James Bond: 25 Essential Facts
Author Ian Fleming — eventually Sir Ian Fleming — created British superspy James Bond in the 1953 novel "Casino Royale." Less than a decade later, in 1962, 007 came to the big screen in the movie DR. NO, based on Fleming's sixth Bond novel. With decades of history behind him, Bond has many secrets, and we're here to reveal them.
The 25th official Bond movie, NO TIME TO DIE, is on its way to theatres. As we await the final chapter of Daniel Craig's starring run, check out these 25 essential facts about James Bond.
1. Two actors played James Bond before Sean Connery brought him to life on the big screen: Barry Nelson starred in an hour-long 1954 CBS television broadcast adaptation of "Casino Royale," while Bob Holness played the spy in a 1958 radio adaptation of "Moonraker," broadcast in South Africa.
2. Four actors have played Bond's commander, M, in official Bond movies: Bernard Lee, Robert Brown, Judi Dench and Ralph Fiennes.
3. "Goldeneye," which became the title of the first Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan, was the name of Fleming’s house in Jamaica, in which he wrote the Bond novels.
4. The late Christopher Lee was Ian Fleming’s cousin, and at one point he might have played the villain in the first Bond movie. That didn't happen, but Lee did circle back to the series — he played Scaramanga in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN.
5. Cars are a central part of the James Bond image, but the agent never drives a car in 1979's MOONRAKER.
6. If Bond has an arch-nemesis, it is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, of the evil organization SPECTRE. Blofeld has appeared in eight official Bond movies, including NO TIME TO DIE.
7. SPECTRE stands for Special Executive For Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.
8. Blofeld is in eight official Bond movies, but he has been played by ten actors. Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray, and Christoph Waltz play him in major roles, but in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and THUNDERBALL, Blofeld is played physically by Anthony Dawson and voiced by Eric Pohlmann. In FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, John Hollis is the physical actor for Blofeld, while Robert Rietty provides his voice.
9. David Bowie was originally lined up to play bad guy Max Zorin in A VIEW TO A KILL. Christopher Walken played the part when Bowie bowed out.
10. Every actor to play James Bond has skied or had an extensive snow setpiece in a movie, except one: Sean Connery.
11. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME features one of the great ski stunts on film. Rick Sylvester, doubling for Roger Moore, does a long run that culminates in one of the first BASE jumps launched from skis.
12. George Lazenby became the second actor to play Bond on the big screen when he succeeded Sean Connery in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. He's also the only actor to play Bond just once in the series.
13. ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE was not seen as a success, and Sean Connery returned to play Bond in one more official film, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. (Connery also reprised the role in the unofficial Bond movie, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, in 1983.)
14. The iconic "gun barrel sequence" has been part of the Bond series since the beginning, but in the first three Bond movies, Sean Connery is not the actor seen in the shot — it is stuntman Bob Simmons.
15. With James Bond movies, it's unusual for a filmmaker to direct only one. Guy Hamilton made four, John Glen made five, Lewis Gilbert and Terence Young made three each, and Martin Campbell and Sam Mendes both made two.
16. Peter Hunt (ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE), Roger Spottiswoode (TOMORROW NEVER DIES), Michael Apted (THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH), Lee Tamahori (DIE ANOTHER DAY), Marc Forster (QUANTUM OF SOLACE) and (so far) Cary Fukunaga (NO TIME TO DIE) are the directors who made only one Bond movie.
17. The theme song for LIVE AND LET DIE, by Paul McCartney and Wings, was the first James Bond theme to appear on the Billboard Top Ten. It peaked at #2.
18. George Lazenby played Bond the fewest times, as we mentioned, and Roger Moore played him the most — Moore starred in seven Bond movies, between 1973's LIVE AND LET DIE and 1985's A VIEW TO A KILL.
19. A childhood incident left Roger Moore with hoplophobia — an ironic fear for the actor who played James Bond the most. It's the fear of firearms.
20. George Lazenby isn't just the actor with the fewest Bond appearances; he's also the youngest Bond, as he took the role at 30.
21. By the end of his run, Roger Moore was the oldest Bond; he was 58 years old when he made A VIEW TO A KILL.
22. Timothy Dalton, who followed Moore, and played Bond in two films, was once in the running to take the role when Sean Connery bowed out. He was only 25 at the time and considered himself too young for the role. Dalton was 40 when he played Bond in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS.
23. Desmond Llewelyn, who played the tech maestro Q, is the actor who appeared in the most Bond movies, with a whopping seventeen.
24. The name "James Bond" was chosen by Ian Fleming from the spine of a book about birds — Fleming has said he wanted the character to have an utterly dull and plain-sounding name.
25. Bond's agent code, 007, with the "00" prefix that indicates he has a license to kill, was also chosen by Fleming based on a boring, everyday piece of data: It was the bus route Fleming used in London.
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All images courtesy of United Artists Releasing.