In the early 1960s, American producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Canadian producer Harry Saltzman collaborated on a dream project: adapting novelist Ian Fleming’s gentleman spy hero James Bond for the big screen. They established Eon Productions and began work. Little did they know they would create not merely a profitable film with Dr. No but a cinematic legend for the ages.
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After six decades, 25 films, six actors, and box office successes, we’re still talking about Agent 007, his legacy, and his adventures. 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the James Bond franchise. It’s cause for celebration, as one of the longest-running series in film history has finally ended another epic epoch with Daniel Craig’s No Time To Die. And let’s look back at one of the greatest film series of all time with 10 Bond facts.
Ten interesting & fun facts about James Bond
1. James Bond character created out of wedding anxiety
James Bond, the iconic spy character who would go on to spawn a best-selling book series and a billion-dollar film franchise, had a rough start. According to Bond author Ian Fleming, his journey to inventing the character began in 1952, when he was preparing to marry for the first time after having lived his entire life as a bachelor.
Fleming sought any activity to keep his mind off when confronted with a major life transition. He decided to write a book as a result of his experiences in Naval Intelligence during WWII. And as a result, Casino Royale, the first Bond novel, was published in 1953.
2. James Bond owes his name to an Ornithologist
Fleming sought out a macho yet not-too-flashy moniker for his hero when he began writing his espionage thrillers, but he didn’t just come up with “James Bond” out of thin air. He took it from the cover of one of his birdwatching “bibles” back home in Jamaica: James Bond’s Birds of the West Indies. When the actual Bond found out, Fleming apologized and offered to name a nasty species of the bird after him one day.
3. James Bond is Scottish!
James Bond is undoubtedly a British icon, but he is of Scottish ancestry. The best examples of this are movies like Skyfall, in which James Bond travels to Scotland to see his childhood home. The importance of Bond’s ancestry didn’t emerge until later in the books, though.
After Dr. No’s commercial success, in which Sean Connery played the renowned spy, Ian Fleming added Bond’s Scottish ancestry. Naturally, Connery is Scottish. Fleming specifically included these Scottish specifics in the 007 book You Only Live Twice, permanently establishing Bond’s Scottish ancestry. Connery would go on to star in the movie version of the book, which was hardly faithful to the original.
4. Fan mail made the Walther PPK his signature weapon
Bond has carried his classic modified Walther PPK since his first film. Originally using the Beretta 418 from Casino Royale to From Russia With Love, Bond switched to Walther in the film Dr. No. This is because fan and gun enthusiast Geoffrey Boothroyd contacted Fleming and criticized his choice of handgun.
Boothroyd was particularly critical of Beretta’s limited bullet type, whereas Walther used a more universal caliber of bullets that could be found anywhere in the world, which fit Bond’s globe-trotting adventures. Following this advice, Fleming changed Bond’s trademark weapon to the Walther. Walther became his signature weapon. Fleming thanked Boothroyd for naming MI6’s armorer after him in Dr. No.
5. That’s not Sean Connery in the original James Bond opening
It’s a scene as iconic as any in cinema history these days: James Bond strolling horizontally across the screen as we trace him down a gun barrel until 007 turns and fires, dropping his assassin. But throughout the filming of Dr. No, the infamous “gun barrel sequence” was just another notion, one that didn’t necessarily necessitate Sean Connery’s execution. It’s difficult to tell now, but Connery was not the man in the barrel in the first three Bond films. It was his stuntman, Bob Simmons, who played Bond for Eon Productions.
6. JFK was a big fan of James Bond
Bond films have a lot of celebrity admirers these days. But that wasn’t always the case. President John F. Kennedy chose From Russia With Love as one of his favorite books in a 1961 Life magazine story. The endorsement boosted paperback sales of Fleming’s novels just as Saltzman and Broccoli began negotiations to finance their first Bond film. As a result, one of Bond’s prominent followers created a ripple effect that aided in the production of the films.
7. He married once and had a son
Despite the insane number of women Bond has been acquainted with (so to speak), Bond has married at one point in his life. This marriage was notable for its short duration. Bond married Teresa di Vicenzo (later Tracy Bond) during On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was an unexpected yet heartwarming decision for the playboy spy. Unfortunately, in both the film and the novel, she is assassinated by Blofeld in a drive-by shooting.
Many fans believe that Tracy’s death is the reason Bond leads an adulterous life because he is frightened of committing to someone again, knowing full well that his line of work could lead to their death. Bond had a son named James Suzuki with Kissy Suzuki from You Only Live Twice. Unfortunately, Kissy also died of natural causes.
8. James Bond doesn’t really like tea
James Bond enjoys his martinis “Shaken, not stirred,” as you’ve seen him do in the movies. He’s been known to drink 50-year-old Macallan Scotch whiskey while travelling the world, among other things. But did you know that Bond hates tea, just as Ted Lasso? He views tea as the drinkable equivalent of mud. He hates it so much, in fact, that he thinks it’s what brought about the fall of the British Empire.
9. James Bond was the best, but he is still beatable
James Bond is an incredibly versatile character. He seemed capable of doing anything the plot demanded, dishing out a lot of damage in every film, book, comic, and just about any piece of media he’s been in. This includes, among other things, shooting any type of gun, defeating powerful and intimidating opponents, and speaking multiple languages.
Having said that, Kingsley Amis’ book The James Bond Dossier made it clear that, while Bond was good, he was still easily beaten by his instructor. Not only that, but when it comes to things like hand-to-hand combat or sports like golf, he is good but not the best. This adds a layer of realism to an otherwise fantastical fictional spy.
10. He has been portrayed by 8 actors (So far)
Bond has been portrayed by a plethora of actors since his debut in the 1960s. Although Bond has officially been played by six different actors (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig), he has actually been played by eight different people. Barry Nelson and David Niven are the other two.
Nelson was the first Bond actor, appearing in the TV show Climax!, where the Casino Royale segment failed to pique the public’s interest in a proposed Bond TV show. This episode is eight years older than Dr. No. Meanwhile, in the 1967 film Casino Royale , Niven played an older, retired Bond, a parody of Dr. No and other spy stories of the time.
Each version helped to solidify a generation of Bond fans. Some prefer Connery’s classic performance, while others may enjoy Moore’s campiness. Newcomers may enjoy the modernized Craig films. Regardless of one’s taste, there is a Bond for everyone.
With that said, which is your favorite James Bond movie of all time? And who do you think should play the role in the upcoming films? Let us know in the comments down below.