James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional British secret agent character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming. Bond has appeared in novels, movies and video games and has become an icon that is recognized around the world.
James Bond originally featured in twelve of Ian Fleming’s novels and two short-story collections. Six other authors have also written authorized Bond novels or novelizations since Fleming’s death in 1964: Kingsley Amis, Christopher Wood, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks, and Jeffery Deaver.
A new novel, written by William Boyd, is planned for release in 2013. Additionally, Charlie Higson wrote a series on a young James Bond, and Kate Westbrook wrote three novels based on the diaries of a recurring series character, Moneypenny.
The fictional British Secret Service agent has also been adapted for television, radio, comic strip, and video game formats in addition to having been used in the longest continually running and the second-highest grossing film series to date, which started in 1962 with Dr. No, starring Sean Connery as Bond.
As of 2013, there have been twenty-three films in the Eon Productions series. The most recent Bond film, Skyfall (2012), stars Daniel Craig in his third portrayal of Bond; he is the sixth actor to play Bond in the Eon series. There have also been two independent productions of Bond films: Casino Royale (a 1967 spoof) and Never Say Never Again (a 1983 remake of an earlier Eon-produced film, Thunderball).
The Bond films are renowned for a number of features, including the musical accompaniment, with the theme songs having received Academy Award nominations on several occasions, and one win. Other important elements which run through most of the films include Bond’s cars, his guns, and the gadgets with which he is supplied by Q Branch.
James Bond History
As the central figure for his works, Ian Fleming created the fictional character of James Bond, an intelligence officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond was also known by his code number, 007, and was a Royal Naval Reserve Commander.
James Bond Name
Fleming took the name for his character from that of the American ornithologist James Bond, a Caribbean bird expert and author of the definitive field guide Birds of the West Indies. Fleming, a keen birdwatcher himself, had a copy of Bond’s guide and he later explained to the ornithologist’s wife that “It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born”.
He further explained that:
“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.”
—Ian Fleming, The New Yorker, 21 April 1962
Fleming based his fictional creation on a number of individuals he came across during his time in the Naval Intelligence Division during World War II, admitting that Bond “was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war”. Among those types were his brother, Peter, who had been involved in behind-the-lines operations in Norway and Greece during the war. Aside from Fleming’s brother, a number of others also provided some aspects of Bond’s make up, including Conrad O’Brien-ffrench, Patrick Dalzel-Job and Bill “Biffy” Dunderdale.
Fleming also endowed Bond with many of his own traits, including sharing the same golf handicap, the taste for scrambled eggs and using the same brand of toiletries. Bond’s tastes are also often taken from Fleming’s own as was his behavior, with Bond’s love of golf and gambling mirroring Fleming’s own.
Fleming also used his experiences of his espionage career and all other aspects of his life as inspiration when writing, including using names of school friends, acquaintances, relatives and lovers throughout his books.
It was not until the penultimate novel, You Only Live Twice, that Fleming gave Bond a sense of family background. The book was the first to be written after the release of Dr. No in cinemas and Sean Connery’s depiction of Bond affected Fleming’s interpretation of the character, to give Bond both a sense of humor and Scottish antecedents that were not present in the previous stories.
In a fictional obituary, purportedly published in The Times, Bond’s parents were given as Andrew Bond, from the village of Glencoe, Scotland, and Monique Delacroix, from the canton of Vaud, Switzerland. Fleming did not provide Bond’s date of birth, but John Pearson’s fictional biography of Bond, James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007, gives Bond a birth date on 11 November 1920, while a study by John Griswold puts the date at 11 November 1921.
Ian Fleming novels
Whilst serving in the Naval Intelligence Division, Fleming had planned to become an author and had told a friend, “I am going to write the spy story to end all spy stories.” On 17 February 1952, he began writing his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica, where he wrote all his Bond novels during the months of January and February each year. He started the story shortly before his wedding to his pregnant girlfriend, Ann Charteris, in order to distract himself from his forthcoming nuptials.
After completing the manuscript for Casino Royale, Fleming showed the manuscript to his friend (and later editor) William Plomer to read. Plomer liked it and submitted it to the publishers, Jonathan Cape, who did not like it as much. Cape finally published it in 1953 on the recommendation of Fleming’s older brother Peter, an established travel writer. Between 1953 and 1966, two years after his death, twelve novels and two short-story collections were published, with the last three books – The Man with the Golden Gun, Octopussy and The Living Daylights – published posthumously. All the books were published in the UK through Jonathan Cape.
1953 Casino Royale
1954 Live and Let Die
1956 Diamonds Are Forever
1957 From Russia, with Love
1958 Dr. No
1960 For Your Eyes Only (short stories)
1962 The Spy Who Loved Me
1963 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
1964 You Only Live Twice
1965 The Man with the Golden Gun
The Living Daylights (short stories)
After Fleming’s death a continuation novel, Colonel Sun, was written by Kingsley Amis (as Robert Markham) and published in 1968. Amis had already written a literary study of Fleming’s Bond novels in his 1965 work The James Bond Dossier. Although novelizations of two of the Eon Productions Bond films appeared in print, James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me and James Bond and Moonraker, both written by screenwriter Christopher Wood, the series of novels did not continue until the 1980s.
In 1981, thriller writer John Gardner picked up the series with License Renewed. Gardner went on to write sixteen Bond books in total; two of the books he wrote – License to Kill and GoldenEye – were novelizations of Eon Productions films of the same name. Gardner moved the Bond series into the 1980s, although he retained the ages of the characters as they were when Fleming had left them.
In 1996, Gardner retired from writing James Bond books due to ill health.
1981 Licence Renewed
1982 For Special Services
1984 Role of Honour
1986 Nobody Lives for Ever
1987 No Deals, Mr. Bond
1989 Win, Lose or Die
1989 Licence to Kill (novelization)
1991 The Man from Barbarossa
1992 Death is Forever
1993 Never Send Flowers
1995 GoldenEye (novelization)
In 1996, American author Raymond Benson became the author of the Bond novels. Benson had previously been the author of The James Bond Bedside Companion, first published in 1984. By the time he moved on to other, non-Bond related projects in 2002, Benson had written six Bond novels, three novelizations and three short stories.
1997 “Blast From the Past” (short story)
1997 Zero Minus Ten
1997 Tomorrow Never Dies (novelization)
1998 The Facts of Death
1999 “Midsummer Night’s Doom” (short story)
1999 “Live at Five” (short story)
1999 The World Is Not Enough (novelization)
1999 High Time to Kill
2001 Never Dream of Dying
2002 The Man with the Red Tattoo
2002 Die Another Day (novelization)
After a gap of six years, Sebastian Faulks was commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications to write a new Bond novel, which was released on 28 May 2008, the 100th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s birth. The book—titled Devil May Care—was published in the UK by Penguin Books and by Doubleday in the US. American writer Jeffery Deaver was then commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications to produce Carte Blanche, which was published on 26 May 2011. The book updated Bond into a post-9/11 agent, independent of MI5 or MI6.
James Bond For TV And Movies
In 1954 CBS paid Ian Fleming $1,000 ($8,549 in 2013 dollars) to adapt his novel Casino Royale into a one-hour television adventure. The episode aired live on 21 October 1954 and starred Barry Nelson as “Card Sense” James ‘Jimmy’ Bond and Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre. The novel was adapted for American audiences to show Bond as an American agent working for “Combined Intelligence”, while the character Felix Leiter—American in the novel—became British onscreen and was renamed “Clarence Leiter”.
In 1962 Eon Productions, the company of Canadian Harry Saltzman and American Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli, released the first cinema adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel, Dr. No, featuring Sean Connery as 007. Connery starred in a further four films before leaving the role after You Only Live Twice, which was taken up by George Lazenby for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby left the role after just one appearance and Connery was tempted back for his last Eon-produced film Diamonds Are Forever.
In 1973, Roger Moore was appointed to the role of 007 for Live and Let Die and played Bond a further six times over twelve years before being replaced by Timothy Dalton for two films. After a six-year hiatus, during which a legal wrangle threatened Eon’s productions of the Bond films, Irish actor Pierce Brosnan was cast as Bond in GoldenEye, released in 1995.
Brosnan remained in the role for a total of four films, before leaving in 2002. In 2006, Daniel Craig was given the role of Bond for Casino Royale, which rebooted the series. The twenty-third Eon produced film, Skyfall, was released on 26 October 2012. The series has grossed just over $6 billion to date, making it the second-highest-grossing film series (behind Harry Potter), and the single most successful adjusted for inflation.
Dr. No 1962 Sean Connery
From Russia with Love 1963
You Only Live Twice 1967
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1969 George Lazenby
Diamonds Are Forever 1971 Sean Connery
Live and Let Die 1973 Roger Moore
The Man with the Golden Gun 1974
The Spy Who Loved Me 1977
For Your Eyes Only 1981
A View to a Kill 1985
The Living Daylights 1987 Timothy Dalton
Licence to Kill 1989
GoldenEye 1995 Pierce Brosnan
Tomorrow Never Dies 1997
The World Is Not Enough 1999
Die Another Day 2002
Casino Royale 2006 Daniel Craig
Quantum of Solace 2008
James Bond Music
The “James Bond Theme” was written by Monty Norman and was first orchestrated by the John Barry Orchestra for 1962’s Dr. No, although the actual authorship of the music has been a matter of controversy for many years.
A Bond film staple are the theme songs heard during their title sequences sung by well-known popular singers. Several of the songs produced for the films have been nominated for Academy Awards for Original Song, including Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die”, Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better”, Sheena Easton’s “For Your Eyes Only” and Adele’s “Skyfall”. Adele won the award at the 85th Academy Awards. For the non-Eon produced Casino Royale, Burt Bacharach’s score included “The Look of Love”, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.
James Bond Video games
In 1983, the first Bond video game, developed and published by Parker Brothers, was released for the Atari 2600, the Atari 5200, the Atari 800, the Commodore 64 and the ColecoVision.
Since then, there have been numerous video games either based on the films or using original storylines. In 1997, the first-person shooter video game GoldenEye 007 was developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64, based on the 1995 Pierce Brosnan film GoldenEye.
The game received very positive reviews, won the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award for UK Developer of the Year in 1998 and sold over eight million copies worldwide, grossing $250 million.
In 1999, Electronic Arts acquired the license and released Tomorrow Never Dies on 16 December 1999. In October 2000, they released The World Is Not Enough for the Nintendo 64 followed by 007 Racing for the PlayStation on 21 November 2000. In 2003, the company released James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, which included the likenesses and voices of Pierce Brosnan, Willem Dafoe, Heidi Klum, Judi Dench and John Cleese, amongst others.
In November 2005, Electronic Arts released a video game adaptation of 007: From Russia with Love, which involved Sean Connery’s image and voice-over for Bond.
In 2006 Electronic Arts announced a game based on then-upcoming film Casino Royale: the game was canceled because it would not be ready by the film’s release in November of that year. With MGM losing revenue from lost licensing fees, the franchise was removed from EA to Activision. Activision subsequently released the 007: Quantum of Solace game on 31 October 2008, based on the film of the same name.
In October 2012 007 Legends was released, which featured one mission from each of the Bond actors of the Eon Productions’ series.
James Bond Guns
For the first five novels, Fleming armed Bond with a Beretta 418 until he received a letter from a thirty-one-year-old Bond enthusiast and gun expert, Geoffrey Boothroyd, criticizing Fleming’s choice of firearm for Bond, calling it “a lady’s gun – and not a very nice lady at that!”
Boothroyd suggested that Bond should swap his Beretta for a Walther PPK 7.65mm and this exchange of arms made it to Dr. No. Boothroyd also gave Fleming advice on the Berns-Martin triple draw shoulder holster and a number of the weapons used by SMERSH and other villains.
In thanks, Fleming gave the MI6 Armorer in his novels the name Major Boothroyd and, in Dr. No, M introduces him to Bond as “the greatest small-arms expert in the world”. Bond also used a variety of rifles, including the Savage Model 99 in “For Your Eyes Only” and a Winchester .308 target rifle in “The Living Daylights”. Other handguns used by Bond in the Fleming books included the Colt Detective Special and a long-barreled Colt .45 Army Special.
The first Bond film, Dr. No, saw M ordering Bond to leave his Beretta behind and take up the Walther PPK, which the film Bond used in eighteen films. In Tomorrow Never Dies and the two subsequent films, Bond’s main weapon was the Walther P99 semi-automatic pistol.
James Bond Vehicles
In the early Bond stories Fleming gave Bond a battleship-gray Bentley 4½ Liter with an Amherst Villiers supercharger. After Bond’s car was written off by Hugo Drax in Moonraker, Fleming gave Bond a Mark II Continental Bentley, which he used in the remaining books of the series. During Goldfinger, Bond was issued with an Aston Martin DB Mark III with a homing device, which he used to track Goldfinger across France. Bond returned to his Bentley for the subsequent novels.
The Bond of the films has driven a number of cars, including the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, during the 1980s, the V12 Vanquish and DBS during the 2000s, as well as the Lotus Esprit; the BMW Z3, BMW 750iL and the BMW Z8.
He has, however, also needed to drive a number of other vehicles, ranging from a Citroën 2CV to a Routemaster Bus, amongst others.
Bond’s most famous car is the silver gray Aston Martin DB5, first seen in Goldfinger; it later featured in Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale and Skyfall. The films have used a number of different Aston Martins for filming and publicity, one of which was sold in January 2006 at an auction in the US for $2,090,000 to an unnamed European collector.
James Bond Gadgets
Fleming’s novels and early screen adaptations presented minimal equipment such as the booby-trapped attaché case in From Russia with Love, although this situation changed dramatically with the films. However, the effects of the two Eon-produced Bond films Dr. No and From Russia with Love had an effect on the novel The Man with the Golden Gun, through the increased number of devices used in Fleming’s final story.
For the film adaptations of Bond, the pre-mission briefing by Q Branch became one of the motifs that ran through the series. Dr. No provided no spy-related gadgets, but a Geiger counter was used; industrial designer Andy Davey observed that the first ever on screen spy-gadget was the attaché case shown in From Russia with Love, which he described as “a classic 007 product”.
The gadgets assumed a higher profile in the 1964 film Goldfinger. The film’s success encouraged further espionage equipment from Q Branch to be supplied to Bond, although the increased use of technology led to an accusation that Bond was over-reliant on equipment, particularly in the later films.
Davey noted that “Bond’s gizmos follow the zeitgeist more closely than any other … nuance in the films” as they moved from the potential representations of the future in the early films, through to the brand-name obsessions of the later films.
It is also noticeable that, although Bond uses a number of pieces of equipment from Q Branch, including the Little Nellie autogyro, a jet pack and the exploding attaché case, the villains are also well-equipped with custom-made devices, including Scaramanga’s golden gun, Rosa Klebb’s poison-tipped shoes, Oddjob’s steel-rimmed bowler hat and Blofeld’s communication and bacteriological warfare agents vanity case.
Source: Wikipedia – James Bond