JAMES BOND, 007 – 50th ANNIVERSARY: TOP 10 BOND MOMENTS

Posted on January 24, 2013

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What with being caught up with all the splendid events surrounding the 50th Anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, I completely forgot to post this. So, although the 50th anniversary was last year, let’s just put that aside and celebrate my top ten moments from the last 50 years where Bond has shown that nobody does it better…

10) GOODBYE, MR. BOND! – Where 007 takes out the trash.

It’s no good just shooting someone with an inflatable shark dart. No, to really be memorable, Bond must have a personal investment in ridding the world of his nefarious foes.

His old friend and former double-oh agent Alec Trevelyan certainly fulfils the criteria. In GoldenEye, just before Bond is about to let 006 drop a few hundred feet to his demise, he enquires: “For England, James?” to which Bond replies: “No. For me.” It doesn’t come much more personal than that.

Unless, of course, your name is Franz Sanchez and Bond has spent the entire duration of Licence To Kill hunting you down for maiming his best friend Felix Leiter and killing Felix’s new wife Della.

“Don’t you want to know why?” asks Bond, as Sanchez is about to deliver the coup de grace and put an end to Timothy Dalton’s beaver-haired 007. Sanchez stays his hand just long enough for Bond to show him the inscribed lighter that Felix and Della gave to him as a gift. There is a moment of understanding in Sanchez’s eyes before Bond uses that very lighter to send Sanchez to his fiery grave.

VERDICT: Bond kills Sanchez in Licence To Kill

Sanchez

Sanchez learns that lighting your farts can go seriously wrong.

9) LOST LOVES: Those beautiful women Bond failed to save.

Whilst Bond usually gets the girls, it’s the women that he doesn’t save that have the greatest effect on him. Sure, Ursula Andress emerging from the water as Honey Ryder in Dr. No made a deep impression on us all, and no doubt there are countless beauties that have marked a notch on 007’s metaphorical bedpost.

However, for Bond there are just two women who have stood out from the others and made him fall in love. Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd clearly broke his heart, and her death in Casino Royale continued to affect him deeply throughout Quantum of Solace.

But it is the death of his wife Tracy, ably played by Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, from which Bond never really recovers. Guess Q forgot to put the bulletproof glass in this Aston this time.

VERDICT: James mourns his true love and only wife, Tracy Bond.

Tracy-Bond

“D’oh!”

8) IN COLD BLOOD: James Bond’s most heartless kills.

When it comes right down to it, Bond is an assassin. He is licenced to kill and, when the need arises, he does so with impunity. Occasionally it is a case of “kill or be killed”. At others, Bond takes a life in pure cold blood.

Roger Moore’s Bond – not often thought of as the cold-blooded killer – actually has two of the most memorable of these moments from the series. The first is in The Spy Who Loved Me, where a henchman grips furiously onto Bond’s tie as he teeters on the edge of a building. Bond gets the information he needs from him, before letting the man drop to his death with a flick of his wrist. Then there’s For Your Eyes Only‘s Emile Leopold Locque, who killed Bond’s likeable contact Ferrara on assignment in Italy. As Locque’s car balances precariously on the edge of a cliff, Locque looks pleadingly into Bonds eyes. In response, Bond gives the car a final kick to make sure it goes over.

Latest Bond Daniel Craig enters the series with a kill so cold-blooded he doesn’t even let the guy finish his sentence. In Casino Royale – having made Bond relive the pain of his first kill (“Made you feel it, did he?”) – the corrupt MI6 section chief reassures Bond that his second will be easier. Well, he almost does, because Bond has shot him dead before the words are even out of his mouth. “Yes, considerably,” Bond notes as he holsters his weapon.

However, the most memorable of all these cold-blooded killings is when Sean Connery’s Bond shoots Professor Dent in Dr. No. He let’s Dent think he has the upper hand, even allowing him to pick up his gun, before informing him casually: “That’s a Smith & Wesson, and you’ve had your six.” Bond then shoots him twice – once in the back for good measure – without even leaving his chair. Cold as ice.

VERDICT: Bond coolly shoots the scheming Professor Dent in Dr. No.

bond_shoots-professor_dent

“That’s a Smith & Wesson, and you’ve had your six.” Actually, it was a seven shot Colt, but hey, who’s counting? 

7) FEELING RUN DOWN:  The best chases from the Bond films.

Sometimes a spy has to break cover and ether escape from, or peruse, his enemies. The Bond series is literally littered with iconic chase scenes, from the slopes of Piz Gloria to a recent scramble over the rooftops of Istanbul. Often, these chases require some lateral thinking, such as in 2006’s Casino Royale, where Craig’s Bond used a combination of brains, brawn and pure guts to capture his agile, free-running target.

Occasionally, these chases are pretty unconventional, whether it be outrunning the bad guys in a canary yellow Citroen 2CV in For Your Eyes Only, or speed boating over land in Live and Let Die. However, the most unconventional chase has to be in GoldenEye, when Peirce Brosnan’s Bond steals a Russian T-55 tank and sets off in pursuit of General Ourumov and the kidnapped Natalya through the streets of St. Petersburg.

VERDICT: 007 steals a Russian tank to chase his enemy through St. Petersburg.

GE tank chase

Two seconds later, the driver gets out of that car. Just sayin’.

6) DANGEROUS DRIVING: “You have a licence to kill, not to break the road rules.” – Q, GoldenEye.

When it comes to Bond, we often think of gadgets and cars. Quite often, it’s the both of them together. The Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger is perhaps the most iconic film car in the world, laden with tricks and toys to dissuade the most ardent of pursuers. After Goldfinger, the gadget-laden vehicular weapon became a staple of the series and the DB5’s arsenal was certainly the basis for the BMW 750iL in Tomorrow Never Dies.

However, Bond doesn’t always rely on the gadgets when driving. Whether it be driving a Mustang on two wheels through al alley (which remarkably emerges on the other two wheels) in Diamonds Are Forever, or performing a perfect barrel roll across a river in an AMC Hornet in The Man With The Golden Gun, occasionally, it’s his pure driving skill that gets him through.

However, perhaps the most breathtaking of all these vehicles is the Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me. After being chased down by a helicopter, Bond drives this vehicle off the end of a jetty and into the ocean, only to have it transform into a submarine. Now, even the DB5 can’t do that.

VERDICT: Bond drives the Lotus Esprit into the water in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Lotus-Esprit-Submarine

Oddly, he still manages to get a parking ticket.

5) WHAT’S YOUR GAME, MR. BOND? – Where 007 likes t(w)o dice with death.

Fleming made his hero a gambler and made many of his villains cheats. Indeed, in both the novels Moonraker and Goldfinger, it is this trait that first alerts Bond to their villainous nature. This is no different in the movies, and it is often during a battle of wits, under the guise of a civilized game, that the relationship between Bond and his enemy is revealed. For instance, Bond is able to use Kamal Khan’s “lucky” dice to win a fortune from him at backgammon in Octopussy, which leads Khan to threaten him with the words: “Spend it quickly, Mister Bond.” In Casino Royale the final hand of poker against Le Chiffre is nail-bitingly tense. Even though we know Bond has to win, it seems virtually impossible against Le Chiffre’s strong full house. Then, seemingly from nowhere, Bond produces a straight flush – a hand that not only defies the odds and wins the game, but also defeats the villain. Unfortunately for Bond in Casino Royale, the old adage of “lucky at cards, unlucky in love” turns out to be true.

However, it is the golfing scene Goldfinger that truly stands out above the rest. Connery is at his coolest here, full of charm, wit and determination. Goldfinger’s defeat when it comes – straight from the pages of Fleming – is a masterstroke.

VERDICT: Golfing in Goldfinger.

Golfing-Goldfinger

All together now: Golfing-ah!

4) FISTICUFFS: Blofeld or felled with a blow?

Sometimes, Bond can’t simply rely on his Q-equipped gadgets to save him. He must resort to his own physical strength. The best fights in the Bond films throw 007 and his opponents into difficult situations or tight corners. For instance, in GoldenEye, Bond is forced to face 006 in the tiny ladder room of the satellite dish. In this tight space, they throw each other around the room, both men equally well trained. Eventually, 006 gets the drop on Bond, until Bond brilliantly turns the tables and gets the drop – quite literally – on him.

Other great fights are the elevator fight in Diamonds Are Forever, in a space so small that it is impossible to swing a punch, and the stairway fight in Casino Royale where Bond faces no only the tight space of the stairwell, but must protect Vesper from an armed opponent. The fight between Bond and the formidable Necros in The Living Daylights is also a standout. This last fight sees the two men desperately clinging to a cargo net trailing behind a C-130 as it flies over the mountains of Afghanistan. An utterly thrilling fight, especially when you consider this was done for real.

However, the greatest fight in the series remains the one between Sean Connery’s Bond and Robert Shaw’s Red Grant in From Russia With Love. Up until this film, fistfights in the movies had been somewhat more theatrical. But when Bond takes on Red Grant in a carriage of the Orient Express, we are offered a brutal, claustrophobic fight that pits Bond against a formidable opponent who is very much his physical equal. This scene set the bar for all that followed and remains, arguably, the best hand-to hand-fight in the film series.

VERDICT: Murder on the Orient Express.

FRWL-train-fight

Connery utilises the classic playground “smell my fart” technique.

3) DO YOU EXPECT ME TO TALK?  “No one takes the time to do a really sinister interrogation anymore.” – James Bond, GoldenEye

Oops! Bond has been captured. However, this isn’t always a bad thing, as many Bond villains are quite content to shoot the breeze with Bond over a couple of drinks rather than restrain and torture him. However, the smarter of these villains know that Bond is a dangerous fellow and will make sure he isn’t going anywhere whilst they ask the questions. Perhaps the most effective of these moments was in Casino Royale, where Le Chiffre ties Bond naked to a chair and bothers his nethers with a knotted piece of rope. Ouch! Bond only escapes castration and certain death when the villain himself is dispatched by someone higher up in his organization – who presumably only allows Bond to live so that he can continue to be compromised by Vesper. Still, despite knowing he is going to die, Bond is utterly defiant in the face of his death, mocking Le Chiffre with the line “now the whole world will know you died scratching my balls.”

Still, nothing is as iconic as the moment in Goldfinger when Bond is strapped to a slab of Gold and forced to watch as a laser inches ever closer to him. As the laser beam is about to slice him neatly in two – starting where Bond conceals his favourite weapon – he defiantly turns to Goldfinger and asks: “do you expect me to talk?” to which Goldfinger laughs and replies: “No, mister Bond, I expect you to die.” Never was a villain more threatening.

VERDICT: Goldfinger declares his expectations of Bond.

Do-You-Expect-Me-to-Talk

“I’m sorry to have to dash. Damien Hirst has the room booked after me.”

2) HE HAD NO HEAD FOR HEIGHTS:  Where Bond sees the gravity of his situation.

How to pick a stunt from a series that can boast possibly the best of them in cinema? Perhaps it’s waterskiing barefoot behind a seaplane? Maybe it’s flying his tiny Acrostar Jet through the closing doors of the enemy’s hangar? Or perhaps it’s using a line of crocodiles as steppingstones? Clearly, there are too many to choose from.

However, some of the more memorable stunts are those involving a long fall. In Moonraker Bond jumps out of a plane without a parachute, taking one from one of the bad guys mid air, whilst GoldenEye packs in two of the series’ best before the credits even start to roll. Here, Brosnan’s Bond freefalls to catch up with a pilotless plane and also – by way of introduction – sees him bungee jump from a 720 ft high damn. This GoldenEye jump is considered by many to be one of the best movie stunts of all time, let alone just in a Bond film, however, if you’re after a true “Bond Moment” there is still one better: The greatest moment where Bond has been vertically challenged is in the pre-title sequence for The Spy Who Loved Me. Here, pursued by machinegun toting baddie Russians, Bond skis right off the edge of a massive, massive cliff. Surely, we think, this must be the end for Bond? But even as we the audience holds our collective breath, Bond deploys a parachute emblazoned with the Union Jack and the James Bond theme kicks in. What more could you want?

VERDICT: Bond proves that nobody does it better in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Ski-Jump-The-Spy-who-Loved-Me

It looks impressive, but only until you realise it’s a very big man standing on that ridge in the background.

1) ONE-LINERS:  “What’s the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?” – Alec Trevelyan, GoldenEye

Bond is known for a pithy remark or two when dispatching a villain. Whether it be shooting Vargas with a speargun and commenting “I think he got the point” or noting that “she’s had her kicks” after avoiding Rosa Klebb’s poison tipped shoe knife, he seems always prepared with some dryly morbid valediction.

But Bond’s one-liners aren’t confined to just his post-homicidal punning. Bond has many memorable lines, such as the fourth-wall breaking “this never happened to the other fella.” Uttered by George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as his future wife Tracey leaves him stranded on the beach, this is a wink to the audience that sees Bond transcend the barriers of his own reality. After all, he’s Bond. Why let a little something as mundane as reality get in the way?

However, the greatest weapon of all in James Bond’s arsenal of one-liners is merely the uttering of his own name. Every action hero needs a catchphrase and this is Bond’s. Every incarnation of Bond has uttered the immortal line, each with varying results. George Lazenby’s is chirpy and Roger Moore’s is knowingly tongue-in-cheek. Timothy Dalton’s is matter-of-fact, Brosnan’s is self-aware, and Daniel Craig’s is assured. But all these have to measure up to Connery’s first delivery of the line in Dr. No. Cool, confident, suave, and sexy – only Connery has managed to make saying Bond’s name sound so thrillingly dangerous. “Bond. James Bond”

THE VERDICT: What’s in a name? Connery shows us how it’s done in Dr. No.

The-Names-Bond

“The namesh Bunt, Seamus Bunt.”

Of course you’re not going to agree. I’m not even sure I do. So, put me straight by leaving a comment below.

Dublo.

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