While we may not all agree on the order in which these James Bond 007 moments are presented, I think we can all agree that they are 50 of the best:
THE 50 GREATEST BOND MOMENTS
To celebrate 007’s 50th birthday, you voted for your franchise highlights: guns, girls, quips, cars, gadgets - and very tight trunks...
WORDS JANE CROWTHER, JAMIE GRAHAM, NEIL SMITH AND CERI THOMAS
50 BOND MEETS BLOFELD
You Only Live Twice (1967) It’s hard to think of anyone else as Blofeld but Donald Pleasence wasn’t the first choice. Scenes were shot with Czech actor Jan Werich, who then fell ill.
From Russia With Love (1963) They’ve killed Bond! No, it’s a man in a mask. The actor under the disguise looked too like Connery, so he was recast.
48 KILLING ELEKTRA
The World Is Not Enough (1999) "You wouldn’t kill me-you’d miss me" smirks ex-lover Elektra. Brosnan’s head-over-heart 007 shoots her, snarling, “I never miss".
47 JINX EMERGES FROM SEA
Die Another Day (2002) In a film jam-packed with references to earlier Bond outings, this homage to Ursula Andress’ dripping entrance in Dr. No is easily the best. Berry didn’t enjoy it much, though - it was freezing the day they shot in Cadiz, Spain.
46 TWO-WHEEL TRUCK
Licence To Kill (1989) These days, if you needed to flip a juggernaut onto its side to dodge a missile, you’d get a nerd with a computer to do it. The Italian Job stuntmaster Remy Julienne and his team did it for real, with a modified truck.
45 LITTLE NELLIE SEQUENCE
You Only Live Twice (1967) Flying teeny autogyro Little Nellie, Bond easily sees off four hulking great black Spectre helicopters. Filming it wasn't so easy though -cameraman Johnny Jordan cut his foot off during the sequences when, dangling out of one chopper, got his legs too close to the rotors of another...
44 HORNET BARREL ROLL
The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) The spiral jump that sees stuntman ‘Bumps’ Willard put an AMC Hornet through a 360-degree roll was worked out on computers at Cornell University. Bumps had to hit at an exact speed.
43 UNDERWATER WAR!
Thunderball (1965) It's Spectre’S forces vs Bond and US Marines... underwater! It took 60 divers, $85,000 of scuba kit and a few live sharks -restrained with wires-to film the sequence.
42 “I THINK HE’S ATTEMPTING RE ENTRY, SIR”
Moonraker (1979) Q's accidental double-entendre as an image of 007 having a gravity-free shag flashes up on screens in mission control is so bad it’s wincingly good. No wonder it easily topped a 2006 poll of sauciest lines from the franchise.
41 ZORIN LAUGHS, THEN DIES
A View To A Kill (1985) Forget his Deer Hunter Oscar; Christopher Walken’s never been better than when giggling maniacally as his fruit-loop of a villain falls to his death from the Golden Gate bridge - one of AVTAKs few good moments.
40 CRAIG IN TRUNKS
Casino Royale (2006) Daniel Craig says the moment he emerges from the ocean in tight blue trunks "was actually by accident.” Craig adds that he was supposed to swim up then float off but decided to stand instead: “The sand shelf there just happened to be 3ft deep...”
39 BOND DEFUSES AN ATOM BOMB
Goldfinger (1964) Bond defeats Oddjob in Fort Knox and defuses Goldfinger’s bomb as the three-digit ticker reaches 007. Obviously. Except it wasn't at first. The script had the countdown stop with three seconds left on the reader, but then one of the producers had a lightbulb moment...
38 NECROS FIGHT
The Living Daylights (1987) A scrap on a transport plane ends up with Bond and baddie Necros (Andreas Wisniewski) dangling on a cargo net. If one of the swings of the bag had knocked stuntmen B.J. Worth and Jake Lombard unconscious against the fuselage, things would have turned very nasty, very fast.
37 “I THINK HE GOT THE POINT”
Thunderball (1965) Connery’s Bond never ducked a punning pay-off line (see moment #21), making him the forerunner to ’80s Arnie. This corker comes as he pauses mid-chat with bikini-wearing Bond girl Domino (Claudine Auger) to roll casually over and fire a harpoon into the chest of henchman Vargas (Philip Locke) as he sneaks up on them, skewering him to a tree.
36 CELLO-CASE SLED
The Living Daylights (1987) How do you escape across snow with a defecting cellist, chased by border guards? Just hop on her cello case - actually a fibreglass copy with hidden skis and controls -and toboggan to freedom. It took many takes as they repeatedly toppled over.
35 SKYDIVE FIGHT
Moonraker (1979) "James Bond is knocked out of an aeroplane without a parachute by Jaws" explains Moonraker editor John Glen. "He skydives down to the pilot below him, freefalling, wrestles with him, overpowers him and takes his parachute. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? It was anything but. The sweaty palmed two-minute pre-title sequence took five weeks and a total of 88 jumps by stuntmen B.J. Worth and Jake Lombard, each kitted out with specially designed hidden parachutes under their clothes.
SIMON PEGG: "Moonraker was the first Bond I saw at the cinema - and it has lasers in it! That was all it took. I also loved Jaws becoming a good guy."
34 DEATH BY LIGHTER
Licence To Kill (1989) A petrol-soaked Robert Davi wasn't laughing when Bond used Felix Leiter’s wedding-gift lighter to turn him into a human torch. Stuntman Paul Weston endured a “full-body burn” for a climax that proved too hot for the BBFC’s then-director James Ferman.
33 “YOU’RE A SEXIST, MISOGYNIST DINOSAUR”
Goldeneye (1995) The dynamic between Brosnan’s Bond and Judi Dench’s M is quickly established in a scene that sees her read him the riot act. “She adopts a tough line and he has to take it,” smiles the Dame. “How else would you become head of MI6?"
32 VERTIGINOUS CAR CHASE
Quantum of Solace (2008) 007 has Dan Bradley to thank for Quantum's, best action sequence: a pulse-pounding pursuit along Lake Garda that uses cars as weapons. “I love the bit where Bond loses the driver’s door of the Aston Martin,” recalls the Bourne stunt co-ordinator. “But there is a price to be paid, and I paid it in grey hairs.”
31 JETPACK ESCAPE
Thunderball (1965) Need to make a slick exit? You could do worse than donning the Bell Textron jetpack 007 employs to flee the Chateau d’Anet. Pilot Bill Suitor refused to do it without a helmet, hence a a shonky back-projected insert of Sean donning the headgear.
30 BOND FIRST MEETS VESPER
Casino Royale (2006) The sparks fly as Bond and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) trade barbs in a dining car, (“I will be keeping my eyes on the money and off of your perfectly formed arse”). Goosebump stuff, the four-minute exchange
deconstructing Bond's character via light banter.
29 OFF A CLIFF
For Your Eyes Only (1981) Roger Moore wasn’t keen on killing Locquewith a well-placed boot, “but [director] John Glen was adamant I should show a more ruthless side to my character,” he shrugs. “Many have highlighted that scene as important in the evolution of Bond on film. Maybe I was wrong?”
28 Q SHOWS BOND EJECTOR SEAT
Goldfinger (1964) “Ejector seat? You’re joking,” says Bond on hearing the DB5’s most famous feature. “I never joke about my work, 007,” says Desmond Llewelyn. "Guy [Hamilton, director] pointed out, ‘He doesn’t treat your gadgets with the right respect so you don’t like him at all’," recalled the Welshman.
27 THAMES BOAT CHASE
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Forget the Jubilee flotilla. When it comes to Thames-based spectacle, you can’t beat TWINE’S pre-credits pursuit. At £750k a minute, it was the most costly and risky sequence in Bond history. “The challenge was to go like the clappers and not brain yourself on Lambeth Bridge,” laughs Brosnan.
26 “THIS NEVER HAPPENED TO THE OTHER FELLOW”
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) An initial plan to attribute the Connery-Lazenby transition to plastic surgery was jettisoned in favour of one playful quip. "Because it was funny, the audience liked it," explained screenwriter Richard Maibaum. “It said, ‘You know it’s not the same James Bond so we’re not going to kid you. You’ll just have to accept this just isn’t the same fellow’.”
25 BOND TAKES THE DBS FOR A SPIN
Casino Royale (2006) With Vesper snatched, Bond gives chase in his Aston Martin only to discover the missus prone in the road like a lady speedbump. Swerving to avoid her, 007’s ride barrel rolls seven (record-breaking) times. "I went to do as many [rolls] as possible,” says stunt driver Adam Kirley. “Once it bit into the grass there was no stopping it.”
24 FIGHT WITH JAWS
Moonraker (1979) Richard Kiel’s vertigo and Roger Moore's kidney stones ruled them out of any actual heroics during this remarkable Rio-based sequence. So it was left to their stand-ins, Martin Grace and Richard Graydon, to dangle 1,300ft up-literally in the case of Graydon, who found himself hanging over the side by one hand. “I don’t envy stuntmen,” sighed Moore.
23 NINJAS STORM INTO BLOFELD’S VOLCANO BASE
You Only Live Twice (1967) According to Bob Simmons “virtually every stuntman in England was called to Pinewood” for the sequence in which ninja commandos Storm Spectre's colcano HQ: “There were 40 specialists on the ropes like Tarzans. Vic Armstrong began his association with Bond by being the first abseiler to descend. “One day when I jumped off, I pushed the trigger on my gun," he recalls. “Everyone nearly died!”.
22 SCARAMANGA Vs BOND
The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) The fight between Moore’s 007 and Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga (“My golden gun against your Walther PPK”) is a TMWTGG stand-out. It's not as long as it could’ve been; a moment where Moore improvs a Molotov cocktail to flush Lee out of his hiding place ended up cut.
21 ‘SHOCKING. POSITIVELY SHOCKING”
Goldfinger (1964) Connery’s pre-credits pun is a quintessential Bond kiss-off. Had the actor originally cast as Capungo not been arrested, it might not have been stuntman Alf Joint on the receiving end. “I had high cheekbones and could be made up to look Mexican,” he said.
20 TRACY GETTING SHOT
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) Irma Bunt’s machine gun brings 007’s honeymoon to a premature end in the bleakest conclusion in the Bond canon. John Barry believed Lazenby’s inexperience cost it pathos. “Having Connery and Diana Rigg in the last scene would have created a bombshell of a moment,” he mused.
19 PRE-TITLE MINI MOVIE
Casino Royale (2006) Martin Campbell intended to “shake everything up” by beginning with a moody office confrontation spliced with flashbacks to a brutal bathroom killing. “If you want to turn everyone around, do something in black and white,” concurs DoP Phil Meheux.
STEVEN SODERBERGH "From Russia With Love is the only time I thought a villain - Robert Shaw - might win this one. I felt like this could go either way."
18 FIGHT WITH ODDJOB
Goldfinger (1964) Gold bars, a high-voltage cable and a steel-rimmed hat add up to one of the smartest scraps in Bond’s 50-year history, topped off by a stunt from wrestler Harold Sakata that left stuntman Bob Simmons gob-smacked. “Harold agreed to crash face down on the floor, without any attempt at a break-fall,” he marvelled. “He thudded down like a block of granite!”
17 CROCODILE STEPPING STONES
Live And Let Die (1973) Few daring escapes match the one where Bond uses the backs of crocodiles to get off an island. It took real-life Jamaican crocodile farm-owner Ross Kananga five attempts to get the stunt in the can, achieved with rubber smeared on his soles and concrete blocks around the crocs’ feet. His reward? Having the film’s villain named after him.
16 OPENING CREDITS
Goldfinger (1964) John Barry’s music, Shirley Bassey’s vocals and Robert Brownjohn's imagery (projected on to Margaret Nolan’s gold-painted body) make for some of the franchise’s most memorable titles. According to scripter Richard Maibaum, Barry’s musicians dubbed the song ‘Moon Finger’ because of its similarity to Henry Mancini’s ‘Moon River’.
15 THEME MUSIC KICKS IN
Casino Royale (2006) It was planned that there'd be no Bond theme until Daniel Craig delivers the "Bond.. James Bond" line. “It’s in the script that we don’t hear the theme until the very last second of the movie,” says composer David Arnold. “When you play that theme, you know where you are.”
14 SPEEDBOAT CHASE
Live And Let Die (1973) Of the 44 boats used to realise LALD’s spectacular boat chase, 17 ended up totalled. Small wonder it cost £200,000 to shoot, Roger Moore contributing to the tab by crashing a boat into a shed during rehearsals. Stuntman Jerry Comeaux reached a height of 16ft in the scene where his speedboat leaps 120ft across a highway.
13 TANK CHASE
Goldeneye (1995) “With Bond you always try to do something no one’s ever done before,” says director Martin Campbell. And that was certainly the case with Goldeneye’s smashing set-piece, a dazzling demolition derby that sees Brosnan’s Bond use a tank to cut a swath through St Petersburg. “It's every boy’s dream, with life-size toys,” smiles second-unit director Ian Sharp.
12 “NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU BLEED”
The World Is Not Enough(1999) “You've got to find a way to write me out with dignity and style,” Desmond Llewelyn told Bruce Fierstein. And, with help from Michael G. Wilson, the TWINE writer did just that, allowing Q to sign off with two pieces of advice to 007 in a manner befitting their Merlin-Arthur dynamic. (The second? “Always have an escape plan.”)
11 “SHAKEN OR STIRRED?” “DO I LOOK LIKE I GIVE A DAMN?”
Casino Royale (2006) Having just lost millions at the poker table, Daniel Craig isn’t too fussed how he takes his vodka martini in a curt exchange which tells us all we need to know about his take on Bond. Offscreen, though, the actor took pains to familiarise himself with the spy’s signature tipple. “They’re knockout,” he reveals. “I ended up on the floor.”
10 “FOR ENGLAND, JAMES?” “NO, FOR ME.”
Goldeneye (1995) Pierce Brosnan shows his ruthless side, letting Alec Trevelyan fall from his grasp in a scene that takes pride of place in a Sean Bean ‘death reel’ that’s racked up nearly a million YouTube views. “Trevelyan is a good adversary to Bond so the final confrontation between them is very spectacular,” says the Sharpe man.
9 GOLDEN GIRL
Goldfinger (1964) Shirley Eaton is Jill Masterson for all of five minutes. But the manner of her exit - an all-body paint-job in suffocating gold lacquer - ensures her celluloid immortality, not least where Brosnan is concerned. “It made quite an impression,” he reveals. “I was an 11 year old from the bogs of Ireland and there was this beautiful gold lady on a bed - naked!”
8 LOTUS ESPRIT TURNS INTO SUB
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) For a generation of Bond fans, the moment when his gadget-packed sports car became a submersible (nicknamed ‘Wet Nellie’ after the autogyro from You Only Live Twice) was the coolest thing they had ever seen. They might have been disappointed to learn seven cars were used to realise the transformation, with much of the underwater activity performed by a 1:4 scale model.
7 HONEY RYDER’S INTRODUCTION
Dr. No (1962) In the Dr. No novel. Ian Fleming had Honeychile Rider emerge from the ocean naked. Even in a bikini, though, Ursula Andress gets the blood pumping in an entrance iconic enough to warrant a Die Another Day tribute 40 years later (see number 47). “All I did was wear this bikini, not even a small one, and... whoosh! Overnight I had made it." the actress said later of her debut, filmed at Laughing Waters beach near Fleming’s Jamaican home, Goldeneye.
6 FIGHT ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
From Russia With Love (1963) Connery and Robert Shaw took lessons in wrestling prior to their bruising encounter on the Orient Express, described by Cubby Broccoli as "the most savage, heart-stopping duel you'll ever see in 60 seconds of screen time." The censors were far more concerned by the gypsy catfight...
5 THE BUNGEE JUMP
Goldeneye (1995) The Contra Dam, near Locarno in Switzerland, still attracts bungee jumpers thanks to Wayne Michaels' feat in Goldeneye, a death-defying plunge off the 720ft edifice that saw the British stuntman reach a terminal velocity of 100 miles per hour. "It was a hell of a jump," says director Martin Campbell. "There's no cheating. What you see on film is take one."
4 UNION JACK PARACHUTE ESCAPE
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) The $250k that Rick Sylvester’s ski jump off 3,000ft Mount Asgard cost now looks like a bargain for one of the most stunning stunts ever shot. “It was brave and it was beautiful,” said Cubby Broccoli of the John Glen-lensed sequence. “It was the pure essence of James Bond.”
3 LASER TO THE BALLS
Goldfinger (1964) Aside from the beating in Casino Royale, 007’s manhood is never as under threat as when he finds a laser inching towards his privates. “Do you expect me to talk?" he asks Gert Fröbe’s Goldfinger. “No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!” comes the immortal reply. As a million males crossed their legs, so Connery must have felt no less imperiled at Pinewood as technicians crouched beneath him, simulating the beam’s implacable advance with the help of an oxyacetylene torch. (The laser itself, upgraded from the circular saw in Ian Fleming’s novel, was an optical effect added in later.) “That was real sweat,” says director Guy Hamilton in reference to his star’s perspiration. “He was there thinking, ‘when is that sonofabitch going to say cut?’”
2 “BOND, JAMES BOND”
Dr. No (1962) Director Terence Young teases out our first intro to 007. By the time his casino opponent - lady in a red dress “Trench, Sylvia Trench” - finally asks his name and the camera snaps to his face, the anticipation is at tipping point... yet still Connery applies lighter to cigarette and gives a glance before echoing her intro with a raise of the eyebrows: “Bond, James Bond”.
The line’s been murmured in bedrooms, bellowed under fire, gasped out over explosions... but Connery’s moment is the first and best. He’s not just playing Bond, he is Bond. But it was Young who turned him from a rough-cut Glaswegian into a suave super spy. The urbane director coached Connery in style and manners, kitting him out at his own tailors. Connery owed him a huge debt. But Young had a debt of his own. That tantalising introduction? He nicked the idea from a long-forgotten 1939 movie called Juarez...
1 PARKOUR CHASE
Casino Royale (2006)
What convinced you Daniel Craig would make a brilliant Bond? Chances are it was the moment midway through the first-act chase where he catches the pistol thrown at him by terrorist bomb-maker Mollaka (Sebastien Foucan) and chucks it right back, with interest. It’s one of numerable pleasures to be found in your favourite slice of 007 mayhem, a flurry of jumps and thumps that pits Bond’s relentless determination against his adversary’s amazing physical dexterity for nine breathless, heart-stopping minutes.
Kicking off in a Madagascan market, the dynamic of the sequence is telegraphed by baying locals betting on a battle between a cobra and a mongoose: different animals, different capabilities, neither giving an inch. What follows mirrors this scrap in human terms. Bond’s ungainly, bull-in-a-china-shop tactics (check out how he thunders through a plaster partition!) contrasting with Mollaka’s athleticism as their pursuit takes in cranes, roofs and various levels of an under-construction high-rise.
“My character can move swiftly to escape from Bond,” says Parkour co-creator Sebastien Foucan, who spent three months readying.
“We tried to find a way to move efficiently rather than do tricks.
Daniel doesn’t practice Parkour but he finds it easy to run and chase. I felt we were working on something good.’’
“It was important to do as many stunts as possible," shrugs Craig. “I wanted to be seen physically exerting myself.” That much is evident in an impeccable set-piece that Total Film is thrilled to crown Bond’s finest on-screen moment. Until Skyfall, of course...
Photo: Flee running: (main) Daniel Craig’s 007 gives chase to (inset) Sebastien Foucan as Mollaka.
Skyfall opens on 26 October. For more, go to totalfilm.com
[Source: Total Film, August 2012, P.99-106. Copyright © 2012 Future Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.]