Readers share favorite memories as James Bond film franchise turns 50

Readers share favorite memories as James Bond film franchise turns 50

October 26th, 2012 by Casey Phillips in Life Entertainment

British actor Daniel Craig, left and French actress Berenice Marlohe pose for photographers during a photo call session for the presentation of the new James Bond movie Skyfall in Paris, Thursday Oct. 25, 2012.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

23 films, 6 actors

Throughout the James Bond film franchise, six men have portrayed Agent 007 of Her Majesty's Secret Service:

Sean Connery

• "Dr. No." (1962)

• "From Russia With Love" (1963)

• "Goldfinger" (1964)

• "Thunderball" (1965)

• "You Only Live Twice" (1967)

George Lazenby

• "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969)

Sean Connery

• "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971)

Roger Moore

• "Live and Let Die" (1973)

• "The Man With the Golden Gun" (1974)

• "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977)

• "Moonraker" (1979)

• "For Your Eyes Only" (1981)

• "Octopussy" (1983)

• "A View to a Kill" (1985)

Timothy Dalton

• "The Living Daylights" (1987)

• "License To Kill" (1989)

Pierce Brosnan

• "GoldenEye" (1995)

• "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997)

• "The World Is Not Enough" (1999)

• "Die Another Day" (2002)

Daniel Craig

• "Casino Royale" (2006)

• "Quantum of Solace" (2008)

• "Skyfall" (2012)


1. The series' 17th film, "GoldenEye," is named for Ian Fleming's Jamaican home, where the author created the character and wrote more than a dozen novels. Nearby James Bond Beach was the shooting site for scenes in "Dr. No."

2. Fleming named his character after an American ornithologist. In "Die Another Day," Pierce Brosnan is seen holding a copy of "Birds of the West Indies," a 1936 work written by the real James Bond.

3. Of the six actors to portray England's greatest spy, only Roger Moore and Daniel Craig were English. Timothy Dalton is Welsh, Sean Connery is Scottish, Pierce Brosnan is Irish and George Lazenby is Australian.

4. Before her role as a Bond girl in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," Diana Rigg played Emma Peel in 51 episodes of "The Avengers," a British TV spy series.

5. With only one starring role in the series, George Lazenby had the shortest tenure as Bond, but he initially was offered a seven-picture deal and had signed his intent to star in 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever."

6. Only two Bond films have won Academy Awards: Best Effects, Sound Effects for "Goldfinger" in 1965 and Best Effects, Special Visual Effects for "Thunderball" in 1966. Seven other films received nominations, including three for "The Spy Who Loved Me."

7. Daniel Craig has starred in both the series' longest film ("Casino Royale" 144 minutes) and its shortest ("Quantum of Solace" 106 minutes)

Sources:,, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

THE 101 OF 007

• $5.09 billion: the Bond film series' global box-office take

• $1.82 billion: the series' U.S. box-office take

• 2,896: runtime, in minutes of the Bond film series, including the upcoming "Skyfall"

• 98: approval rating of "Dr. No," the series' best-reviewed film

• 39: approval rating of "A View to a Kill," the series' worst-reviewed film

• 22: position of "Bond, James Bond" on the American Film Institute list of Top 100 movie quotes

• 14: number of full-length Bond novels written by Ian Fleming

• 16: number of Bond novels written by post-Fleming author John Gardner

• 6: longest period between Bond films, in years (1989's "License To Kill" and 1995's "GoldenEye")

• 3: position of James Bond on the AFI list of Top 100 movie heroes



In addition to Monty Norman's signature theme at the start of each film, each Bond movie's intro sequence is accompanied by a title song, usually performed by a popular artist. Here are some of the more successful songs and their peak position on the Billboard charts.

• "Goldfinger" performed by Shirley Bassey (No. 8, 1964)

• "Live and Let Die" per-formed by Paul McCartney & Wings (No. 2, 1973)

• "Nobody Does It Better" performed by Carly Simon (No. 2, 1977)

• "For Your Eyes Only" performed by Sheena Easton (No. 4, 1981)

• "A View to a Kill" performed by Duran Duran (No. 1, 1985)

• "Die Another Day" performed by Madonna (No. 8, 2002)

• "Skyfall" performed by Adele (No. 8, 2012)

In the half-century since audiences first tracked his silhouette across the screen through a gun barrel, James Bond has become one of cinema's most enduring and recognizable icons.

On Oct. 5, 1962, Her Majesty's greatest super spy debuted in "Dr. No." He returns to the silver screen for the 23rd time in "Skyfall," which will be released here Nov. 9.

James McKissic, 40, said Bond's persona is established the moment the camera pans up in "Dr. No" on a tuxedoed Sean Connery, who iconically introduces himself to English starlet Eunice Gayson as "Bond, James Bond."

McKissic, 40, is the chief operating officer of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga and a lifelong fan of the films. He was introduced to Agent 007 through the series' third entry, "Goldfinger" and was hooked from the moment British pop vocalist Shirley Bassey sang the theme song.

"The reason why I keep coming back to the movies is because of the action, the amazing places around the world that Bond travels, the gadgets he uses [and] the wardrobe," McKissic said. "Everything that Bond does and has is first-class, top-of-the-line.

"I think every person wants, at least a little bit, to be James Bond."

The spies who loved us

Connery portrayed Bond for five films before he left and was replaced in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" by then-unknown actor George Lazenby, who left after the film. Connery renewed his license to kill for 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever" and again in 1983's "Never Say Never Again," a remake of 1965's "Thunderball" that is not considered an official entry in the series.

To date, six men have portrayed Bond, but the elements that define the character and the series have persisted, even though the plots occasionally stray from the source novels written by Ian Fleming.

Regardless of who is starring, Agent 007 is clever, ruthless and a bit of a womanizer with a love for sexual innuendo. He drives fast cars -- most frequently models of British Aston Martins -- and wields gadgets disguised as everyday objects.

That signature tech is designed for Bond by intelligence agency MI6's quartermaster, Q, a role long held by Desmond Llewelyn until his death in 1999. Other recurring characters include M, the head of MI6, and Miss Moneypenny, an MI6 secretary engaged in a long-standing flirtation with Bond.

"Skyfall" is the third entry to star the series' latest leading man, Daniel Craig. The film centers on the accidental release of the real names of MI6 operatives, which initiates a government review of the agency and calls into question Bond's loyalty to M, played by series veteran Judy Dench.

Despite its lack of a continuous cast, the Bond series is one of cinema's most enduring franchises and trails only "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" in ticket sales, according to box-office statistic database The-

bond films are forever

Although they frequently featured fantastic elements, Bond films typically reflect the concerns of the era in which they were released, said Drew Hartl, 28.

In the '60s, the slow boil of the Cold War was reflected in the plots of Bond films such as "Thunderball" and "From Russia With Love." "The Man With the Golden Gun" (1974) featured a story that drew on concerns over the energy crisis of the early 1970s. Later-era Bond films have increasingly featured incidents of cyberterrorism, as in 1995's "GoldenEye" and 1997's "Tomorrow Never Dies."

"If you look at the evolution of the villainous themes throughout the films, they always manage to stay within the realm of current events while at the same time pushing the bounds of science fiction," Hartl said.

The series' more exciting reflection of the real world is what drew Soddy-Daisy's Roy Roberts to Bond.

Roberts, 45, has been in love with Bond since he saw Roger Moore in 1977's "The Spy Who Loved Me." Then 10 years old, Roberts said he was fascinated by Bond's gadgets, which included a car that turned into a submarine and a ski pole with a built-in rifle. Later, he became more interested in the film's espionage elements, which offered a chance to experience a more adventurous lifestyle.

"I think the reason the series has lasted so long is because people want escapism," Roberts said. "They want to broaden their horizons.

"Audiences love adventure, and they want to be taken to exotic locales they've never been to and may never get to go to. I think the series will continue long after we're gone."

Contact Casey Phillips at or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.