivative seconal in order to induce a state of "cosy self-anaesthesia" in his London flat.[15]

In Fleming's novels, Bond is a heavy smoker, at one point reaching 70 cigarettes a day.[16] On average, Bond smokes 60 a day, although in certain novels he attempts to cut back so that he can accomplish certain feats, such as swimming. He is also forced to cut back after being sent to a health farm per M's orders in Thunderball. Bond specifically smokes cigarettes filled with a blend of Balkan and Turkish tobacco with a higher than average tar content from the tobacconists Morlands of Grosvenor Street, called "Morland Specials." The cigarettes themselves have three gold bands on the filter, signifying Bond's (and Fleming's) commander rank in the secret service. Additionally, Bond carries his cigarettes in a trademarked monogrammed gunmetal cigarette case. In continuation novels by John Gardner, Bond cuts back by smoking low-tar cigarettes from Morlands and, later, H. Simmons of Burlington Arcade. Later works by Raymond Benson have Bond continuing to use this brand.

Although Fleming states in the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service that "James Bond was not a gourmet," he clearly appreciates food and has a sophisticated (if perhaps idiosyncratic) palate. When in England, Bond "lived on grilled soles, oeufs cocotte and cold roast beef with potato salad," his favourite food is scrambled eggs served with coffee (particularly as served by his housekeeper) although "the best meal he had ever eaten" is enjoyed in Miami during the novel Goldfinger, and comprises stone crabs with melted butter served with toast and iced rose champagne. In the same novel Bond also articulates his hatred of tea, which he describes as "mud" and considers partially responsible for the decline of the British Empire.

Bond is an avid boating enthusiast; in the films and novels, he is seen on boats both for business and leisure. Bond is seen boating in Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Diamonds Are Forever, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Live And Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun, The World Is Not Enough, Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace.[clarification needed]

Bond engages in frequent and numerous short-term affairs with several women he encounters, ending them as quickly as he begins them. Fleming himself had a tempestuous love life; he had numerous affairs even though he was married, and there were frequent accusations of sado-masochistic acts in his relationships with women.[17] This has led critics[who?] to speculate over how much Fleming projected his own character into the figure of James Bond as Bond. For instance, Bond does not desist from hitting women and his rough-handed treatment of women has been noted.[18] His suave, chauvinistic charm even seduces women who initially find him repellent, like the spa nurse Patricia Fearing in Thunderball and the criminal Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, the novel version of which described Galore as a lesbian.

In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, James Bond marries, but his bride, Teresa "Tracy" di Vicenzo, is killed on their wedding day by a long-standing enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. In the novels, a devastated Bond gets revenge in the following novel, You Only Live Twice when, by chance, he comes across Blofeld in Japan and kills him there. Owing to events in that novel, Bond and Kissy Suzuki bear a child, although Fleming's novels do not state his existence. Bond is obviously aware of his son's existence by the time of Raymond Benson's short story "Blast From the Past," in which his son asks him to come to New York City as a matter of urgency before being killed by Irma Bunt.

Cinematic Bond


All the actors who portrayed James Bond in official Eon films in order, from top left to bottom right: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
Barry Nelson as "Jimmy Bond" in Casino Royale (1954).
David Niven, who played Sir James Bond in Casino Royale (1967)

Barry Nelson was the first actor to play James Bond on-screen in a one-hour Americanized version of Casino Royale made in 1954. Patrick McGoohan was the first actor to be offered the role of Bond in the Eon series, but he turned it down. The first to portray 007 was Sean Connery in Dr. No, released in 1962. Connery played the role in four further films before resigning. Australian actor George Lazenby was cast in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969. However, Lazenby resigned, and Connery returned for the next film, Diamonds Are Forever, in 1971, and later in the non-Eon produced Never Say Never Again in 1983, giving him the longest association with the role appearing in seven films over a 21-year period. 1973's Live and Let Die featured Roger Moore's debut as Bond. Moore also appeared in seven consecutive Eon produced films between 1973 and 1985.

After Roger Moore's retirement, the role went to Timothy Dalton, who was contracted in 1986 for three films (with an option for a fourth) as James Bond. Dalton starred in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989), with the third film planned for 1991. However, legal disputes over ownership of the franchise delayed release until 1995, by which time Dalton had resigned. Persistent rumours state that Dalton's third film was going to be The Property of a Lady, but the story, treatment, and draft screenplays were called GoldenEye.[19]

In 1994, Irish actor Pierce Brosnan was hired as James Bond, having previously been considered as Roger Moore's replacement. Brosnan's debut, GoldenEye (1995), was the franchise's highest-grossing film at that date, and he starred in three more films. Brosnan is the only actor who did not star in a James Bond film titled after an Ian Fleming story (although Timothy Dalton starred in "License to Kill", which is not a title from a Fleming novel) and is the second actor not to have been from the United Kingdom, also the only actor who did not resign from the role.

The current actor to play the role is Daniel Craig, hired in 2005. Craig's debut in Casino Royale was successful both critically[20] and commercially. Craig's performance was also the first in the series to earn a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor.[21] The twenty third Bond film, Skyfall is scheduled for release in the UK on 26 October 2012.

Before Sean Connery was cast as James Bond, Harry Saltzman favoured Roger Moore for the role, while Albert R. Broccoli preferred Cary Grant (but the producer ultimately decided against Grant because he knew that if he succeeded in signing him, it would be a one-year deal and the next film would necessitate a search for another Bond).[22] Before George Lazenby was cast in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Timothy Dalton was offered the part, but turned it down as he then felt himself to be too young for it. Pierce Brosnan was initially approached after Roger Moore relinquished the role, but his contract with the TV show Remington Steele made him unavailable.[23]

In the course of the official series, American actors have been engaged to play James Bond on two occasions – and have been approached at other times as well. John Gavin was contracted in 1970 to replace George Lazenby, but Connery was well-paid to re-appear in Diamonds Are Forever.[24] James Brolin was contracted in 1983, to replace Roger Moore, and prepared to shoot Octopussy when the producers paid Moore to return. To date, the only American to play James Bond is Barry Nelson, in the 1954 American television adaptation of Casino Royale, though Brolin's three screen tests were publicly released for the first time as a special feature named James Brolin: The Man Who Would Be Bond in the Octopussy: Ultimate Edition DVD.[25]

The actors who have portrayed Bond have varied greatly in age. George Lazenby was 29 when On Her Majesty's Secret Service premiered, while Roger Moore was 57 when A View to a Kill was released.

Sean Connery's Bond

James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, originally doubted the casting, saying, "He's not what I envisioned of James Bond looks" and "I’m looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stunt-man," adding that Connery (muscular, 6' 2", and a Scot) was unrefined. However, Fleming's girlfriend told him Connery had the requisite sexual charisma. Fleming changed his mind after the successful Dr. No premiere; he was so impressed, he created a half-Scottish, half-Swiss heritage for the literary James Bond in the later novels.

Connery's portrayal of Bond owes much to stylistic tutelage from director Terence Young, polishing the actor while using his physical grace and presence for the action. Robert Cotton wrote in one Connery biography that Lois Maxwell (the first Miss Moneypenny) noticed, "Terence took Sean under his wing. He took him to dinner, showed him how to walk, how to talk, even how to eat." Cotton wrote, "Some cast members remarked that Connery was simply doing a Terence Young impression, but Young and Connery knew they were on the right track."[26]

George Lazenby's Bond

Albert R. Broccoli chose Lazenby after seeing him in an advertisement.[27] Lazenby dressed the part by sporting several sartorial Bond elements such as a Rolex Submariner wristwatch and a Savile Row suit (ordered, but uncollected, by Connery).[28] Broccoli offered him an audition. The position was consolidated when Lazenby accidentally punched a professional wrestler, who was acting as stunt coordinator, in the face, impressing Broccoli with his ability to display aggression.

At the time of the release of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (OHMSS), Lazenby's performance received mixed reviews. Some felt that whilst he was physically convincing, some of his costumes were inappropriate ("too loud" according to some) and that he delivered his lines poorly.[29] Others disagree, and retrospectively his performance is viewed much more favourably.[citation needed] In the 1998 book The Essential James Bond, Lee Pfeiffer & Dave Worrell writes: "Although OHMSS was routinely dismissed by critics who cited Lazenby as a brave but disappointing successor to Connery, the intervening years have been notably kinder to both the film and its star. Indeed, due in no small part to Peter Hunt's inspired direction, OHMSS generally ranks among the top films with fans. Likewise, Lazenby has emerged as a very popular contributor to the series and has enjoyed large enthusiastic audiences during his appearances at Bond related events. In summary, OHMSS is a brilliant thriller in its own right and justifiably ranks amongst the best Bond films ever made."

Roger Moore's Bond

Moore's James Bond was light-hearted, more so than any other official actor to portray the character. Connery's style, even in its lighter moments, was that of a focused, determined agent. Moore often portrayed 007 as something of a playboy, with tongue firmly in cheek, but also as a very capable and seasoned detective. The humour served Moore and his fans well through most of his Bond tenure.

In sharp contrast to the way Lazenby was introduced, the first two Moore films actually avoided common Bond film motifs, having him smoke cigars instead of cigarettes and drink bourbon instead of martinis. One critic noted, "Roger Moore has none of the gravitas of Sean Connery...he does fit slickly into the director's presentation of Bond as a lethal comedian."[30]

In undertaking the challenge of creating his own version of Bond, Moore merged some of the characteristics of his role in his series The Saint with the Bond persona. Critics thought this Bond more of a charmer, more debonair, more calculating, and more casually lascivious in a somewhat detached but amused manner. He appears just as strong physically as Connery, at least in the early pictures, but not quite as graceful in action. Moore's adaptation applied more fantasy and humour than other Bonds. The series managed to stay afloat by adding contemporary material and new characters to shore up the dated Fleming plots.[31]

Timothy Dalton's Bond

Unlike Moore, who had played Bond as more of a light-hearted playboy, Dalton's portrayal of Bond was darker, grittier and more serious. Dalton pushed for renewed emphasis on realism instead of fantasy plots and humour.[32] Dalton stated in a 1989 interview:

I think Roger was fine as Bond, but the movies had become too much techno-pop and had lost track of their sense of story. I mean, every movie 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.[32]

A fan of the literary character, often seen re-reading and referencing the novels on set, Dalton determined to approach the role and play truer to the original character described by Fleming. His 007, therefore, came across as a reluctant agent who did not always enjoy the assignments he was given. In The Living Daylights, for example, Bond tells a critical colleague, "Stuff my orders! ... Tell M what you want. If he fires me, I'll thank him for it." In Licence to Kill, he resigns the Secret Service in order to pursue his own agenda of revenge. Stephen Jay Rubin writes in The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopaedia (1995):

Unlike Moore, who always seems to be in command, Dalton's Bond sometimes looks like a candidate for the psychiatrist's couch – a burned-out killer who may have just enough energy left for one final mission. That was Fleming's Bond – a man who drank to diminish the poison in his system, the poison of a violent world with impossible demands.... [H]is is the suffering Bond.[32]

This approach proved to be a double-edged sword. Film critics and fans of Fleming's original novels welcomed a more serious interpretation after more than a decade of Moore's approach.[33] However, Dalton's films were criticised by many for their comparative lack of humour.[32] Dalton's serious interpretation was not only in portraying the character, but also in performing most of the stunts of the action scenes himself.[34]

Pierce Brosnan's Bond

The success of the TV series Remington Steele led to Pierce Brosnan being compared to Roger Moore, and not only in terms of being a possible successor in the role of James Bond. In 1985, there were media reports that Moore was considering producing a movie based upon his old TV series, The Saint, and that Brosnan was a prime candidate to play Simon Templar. This project was eventually given to Val Kilmer.[35]

Remington Steele was cancelled at the end of the 1985–86 television season. Given the imminent end of the series, film producer Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli offered Brosnan the part of James Bond for the film The Living Daylights. Broccoli's offer to Pierce Brosnan generated a lot of publicity and interest, and NBC received a barrage of letters urging them to renew the show. The network, which still had Brosnan under contract, chose to bow to the wishes of the public, and renew Remington Steele for another year. Subsequently, Broccoli stated he did not want Bond to be identified with a current TV series, and instead gave the role to Timothy Dalton. Brosnan would finally become 007 in 1995.

Brosnan was signed for a three-film deal (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough) with the option of a fourth (which would become 2002's Die Another Day). Brosnan's first appearance as Bond was met with much critical praise. Critic James Berardinelli described him as "a decided improvement over his immediate predecessor" with a "flair for wit to go along with his natural charm."[36]

He stated his hopes for remaking Bond: "I would like to see what is beneath the surface of this man, what drives him on, what makes him a killer. I think we will peel back the onion skin, as it were."[37] He also relished the fact that Goldfinger was the first film he had ever seen and now he would get to play Bond, "Little did I think I would be playing the role someday."[38] Brosnan's Bond smoked cigars rather than cigarettes, and he favoured Italian-made suits.

Daniel Craig's Bond

On 23 October 2005, Craig signed a five-film contract with Eon Productions to portray James Bond. He stated that he "was aware of the challenges" of the James Bond franchise which he considers "a big machine" that "makes a lot of money". He aimed at bringing more "emotional depth" to the character.[39] Being born in 1968, Craig is the first actor to portray James Bond to be born after the Bond series already started, and Ian Fleming, the novels' writer, had died.

Significant controversy followed the decision, as it was doubted if the producers had made the right choice. Throughout the entire production period Internet campaigns expressed their dissatisfaction and threatened to boycott the film in protest.[40] Craig, unlike previous actors, was not considered by the protesters to fit the tall, dark, handsome image of Bond to which viewers had been accustomed.[41] The Daily Mirror ran a front page news story critical of Craig, with the headline, "The Name's Bland – James Bland."[42] However, reviews for Casino Royale were favourable. Although the choice of Craig was controversial, numerous actors publicly voiced their support. Clive Owen, who had been linked to the role, also spoke in defence of Craig.[43] Craig describes his portrayal of Bond as an anti-hero: “The question I keep asking myself while playing the role is, ‘Am I the good guy or just a bad guy who works for the good side?’ Bond’s role, after all, is that of an assassin when you come down to it. I have never played a role in which someone’s dark side shouldn’t be explored. I don’t think it should be confusing by the end of the movie, but during the movie you should be questioning who he is.”[44] Craig also stated, at the approximate time Quantum Of Solace was in production, that his favourite previous Bond actor was Sean Connery, but he also pointed out at the time, "I'd never copy somebody else. I would never do an impression of anybody else or try and improve on what they did. That would be a pointless exercise for me."[45]


When introduced in 1962, the cinematic James Bond already was a veteran Secret Service agent: in Dr. No, when ordered re-equipped with a 7.65 mm Walther PPK pistol replacing his Beretta automatic pistol, agent 007 protests that he has used the weapon for 10 years.

The 2006 film Casino Royale is a reboot of the film series. Unlike its source novel where Bond was already a veteran, jaded 00-agent, the film depicts his first mission as 007. The film's official website[46] gives a biography of the Bond that parallels the backstory of Fleming's literary character, but it is updated to reflect Bond's new birth date of 13 April 1968 – 13 April being the day in which Casino Royale was published in 1953 and 1968 being the year in which Daniel Craig was born. This version of the character was born in West Berlin, Germany. His parents, Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix Bond, died in a climbing accident, so he was brought up in Kent by his aunt Charmain.

Like the original character, Craig's Bond is expelled from Eton College and attends his father's alma mater, Fettes College. Bond attends the University of Geneva while at Fettes through an exchange programme. After Fettes, Bond joins the Royal Navy and attends Britannia Royal Naval College at the age of 17. The modern biography clarifies Bond's military service by stating he joins the Special Boat Service while in the Regular Royal Navy, where he obtains the rank of Commander, and then is placed in the 030 Special Forces Unit (a reference to Fleming's 30th Assault Unit during World War II, a unit he nicknamed his 'Red Indians'; see Casino Royale). Bond serves covertly in Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Libya and actively in Bosnia. He is then recruited by the RNR Defence Intelligence Group. Bond attends specialised courses at Cambridge and Oxford universities during this period, earning a degree in Oriental Languages from Cambridge. Bond is noted to be fluent in French, German, Russian, and Italian, and writing passable Greek, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese at the time he joins MI6. In training, he receives exceptionally high marks for physical endurance, logic, and Psychological Operations exercises. He serves in the Royal Navy from age 17 to 31, joining MI6 at age 30, and is promoted to 00 Agent at age 38 in 2006.

Description and personal life

In film (as in the books), Bond is portrayed as highly intelligent and educated. In Goldfinger, he calculates how many trucks it takes to transport all the gold in Fort Knox. In You Only Live Twice Bond asserts having a First in Oriental Languages from Cambridge University; in the film, The Spy Who Loved Me, an acquaintance identifies him as a Cambridge graduate; in the film Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond visits Oxford to study Danish. In Casino Royale, he is shown to have skill at calculating probabilities of draws from a deck in a Texas hold'em tournament in Montenegro. Bond is shown to be a polyglot yet Ian Fleming's stories, the films, and the post–Fleming continuation novels contradict each other about which languages he speaks; these include German, French, Russian, and Japanese.

Cinematically, Bond's smoking habit has been off and on usually going with changes in society. During the films starring Connery, Lazenby, and Dalton, Bond was a smoker of cigarettes. During Moore's and Brosnan's tenure he smoked cigars instead of cigarettes, and in Brosnan's case, only the once. In Brosnan's second portrayal of Bond, in Tomorrow Never Dies, he remarks upon a Russian who is smoking by saying, "Filthy habit." The last time Bond smoked on film was in 2002 in Die Another Day. In Daniel Craig's tenure, his Bond has yet to be seen smoking.

In more recent films, Bond's attitude toward women has softened somewhat; he respects the new, female M, while a few female characters, such as Elektra King and Paris Carver, have gotten under his skin. When the film canon was rebooted with Casino Royale, James Bond's sexual appetite had somewhat cooled though he somewhat jokingly admits to an attraction to married women, reasoning it "keeps things simple." His pursuit of Solange Dimitrios is merely for the purpose of collecting information on her husband, Alex, to stop a terrorist plot. Once he retrieves the information, he leaves her immediately without having sex with her. As in the source material, James falls deeply in love with Vesper Lynd to the point of considering leaving the service to be with her.

As in the books, Bond is a skilled combatant. Bond's switch from the Beretta to the Walther PPK is carried over in Dr. No. In Tomorrow Never Dies, he switches to the Walther P99. In Quantum of Solace, Bond uses the Walther PPK again.

The cinematic Bond's attitude towards killing has changed through the years. Connery's Bond in Dr. No outdoes his literary counterpart by killing Professor Dent in cold blood when the other man was unarmed and no immediate threat to him. For You Only Live Twice, screenwriter Roald Dahl was told Bond could kill any amount of people as long as he didn't do so sadistically. In The Living Daylights, Dalton's Bond ignores orders to kill an amateur sniper and later states he only kills professionals. GoldenEye suggests the brutality of his job troubles Brosnan's Bond, while he admits cold-blooded killing is a filthy business in The World Is Not Enough. Craig's Bond has evinced a callous view towards killing.


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