Does James Bond have a Tardis and the same bizarre regeneration powers as a Time Lord? Are the conspiracy theorists right – is Bond simply an intelligence agent code name for a position filled by numerous men? Would Ian Fleming be cashing in today on all these sequels in a series that went too far? If there are so many Bond’s why aren’t there numerous renditions of Austin Powers?
All good questions, but when it comes down to it, the twenty-three Bond movies and seven corresponding ‘Bond’s’ all point to one thing. Bond is a character that the world – with exception of its terrorists, evil scientists and criminals – loves. The suave British stoicism, the lady-killing personality, the slick suits, the tiny guns and the ‘shaken not stirred’ drink orders are what make Fleming’s character great. So which of these seven stars has the Licence To Kill and which of them is just a plain old Octopussy…
Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace)
People gasped in shock as stony-faced Brit actor Daniel Craig was announced to play 007 in 2006 and yet many were pleasantly surprised. Not only was Bond faster, tougher and stronger, he was also a bit of a softie with a troubled past.
Pierce Brosnan (GoldenEye, Die Another Day)
The chisel-jawed and drawling star Brosnan proved to be a hit with female fans after he was cast as Bond in the early 1990s. In fact, he was one of the first Bond’s to allow his female companions to take their own swings at the bad guys. More sensitive and complex for a new generation, good old Pierce allowed Bond to remain as a charming and witty gentleman who retained that suppressed sense of humour of the earlier Bonds. However, Brosnan’s Bond allowed that smidgen of post-modern post-Roger Moore self-deprecating humour to slip through.
Sean Connery (Dr. No, From Russia With Love, You Only Live Twice)
First of all, there is no point in mentioning the accent. The first and original Bond is frequently hailed as the best. From Dr. No to Goldfinger, Connery epitomises the Bond we all know and remember. Oozing sexual charisma, Connery’s Bond was a smooth talking devil who rescued damsels in distress by playing with his gadgets. He also faced some of the most memorable Bond villains of all time. Goldfinger, for example. A MAN WHO LOVES GOLD. What could be more terrifying?
George Lazenby (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
Sometimes forgotten and a victim of the dreaded ‘mixed reviews’, Lazenby’s difficulties in the Bond role can be directly attributed to his following Sean Connery’s exit. People don’t like change. Lazenby was a lot more self-aware and humorous towards the Bond role as well as being a lot more physical and action orientated. Bizarrely, Lazenby predicted that Bond would have to change and evolve with the culture of the late ’60s as soon martinis would be uncool and sex with beautiful women would be misogynistic and have dire Fatal Attraction-style consequences.
Timothy Dalton (License To Kill)
After initially turning down the role in 1986, Dalton finally caved and thus the darker, brooding Bond emerged. Dalton’s Bond was more serious, realistic and gritty playing closer to the character of Fleming’s novels. Slightly reluctant as an agent and operating alongside people with a lot less funny names than those featured in its predecessors, Dalton was not only praised for his more progressive approach to Bond but was also lambasted for lacking the humour of his predecessor Roger Moore.
Roger Moore (Moonraker, Octopussy, A View To Kill, Live and Let Die)
At 45 Roger Moore became the longest serving Bond actor of all time, eventually retiring after 12 years in the role. Moore’s Bond contrasted significantly to his fellow performers for Moore was much more a light-hearted debonair playboy who liked to make witty puns , whip out state of the art gadgets as well as raising one eyebrow in slight amusement or arousal. Moore was certainly one of the most popular choices as the spy for telling silly women to pull themselves together and giving his enemies a good rollicking. Slightly politically incorrect but no less fun.
The answer lies in who springs to mind when you say the words ‘James Bond’. You say Connery, I say Moore.