Mr. James Bond (1900 – 1989), a distinguished American ornithologist and a wonderful gentleman who knew more about the birds of the Caribbean than anyone else probably never dreamed that his very name would be one of the most popular movie quotes of all time, but we all know it is. This world is a strange place, indeed – one day you write a book about the birds of the West Indies and your name becomes one of the most repeated lines all over the world for the next 50 years.
Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond later said that he was looking for the dullest, simplest Anglo-Saxon name that would also sound masculine. It happened that he was reading Bond’s ‘Birds of the West Indies’ while he was looking for the name for the character he had recently created and the rest is history.
“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” – Fleming said in an interview for ‘The New Yorker’ in 1962, adding – 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.’
It’s no wonder that Fleming thought of the James Bond character as of an instrument, because that is exactly what he is. James Bond is a vehicle for dreams of almost every man in the world, he is what so many of us would like to be and that is the reason of the character’s popularity fifty years after the first Bond movie ‘Dr. No’ was made in 1962 and explains why the Bond series is an important part of pop culture.
The Bond movies are actually fairy tales for grown-ups, for the men who find ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Superman’ too silly and childish. James Bond is a super hero in the costume of a contemporary ordinary man. He is rough, self-satisfied, sensitive, seductive, a man with lots of style, elegance, money, expensive cars, incredible gadgets, guts and brains that would take him in and out the most bizarre encounters with all sorts of villains, no woman can say ‘No’ to him, but he can (and will) say the word to them all.
Women, the so-called ‘Bond girls’, have always been an essential part of the Bond universe. They are occasionally the enemies who can’t resist Bond’s charm, sometimes their role is important, sometimes they are only Bond’s current love interests, but they are always the exact representations of glamour and sophistication. Their names are often puns or ironic (Pussy Galore, Plenty O’Toole, Xenia Onatopp, or Holly Goodhead, to name a few.)
The Bond girls have always been played by some of the most beautiful women of cinema, such as (among others) Ursula Andress, Daniela Bianchi, Claudine Auger, Mie Hama, Diana Rigg, Denise Perrier, Halle Berry and most recently by Bérénice Marlohe.
Over the last 50 years and 23 movies, James Bond has been portrayed by six actors: Sean Connery in Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), once again by Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Roger Moore in Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985); Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989); Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002) and finally by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012).
The story doesn’t end here, of course – two more films are scheduled for release in 2014 and 2016 respectively, both starring Daniel Craig as James Bond. 007 has defeated all villains that came his way and it also seems that he has defeated time.